Over the last week I have been shooting in Kansas City, Missouri – with director Anthony Garth. We shot a great spot for the new 2016 Ford F-150 pick up truck. We used an exhibition hall space there as our “studio”. It had a great industrial ceiling and floor which we featured in the hero shots of the truck. We had two 16’x28′ front projection screens built to create our main background – on which various clips of running footage and Kansas City skyline imagery was projected. For this we used a total of four Barco HDF W30 Flex projectors.
We shot in 4K with the Arri Mini and Cooke S5/i lenses.
I teamed up with director Rob Shaw from Bent Image Lab to shoot another Rice Krispies spot in early January. We used the Speedarm once again to achieve a seemingly one-take spot. This motion control robotic arm allows for repeatable moves – so that we could do passes for live action, treats and table elements separately. We shot with the Red Epic Dragon and Cooke Mini S4/i primes.
Director Adrian Wills and I have been shooting the multi-camera of Cirque Du Soleil’s new Avatar-based show “Toruk”. We have been capturing the show in 4K on the Sony F55. We shot at the Bell Centre in Montreal with 8 cameras. We’ve been using the Fujinon Cabrio and Premiere zooms as well as Angenieux Optimo.
Our next stop is Quebec city in January where will be shooting on the stage with the artists (no audience this time) with two steadicams. Will be fun!
After months of post work, our efforts on the new space opera “The Expanse” will premiere online (SyFy) November 23rd, and then debuts on SyFy and Space Channel (in Canada) on December 14th – during which the first two episodes will be shown together. Everyone is incredibly excited!
I’ve been working away with the team at Deluxe Toronto to colour correct every episode of the show with colourist Joanne Rourke for months now. We spend a full day doing an episode and then another half day doing a second pass and then a live link streaming session with the Los Angeles team; (show runner Naren Shankar and writers Ty Franck and Mark Fergus) they watch on the same calibrated Dolby monitor we have in our master grading suite. Its an amazing way to work because they are on speakerphone with us and can make notes and tweaks as we stop and start the playback of an episode. They do the same thing with the 5.1 surround sound mixes – playback at Deluxe in Toronto and the team in LA is in another mix theatre there hearing the same thing. I love being part of this international remote way of working – it makes such a complex show so much easier to finish sound & picture on.
The show is looking and sounding incredible. All of the hard work and passion for the stories in these books come together during the final picture and sound mastering that happens at Deluxe.
Its usually the first time I get to see the impressive work of VFX supervisor Bob Monroe’s teams that span several vendors from the Toronto area. Their work is truly bar-raising for television.
We hope the fans love what we have been toiling away on for months… and look very much forward to continuing with season 2! Below are some links to the latest behind the scenes and trailers, as well as a a few conceptual art images that production design Seth Reed and I worked together to create with his team of artists – they are faithful pre-visualizations of our light and set design plans.
Cirque du Soleil has been collaborating with James Cameron to create a new touring arena-based show inspired by the hit movie “Avatar”. Director Adrian Wills and I have been travelling to Bossier City, Louisiana on and off over the last few weeks to capture the creation process of the show for a broadcast special.
Using the Alexa Mini and Fujinon Cabrio zooms and Zeiss High Speed primes – as well as the Movi M15, we have been capturing fantastic behind the scenes moments of the elite performers working through the staging of this revolutionary new show for Cirque.
Director Cosimo Zitani and I teamed up again for some slick show promos – this time for the hit MasteChef Canada. Using the three chef judges from the show, we used the Phantom Gold (plus lots of light!) and Cooke 5i lenses to shoot 500fps material against bluescreen of the chefs throwing various ingredients around. A fun day of super slo-mo!
Director Adrian Wills, producer Kenneth Hirsch and myself embarked on our second journey together to Saskatchewan to shoot another half hour episode of Extraordinary Canadians for the CBC. This time our featured author was the acclaimed Joseph Boyden who wrote about the story of Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont.
We were blessed with gorgeous light and locations in the prairie province. The Arri Amira was our primary camera, using Fujinon Cabrio zooms. For one of our days we brought drone operator Bernie Martin from Toronto – using the DJI Inspire – to capture breathtaking aerial views of the Saskatchewan river and the historic site of the battle of Fish Creek.
Teaming up with directors Rachel Harms and Rob Shaw, our mission was to shoot a continuous flowing take of a kitchen island where the fun Snap Crackle & Pop characters dance amongst various holiday themed Rice Krispie treats to a Christmas-holiday song.
Extensive pre-viz discussions took place with the team from Bent Image Lab well before we shot, in order to ensure that our camera system of choice could achieve the move and that our set would work.
We used the Staubli Speedarm – which is essentially a robotic arm which can move up to 6 feet/second, with a radius of 6 feet. Jerry Andrews was our motion control tech who programmed the Speedarm. We shot with Red Dragon and Cooke Mini S4 lenses.
The Speedarm allowed us to do multiple passes of the kitchen island set – so we could take away plates and treats as need be for various parts of the shot. The Rice Krispie characters will be added as a CGI element in post – and the Rice Krispie treats themselves were shot in camera for light reference – but will be added as stop-motion elements in post.
Its not every day you get asked to shoot miniature diorama landscapes. Robin Nishio and Nicolas Girard of Common Good directed two spots for Tim Hortons that were designed to showcase their new line of sustainable coffee from Colombia and Sumatra. Expert miniature builder Winston Hacking came to Toronto from Montreal to construct the various set pieces we needed for the spots. The concept involved rivers of actual Tim Hortons coffee flowing through these landscape dioramas.
We worked with Michael Darby from Whites to incorporate the fantastic Technodolly – which in combination with the Skater Scope lens relay and the compact Cooke MiniS4 lenses, we were able to achieve incredibly smooth, accurate and repeatable moves on our tiny sets. We shot on the Red Dragon at 60fps in order to slow down the ripples of the coffee rivers.
It was great to work with the talented photographer Derek Shapton again, it had been years since we last collaborated. Derek had a couple of clever PSA’s to direct for the Canadian Safe Boating Council. We shot with an Arri Amira in Keswick, Ontario using Cooke Mini S4 glass.
We were able to work entirely with natural light, thankfully our scout planning and weather on the day allowed us to always be looking in the right direction to have the sun where we wanted it. We originally shot this in late June.