The homies were finally back in LA. The show was spectacular as always and it was great to hear This Unruly Mess I've Made live again. Hope they have a great rest of tour and can't wait to see them again at bumbershoot when they play along with Logic and G-Eazy. This show was special too because O was back on the trumpet and celebs like YG and Charlie Sheen showed up!
Ben & Ryan (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis) have been a huge blessing for me and my career. They gave me the opportunity to prove myself when I had dropped out of college and I am forever grateful. It also helps that The Heist is one of my favorite albums of all time. I was sad when the tour was over but all great things must come to an end at some point. Luckily the whole crew is like family to me and I love when the family comes to town. I wasn't doing anything this weekend so I decided to come to the bay area to visit my real family and come out the the show at Bill Graham. It was another amazing show and it was fun as always to shoot. I'm so used to shooting video of the tour so shooting stills was certainly a different task. I got some great shots and am even more ready to shoot their show tonight in LA.
For literally the first time EVER, i'm selling prints of my work. For now there are 2 categories, Tour Photos, and Large Canvas Prints. All tour photos come in 8x12 Glossy paper and feature Logic, G- Eazy, and Macklemore. The large canvas prints are 16x24 and feature some of my favorite shots during my travels around the world!
These are all for now but depending on how well the response is, I may do much larger prints of the tour photos!
All 8x12 photos cost $7 to ship but its only for the entire order so i recommend buying multiple prints at the same time so you aren't paying more because of shipping!
Click on the photo below to check out all the prints!
Thank you for all the incredible support!!
I always get a lot of questions about film and photography but now that I’m currently on tour I get a ridiculous amount every single day. So I decided to allow people to ask me everything at once so I can answer them all at the same time. Here we go!
I was going to start with easy quick questions but this is my favorite question and I want everyone to see it because it’s important to hear.
-Where there any moments of self doubt? Or you just felt completely in over your head along the way?
A: YES! ALL THE TIME. I think my favorite interview I’ve ever seen was a cinematographers round table from last years Oscars and they were asked do you ever get nervous before a film. These guys are literally the best in the business and many of them have multiple awards and their answers were, “Yes!” You need to accept the fact that it’s ok to be scared of doing something but you must do it anyways. That will never go away but if you don’t let your fear overcome you, you’ll create some beautiful things in your life. I have a lot of amazing work I’m proud of but I, at least once a month, will sit in my room alone, depressed, and feel like I haven’t accomplished anything. Thankfully over time I’ve accepted that the feeling will happen but I know ways of getting out of it so it doesn’t consume me.
1. How do you do it so well?
a. Late nights practicing. Years of missing parties and events to work.
2. What inspired you starting with photography and cinematography?
a. I’ve been doing video since I was 6 years old and photos probably since high school. I used to play around with my dads VHS camera recreating the Amanda show in my garage with my sister and neighbors. I moved into stop animation after and every time is was more and more fun.
3. When did you decide photography was the path you wanted to take in life?
a. First I wanted to be a singer or make music. Then I hit puberty and my voice went away so I wanted to be a director. I directed a short film and hated that I wasn’t allowed to touch the camera and light so I switched to being a Cinematographer and photographer. This was probably around age 15.
4. How you so damn handsome?
a. I blame my parents, the Greeks, Italians, and Irish.
5. Funnest part of the tour?
a. Getting to travel the world and get paid to do it with amazing people.
6. Favorite part of your job?
a. Getting to capture moments in life that people can look back on and cherish.
7. What city did you have the best experience at so far?
a. Every tour is different but in the US my favorite cities are always SF, LA, Seattle, Chicago, and NY. But I love smaller cities for different reasons. I have hilarious memories from Omaha Nebraska alone during the Macklemore Tour that have a special place in my heart.
8. What lens is your go to for shows?
a. Usually 24-105. Used to be 24-70 but I liking having the extra zoom. Also depends on the venue but go to do all lens is 24-105.
9. What software do you use?
a. Video: Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects
b. Photo: Light room and Photoshop
10. Do you fuck bitches
11. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?
a. The world may never know.
