Olympus ‘PEN your own short’ filmmakers get hands on with the E-PL2; UPDATE: Behind the scenes footage

pen your own shortLast week we were in Colorado for the Vail Film Festival, front and center to watch Olympus hand out E-PL2s to participants in its 48-hour short film contest. Outfitted with the exact same device, the aspiring filmmakers – of varying skill levels – had two days to learn the ins and outs of the EPL-2, as well as film and edit (and in some cases, come up with a concept for) a four-minute movie.

So you could say there was a learning curve – even for the more professional participants. “At first it took me a minute to get used to it because I’m used to really large manual cameras,” said Maitland Lottimer, whose team took home first prize for their film Running Colors. “I usually use a Canon XH A1…so it was a lot different going into it and learning to use manual, but this camera actually allows you to have those options, to manually adjust everything.”

Of course, some struggled. “We had a million disasters. We lost our location so we had to rewrite our script…we edited it for about eight hours and dealt with a bunch of computer problems,” one group said, who had not been to sleep from the time they began the film to the contest deadline. And of course, working with a Micro Four Thirds was part of the challenge: “I think it was fun to work on a new platform, however I’m used to what I normally shoot with…a Canon 5D. But it was pretty intuitive.”

Olympus’ PEN series is being marketed not only for camera-loving consumers, but for the professional set — and to take that one step further, it’s being touted as a capable cinematography device. Veteran and awarded cinematographer Kris Krosskove was on hand during the festival and the contest and had no shortage of praise for the E-P1, which he used during the filming of Secretariat.

Check out Running Colors, which took home top honors – and appreciate it all the more realizing it was entirely filmed on a $600 camera.

[UPDATE] Check out behind the scenes footage of the filmmakers process using the E-PL2.