Friday, November 11, 2011

Audi: Trick or Treat

About a month ago my boss asked me to do a little research on the night vision camera that came as an optional feature in the new A6. Our ever so popular CEO was kind enough to loan us his new A7 for an afternoon to do some test shots. It was a little nerve wracking being responsible for the safety of my bosses bosses bosses car, but still, fun was had and things were learned.

Thermal Face

Test image shot with an Audi

Turns out the Audi Night vision camera is a thermal imaging camera. Rather than try to hunt down a thermal camera and try to fake it, we opted to shoot the dashboard straight on. Since we were going to be shooting from the inside of a car, space was an issue and we opted to shoot on an EPIC and use the extra resolution to fake the scripted camera move in post. It turns out, however, that it's really easy to replace the space an epic doesn't take up with some nice glass.

Mike and Steve

We shot the spot in a lovely little neighborhood just passed downtown San Rafael during and just after sunset. Since we were only shooting the dash, lighting wasn't an issue. There were however 2 technical challenges we ran into. The first was that as it got later it was hard to keep the kids, and more frustratingly their costumes, warm enough to read clearly on the display. We got around this by having someone just out of frame warm each kid up with a hair dryer right before walking. The second hurdle was the far less challenging task of organizing and directing 14 kids under the age of ten. Apparently they don't take direction well when tired and cold. Who knew?


When all was said and done we had 3 days for post on this peace. It was edited by our new (no longer intern) associate editor, Julie Logan. I helped out with some shot stabilization and comped dials that were in focus into the shots. But other than that, everything you see on the display is the car itself.


The piece was only supposed to be a youtube/hulu pre-roll spot, but upon viewing an almost complete version, our client decided they wanted us to finish for broadcast. To the best of my knowledge, it ran during a couple football games and possibly during a world series game. We also got a lovely write up on AgencySpy

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kinect Sports: Season 2

Promo Site my team and I worked on for the launch of Kinect Sports Season 2.

Jake Hawley, Tori Main, and Danny O. on 3d and Motion graphics for the station indents. Mindy McCutchen and Intern Julie (who was thrown straight into the deep end with this one) on editorial. I did the motion for the various pop-up windows and lower 3rds along with all the green screen work.

Works best in Firefox.

Friday, August 26, 2011

R8GT Driver Event

In June I got to spend a nice long weekend in wine country shooting super high-end sports cars. The shoot was very quick and on a limited budget so we were running around with a couple 5d's and a fist full of GoPro's. the goal was to shoot the cars on the track and to get in-car driving footage of each of the 50+ drivers who, over 3 days, drove these cars around the track as part of an enhanced version of The Audi Sportscar Experience.

Backing me up on this one, I had Daniel Ortiz as a second camera op. (extra props for spotting the lizard!) and Jim Farber was our Editor. I did a little paint and color once the edit was locked.

I'm especially proud of the last shot in this piece, which consisted of taping a GoPro to the track and finding someone willing to drive over it at speed knowing there was about 3/4 of an inch of clearance. That'll get your hart pumping!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Youtube: April Fools 2011

Flugelhorn Feline: BTS

This year for April Fools Day, Youtube decided they were going to celebrate their 100th anniversary. My office was tasked with promoting the momentous occasion as well as providing some of its highlighted content. My task was to produce the Top 5 Videos of 1911 (the year that youtube first started hosting videos on the internet). Here's what my team and I came up with.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Autodesk: Accelerating Better Design

Right about the time I started working on the Fun That's Good for You videos, Tori had just kicked off storyboarding out a video for software conglomerate Autodesk to raise awareness of their vast and diverse product line. The project was ambitious to say the least. It was to be a (roughly) 60 second spot featuring various models from companies who use Autodesk products.

The work was broken up into 3 sections. The introductory "Design Stream", the middle of the piece featuring the 3d Models, and the final reveal of the autodesk logo. Jake took the intro, Tori animated the finalé, and I was tasked with assembling all of the shots that incorporated 3d assets.

For the bulk of the 3d production we worked with another SOMA company that we were refereed to by Autodesk, named Medized. They handled taking the various architectural and prototyping models and getting them into Maya and 3DSmax. They delivered passes directly to me and I assembled the final composites.

A lot of people put a lot of late nights into this, and I'm damn proud of it. Looking forward to the next Behemoth project like this one.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Kinect: Fun That's Good for You!

First big project of the new year was the first round of post-launch promotions we were doing for the Xbox: Kinect. The project was called "Fun That's Good for You" and it centered around a young woman playing the various Kinect titles. As she plays various elements from the games appear around her.

FTGFY Shoot 04

I've done this sort of thing before. There've been several projects over the years I've worked on that involved people interacting with elements from Xbox titles. What made this one special was that I was tasked with handeling the project from pre-pro all the way through to final compositing and international localization. Almost instantly this went from "one more compositing job" to "Directorial Debut".

FTGFY Shoot 01

We shot the whole thing against white at Studio 1550 in the Dogpatch.

FTGFY Shoot 03

We used a RED ONE with the Mysterium censor and a set of Arriflex Primes from Chater Camera over in Berkeley (seen here with our DP Steve Condiotti).

After the shoot, I was all on my own for post production. I had a few days to get all five of the edits done and then about a week and a half for compositing and finishing. 3d was all done in Maya. Since most of the shots that involved direct contact with the objects were very brief, I matched the animation by hand. We used green sticks for placement reference which helped a lot for the javelin shot.

Everything not done in Maya was in After Effects. This included lots of tracked type and a generous helping of Particular.

Overall, I learned a lot from the experience. I learned that being able to point out flaws in a shot during post in no way makes you capable of avoiding them during production. I also learned just how helpful it can be to have an accurate camera report. And most importantly, I learned that I really enjoy directing. The day was hectic, but the fun kind of hectic, and I hope to get more opportunities like this in the coming months.

For now, you can check out the finished project here.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The End of 2010

It's been a good long while since I last updated and I figure it's time for a quick update. I'm just now realizing that my last post was in June of last year and I can hardly believe it's been 9 months since. It feels like a few weeks.

So shortly after wrapping Alan Wake up, I was brought onto the Target account to help create a video that summed up their new "My Target Weekly" site. I spent a few days storyboarding this out, and then went straight into animation. My co-workers Jake and Tori helped out with some Cinema4d animation for the opening shot of the leaflet opening up.

I worked on the MTW demo video from August until the beginning September when yet again the Target team briefed me on the upcoming Target 2 Day shoot. This was a whole shoot built around promoting the countdown site for Target's 2 day holiday (The Blackest of Fridays) sale. For whatever reason most of the stuff we made never saw the light of day, but the shoot by far the most memorable I've ever been on. Here's a few of my favorite pics:

Our fearless Director: Enno Jacobsen

Director of Photography: Roman Jakobi

(for those who don't know, those are the formulas used to determine depth of field. 2 guesses as to what he does)

September ran right on into October, which was extremely busy for me cuz I got married, and then immediately went to New Zealand. Then I came back and immediately worked on 2 pitches (one of which we won!) over the next 3 weeks, until desperatly needing yet another week off. And my last official act of 2010 was to shoot my new Nephew's first christmas.

So that was the last quarter of 2010 for me, and while I thought that was as busy as I'd ever been, recent events suggest it was only the tip of the ice burg.