Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!

I’m riddled with guilt; because I haven’t posted a single entry this year… and it’s already JULY! The first six months of 2014 just whizzed by; and I’ve either been too busy or too tired to even think about writing. It’s a happy problem, though, so I’m really thankful.

Still, better late than never. Now that I’ve finally pushed myself to write an entry, I’m going to kick off my blog this 2014 with a quick roundup of some projects I’ve been busy with for the first half of the year (different clients and different directors, FYI). This way, you’ll catch a glimpse of the crazy first half of my year (and hopefully understand my long hiatus from posting).

“ARTWORK”
This was an AVP shot on location in Pinto Gallery in Antipolo. We set up and shot features for three different photographers in a single location, which was a real challenge. But we did it!

Client: Canon Philippines | Agency: Publicis JimenezBasic
Director: Mark Mendoza | DOP: Sol Galang | Assistant Director: Randolph Longjas | Production Designer: Zaldy Manalang
Production House: Straight Shooters | Post Production: Engine Room

 “GAME”
This was shot in a house in Balete Drive, I kid you not. The house is pretty creepy; but the cheerful and happy nature of this board more than made up for it. The kids were great!

Client: Nestlé Philippines | Agency: Publicis Manila
Director: Pancho Esguerra | DOP: Monchie Redoble | Choreographer: Ickay Eusebio | Production Designer: Rious Caliso
Production House: Straight Shooters | Post Production: Engine Room/Optima Digital

“SELFIE”
The prep time for this board was a bit insane; but I’m glad we pulled it off. This was shot in one day in the Ortigas Center area and the beautiful campus of STI Ortigas-Cainta. Our DOP used a special handheld camera rig (called Brushless Gimbal) that allowed us to execute the smooth movement of from one angle to the other. It looks pretty good!

Client: STI
Director: Chris Martinez | DOP: Gary Gardoce | Assistant Director: Melvin Lee | Production Designer: Nina Torres
Production House: Straight Shooters | Post Production: Engine Room

“SIMPLICITY”
This was my first time working with a Taiwanese director. This spot was shot in 2 days in 2 schools: DLSU-Dasma and PUP. In a nutshell, the shoots were really quick and relatively painless… just the kind of projects I like.

Client: Johnson & Johnson Philippines | Agency: BBDO Guerrero
Director: Maureen Li | DOP: Ta-Pu Chen | Assistant Director: Pao Han Fang/Randolph Longjas | Production Designer: Adelina Leung
Production House: Straight Shooters | Post Production: Riot

“STAR”
This is the first of many materials for this project. Still waiting for the others to be approved… Anyway, all TVCs were shot in the span of a weekend (Friday to Sunday); and we had a lot of fun doing them.

Client: Unilab | Agency: Publicis JimenezBasic
Director/DOP: Yam Laranas | Assistant Director: Christine Blando/Manman Angsico | Production Designer: Rious Caliso
Production House: Straight Shooters | Post Production: Engine Room/Optima Digital

“SHOP & WIN”
This project was briefed and prepped in the span of exactly four days, two days of which included Saturday and Sunday. Insane, right? How we were able to pull it off is still a bit of a blur; but despite the challenges of prepping and shooting in a mall during mall hours, I think we did a good job.

Client: SM Supermalls/SMDC | Agency: BBDO Guerrero
Director/DOP: Jorg Schifferer | Assistant Director: James Sales | Production Designer: Marlon Baisac
Production House: Straight Shooters | Post Production: Engine Room

“SELFIE”
Yup. Another selfie-related project. This was also a commercial that had less than a week of preparation. The main challenge for us was maximizing one location to look like many different vignettes. How long was the shoot? One day. What location? Somewhere in QC. I think the team really pulled it off, don’t you think?

Client: Unilab | Agency: McCann WorldGroup
Director/DOP: Yam Laranas | Assistant Director: Melvin Lee | Production Designer: Butch Garcia
Production House: Straight Shooters | Post Production: Giantsponge Digital

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“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.