A Western, a Teary Drama but no Oscars for Ewan :)

My love for cinema & cinematography is a secret to nobody. But I might guess you’ll be a little surprised to hear that a Western and a Teary Drama are two of my latest creations. Video projects account for a lot of my work these days and I aim to make my pieces as cinematic as possible but cinema itself is not an aspiration of mine. I love the freedom of shooting lean & fast, an indie-inspired approach perhaps but definitely not the way Quentin or Ridley like to roll. And anyway I’m more a student of Roger and Chivo 😉

“Proper” cinema has more than enough people worrying about it. And video shot using a movie production model has just plain too many feet on the ground. My passion is to bring an affordable and cinematic web experience to brands large and small. Quite frankly I think too many brands have not expected enough from video on the web. Nike and Red Bull excluded. My work for Canadian Pacific, definitely in the big brand/built the country category, has transformed the way they communicate their successes & aspirations within the company. And more and more outside the company too. With the 2 & 3 Percent Realty brands I’m bringing a new & funky brand’s story to life in ways that make it stand out from the crowd.

Until recently the phrase “This is why I love doing what I do” ran across the top of the blog. No idea what happened to make it disappear and I’ll go try to get it back. In the mean time that spirit is more than exemplified in the two videos below. For starters the clients are longterm favourites who love what I do and give me the freedom to just go do it. Heaven!

The shoots both involved just me and an assistant shooting as creatively and swiftly as possible, improvising and adapting to the subjects & environment where necessary. There’s probably a good reason or two why I spend very little time in a studio these days.

And so here are the two latest nominees in the category “Don’t Even Think of Hiring Me If You Think This Sucks”…

#1 The Teary Drama: Canadian Pacific – CP Has Heart

I spent almost all of February either shooting or editing documentary pieces for CP’s annual CEO Awards. It was an exhausting but exhilarating trans-continental odyssey which unexpectedly peaked after I’d finished all the shoots and was set to start the final sprint to the deadline down in the edit suite.

“We’ve got one more shoot, do you think you can fit it in?” was the ask. “Hell no!” was my instinctive (thankfully internal) retort. You see the story involved burly, brave & humble railroaders, a dicky ticker (as they say where I come from) and a bolt from the blue. How could I say no?

Long story short, we shot like men possessed for a day in Revy, I started transcription in the truck on the way back home and 48 hours after shooting wrapped we locked the final edit. Not being Catholic, that is the kind of self-flagellation that gives me a reason to live and faith in my divine powers.

For the technically inclined the cameras were the usual suspects:
– FS700 + Odyssey 7Q for interviews and select b-roll
– GH4 on the Silk Gimbal for handheld and walking shots [Silk now retired after an unfortunate tumble]
– GoPro on Genie Mini for timelapses
– RX100iv for random moments [it has a cute little slider of its own now – watch this space for more details.]

Kyle Lindsay

Kyle Lindsay

Blair Ball

Blair Ball

Ken Haddad

Ken Haddad

the original One Man Crew – Mr Derek Bisbing

#2 The Western: 3 Percent Realty – Saving a Fistful of Dollars

I’ve worked with Roy Almog for many years now and was beyond excited when asked to make a new consumer video for his company 3 Percent Realty. I know the brand inside and out, which is just as well because the creative direction in its entirety was “Go make me a new video please…”. Heaven!

For projects like this I always work with my good friend Jonathan Love. The magic that happens when we write together is bewildering. JLove is also a seasoned performer and brilliant director, so I was particularly delighted when it became obvious that he should be “Clint” in our new Western. Western? Yup!

Just how did it become a Western? Remember that magical writing process? Well we started with a proud client, that led to pissing off the neighbours over the money you saved and after a few canters down dry creek beds we ended up with a stand-off over the fence. I went to 6 different stores before finding THE sweater at Value Village – it needed to look like Clint’s poncho you see.

The shoot itself took only about 4 hours on my front lawn and just managed to squeak in before the snow flew. I’d have preferred some harsh desert sun but with the season waning and no budget for a mega (or kilo) light we were happy to make do with sweater weather. That opening dolly move is 16 feet of awesome courtesy of my Cinerails by the way. It is rather wonderful how many handy cinema tools come to us via Kickstarter.

JLove briefly slips out of character.

The negotiations with Smith & Wesson didn’t go so well.

Inspiration for The Sweater

Inspiration for The Sweater