From Suits to Swords

Interview with Mike Pecci from McFarland & Pecci.

“In one day our camera crew went from shooting bankers in a glossy corporate office, to filming hip-hop icons on high speed motorcycles, and torture scenes with ninja swords. Our shooters fell in love with the Zacuto gear!”


This month has been non-stop shooting for the guys over at McFarland & Pecci, who have been very busy shooting businessmen, bankers, UFC fighters, hip hop icons, and ninja swords! We took a moment to catch up with Mike Pecci and talk about gear, crews, and the new stuff coming out.

Thanks for taking a moment to chat; we know you have been all over the place lately.

“It’s been a busy month for us and we have split into multiple teams to try to get it all done. Ian has been knee deep in the production of this new series of mini-docs for VICE Magazine on UFC fighters and I have been running the two music videos for CZARFACE (WU TANG’s Inspectah Deck & 7LES). On top of all that we have been doing multiple web videos for a few ad agencies. Oh yeah, and we have been putting the finishing touches on the Killswitch Engage documentary. It’s been a lot of fun and kind of crazy."


Multiple teams, huh? Is it hard to maintain your level of quality in situations like that?

“It’s all in the pre-production. Ian and I have hand-picked key members of our shooting crew that understand our look and vibe, but can also bring something new. It is always the struggle to keep control of quality as we get bigger and part of what our brand does is find that talent that sees the world the way we do. We also run everything through our quality control; everything from scripts, to shots, to color grading – and edits are either approved directly by me or Ian. It seems to be working so far! Hahaha.”

What gear are you guys using these days?

“The gear we use always depends on the projects needs and limitations. That being said, we have been shooting a majority of our stuff on Nikon DSLR’s (Although we just tested the Canon C300 because of its incredible high ISO range). We still love our trusty Zoom recorder for audio on the smaller gigs and I keep handing our DPs my Sekonic L-308 for lighting before the monitors are up.


"The equipment that seems to show up on all the shoots has been the stuff from Zacuto. On the set of the music video we were shooting with the Z-Cage on tripod while our behind the scenes operator was running around with the Scorpion on his shoulder. They continue to be extremely versatile.”


How are your teams using the Z-Cage?


“On the past few gigs we have been throwing it on the sticks and using it to mount the EVF viewfinder for the operator and a Marshall monitor for the client to peer over his shoulder. It’s great for adding weight to heavier head tripods and at this point my Nikon hasn’t come off it."


"I have personally used it for tight handheld situations where you don’t want to bring a lot of attention to the rig. Overall, it really takes a DSLR and makes it film production ready.”

We noticed that on the set of the CZARFACE video you were shooting through some strange materials and tools. Is that a scrim in front of the lens? 


"No comment. Hahaha. We can’t give away all the tricks. Let’s just say that I encourage outside thinking when it comes to capturing our image. Tools are tools, they should help us capture the things we imagine, not control how we do it. If we all followed the instruction manuals for this stuff, all the work would look the same.”