Fresh Coast was contracted by JCN’s ad agency, Berman and Company of Washington DC., to provide 2-camera video coverage of the event, interviews with key presenters, and still photos for JCN’s various websites and YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/user/JobCreatorsNetwork/featured
The technical specifications were very exacting. Houzz requested the A camera shoot 4K to allow their in-house editors to re-frame in post. We chose a Canon C300 MK II. Since only 1080p was required for the B camera, we used a Canon C100 recording Apple ProRes. The background was to be 100% white to match the look Houzz has chosen for all their interviews with “Houzz Pros” around the world.
The audio requirements were very specific. In addition to two mics on Lewis Black, Guilick requested six matching shotgun mics strategically placed around the theatre to capture audience reactions. All eight mics were to be recorded on separate channels in 24 bit/96kHz with dual 8-track recorders providing system redundancy and hardware backup. We chose Sennheiser 416’s for the audience mics and a pair of Sound Devices 8 channel recorders. Thomas Beach engineered the recording.
To insure the video footage would be suitable for any possible future uses (broadcast or theatrical release), we choose a Canon Digital Cinema camera equipped with a 150-600mm lens to give us a waist-up framing from the back of the theatre.
Lewis Black has been hugely popular in Wisconsin since the early ninety’s and both performances were sold out. The producers were happy. The audiences had a great time and so did our crew. As Lewis put it: “It’s an extraordinary state. They’ve embraced me and they’ve embraced Scott Walker”. He had a lot more to say about Wisconsin’s Republican Governor, but we’re not going to go there.
For the most recent spot promoting Sargento’s new Snack Bites, producer Jon Messner and Sargento’s ad agency, Oglivy & Mather www.ogilvy.com reached out to Fresh Coast Production Resources for a turnkey solution.
At Fresh Coast, we pride ourselves on our ability to assemble just the right combination of crew, equipment, and production management to meet our client’s needs and expectations. This job was a perfect example.
We chose RDI Stages www.rdimage.com in Milwaukee for the shoot because it would be convenient for the Gentines who would be coming from Sargento’s corporate offices in Plymouth WI. RDI was also spacious enough to accommodate the large broad light sources necessary to match the overcast lighting of the barn.
We were able to source all the equipment, and most of the crew in Milwaukee. Lighting and grip came from Blue Moon Lights www.bluemoonlights.com and DP Mike Gillis www.mikegillisdp.com provided the client-specified Arri 4K camera and lens package. www.arri.com/camera/amira . Gaffer on the shoot was Ryan Brooks. Tim Moder served as swing grip and AC. Tom Beach handled the audio mix, and the makeup artist was Jhousy Leon www.blushmilwaukee.com.
Two non-Milwaukee exceptions were Director Ray Dillman who the agency brought in from New York http://rabbitcontent.com/directors/ray-dillman , and Chicago Stylist Martha Heppler because she had provided wardrobe for previous Sargento spots featuring the Gentines.
As we expected, everyone did a great job. The shoot was quick and painless, and by mid afternoon the footage was on its way to Optimus www.optimus.com in Chicago for post-production.
See the finished TV commercial here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ginlh0ADG2E
To add a little more production value, while still keeping costs low, we employed a green screen technique that would allow us to film the presentation in our studio, and then make it appear that the VP was speaking in an actual corporate office setting. Pretty simple stuff actually, but that extra bit of green screen compositing added a lot of perceived production value for very little additional cost.
We filmed using our Canon Cinema EOS C100 recording to an external Blackmagic Video Assist recorder. The resulting ProRes 422 video keyed perfectly. This is one of our favorite camera solutions for great looking video on a limited budget.
On-camera talent portions were filmed on green-screen with store backgrounds added in post. When combined with in-store footage and graphics, the resulting video provided RainSoft with a highly effective, yet economical training solution.
On the first day, they toured Chicago neighborhoods on the verge of gentrification. We got some great footage of them cautiously poking their way through dilapidated buildings destined to soon be rehabbed into $300,000 condominium units.
Days two and three were devoted to speaker presentations at the J.W. Marriott. http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/chijw-jw-marriott-chicago/
Normally for us this would have been a “no brainer”. Put a camera in the back of the room and try to stay awake for two days. But this one turned out to be a little more of a challenge.
