All posts tagged BTS

  • Stella’s Adventure

    Presenting the continuing adventures of our wee beastie, Stella.

    We shot this about 6 months ago for Sunset Magazine and have been keeping it on the down low while they used it internally. Excited to finally share.

    Quick backstory: through the power of the Internets, Sunset Magazine (West Coast Lifestyle Magazine) found last year’s day-in-the-life flick of Stella and wanted something similar. The goal was to showcase a particular pet-friendly road trip in Northern California and Stella was just the dog for the job.

    Since Stella responds best to her owners, I decided it would be most effective for Lyn and I to be out in front of the camera for this project. It was an interesting experience directing from the business end of the camera. Thankfully, I had the brotastic Tyler Faires lensing this one.

    One of the unique challenges with this project was that all of the scenes needed to be in chronological and geographical order of the road trip (although I’ve deviated a little in the above “director’s cut”). It was a fun challenge to create something that is half narrative, half documentary, two-quarters music video, and seven-eigths social commentary on the proletariat exploitation of industrial unionism by the neo-Marxist class of socialist objectors. K, maybe not that last part. Just seeing if you were still reading.

    I threw together a few behind the scenes clips since that’s what the kids do these days. Thanks for watching!

    This was a relatively low budget project and I have many volunteers to thank for helping make this project happen.
    Crew: Tyler Faires, Ryan Hutchinson, Foster Lovelace, and Daniel & Michelle Gallagher for helping shoot the last scene which was cut. Sorry guys, at least we got to hang out. Additional Thanks: Greg Dean from The Fly Shop, Sports LTD, Chester Chamber of Commerce, Treats Dog Company, Hat Creek RV and Resort,
    Mt. Shasta Farmers Market, and Gawayne & Shelly, Chloe.

  • Spot Secrets

    My first job out of college was working as an editor for a local TV station. Well, technically, my first official job was a short stint working the make up counter at Walgreens, but that’s another story for another time. I didn’t work at the TV station very long either. I quickly learned that the employee-employer model wasn’t my cup of tea and struck out on my own after a few months. But the experience was enlightening. I got to see how the station made TV commercials. Granted, the spots were quite awful. Picture your typical schlock pitching used cars, law firms, and furniture stores, but they were commercials none-the-less. And I got to see first hand that making a commercial is not really that complicated. Of course, making a good commercial is extremely hard, but you gotta start somewhere.

    So, in the spirit of demystification, I’d like to deconstruct my latest commercial spot for you. If you think you might have the stuff to produce commercial work but aren’t sure where to start, maybe this’ll help. Maybe not. Dammit, Jim! I’m a filmmaker not a career counselor!

    Have a look:

    This particular spot can be broken down into 4 main elements.
    1. The Copy – the words that are being said
    2. Voice Over – the recording, or performance of the copy
    3. Visuals – the stuff you see
    4. Music and Sound – music bed and sound effects

    If you’ve seen my portfolio you might correctly assume that I’ve worked with this client quite a bit. The message and branding have already been dialed in so I’m using those guidelines when developing the spot.

    Now here are my secret weapons for each of these categories.

    1. The Copy. I used to write all my own copy before I realized that there are much more talented people than I who actually LIKE writing scripts. After receiving the event details from the client, I wrote up some instructions and forwarded the details to my copy writer, Kallie. She’s worked with this client before and has the quirky Rolling Hills voice dialed in. By the way, Kallie is a pen-for-hire if you’re needing some deftly crafted prose or poetry for a project. You can find her on Twitter.

    2. Voice Over. Once the script was approved by the client, I emailed it to Marketing Mania ( I’ve had the pleasure of working with this company for a few years now. They’ve done 95% of the VO work in my portfolio. Since we’d already cast a voice over artist for this client, the turn around was right quick. In less than 24 hours I had an MP3 of the final voice over. Use them. Tell Christina I sent you.

    3. Visuals. No cameras were harmed, or even used, in the making of this commercial. This is all After Effects. Some artwork was provided by the client and the rest was created in software or sourced on iStockphoto. My goal was to create an interesting layout of content that illustrates the copy while leading the viewer’s eye through the spot in an engaging way. As you might imagine, this was the most laborious, time-consuming task of the process. The final visuals were assembled and timed in Final Cut Pro.

    4. Music and Sound. Right now my favorite production music sites are Pump Audio, Non Stop Music, and Dewolfe Music. You buy only the song you need and pay based on use and distribution – pretty simple. Sound effects were all sourced through Same search and purchase model.

    That’s pretty much it.

