When a niché is more than an niché. This is the progress I’ve seen within one of my friends and industry peers, Bill Manning, as he’s delved into the rebirth of film photography. Bill runs a podcast along side his colleague, Steven Wallace, called Studio C-41 that focuses on film still photography and industry news. With a wide range of topics encompassing film as well as interviews with some prominent figures and companies in the film industry, he’s making a name for himself. In that same light, Bill came to me to discuss the possibilities of adding video to Studio C-41’s swath in social media. Ideas have swirled, but the other day, Black Friday no less, instead of shopping we decided to #optoutside and go shoot something, anything! We met up in Ballground, Ga, and on the way, called me and discussed shooting some kind of intro for either the video version of the podcast or something for his recently launched VLOG.
His idea was simple, shoot a sequence highlighting the activity he usually takes part in when shooting a VLOG, i.e. driving to a location, load some of that sweet Kodak film into one of his fantastic and in some cases antique cameras and snap some photos. With that premise I then looked at ways to add some style either in what how it was shot, what I focused on in the composition, or what I would do with it in post in regard to editing and music. The first thing that popped into both of our head’s was his hat. Bill likes to wear a fedora when he’s on camera and it’s kind of become a signature of his. So I knew I wanted some action to happen around that, but I also wanted to keep his face relatively hidden. I kind of thought with the podcast you often only hear his voice, but I also wanted to add some mystery to make this simple sequence slightly more interesting. So I shot around that premise, over-the-shoulders, hands, details, motivated camera moves, all leading up to the big reveal of this amazing dilapidated house we had scouted at nearby Gold and Grass Farms.
I shot the sequence with my usual arsenal, C100mkii with Rokinon primes, SL1 on my Ronin-S, and a few key shots on my Phantom 4 Pro. We had limited time in what would have been golden hour from 4p-5:30p, but inclement weather was inbound. We talked through the shots and then started shooting. Drone shots first to get the hard stuff out of the way given the turn around time for the vehicle and also infrequent breaks in the strong wind that day. Then I moved to C100 for the opening shot in the car and the handheld shots while Bill loaded film. Then while it was sprinkling, the gimbal shot of Bill walking to the gate was the last shot. Here’s the final product, after editing and finding some music that matched the pace and also had a nice reprieve for the big reveal, it all came together nicely. I added in some light leaks as an homage to film, as well.