Posts tagged sony
We Are The Sun

We started filming and documenting big art efforts last year at Burning Man, and this year we had the pleasure of being part of the incredible build crew for Catacomb of Veils, one of the largest art structures ever built on the Playa.

It was a tremendous experience, that will stay with us forever, and created a new family network of insanely talented artists and friends. We are now happy to share this video we recently completed that shows the crazy amount of effort it takes to bring a project like this to reality.

Hope you enjoy! We are always looking for other amazing projects to help out with at Burning Man, so feel free to reach out to us at any point if you have something brewing in the pipeline.

Sony Alpha

Some of our photography and video work was just featured on the front page of the official Sony Alpha website, the official Sony destination for everything related to their whole digital camera line.

Since we mostly shoot with Sony gear these days, the article focuses on how it was to use the FS7 and the A7Rii during the intense desert conditions of Black Rock City, the creative mecca also known as Burning Man.

https://alphauniverse.com/

Sony Loves Us!

We are very excited to share an article Sony Pro USA recently published on their industry blog about one of our currently on-going documentary projects following Burning Man, the Temple, and much more.

Take a look at the article below, and tell us what you think!

http://blog.sony.com/press/tossing-sonys-pxw-fs7-into-the-crucible-of-creativity/

Burning Man 2015. Photograph by Afonso Salcedo.

Fashion Shoot

We just completed a couple of very exciting and fun photoshoots for fashion design brand House of Borel.

Natalie Crane (left) and Charlotte Welch (right) jump for a photo in our on-location studio with model Christian Larwood (middle).

Wednesday's shoot was at our studio in Oakland, and a total product design shoot using state of the art equipment and our brand new A7Rii camera, which has one of the best sensors in the industry today.

Today's shoot was with two models, and the help of a make-up artist and hair stylist, at the House of Barel offices in downtown San Francisco.

We can't wait to share the results, but for now, check out the following two photos for a sneak peek at what's coming...

One of the bags being photographed during the product shoot at our studio space in Oakland.

Houghton College

Houghton College and borrego solar have completed a 2.5 megawatt on-site solar energy installation – the largest on a college campus in New York State.

sutro studios was there filming and capturing the story.

 

Day 1

 

The system will generate an estimated 3.15 million kilowatt hours of electricity in its first year of operation—the equivalent amount of energy needed to power 370 homes annually—and will allow the college to realize a 23 percent first-year greenhouse gas reduction and save up to $4.3 million during the 25-year power purchase agreement contract period.
— WXXI News

Atomos Shogun recorder in action at Houghton College, NY.

A screen grab from the shot shown above. We usually quickly apply a simple grade on top of the footage, to just start getting an idea of the feel and mood for the whole video.

Houghton is committed to being carbon neutral by 2050. This new solar array will get us 23 percent of the way there,” he said. “We expect to save $119,000 on electricity during the first year of operation, and $4.3 million during the 25-year power purchase agreement contract period.
— Brian Webb, Houghton College Sustainability Coordinator

The campus of Houghton College is perfect to film.

The FS700 and Atomos Shogun provide a ton of flexibility in capturing great footage if you know the camera well, and understand the power of color grading in post-production. Here we have a very quick and simple grade to test a certain look for the footage. 

The solar project reflects both Houghton College’s commitment to renewable energy and our commitment to form creative partnerships for the greater good of our region,
— Shirley Mullen, Houghton College President

Our creative team filming behind the scenes one of the student interviews. Levi Pike of Redbone Media to the left shooting on his 5Dm3 and SmallHD monitor, and Tommy Sunderland (right) of Borrego Solar conducting the interviews.

The students at Houghton College are extremely well spoken, and these were some of the easiest interviews we have ever filmed. We took advantage of a natural shade structure to be able to capture soft lighting outdoors, during a pretty bright sunny afternoon. Simple color grade applied to start testing skin tones, and overall look of the image and interviews.

