Oddly enough, we shot this one a while before we shot "Ready For It," we just released "Ready for It" first because this was a VERY tricky edit. Very very tricky.
Remember when I said that "Ready For It" was shot very purposefully? Not just for coverage? This one was quite the opposite. In fact, I would say "Ready For It" turned out as good as it did because of the lessons learned on "Born Ready."
Poonam and I both really wanted to shoot in the desert. I was really inspired by the music video for "Black" by Lee Hyori, so I wanted to find a spot with a similar vibe. Mistake number one - because I wanted to shoot during golden hour, we didn't start driving up to the Lancaster desert until late afternoon. Not nearly enough time to compensate for mistake number two... we didn't have a specific spot in mind, so when we got the desert it took a while to find a patch of terrain that wasn't hazardous.
Even the spot we ended up with was problematic. Poonam kept getting stickers in her feet, and I was constantly running away from bees. For this reason, the coverage we got was, well, what we got, and there was too much chaos for me to be really intentional with my shots, resulting in a tricky edit.
That said, holy moly, considering the circumstances, look at that beautiful desert! Look how gorgeous the video turned out! I think we came out as winners once again. What do you think?
Such a crazy story!
Poonam had been playing with the idea of doing a video for Taylor Swift's "Ready For It" for a while. We both LOVE the song. I also really wanted to shoot a behind-the-scenes documentary about our projects so I thought this was an awesome opportunity to do that.
So I picked this spot up in the Angeles National Forest - up in the mountains - to shoot. I've shot there many times without trouble, and it's absolutely gorgeous, so I figured - perfect! Right? Wrong.
I guess having me, Poonam, two dancers, and two behind-the-scenes camera guys (our wonderful boyfriends) rubbed the park services folks the wrong way. So halfway through the shoot, we got kicked out for not having permits.
Still, this is honestly my favorite video that we've ever done. I was far more purposeful while shooting this than I normally am. I generally just shoot a variety of coverage and cut it together, but on this shoot, I picked very specific shots for very specific points in the song and the choreography. And I think it shows!
What do you guys think?
This was definitely one of my more unique ideas.
There's an awesome place here in Glendale called 3DRetro - they sell really cute, pretty, scary, and nerdy action figures. Not that long ago, they held an event to celebrate the release of a Rick and Morty figure by Kidrobot, and the day before the event they invited a painter to put this crazy Rick and Morty mural on the wall outside the building. I attended the event, and when I saw that mural, I knew I had to shoot a dance video in front of it!
Problem was, I didn't take Poonam for much a Rick and Morty fan, so I just let the idea sort of fade away. Until another crazy idea dawned on me - what if we didn't just do a dance video, but we invited the public to do a full-on dance flash mob!
Granted, it wouldn't EXACTLY be a flash mob, where we would come out of nowhere and surprise everyone. After all, we needed permission from the store. Instead, I thought Poonam could come up with really simple choreography that anyone could do, put it online, and see who shows up! I asked 3DRetro, the music artist who did the remix (Chetreo), and Poonam about the idea, and they were all about it.
I put a Facebook event online inviting people to join us and dance. The event had around 100 marked as "interested" but very few "goings." So I had no idea how many people would come. In the end, it was only a few, but it was enough to put something together that was pretty fun.
I hope you guys enjoy it!
Mandie Hittleman - what a wonderfully wacky character she is!
Mandie is an singer, an actress, and pure performer to her very core. When we got in contact about shooting a fan cover video for Demi Lovato's "Sorry Not Sorry," I found myself continuously inspired by her zest for life, her passion for fun, and her ability to just not take herself too seriously - a rare quality for an actress in Hollywood.
This was a great project for me - it's not often I get to cut together both dance and a little narrative. Looking forward to working with Mandie again! Catch her as Daenerys Targaryen in Shame of Thrones the Rock Musical!
I love that Poonam was down to do this!
I fell in love with this song watching Luke Cage on Netflix. Always thought it would be such a cool song to make a dance video for. I mentioned this idea to Poonam, but I honestly didn't think much would come of it - after all, the dynamic is usually that Poonam falls in love with a song and a concept and I'm happy to just show up and shoot it. But I clearly underestimated her reception to outside suggestion, and she ended up putting something together that was great!
Major props to Posers in Hollywood for letting us shoot behind their building. Finding a decent location in Los Angeles that doesn't cost an arm and a leg is a huge undertaking, but Posers doesn't seem to mind us being there as long as we don't interfere with the shop. So very grateful!
Where do I even begin with how this video was made. Seriously. I'm asking you. I have no idea where to begin!
Poonam and I started planning this video out months ago. She is a choreographer and a Zumba teacher, and her intention with this video was to display her choreography skills with a group of normal people. She didn't want to show a complicated, jaw-dropping number, she wanted to show that she could make something look great, even with people who hadn't been training in dance their entire lives. So, obviously, this required that we have backup dancers. Four to be exact.
The night before our first planned shoot, one of dancers dropped out, and the ripple effect that followed was insane. It was tough stuff trying to get four dancers who could all be at a shoot on the same day at the same time. Plus, we didn't want to have to cut anyone who had already put in all that effort to learn the moves. We finally figured it out, only having to cut one of the original dancers, and we thought we were in the clear - and then one of the new dancers had a flat tire on the road on the way to the shoot! We managed to pull off the shoot with four dancers instead of five, which definitely wasn't what Poonam had planned, but at that point, we just had to work with what he we had. (Which were three incredible volunteers to whom we are eternally grateful!)