12. How'd u get in contact or know logic?
a. I was shooting for Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis at the time and I had always loved Logic’s music but thought the cinematography in his music videos could have been better so I reached out.
13. Any tips for concert photography?
a. Shoot as much as you can and play around a lot in editing. Post work makes all the difference. Also, ALWAYS shoot RAW.
14. How do you edit the photos?
a. Usually everything in Lightroom. I rarely use Photoshop for anything. Lightroom I play with the curves and individual color hues, saturation, and brightness.
15. What camera body do you shoot on? (Photo) and what is your top 2 go to lenses?
a. Photo I use my Canon 5d Mark iii or iPhone and usually 24-105 f4 and 70-200 f2.8. I also love my 35 prime
16. How’d you get into the music scene? What's it like touring with the incredible Logic?
a. I’ve always loved music and music videos. In high school I used to make parody rap videos and even 2 rap songs for fun. Then I started doing music videos for bay area artists, which evolved into bigger guys, then Macklemore, then Logic.
17. how close are you with logic?(Bobby)
18. I want to know what's a good camera to use for a beginner and basically how to start out and get my work out there?
a. iPhone is the best tool possible. Olivia Wilde just released a music video completely shot on iPhone and it looks incredible. The biggest tool is yourself. And use every social media platform you can. Network and comment on others photos.
19. What mode do you usually shoot in? I assume AP but do you usually stay on the lowest ISO when in the venue with how dark it is?
a. ALWAYS manual.
20. How'd you get to meet and start shooting for Logic?
a. Met him during the recording of Under Pressure. I had just finished working for Macklemore for the last 7 months and I drove down to LA to meet with him and possibly start doing his video and photo work.
21. What do you use for some of the wide angle shots you take?
a. Tokina 11-16 always at a 16mm or a 24mm.
22. What's the craziest thing you've seen on this tour so far?
a. This tour, probably the 6 fights in Salt Lake City and one fan who decided to fight during the show and then flip Logic off.
23. What's your thought process behind creating epic dramatic visuals for shooting events & photo shoots?
a. I don’t shoot events but concerts I just know how to shoot concerts from doing so many. I used to look at other peoples work to get a sense of what’s good and bad and now I know what I like to see. I know when the moments are of a show and I usually know some of the best angles to make it look epic.
24. Any tips for getting into concert photography & how to get press passes?
a. I actually have NEVER gotten a press pass to shoot a show. Every show I’ve ever shot I was on tour or I knew the photographer in charge.
25. How do you edit your photos, presets?
a. Lightroom. I have presets I’ve made and I usually start there as a base then make adjustments until I like the final.
26. How did you get to the level you are on to take incredible photos with artists, how did you guys get in contact?
27. Any advice or tips for an on tour photographer?
a. Always have your camera with you, shoot more than you think you need or want, and have a lot of hard drives space.
28. How's life being Adam Levine?
a. I mean I was the sexiest man alive in 2013 so…
29. Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
a. Has to be this photo of Logic and Rhetorik at ollapalooza because of how amazing it is and i had to run my ass from front of house to up on the stage to catch this moment and I missed it the first time. But Logic saw i ran there and missed it and went back up a little later. The lights from behind also perfectly pointed to them and they were daylight balanced lights so it all came together seamlessly.
30. Why does Bobby flip you off so much?
a. We like to have fun
31. In what ways do you make money from taking photos for Logic?
a. He pays me to take his photo for his social media
32. What would you say your main struggle was/is to get to where you are now and how did you overcome it? What advice would you give to your 18 year old self? I'm interested in 3 different cameras mainly for videography, if you have experience with any of these which one would you recommend? Panasonic GH4/ Sony A7S/ Samsung NX1.
a. Honestly just having shoots fall through or falling for promises of bigger shoots if I work for free on a project but it was also good to learn. Just perseverance and working through it. I would tell myself that it will always get better if you’re willing to work for it. I don’t really do videography, I do Cinematography and there is a MAJOR difference. Out of those I would say A7S for sure.
33. What camera were you using once things got serious and how old were you ?
a. Started with a VHS camera, then a small mini DV tape sony camera, then DVX100B in high school, Sony prosumer camera, 5d mark iii, and now my Red Epic Dragon.
