Project Runway Philippines Season 4: #veryveryfashion

Let’s start the show…

The project was awarded over a year ago; and yesterday, the pilot finally aired on ETC. From auditions to the runway shows, it was a long road for our team; but I’m so thankful to have experienced shooting Project Runway Philippines Season 4. It was a far cry from advertising and shooting commercials; yet it was still fun in its own way. Aside from the drama and challenges posed to the designers on cam, a different kind of drama also unfolded behind the scenes… Believe me. Still, we are way past that and everyone’s just really proud and happy with what we’ve put up.

In celebration of the premiere of Project Runway Philippines Season 4, I’m sharing some behind the scenes photos from the first few days of shooting (aka shooting the pilot). Be sure to check out the captions for some interesting info about the show.

Don’t miss the all new #sewlegit season of Project Runway Philippines. New episodes air every Sunday at 8pm on ETC, with primetime replays every Monday at 7PM and every Wednesday at 10PM. Other schedules: Mondays at 12nn, Tuesdays at 7am, Tuesdays at 2pm, Thursdays at 10am, Saturdays at 1pm. No excuse missing it! Make sure to use the hashtags #prponetc #sewlegit #veryveryfashion

Please watch and support the next big names in Philippine fashion.

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“Lucky” in Hong Kong

Early this month, I went on an unplanned trip to Hong Kong for project “Lucky.” It was one of the rare times that we get to do post production abroad. In this case, we did it in PixelBox HK. I was part of the team who spent a couple of days there to finish the material from grading (color correction) to final online (final release material).

This is officially my first time to handle a project with foreign post component; and it was a good learning experience for me. I met new people and got to know what goes on when we are the ones who fly out to do post production in another country.

I’ve been to Hong Kong a number of years ago; but Disneyland wasn’t built yet. I still wasn’t able to go there this time because I’m in Hong Kong to work. We had to focus on the job at hand, which was to finish the commercial. Still, we had free time to do some roaming; and I mostly spent it either shopping or eating!

We spent most of our time in the Causeway Bay side of Hong Kong; because our hotel and the post production house is there. We stayed at Lanson Place Hotel, which was in Leighton Road.

It is a fairly new hotel, which has a very modern design and nice, plush amenities. It’s in a very good location; because we rarely needed to take a taxi or MTR to get to where we want to go. Most shopping malls and restaurants are within walking distance, which is really… really great.

the library near the reception desk & waiting area near concierge
the room which served as my home for almost a week
i gotta show the bathroom, right?

The room is not massive; but it is big enough. The beds are comfortable. The bathroom is nice. They have great housekeeping services, good service. There’s really fast Internet; but you have to pay extra.

As mentioned, our place of work was PixelBox HK. It’s a post production house located in One Hysan Avenue. Similar to local production houses, it has a lobby/receiving area and several suites for editing.

PixelBox Headquarters (do you see the awesome Nespresso machine?)
inside the online and grading suites

Like I mentioned, our free time was spent either eating or shopping. Since we spent a couple of days there, I couldn’t possibly post every single shop and restaurant that we went to. For the purpose of sharing, here are some glimpses of the stuff I ate and the places I went to… at least the ones I got to take pictures of.

West Villa. first night in HK. first xiao long bao.
El Cid. late night meal -- a pint of Hoegaarden. shrimp and paella. yummy!
Peking Garden. peking duck and... other food. 🙂
Din Tai Fung. more xiao long bao.
Din Tai Fung. pork chop rice and drunken chicken.
IKEA. i loved going around this place... though I didn't exactly buy anything.
Times Square. here, i ended up buying two pairs of shows from Onitsuka Tiger. #shoeaddict
Lan Kwai Fong. we went around this place after a full meal at Peking Garden.

I really enjoyed my trip. It was mostly for work; but I had a bit of fun on the side… shopping, dining and roaming the streets. To top it off, the weather was chilly… a big contrast from our current hot weather in Manila.

foggy morning view from the hotel room

I hope to have more opportunities to do post work abroad in the future. This was certainly a great experience.

Shooting in 3D: Part Two

It’s been a long time since I shared a behind the scenes look at one of my previous projects; so I decided to add another entry to my series on the Ariel 3D Deep Clean shoot we did last year.

This project was both a challenge and a lot of fun. All the concepts and the discipline were new to me; but we were so excited to do it that we didn’t mind starting from scratch. At the end of the day, it allowed me to experience what shooting in 3D is like… something not a lot of production people in the Philippines have encountered.

The basic thing you have to know about 3D filming is its utilization of two cameras at the same time. These two cameras are rigged or positioned in such a way that there’s only slight gap between what they’re shooting. These two images are superimposed over each other, thus the double image we see onscreen without the 3D glasses.

the cameras on the 3D filmmaking rig
a sample 3D anaglyph picture: see the doubling image?
another sample of a 3D camera (this one is for still images): see the two lenses?

It’s not just a matter of shooting the images side by side, it’s also important to get the distance between the two images right. This gets a bit scientific and mathematical; so I won’t discuss it here. I don’t get it that much, either, to be honest. We leave that to the stereographers who know the ins and outs of 3D filming.

In order to finish the entire board, we had to shoot for 3 days. This was mainly because of the time it takes to go from one set-up to another. Every shot has to be carefully measured: the distance of the elements from the camera, the distance between the two cameras, the merging point, etc. This gets a bit tedious especially for first-timers like us. Still, everything came together; and we got to finish the job.

Shooting in 3D: Part One

After almost three months of storyboards, test shoots, planning, shooting, sound design and editing, the first ever 3D commercial in the Philippines has finally aired! I’m genuinely proud to have been part of it. I’ve tried my best to keep my mouth shut about this project; but now that it has been broadcast, I’m proud to present project “JUBILEE.”

