the IT list #11

“the IT list” A series of posts that highlight the various stuff, old or new, that I’ve been doing… reading, watching, eating or simply obsessing over recently. It’s my personal countdown.

the IT list #11

#ONE
It’s been a summer of really entertaining blockbuster movies; but the one that stood out for me so far is Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim. I’ve watched it twice. Once in IMAX 3D. Once in the good old 2D format. Either way, the movie is just pure awesomeness wrapped in robots versus monsters goodness. Go watch it.

#TWO
It was one LONG month before I got this; but the waiting was worth it! I’ve been wanting to buy a pocket WiFi device of my own. Thankfully, I held out long enough for LTE to arrive in our shores.

The Smart LTE Prepaid Pocket WiFi kit is worth Php6,995. It includes a ZTE MF93D unit and LTE Sim. I’ve been using it for almost two months and I have no regrets. I’ve only gone up to 12mbps at the most, but it’s even faster than the WiFi in my house! And that’s saying a lot. With the prepaid kit, I get to control the amount I put into my device — no contracts, no lockout. What’s even better is that the unit allows up to 10 users at a time! I can also avail of unlimited LTE in Php50 (1 day), Php299 (7 days) and Php995 (30 days) denominations. That’s a really great deal especially since there’s no data cap.

Visit smart.com.ph/bro/lte for more details.


#THREE
I’ve been watching this YouTube show for a while; but Kids React (TheFineBros) got some mainstream media attention because of a recent episode that showed us how some kids could be smarter than most adults when it comes to viewing race and equality.

I love watching this show… as well as its other incarnations: Teens React and Elders React. It’s a simple concept; but it’s entertaining and it makes you think. Highly recommended.

vmars
#FOUR
The movie is finished shooting. A sneak peek has been released. It’s really happening! I am one of the proud backers of this Kickstarter project; and I’m SO EXCITED for the finished product. I’ve been getting a number of updates related to the movie and so far, things are looking pretty good… definitely worth the $50 I shelled out to help make it a reality. The Veronica Mars Movie will be out early 2014. I can’t wait!!

#FIVE
I haven’t had a chance to watch a concert or a theatrical show this year (and it’s already July!). What I’ve been doing a lot of lately is going on staycations. Last Holy Week, we stayed at Manila Hotel. For my sister’s bridal shower, I treated her to an overnight stay at Ace Hotel & Suites. Just last week, I tagged along with my brother’s family and stayed in Sofitel Philippines.

Needless to say, I LOVE the staycation experience. Getting to stay in a luxurious hotel… Not having to clean up after yourself… Best of all, two words: breakfast buffet, which is one of my favorite things in the world. It’s my way of getting some rest and relaxation without leaving the city.

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“JUMP IN”

And here it is… The BIG project I’ve been talking about for the past few months. It’s finally and officially OUT. Best of all, I can now claim to be PART OF IT!

The song is entitled “Jump In.” This music video was shot over the course of four days — One day for each of the vignettes and one long day for the dancing and singing parts. We shot in picturesque locations and shot with international stars apl.de.ap and Jessica Sanchez. This huge project was a challenge to take on; and hopefully, audiences saw the “bigness” in the finish product. After all, putting it together took a lot of physical and mental energy, endless moments of stress and sleepless nights. Whew!

This MTV is for the new Smart Jump In SIM. It’s directed by Filipino-Canadian Marc Andre Debruyne, with director of photography Take Onishi and production designer Rious Caliso. Production house: Straight Shooters Media, Inc. Post house: Engine Room and Optima Digital.

“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.

“LUCKY”

It’s rare that I get to be part of putting together a thematic ad or a corporate ad. These are usually the bigger projects that involve a number of scenes and a whole bunch of people. But when these types of projects come around, you may get extremely stressed and harassed during production; but by the time the final material gets aired, you feel really good about what you’ve accomplished. When people actually talk about it online and your colleagues are buzzing about the ad, it just feels awesome.

“LUCKY” is that type of project. This material was released yesterday as “Live More with Smart.” It’s directed by Franco Marinelli, with director of photography Geoffrey Hall and production designer Adelina Leung. Production house: Straight Shooters Media, Inc. Post house: PixelBox.

There’s a lot to say about this particular production; but now, I just want to share it with you. By the way, if you’re loving the music, it’s an original composition made especially for Smart. I’m positive it will be released as a song in the near future.

Stop waiting. Start living.

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.

“GOAL”

I’m proud to present the latest commercial I was part of. It took two weeks to put together from pre-production to post production, with a couple of weeks back and forth revisions before this finish product. I prefer not to get into the details of that long exchange. I’m just happy we’re airing! Here are the Azkals Aly, Chieffy, Anton, Angel and Nate with Sam Pinto for the new Smart Netphone.

It’s directed by Franco Marinelli, with director of photography Massimo Hanozet and production designer Adelina Leung. Production house: Straight Shooters Media, Inc. Post house: Optima Digital.

It was shot for two days: One day in A-Venue Hall Makati which served as a studio and one day in Quirino Grandstand. I’ll share some behind the scenes photos once I’ve organized them. But for now, what can I say? The whole thing utilized some wonderful tricks here and there, all coming together with the help of a wonderful photo of a beautiful sky… That’s all I can say. You’ll see what I mean if and when I get around to sharing those photos.

The project posed a couple of challenges:
(1) Weather. It was early August. Weather was unpredictable. It was stormy the week before shoot; and so we can’t be sure of shooting all the scenes outdoors.
(2) Celebrities. All Azkals players were only available for one-day shoots. Sam Pinto was only available for one day as well. The list of shots had to be planned well in order to get the footage we need given these conditions.
(3) Extras! Four hundred (400) of them to be exact. This is not the most extras I’ve encountered (record is 500 extras); but we rarely get shoots with this many people involved. This was still a bit of a challenge.

Anyway, with the right tools for organization and the right people on the job, I’m happy to report that the shoot ran fairly smoothly. Being blessed with beautiful weather during our location shoot was just the icing on the cake. I couldn’t believe how sunny it was given that just a few days before, it was practically stormy in Metro Manila. It was also raining hard during our studio (indoor) shoot the day before. We were really lucky that day, so lucky that right after the director declared that it’s a wrap, heavy rain poured. Talk about right timing!

I’m really happy with the final output; and here’s hoping that this product becomes a hit!

UPDATE! Behind the scenes photos are up.