I was stoked to receive an email from the Bay Area Phone Doctor asking us to create a promotional video for web and local TV to hype the Doc’s ability to replace your smartphone’s broken screen or to, perhaps, give mouth-to-mouth to the iPhone you dropped in the toilet – dirty work but somebody’s gotta do it… (yes, Smartphones CAN be resurrected after being doused…)
Eric, the Phone Doctor and a true expert at repairing broken screens and seemingly dead smartphones, had seen our professional trick-bike riding son doing insane stunts previously so he’d come up with the GREAT notion that baby-son Forest would be the perfect guy to do his crazy bike tricks and break an iPhone in a most excellent manner! Awesome dude, as the boys put it…
I agreed instantly and volunteered baby son Forest since he’s broken every single iPhone and all other phones he’s ever owned, I’m pretty sure… Not only is Forest a ranked professional Fixed Gear Freestyle bike athlete, he’s a world class pro at breaking phones!!! In fact, the best part of Doc’s compensation to Forest for doing this gig was free phone repair and additional sponsorship for his Fixed Gear Freestyle competitions. My baby son can break any phone at the speed of a 20 watt–second flash unit… (that’s QUICK!)
Concepting this job was pretty simple – all we had to do is make a reasonably “semi-believable,” trick-filled, fun video of the phone being demolished. How cool is that???!!!! We got to intentionally break an iPhone!!!
We went with the style of video photography you see most often in Fixed Gear Freestyle bike videos – street, urban, gritty with low production values – rather than as a big production with major lighting, grip gear galore and lots of camera accessories. A “run and gun” production, as we call it, was necessary due to the “never ask permission” attitude of fixed gear riders, so we intentionally packed our least professional looking gear – no big camera rigs – so we could move quickly and perhaps look like amateurs.
My Director of Video Photography, wiz kid Mikul Eriksson, and I shot this fun little video very simply with a minimum of equipment – down and dirty style.
The gear included:
• Canon 1D Mark IV video with a Canon 70-200mm/f2.8 lens + various relatively minor video accessories.
• Canon 5D Mark II video with Canon 16-35mm/f2.8 lens
• Mics: Sennheiser MKE 400 shotgun mic / Samson Wireless setup with Sony ECM-44BPT Omnidirectional Lavalier Mic / Zoom H4N recorder
• Two basic Gitzo tripods, each equipped with INDURO PHQ-Series Panheads.
• Post production was accomplished in Final Cut Pro X and Photoshop CS6
THE TAKEAWAY…. This shoot was shot totally freestyle: Photojournalistic and with minimal planning. The talent direction unfolded as the 30 minute shoot progressed and was accomplished with minimal thinking (an actual technique) or expensive video equipment. I often prefer spontaneous reaction to planning, after years of study. Although it’s nice to have full rigs for converting an ordinary looking video-enabled still camera into what looks like a major motion picture camera, it’s entirely possible to do good to great video without a single accessory other than, perhaps, a mic or two if you require audio. This gear was mostly accumulated piece by piece as we discovered video photography with Canon’s incredible video technology. Otherwise, music-over video from a free music downloads site is all you need, at the basic level, IF you or someone you know has a good working knowledge of video editing software.
An increased demand for high quality video is now a reality professional still photographers across the world are embracing in a big way, including Swamg Dog and his crew of video wiz kids…
Being asked to intentionally demolish an iPhone was super cool, one of the most exhilarating shoots in recent memory! Breaking iPhones is BIG FUN and the video worked perfectly for the Phone Doc! Now we’re all qualified to work for a Destruction Company…. (not so sure about a construction company….)