VIDEO: Nike Mercurial Victory II FG Boot Reveal

VIDEO: Nike Mercurial Victory II FG Boot Reveal

September 11, 2012 By Joe Morahan

Nike Mercurial Victory II FG Boot Reveal

Game Changer

This is 5.6K Video.  It’s clean, crisp, and absolutely stunning.  The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III captures images up to 21 megapixels in size, allowing for plenty of editing headroom. It is capable of producing some of the sharpest images possible on a dSLR. For this time lapse shoot, I wanted to be able to use still frames from the video as part of a coordinated print campaign.

Usually, personal projects go one of two ways — they either succeed or fail, and there’s not much in between. I took a lot of risks creating this project, and pushed myself to try new techniques. Why shoot if you’re not going to take risks?! I am so thrilled that this video came out as beautifully as I’d pictured it in my head.

I always have to do things differently, so I shot the video to play in reverse. This meant that the entire video had to be done in one take. Once I started shooting, there could be no breaks, no cuts, no stopping.  A slight bump of the table or tripod meant shoot over.  There’s nothing like pressure to get the blood flowing!

Inspiration Injection

Last year, while taking a quick break from business and browsing YouTube for inspiration, I found a video that caught my attention. In this video, an artist pours paint onto a box and lets it drip, revealing fascinating patterns. I could have watched this process for hours! Searching for other artists who utilize poured and dripped paint in their work, I was amazed at the variety of results and techniques.

I found my inspiration. I wanted to shoot my own video using this concept of poured paint, but I wanted to apply it to my commercial work as a sports photographer and filmmaker. Above all, I wanted to approach this concept from a creative standpoint and make it truly unique. I wrestled with the idea of creating a time-lapse video featuring athletic products and logos, turning it over and over again in my mind, until it had grown and evolved into a project far greater than my initial concept. It turned from a two-day project into more than a month of pre-production, shooting, and editing. Collaborating with editors, producers and others, I’m proud to now show you the product of our efforts.

Devil in the Details

The Shoot

With meticulous planning and execution, my vision came to life. One of my favorite moments in the film is when the embossed logo fades out of view as the paint fills the set. I built the set by cutting out the shape of the logo, which had to be precisely offset from the rest of the table to achieve the desired effect. It took several attempts to perfect, but the end result is killer. Here is a short time lapse of us constructing the logo.

I constructed the set in my garage studio to control as many variables as possible to eliminate problems and inconsistencies during shooting. Evicting the spiders that had taken up residence in my 100-year-old garage, I cleaned out the space to maximize the amount of space I had to work with. Getting back to my roots shooting slide film, I made sure my set was perfect before capturing the first frame, not wanting to leave anything to be fixed later in post-production. After years of shooting still photography with a digital camera, I’m used to being able to alter an image in Photoshop. However, as I’m now shooting more and more motion, I have to be sure that every detail is in place before we begin – not a speck of dust on the table, and no light stands in the frame.

Post-Game

Dealing with the Deluge: 8 Unique Time-Lapses

When I started my pre-production on this project, I expected to produce scores of images, but even so I was blown away by the final count.  The shoot was only five hours long, but the incessant clicking of so many cameras continued in my head for days.  I had set up a total of three stationary cameras (one directly above, one at the main angle, and one slightly left of the table top).  Additionally, I had a few cameras I moved around, depending on the action taking place.   By the end I had a total of eight unique time lapses, ranging from a couple hundred shots to close to 5500.   Before I could begin post-production work, I had to first organize the thousands of images.  After import, they needed to be sorted in reverse, so that the final sequence would show objects being uncovered (instead of covered) by paint.

.

My Secret Weapon: 5616 x 3744

Shooting this time lapse contained a secret weapon. For the main angle, I used a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III with a Zeiss Planar T* 1.4/85mm ZE prime lens. I shot ISO100, at a f/7.1 aperture with ¼ second shutter speed.  The image quality of this setup is incomparable, capable of producing each frame at a 21 megapixel RAW image.  At more than 5600 pixels across and 300ppi, we effectively created a 5.6K video…way cool!!!

