Shoot-off challenge at Silverpoint.
With the summer starting to draw to a close – sorry to point out this depressing truth – we at Silverpoint decided it was high time that the entire team set off on a shoot-off. This time, two new members accompanied Keith, Stan, and Josh: Caroline and myself. We arrived on location, at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto, at 8:30am and began scouting the area. Keith drew us all together and surprised us with the following rules:
1. We had from 9:30am to 12:00pm to shoot our footage
2. We were going to break for lunch and eat at the restaurant on location – which, by the way, was “off the charts” (as Keith would say)
3. When we got back to the studio around 2:30pm, we had until 5:00pm to compress, edit, and render out a final SDE of our footage
For those of us, like Stan and Josh, this was old news and they took on the challenge with smiles on their faces. Caroline and I, however, felt the stress level peak a lot more. Several amazing things struck me while I was at Brickworks. The first being that in a concrete jungle such as Toronto, there are still areas like Evergreen that allows one to escape the city, while still – ironically – being in the city. The busy street and crosswalk noises soon drowned away as we trekked deeper into the natural reserves behind the old Brick Work’s factory.
Another thing that struck me is that nature is untamable, especially for a filmmaker. I have yet to hear of anyone, on location shooting, muster some kind of mother-nature force within them and command the sky and trees to do whatever he or she desires. Yet, there are these perfect, unchoreographed moments that appear just because the sun is at that particular angle at this particular time and the trees are blowing in this particular fashion. And I think it is the job of the photographer and cinematographer to be able to find those moments and capture them…
For the first time while interning here at Silverpoint, I finally had the opportunity to pick up my camera, shoot and edit a video on my own. The one-day edit challenge that Keith placed upon us was daunting to say the least, as I had never used Final Cut before and barely knew how to turn my camera on, but with a bit of help from the team and lots of perseverance , I was able to finish my shoot-off.
To be honest, the most difficult part of the challenge for me wasn’t learning how to use the equipment and software in a day, but choosing a specific aspect of Brickworks that I wanted to showcase. With so much going on, it was hard for me to find and tell a coherent story. Now I know for next time to pinpoint and focus in a specific direction that is best for me.
With the above reflections in mind, I also discovered some other important things to consider while shooting. This was my first shoot-off with Silverpoint and I learned afterwards that while the story and the moments are important, technique and consideration of equipment is equally important. I failed to consider that a rode mic would be a hundred percent better than my camera mic for an interview.
I also learned after my shoot that my monopod technique is still shaky and needs to be sharpened and firmly grounded such that my shots looks as if I were using a tripod. However, with colour correction, SmoothCam, and soundtrack pro, I was able to work with my footage and create some nice still nature shots.
I had previously visited the Evergreen Brick Works a month ago on a complete whim. My girlfriend and I had been driving along Bayview Avenue when the combination of industrial red bricks, gardens, and park trails caught our eyes. Unfortunately on that day I was only carrying my photography equipment, but knew that someday I would want to shoot a video there.
So, it came as quite a pleasant surprise when Keith decided that our next shoot-off would be at, but of course, the Brick Works. Like all other shoot-offs that I participated in, I wanted to take the opportunity to practice a particular style or technique. So without hesitation I grabbed our trusty Philip Bloom Slider, and darted to the area which was originally the Don Valley Brick Works. Unlike the others in the group whom were more attracted to the picturesque natural trails present at Evergreen, I was drawn to the red brick, the industrial, and at times grungy counterpart. And so I slid…
This was my first opportunity to shoot with the Canon 100mm 2.8L and it was a great experience. The lens has a new hybrid IS that allowed me to go handheld when presented with situations that would not allow the time to setup a tripod. The shots of the monarch butterfly, woodpecker, and bees are examples of how stable the IS can be. Another plus for this lens is that when the rain came I had no fear because it is weather-sealed. I did not have an ND for this lens so exposure was a challenge. I had to increase the shutter to compensate which also created a pleasing staccato effect to anything moving such as insects.
Shooting behind the scenes of the Silverpoint shoot-off at Evergreen was a nice change from the regular shoot-off challenge. I was able to capture the entire team out on a shoot. I interviewed each of the members and they told me… actually, instead of me telling you, just watch the video:
We all learned many things that bright, yet rainy, day, which I think will drastically improve our skill sets. Thanks Brick Works for allowing us to shoot your amazing grounds.0