34. How has @logic301 made you a better person, directly or indirectly?
a. We feed off each other for inspiration with visuals and we are a lot a like. We have positive attitudes, we want to inspire and encourage others, and we like making dope shit with our friends. So we are able to collab a lot and inspire each other.
35. Did you go take any post secondary schooling? If so, where did you go?
a. I went to a community college called Las Positias in Livermore, CA. I didn’t take any video or photo classes while there but I transferred to Academy of Art SF after the 2 years to study Cinematography. I was there for about a year and a half and then dropped out because I wasn’t learning anything.
36. Do you have any specific goal or something you want to accomplish?
a. Eventually shoot feature films, which I’m currently working on making happen.
37. How do you feel about people reposting your pictures without crediting you?
a. It sucks and I try to remind them for the credit but that’s just something I have to accept.
38. Your favorite two lenses and do you believe the mark 3 holds up to the 1D series for the price difference.
a. I forget the difference but yes I think it does fine. Its sharp and the images are amazing. Most of the time you’re only showing your work on the Internet. 24-105 and 70-200.
39. What do you feel is more important to you as a DP, creativity or technical ability with equipment?
a. Both for sure but creativity. But you have to also understand your gear and how to utilize. The biggest thing is knowing how to see and read light more than the actual camera. Let your AC handle that.
40. How did you get into the industry and what steps did you take to get where you are now?
a. Networking my way up. Working with more and more people and bigger artists each shoot. Also being a good person and knowing my craft so people want to hire me.
41. Did u start doing photo n have to pick up video since people want ig vids etc of tour or did u always do video? And what do u do on the off tour times? Do u hop on tour with any artists?
a. I started with video since it’s a lot more complicated and my heart is in the film world. I am first and foremost and filmmaker. I am usually making other art, traveling, but usually always shooting. Usually I shoot commercials for a living, tour is just a fun side thing too.
42. Do you get bored of taking photos of the same show over and over and over again
a. It gets boring fast so you have to find creative ways to keep it interesting.
43. Would you recommend going to school for cinematography/photography?
a. Yes and no. Someone people need the structure and others don’t but just because you go to school doesn’t mean youll be good or have work and just because you don’t go to school doesn’t mean you’ll be successful. You have to sacrifice a lot in life to achieve your dreams and that means hours of sleep, parties, and more. So to answer your question, do what makes you happy but weigh the pros and cons for each.
44. Where can we access the tour pics?
45. How do you choose which photos to post , is it hard to choose just a few when you have alot of pictures that you love?
a. Yes and no. It’s a combination of good lighting, great framing and composition, and what the photo is about. Action, landscape, portrait, each type has different elements that make it great and memorable and if it meets a certain amount of requirements then you know its post worthy.
46. Where did you learn about lighting? I need more info on lighting. I learned some things at school, but I feel like I still don't understand a lot about lighting.
a. Practice is the biggest thing. Experimenting for fun in your garage, dorm room, whatever. Watch what others do. Be a PA on sets and learn what tools they use and if you can, ask why.
47. What makes YOU happy? Where do you see yourself in ten years?
a. Being alive. Getting paid to do what I love and be around the people Iove. In 10 years I see myself shooting big feature films.
48. What is it like being on tour all the time? don't you get really tired and don't you miss your family and friends back home? or is it just one fun ride all over the world?
a. I live in LA with 2 of my friends and my family is back home in SF. The thing I hate the most about tour is always being on the move and not having any grounding like you do at home. So I always miss home and want to be home but the moments on tour with my friends and the fans make it all worth being away.
49. What kept you positive during your journey? When you hear Logics-The incredible true story the song and you hear (Alan Watts what do you desire speech, where do is take you? How does that make you feel , going back when you wearing on a struggle doing what you love, to now touring with logic doing what you love ?
a. Honestly just working keeps me happy and not depressed. I love film and photography so when I get to create beautiful images, its self-soothing.
b. I think Logic says it best, Alan Watts said in a paragraph what Logic tries to say during an entire album. Basically, if you aren’t doing what you love in life then why are you doing it? Money doesn’t make you happy. Sure it buys you happiness not having to worry about food or simple things but after that it doesn’t bring you happiness. Follow you dreams and answer the questions, what do you desire?