The project was created and built by Borrego Solar Systems Inc., a designer, developer and installer of grid-tied solar photovoltaic systems, and financed by WGL Energy, through a power purchase agreement that covered the costs.
— Olean Times Herald

Atomos Shogun quickly became our favorite tool in production. That microphone is pretty incredible too, especially for outdoor environments.

Another screen grab of the students we filmed at Houghton. We love playing with composition for the interviews. Outdoors always provides great flexibility and opportunities for cinematic backgrounds, and for guiding the eye in a subtle way.

With this solar installation, Houghton College has taken a leadership role in sustainability in the education space. You’re going to see a lot more 2.5 to 2.6 megawatt solar arrays being constructed all around the state in the upcoming years,
— Amy McDonough, Sr. Project Developer, Borrego Solar
 

Day 2

With this project, Houghton College has shown itself to be a leader in clean energy investment in New York State.
— John B. Rhodes, NYSERDA President

Indoors filming an interview with Brian Webb from Houghton College. Litepanels LED are great for this kind of setup and give a nice soft light with great control of color temperature and hardness.

Shooting indoor interviews in office settings is always a challenge. You have to think about composition to make it interesting, and lighting that typically is very artificial and lifeless. Since we're going for a more cinematic tone, you can see here how we planned this composition for the interview. With Brian on the right of the frame, lit by a couple of soft LitePanel LEDs, the key from screen right, we can still take advantage of the outdoor campus to capture some contextual and interesting activity.

This is one way that we can do that with reliable and renewable energy that will remove a significant portion of our fossil fuel usage and create energy with a contract that we have now for 25 years with Borrego Solar to essentially lock us into a solid rate that’ll be economic and hopefully save about $2.5 estimated million dollars for the university over the 20-year period.
— Marshall Green, Public Relations Specialist, Houghton College

Levi Pike from Redbone Media was our assistant throughout the shoot. He's helping with sound testing for an indoor shoot with the President of Houghton College. We only had a couple of minutes available to us to film an interview after the luncheon meeting with the people associated with the solar array project, so we had to plan this carefully. With a very clinical and relatively uninteresting room, we found an American flag in the corner, and quickly realized this could be the perfect setting for an interview background. We used gaffers tape to secure the interview spot to save time in the end, and to extend the flag on the background wall.

And here's the result, with a quick small color grade applied. With two LitePanel LEDs and diffusers, we get a pretty even and attractive lighting effect for this interview. The key coming from screen left, and a soft fill is pointing towards the wall on screen right to fill in the shadows a bit, and create a bit of a vignette around her. For such a simple and challenging shot, we can still get a cinematic look if you take care in observing what's around you before filming.

The solar project reflects both Houghton College’s commitment to renewable energy and our commitment to form creative partnerships for the greater good of our region.
— Shirley Mullen, President, Houghton College

Closeup of one of the thousands of solar panels part of this new solar array at Houghton College, by Borrego Solar.

A screen grab of a shot we did of one of the rows of the array at Houghton College. Thanks to Borrego Solar, this solar array will be one of the largest solar arrays in an American college campus. Here, we set the FS700 filming a bit of a long shot on a tripod, so that we can speed it up in editing/post and capture the reflection of the clouds moving across the array. It's one simple way of adding interest to what typically can be a pretty cold mechanical shot, and it works really well for this perspective. We are also playing with lines to add a more dynamic and richer depth to this shot.


About Houghton College 
Houghton College is a liberal arts institution that challenges students to academic excellence in the context of a relevant Christian community and empowers them to enrich the world. The college of 1,000 students is located in Western New York just 65 miles from Buffalo and Rochester. For more information, please visit http://www.houghton.edu.

