next week is our final installment of the callaway series. a lifestyle reel combing all of the stories we came across in putting these films together.
phil is one of those guys that you've heard of whether your a golf fan or not. much like football, we became a fan of the sport of golf after experiencing it first hand through the filming of the many personalities involved in the game. being that phil is who he is, he has and had a lot of demands on his time and was only available for half of the time that we got to do the other pieces. that meant roughly 6 hours from call time to wrap with an interview for the golf channel, a photo shoot, and lunch mixed in. all of this to say we had to be on our toes, ready before he was, know exactly when and where we wanted to shoot and always be prepared for contingencies. an example of this in practice is the super wide shot where we see bones (phil's long standing caddy) pull the flag off the green (at 1:17). this was shot from the 16th tee where we had just shot phil teeing off (1:37-1:39). as phil and the crew moved to our next spot, justin stayed behind and we let bones walk to the green with the rest of us behind so he could get that shot. phil and bones likely didn't even know he had stayed behind to get the shot, but that level of coordination allowed us to get multiple angles from widely varying viewpoints all in real time.
one of the very interesting aspects of phil was his long-standing relationship with his caddy, bones. bones was kind enough to join us for the day and it provide both of them a very natural way golf and hang out while we disappeared into the background and told their story. there is something very powerful about being able to construct a narrative from several viewpoints and having interviews with both phil and bones gave us that. with far less time with phil we had to concentrate on reducing travel time, which meant no heading to the beach like we did with alvaro.
featured tool // the zacuto z-finder
DSLRs are crazy powerful cameras that offer an incredible value. while we often hear of their low light and depth of field, the factor that really makes all the difference for us is their size and the intimacy that is created by that small footprint. we can get right beside people, whether it be a bride or one of the best golfers in the world, and we can become transparent in many ways allowing life to flow through our lens without being diluted by camera awareness. of course everybody we are filming always knows we are there, but in the relationships we form and in how we shoot, we have a way of disappearing in many ways.
though powerful, DSLRs also have several shortcomings. the challenge for us is how to adapt to these without losing that intimacy. focus and exposure, especially when outdoors, is one of those big limitations. while these are easy to solve with traditional solutions such as a field monitor, you can quickly find your rig becoming bigger and ever more present on set. the zacuto z-finder is the smallest and most robust viewfinder solution we have come across. we use their adhesive mount option that goes around the LCD and allows the z-finder to clip on and off. we have a great relationship with smallHD and cinevate, both who make wonderful solutions for viewing a DSLR image better, but the z-finder can be dropped, kicked, removed in seconds, or thrown in a shootsac, all while providing a very good handle on checking your focus and exposure. while we use the cyclops and DP6 quite often on commercial shoots, our favorite for run and gun situations is definitely the z-finder. it adds an extra contact point with your body which is a huge asset when you live on a monopod as much as we do. i would even venture to say that it unlocks new moves we can do with the monopod because we have that extra contact point. one last feature of the z-finder that most people don't realize is it's psychological effect on the shooter. by closing one eye and taking everything in through the z-finder you as the shooter become solely focused on your image and what your capturing. where this becomes very valuable is in situations where some people might be uncomfortable getting in close to get the shot they want. by using a z-finder it helps you ease that discomfort and potentially forget your less than a foot away from the person your filming. getting close is such a big part of our approach and style that we have long since lost any sort of discomfort from this, but if you find that is something you struggle with, try out a z-finder and see if it works for you.
thanks to our friends brett and kiri for taking these pics for us :)
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named the most traveled athlete in the world, Mr. Player has won 165 tournaments in a career that spanned over five decades. in our short time with him, he spoke to us about fitness, food, and the value of hard work. though his list of accolades are inspiring and the diversity of activities he is involved in mind boggling, what really struck us was just how much energy and intensity he had. at 75, often still on the road, he wakes up to a workout daily. our day with him had a packed schedule, as we drove from location to location he was always sharing stories and his thoughts on anything from world issues to his ranch back home in south africa. regardless of the subject, he was always passionately involved in the conversation and had plenty to offer.
going into this spot, we had heard of how much he had accomplished (it's easy to find a list of his wins online) but what became so much clearer upon meeting him was just how much of an influence he was in shaping the game of golf through his beliefs in nutrition and fitness. even though he has experienced so much and became a legend when it comes to the game of golf, he still took time to stop by other players on the course and offer advice on their game. one player who must have been about fifteen was completely in shock when Mr. Player stopped his cart and spent several minutes asking to see his swing and offering insights into his game.
