Day 353/365 - Leah Jung for Patty Madden Software
3am, I finally shut the computer, set my alarm, made last minute mental preparations and shut my eyes for what soon was painfully obvious, a half assed nap, or attempt at a nap. I awoke at 5:39am, one minute before my alarm was scheduled to accost me with the horrible and unwelcome buzzing. I'm sure it was because my brain knew today was important and had some sort of internal alarm set. My computer had started to act up just before bed, so the first thing I made sure of was to get a plan B set in motion, just in case my silver sidekick decided to call in sick!
I awoke before Leah and decided to brush my teeth and get presentable before Danielle Helms, Makeup artist extraordinaire showed up. Not 30 seconds after I walked out onto the balcony did she show up. She was 10 minutes early and since call time for hair and makeup was 6am… that was crazy early.
I gave her the quick tour, showed her where to get breakfast and set her up with a place to work. I then went to see if Leah was up. Luckily for me she had just woken up and I didn't need to do my obnoxious knock. I set Leah up with Danielle, ate breakfast and finished just in time for Adam of ASK media to arrive with crew. My job from 6 - 8 am was solely to get everyone else ready. From 8-8:30 I dove into preparations for the day. Jessica Madden, Photographer from DeLand, FL drove 3 hours to assistant; Ben Price, Photographer from Stuart, FL drove up with my brother, Shawn, to also aid in the day. We were set up and ready for action by 8:47. A mere 17 minutes past when I anticipated starting. Not half bad if I do say so myself!
It was my plan to start small and gain momentum but obviously it wasn't Patty's plan. She had me jump right in and shoot the hardest, most odd piece of furniture out of all of them. The marshmallow sofa, a series of round barstool-looking cushions is much more comfortable than it looks. The problem with this particular piece was maintaining focus from 3 feet all the way to 6 feet. I didn't have enough light to expose all 6 so I was forced to shoot 3 shots to capture focus across the entire sofa. I wasn't sure I had pulled it off until we broke for lunch. I decided to quickly edit the shots together before eating. Turns out, I had shot it just right and was able to mesh the shots together to get a tack sharp shot across the entire sofa.
From this point, we moved to less expansive pieces but oddly enough, made the shots harder to capture by introducing new and more contorted poses for Leah to put herself in. It wasn't until after lunch that we started to feel the day catching up to us. My three hours of sleep was winning over the 12 cups of coffee. However, during the setup with the egg chair, Leah whipped her hair up. This sparked an idea to add motion to the shot. First thing I thought was "oh great, I hope 1/200 is a fast enough speed," turns out it was, and from the look on Patty's face, I knew that my post production job just got that much harder. Masking out all that hair was surely going to be a royal pain in the ass! Although, I did agree that the shot was the "money shot" and thus accepted the challenge of masking all that beautiful blond hair.
I should have known that one great shot prompts another. Patty was now hooked on motion and within three pieces of furniture, she increased my hair masking by… three! They are amazing shots and I wouldn't trade an easy composite for them. I look forward to seeing what I end up doing with them. One thing I was very impressed with was the fact that even while pulling several G's, Leah was able to maintain an attractive face and appropriate eye line, not once but over and over. She would no doubt be the f-16 pilot that looked amazing no matter what maneuver she was doing. She is a model that I could see working with for my Skydiving shoot. I'm sure she would have no problem posing while falling at over 100mph!
We shot several more setups before breaking to take advantage of the last remains of the daylight to do the interviews for the behind the scenes and promotional video. At 4pm we started with Patty's interview and by 5pm we had moved on to mine. I had written down a series of questions for Patty to ask me. I just wanted key points to prompt me to blab on and on. I hadn't been in front of the camera since college and surprisingly enough, I was pretty damn good. We stopped a few times and I was given a bit of advice on how to not sound so modest. False Modesty is what Gary called it. So, even Gary knows I can be over confident(?) Great, guess it's no secret. Honestly, when it comes to my work I am confident, calm and very serious. I hope it shows through in the insane amount of detail I pay to each and every pixel. It was funny that during Patty's interview, everyone was doing their own thing. Gary was in the house and Shawn, Ben, Jessica and Danielle were off picking on me and giggling to themselves. However, during my interview everyone including the neighbor's cats decided to join the audience. Luckily for me, the bright lights were expertly metered by myself, despite the director's best efforts at using my light meter. It's tricky if you're not used to it! I had metered the scene about a half dozen times and he still couldn't believe it was reading 2.8… "Really. 2.8?," "Yes, Adam, I've checked it over and over." He then put a bounce card up without me knowing and when I went to re-meter the scene it read f4. For a split second I thought I was going crazy and considered the remote chance that I had been reading it wrong. I was quickly informed by one of the crew that he had snuck that in. So… I wasn't crazy after all!!
We finished the day around 7:41 and 23 seconds and it was immediately obvious that it was a load off from everyone's shoulders. We enjoyed pizza and laughed at Shawn's reaction to the Pizza Guy delivering in a BMW. "No way! I'm definitely living in the wrong town," he said while taking a picture to post to Facebook! He cracks me up sometimes!
I'm very happy with the day and can't wait to see the campaign come to fruition. Should be a very interesting 900 hours of editing.
I don't plan on getting into the edit of the BTS and Promo video until after the new year. Both Adam and I will work on it. All I know is… knowing that they weren't doing the edit, they were very liberal with the footage. 12 hours of footage with separate 4 track audio. At least its 720p and not 1080. I can only imagine the kind of aneurism my computer would have if faced with 12 hours of full HD footage! I'm super excited just by the sneak peak at the raw footage. It was great to work with professionals across the board!
The photo I chose was not only a pain in the ass it was a major pain in the ass! I've NEVER had more trouble with masking out hair than I did today. My insane anal retentiveness for detail really drove me to the edge of insanity while editing. I wanted nothing more than to get the perfect mask. However, with the limitations of both my patience and Adobe CS4 I had to except that any better of a mask would require more time and possibly the improvements made available with CS5. Furthermore, I really wanted to drop a background in this shot but the one I had had the focus further back in the image then I could except. The other shots I had were shot at 10 megapixel and in landscape orentation. Frustration really wasn't even a strong enough word to describe this edit. So, I leave you with the only thing I could give you all at this time, Day 353 on a grey backdrop. It's a little boring and I am apologizing to myself. The black and white with upholstery in color is the style that we will be editing the final images for the magazine. I figured I'd keep with the original idea.
Bravo to all involved!!!
A special thanks to:
Patty Madden Software. Including Patty and Gary. www.pattymadden.com/
Leah Jung - Model leahjung.com/
ASK Media. askmediaproductions.com/
AB800 Med Gridded Softbox at both 10:00 and 2:00. full power
AB800 Beauty Dish Boomed overhead at 6:00 3/4 power
Triggered Via Cyber Syncs and Commander.