Tag Archives: sigma

Savana Advertisement

Back in March, a good friend of mine who’s studying in management ask me if I wanted to help him with the promotional video for the faculty’s upcoming fashion show, called Savana. Since I hadn’t produced anything fashion-related since the Perigny advertisement back in 2007, of course I told him I was really interested in helping him. Of course, the fact that this meant an entire night of shooting with hot girls in bathing suits helped facilitate my decision.

The problem was that the schedule was incredibly tight, and that the budget was pretty much non-existant. But at the same time, this adds a challenge that I rarely face in my everyday job: to produce a professional-quality video with absolutely no means.

The organization staff was able to unlock a small budget for me to rent some gear, so I took the small Fresnel kit we have at the office, some reflectors, and rented a Kino Diva and a smoke machine. We shot with my friend’s Canon 7D and used my Sigma 30mm 1.4 for the entire shoot. So as you can see, our means were really limited.

Often, when you ask your friends to play in a commercial, the quality of the “acting” goes with the price your paying, which is zero. I have to say though that this time, all the models (who were all students in the management faculty) did an amazing job. It can be uncomfortable to pose in a bathing suit in front of a stranger (me) with a big camera setup that tells you to act sensually, but everyone was really open to what I was asking and they acted really professionally, which made the production a lot easier than I thought. On top of that, we had an incredibly talented make-up artist on set that helped make the models look amazing.

What I think was the most challenging was the shooting environment. The people at Izba Spa were kind enough to let us shoot freely in their establishment, which looks truly amazing. But, the space was very limited. I had to shoot 13 models, mostly separately, in a place that had maybe three or four different rooms that were proper to shoot in. I had to be very creative in the way I was using each spot, since I was going to use each of them more than once, and I didn’t want the video to look like it had been shot all in the same room. The smoke machine really helped me to cover some of those environments. What also puzzled me was the lighting, because the rooms were so small that I couldn’t fit as much lighting as I wanted to. I had to bounce the light in very weird and bizarre angles to be able to achieve the looks I wanted. It worked well for most of the shots, but overall, I think the models’ eyes are not lit enough, something I may have been able to correct if I had more space.

The editing was quite difficult too, because of the fast-paced music I was using, and the very little footage I shot. Fortunately, I shot a lot of those models completely out of focus, to have a mysterious introduction, and that enabled me to re-use the in-focus shots later in the video.

But what I enjoyed the most in this video was color-grading it. The fact that the backgrounds were mostly greyish allowed me to have full control on the models’ skin tones and clothes. I actually used a technique I had never tried before in Apple’s Color, and that is numerically grading shots using the Red/Green/Blue Lift and Gain. It helped me achieve a look that’s different from what I usually do. I will be posting a video making-of later this week explaining how I did it.

In the end, I think I managed pretty well to produce a good-looking advertisement with such little means, so I guess this is mission accomplished for me.

Here are some photos of the shooting, snapped by my friend Sam Chenard.


Swix.tv Introduction

A couple weeks ago I released a little behind the scenes video of an opening title sequence I did for Swix.tv, without however showing off the final result. Well, now that Swix.tv has been launched, there’s no more secret to be kept, so here it is.

When finishing the video, the client and I came to the decision to change the soundtrack, to maybe better suit the intro to the targeted audience, because the intro is definitely not what you usually see in the freeskiing domain. I thought it’d be fun then to show you guys the original version. So here it is, my “Director’s Cut” of the Swix.tv intro.


Apple Day Off

Let me start off by saying: I’m no photographer… I bought myself a Canon Rebel T2i a couple of weeks ago because the video features just looked amazing and my HMC150 was just picking dust in the basement. But, why not try to take a couple of pictures since I’ve got a pretty good quality DSLR now. Well that’s exactly what I did !

Last weekend was Canada Day, so my friends and I had a 3-day weekend in front of us and we wanted to do something special, and the forecast looked just amazing in New York City. So on friday, just before the sun got up, we packed up the car and drove 8 hours down to the city that never sleeps. We chilled at our hotel’s pool when we arrived to try to kill the 95F temperature, then went for supper in Little Italy bla bla bla… I could go on with that but whatever !

The next day we decided it was pictures day. I was down there with two friends, including Guillaume Bouchard, a long-time friend and photographer, so we both took out our cameras and started snapping everything. It was the first day ever I shot with pictures with a DSLR, and I can’t say I hated it. When I got home, I took those I figured were the best and brought them in Photoshop. I was VERY rusty in terms of photo post-production in Photoshop, I usually just use it to prepare layers for After Effects and stuff like that, so of course this isn’t the best color grading there has been in recent years, but I think I managed pretty well.

Those pics were all shot on the Canon Rebel T2i with both a Sigma 30mm 1.4 and a Canon 85mm 1.8.

So here it is ! My first ever set of photos. I unoriginally entitled it Apple Day Off, of course because we took pictures on a Saturday in New York, but also to refer to the fact I wasn’t sitting in front of my computer to shoot that !

PS: If you happen to be in NYC, go to Webster Hall, one of the best nightclubs I’ve ever been.