Tuesday, January 17, 2006

at work: ocular

Prepping up for a shoot with a hotel client, I spent most of today wearing my art director's hat in the cool climes of Tagaytay, overlooking Taal Volcano. Since I ended up not buying a prosumer SLR camera while I was in the US (frustrating story there), all I had was my trusty and beloved Xda II.

Since I'll be directing the future shoot, I needed to familiarize myself with the location, reviewing all the shoot requirements. I wanted to see everything for myself so I can plan the shots and cut on the time devoted to the actual shoot. I think of it as doing my homework - and also so I don't look like a fool to the expensive "name" photographer whose fees outstrip mine.

The property is a hotel, a pedigreed one at that, so I can't post the revelatory shots I took (rooms, ballrooms, restos, viewdecks, exteriors, pool, etc.) but I did take some images for reference that are hard to pin down on any specific place. Why the carefulness? Because my design company is creating a series of print ads for this client and I want them to look their best.

Of all the layouts I'm shooting, I'll select only a small number for the actual ads, giving the rest to the client for their library. Remember, these are hurriedly-taken shots for angles only and not the final shots which will be in full color. I show these to the photographer and we compose the shot together - he'll handle the lighting, I'll handle the set design as well manage the talents (I'm delighted because there is a spa setup).

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I like shots like this, which permit my artists the ability to isolate details. Details are useful for a variety of materials such as brochures, menus and rate cards.

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I plan to have a bartender at the far edge of the shot, or a set of bottles with colored fluids to refract/scatter hues in the upsidedown wine glasses.

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The reason I spent so much time at the bar was that the client was happy to keep me lubricated ;)

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There are so many options for the required spa shot. I'm thinking of filling this up with bubbles or the usual flower petals and work the shot via lighting. And perhaps I'll take the wife here for some hankyp-panky.

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I call it a cupola but it's just the ceiling of one of the external function halls (sadly, no dome). But with the proper setup and a wide shot, this will look great.

Despite myself, I found myself wishing I could shoot the kitchen (and hence, food) as well but it's not part of the project scope. I met the hotel head chef and he's really cool.


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