Promotional Film for John Pomp Studios

Posted in Uncategorized on January 21, 2014 by Ron Risman

Glass blowing is such a beautiful art form and our goal was to capture the process, intensity, and craftsmanship of John Pomp and his team. Audio was a bit more challenging as the heaters that keep the glass at 2000 degrees made an incredible amount of noise. We captured audio using three separate audio recorders as well as a lav mic that we hid from sight.

In order to capture the feel and intensity of this art form, we decided not to use any audio in the film, opting instead to create a rhythm using the sounds from the environment. To do this we needed to have microphones everywhere; under the metal tables, on top of tables, near the ovens, on John Pomp, and on the cameras. The ovens are very loud, but after some testing we found placements and settings that allowed us to capture exactly what we needed, and ultimately create a film that hit our goal.

This piece went on to win another WEVA International Creative Excellence Award in the commercial production category.


Promotional Film for Boston Event Consultant, Michele Mottola

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 21, 2014 by Ron Risman

As with most any art form when the artist has done their job right the end result just works. Perfection often goes unnoticed, whereas imperfections stand out like a sore thumb. So when Boston’s top event consultant, Michele Mottola, contacted us about creating a timelapse piece to show off the transformation that she was about to create in the ballroom at Boston’s Intercontinental Hotel, we jumped at the opportunity, and we’re glad she did as well.

The InterContinental Ballroom is a big space and the transformation she was about to orchestrate included an all white motif with accent colors added by light and flowers. The transformation took place over a 36 hour period and included the installation of a rain chandelier over the bar area, the installation of white wall-to-wall carpeting, white drapes covering all the walls, an acrylic dance floor, a 60′ dessert bar, all white chairs including two s-curve chaise lounges, and beautiful floral and table designs to complete the transformation.

From past experience we knew that in order to create a film that showcased her work we needed to capture the energy that she was creating and not just the technical aspects of the transformation. So this became a multi-timelapse project. We set up a secure camera high up on a window that was able to capture all 39 hours of both the set up and the event without the use of any external power (i.e. power cords). Knowing that the room was going to be all white and the windows would be dark, we transformed our normally beige camera housing into a black housing overnight to make sure it would go unnoticed against the window.

We set up that camera to capture images every 30 seconds for the full 39 hour timelapse (Over 4600 still images). We also headed down to the reception to capture more intimate time-lapses to help better tell the story of location and to help capture the energy that Michele created with her transformation. In total we captured over 20 timelapses throughout the evening that we were able to combine with the static camera to create this promotional film for Michele.

As cinematographers and timelapse specialists we are always looking for better ways to tell your story. Going above and beyond what our clients expect from us is an important part of what we do, and is the best way to create happy customers.

NY Commercial Catalog Shoot (BTS Video)

Posted in Uncategorized on January 21, 2014 by Ron Risman

3 days in NYC shooting commercial photography Gregor Halenda as he captured action shots for Scorpion Helmets website and catalog. This film went on to win a WEVA International Creative Excellence Award, one of two we have won in the past 3 years.

The goal for this shoot was to create a compelling behind-the-scenes film that would show prospective clients what it’s like to work with and be on-location with Gregor Halenda. In the weeks leading up to the shoot I was pretty nervous about whether or not I would be able to create something that would live up to caliber of work that Gregor expects for himself. Look at this portfolio and it’s clear that he is a perfectionist. His attention to detail is what separates great photographers from good photographers. I had to keep reminding myself that I was hired based on previous work that I had produced. Of course I also know that what I’ve created in the past has no bearings on future endeavors. Back to being nervous.

Despite my nerves I knew that I had the ability. I knew my gear inside and out, had it all packed and ready to go, and just started driving. When I got to NY my first stop was to meet up with Gregor and his crew for an afternoon shoot in a parking lot along the NY waterfront. After introducing myself and meeting the crew for a few minutes I headed back to my car to grab my gear. Just like with editing, the hardest decisions are usually the first ones. In this case, it was trying to decide which gear to start with.

Not knowing much about how Gregor would be shooting this first set-up made it extremely difficult — but ultimately I went with the camera on a Steadicam. I figured that this setup would keep me mobile and ready for almost anything. Then once I felt a bit more comfortable with what was going on I could then change to whatever I needed at the time.

Ultimately it was the right decision as the Steadicam allowed me to be fluid and to move in and around Gregor without getting in his way. If I needed to be still, the Steadicam allowed me to be almost tripod-steady, yet when I wanted to add movement to a scene the Steadicam made sure the moves were smooth and clean.

