Conceptualize the Shoot
So we're gonna start taking kind of a deeper dive into really how you take that first step. How do you preconceive an image, and then turn that preconceived idea into a reality. I think, guys, I want you to hit me with as many questions as you possibly can. I'm gonna kind of talk through my methodology, try to provide as much detail as I possibly can. Really, it starts with conceptualizing the image, right? It's what are you actually going out to try to create, and I think you've heard Chase and I talk a lot in segment number one about this idea of you going with preconceived ideas. But often times, the best pictures are not what you preconceived. But you show up with a plan, and then you're ready to throw that plan out the window because you see better opportunity. So we're gonna talk about conceptualizing shot. We're gonna talk about locations, wardrobes, and props, and I would summarize all of that into being prepared. It's how do you show up on location with the empowerment to do y...
our job, the right tools, the right people, the right props, wardrobe, location, and a vision of what you're trying to accomplish. We're gonna touch on safety 'cause that's pretty real in the action sports world, and then the best shoots are the shoots where everybody comes home safe and you enjoy the process. And then finally, we're gonna step out onto the deck. We're in Truckee, California, just outside of Lake Tahoe, and we will look at kind of the kit, the equipment that we're gonna work with over the next two days while we're shooting on location. Let's actually start with the conceptualizing the shot. You know one of the things that I do is I'm constantly dreaming up ideas. I sleep with a notepad next to my bed, and any time I have a brainstorm, I roll over, whether it's before I go to bed, in the middle of the night, in the morning. Now, I am frankly, now I'm using notes in my iPhone more often than I do the pages. And by the way, in the new operating system, your notes on your iPhone sync with the notes on your computer, which is pretty cool, and it's cloud based so you don't lose those notes. But I'm constantly dreaming of what do I wanna create? What shots do I have in my mind? What locations would lend themselves to making interesting photographs? Now, Chase and I looked at pictures in segment one, and this was one I showed an end result image from this scenario, and I'm showing this photograph, more from the perspective of illustrating. Making pictures often times takes a lot of planning, right? It's you show up, and it's very rarely as if you're just winging it. It's you show up, and at least you have the tools in your tool box to pull off whatever you're trying to pull off during that shoot. And I think this is a great illustration of that. I didn't know before I flew to Mexico to shoot this picture of Dane Jackson that I'd be hanging on a rope next to Dane, but I did have in my mind, "You know, it's probably worth bringing some rope. "It's probably worth bringing a climbing harness," because we're in these rock gorges. And I believe me, I started by shooting the safe shot of Dane. There's a platform where, a kind of a standing area, I started there, I shot the safe photos. And then eventually, it evolved into getting on a rope and making this picture, right? So it's the idea is you conceptualize the shot, you think about the options, and then you wanna make sure that your tool kit is packed appropriately so that you can actually make those images. I'm showing this photograph, this is David Llama. This was a shoot for Red Bull in Lebanon about a year ago, and I'm showing this. Now, I'm gonna describe the assignment a little bit because we're gonna come back to this photo and this assignment several times today. David's one of the greatest rock climbers on the planet. That's why he's a Red Bull athlete. David is now one of the best alpinists in the world. He took his climbing skill set and then started to apply it to big mountains. David saw a photograph of this place online. This is called the Baatara Gorge in Lebanon. It's about a hour out of Beirut, and it's a magical location. Totally incredible, you're in this sink hole with natural arches and a waterfall in the background. But I have to say if you walked up to, if you were touring through Lebanon, and you drove up to this location, despite this location's beauty, if you weren't prepared, you couldn't make amazing photographs because it required real logistics to get into the specific locations that were the most conducive to shooting pictures. Now, our primary objective on this shoot was actually to create a film, so we were there shooting a video. In addition to shooting the video, Red Bull needed still photos to help illustrate this project, this story for marketing that would not allow for video content. We saw a handful of photographs online, specifically there was one photograph that David e-mailed me at the beginning of the project, and we said, "You wanna go and shoot at this place?" And as soon as I saw this photograph, it was just a Google image shot by a tourist of these natural arches and a waterfall in the background. I had this immediate visceral reaction, which was whatever it takes, I am gonna go on this assignment. And that's, you just feel those places where they're so special, so here's a little video clip. (upbeat, inspirational music) So I showed that little video clip, right? Behind the scenes, that's a really shooting video, but I'm using that clip to illustrate this simple idea that you don't just show up at the Baatara Gorge with a 30 foot Geoarm with the rigging and a bolt kit and climbing ropes. It's you plan for it, you think about, "I don't have all the answers." You never have all of the answers going into a project, but you can sort of project. And you say, "What could we possibly need "when we get into this environment in order "to pull off the highest level of production, "the coolest visuals possible?" And let me show, so you just saw a 30 foot Geoarm. We brought a drone with us, we had sliders, it's a lot for video content. But still photography is no different. I'm thinking about how do I get the still camera into situations that are the most compelling, and on a video production, often times I'm thinking, "How can I mirror as often as possible "what the video camera's doing?" In this environment, we put 90 percent of our effort into video, ten percent into still photography. And we really tried to operate in parallel. So here's a little 30 second clip. You'll see what some of this video footage looks like. We'll come back to this shoot later in the day when we're talking about work flow, and we're talking about post processing. (grunting)
I guess when it comes to climbs that are just this hard or that are this close to your limit, climbing is almost more an art than a sport. (soothing, inspirational music) I almost thought this can't be real, but Baatara Gorge somehow is just a magical place. (soothing, inspirational music) I was just really psyched to come here to try to put up a new route.
So I show that clip because I think this is a great illustration of the work that you do before you show up on location is sometimes more important than the work you do on location. So I'm often, my wife likes to say, I'm an over communicator, that I do too much talking, but I don't like to leave much to chance. I would rather have said it so that no one's surprised when we get to the location. David and I had lots of conversations before we actually landed in Lebanon, and it was around, I wanna know from the athlete, "Where do you think you're gonna climb?" I'm asking as many questions as I can possibly ask that inform me to do a better job once we're on location. So, in this sink hole, there's real questions around where is the climb going to be? What is the local ethic, can we actually put a bolt in the wall, what is the approach like to get to the gorge if we wanna set anchors so that we can repel in and shoot pictures from ropes? What is that going to look like logistically?