About Borrego Solar 
Established in 1980, Borrego Solar Systems, Inc. is one of the nation's leading financiers, designers, developers and installers of commercial and utility solar power systems. Borrego Solar's photovoltaic systems are efficient, reliable and cost-effective. With more than three decades of experience and more than 1,000 solar power installations completed—totaling over 150 MW—Borrego Solar offers a complete line of solar system design and installation services throughout North America. Borrego Solar was recently ranked as the #2 commercial EPC in the United States and the #2 commercial contractor in California by Solar Power World. For more information, visit http://www.borregosolar.com.

Green Initiatives

Introduction

We were recently hired to work with Borrego Solar and the Town of Easton, MA to create a video showcasing the outstanding efforts of their Green Initiatives program. Being the first town in their County to go green, it was a complete privilege to meet first hand the people and projects that keep pushing forward the renewable energy efforts, creating jobs, saving money, and counteracting climate change for future generations.

As we couldn't be more excited to have been awarded this video project, we've decided to create a production/post-production diary showcasing how we approach the project, sharing some of the challenges we face, and eventually the final video product.

Thank you for your interest in reading this, and please don't hesitate to ask us any questions. Storytelling is always at the center of every project we do, no matter what the scope of the work is.

Keep creating.

- Afonso


Monday 5/19

We've submitted our first rough cut of the video, at 2m:30s duration, and we couldn't be more excited about it. This is part of our editing process, where we get notes from our clients at Borrego Solar about what we can improve in certain elements.

Being a rough cut, things like sound and grading are still not final, amongst other things, but the main structure and flow of the story is there, and that's the most important thing.

The video feels good, looks great, and we can't wait to be able to share more details about this soon. Stay tuned...

 

Wednesday 4/30

Our main shoot day. This was to be a long day. With guests starting to arrive around 10:30am for the ribbon cutting ceremony in Easton, we had to film the live event non-stop, and film three interviews with main Town of Easton representatives in the afternoon.

We were really lucky. At this point, it hadn't stopped raining in the Boston area, so we were afraid the shoot wouldn't go as well. Fortunately, and weirdly enough, the rain stopped for the two hour window we needed to cover the event, including setup time for all the cameras and gear.

We had three cameras filming the event, one FS700 with a 70-200mm lens, a 5Dm2 and a 5Dm3. That way we had at all times three cameras shooting the event, and we could seamlessly cut between different perspectives in post.

We also set up a boom mic above the podium with a wind filter, to make sure we'd capture the best sound possible without interference from audience sounds, generators, or environment noises. It worked out perfectly.

10250205_761596903860064_5625774556326072693_n.jpg


Tuesday, 4/29

As we keep charging batteries and making sure everything is set up properly, it is time to pick up our assistant videographer and regular collaborator from Logan Airport. Levi Pike is a great and talented videographer, with a keen eye for detail and composition, and we couldn't be more excited to work with him on this.

Make sure you check out his website at RedBone Media.

With Levi in the car, it's time to head out to Easton for the first time, meet some of the people in the Town Offices, and start shooting some b-roll. We have our drone with us, the incredible Phantom 2 Vision+ that just came out a month ago at NAB.

 

Our first stop is at one of the solar arrays that Borrego installed for Easton. We use the drone to capture some fly overs, and we were fortunate the stormy weather held off a while longer.

Straight of the drone footage for one of the solar arrays

Straight of the drone footage for one of the solar arrays

Since we were shooting a live event the next day, we headed onto the main site to get a feel of the land layout, pre-plan where to put our gear, cameras, and see how the event would be organized.

And of course we used the quadcopter to take some more aerial footage of the main installation. We were amazed by the scope of the solar array, and to learn more about the project. This new solar array by Borrego Solar will generate enough electricity to power more than 230 homes.

Working with the Phantom quadcopter is nothing short of amazing. We can get really outstanding HD quality footage, and even 14 MP of raw photographs. Despite of heavy wind, we could still control the drone in a really stable way. For more information about the Vision+ check out DJI's website.

Straight from our drone footage in the main solar array.

Straight from our drone footage in the main solar array.

