Brock Scott is an artist and musician who I met through a mutual friend at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He's fronted several bands over the years, including the Brock Scott Quartet, Dreamer Boy Dan, and now his latest, Little Tybee.
Progressive rock played on real instruments - violins, piano, acoustic guitar - by real musicians. Intelligent lyrics filled with stories and historical allusions. You'll be humming it at work.
I've used a few of Brock's tracks before, most recently a Little Tybee track called "Spellcheck His Eulogy" for a my stillmotion piece Inline.
For Little Tybee's upcoming album "Humorous to Bees", Brock and I got together to create a music video for "Nero", a ditty on the tyrannical Roman Emperor who famously "fiddled while Rome burned"
(Suetonius actually says he played the lyre)
We came up with the idea of having another SCAD graduate, Mark Montgomery throwing yo-yo as the centerpiece of the video, focused on his craft while all around him the spectacle explodes.
Terrence Green (left) with Mark Montgomery
We did this as a single, in-camera take, which required two things: a skilled Steadicam operator and great talent. Chris Campbell, a veteran of feature films and music videos, was psyched on the project, and manned the Steadicam. You can get in touch with Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org
Clockwise from upper left: Brock Scott, me, assistant Sharif Hassan, Chris Campbell and Mark Montgomery
Between myself, Chris and Brock, we pulled in a great group of talent including bboy and hiphop dancers, Falcons cheerleaders, singers, musicians, pinup girls, and photographers. Each "scene" was pulled from a past shoot or funny shoot experience, and it was all shot on a single evening in my studio here at Encyclomedia.
Rehearsing, Mark Campbell on right
We used a Panasonic HPX170 P2 video camera, which allows you to shoot progressive material at variable frame rates. So we could overcrank to 36 fps, with the music playing at 150%, then slow the final footage down to 24fps and sync it with the original track. The 170 also portable enough to easily work with on a Steadicam, or in tight spaces, running around the woods, or lashed to the side of a cliff, so its been my main camera for most of the video work I've been doing lately.
Chris Campbell, left and I go over the game plan with the crew
It turned out everyone had either worked together before or knew each other. One dancer was Mark's neighbor, and there was something about a noise complaint. Hatchet buried. That's the great thing about the performance community in Atlanta. Tons of talent, very little drama or attitude.
Some of Atlantas finest talent going over the steps
Nearing the end of a take
It was more like a live performance than a video shoot. We pulled it off after only 18 takes (and with only one open bloody wound). Chalk it up to the awesome talent we had in the room
Here is the official Nero video. The album will be out in early Fall 2010, complete with Brock's hand-drawn album artwork.
If you have more questions about the video, steadicam or monitoring gear or just want to see the latest awesome camera toys, stop by Showcase Camera. Whenever I have video or audio equipment problem to solve I talk to Frank or Kenny in the video department.
Since I started doing "Stillmotion" pieces a couple years ago - creating video using short, high-speed bursts of still photographs - a lot of people ask me for a step-by-step roadmap to the technique so they can do it themselves.
Here are a couple of the more popular examples:
You can see most of the ones I've done at my Stillmotion album on my Vimeo Page
It's something I've talked about in detail in a Guest Blog for Scott Kelby, on Robert Benson's blog, on the NikonRumors website, and as a speaker at the 2009 Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, but I've never really put it all down step-by-step.
Recently Digital Photo Pro Magazine interviewed me about it, and they did just that, spelling out in gory detail exactly how to do it. So stop bugging me about it.
Seriously though, It looks like a ton of steps but really, its hella simple. You just need to make sure you have the right tools. I happen to use Nikon DLSRs for capture and sequence everything in Final Cut Pro.
One thing DPP did not ask was, "Why the hell would you do it?" It does look pretty cool, and it's novel. That's probably enough for me. But maybe the benefits versus video (extreme resolution, access to unique lighting and shutter effects) do not outweigh the pain-in-the-asses (difficult frame rates, extreme workflow challenges, no sound). It's a question I ask myself, especially given that there are so many amazing video capture tools out there today - most of which I use daily for other productions.
So here's something: I believe that in the future, there will be full motion-capture technology that is very similar physically to what I am doing with a high-speed still camera. I want to be first in line for that, and I'll know exactly what I'm doing.
Chew on that, try it out yourself, tell me if I am full of shit, and enjoy the article:
Interview with Photographer Celin Serbo
for A Steady Drip Magazine
My friend and fellow outdoor photographer Celin Serbo recently photographed a campaign for Eddie Bauer's First Ascent line in Norway. Celin spent 2 weeks this February with FA athletes Chad Peele and Carolyn George sieging multipitch ice in the western fjords region and came back with awesome authentic images and video.
When its just you, a camera and a couple riggers keeping up with top climbers in the wild, it takes more than just camera skills. Celin earned his chops from a lifetime spent in the mountains, and more recently as a professional guide. This kind of shooting - especially done for top commercial clients - is rare these days, and I wanted to talk to Celin about this shoot because it speaks to what great adventure photography is all about.
I've known Celin for years as part of that "brotherhood" of climbing photographers that you run into/hear about/recognize over the years, and like most of those guys we are both part of the Aurora Photos agency's Outdoor Collection. Celin is based in Boulder, Colorado.