I remember the first time i heard Young Jesus, Logic and I were sitting in his studio and he couldn't wait to update me on the album. He played this song and I immediately got all the feels I did when i listened to all the music i grew up with in the 90s. Then I heard big lenbo do his verse and I knew it would be an album favorite! That week he told me his idea for the music video which was complicated to understand so I didn't fully get what was happening.
Months later we were collaborating on the trailer for the album and he told me again about the concept for Young Jesus. Originally he wanted it to be a one-take music video where they were constantly switching characters within a very short period of time. At first we were also going to go from outside to inside to outside to inside a car, down the street, then to the final standoff. Not only are one-takes difficult on their own, now you are wanting to have the 2 main characters become multiple characters without it being on a motion control rig and obviously not having a crazy budget. The other thing about one-takes is how do you keep them interesting? I love Two Chainz's Birthday Song but hated Wiz Khalifa's We Dem Boyz. We Dem Boyz was mainly disappointing because it was like, "this is a dope one-take and......they are cutting like crazy because they couldn't pull it off." Very disappointing.
Anyways, we talked about it some more and ended up changing it to a busta rhymes style video. Lots of crazy colors and camera tricks to make it fun and wild like a lot of videos were back then. I knew we'd probably have to sit on it for a little bit. After we finished the trailer Logic and I were talking about how we both envisioned the space set to be all white, more futuristic looking than the one we shot on. We didn't have the time or money to spend on building our own set for this but I knew the important part was getting the same feeling and emotion out of the trailer. The trailer, to me, was making the statement of, "I'm coming out with a new album, it has to do with space, and it's FUCKING AMAZING" I also wanted to set a new standard for Logic's video content and I want to think my team and I did. So to my point of the trailer, even though we didn't get to build the spaceship set we wanted, the emotion and feeling we did capture was still exactly what we wanted. That brings us back to Young Jesus. After talking about the concept more I pushed for doing the same concept he originally had except not as a one-take. This would not only make it much more cost effective, it would allow us to really make every second count. After thinking about it we realized what we realized on the trailer. The trailer set wasn't exactly what we wanted but it gave us the same feeling so Young Jesus could be the same by shooting in sections instead of a one-take as long, as we got the same feeling from it.
I still didn't think I was going to shoot it for him because he was looking at other people to direct and I knew they would already have their DPs. After we had this conversation I left to go home but before I got home I get a call from Logic. He seems super excited but I had no clue what about. He said, "I have good news and bad news." So asked him, "What's the good news?" He says, "I'm directing Young Jesus, you're shooting it." I lit up with excitement because I was finally getting the chance to shoot one of his videos which is how we connected in the first place. I laughed and asked, "What's the bad news?" He said back, "Don't fuck this up." Even before that moment I knew I would murder this video. I've shot national and world wide commercials for HUGE brands and I've been shooting music videos since I was 13. My team and I have been working on big campaigns together so I knew as a group we could team up with Logic and murder this.
Pre-production took about a month on and off. Logic and I were meeting constantly, working the story, timing every second out, planning out complicated shots. I really wanted to stuff in as many shots where we see two of the same character at the same time when it made sense. The two that are in the video, Lenny in the cafe and Lenny as a cop, are techniques I taught myself when I was 14 learning to shoot green screen and rotoscoping. That was also a time where Youtube didn't exist and books didn't really help that much. For this project, we teamed up with some amazing department heads and I had many conversations about clothing, look, color, and everything else so everyone was on the same page. Finally, we locked in Universal Studios backlot. As a kid I remember doing the normal tour over and over again but doing the VIP tour with my dad and sister gave me the chills. Now years later when I'm still only 24 I get to shoot on the lot AND it's a project I'm in charge with!? I think most crew got excited when we did our opening shot of Lenny and to the right of camera you had the trams passing by like a normal day.
For the production I immediately hired my producer Scott Wickman and Patrick Lunderberg to assistant direct. Logic needed the support from a well oiled and talented machine and us three were going to be just that. We of course had all the regulars for the rest of the crew and thankfully had budget for many more new faces.