 

Monday, 4/28

 

We just arrived in Boston, MA. Due to simple work logistics between the offices of Borrego Solar in the East Coast, and the Town of Easton, we are actually staying in Lowell, MA to make it easy to pick up gear, have our pre-production meetings, and travel back and forth to the location of the actual shoot in Easton, MA.

We arrive early in the morning after the usually uncomfortable red-eye flight. Virgin America never ceases to amaze us though, with their ongoing efforts to make the standard economy class feel a bit more fun at least than every other airline we've flown.

Cramped seats of modern flying

Cramped seats of modern flying

As we arrive in Lowell, MA we start immediately planning our shoot for the remained of the week. The main schedule will involve three days of work. First day, mostly B-roll shooting, second day, covering the main event and filming interviews, and finally third day dealing mostly with logistics from backing up footage, transferring everything accordingly, and returning rented gear.

Speaking of rentals, we typically use BorrowLenses.com for a lot of our shoots. They provide an outstanding service at all times, and for bigger rentals they even put you directly in their VIP support system, with priority everything. Make sure you check them out next time you need to rent lenses, cameras, lights, or whatever else  you can imagine. The prices are fair and the quality of the equipment is just perfect.

And on a side note, if you use them through this link, you are actually helping us without even having to pay extra for it!

As soon as we pick up the rented gear, we're happy that we got a big car. We typically choose our lights based on each project needs, scope, and budget. For this case, we got a couple of LitePanels and ARRI lights, some of our current favorites for indoor interview usage.

BorrowLenses.com  always ready to help us out when needed

BorrowLenses.com always ready to help us out when needed

Everything starts getting ready for the shoot

Everything starts getting ready for the shoot

It's a long day, but a very necessary one. Better to prep all the gear as early as possible, test the lights, test the batteries, microphones, set up the cameras with the right color profiles, and plan the shoot as much as possible.

 

Twitter
twitter_logo.png

We are extremely excited to share with you we were lucky enough to work again with our friends at Oct28 Productions and Torres Studios, to film an internal video for Twitter. 

We spent the whole day yesterday filming a great story at Twitter HQ in San Francisco, CA. Although we can't talk about the specifics of the project, we can definitely say how amazing the people at Twitter were and how beautiful their campus is.

Truly outstanding experience, and an honor to meet some of their teams. 

Scott Mason (left) from Oct28 Productions with Afonso Salcedo from Sutro Studios (right).

Scott Mason (left) from Oct28 Productions with Afonso Salcedo from Sutro Studios (right).

NAB

We're getting really excited about some of the gear we've been seeing come out of NAB this year. We haven't had a chance to try it yet, but we'd like to share some of our favorites right now and the ones that we're most excited about, some bigger than others.  

Sony F5/F55.

These have been a favorite of ours for a while now. The cameras offer a perfect blend of form factor modularity and high quality codecs. The image they produce is pretty outstanding to be honest and the highlight rolloff coming from the F55 seems very close to the Alexa, based on some of the tests. These are becoming pretty common to rent now, so if you're interested in us using one of them for your projects consider it done. They offer some of the best quality image out there at the moment, in some ways better than the RED, but as usual different cameras different brushes. It all depends on the look of the piece and what you want to make of it.

Sony PMW-F55 CineAlta 4K Digital Cinema CameraSony PMW-F5 CineAlta Digital Cinema Camera

Redrock  Micro One-Man-Crew slider

Another awesome rig from Redrock Micro. This one just seems like a great easy add-on for putting your second camera and not even thing about it while shooting interviews. Immediately set this up in a couple of minutes, touch a couple of buttons and the slider will pan smooth parabolic motions for you. This is perfect for shooting a second perspective during interviews and for $1500 we definitely intend to have this on board in the next few months. We're all for making shoots easier and less complex. Check out the video below. The slider is available to pre-order on their website now and will ship in a couple of months.