All images (c) Celin Serbo
Serbo : I got introduced to photography when my stepfather gave me a fully manual medium format film camera in the early 90's. Long story short, I had a lot to learn and started by reading books, spending a fair bit of time in the dark room, and lots of trial and error. During that time I was pretty passionate about climbing, skiing, and biking so a camera was a natural additional piece of gear to bring along.
From 1997 thru 2004 I worked as mountain guide
I'd love to say, "that's when it all took off for me" but that's not the case. It's been a slow but steady process that is still evolving. I've had to work hard to expand my skills set and marketing strategies to reach a more varied clientele.
TBM : How did the Eddie Bauer shoot come about?
Serbo : I did a 3 day ice climbing shoot for them in Ouray, CO in March of 2009. That shoot was a success and it seemed we were on the same page with regards to their image needs. Their First Ascent line is a relatively new brand so the need for image content is pretty substantial. One of their athletes put in the trip proposal for Norway based on the incredible amount of unclimbed ice within the western fjord areas. Everything seemed to line up with schedules and budgets and I was asked to join the trip.
Due to budgets, I could not bring an assistant with me so I had to be as self sufficient as possible. It was mainly about documenting the climbs and keeping pace with the athletes. We did have two riggers, which was a huge help.
TBM : Your riggers were locals, I assume, who knew the area well?
Serbo : O
TBM: How did it compare with some other shoots you've done, keeping pace with the
athletes on the EB shoot?
Serbo : A
(c) Celin Serbo. Click to watch Celin's behind-the-scenes video from the Norway trip:
Serbo : I shot all the video and stills with the Nikon D300s. I was really impressed with cameras performance. It gives you an amazing amount of creative freedom to switch back and forth from stills to video. We had some pretty nasty weather as well and the D300s handled it with no issues. Video was a component in the Eddie Bauer contract. The primary focus was on stills with a secondary priority of video. They are very active in multimedia content for both their website and in-store flat screen displays. I am finding more and more of my clients embracing this trend.
TBM : Do you see doing more video in the future?
Serbo : I am planning on shooting more video. I think in the very near future, [video] will be an expected component to any commercial or editorial assignment. While the DSLR HD video is incredible it does have many limitations compared to dedicated high- end video. I think the crux will be understanding these limitations and finding the appropriate projects and platforms for this technology.
You can see Celin's work on his website at www.serbophoto.com.
Check out some reports from the trip on the Eddie Bauer First Ascent blog here.
This interview is for A Steady Drip Magazine, an experiment in distributed publishing. Click here to see the Table of Contents.
Recent work for Mercedes Magazine, shooting German Masters champion Bernhard Langer and soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer. Also making an appearance was the new 2011 SLS AMG Gullwing. Das ist der Hammer!
Go grab it at the dealer. The magazine, or the car.
In January I was hired by Grassroots Outdoor Alliance to produce a video piece for their retail members. Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is a group of over 70 independent outdoor retailers around the US. Membership in Grassroots gives retailers a strong national voice to "protect and promote the experience of outdoor enthusiasts across the United States." Grassroots also provides resources to its member retailers to support their local activities such as recreational access and environmental initiatives.
The shoot was coordinated by Widgets & Stone, a Chattanooga, TN design studio that handles brand communications for Grassroots. We worked with Chattanooga-local GOA member Rock/Creek Outfitters as an example retailer and backdrop for the video. Grassroots wanted the video for the Outdoor Retailer Show, which was only a few days away once we finalized the project. The stakes were made higher by the fact that this video would be shown to all the top independent retailers in the country - Rock/Creek's main peer group.
It's a situation that happens all the time in this business. Things come together at the last minute and once you get the green light you might have half the time you initially planned for. You don't want to cut corners but maybe it just can't get done in time. What do you do? It's a lot like climbing. You plan carefully for a long climb, wait for good conditions, but maybe by then the window is too short. Do you go for it and pass that line of commitment? Or do you back off, hoping the opportunity will still be there later?
Luckily, having worked closely with Rock/Creek a lot in the past, we had a good game plan going in, and they trusted I could do great work under time pressure. We shot all the footage in an afternoon and the edit came together within 48 hours, just in time for the show. As Rock/Creek owner Dawson Wheeler said later, "
We also produced a separate video that explains what the relationship between Grassroots and a retailer like Rock/Creek is fundamentally about: local ownership and activism, unique customer relationships, and a national platform to promote these ideals.
Some behind-the-scenes shots:
Below: Shooting Rock/Creek Marketing Director Mark McKnight with the Panasonic HMC40 on a Redrock Micro 35mm adapter. We combined daylight and a single Westcott Spiderlite fluorescent bank rear and left of Mark. (Rachel Tucker)
Below: We shot the landscape footage at Lula Lake Land Trust, a 4000-acre preserve established around the Rock Creek watershed in the mountains above Chattanooga. This was my first time at Lula, and it is absolutely spectacular. A great reminder of why I live in this part of the country! (Rachel Tucker)
Below: Hero Shot (Mark McKnight)
You can see more BTS stuff at Rock/Creek's Flickr page
I love working with organizations like Grassroots and Rock/Creek because I can get behind their brand message 100%. That is rare, especially in the commercial world. I believe creatives should be actively pursuing those kinds of clients for themselves, rather than just waiting for clients to come to them to help sell a message. In this case, everyone shared the same passions and ideals, and I think it and added to the quality of the final product. What's more, it made shooting it a lot of fun!
photographers, videographers, writers : I'd love to hear your examples of working for clients whose basic principles you also share!