Tag Archives: behind the scenes

Behind the Scenes at SAB

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Last week was a really exciting one for us both creatively and culturally. The past month we have been working feverishly on a series of cinemagraphs we made with the School of American Ballet we shot back in February. It’s always been a dream of mine to shoot ballerinas as I so admire their lines, pose, discipline and beauty of dance. As you saw, the cinemagraphs were displayed in the David H. Koch theater of Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera House. These cinemagraph portraits showed the art of ballet caught at it’s best eternally. The perfect pose, spin, point, there to study and be inspired by its beauty. In addition to the cinemagraphs, on this day we also shot the staged dance sequences for the video.

Just to give you some behind the scenes at SAB’s shoot, we kept the setup pretty simple. The inspiration was based on Eadweard Muybridge’s studies in motion from the history of photography. We wanted to study the ballerina, the form, the movement and motion. We decided to put them on two 12×12 Solid black backdrops and asked the dancers to wear all white. With two large Arri M18 HMI lights we pointed up bouncing the light off the white ceiling illuminating the dancers from above going for an effect of a large skylight for a classic and natural feeling. After tapping down a black rubber floor, the stage was set.

We shot six of SAB’s students in one of their dance studios at Lincoln Center. One of the great things about SAB is how they use live piano players, which we had for our shoot, and hire the most passionate teachers. On this day we worked closely with Suki Schorer who directed the dancers throughout the shoot and tweaked their hands or feet positions with every shot.

It was such a joy to create around a thing of incredible beauty like in ballet. After every dance sequence I would applaud and smile from sheer joy… until Suki told me to stop clapping because that tells the piano player to stop playing and nobody wants that.

Here is a peek behind the scenes shot by our assistant Diana Ola~

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Behind the Scenes

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This past spring we finished a project two years in the making, a Cinemagraph series with the luxury jeweler Chopard. We shot at Old Westbury Gardens on Long Island about 45mins outside Manhattan on a late spring day with an amazing team of people: Kelly Framel styling, Ashlee Glazer for makeup, Justin Woods for hair, and Anthony D’Argenzio with props. Here is a glimpse behind the scenes with some snapshots of the day our assistant captured as we put together my favorite series of Cinemagraphs yet, a concept of six characters’ lives all playing out in that calm moment before the storm…

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From the in-depth interview about the making of House of Secrets Cinemagraphs:

Cinemagraphs: what do they mean to you personally?

Jamie: Cinemagraphs to me are living photographs, a moment in time that can actually breathe, allowing your senses to experience and delight in the small instances that make up our lives.

Kevin: A Cinemagraph is a challenge to create something that is visually striking with the added depth of time. It’s seeing life in a way you can’t see through other mediums.

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From our Chopard Collaboration interview:

The House of Secrets is such a singular endeavor that one can hardly keep from wondering how it was born, what came in its inceptors’ heads and sparked this delightful fantasy.

Jamie remembers: “Kevin had this moment of inspiration where he thought: what if we made a mini-movie based on these six characters, all coming together at an estate for an event, but it’s the moment before the party, the seconds before all their worlds become entangled into a ‘House of Secrets.’ House of Secrets to me is a vignette of this singular moment in time, shared between these six characters whose lives are complex, intertwined and destined for each other. It is about the complexities of our lives and relationships. It is also about how defined we are visually by what we choose to wear: this alone tells the story of where we are at this particular time in the character’s lives, what their emotions are.”

“I was immediately influenced by Chopard’s involvement with and love of the film industry,” Kevin relates. “I remember sitting in their suite in Cannes, looking around at stills from movies framed on the wall, and thinking how perfect it would be to tell a very cinematic story. To get to that point I developed a story, characters and even an opening scene for the unfinished movie that is Chopard Secrets. Each character carries their own secrets, and some of these are shared secrets. The love between two characters might be completely hidden from another, and that secret will have a tremendous impact on their lives. The scenes in House of Secrets show only that moment when individuals are carrying their own secrets, before their storylines intersect and drama unfolds.”

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Chapter 3: GHANA

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What an experience Ghana was. Waiting for the clouds to part outside the airplane window for my first look at this new land, I was filled with so much anticipation and, to be honest, a bit of anxiety for the unknown. Though I have been to North Africa and South Africa, they are quite Westernized, so I didn’t know what to expect from the Gold Coast.

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What we found was a truly eye opening experience: a different way of life, a different-looking way of life. The locals were quite beautiful. Void of many Western fashions, it was so refreshing and inspiring to see many of the men,  women and children wearing homemade African garb in bright colors and beautiful silhouettes. In the city of Accra where we landed, many of the day-to-day items were sold via an army of human concession stands walking up and down the lanes of traffic: water, socks, fruit, gum, bleach, nuts, towels – you name it, they sold it. The women would carry these large metal bowls on their head with the supplies stacked in giant pyramids, it was truly an amazing sight. Beautiful.

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DAY 1: We drove out of Accra along the coast to discover this region of Ghana and take in some of the cultural history that has affected humanity so greatly at such sites as Elimna Castle. I felt very fortunate as I hunched through the “door of no return” looking out on the aggressive ocean waves and the horrific fate of that horizon line for so many. To be able to tie together the motherland to the ancestors that I met only a few months earlier in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, the largest import city of slaves in the West, was very humbling and culturally fascinating.

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Chapter 2: AUSTRALIA

the wonderful world of Oz

When people who follow our Instagram met up with me upon our arrival back to the States the first thing they asked was, how long was the longest leg of the trip?… let me tell you:  thanks to an unexpected train strike, it started with a 7 hour car drive from the French coast, 3 hours at the airport, 8 hour flight to Dubai, 3 hour layover, then a 14 hour flight to Sydney. Somewhere over the Indian Ocean I woke up and had absolutely zero knowledge if it was day or night, yesterday or tomorrow. So I did what I had to do – had a glass of champagne at 32,000 feet.

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Day 1: There are perks to jetlag- we found ourselves wide awake so early in the land down under we were able to enjoy the sunrise over Sydney Harbor. One of the motion cameras Kevin packed was his RED Epic which he brought along for a beautiful time-lapse, a continuation for the video from France. Choosing the equipment to bring for a project like this took a lot of thought and planning. What is mobile and light enough to carry for hours? What will give us the ‘power of nature’ beauty shots? How much can we bring before we start getting weighed down since most days are travel days? I ended up choosing to bring the Canon 5DMark III for stills at ingredient moments and most of the behind the scenes images you see here. I also brought along my Leica M which I used in “off” times just hanging around my neck ready to capture candid moments along the way. I love the Leica for this because it’s small and lightweight and unobtrusive. I choose, however, to shoot the main ingredients and stories with the Mark III because it can shoot, focus and process images much faster.

We chose a Canon C300 as our primary camera and also used it to capture audio from our lavalier mics. The C300 turned out to be a perfect companion to the Epic, especially for it’s light weight and low profile and, with Canon mounts on both, the ability to swap lenses between the two.

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After Sydney woke up before our eyes we got busy with the girls on the hunt for two more natural Origins ingredients: Peas & Bamboo. Australia provides a perfect climate for growing these two edible plants, which makes sense feeling how incredibly mild and warm it was for what would be their “winter”.

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