Because the attendance was much larger than expected, the sessions were moved from a well-lit, video-friendly meeting room to a huge 6,000 square foot ballroom illuminated only by dim chandeliers hung from the 20 ft. high ceiling. There was no time or budget to bring in a lighting grid. We had to find a way to make it work.
Canon claims their C100 cinema cameras will make a perfectly acceptable picture at ISO 8000. http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/professional/products/professional_cameras/cinema_eos_cameras/eos_c100#Features
Actually they claim even more, but ISO 8000 would be enough to allow us to pull this off, and worked!!
The footage, shot from the back of the ballroom with a Canon 100-400 L zoom looked amazing. We were able to keep our promise of “providing solutions”, not just crew and gear.
So what does all this have to do with Fresh Coast? Apparently even though Replay Technologies’ systems are used at major sporting events throughout the world, Major League Baseball was not totally convinced the resulting computer generated imagery was accurate enough for the official replays viewed by umpires and coaches. They wanted to test it for themselves and reached out to Fresh Coast for help.
Three high speed Phantom Flex 4K camera packages http://www.visionresearch.com/Products/High-Speed-Cameras/Phantom-Flex4K were rented from AbelCine in L.A. and Fresh Coast’s Chicago office provided three Phantom-certified camera assistants, three PA’s, and a key grip.
The testing took place over four days at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field. Actual and simulated game action was recorded in 4K slow motion with the Phantom Flex cameras. MLB Advanced media would then compare the Phantom footage with Replay Technologies’ “3D Pixel Recreations” to confirm its accuracy.
No idea what MLB learned from the experiment, but thanks to the efforts of our crew, Tim Moder, Mike Pavisan, Shaun Fleeger, Andy Cook, Nick Turner, Ricky Rudolph, Thomas Andrejek, and Eyliece Richardson, MLB Advanced Media left Chicago with a whole lot of terabytes of high speed, 4K footage to study and analyze.
Their question was: Could we provide a crew with the specified camera package for two days of filming at the Wisconsin State Fair beginning that Sunday at 7:00 AM?. Our answer was: “We’ll try”.
38 hours wasn’t a lot of time to pull this off – especially on a Friday evening. Our only option would be to locate an experienced Wisconsin DP who not only owned a FS7, but who was available on such short notice. We reached Milwaukee DP Jon Kline late Friday evening and he was available. Even later that evening we got lucky a second time. One of our go-to Wisconsin sound recordists – Thomas Beach – was also available and willing to get up very early on Sunday morning.
We got lucky (as did Emergent Order). Thanks to the great relationships we’ve developed with crew people in the Midwest, we were able to “take care of the rest” - even with only 38 hrs. notice.
Every year RainSoft holds awards banquets to honor outstanding employees from their nation-wide network of dealers. Each award winner is introduced with pre-recorded video comments from dealer management and RainSoft regional directors. Fresh Coast has produced these videos for a number of years, and in the past it has meant traveling to dozens of dealerships scattered around the U.S. and Canada to film the interviews.
Also each year, RainSoft hosts Gold Circle dealer meetings (typically in exotic locales) that bring all their dealers and regional directors together in the same place at the same time. This year it was at the Casa de Campo Resort in the Dominican Republic. So with one trip, and a little green screen magic, Fresh Coast was able to film all the interviews in a single day, and make it look like we traveled to all those dealerships.
In April, Fresh Coast Production Resources had the opportunity to provide U.S. production management, local crew, equipment, and location support for the Chicago filming of “Smolensk” - a Polish feature film being produced by PICARESQUE Maciej Pawlicki in Warsaw.
Directed by legendary Polish director, Antoni Krauze, the film deals with the conspiracy theories surrounding the April 2010 crash of a Polish government plane in the town of Smolensk in western Russia. All aboard died in the crash including President Lech Kaczynski and 95 other members of Poland’s political and military elite.
Smolensk DOP Michał Pakulski watches as Camera OP Marcin Gąsiorowski films a scene at the Polish Highlanders Alliance. Much of the film was shot hand-held.
The film has sparked considerable controversy inside Poland and around the world for its suggestion that the Russian government was somehow responsible for the crash. We’ve placed a number of interesting links about the film at the bottom of this posting.
Smolensk filming along the Chicago River.
