Sunday, August 02, 2009

PGS DVD Production Day One (Part 2)

Earlier in the day, as written about in my earlier PGS DVD Production: Day One (Part 1) post, we shot the driving content for the Innovatronix commercial spot. Now, we were finishing up shooting Dalia in front of the... whatever it was.

I never did figure out if that silver metallic hulk was the scrapped fuselage of some sort of experimental aircraft or if it was the aerodynamically-shaped remains of a land-based, high-speed vehicle: An early racing machine that adventurous adrenaline junkies drove while attempting to break various land-speed records at places like Bonneville and El Mirage. I could have should have asked but, at the time, my mind was focused on the job at hand. My wide-angle behind-the-scenes image (above) illustrates the middle-of-nowhere-ness of the location we were shooting at.

The photo-shoot content demonstrated various lighting techniques as well as the not-always-predictable soft-science of model-wrangling.

For this portion of the program, we started out using available light, i.e., with reflectors and scrims helping out, then moved on to a one-light, trump-the-ambient, set-up, and ended by adding a ring light into the mix. The image of Dalia on the left is one Rick snapped with the soft-box-modified main light, an on-axis ring light adding fill, and the Tronix ExplorerXT delivering the juice. Rick was shooting with his Canon 40D and a Tamron 28-75 AF zoom, ISO 100, f/16 @ 160th. I post-processed Rick's image for this update.

Nice shot, Rick!

Needing some time out of the sun, we also shot a lively, revealing, and often humorous interview with Dalia under the protective shade of the canopy. (Note: Although the canopy did an awesome job of blocking the dread, UV rays, it was still well over a hundred in the shade.)

The snap on the right shows an over-heated and already wearied me, interviewing Dalia, with a still-fresh-looking Lewis holding a fill reflector and Patrick, in the BG, grabbing some hand-held BTS content.

Lewis, besides being my good friend and my partner in the DVD, will be heading up marketing and sales for the PGS DVD. Lewis is a former VP of Marketing and Promotions for LFP/Hustler and currently works as the National Sales Manager for a video distribution company. If Lewis can't market and sell this product, I don't know who can.

At this point, it was getting late in the afternoon and it was time to go back out onto the dry lake bed to finish shooting content for the Innovatronix ExplorerXT spot as well as some other stuff. We left Lewis at our base camp--he volunteered to begin packing things up--as the rest of us headed out in two vehicles.

It was still hotter than hell. And now the wind was really picking up. I picked a spot out on the middle of the dry lake and started shooting short clips for a montage that would show how easy it is to set up studio-like lighting in a remote location when you have a product like the ExplorerXT providing power for the strobes.

Unfortunately, the wind wasn't being helpful. It was now gusting to 30 or 40 knots and it felt like it was shooting out of a blast furnace! It became nearly impossible to keep a stand, light, and softbox upright without someone holding onto it. And having someone holding onto the grip and lighting didn't work for the commercial spot. I mean, it wouldn't make sense that an assistant magically appeared in the middle of nowhere? So, I had to find camera angles where either Dalia or Rick (playing the on-camera photographer) somehow blocked the arm of Patrick who was stretching and reaching, trying his best to keep out of my frame, while holding onto the gear, keeping it from blowing over.

Eventually, I got the shots I needed for the commercial spot, including the packing-away-of-the-gear montage clips, as well as the driving-off-into-the-sunset shots. It wasn't quite sunset yet but maybe I can work some effects-magic in post... or not.


We now decided to shoot some pretty girl stuff with Dalia who, by this time, had decided to deal with the heat by stripping down to nothing. Gotta love models like Dalia! (She was clothed, of course, for all the commercial spot footage.)

There was no way we were going to attempt shooting with lighting gear. If anything, the wind was getting stronger. So, natural light it would be... not that there's anything wrong with natural light as long as it's good natural light which, by this time of day, it was.

Rick wanted to shoot some pics with a big piece of blue chiffon that Dalia, in her birthday suit, could hold and let fly in the breeze. Potentially cool stuff. Certainly, the wind was helping out for making shots like these. I decided to sit in the shade of my 4Runner, watch Rick and Dalia work, and chillax a bit. It was then that I noticed, in the distance, the gleam and dust-cloud of another vehicle quickly approaching...


(Soon, I promise.)


Anonymous said...

I really hope the vehicle approaching was not of some sort of "anti violence against evil bees that sting people in a production" organization ;).

Both parts of day one story have me running on the walls! the photos are beautiful and I can only be certain the video will be breath taking!


My best whishes! be sure to drink lots of water!


Corey said...

Really loving your blog. And the pics don't hurt either. Thanks for info on lighting and the BTS shots.

MarcWPhoto said...

I'm pretty sure that thingie is not a land vehicle. The gear on the front doesn't appear to be sprung or anything, nor does it look like it could take extended high speed. (Tiny little wheels are doubleplusungood for that kind of thing.)

Can't tell for sure - are they pneumatic or solid? If they were pneumatic tires, it's almost certainly not a land vehicle. My dad is a tire expert - no, seriously, he's like one of the most knowledgeable people on the planet about tires - and he explained to me why using pneumatic tires on high-speed land vehicles doesn't work so very well. It's really kind of cool.

Just a guess, and I could be wrong. But it's an educated guess.

Frank Wise said...

oh my gosh, the drama, the suspense. Stay tuned for next week episode when we find out who was in the truck.

Was it Joe McNally bringing a truckload of speedlights to help out?

Was it Chase Jarvis bringing his new iPhone 3GS?

Was it Ken Rockwell, traveling only with his Leica and 36roll of Velvia, cause that is all he'd need in those conditions?

I can't stand the suspense!

jimmyd said...

@Frank Wise,

Sorry to post a spoiler. I know everyone loves a cliffhanger, perhaps even in the blogoshere, but the vehicle belonged to the county and in it were two law enforcement officers.

And there we were: Shooting stills and video of a barely legal naked chick strutting her stuff in broad daylight within eyesight of God and anyone else who might be nearby. (Like the people sailing by on the lake bed in some vehicle that looked like a sailboat but had wheels.)

Oh yeah, there was also that small matter of not having a shooting permit... which, apparently, is required.

Shooting without a permit and indecent exposure anyone???

Frank Wise said...

Oh my.

Well, I don't quite know how the ending goes, but I don't believe you are posting this from an LA County facility. Or is that BLM territory? And there is still talk of a new Harley and/or camera, so a hefty fine may not have been incurred.

I'll let you save the answer for another post, but I gotsta know how this ended. Or will it make the DVD? Maybe under the bonus materials? That would be awesome