Sunday, May 23, 2010

Porter Rockwell Documentary- Now in bookstores :)

In March/April I was the main DP for an hour long documentary that was just released in bookstores around the country called "Stories from the Life of Porter Rockwell". It was made through a production company called Issimo who I often do freelance work for. Jared Cook was the main director on the project as well. It's the first dvd I have ever been the DP for that was sold in stores.

It was an awesome experience for me, especially because of the character and time period in which the documentary was based on. I was involved with shooting a great deal of the reenactments for the video.

Here is the trailer for the video itself.

As far as the technical stuff goes, the reenactments where mostly shot on the Canon 7D, with my Nikon 70-200mm lens, 2.8/f. and a Nikon 50mm, 1.8/f. With a Canon to Nikon mount.

If you want to purchase the dvd, which, just for the record, I don't make a profit off of that, but I still think it's a great doc regardless, here is a place you can get it online.

The Story of Orabrush/short doc

On Wednesday we filmed a short documentary on how YouTube has made the company Orabrush successful. I have been filming all of the viral videos for the company since they have tried viral marketing, and it has proven to be very successful.

Here's the video...

For this project it was Jeff Harmons idea to do the video because it was also YouTube's 5 year anniversary. So what we did was we interviewed the founder of Orabrush, and Austin Craig who is the spokesman for all of the YouTube viral ads.

For this doc I filmed, edited, and directed it. It was a super low crew, and we had to have the video done in just a couple days so it could go up online Saturday morning.

It's been awesome to see where Orabrush has come so far, our first video we made 8 months ago has over 11 million hits now, and it rises greatly each day. We would never have imagined where it would go, and continue to go from that first video.

We filmed it all on a Canon 5D Mark ii, which was my first time actually shooting on the camera, and I'm very impressed with how it handles things, especially low light. You must know the limitations of the camera though, and nothing hand held looks good at all because of what is called the rolling shutter, or the jello effect. Only digital SLR cameras have these problems currently, at least where its very noticeable.

Also, we used ALL natural lighting, with no crew. I used
mostly my Nikon 70-200, at a 2.8/f, a Nikon 50mm, and a Canon
28-135mm 3.5f, and a Zeiss 35mm at a 2.0f.The ISO I used was
anywhere between 100 and 1600, without any notice of grain/noise.
All the sound was recorded onto a H4n, through a shotgun mic. I
synced it manually.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Binaca commercial.

We filmed a commercial for the breath spray company Binaca this week. The owner of the company, Dr, Fresh, and one of there head marketing people from the company flew down from LA to where we shot the commercial in two different studios in the Provo Utah area.

Binaca contacted Joel Ackerman, who had written all of the Orabrush commercials, they hired him on to write and direct these two spots that we filmed.

I was the director of photography, and editor for both of the spots.

We also had a cow in the commercial, it was super small, but loved to go to the bathroom everywhere regardless of it's size :/

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Once upon a time in Hawaii... BYU IS Film shoot

So, the last ten days we spent in Hawaii filming a campaign of commercials for BYU Independent Study. They will be playing during next general conference, and they will be on TV for the next couple of years.

Here's a run down of our trip, in a nut shell...... But wait.. Before we go into details, I want to shout out to a couple people who made this all possible. First off, Natalie Vilos, who gave us so many contacts. Evan Fa and Lindsay Evan for hooking us up with so many amazing people in Hawaii. Along with Timmy, Clark, Chris, and Andy. There are also other countless people who helped along the way, so shout out to them all, without them we couldn't have been able to accomplish half of what we did.

Also, we filmed the whole project with a 3 man crew. That consisted of Jacob Schwarz, Jamison Dayton, and me. We shot all the commercial spots on the Redone camera, and we rented a huge 18-85mm lenses. We thought the lenses was gonna be pretty small, but it ended up weighing more, and being bigger then the camera itself. The whole camera ended up weighing close to 50 pounds, which was killer because we were filming the commercials all hand held/documentary style.

Day 1/April 25, 2010: Airplane gets delayed two hours in San Francisco while going to Hawaii, we don't get to our hotel in Honolulu around 12-1 ish, we don't go to bed until around 2am after camera prep, we have to be on the other side of the island by 6am ish.... So we get about 3 hours of sleep, if that.

Day 2/April 26, 2010: We woke up way early, travel through the island of Oahu Hawaii, we drive through the Dole pineapple on the way there, fields as far as the eye can see, watch the sunrise over the pineapple farm, it's green everywhere.

We link up with Evan Fa, a sponsored Body boarder, with his surfer friends. We planned to shoot surfing the whole day.... but the waves were not as big as expected, so we filmed everyone on the beach instead.

