One of the things I love most about my job is that no two days are ever the same. One day, you’re shooting in a wild, beautiful forest, and the next day, well, you’re doing something you would’ve never ever dreamed possible—creating a forest landscape inside a Los Angeles studio. Virtually every day brings a new challenge, and a new opportunity to be pushed outside of my comfort zone. And honestly, I thrive on that.
Recently, my friends at Nikon approached me with a very cool opportunity to direct a video spot highlighting some amazing new software, SnapBridge, a Bluetooth-powered application that provides super-fast connectivity between Nikon HD-SLR cameras and personal smart phones.
For me, SnapBridge was exactly what I’d been waiting for: the missing link between my trusted Nikon cameras and the world of social media, where instant gratification rules the day. As good as some smart phone cameras claim to be, the reality is they still don’t hold a candle to the powerhouses that are high-end HD-SLR cameras with high dynamic ranges, incredible ISO, and, of course, all the fun things you can do with razor-sharp lenses of various focal lengths. The problem, of course, was the ability to share those great images as quickly as we expect in today’s fast-paced world. SnapBridge is that link, and now you can shoot and share virtually as fast as your thumb can hit the upload button on your phone.
Working as a photographer and a director in the fastest-moving technological era of human history is pretty exciting for obvious reasons, especially the fact that I get to use the latest and greatest tools and technology to tell age-old stories in new, creative ways.
In order to show SnapBridge at work, K&L, Nikon’s advertising agency, cooked up a rather conceptual creative idea: we would see two people, a man and a woman, standing on opposite sides of a body of water. The woman would suddenly see an amazing rainbow, which is blocked from the man’s view as he is on the other side of the lake. She would shoot a picture of the rainbow with her Nikon camera, and use SnapBridge to instantly share the photo, via her smartphone, with her friend on the other side of the lake. The main takeaway, of course, is that we see how quickly and efficiently the transfer takes place.
The idea, being rather conceptual, presented a number of real logistical challenges—including producing a rainbow on demand, not to mention all the other environmental/geographical elements that would need to come together! And since I fancy myself something of a problem solver by nature, this is where I really began to get excited.
I love being outdoors, and that’s one of the first things that drew me to photography. But the logistics of producing a misty/foggy location with an on-demand rainbow were not realistic. And so, I embarked onto what would be new terrain for me: we would shoot this entirely in a studio, and create a forest/lake scene from scratch! We rented a studio in Los Angeles, and thanks to a highly skilled team of talented people, we were able to shoot this piece in a single day.
There are a number of folks to thank and credit for this work. First, thanks to Gen Umei, and the entire team at K&L, for conceptualizing this creative idea, and for the opportunity! Thanks to our talent, Jade Leboeuf and James Van Hess, who were both super awesome and highly professional people to work with! Thanks to Dane Henry for doing such a great job as director of photography and post-production editor. Thanks to Shawn Corrigan, assistant editor in the field. Thanks, Patrick Mueller and team for creating the props and designing the wardrobes. Thanks to our stylist, Samantha Baker, and her assistant, Katie Reibman. Thanks to Josh Marianelli for producing the piece. Thanks to Jonathan Wyman for the great job scoring the music and sound design. Thanks to Bryan Liscinsky for the lighting work. Thanks, Jason Bosch, a freelance editor, who did all the research for the composited body of water and rainbow. And huge thanks to Barry Thompson for the special effects and compositing work that brought this piece to life. Thanks to my wife, Marina Rich, for the hair and make up artistry. When you’re shooting indoors under bright studio lights in 4K, make-up really goes a long way!
Last but not least, thanks Andy Mead and Novus Select for supervising the post-production. Great work, Wynn Ruji, for capturing the still images that are attached to this campaign. And of course, thanks to our intern, Jose Borda, for driving our Sprinter van of gear from Lake Tahoe down to Burbank, and assisting on the shoot.
It’s funny that I spend so much time outdoors, but there we were, creating a beautiful forest and lake wilderness inside of a studio. But this is what I love about my job: new technology, new challenges, new solutions. But at the end of the day, it’s all about creativity and conveying the story in the best way possible. And that’ll never change.
Thanks to Nikon for this opportunity, and for making it easier for all of us to share what we capture with your cameras with our social-media networks.