It is directed by Paolo Dy, with director of photography Larry Manda and production designer Butch Garcia. Production house: Straight Shooters Media, Inc. 3-D equipment care of RSVP Film Studios, computer-generated graphics produced in Underground Logic, post production done in Post Manila, sound design by LoudBox Studios.

Important note: YOU WILL NEED RED-CYAN 3D GLASSES TO WATCH THIS COMMERCIAL IN 3D. You can get a free pair of Ariel 3D Glasses from specially-marked packs of ARIEL 3D DEEP CLEAN in supermarkets and other outlets.

With this being a special sort of project, I plan to write about it in bits and pieces. For now, I would just like to recognize the team behind this awesome commercial and thank them all for the hard work, the time and effort! We did it!

Team "Jubilee"
The 3D Rig (aka The Star of the Show): Can you see the 2 RED Cams?

“iPOD”

Project “iPOD” was the first celebrity television commercial I took part in. It was also my second project EVER. The TVC was for Bench sub-brand Human; and our lead was none other than the Black Eyed Peas’ apl.de.ap.

The ad is directed by Erin Pascual, with director of photography J.A. Tadena and production designer Mitch Magbitang-Directo.

This being the first celebrity commercial I worked on, with an international pop star as our lead, I have to admit it was really cool getting to meet him. I might be a bit more jaded now; but back then, it was a pretty big deal.

As you can see, this commercial is really short, a 15-seconder. Despite its length, it still took us one whole day to shoot. The site of our shoot was in historic Avenida (or Rizal Avenue) in Manila, which at this time was still closed to public vehicles. This made things a bit easier. However, the crowd was still pretty hard to control. Given that we had a well-known personality in one of the most crowded areas in the metropolis, barangay tanods weren’t enough. Seriously.

Overall, the shoot was a blur. I barely remember it except for the nightmarish crowd control conditions. Thankfully, we managed to survive it unscathed. We even had an important client stop by to do some photo ops with the talent. See for yourself:

Celebrities and “FASHION”

One of the usual questions that arise when discussing my work is, “Who are the celebrities you’ve seen?” or “Which celebrities are the best or worst to work with?”

In our celebrity-driven world, anything and everything has a star endorsement behind them. I’ve encountered a number of them especially in the past 2 years; and most people find my experiences fascinating. I admit each celebrity shoot has its own story; but they’re hardly interesting or scandalous. Being production people, we’re used to seeing showbiz personalities and are rarely starstruck. We usually just ignore them just as much as they ignore us. We concentrate on the job at hand and that is to finish shooting our board. They’re mostly just tired anyway from lack of sleep and nonstop work.

One of the biggest stars in the country today, dubbed by Rogue Magazine as “the face of our era,” is Anne Curtis. From her beginnings playing irritating, squeaky-voiced Am-girls who are, to put it bluntly, maarte (sorry, I really didn’t like her then), her fourteen-year career has proven that endurance in this industry should be backed up by personal growth and genuine star quality, not just beauty. I have to admit. I’m happy to have witnessed this actress develop and become better at her craft. She has come a long way. Now, her star is brighter than ever; and I respect her for that.

I had the chance to work on one of her earlier commercials. Dubbed Project “Fashion,” it was an ad for Biolink VCO shot last March 2008 (Tagal na!). This is way before her latest endorsements for Olay and Palmolive Naturals. It is directed by Robbie Dinglasan, with director of photography Leslie Garchitorena. She was styled by Sidney Yap, with make-up by Robbie Piñera and hair by Raymond Santiago. Production house: Straight Shooters Media, Inc. Post house: Optima Digital.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_O7fOUZH8Y]

This was shot for two days in a studio. We only had Anne for one night (yes, night); so we had to shoot all of her “rampa” shots between 7pm to early morning the next day. This was my first and only night shoot done in a studio. This isn’t that much of a surprise. We usually have to work within the busy schedule of celebrities; and this wasn’t any different. It may be the wee hours of the morning and everyone may be asleep; but we were wide awake working on the shoot.

Some interesting bits & pieces:
(1) When you watch the commercial, she’s peeling off clothes one by one. However, the way we shot it was in reverse. We started with her wearing the last dress, then proceeded to work backwards when it came to styling. It was easier to do this in terms of shooting sequence because the outfits in the earlier part of the commercial are more complicated. Also, the final, nude dress had most of the beauty shots so we got that out of way first.
(2) Anne was very professional; and her projection on cam is just effortless. She’s obviously been doing this for a long time. She may seem tired; but she still hams it up on camera to perk everyone up.
(3) A certain Sam Milby, who was her boyfriend then, stopped by the set and brought some Krispy Kremes for the staff and crew. Sweet ba?
(4) Due to time constraints, we had to use a double for the second day of shoot. These were for the close-up body shots and product application shots. This is usually what we do in commercials to make sure we put together the whole thing without taking up much of the celebrity’s time. After all, these shots take hours to shoot and many repetitions are done. It’s more practical for everyone involved.

Anyway, here are some behind the scene photos from our shoot:

Behind The Scenes: “GOAL”

As promised, here are some snapshots from my August shoot for the Smart Netphone. As you can see, some scenes were shot in an indoor facility against a HUGE sky backdrop, whereas some were shot outdoors. With a huge patch of astroturf (aka fake grass), we simulated a football field even if we were on cement the whole time. Add a little bit of editing and post magic; and you won’t even realize the tricks we’ve employed. It’s like we were on location the whole time.

You can read more about the project here.