Later in the day we shot surfers at a place called Pipeline. It's one of the most famous surfer spots in the world. We brought an underwater housing for another camera that we brought, and I swam out to where the surfers were to try and get some underwater footage.... however the waves were against me... in every way, ha, and I got knocked around to the point I had to retreat, got to the beach, and threw up everywhere, haha. Not the prettiest site.

That evening we filmed an old fisherman fishing on the beach as the sun was setting, one of the prettiest things yet. The guy we filmed went by the name of Uncle Butch. He was awesome. He said he was one of the oldest surfers on the island, at least that's what he said. Everyone here as been so friendly, and willing to help, its fantastic!

We've been staying in this house that boards surfers. The lady who runs the house is also super chill, and the whole house is decked out all festive, Hawaii style.

Day 3/April 27, 2010: We woke up at sunset to film more surfers. For the BYU Independent Study ads that were doing, we showing that you can do what you love to do, but also go to college, and that's what BYU IS allows people to do. So we got several shots of different surfers on the laptop, at the beach doing there school work.

Then we met up with a couple girls who owned horses, and filmed them riding on the beach, it was epic.

In the afternoon we drove to a place called Kualoa ranch and we did a location scout. It's the same location they filmed Jurassic Park, Might Joe Young, Pearl Harbor, Wind talkers, Godzilla, Lost, and basically any other movie that takes place in the jungle.

This ranch/location was the coolest place I have ever been to. It was huge, and super scenic,perfect to film in. They have made the ranch a place for tourist, and that's where they get a lot of their money. When we were trying to decide if we wanted to film at the ranch, the owner of the place gave us a two hour tour through the entire property. We got to go where no one else does, and got to see where every film was shot. We decided we would pay the fee to shoot at the location, and we would shoot there later on in the week.

In the evening we drove to Pearl Harbor. To get to the harbor from the North Shore, you drive over the jungle on this huge bridge, which seemed like several miles, you then went under a super long tunnel under a huge mountain top. The place looked just like Pandora from Avatar.

We got to the dock near Pearl Harbor, and we filmed several time lapses as the sunset.

Day 4/April 28, 2010: In the morning we met up with a couple guys who took us to several cool locations on the North Shore, one of them overlooked the mountains and ocean.

We then spent the rest of the morning filming at a skate park on North Shore. We met up with a guy by the name Timmy who works for Quicksilver, just graduated from BYU Hawaii, and was super chill to work with.

We then filmed outside of the Hawaii Temple, and behind the Temple there was this huge tree, where we shot a time lapse there.

We also needed to shot some people on beach cruiser bikes... and we didn't know of anyone we could use... however, it just so happened that we found a girl riding her bike next to the beach. When we asked her if she would be down to film her, her only concern was with we were filming for "Girls Gone Wild". Haha, it was pretty funny, but it was definitely not the case. So she got her sister to come, and we got some great stuff with the sun setting.

In the evening we filmed a time lapse of the sunset, and we met this super young family, husband, wife, and a young baby. We filmed them on the beach spending time together as the sun was setting, and we got some great stuff with them.

Day 5/April 29, 2010: One of the commercial spots were doing is based on the idea of someone traveling the world, photographing it, and also doing BYU Independent Study. For this commercial we worked with a girl by the name of Lindsay Evans. In the morning we met up with her, and filmed her on a hammock, working on BYU IS, on the computer. We then headed to the beach to this place where people jump off this huge rock into the water, we filmed her there, and we also met up with Timmy who we filmed doing gainers from the rock into the water. We also filmed a bunch of Polynesians who were in the military doing the same thing.

From there we left with Lindsay to several locations all over the island. One of them was a fruit stand, with an old nice Hawaiian woman.

Lindsay knew her way around the island, and showed us some awesome places to film, one of them was what appeared to be an old Chinese place of worship. We got a film permit to film there. The location was awesome. It looked like it was in a completely different country in the world.

We then filmed in the city of Honolulu. One of the places we filmed was on a boat from the Philippines. A lot of the people there looked like pirates... so it was very intense.

We finished the day by filming next to the Dole Pineapple plantation.

The weather has been great for each day we have been filming. Because we have a crew of three, we have minimal hands, and we have to go off of all natural lighting, and we've been very lucky with the weather we have had up to this point.

Day 6/April 30, 2010:

We spent the day filming on Kualoa Ranch. We had several BYU Hawaii students help gather a good group of kids. We filmed frisbee, playing guitar, climbing towers, hiking, traveling in the back of pickups. We filmed also a couple other scenes with Lindsay "traveling the world".

