- Intro to Corey & DSLR Filmmaking Part 1
So I thought what I would do is actually jump right into just giving you a little bit of background in terms of who I am and so that you understand where I'm coming from. Um, where, you know, I guess if you ask I wear these two hats is the reality of an adventure photographer and filmmaker, and I spend a lot of time in this office standing waist deep in water, you know, on the side of a mountain or hanging off of ropes with crampons on, but the fact of the matter is at the core of the story teller, this is what I love doing is being in this office, but I do a lot of work, actually that's, not in the outdoor realm, it's telling stories for fortune five hundred companies about complex technology, but that's not as sexy is this. And so this is what we're going to focus on, but my point in telling you that is storytelling, his universal it's, the idea of actually having a beginning, a middle and an end commuting, communicating something that's interesting, engaging in a narrative, but also...
in a visual format. And so whether you do it outside or whether you do it in a corporate environment conceptually it's the same thing. It's, how do you communicate something that's compelling and that's really what? We're going to drill down on this. How do you communicate in a compelling way? And how do you do it simultaneously? Still in motion on a single shoot. And if at the end of this course you feel like I kind of get it, I have a better feel for helping to do that. And this was a success. So someone here's my encapsulated story. I'm going to do it in sixty minutes or less. Thirteen years old. I picked up my dad's actually let me back in thirteen years old. I want to pull up contest on our junior high school campus. I did thirty five pull ups and one of my p e teachers invited me to go rock climbing for the first time. And I borrowed my dad's slr camera so I could make images of my weekend adventures. Turns out making great pictures was a lot harder than just the piece of equipment you needed brain upstairs. You needed an idea and you needed the technique to actually make those pictures went to college. Eventually I studied photography at san jose state university, took a semester off, and I traveled around the western united states. Photographing rock climbing, I had a honda civic I took out all the seats except the driver seat, cut out a piece of plywood and that's the advantage to being short, you can actually sleep in a honda civic like comfortably like a little motor home, but I drove around the united states and I would go from climbing area to climbing area, photographing rock climbing, and my goal was to show rock climbing in a new way, treat it like it was a newspaper assignment show details show wide shots tried to use interesting light, really focus on composition, find moments, get myself into unique situations, and part of it was really applying the skill set that I had right on the climber but also a photographer so I could get myself into unique situations. That's one of the things that I always say when you're when you're trying to identify what do you going to do with your career? What are the unique attributes that you have in your career? If you know a lot about equestrian and you're a talented filmmaker and you're a talented photographer, you have a niche and that niche really helps in terms of getting your foot in the door and actually making a name for yourself in the industry creating a business, my niece and my passion in life was rock climbing I loved being outside climbing so my dad made me sign a contract when I took that semester off, and it said he's, no lawyer, he was actually school teacher, but it said, cory, after you take the six months off, you will return to college, so I did return to college after the six months on the road, but I loved everything about being on the road in the lifestyle of the shooting pictures. I had a hundred rolls of film for that first six months on the road, and I shot all hundred rolls, and then my goal when I made it back to san jose state in my dorm room was to edit my pictures down to the hundred best or the forty best climbing images, and I shipped him off to climbing magazine. My first cover ever that ran was this one, and it turns out that this is the best selling issue ever of climbing magazine. Now, I like to think that it's, because of the light and the composition and the way that I composed this image, but I've been told otherwise, and but it was this peak moment in the publishing world in the print publishing world it was magazines were still thriving, this thing called the internet was not quite around I'm dating myself, by the way, I mean, email was kind of a novel thing at the moment. And so I created this career while I was a college student I started shooting just magazine cover after magazine cover feature story after future story but all centered around the rock climbing world that was my passion that's all I wanted to do that's all I thought about I was living it eating and breathing it, and the truth is, when you're in college there's nothing else that you have to do right? You can go to school or you can go out and shoot more pictures. And so as you can imagine, there was a direct correlation between the more I was getting published the lower my g p a wood dio and said there's kind of like this the sliding scale and eventually I realized, well, it wasn't just about photographing rock climbing that I loved it was being outside was being in wild, beautiful places with like minded people in trying to communicate their stories. In fact, over time, I realized I loved the idea of shooting content that was unique to me that I wasn't as familiar with, for example, in snow and in a snowy environment it was a very different game than shooting hanging on a rope in a vertical environment, so every challenge was this unique opportunity to learn new techniques and that's part of our jobs, and when I say this to myself all the time when the phone rings and someone asks me to do something that's outside of my comfort zone, my immediate response is absolutely, and then I pull the phone away from my ear and I think, shit, how am I going to do this? Like now I'm going to figure this out, I'm going to