Where do I even begin with how this video was made. Seriously. I'm asking you. I have no idea where to begin!
Poonam and I started planning this video out months ago. She is a choreographer and a Zumba teacher, and her intention with this video was to display her choreography skills with a group of normal people. She didn't want to show a complicated, jaw-dropping number, she wanted to show that she could make something look great, even with people who hadn't been training in dance their entire lives. So, obviously, this required that we have backup dancers. Four to be exact.
The night before our first planned shoot, one of dancers dropped out, and the ripple effect that followed was insane. It was tough stuff trying to get four dancers who could all be at a shoot on the same day at the same time. Plus, we didn't want to have to cut anyone who had already put in all that effort to learn the moves. We finally figured it out, only having to cut one of the original dancers, and we thought we were in the clear - and then one of the new dancers had a flat tire on the road on the way to the shoot! We managed to pull off the shoot with four dancers instead of five, which definitely wasn't what Poonam had planned, but at that point, we just had to work with what he we had. (Which were three incredible volunteers to whom we are eternally grateful!)
And that's not even the tip of the iceberg on this shoot. Did I tell you about how we almost went to jail? Let me tell you about how we almost went to jail. So, drone laws are complicated. And I thought I had done my due diligence by researching the airports and calling in advance to notify them about our drone use on Venice Beach. Turns out, no, not so much. Just as we were wrapping up Poonam's solo shots, cops came up and told us that they were under orders to impound any drones they see on the beach and put the operator in jail. Luckily, they were not jerks, and sent us off with a warning. I was mortified. Luckily, they gave us a recommendation for a beach that was drone friendly - Seal Beach.
I was as thorough with Seal Beach as I could possibly be. I scoped out the location. I called the city. I called the Naval Weapons Seal Beach Public Affairs office. I called the Los Alamitos Airfield Operations. I didn't rest until I heard actual human voices on the phone from all of these places telling us we were okay to shoot. And they did! Every single one!
What an adventure. What a learning experience. I hope all of you enjoy the video!
Nothing makes my day quite like making my client out-of-this-world happy, and that's definitely what happened in the case of Ultimatum.
Ultimatum is a company with a humble vision - they want to make the world a better place. They are idealists, yet also realists, who want to encourage political and social change with their clever crowdfunding platform. While working with them, I found their passion for their project to be contagious and inspiring.
They were under a time crunch to get this video done (isn't everyone under a time crunch always? lol), and since this video is intended to raise money to help them finish building their platform, there wasn't enough finalized that we could accurately display the product in the video. My challenge was to make something out of nothing; to show people in a video something that doesn't yet exist, and I had two days to do it.
Luckily I had just discovered something called Monkey Suite - it's a collection of plug-ins for sale at aescripts.com. I knew with that on my side, I could pull of the project within their time constraints and make it look really slick.
The Ultimatum guys were a dream to work with. I told them everything I needed to get the project done when they needed it, and they were totally cooperative and understanding. Not only that, but they were insanely grateful when it was finished. We even had a Google hangout party afterwards to celebrate!
Thank you, Ultimatum, for showing me so much respect and gratitude throughout this project. It was so much fun being a part of the team and I hope we work together again soon!
What a crazy day this was!
This was such a challenging project. Normally, when I shoot a dance video, it's in a reasonably controlled setting, and we can do as many takes as we need to in order to guarantee I have all the shots for the edit. This time? Not the case. Groov3 organized a dance flash mob at Plaza Mexico in Lynwood, CA, and they were only doing the performance twice. That gave me two chances to get the shots - and that's it.
I had to think on my toes, so I decided to play it safe. They were doing the performance at two different locations - on the floor, and on the stage. The floor was a great place to shoot because it gave the Osmo lots of mobility, so that's where I shot the first performance. Of course, because it was a run-and-gun situation, there were a couple moments where I missed the shot and didn't get the camera where it needed to be on time. For that reason, I really needed coverage for cutaways, so on the second performance, I got to as high of ground as possible and shot the stage from above. There was no way I was going to get that same mobile coverage that I got on the floor because of the intense crowding around the stage, so the stage shots were wide and static.
The edit of these two angles were a little disappointing. The floor shots were so exciting and dynamic, but the wide shots just kind of hung there like dying fruit. I was nervous to submit this to the client, Groov3, but I had done the best I could do under the circumstances. Ben from Groov3 was a little disappointed, but Ben is a dream client who was totally understanding that there was just one of me and there was a lot going on. He ended up suggesting we collect phone footage from people who were at the event to make the edit more exciting. He also suggested experimenting in the edit to make the stage area and the floor area look more connected, which I accomplished by creating the artificial whip pans. I also suggested putting that "Rec" graphic on the phone shots so the difference in quality between the phone shots and the Osmo shots looks more intentional. The result is what you see above!
Major thanks to Groov3 for always providing me with exciting projects and being such a great collaborator!