“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.


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.


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.


In my entire history of working in production (over four years), this project was the shortest shoot I’ve ever done. And I’ll never forget it.

It was a studio shoot entirely done against chroma. We didn’t even paint the set, only chroma cloth was used. Why? Because all we had to do was shoot different people in different costumes talking on the phone. It’s one of those rare storyboards that kept things simple for production. I’m so thankful to have encountered such a project.

It’s directed by Joey Agbayani, with director of photography Dindo Martinez. Production house: Straight Shooters Media, Inc. Post house: Optima Digital.

Hours of work? 6am call time, 1pm pack-up. Dream come true.