make it happen and that's the reality like when we dig deep and we force ourselves to learn often times that's when we do our best work when you're outside of your comfort zone and you're pushing yourself hardest and don't get me wrong like that's also, when you make a lot of mistakes when you're outside of your comfort zone, but that's a part of that growth curve, you know the harder you run around the track, the faster you get, the more you push yourself mentally and physically in the photo video world that's also when we grow, so I moved to lake tahoe, california, I officially dropped out of college with three classes left, but the reality is I'm traveling nonstop, I'm on the road two hundred fifty days and you're getting paid by clients and I finally I'm moved to the mountains where I could feel like I'm on vacation when I'm at home, which was very rare. I like to say that I lived in lake tahoe for ten years, but I've only been there for about a year and a half cumulatively, pigs, I'm just on the road of time. So anything from underwater again, lots of problem solving this was may be the scariest assignment I've ever done. Underwater cave exploration, water filled cave exploration. Maybe my favorite thing in the world is going on expeditions to remote places. This is patagonia, argentina. I also constantly try to identify what are my skill sets early on, even is really is in college, I realized one of my skill sets as I can make interesting pictures two I can hang on a rope, I'm really comfortable hanging on ropes and vertical environments, and three I think I'm a pretty good guy like people like me and those are three key ingredients, right? You're willing to work hard, you have some raw talent and you're a likable person, those air like three key fundamental qualities if you want to make a career in the photography or video world, but so I would get hired to do really quirky jobs. I go to kansas and photograph a vertical dance troupe again, it's combining, I'm a still photographer, a nice guy, and I can hang on the rope and sell pretty cool assignment. I didn't mind being outside I like sleeping in the dirt I shot a lot of adventure racing for it for a guy named mark burnett who later went on to become the kingpin of reality television but diversity was the key for me it was I realized also that it wasn't just about the peak action it was about those in between moments was the lifestyle photographs in between actually surfing or in between actually rock climbing was forcing never put that camera down that was that's what I learned kind of in those first ten years it's the fun moments in between the actual action by the way this is madison underhill who's sitting in our front row when you live in a small town you leverage riel people you leverage your neighbors to be your models for shoot so that's madison on the right side of the screen that's her sister marin in the foreground and this was actually an ad for shot for vail resorts for heavenly resort so it's about creating authentic moments on demand that's a lot of what I do I started as a photojournalist working for newspapers photographed rock climbing and then over time I realized wow what commercial clients want me to do is create real moments but on demand we needed a ten thirty we need an authentic moment of people playing in the snow and so now madison is by the way madison gave a humble introduction madison created the most impressive spreadsheet that we actually I've ever had in our office, which I'll show off later, she itemized every piece of equipment that we have in our studio so that when we're packing for a shoot, we can actually just go through the spreadsheet and put a check mark on any piece of equipment that needs to go on the production with photographs and descriptions of the year, so you'll see that later I'm going to show you how we use it again. It's the quiet moments looking for fun photographs along the way as photographers in his film makers are number one job is keep that camera handy it's always on batteries are better than they've ever been before it's you're always ready to shoot an image and never let the moment pass. The worst thing you can do is a photographer as a filmmaker is actually you're looking at this amazing double rainbow over the lake and but you're drinking a beer and you say, you know I'm gonna finish this beer and then I'll shoot the double rainbow doesn't work that way. You drop whatever you're doing in life and you go out and you make the picture you shoot the clip because it's a fleeting moment it will go away guaranteed that's one lesson that I've worn every time I've said I'm going to come back and do it it's gone and so that's you know lesson number one always shoot it in this photograph of justin bastian sleeping in a sleeping bag is exactly that scenario it's and it's also about having fun it's the serendipity of moments it's the serendipity of situations we go in constant went to situations with preconceived ideas what are we going to capture? But the reality is sometimes just playing with your subjects brainstorming having fun creates the greatest moments so we're going to I'm going to go through this entire process of how we build the production schedule and production documents and the reality is when stuff gets really good and it's unpredictable I throw that stuff out the window and I throw away the preconceived idea and we wing it a bit because it makes great moments and that's exactly the case here with the jacksons were doing a shoot with eric jackson and his family this was not on our shot list but we started goofing around and the boats were on top of the car and the next thing you know you know that the better photo by the way was eric had both hands out the window but I felt like that was going to get lawyers calling my house you know it's steering with his with his knees and his kids they're on the roof of the car so more on the jackson soon again quiet moments forcing yourself toe work situations and create visual diversity so there's my still photography background um I'm not a big year dad I'm not a gear geek in the sense I can't tell you every speck on every camera, every piece of equipment that we're going to show you today but what I the way I use gears I try to