Automated Bliss: 30,000 Images

How do you make sense of thousands of images taken in one day?  Here’s my strategy for coping. After downloading the into a folder on my computer, I open the folder in Bridge.  I sort the images in reverse order, and do a Batch Rename so that they stay locked in that order. Next, I start my scripting action.  This has proven to be one of the more difficult steps of these motion projects.  Unfortunately, one action couldn’t work for all the angles. Since paint is so specular when wet, reflections, lights, and even paint colors all have variables, I had to create a different action for each individual time lapse sequence.  In each action, I tried to use the same white point, color correction, and overall style to create a cohesive look in the final sequence.  After cropping and exporting them at HD size, I put them all into a movie and sent them off to Otherfilms for editing.

Freeze Frame

The most challenging aspect of this project was coordinating all the variables, including the speed of the paint, the frame rate, lighting, extra cameras and angles. At first it was very difficult for me to visualize all the camera angles, because we were shooting the entire project in reverse so that the products would be revealed through the paint. It took an enormous amount of planning and pre-production to determine the ordering of the shot list, but it was all worth it to achieve a final result that was smooth and precise when played in reverse. Before, during and after the shoot, I was dreaming in reverse.

The Gear

Hoodman

My friends over at Hoodman sent me a package that arrived just days before shooting began on this project, which was perfect timing. They sent me their amazing new Cinema Kit Pro, a handful of RAW STEEL 16GB SHDC CLASS 10 and my personal favorite, a Hoodloupe. Their massive cards hold 16 gigs of info! I had never used a card this big before, in fear that something would go wrong with the card and I would lose all my files. However, over the years Hoodman has gained my trust in their cards, and these new cards are my favorite I have ever tried. I only shoot on Hoodman cards now. I can’t believe something so small can hold so much info. Using the 16 gig cards, I only had to change cards once during the course of the entire shoot!  Fewer card changes meant less chance of bumping the tripod and ruining the entire shoot. These cards really helped with this long time lapse and made this shoot all come together. Thank you, Hoodman!!

When the marbles are on the table, what digital film do you choose?  I use Hoodman.

I have been using their compact flash cards for years now, and have neverhad even one problem.  When I’m preparing to shoot, I always make sure that I have Hoodman cards in all my cameras.

On my last shoot, I had five cameras all running on time lapse intervolometers or Pocketwizard receivers. As with every shoot, it was crucial that everything went smoothly, but this one was a little different… Some of the cameras were wired and bolted to the ceiling, set to hold the perfect frame for the duration of the shoot.  Because I couldn’t see the screen on the back of the camera or look through the viewfinder during the shoot, I had to check (and triple-check!) all my settings beforehand. Oh, and did I mention that the camera was suspended directly over a tabletop covered with gallons of flowing paint? In the midst of all this chaos, the last thing I wanted to worry about was whether my CF cards would fail.

Every three seconds you would hear a symphony of shutters all blasting at once.  Each of the five cameras was shooing 20 frames per minute, 1200 frames per hour.  After shooting for five hours, we had approximately 30,000 images!  With so many images comprising such a detailed time lapse, we needed to be sure that nothing was going to happen to our files.  If even one of the cards failed, there would be a gap in the final video. We couldn’t afford a card failure, so Hoodman was our clear choice.

Hoodman cards are tested to ensure a lifespan of 500,000 downloads, which blows the competition out of the water. If you downloaded a Hoodman card every day, the card would last around 1370 years! That works just fine for me.

In addition to being insanely reliable, Hoodman cards have the fastest download speeds out there, beating out all other manufacturers by a 10% margin. When you’re downloading 30,000 high-quality images, this makes for a huge time saver!  Instead of waiting around in front of the computer for cards to download, I’m out enjoying life and planning for my next shoot.

Lowepro

Shooting in a tight space (my garage studio), it was incredibly helpful to have Lowepro gear keeping all the equipment organized. We had two Photo Trekker AW II bags filled to the brim. Even though space was tight, there was no shortage of equipment on hand for the shoot. We had 5 cameras, ranging from a Canon EOS 1-Ds Mark III to a 5D Mark II, and around 7 lenses. We had timer remotes, PocketWizards, and tons of other equipment. Lowepro made it easy to set-up each camera independently, ensuring a smooth shoot. This sort of organization helps put my mind at ease, knowing that everything I need is in my bags. Once those bags are empty I know that we’re ready to go.

