A few months ago I was able to help out some friends who were making their finalist video for a contest sponsored by the Reelz Channel and Porsche. I figured spending the day with a 911 Turbo S was not a bad way to spend the day.
While we didn’t win the contest. I certainly learned a lot and got to meet some of the other amazing writers and directors of the other finalist videos. It also got my juices flowing to try my hand at shooting some of my own videos.
Then a couple weeks ago while attending the Ocelot Robot Film Festival I ran into Alison, the writer and co-director of the Porsche video. She asked me if I’d be interested in helping her shoot another contest submission this time for Doritos. Uh duh, of course.
So with a major effort by Alison and her producers: Earlene and Sean they were able to get everything we needed together (cast, other crew, equipment and props that we knew we needed) to shoot on a very tight schedule.
Here are the links to the final videos (unfortunately there’s no way for me to embed these yet plus I want people to go to the site so we can get more views–thanks!): [They also don't work on mobile platforms - FAIL]
Written and Directed: Alison Lee
Editor: Jeff Katz
Sound Recordist: Hector Lerma
Director of Photography: Michael Kang (that’s me!)
Producers: Earlene Gray, Sean Hein, Alison Lee
Cast: The Patterson family and featuring Emerson the dog.
We shot both videos DV Rebel style (a.k.a. Prolost, a.k.a. Stu Maschwitz) all in one day using stuff we already owned or borrowed from other people.
I was asked by someone after watching the completed video how I rigged the camera for the interior car shots.
For most of the shots I was sitting in the car hand holding the camera. We knew ahead of time that the cuts would be very quick so we weren’t worried about camera shake.
For a few shots I knew I would need an external monitor to frame and focus. I had considered buying or renting one and just decided to use my laptop and Canon’s Utility software for remote capture. It ended up working perfectly. For the shots of the driver, I literally had the laptop in my lap and controlled it with my right hand and held the camera on the dash (it was sitting on a bean bag – favorite tool of photographer Chris Marquardt — thanks Chris) with my left hand.
The shot where I couldn’t be in the car I let the front passenger hold the laptop in her lap (she was supposed to look worried and uncomfortable anyway) and set the camera on the dash and “secured” it with a sweatshirt (you can see it in the photo at the top of this post).
Hey whatever works, right? As long as it doesn’t take away from the perceived production value of the final work it’s cool. That’s the DV Rebel way. If you’re not familiar with the book The DV Rebel’s Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap I highly recommend reading it.
By the way, the family is a real family including the dog. And, the dog already knew how to attack a person’s leg on command.