buy and use the devices that make my world easier you know the tools that allow me to spend less time thinking about the technical and more time thinking about the creative that's sort of my sweet spot so this nikon d ninety changed my life there's there's kind of turning point moments I always say in a career and rarely is it attached to equipment in fact this the only thing in my career that I on ly moment in my career where I pointed a piece of equipment and say this was a game changer for me I was flying from the east coast back to the west coniston I picked up time magazine and a technology reporter actually was doing wrote a story about how the d ninety was going to change cinema forever and this guy wasn't a photographer he was or filmmaker who's a tech writer and I read the one page article is just a photograph of the d ninety basically he said this is the first video enabled dslr on the market and what this allows you to do is the average consumer can now record hd video but it looks sexy it as that cinematic look, and you can do it in the small form factor for a low price point. Hank, you can buy the camera. Costco is what they said, and so I, of course, I read this and I thought, boy, I love the idea of storytelling that I'd been dabbling with recording audio and my dad's tape recorder dictaphone tape recorder that he used for work and then sinking it with multiple checked projector slide shows. I dabbled with buying that conventional video cameras, but they were clunky and it was too hard to have one still camera and one video camera hanging off the other shoulder. So I read this time magazine article, and I realized this is a game changer. This is it's, the same device that I'm accustomed to shooting still photos with and the way that I read the story was I could flip the switch and press record, and now I'm shooting full hd video that looks like the still photos that I was shooting, where I had control of the content so that next weekend I was actually heading to yosemite to work on ah, a still photo shoot could also shoot some b roll for a filmmaker friend of mine, josh lowell is one of the leading filmmakers in the rock climbing world. And the goal and I was working with tommy called one of the great climbers of our time and my other buddy chris mcnamara and so I told josh over the telephone he wanted to send me conventional video camera and I said hey josh let's check out these experiments and I sent him you know, thirty seconds of clips from the nikon d ninety and his reaction was wow that looks really incredible but he was skeptical he came from the filmmaking background his dad was a filmmaker it's in his blood so this just doesn't add up like a you know a thousand dollar dslr how could that possibly do the job my fifteen thousand dollars video camera that I'm going to ship to you how can they how can they be comfortable buddy agreed bring the conventional camera bring the nikon d ninety up and so this was my first experiment went up on el cap I'm in my office right this is the sweet spot I'm shooting still photos with same camera that I'm recording video I head up on to the side of el cap and I have and I say this sincerely it's possible I have no idea what I'm doing I have no tribe pod because I hated tripods is still photographer no nd filter no external microphone I just brought my still photography kit and a nikon d nine with a backup d seven hundred I think was my other body so I'm going to show you this peace, not because it's great, I'm showing this because there's a starting point for everyone. This is my first dive into the world of shooting on a dslr so it's a two minute video, I think, and later it was published on the nikon learning explorer kappas most sustained, steepest wall in the world of that size on this project goes right up the middle of a thing is just so far above and beyond anything I've been able to do it so much work into it. It's a daunting task, but yet it's amazing it's the next step it's the progression for it and big wall free climbing wait, yeah, really marie, those black frames every year, even if I don't think I'm gonna come back, I find myself here thinking about this project and up there on the wall, suffering once again. I don't know what's wrong with me, but in the game I mean, I'm and you can see some of this like I'm trying to figure out how to even hold the camera stable and you can imagine holding it stable. On the side of a rock wall inside of el capitan in yosemite was a challenging way to start. That dive into the video world, but what happened on that shoot as I completely fell in love with motion? I found myself I didn't shoot many still photos in fact, I probably failed on that part of the shoot because I was so engaged with pressing that record button I had knows a kudo loop I could barely see what I was doing its bright sun outside, and I was shooting these video clips and then I'd pull my jacket over my head and I watched the cleverness oh, man, this looks so cool and secretly, I'm thinking, I hope I'm not blowing it at him, and I hope that clip is like in focus because I really can't tell, but I came back and I saw that cut get done, and I realized this is so cool. I just loved everything about shooting video on a dslr because I understood how to manipulate that camera. I don't know how to manipulate the cameras in this room, but I knew how to manipulate that dslr because it's, what I used every day since I was thirteen years old, so a light bulb went off in my head and I thought, wow, there's big opportunity here, here I'm using a single camera recording stolen video, I bet I could sell this to other clients I bet I could pitch other clients on this idea of I'm already going to shoot their catalog room shooting their ad campaign still print campaign can't I toggled the switching to video mode press record and part of this is me being unrealistic maybe in my head I'm thinking how hard can video be like why can't I do it simultaneously? Well there's a lot of nuance it turns out to doing video at the high level and still photography at the high level but the first client I pitch was a longtime client of mine road runner sports they're the biggest shoo distribution catalog company I think in the world san diego based company you