The shoot was 2 days long. Day 1 being at Universal and day 2 at a cafe in Beverly Hills. Day 1 was completely organized kaos and everyone brought it 110%. We shot probably about 80% of the entire video on day one which came out to about 38 shots which normally you do maybe 15-20 a day. Thankfully my gaffer Steve and I planned a simple lighting setup for every shot and timed out where the sun would be throughout the day. Lucky for us, the sun happen to put sections of the street in shade in the order the story progressed so we could shoot the entire project linear. We started with Lenny coming out of the restaurant and really killing it. With people that aren't used to being on camera all the time, people often get nervous but after 1 rehearsal he just turned it on. His facial expressions and energy were beautiful executed. It was also Logic's first time to both act and direct and he was perfect at it too. There was a moment when Logic was sitting in the cop car with our producer Scott whiled we we waited on Lenny, and Logic began to make himself cry. Making yourself cry is hard enough but to do it in front of a whole crew is incredibly difficult. Then right after Lenny comes in and kills it again with his panicked pimp shot.
Next we moved on to the car rigs where we drove up and down the lot in the cop car multiple times. When we finished that we moved to the cops racing in and setting up a barricade meanwhile our G&E department moved the car rigs to the stolen pimp car. I think i've had cameos when I used to direct or small projects where you need extra people but this was the first time I was actually written on the call sheet as a character. It was a lot of fun pretending to be a cop with Bobby, Rhetorik, and 6. We all looked like we were from Reno 911, just needed to cut the pants into short shorts.
Finally we shot the second car and then the arrest sequence. You can definitely tell the lighting dramatically changes but it also works because this is supposed to happen over a decent period of time. So the robbery ends up happening sometime near sunset and the arrest happens around the end of sunset. When we shot it everything was a lot darker but we worked with out awesome colorist Carver to really bring up the last few shots and blend the others so it was a more gradual transition.
Day 2 went very well in the kitchen scene and we end up doing a much shorter day.
Lastly we have post production which is editing, color, and vfx. Chaz, who did the edits for most of the Sage the Gemini music videos, iamsu, and many others, gets the edit done in about a day or two. I think we ended up only going through 4 changes in the edit. These stages though were critical for adding little things like showing all the cops on screen at the same time or having the split screen with Lenny and Logic. In the editing process there is a take of the opening shot that Logic loved the most but we messed up on timing and you end up seeing off the universal backlot. It was huge eye sore and ruined the shot for me. Luckily we were able to get our friend Ali to kill it on the VFX side and replace and composite more city. Last was color which was done by my friend Carver. It only really took us a little time and we had a look dialed in with color and grain.
The entire project start to finish was about 2 months on and off. There was a lot of battles fought for little things but in the end, I think everything turned out great. Logic and Lenny both did a tremendous job at acting and I know Logic became a lot more confident in his directing skills. I really have to thank my entire team on this one because without them, none of this would have gotten done as well as it did.
The best part of the shoot was our foreman at Universal who has been in the film industry for about 35 years, came up to our producer and said,"You know what the difference between a big hollywood production and you guys?" "What?" asked Scott. "Nothing." It shows that we are doing something right and It's nice to know that I get to do it with my friends and family.
For my Tech nerds out there!
Camera: RED Dragon 6k Wide Screen at 6:1 compression Rating the camera at 800 ISO
Lens: Leica Summicron-Cs
Editing: Adobe Premiere Pro in 5k
Color: Davinci Resolve
For most of Logic's tours we don't start with our big shows but this tour we started with all of the west coast. I missed the first two shows in Canada but joined in Seattle which is my second home. Seattle, Portland, Eugene, and Chico were all awesome but the SF and LA shows were on another level. In SF we brought out Lil Dicky which was hilarious and LA was G-Eazy, Alessia, Cara, and Juicy J. Here are just some of my favorite shots from the LA show.
On our day we happen to be in the Bay Area so Logic ended up coming out for G-Eazy's final show of tour. It was a lit night seeing a lot of old and new friends. I hadn't been back to that venue since we played it with Macklemore 3 years ago!