While most of the film is set in Poland, the main character is a journalist who’s investigative reporting leads her to Chicago. And this is where Fresh Coast Production Resources comes in.
Pawel Mantorski, PICARESQUE’S Field Producer in Poland first contacted Fresh Coast in March seeking local production support for the Chicago filming. It was our first experience working with an Eastern European production company, and PICARESQUE’S first time filming in Chicago. It was a “learning experience” for everyone, but ultimately a rewarding one.
1st AD Bartosz Paduch (right) and camera crew wait out the rain on Columbus Dr.
Fresh Coast Production Manager Ralph Pabst went to work lining up the Chicago crew, obtaining the requested camera package and G&E support, and figuring out how to transport the 19 person Polish crew around the city.
Meanwhile, Fresh Coast’s Chicago Location Manager, Brittany Pawlowski went to work obtaining the necessary City of Chicago filming and special parking permits, arranged for catering, and worked out all the other logistical details of shooting a feature film in Chicago. Together Brittany and Ralph scouted for suitable filming locations, and periodically sent photos to the director and DOP in Poland.
Waiting out the rain again on the Norwest side.
G&E crew “making sunshine”
Filming a scene at “Nina’s father’s house”
An even a bigger challenge was obtaining production insurance. It was questionable whether PICARESQUE’s own insurance (through an underwriter in Belgium) would cover the Chicago filming. And finding a U.S. insurance company willing to write a policy to a Polish film company was not easy. With only days remaining before the scheduled filming, Ralph found Patrick Kuhnmuench at Robertson Ryan & Assoc. who came through with a policy from Philadelphia Insurance.
North American Camera in Milwaukee provided a RED Epic-Dragon 5K Ultra HD camera package with a full compliment of Cooke prime lenses and camera support. Tim Moder took responsibility for the gear, and acted as 2nd AC to the Polish camera crew.
Andrew E. Cook, Inc. of Harvard, IL supplied their 3 Ton Grip Truck (or as they like to say “almost a 5 Ton”) packed with an array of ARRI and Mole-Richardson HMI, Tungsten, and LED fixtures plus Kino-Flo’s.
All the audio gear - Sound Devices mixers & multi-track recorders, numerous Lectrosonics Radio Mics and a Denecke Smart Slate - came from Cream City Sound of Burlington, WI.
Problems in obtaining U.S. visas delayed the arrival of the Polish crew, and meant all filming had to be completed in three days! This, combined with Chicago’s unpredictable weather, made for a stressful shoot. But everyone pulled together, and we got it done. Much of the credit goes to the film’s First Assistant Director, Bartosz Paduch, who somehow managed to keep his cool throughout.
But none of it would have been possible without our great Chicago and Milwaukee crew. Many thanks to Tom Beach (audio), Tim Moder (2nd. AC), Andy Cook (Key Grip), Jeremy Christen (BB Electric), Andrew Yuncza (BB Grip), Bill Lindgren (Grip/Genny OP), Joel Labahn (Asst. Location Manager), and PA’s Jose Rivas and Dan DeSalva. And a special thanks to Location Manage Brittany Pawlowski who did an amazing job. (Now if she only spoke Polish).
Check out the following links to articles about the film. We think you’ll find them very interesting.
Director Antoni Krauze (center) with Actors Marek Probosz, Beata Fido, and Maciej Góraj (L-R)
Smolensk actors, crew, and the Fresh Coast team at wrap.
Our task was to film the meeting multi-cam and then rough-cut the footage on-site for review by Glanbia’s head office representative at the meeting. The original Sony XDCAM ISO camera footage along with an Apple ProRes switched master would be overnighted to London. The low-res rough cuts would be uploaded to World Television as reference for their final edit. After our site survey, we learned that we would also need to provide all the stage lighting and audio support for both the video and audience PA.
Steve Pantaleo of SP Video provided the audio & lighting gear, and along with Fresh Coast Producer Ralph Pabst and Technical Director Jake Demoske, made the trip from Milwaukee to Aurora. They were joined by Camera Ops Todd Tue and Jeff Hadick from Fresh Coast’s Chicago office. http://www.film-video-production-crews-chicago-illinois.com
It was a long day (and a very cold load-in) but the Fresh Coast crew pulled it off without a hitch.