What’s in the Bag? You won’t find any sweaty gym socks here.

When other photographers ask me what’s in my bag, it always makes me laugh a little. I don’t think there is anything magical in my bag that makes it any different from other photographer’s bags.  I’m fanatical about my equipment, and my bags are sometimes my only line of defense in keeping my gear intact and failure-free in chaotic shooting environments.

My bags aren’t just carrying cases — they are my key to staying organized on a shoot.  The generous folks at Lowepro have very generously sent me a few bags to field test, and I love each and everyone of them, although for many different reasons.   My Lowepro bags range from a day bag, (about the size of a small backpack), to the massive Photo Trekker AW II (which I could live out of, at least for a while), and even a fully waterproof Dry Zone 200 pack.

It may surprise you to hear this, but I never have any of my gear pre-packed.  Before each shoot, I make a thorough equipment list and go through my shelves to find the items needed.  I have my gear organized by type: lighting, cameras, lenses, accessories, underwater, extreme, etc.  Then I load the gear into my Lowepro packs and check the contents against the equipment list for the shoot.  This ensures nothing is forgotten, missing or damaged.

Each piece of equipment stows safely in its own section in the pack, thanks to Lowepro’s removable dividers.  The sections protect each item during travel, and it also helps me keep track of equipment while shooting. A place for everything and everything in its place!  If something gets set aside during the shoot, I can immediately see an empty spot in my pack and know I’m missing gear. I can’t tell you how many times this system has kept me from leaving something behind on location, especially smaller items like loupes, flash cards and batteries.  This system helps me keep all my gear safe and secure.

  • 5-Cameras; 1-Ds Mark III, 1-D Mark II; 5D Mark II;  20D; Rebel XTi (not shown in photo)

  • 6- Lenes;  70-200mm, 100mm Macro, 17-40mm,  15mm FishEye ,  Zeiss Planar 85mm, Ziess Planar 50mm

  • 1- Case for Hoodman RAW compact flash cards

  • 1-  Hoodloupe 3.0

My two Photo Trekker AW II packs were loaded up with a lot of gear for this particular shoot.  We were shooting a time lapse, using many cameras shooting still as well as motion. This shoot was a little different shoot for me, being a studio tabletop setup.  I normally choose to shoot on location and enjoy the fresh air.  This shoot had a lot of moving pieces, and it required a lot of organization to maintain control of the chaos. To keep each piece of equipment close at hand and easy to find, the bags were packed before arriving at the set.  Whether I’m shooting near home or on the other side of world, my Lowepro bags are packed and ready to handle anything.

The equipment list for bag #2:

  • 1-  Hoodman Cinema Kit Pro

  • 4-  Pocketwizards Plus (1 transmitter & 3 receivers)

  • 16-   Batteries  (extra batteries for all cameras; cable releases; pocketwizards)

  • 13- filters (ranging from ND, split ND, polorizers, and more)

  • 1-  80-200mm lens

  • 4- Cable releases (2 timers, 2 regular)

  • 1-   Sekonic light meter

  • 1- set of extension tubes (for extreme close ups)

It always amazes me how much gear I can fit in my packs.  Whether it’s the Dry Zone 200 or the Lowepro Photo Trekker AW II, all my equipment stays organized and protected. This allows me to arrive on shoots confident that I have everything I need to produce quality images. Not pictured above is a ton of smaller gear (spare eye cups, tripod heads, model releases, pens, compass, level, clamps, and more) that fits into pouches along the top.

A few things my LowePro bag always has in it:

  • Canon EOS 1DS- Mark III

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark II

  • Canon EF 70-200mm 1:2.8 L IS USM

  • Canon EF 17-40mm 1:4 L USM

  • Hoodman RAW Compact Flash Card 675X 8GB;  RAW STEEL 16GB SHDC

  • Hoodman   HoodLoupe 3.0

  • Model Releases/ Pens

  • Extra Batteries for: Cameras, cable releases, pocketwizards

  • Rain Gear/ Heavy Duty Trash Bags

Joe Morahan