I finally had some time to sit down and update my reel. The last year has brought a plethora of amazing projects and taken me all over the world again! Sadly some of my favorite work still isn't out yet but with every new project I get to create better and better work! Heres to a great 2016!
Special thank you to all the Director who have hired me, and the amazing crews i've worked with the achieve these beautiful shots!
This post is less about me and more about my good friend 6ix getting featured and a photo i took on my iPhone getting used. One of the most frequent questions i get is what camera do you use or what lens was that?
There are a lot of young photographers and filmmakers who think that if they just get that camera or piece of gear that your work will be better. I'm here to tell you it's all bullshit. Yes a higher end camera has it's advantages and the more tools you have at your disposal will hopefully create better results but it's about the eye behind the camera. Framing and composition is key but lighting is as well. Personally I love controlled environments where I can manipulate the light how I want but that was because I was lucky enough to learn that early on. Natural light actually scared me much more because I couldn't control it. I still am not completely confident with it compared to others but I know how to handle it.
Thus the point of my post. Logic's producer 6ix got featured in XXL magazine last month. He reached out to me and asked if he could use a photo I took of him and of course I said. That photo was taken in NY using natural light, on my iPhone 6s Plus. I processed it through VSCO cam on my iPhone and it was emailed to the 6ix. Nothing in that process was something most people don't have in their pocket right now. It just takes an understanding of framing, exposure, and editing.
Man, it's already 2016!! So much happen in December that I had 0 time to post anything. The free time I did have was spent hanging with friends and family. 2015 was definitely a year of unexpected self realization. But one of the best things was being featured by Instagram. It was on Instagram's music division but a blessing and honor none the less.
It all started when I was at Logic's house talking about his album, future work, and just life when I got an email from Instagram. I honestly thought it was a joke because i've been trying to get featured for years but turns out, it was very real. I will say some of my quotes are not my proudest moments but as I said, I've been very busy so I did this interview while I was driving with my 1st AC Jon during lunch on a Pandora commercial. Very fitting since it was for a music page and I was shooting for a music company.
April and May have been very eventful months! I was able to work with a lot of new people on projects ranging from more Napa Valley Wineries, to 24 hour fitness shoots. It was also the first time I took an actual vacation in years! Though, most of my vacation was spent exploring Kauai to take awesome photos. Besides that I had the opportunity to shoot one of the most challenging and funnest shoots yet for Daisy Cottage Cheese.
At first you wouldn't think much of it but the scripts were funny, the concept was hilarious, and it was a very complicated logistical adventure. Luckily I didn't have to worry about too much of the logistical stuff but I did have to figure out technical parts for lighting and camera. Luckily I have an amazing team with me so I wasn't nervous. This post is going to breakdown the process and maybe tell a few stories.
First off, we had the pleasure of shooting at 32 Ten Studios in San Rafael that used to be owned and operated by ILM. Industrial Light & Magic or ILM as people in the business know it, is responsible for almost all the visual effects of every major motion picture. Specifically this sound stage was used to shoot VFX for Star Wars, Back to the Future, Indiana Jones, War of the Worlds, and much much more!
We had our scripts and storyboard already done when I entered the project. Everything was very simple, 4 separate sets, 3 actors, and almost every shot was a whip pan into the shot and a dolly push in. Easy on paper but much harder to actually do on a decent budget. The main headache is the fact that every set is very symmetrical and when I whip pan into a set, I have to nail the mark every time. I also can't have any bounce when I come in and it has to be fast. We did 2 things, 1, shoot every commercial in its separate pieces and 2, shoot them again but in one whole take. The close ups and individual parts were a challenge alone so I knew the one take was going to be tough. I'll get back to that later.
For preproduction we talked out every shot, how big the sets should be, where we should place camera, and how we should orient the stages so they were relatively the same distance from camera any way i panned. I also talked to my gaffer Steve Griggs about either running everything off the ground on stands or building a grid and hanging lights. After talking about it more and more we decided the best option would be to do a combination of both. Steve wrong up this beautiful lighting design and we talked about the different options for lights but for the most part, this is what we ended up with. We did add kinos, a few bigger lights, and a couple different tweaks but it was basically this setup.