This was a 3-day shoot for Scorpion Helmets and Gregor, along with the producer, had the entire shoot mapped out. Locations included parks, bridges, and Time Square. What made this shoot so interesting was that many of the shots were done in motion – some at 70MPH.

Here are a few things I learned over this three day shoot:

Gregor is not only a great photographer, but someone I deeply respect. He knows how to assemble a great team, has a very easy going personality, and is focused on creating the best images possible. When the last location had to changed, not once did I see Gregor sweat it out. He was calm and focused and never once showed the pressure that he might have been feeling.

Be Prepared. This shoot would have been a big bust for me if I wasn’t so comfortable with my gear. Don’t take on any professional gigs, until you know your gear inside and out. Get out and shoot with your gear – it’s part of the job. Spring training, if you will. No matter how much you read and learn, you never really know for sure until you can experience it for yourself.

Practice. If it weren’t for my experience with the Steadicam I never would have captured usable footage for parts of this shoot. The Merlin is small enough to be used in a car or, as I soon learned, out the back of a flatbed truck. At times I kneeled on the back seat and kept my arms and Steadicam out the rear window, while at other times I was out on the bed, trying to film while not tripping over generators, cords, or the photographer and grip.

Get inspired before each shoot. I do this with weddings and I do this with commercial shoots. Go online, watch other peoples work, and get inspired. Finding Inspiration is not only about watching great work from others, it’s also about recognizing the junk that some others have done (and got paid for it).

Bring all your gear. Yes, traveling light is important but so isn’t having the right tools accessible when needed. Plus, having your gear with you, doesn’t mean it has to be ON you. It can stay in the trunk, just as long as its accessible for when situations or needs change.

I can do it. I think we all question our own abilities at one time or another and being nervous about doing a great job is normal. If I ever get to the point where I am no longer concerned about doing a great job, it’s probably time for me to move on and do something else.

Love what you do. All I can say is that when you love what you do, it won’t matter if you work for three days with no sleep. There were about 12-15 of us on this shoot and not once did I hear anyone complain about the lack of sleep. I was invigorated and couldn’t wait to see what the next setup would bring in the way of shots and challenges. I was ready for them. “Bring your body and the mind will follow” is a saying that comes to mind.

Everything about this shoot challenged me as a filmmaker and I loved it. I am also proud of the finished product. To me, it feels as raw and gritty as it felt when shooting it, and hopefully gives you insight to the level of work that Gregor Halenda produces and the lengths he’ll go to get the image.

Short Promotional Piece for Adam Forgione Workshops

Posted in Uncategorized on January 21, 2014 by Ron Risman

When capturing interviews lighting, lens selection, microphone, talent and camera placement are so important to the final feel of the captured interview. For the interview in this piece we wanted to give the viewer the same relaxed feeling they would have when talking with Adam face to face. We purposely used a lens that would help to soften the background, allowing Adam to stand out against a somewhat busy background pattern.

We positioned the talent so that he would be 3/4 lit by natural light coming in from a window to his left, but keeping the ratio of light from left to right at almost 2:1.5. This helps to give a bit more dimension to the subject, without putting his face into shadow.

Sound was captured using a Sony wireless LAV system into a 4-track recorder, while a second mic on camera helped to capture the audio for later syncing.

FOX CT News: Timelapse Photography for Morning Promo

Posted in Uncategorized on January 21, 2014 by Ron Risman

Capturing time-lapses in changing light is always a challenge, and for this shoot for FOX News in Connecticut, we spent a week of shooting and scouting to find locations that best represented waking-up in Connecticut. With that theme in mind we captured sunrises on farms, in the city, at the Milford train depot, and high over the commons in New Haven. With the help of a variety of mobile and desktop apps I pre-scouted many of the locations, so we could maximize our time when out in the field.

This promo clip is a result of many of the time-lapses captured for the FOX News Teams promo film.

Commercial Behind The Scenes Film for Rev’it! Motorsports

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on January 21, 2014 by Ron Risman

When I was 16 my family, all five of us, went on a cross country trip in a station wagon. We started the trip in Massachusetts and reached Las Vegas, NV before turning around to do the drive home. At the time I cannot honestly say that I loved every minute of the trip. The first geyser was exciting, the 8th, not so much – but the one part of the trip that I fell in love with was the west – Colorado, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, and the long stretches of road between them. I must have been a cowboy in a past life, because I loved it there.