    Obviously, I’m simplifying the process a bit but these are the basic components used to create this particular commercial spot. Now you know (and knowing is half the battle). Feel free to use these resources on your own projects.

    One last note: some of the sound effects I needed for this spot were a little specific so we had to roll our own. Thanks for the vocal help, friends.

  • iPad Shopping

    I wish I could say I was writing this post on an iPad. Alas, the Apple Fairy has yet to bequeath unto me the “ultimate mobile multimedia device” (Job’s words, not mine). But instead of sitting around pining over my iPadlessness, I’ve decided to mock up another iPad “experience.” I’m not going to say much about this one since it’s pretty self explanatory. Combine the convenience of shopping online with the familiartiy of a print layout. Sprinkle in a dash of novelty in the form of “living portraits” and wrap the whole thing up in a sleek, hand held device. I think this could be an interesting way to shop.

    The footage for this demo came from a stock footage fashion shoot we did a couple weeks ago. Here’s a little bit of randomness from the day:

    And just because the ladies did such a great job, here’s a few more clips of them posing.

  • Stop Motion, Stop

    I’ve been itching to try some stop motion lately and luckily found a project that seemed suited to the technique. Here is a TVC I created for a women’s health fair event (sidenote: TVC is industry-speak for “television commercial”). The challenge was to visually show a connection between “health, fitness, and fashion.” Shooting stop motion allowed for some creative transitions that helped tie the three themes together. Notice there are no cuts in this spot.

    And now some technical details.
    We shot this on a blue paper backdrop. It was lit with a couple of kino four-banks from the front. I went with hot lights instead of strobes to eliminate any potential flickering due to variation in strobe output. Don’t get me wrong, I love AlienBees, but they are not as consistent as, say, Profoto. Plus, shooting with constant light meant I could shoot at a higher fps without waiting for strobes to recycle.

    The spot was shot on a Canon 5DMkII in stills mode (not video). I cheated the stop motion where ever I could. Cheating meant having the model move in slow motion and varying the shutter interval manually. It probably averaged somewhere around 4 fps. Other setups required the standard (and tedious) method of positioning the frame, snapping a picture…reposition…snap…repeat ad naseum. Text was done in After Effects using a combination of jitter settings in Path Text and Time Posterization.

    I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll say it again. Filmmaking is one long string of creative problem solving. A great example of this is the “toiletry mobile” constructed from a mountain bike wheel and fishing line (see picture below). This little gem allowed the toiletries to easily orbit the model’s head. Big thanks to Casey our fearless model, Anna with make up and hair, Amy the apple eater, and Lyn production manager extraordinaire. Also thanks to InHouse Marketing for all their help with production logistics.

    Toiletry MobileBTS-stopmotion-5096
  • Cart – A Short Film

    Ever wonder how abandoned shopping carts end up where they do?  Me too.

    Written & Directed by Jesse Rosten
    Music by Peter Lance

    The idea for this film was hatched a few years ago.  Lyn and I were driving through town and had Radiohead’s OK Computer on the CD player.  As we drove by an empty parking lot, we happened to notice a shopping cart looking rather lost and disheveled.  This visual, combined with Yorke’s longing melodies, had us both feeling like we were experiencing something dramatic and cinematic.  So, naturally, we started laughing.  The next few minutes were spent joking about “the little cart that could.”   “Wouldn’t that be funny if…” “He’s got the heart of a champion.”  Fast forward a few years and we hadn’t forgotten about the cart.  When I learned that my hometown was hosting a film festival to showcase local talent, the idea of the shopping cart resurfaced. Can’t get shown up on your home court, right?  A few beers with friends and many script revisions later and we had a story.

    The film was shot with no budget, over a few weeks.  The question I get asked the most is, “how did you get the cart to move?”  Simple.  String.  Ugly Braid 40lbs test fishing line to be exact.  We went through several brands before we found one that didn’t show too much on screen.  Even so, when shooting at 4k it’s hard to hide anything and I ended up having to comp the string out of a few of the shots.  Big thanks to Derek and Lyn for all their hard work on the production.  Also, this film wouldn’t be what it is without the beautiful music composed by Peter Lance.

    Please enjoy the film and don’t hesitate to ask (in the comments section) if you have any questions.  For the tech-heads, this was shot on a Red One with Canon EOS lenses via the Birger lens mount.

  • Behind the Scenes – Girls Club

    For those of you who think we work with a big crew, here is evidence to the contrary. In fact, I think this was the biggest crew we’ve had to-date.  Choreographer, makeup artist (x2), PA, and Agency were all present.