Camera Prep Day
We shot on my RED Dragon with Ultra primes. We had a 16,24,32,50,85,100. We also had my brand new Bright Tangerine VIV matte box, Teradek Pro 600, and 3 productions monitors. I was told the night before that client would be in the back room of the studio so I needed to find a way to get them a feed from crew's video village. I went out this morning to measure how many feet of BNC cable I would need to run while Steve Griggs and Steve Forbes figured out how much speed rail they needed to rig up our grids over the sets.
I ended up figuring out we needed about 200ft of cable. Now the big worry was if the signal would degrade because of how far we were running the feed. Our solution to this was to put my one teradek receiver in the middle and split it both ways but luckily we ran it 200ft from our video village and it worked perfectly. Lastly the other good thing about being at location was making sure the sets were where they needed to be. Our savory set was about 25ft wide in the front when the rest were about 19. This meant i was not going to have an even spacing for our one take. Luckily I was able to tell our awesome art department this and they made the adjustment accordingly. Our sweet set also needed to curve in more which we ended up moving even more on pre-light day.
Pre-Light & Set Build
The most exciting part about this shoot was shooting in a studio from scratch. The sets were built to our specs, we got to light it from scratch, and we controlled everything. I haven't had the chance to do this on any of my sets yet because most of the time we are in practical locations. I have done this many times though for my photography so I was fully confident in getting the look I wanted but on a bigger scale.
Doug Freeman, our art director, built the sets the day before we came into light. They weren't completely finished when we arrived the next day but their was enough for us to do while they finished. By the time we got to the end we still needed to make some tweaks but time was up so anything that needed to be adjusted was pushed until the next morning where we had an extra 2 hours to make last minute tweaks. Steve and I made a game plan for the next day and all was good.
Day 1 of Filming
If you're early, you're on time. If you're on time, you're late. If you're late, you're fucked. If you've ever worked in film, you should have heard this saying by now. Camera team likes to beat the producer and the rest of the crew to set most of the time and this morning we were ready. Call time was 8 and we were ready to go on set at 7:30 am. A little over kill but there was still a lot to do that day and we wanted to be prepared. The game plan was to shoot the sweet set first but sadly our makeup artist was in a car accident on the way to set so we went to savory who didn't really need makeup. Thankfully Emily was ok but for our G&E crew, we weren't 100% ready for the second set. We quickly lit it and made adjustments but it took us the full 2 hours. Our big problem was our sunset background, we were getting reflection off the front of it and we could also see the seams of the 3 sections. It took a lot of tweaking but we finally had it dialed in.
For those who've never shot with a background like that, it's basically a photo printed on a translucent paper so that when you shine light from behind it, it gets bright like it's real. This background was very large and hard to make 100% real but the sets were also made to look like sets. We started filming and everything went well. It took me some time to get down the whip pans in but I dialed it in so i could nail it about 80% of the time.
Our next problem was the sweet set. We thought we were going to have the first 2 hours fixing the lighting in that set but because we switched sets, we didn't have the time. The biggest problem we had was a shadow on the back wall. We had a chandelier hanging from a pipe that laid on top of the set. The problem was we saw the shadow of the pipe on the back wall. We were going to hang kino bulbs on the back wall to knock off the shadow but it was taking too long. I also had to be shooting photos of the Savory set for banners while we re adjusted lights in the sweet set and camera crew moved dolly and camera. We were all frustrated trying to time management and fix problems when we finally decided to hang the chandelier from the ceiling above. It was actually faster to do so then setting up the 3 kino bulbs. Luckily by the time I finished photos on the Savory set, everything was set for sweet.
The rest of the day we were a little rushed trying to catch up on everything we were behind on but the good news was once every set was lit, we would never have to light them again the second day. I sent everyone on my crew to lunch while I finished up the last scene. We finished the day strong and it was now time to reorganize how we were going to shoot the second day. We thankfully readjusted to shooting everything we needed from each set at one time. Moving the dolly for every set was a nightmare logistically and we came up with a good gameplan.