Since then I have been back to Utah and Nevada on numerous occasions – sometimes to ski, sometimes to photograph in Moab, Page, or Sedona, and last year to visit the Grand Canyon – a first since I was 16. To say that I love it there would be an understatement, so when I got an e-mail from Gregor Halenda, a NY photographer that I had worked with back in 2011, asking if I’d like to create a BTS film for REV’IT! Sports International in UTAH – I didn’t think twice.

Gregor was once again the photographer for this shoot, and has become one of the go to photographers for commercial bike companies. This time, instead of the gritty streets of NYC, the backdrop was the beautiful state of Utah – and more specifically the Salt Flats near Wendover, UT; Goblin Valley; and Hurrah Pass in Moab.

REV’IT chose to come to the U.S. for their catalog shoot because of the openness and epic beauty of these three locations. It’s no secret that bikers love adventure, curvy roads, and speed – and these locations allowed Gregor to capture these emotions and feelings for REV’IT’s catalog. My job was to capture these same emotions and feelings for their BTS film.

With almost any commercial shoot I try to use a local cinematographer as a second shooter. For this shoot I was fortunate to get Ben Pieper, a California based filmmaker, who just so happened to be in the Utah area the week of the shoot. Ben had his new van filled with toys tools of the trade. Kessler Crane, Motorized time-lapse head, Slider, tripods, cameras, lights, and more. You have no idea how nice it is to fly into a city with my own gear, only to find my second shooter with twice that amount.

The shoot started off at the Salt Flats, during Speed Week. Speed Week is a one-week period where anyone, with virtually any type of motorized vehicle, can come to put the pedal to the metal. There are no speed limits here. Many speed records have been set and broken on the flats.

The shoot consisted of two models; Gino, the motorcycle rider wearing REV’IT! clothing, and the long-legged blonde bombshell wearing – well not wearing too much. The goal of the shoot was to capture the emotion of taking part in an all-out, let’s break a speed record, race – without actually doing that. After all, these bikes were on loan.

The second location of this 5-day trip took place in Goblin Valley State Park. If you have never heard of Goblin Valley think of it as sort of a cross between Mars and Moab. No bikes at this location as they weren’t allowed. Instead Gregor and Gerby, REV’IT’s Creative Director, spent about an hour scouting for locations to shoot background plates. They would use the captured images from Goblin Valley as a backdrop to the images they planned to capture in Moab. This would give them the look they wanted without having to worry about permits for Goblin Valley.

The next day we headed out to Hurrah Pass in Moab, Utah. The location they found in Hurrah Pass was incredible, the true definition of epic. Our location sat high above the valley floor with incredible vista’s in every direction. We spent the day at this location getting everything set and then basically waiting for the perfect light. As the day progressed we could hear thunder off in the distance as clouds were building around us. A quick look at the weather radar showed that we would most likely be passed over by the storm – however the radar didn’t warn us of the wind & dust storm that kicked up without warning – sending the crew back to their vans, and the bike handler out to secure the bike. As quickly as the dust storm moved in, it left – and in its aftermath was the most beautiful light you could ask for. Gregor and the crew got the bike and model into position and started capturing until the sun dipped behind the mountains.

The last day of the shoot, our fourth location, was located at the base of Hurrah Pass, under a large red rock boulder. The setup consisted of a campfire, dirty riders & bikes, and a camping tent. This lifestyle shot was to depict the riders winding down after a long day on the road. The images captured here would be used as the foreground to the plates Gregor captured in Goblin Valley. Everything was all set to go, all we were waiting for was sunset. While we waited I took the opportunity to interview Gerby and Gregor to compliment other live audio captured throughout the week and to help the story along in the edit.

This was my second opportunity to work with Gregor and once again he and his crew welcomed us and made us feel part of their family. I can’t imagine too many shoot locations that will ever match the week we spent in Utah, but I’m willing to shoot and travel to find them. I hope you enjoy the final film we created for REV’IT!. The photographs at the end of the film were some of the final images created by Gregor and his editing team for REV’IT!.

2 Minute Film: Northern Arizona

Posted in Uncategorized on April 26, 2011 by Ron Risman

Short film of Sedona and the Grand Canyon

When filming landscapes I am a big believer that either the scene should provide some movement or the camera should. Without movement you might as well just snap a photograph.
Time-lapse sequences help to add a dynamic element to a film that help to move a piece along.

If you have any questions about the film, the gear, or anything please feel free to leave a comment.