We also met a guy by the name of Chris. He is an AWESOME soccer player, one of the best I have ever seen. He can also juggle the ball better then anyone I have seen. What is so amazing about Chris, is the fact that on top of all his talents, he is also deaf, and has been that way since birth. He plays for the BYU Hawaii soccer team, and is one of the best players on the team. When we met him, we thought we could make a spec ad on his story, as a phenomenal soccer player, who has risen against any opposition that he has faced due to having no hearing. So we filmed several scenes with him juggling the ball, playing soccer through a heard of cows, etc.

The whole day was an adventure, and it seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere. The place is a tourist attraction, and it attracts a great deal of people from Japan. When one of the tour buses came through where we were filming, they saw Jamison Dayton. He was taking a car full of girls back to the parking lot. When all the people on the bus saw this, they thought for sure he was Justin Timberlake filming his new music video. So it became the talk back at the ranch.

In the evening we were all exhausted from crazy long hours, so we all chilled. I went to the beach, and filmed a time lapse of the ocean.

Day 7/May 1, 2010: In the morning we met up with Chris again, to do some more filming of him juggling the soccer ball on the beach. He also brought an interpreter to translate. We did several interviews with him for the BYU Independent Study commercial. It was our first time working with an interpreter, so it was a great experience. Chris is extremely talented, and we really do hope his story can be seen by the world.

The same group of people from Kualoa Ranch met up with us in the afternoon, with a great deal more people. We headed towards a waterfall that you can jump off, with a rope swing that goes into it, another magical place.

Everyone here is so chill and rad, I love it :)

We spent the evening filming a football match, we didn't have much daylight left, so we were able to only get a few shots.

Day 8/May 2, 2010: We chilled the whole day, and it was the first and only day we slept in. We traveled the island a little, and spent some time at the beach. It was our last full day on Oahu.

Day 9/May 3, 2010:

We had to wake up super early, at 2AM, we headed to the airport on the other side of the island. We were flying out to the big island to film the volcano from a helicopter. The helicopter was leaving at 6am, so we had to rush.

The second we arrived, around 5:50am, on the big island, Jake and I had to build up the redone camera while Jamison went to pick up the rental car. It was like a relay race. We got to the helicopter pad on time though. A lot of helicopters take tours out to the volcanoes, but they are not allowed to get super close, so Jamison found a pilot who we could privately charter who could fly super close to the volcano. He helped us rig the camera we were using. He also took off the helicopter doors so we could film out of them. The helicopter was super small. It was our first time riding a helicopter, and for some reason there was nothing scary about it.

It was about a ten minute flight to the volcano, where the lava was pouring into the ocean. It was epic in every sense :) We got so close to the lava that you could just feel the heat coming up. We got super close. When the lava poured into the ocean it caused steam to pour up. We also watched as the lava poured past trees, catching them on fire. I have never seen anything like this, not even in the movies. It was AWESOME!!! And it will go down as one of the best experiences I have had with film making.

When we were done, we spent the day traveling the island. Later we met up with one of Evan's friends he had hooked us up with. He took us to the ground level where the volcano was we had filmed earlier with the helicopter. We got special permission to walk somewhat close to the lava, and one of the workers went with us to make sure we were kept safe. The whole area looked like a completely different planet.

We then traveled to the opposite side of the island, to a place called Kona. That's where we stayed. It ended up being a 3 hour drive. We had to drive through the top of the island at night, and it was super foggy. It was one of the creepiest sites ever. When you get near the top, it really does look like a different world. You get so high on the island, that it actually snows there every year, and a lot of people there snowboard, which I had no idea before hand. And it was freezing up there.

Day 10/May 4, 2010:
In the morning, when we woke up, we had a flat tire on our rental, so Jake and Jamison dealt with fixing it, then we traveled back to the top of the island, top of the volcano. Up there, they have a HUGE space observatory. They have huge telescopes up there, and it looked like something from a sci-fi movie.

After that we headed back to the airport, where we flew back to Oahu. We spent the night in the airport, we fell asleep in the area where the luggage comes out. At midnight we got kicked out, and we slept outside, where the climate was perfect. We had to sleep on benches, ghetto style.

Day 11/May 5, 2010:
We flew back to Provo, had a long lay over in LA.... miss Hawaii already, having withdrawls...

Hawaii is an amazingly photogenic place. At the end of the day, you can film there, no matter what your skill level is, and have something worth showing to the world. Tons of diversity. However, what made the trip so amazing, was not just the location, but the friends we were able to make along the way. We worked with amazing people, all volunteering there time. Everyone is so friendly, and I miss that already! Hawaii is an adventure within itself, simply put.