Day 2 of Filming
Day 2 was upon us and I was excited because I didn't have to worry about taking photos. We started powering through most of the sets. The part that took the longest was getting clients okay for certain shots or how the cottage cheese looked in the bowl. We went a little over lunch but that was ok. The hardest part of the day was coming up, the 1 takes. Day 1 after having some problems with nailing the whip pans in, we tried to come up with a solution for the one takes. I was on a nice sachtler fluid head but we thought a gear head might be ideal. Our friends at the camera house said they get theirs from LA but they also don't recommend it because there would be some wobble in how fast we wanted the whip. Next option was my Movi M15 but I was not confident that there would be no wobble. Lastly we tried a kessler motorized head but it sadly was for timelapses and was way too slow so the only option I was left with was nailing the shots. I think it only took me 3 rehearsals and i could nail it almost perfectly.
Earlier in the day I had also planned to switch to a wider lens and shoot at 6k with 5k guides. As long as the set was inside the 6k frame i could miss a little on the 5k guide. By the time we got to the last set up and started doing the one-takes we were very rushed and I completely forgot until midway through. Luckily I nailed it on the 4th time and from then i nailed it almost every time. As I said there were 4 sets so i had to start on set 1 and then it went 1-2-3-2-3-1-4. The hardest set was the 4th set. It was on the complete opposite side of the sweet set. Every time we got to the end of the take and I was nailing every whip you could feel the energy in the room get tense. No one was sure I would make that last whip. I have a great video my AC Joe shot of our director and AD watching monitor and reacting. One take i completely messed up the last pan and everyone, including me just lowered their head in disappointment but on the next take i nailed it. Though I forgot to switch lenses and have 5k guides, I shot 6k Full Frame with guides for 6K HD and still got the shot perfect in camera.
I'm happy to say it was a fantastic shoot and the entire crew killed it. FIlmmaking is a funny thing, when you're on set it's usually very stressful but fun. Sometime you hate every second of it because everything is going bad but even the worst times are better than sitting at home watching TV.
After a very long production, one of my favorite projects i've ever worked on is finally out! I will be doing a full write up about the making process of this soon but for now enjoy!
Lead Producer – Scott Wickman
Associate Producer – Nick Mahar
1st Assistant Director
2nd Assistant Director
Skylar V Smith
Assistant Art Director
John Thomas Schrad
Marina Skye Williams
1st Assistant A Camera
2nd Assistant A Camera
1st Assistant B Camera
Aydan Dorsett Sobel
Makeup & Hair
Emily Rose Jones
Post Production Supervisor
M Ali Yaremko
Julia N Frazelle
Erin Frances McPartlin
Extras (in no particular order)
Brittany Nicole Gonzales
Rashad Deshaun Green
Jessie Boykins III
Visionary Music Group
Old School Camera Rentals
RED Digital Cinema
I have been sitting on this video for a while now and happy to finally release it. Within a day it has gotten almost 200k views! A year ago Logic released his debut album Under Pressure with Def Jam and Visionary Music Group and now he's ready to drop his second. I can't wait to show everyone all the stuff we've been working on and there is a lot more amazing things to come from it!
Also this stars Steve Blum who has the world record for most voice over characters. From Digimon and Lilo & Stitch, to Cowboy Bebop, this man is legendary!
Well this last month has been a crazy adventure. I've been to vegas 3 weekends in a row to shoot EDC, and then Trey Songz for 2 weekends. Then Virginia, Hamptons, NY with Trey for more adventures. I then stayed up for 36 hours and flew back to LA where i went straight to set to shoot some awesome promo stuff I can't talk about. Then it got even more crazy when I went to SF for a 1 day shoot, Nebraska, and Chicago for Lollapaluza. Just when I thought it was all over, I went to Oklahoma for a week long shoot for the Food Network and Walmart.
Now it's lots of catching up on editing, packing to move, and tech scouts for some amazing shoots. I really can't wait to put out everything i've been working on but below is just a few of what i've been up to!
One of the spots I shot for Daisy Cottage Cheese is finally out! I wrote a post about the making of this project that I think will be great for a lot of young filmmakers.
Latest commercial for California Almonds. This was a really fun shoot and very strange concept but happy with how it looks! See it on Discovery Channel during Shark Week!