And that's not even the tip of the iceberg on this shoot. Did I tell you about how we almost went to jail? Let me tell you about how we almost went to jail. So, drone laws are complicated. And I thought I had done my due diligence by researching the airports and calling in advance to notify them about our drone use on Venice Beach. Turns out, no, not so much. Just as we were wrapping up Poonam's solo shots, cops came up and told us that they were under orders to impound any drones they see on the beach and put the operator in jail. Luckily, they were not jerks, and sent us off with a warning. I was mortified. Luckily, they gave us a recommendation for a beach that was drone friendly - Seal Beach.
I was as thorough with Seal Beach as I could possibly be. I scoped out the location. I called the city. I called the Naval Weapons Seal Beach Public Affairs office. I called the Los Alamitos Airfield Operations. I didn't rest until I heard actual human voices on the phone from all of these places telling us we were okay to shoot. And they did! Every single one!
What an adventure. What a learning experience. I hope all of you enjoy the video!
Nothing makes my day quite like making my client out-of-this-world happy, and that's definitely what happened in the case of Ultimatum.
Ultimatum is a company with a humble vision - they want to make the world a better place. They are idealists, yet also realists, who want to encourage political and social change with their clever crowdfunding platform. While working with them, I found their passion for their project to be contagious and inspiring.
They were under a time crunch to get this video done (isn't everyone under a time crunch always? lol), and since this video is intended to raise money to help them finish building their platform, there wasn't enough finalized that we could accurately display the product in the video. My challenge was to make something out of nothing; to show people in a video something that doesn't yet exist, and I had two days to do it.
Luckily I had just discovered something called Monkey Suite - it's a collection of plug-ins for sale at aescripts.com. I knew with that on my side, I could pull of the project within their time constraints and make it look really slick.
The Ultimatum guys were a dream to work with. I told them everything I needed to get the project done when they needed it, and they were totally cooperative and understanding. Not only that, but they were insanely grateful when it was finished. We even had a Google hangout party afterwards to celebrate!
Thank you, Ultimatum, for showing me so much respect and gratitude throughout this project. It was so much fun being a part of the team and I hope we work together again soon!
What a crazy day this was!
This was such a challenging project. Normally, when I shoot a dance video, it's in a reasonably controlled setting, and we can do as many takes as we need to in order to guarantee I have all the shots for the edit. This time? Not the case. Groov3 organized a dance flash mob at Plaza Mexico in Lynwood, CA, and they were only doing the performance twice. That gave me two chances to get the shots - and that's it.
I had to think on my toes, so I decided to play it safe. They were doing the performance at two different locations - on the floor, and on the stage. The floor was a great place to shoot because it gave the Osmo lots of mobility, so that's where I shot the first performance. Of course, because it was a run-and-gun situation, there were a couple moments where I missed the shot and didn't get the camera where it needed to be on time. For that reason, I really needed coverage for cutaways, so on the second performance, I got to as high of ground as possible and shot the stage from above. There was no way I was going to get that same mobile coverage that I got on the floor because of the intense crowding around the stage, so the stage shots were wide and static.
The edit of these two angles were a little disappointing. The floor shots were so exciting and dynamic, but the wide shots just kind of hung there like dying fruit. I was nervous to submit this to the client, Groov3, but I had done the best I could do under the circumstances. Ben from Groov3 was a little disappointed, but Ben is a dream client who was totally understanding that there was just one of me and there was a lot going on. He ended up suggesting we collect phone footage from people who were at the event to make the edit more exciting. He also suggested experimenting in the edit to make the stage area and the floor area look more connected, which I accomplished by creating the artificial whip pans. I also suggested putting that "Rec" graphic on the phone shots so the difference in quality between the phone shots and the Osmo shots looks more intentional. The result is what you see above!
Major thanks to Groov3 for always providing me with exciting projects and being such a great collaborator!
I just had the pleasure of shooting this dance video with Jordan Malixi - and I am SO excited about this one. Normally when I shoot these dance videos - it's all about coverage and editing. I shoot the choreography from as many dynamic angles as I can and get the most high-impact shots that I can, and then I stack up all the takes in Adobe Premiere and build from there. This shoot, however, was different. On this video, we shot for quality over quantity, and always rolled camera knowing exactly where the shot would be placed in the final edit. You know, like grown-ups do. It was a LEVEL-UP experience!
Major props to Jordan Malixi on this. The whole sequence in the jungle gym was invented on the spot thanks to Jordan's Jackie-Chan-style ability to improvise within his environment. It was a blast to work with someone with that amount of creativity.
This video turned out as well as it did because of how much thought was put into in advance AND how much thought was put into it on the spot.
I hope I can keep this momentum going!
So excited to see that Groov3 has just released the video I shot and edited for them on January 1st! On the first of the new year, dance school Groov3 had their annual event "Dance Dance Resolution" where students got together on the rooftop of the Ricardo Montalban Theater to dance their guts out for fun and fitness!
Crazy bit of trivia about this video - Notice how they’re all wearing headphones? That’s because this was a silent disco - i.e., there was no external audio, because they didn’t want to disturb their neighbors. All the music was coming through the headphones and the headphones alone. Which means when I was editing it - THERE WAS NO SCRATCH AUDIO! I had to piece together, like a puzzle, which pieces of choreography went with what parts of the song. It was an insane editing challenge that know one will ever know about by just watching this video.
Not to mention, you'd be surprised what a workout this was for me as the videographer. After the class was over, I told one of the instructors that I was exhausted. He looked me square in the face and said - "YOU'RE exhausted??" I don't blame him, I wasn't the one dancing, but I was moving the entire time. Every time you see that camera move, I was moving - and the final video is a fraction of what was actually shot. I was literally in bed with a heating bad after this! I am so, SO out of shape. Maybe I should sign up for a class!
What an experience, and what a challenge! I can't wait to shoot for Groov3 again! If you live in the LA area and you enjoy FUN, be sure to check them out: www.groov3.com