featured tool // the cinevate atlas 30
what i love about this spot, in contrast to another spot such as alvaro quiros, is the entirely different storylines as well as approach. Mr. Player has accomplished so much throughout his career that his spot was almost approached with a certain reverence. our camera moves were slow, and subtle, and our compositions a little safer and more balanced. in achieving the feel for this piece, the atlas 30 was a big part of making it happen. we wanted to stay away from tools like a steadicam and crane which have a stronger energy and presence, leaving us with a slider, monopod, and tripod as our main tools. of those, the slide achieved most of our motion. don't let Mr. Player's age deceive you, we had to be on top of our game to stay a step ahead. one thing he is not fond of are people that aren't ready or those that don't value his time. the adjustable legs on the atlas 30 are the quickest i've used and, when paired with the bowl adjustable head, means you can shoot on an uneven terrain such as a gold course and not be slowed. the pace of the shoot also meant that we needed our gear to be tough, often getting through in the cart as we quickly took off and tried to gain a few extra moments to setup at the next hole. my main atlas, the one inscribed with our logo by Dennis of cinevate as a present, has traveled over 100, 000 miles in the years we have had it. to be on that many shoots, to be packed, checked, lugged, thrown around, and generally abused for so long yet still keep performing like it did when it was given to us in an amazing testament to the strength of these units.
client: Callaway Golf
agency: Eleven Inc.
director: rob bagot
producer: josh reynolds
art director: tatjana green
cinematographers: joyce tsang, tony edgar
gaffer: tony edgar
special thanks to brett carlson, sarah sakamoto, and aaron phoenix for helping out.# vimeo.com/25030632 Uploaded 18.5K Plays 294 Likes 59 Comments
it's so easy to forget that professional athletes are also just regular people. while they may be extremely skillful at their craft, travel the world several times a year, and are constantly surrounded by adoring fans, at the end of the day they also enjoy the simple things in life.
when we first met els we had little indication as to how much he would really let us in. i mean, he is the big easy, so we assumed he'd be rather easy going and would allow us to tell his story, but we were surprised just how easy going he was.
by the second day we were spending the afternoon with him, his wife and their two kids in their home. we filmed them through a typical day at home, which as els put it, is when he is on vacation. swimming with his boy, playing tennis with his daughter, and laughing with his wife, these are the simple pleasures in life he doesn't get to do all that often, so when he is home, he takes advantage as much as possible.
we had such a good time that day with ernie and his family. his wife even baked us a cake, which was quite tasty.
being that we wanted to be as non intrusive as possible, particularly in his home, we filmed almost entirely with our monopods, the manfrotto bhdv 561. while els is all too familiar with cameras being constantly around him, the rest of his family are not. so as not to come across as too 'camera heavy' we each went in to his house with a single camera, a monopod, and a lens. this kept our profile low, while still affording us the ability to have motion in our shots. i really can't write just how much i love this monopod, in fact, i'm constantly surprised just how creative you can get with it, and the different types of motion you can achieve with a once seemingly static camera tool. it was in the pool, in his convertible, on top of his table hockey table, and just about everywhere else we filmed els and the rest of his family.
the 2 days with els was definitely an eye opening experience for us all. seeing such an amazing athlete on the course and such a nice and down to earth guy off the course is something we won't forget.
client: Callaway Golf
agency: Eleven Inc.
director: rob bagot
producer: josh reynolds and cathy carolan
art director: matt barnett
cinematographers: joyce tsang, tony edgar
audio: rob freeman
gaffer: brett carlson
special thanks to daviel taveras, edh ballart and natalie everett for helping out.# vimeo.com/24415621 Uploaded 7,212 Plays 64 Likes 15 Comments
annika is one of the most successful golfers in the history of the sport. she's won over 90 international tournaments and was the first female golfer to hit a 59. she is currently pregnant with her second child and this new phase in her life is what we wanted to focus the film on. annika was very kind in allowing us into her home and letting us be witness to the everyday things that their family does. they prepared a meal together, played on the swings in the backyard, and generally just hung out as a family. having the form factors of DSLRs was such an asset as we ventured into their back yard trying to keep our speed up and our impact down.
featured tool // steadicam zephyr
ever since it's release, i have been a huge fan of the steadicam zephyr. the tool-less adjustment of the gimbal, and the adjustable posts at the bottom of the sled are huge improvements for shooting with DSLRs. when your shooting steadicam, your balance is so precise and so critical that it often becomes too time consuming to switch lenses in an out while on an event type shoot as this. with these two advancements to the zephyr, swapping a lens and getting perfect dynamic balance is generally less than a two minute process. the vest also get a major upgrade and the new system is extremely well built and rugged. at some point we need to do a full review of the zephyr in comparison to the other rigs, but for now let me just say that is by far our favorite in the sub $15k steadicam market.
we chose the zephyr as the featured tool for annika's piece because of two steadicam shots that particularly stand out to me.
