Erin's Story

A few months ago I had the opportunity to work with the BC Cancer Foundation and create a piece for their ‘Hope Couture’ event. We interviewed Erin and two doctors who are leading the way in cancer research. I didn’t know their story until we sat down with the cameras rolling as our original interviewee had cancelled at the last minute. This left us with little prep time to review/explore Erin's story before we sat down with her.   

For some reason I enjoyed the process of being unprepared, not having answers to the questions I was asking. I simply asked her questions and heard her story for the very first time, just like her audience. It brought me back to the childlike wonder I experienced often when I first began making movies with my dad's old Sony Handycam. Her story created authenticity as she shared it. I'm not saying that we should always throw away all our plans and prep for future shoots, however, it was a pleasant reminder to take time to enjoy that childlike wonder and try to represent that in every project.

A quick behind the scenes shot of Robert chatting with Erin.

A quick behind the scenes shot of Robert chatting with Erin.

The Pants Society

“We made a film about pants” is my opening line when I’m asked to describe our entry for Rode’s Microphone’s ‘My Rode Reel Film Festival’. It’s about ‘The Pants Society’ and what happens when Reginald shows up wearing capris.

The concept was a mishmash of ideas between myself and two other friends from elementary school. We wanted to do something funny, quirky and ultimately something that would stand out from the 1520 other films submitted. After several meetings, the idea of ‘The Pants Society’ was born. After putting a script together, running a joke pass and checking the timing, we had our shooting script. We found a few locations and created a few props. We then wrangled enough talent to create ‘The Society’.

We filmed the short in one day, in almost two locations. The first was all the interiors in a room at our church. The second was at a friends house out in the country. It allowed us to capture a variety of looks for the chase scene. Since our second location was only a few feet away from a major highway, our sound recordist had to get creative with recording talent. To capture the audio, we used a few lav’s and a Rode NTG shotgun mic. For the visuals we captured everything on the Sony FS7; we filmed 1080p on the Slog3.cine picture profile. We used the DJI Mavic Pro to capture a few aerial shots. The majority of what we filmed was on a locked off tripod. No gimbals or sliders were used, however, we included a few whip pans to create a sense of urgency and excitement in the chase scene.

Post production was pretty straight forward. We edited our shooting script and adjusted the scenes for comedic timing to fit our three minute time limit. The only unusual thing that we did was to finish the film in 4:3 aspect ratio. This was decided in prep as we thought this would add to the quirkiness of the story and also help our comedy to stand out. After sharing the video with a few friends and family, they didn’t even realize they watched a film in 4:3. We also recorded a large chunk of ADR in studio due to the second location being just feet away from the highway.  In order to fill out and create a more realistic soundscape, we created some ‘huffing & puffing’, murmuring and background noises of the actors.

‘The Pants Society’ won Best Acting and was nominated for Best Comedy, Best Art Direction and in the top twelve for the overall Judges pick. We were surprised at these outcomes as we really were just happy to have been able to work together and create this fun, entertaining short film...the prizes were definitely a bonus.

 

 

 

Sara's Book

I recently had the chance to create a short piece for our neighbours who lived in the apartment below us and quickly became good friends. They will be moving to Ireland shortly. Sara is a very talented graphic artist who has an obsession with paper. Sara and her husband, Finian, traveled to Europe for their honeymoon this last summer. She created a pop-up book of their vacation and desired to include it in her portfolio. Sara and I decided to exchange our skills. She created my website and brand and, in return, I created the following video for her.


The piece which features Sara and Finian included shooting an interview, the two of them discussing their relationship and the vision for her book. We filmed with both the Sony A7Sii, the Canon 24-70mm, the FS7 and combined the Canon 10mm Macro. After the interview I filmed a ‘top down’ shot (almost Wes Anderson-like) of the entire book. I also then captured some detailed shots of the book pages with a macro lens. I really wanted to emphasize the detail that Sara designed in each page.

Here are a few behind-the-scene stills from the shoot.

Shooting More

It seems over the last few weeks I have been busy with meetings. Mostly to do with prepping up coming projects, both this year and the next. This means I haven’t been shooting as much as I would have like too. This is unfortunate because I also upgraded to the Sony A7Sii and haven’t yet had a chance to shoot anything with it, until yesterday.

_E7C8099.jpg

My good friend Shylo is a local artist from Vancouver and had a song that she wanted to do a short video for. We chatted about the song and decided to film a oner of her walking down a street in Vancouver, with the fall color leaves on the ground and overhead. It was a simple concept that fit the mood of the song, but still had a bit of a cinematic feel to it. I mounted my Sony A7Sii with 35mm 1.4 o my DJI Ronin and used the Atlas Camera Support to take some of the weight of my arms. The track was 2:49 in length, and it would have been quite difficult to pull off a smooth take for that one shot. I also used the SmallHD 502 mounted on the DJI Ronin in order to see my framing. We filmed in 4K and had the fstop at F6.3. I didn't have a follow focus, so I needed an f stop that gave me enough wiggle room in my distance away from Shylo. We ended up doing 6 takes, with the last one being the best, or at least the one I was most happy with.

As far as editing goes, I used an A7S LUT from Philip Bloom and tweaked it a bit to suite the mood we were going for. I also applied a 3% Warp Stabilization to the overall shot just to smooth out any bumps caused from the walking. I then finished the video in 4K. Might as well if you shot it in 4K!

Overall I am happy with how it turned out and most of all, I am happy that I was able to get out and shoot. Sometimes I feel like I am spending a lot of time prepping and pitching ideas/concepts to future clients (this isn’t a bad thing) but sometimes it's just nice to be shooting something for fun. For that was this project.

I’m just finishing up the final video and I will post it shortly!

_E7C8126.jpg