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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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Behind the Scenes

photos by Carly Piersol for Ann Street Studio

Telling the story of telling a story…

When we started brainstorming a new Lincoln Motor Co. project, we wanted to challenge ourselves in a new way and explore storytelling through video. It’s important as a creative to always be moving forward, pushing yourself and your abilities. Unlike past videos which have been more free form organic vignettes or allowing the subject to narrate the story themselves, this one was totally new for us (PS – This is what Kevin was talking about in Question #20!). We wanted to create a micro film, a little story and a fun way to unveil a new car as it was being unveiled for the whole world.

We started with just that thought – unveiling. So how can you uncover or discover a car creatively? …why though fun trickery, of course! How cute would it be to create a fantasy where the designer of this new car was a young, handsome creative living in New York and his date stole the plans to his work with the coordinates of the car’s secret location so that she could steal it as her own?! A calculated date, a thief, a chase through Manhattan, she’s got it!… but wait! a twist! He had her all along…

We had never gone to this place before but we had to try… we had to know if we could make our dreams a reality. Here is how it played out and all the funny tidbits you did not see in “The Lincoln Job“…

Fittings ~ The day before the shoot the stylist tried on the clothing options with our two stars. In our pre-production meetings Kelly thought based on the storyboards it would be cool to style them inspired by “The Thomas Crown Affair“, which we all loved.

Above: Kelly plays around with the idea of suspenders for the “at home scenes” before he throws on his suit jacket on the way out the door in the chase.

Below: The creative director Maury Postal and I watch on as we go through all the styling options.

Finishing touches… above Kelly thinks about that last something to complete the look and asks our creative director to borrow his Warby Parkers which got instant cheers once Amadeo put them on and it was done!

All in agreement on the final looks.

He wears:

Club Monaco suitNordstrom white shirtWarby Parker glassesFlorsheim shoes, Kevin’s suspenders from our wedding 

She wears:

Robert Rodriguez dressOrla Kiely coatChristian Louboutin heelsKaren Walker sunglassesPlukka Earrings, Plukka + Phillips House Rings

Setting the game plan ~ Kevin began to explain to our two models Amadeo & Michelle the storyboards for what we would be filming the next two days. We are all laughing in this photograph because Kevin, being distracted by our starlet’s dress, said “So it starts in the bedroom”, when he meant to say it starts in the living room!

~ The apartment scenes ~

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Storyboarding Lincoln

Here at the studio, there’s a lot more that goes on than just the magic of capturing life through camera lenses. The meetings, creative brainstorming, contracts, preproduction, shooting, social media, and post production are stages we are constantly rotating through. This past weekend, we have been preparing for part one of a two day shoot with the latest model from The Lincoln Motor Company, being shown to the press for the first time today. I can’t say exactly what we are up to just yet, and since we usually tell the story of behind the scenes, I thought it would be cool to give you a little glimpse into the details that goes into the PRE-production, before the cameras begin to roll.

Typically on projects where we need to communicate visuals with a client, to tell them  how we see the images and story flowing in our heads, Kevin sketches out our ideas scene by scene, in this case, for storyboarding Lincoln. This allows for every moment to be accounted for, every scene to be looked at and studied for prop needs, lighting diagrams, and lens choice in order to achieve the desired effect. These storyboards also provide an organized shot list for the day because when you get going with a million moving pieces and crew it’s easy to forget some of the details you had previously envisioned.

Last year we told the story of Lincoln throughout time and this year we fast forward to modern day… and a whole new world.

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The Making of

We first started the conversation with Saks Fifth Avenue’s team that curates and runs their social channels including 10022-shoe, their NY-centric shoe-focused Tumblr. You never know with new clients how much control they are going to want or how far they are willing to go. Kevin and I are always looking to do new things, always trying to expand our work and continue to evolve Cinemagraphs, the new medium of photography we pioneered over two years ago.

So let’s talk about the creative process. Their team was completely open to our ideas, whatever we could dream up. When everything is a possibility, it can be hard to find a jumping off point, so our first action was to spend sometime at the SAKS shoe department. We walked in circles, letting various shoes spark our imagination. Oh! Look at this Louis Vuitton heel, can’t you see a girl at a train station surrounded by LV luggage and steam from the engine rising in these?! LOVE. We did this for a couple of hours. We never limited ourselves to what was physically and financially possible, we kept our minds free to form the visions and worry about the rest later. I always take iPhone pics of everything throughout this process so we can reference them later when we come back to the studio.

Next step: finalizing ideas. We ended up with about 11 strong concepts once we had brainstormed back at the studio, looking at iPhone photos and sketching out ideas, talking them through and pushing them further. Our studio assistant then began researching, pulling reference imagery and text relating to our themes. These ultimately go into the client presentation so that they may have a clear visual of what we are dreaming up, and get an idea of the color, mood, emotion, and story of the final image.

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