Movi Rig

Definitely one of the most talked about products so far has been this crazy awesome stabilizer based on a digital 3-axis gyroscopic gimbal. Vince Laforet posted an amazing video he shot using the Movi rig and called it the "game-changer" of the year. Since he hasn't used that word for any other product since the 5Dm2 first came out, it's a pretty big deal. The Movi rig permits you to do shots that you could never *easily* have done before. It's pretty incredible stuff and since the video says it all, here's the film that Laforet shot:

That alone is already pretty cool, but you really should watch the behind the scenes to get a feel for what this baby can do.


Now, the rigs are still pretty expensive. The MT-10 is capable of holding cameras up to 10lbs and costs around $15,000, but it definitely offers a lot of versatility for a much more portable thing. Imagine you go on a shoot somewhere remote, you could easily budget this in instead of having to carry a steadicam, a jib, a slider and other things like that. Does it replace all those? Never, but it adds a lot to a production budget for an equivalent price of all those items together. Now... what this also means is that in a year or two there will be much more affordable stabilizers based on similar designs and tech, so it's only a good thing for the film industry, especially the indie filmmaker. They are also planning on adding iris/focus control on the handles, so that solo operators can control everything easily.

We personally cannot wait to try one of these. For now, read more info on Laforet's great blog.

BlackMagic Design

BlackMagic took NAB by storm last year when they released the Cinema Camera. Pretty amazing 2.5K camera, for a really affordable price that shot uncompressed RAW and ProRes with 13 stops of dynamic range. Since then, they've gotten a lot of slack for not delivering it on time. The MFT mount version of the camera is only now shipping to a handful of people so they annoyed a lot of people with their supply issues. They say they've learned from their mistakes and that they sorted out the issues, and of course, they released another bombshell announcement at NAB this year. Not one, but TWO new cameras that sound and look really promising: the Pocket Cinema Camera and the Production Cinema Camera 4K.

The Pocket Cinema Camera is for less than $1000 a pretty amazing deal. The size of a very compact photo camera, it's a Super16 digital camera that shoots compressed RAW and ProRes. It has a MFT mount so you can get cheap affordable pretty good quality lenses, and there's a ton of them available. And it's small. Really small. It has the similar touch screen on the back and a lot of the functionality of the Cinema 2.5K camera. It has a removable battery and it only weighs 355g. Crazy stuff. Cannot wait to see what people do with this. It's very small, so obviously hard to hold for filming, but I'm sure this will bring a ton of potential to places you could never bring a camera before. And it shoots RAW. Compressed. Pretty Amazing. You can get the full gist of the camera on this link and of course pre-order it already through B&H:

Blackmagic¤Design Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

The other camera they announced is the 4K bombshell. Based on their design of the 2.5K camera, it now has a Super35mm sensor instead and an EF mount. The camera has 12 stops of Dynamic Range (which is slightly smaller than the 2.5k Camera), but it shoots compressed 4K Raw and ProRes out of the box. With the EF mount you can access all the L lenses, but better yet all the cinema primes from Schneider and Zeiss. Even though I hate the form factor of the camera, there are plenty of cages and rigs built for this already that provide a ton of flexibility. The screen, if it's the same as the 2.5K is pretty unusable in bright light, even with the sunshade, but with any of these you should really invest in a monitor like the SmallHD. It captures 4K ProRes directly onto a SSD card, which is awesome and you can use the interface to tag and add metadata directly onto the footage as you shot.

It comes with DaVinci Resolve Lite, which is weird since the 2.5K camera comes with the full version of Resolve. It's worth investing in Resolve if you want to take full advantage of the RAW footage, so consider that an extra $1000 investment on top of that eventually. Either way, with 4K this camera will last you a while and could definitely quickly become a great Cam-B for a lot of shoots. We have one on pre-order already and can't wait to start shooting with it! Check out the official website for tons more gadget porn and you can pre-order yours as well from B&H:

Blackmagic¤Design BLACKMAGIC CINEMA CAMERA 4K