Archive for the ‘Behind the scenes’ Category


On this blog, I’ve written many times about the explosion of use for the DSLR cameras ( Canon 5d Mk11)  being used for high end productions.  From such shows as Saturday Night Live, House and numorous commercials, this trend has been growing rapidly.

At the forefront of this explosion is Shane Hurlbut ASC member. I’ve directed you to his blog several times, and this is another perfect time to do so with his post about the shooting of Act of Valor, just released in theaters. Shane and his crew shot all of the action sequences in AOV with the 5d. Take a look at this great post to read in detail of the shoot, including 132 behind the scenes photos.


I can’t wait to check this film out.

Shanes rock’n post: http://www.hurlbutvisuals.com/blog/2012/02/22/act-of-valor-reinventing-the-action-genre/


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We started our Learning Tree shoot in a class room situation at their offices. I’ve shot several times in this classroom, but we did it a little differently this time. I’ve lit this room several different ways, bouncing heads into the ceiling, soft boxes off camera, HMI’s punching through the windows, but this time I opted for hanging Kino Flo’s from the ceiling, skinned with #250 diffusion.  The client specified they wanted a very nice pool of even soft lighting. For all you grip fans out there, here is my advice for hanging Kino’s from drop ceiling situations. I originally was going to use a scissor clamp, since that’s what they are designed for, but upon my pre-light day to test these out, I discovered not all drop ceilings are treated equally. The scissor clamps did not fit on these ceilings. I opted to mount baby plates on some 1×6 boards and slide them on top of the frame by removing the panel. A much better solution since the weight is now distributed over two of the frame bars, instead of just one. This worked out beautifully. It also keeps the head a few inches taller in frame, which was critical for these low ceilings.

Baby plates mounted to 1x6 boards

Our stage 10

Next, we went to a studio situation. Well, this is even better for control if you have the option. We had a rather large shot list to try and get as many points of view as we can with these scenarios. Shooting on a large cove would allow this. I wanted to surround the talent in the tables with soft light on all sides. We mounted several heads on speed rail for the cove walls, and punched in 4 more heads through a large silk for the foreground. This worked out beautifully. The only trick was to keep adjusting the power output for the narrow depth of field shots (F4) to wider depth of field shots to around an (F11). Assistant Hugh did a fine job sprinting around the cove to adjust power settings though.

Notice the jib for the camera. Certainly not necessary for a still shoot, this is for the smooth flowing video shots. Although, since we were constantly changing angles and heights, it was great to be able to do that on the fly with the jib, as oppossed to re-adjusting the tripod legs all day.

We were able to shoot at the swanky Quixote Studios in Los Angeles. Right next door, were the standing sets for Criminal Minds. Great fun to go explore their sets since they were on location

Wacky Stephanie doing her thing

Hugh doing his thing????

Wardrobe stylist Annett

How the talent get pampered on set

Results of some pampering

Beautiful model

Client and crew shot

Thank you Learning Tree!  Looking forward to next time.

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We’re just off a shoot for The Beverly Hilton. I feel very fortunate to have been asked to photograph such a historic hotel. This is one of Beverly Hills Iconic hotels. We did three long days of lifestyle and architectural shooting. Although very cold at times (well at least I wasn’t the one in the bikini ) and some quite long days, I had another great time.

These are just a sampling of some behind the scenes photos. We’re in the process of retouching the group of images. I certainly will be posting the final images soon.

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Okay, I love golf. I don’t play near enough! So, it was a little frustrating this week when I was shooting a video project for Callaway Golf at their test center, and I didn’t hit one golf ball all day! Geez, you might as well drag me through a chocolate store, and not let me get a peanut cluster!
Minus that little frustration, we had a good time shooting a couple of the key people at Callaway as they talked about the development process of new clubs. it’s really amazing, the art and science behind making of a golf club.

Thanks gang!

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I had another shoot with two of my long time clients, Cathy and Julia . I’ve been shooting with them for many years, and we ALWAYS have lots of laughs together. This shoot was no exception, although, the client, BARD Biopsy Systems handles issues that are not a laughing matter, breast cancer. We hired 50 extras to portray a great concept that my client came up with. Take a look at these shots before the final image to see if you can guess where we were going with all these people.

Why are we standing here like this?

The life of an extra

Andrea keeping up with the 50 models

Lets move the girl in pink over a bit

The client having some laughs with creative team of Cathy and Julia

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I just got back from a terrific job up in Napa, CA. Rather then just show the bottles of wine on my client’s web site, they wanted to show the faces behind the wine to give it a more personal feel to their brand. .  These are the farmers, vineyard owners, wine makers, and winery owners themselves,  that are behind the scenes of producing their product.

We wanted these to be very “real” feeling, not overly styled, just raw, in-the-moment feel to them. Hopefully we pulled that off.

What  better place to work for a couple of beautiful days then up in the wine country!

Now look at these beautiful faces below:

These guys were very cooperative, although, they made me pay for it by lying in their droppings!

Just another day at the office

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3D snowball fight

3D is here to stay and creative on-line content is changing daily.

Magazines and newspapers will not be printing using the traditional press for much longer ( at least to a much lesser extent ) with the advent of the “on-line” content.  Look at my post on 1/26/10, this is a great example of where we are headed, very exciting!  For a visual storyteller, this just opens up a whole new branch of creative content to create.

This small 3D movie clip was created from a series of 8 different composited images, see if you can find them all!

We shot the models against a green screen in a studio situation, see the pics below.

With some use of Photoshop and AfterEffects we put a pretty simple image into a new approach. The exciting thing for me is to think of all the commercial applications this could have. For example, this snowball fight could be an on-line ad for PacSun.  Hopefully you would get a fresh, youthful approach at seeing their winter clothing line which would stand apart from traditional 2D print ads.  Can’t you just see the 20 year olds at Starbucks on their new Apple ipad, surfing the web or PacSun web site, and seeing this snowball coming at them?  !! I see the next Apple ad, don’t tell anyone.

I can’t wait to start my next still 3D content project. The next step will be to add some live action video to this world.

Stand by for more 3D.  James Cameron wont’ have a thing on us.

Avitar, Shmavitar!


Here are a few behind the scenes from the shoot. Pretty simple set up really. I trick was to light it to look like outside lighting, so I wanted a little more directional lighting falling on the faces as opposed to a really “soft box’ look.I love the light quality of a raw light head going through a  Lee 255 diffusion. It cuts down the harshness of raw light, but not too soft. I think it’s similar to sunlight through a soft layer of clouds.

Obviously the background image is a strong sun backlight, so we put a “sun” light with a warming gel to give some of that warm “kicker” light, but we still put our front key light with some direction to it. If I shot this on location in the mountains (which we contemplated) I would have lit it the same way. Hopefully it works to sell the illusion here.

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