at 2:15 we start wide and push into the sandtrap and walk down the bank in behind annika and she strikes the ball. ray and joyce were just to the right of the opening frame shooting long to get the inserts you see right after the steadicam shot cuts. it is a pretty subtle shot in entering the sandtrap but to actually accomplish a steep downhill move while maintaining a constant speed, level camera, and keeping your own balance is definitely something that takes time. at some point when your learning steadicam it ceases to be a separate rig and just becomes an extension of you. when that happens, you can find shots that require so much concentration just to stay upright or maintain composition and you lose any sort of sight on the rig.
at 2:33 as annika approached her shot on the green, we push in towards her, wrap around her to reveal the hole she is looking at and then tilt down and track the ball backwards into the hole. a shot like this is where dynamic balance is so huge. we are tilting the camera while rotating our body around the rig and alternating from a forward to a reverse walk.
we did a beta-testing clip with the old vest and arm (not the shipping model) if your interested in seeing that here
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in the next couple months we will be featuring all of the web films we created for Callaway here on our blog. each monday we will have a different personality, film, and a featured tool that helped shape these pieces.
april 25th // alvaro quiros + the kessler crane
may 2nd // stuart appleby + lens pro to go
may 9th // morgan pressel + apple boxes
may 16th // annika sorenstam + steadicam zephyr
may 23rd // trevor immelman + smallHD DP6
may 30th // ernie els + manfrotto monopod
june 6th // gary player + cinevate atlas LTS30
june 13th // phil mickelson + zacuto z-finder
june 20th // composite film
our biggest challenge for each of these films was to try and share a glimpse of what each player is like off the course. every player we would be working with had done countless interviews, they were all quite accustomed to the media, and countless pieces had already been put forth featuring them.
to tell an original story for each we really wanted to dive into what shaped them as golfers, their beliefs on the game, and who they are when they aren't golfing. what was really fascinating to discover was just how many players we encountered that had developed much of their signature playing style through overcoming obstacles when they first started out. alvaro, as an example, started out with his fathers clubs which were much too big for him. through this he developed the ability to swing faster and launch a ball further than just about anybody else in the game.
what struck us about alvaro was his affinity for so many sports as well as his youthfulness and vibrancy. our aim was to capture that in everything we did for his film. from the soundtrack (fast and upbeat), to the color palette (thick, warm and saturated), the compositions (more abstract and rule breaking), to the camera tools (proportionately much more steadicam and crane) everything was done to reflect the energy and edge we saw in him.
from tatjana, our art director
knowing that this golfer came from Cadiz, Spain and was touring a very different landscape and environment throughout his career – this made our film about him embody a completely different look and feel.
our questions and the narrative allowed to take shape in terms of how alvaro had to make a significant decision in his life about his love for sports in general. he had to decide between his love and culture for the obvious choice of soccer vs. this new north american sport golf. as we found out; it was his father’s guidance that helped him take the route of a career that would serve and last him his entire life – which is why he is captured in various shots throughout the film.
the other major thing about alvaro besides his warm character and outgoing personality was that he truly understood the meaning of being on your own in this type of sport. compared to his earlier experience with europe’s favourite game soccer, he knew the value of having a good team to rely on – but golf propelled him further to be more individualistic in his skillset, we were able to capture this in some of our more epic crane shots of him T-ing off.
featured tool // the kessler crane KC12
throughout the callaway series we often wanted a way to get the grandeur of a crane move or the unique perspective of an overhead shot, but timing was always an issue. our time was so tight with each player and we wanted to keep things moving quickly to really get them into a rhythm that we were never afforded the ability for long setup times. our first couple spots (Mr. player and ernie) were shot with less of these more advanced tools partly because of the concern of being slowed down and losing flow (the other part being that the crane didn't fit the tone of these players as well). we actually introduced the KC12 on the alvaro shoot and with the tool-less configuration we were able to have the crane setup by a PA in less than 30 minutes out of the box at the beginning of a shoot, and often less than 10 minutes from there on in.
our general workflow for the KC12 was to have a PA assemble it in the morning, often into two to three pieces, and then transport it throughout the day on a utility golf cart. from some setups we used the crane on the tee box as well as the green and simply carried it with two people fully assembled from one location to the other.
what the KC12 added was an entirely new level of production value and a completely different way of seeing things. the last shot of this alvaro film is a perfect example of how we can have a high impact shot, really place alvaro within his surroundings, and accomplish it on the first take with very little time needed.
the soundtrack is an instrumental version of the ravishers track 'keep you around', licensed through WE (with etiquette).
client: Callaway Golf
agency: Eleven Inc.
director: rob bagot
producer: jeff pakosta
art director: tatjana
cinematographers: justin, joyce
gaffer: tony edgar
special thanks to brett and kiri carlson as well as sarah sakamoto for their help on this shoot. another thanks to brett and kiri for all of the photos they provided for this post.# vimeo.com/22838181 Uploaded 27.7K Plays 216 Likes 20 Comments
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