ever ran track in high school you got their catalogue and so we're doing a five day shoot in colorado in san diego and so I called the marketing director and I said did you mind if we do this experiment? It won't cost you more money it's not going to take more time all eat the expense any added expense but I just want to try this experiment we're going to do your still shoot I'll deliver the goods but I'm also going to put together a little video clip she said yeah why not? I'll be opportunistic about it and so here's and you have to picture the way that we did this often times I would weigh set up a scene it's going to be a still photo that's what they really are hiring me to dio I would shoot the still photos typically I was actually on another camera d three or a d three s I would shoot the stills and then I would if I were on a tripod, or even if I wasn't on a tripod without moving at hand. One camera to my assistant, and then that was brett wilhelm bread. If you're listening, thanks for all the help, then I would grab the d ninety stick it on the tripod because I figured out after el cap actually helped have a tripod for video, and I pressed the record button and the person would run through the frame again. So let me show you this thirty second spot and first sear these images into your head because what's, so unique about what we're doing and shooting still in motion with the same device is the continuity I mean, the imagery looks very, very similar, so we deliver. Here is a collection of the still images for the print campaign and here's, a rough cut of the video spot thirty seconds I love running because you needed cash in a pair of shoes and open road. Super simple right it's, not a complex message, they're literally mirrored shots to shoot the still photo switch to the d ninety shoot the video sequence. But again, this lightbulb went off in my head. It's wow, this is the future, I mean, and I'm not the only guy in the world at that time, there was a lot of us everyone's lightbulbs were going off in their heads realizing, yeah, this is like the new game. The new game is if your emotion guy, you better learn still photography and if you're still photography dal, you better understand motion and that's exactly what I embraced. So I start I take this deep dive into the motion world, and I just try to figure out how can I combine on every production still in motion? I say there's, the's turning point moments in your career, and one of those turning point moments for me was with the launch of the deform sitting in my office in lake tahoe, california. The phone rings and you know, the beauty of mobile devices today is there's caller idea and so pops up and it says, tokyo, japan I thought, I don't really know anyone in tokyo, but I thought that's kind of exciting, so I fielded the call. It was someone from tokyo and they said, you know, hey, we're with nikon in japan. We would like to talk to you about a project it would be launching a new camera and of course I was god this sounds fantastic then they said before we can't tell you anything else can we actually send you some non disclosure agreements so of course I start printing the envious and signing I think within thirty five seconds thie india I didn't even read them they were back in tokyo we jumped back on the telephone and it was like the best phone call I've had in the last few years the phone call went like this cory we really love that you're shooting still in motion on nikon cameras and you seem to have this you know you love the outdoors you have a passion you seem to be pretty good at both we want we want you to help us launch a new product and they didn't give me the name of the product was a code it was like the q seven twenty or right I don't remember what the code was and I'm thinking wow you guys changing the name of your camera naming convention and nose just for secrecy purposes and then the best part of the phone calls they said here's the deal we're going to give you a blank white canvas and you tell whatever story you want to tell they said it's we need you need to deliver still photography that corresponds with the motion and it needs to illustrate some of the unique features of this new camera the deformed some of those unique features were you could record audio and you could monitored and levels but also you had headphones and that was new none of the cameras on the market the sell ours allowed youto actually monitor that sound via headphones you could see the levels but you could have a bad signal it's just you're you can tell that it's not peeking she's still on awful audio feed so one we needed to illustrate that to the camera and sixty frames per second at hd. Um and of course it was this amazing still camera shot more frames per second than anything else in the line higher resolution we really wanted to illustrate those functions so it's kind of that dream, right? Corey we're giving you a blank white canvas by the way we need to shoot it in a month. Good luck. And so I sat down that night and I started brainstorming ideas and what I finally landed on was the concept of why it was I wanted to get inside the heads of a handful of the lead adventure athletes some of my heroes and let them tell their stories for the first time you could sort of use a dslr is a documentary filmmaking tool you could record sound without having to have an external recording device and you know that's where we make so many mistakes using the slr you have too much equipment and you're fumbling and you forget to press that button and then all of a sudden you're back in your edit suite and you don't have audio picks you were trying to be so clever and feed it through six devices and worked your sensors dirty so any out the concept was why and I made a short list of these are the people that I would love to spend time with these air the greats in each sport so on the climbing front I selected alex honnold many of you know alex he was on sixty minutes not too long ago he climbs without a rope that's his claim to fame then rebecca russia is one of the great endurance athletes of our time arguably one of the great endurance athletes male or female and dane jackson who's maybe one of the most talented whitewater kayakers of all time and he comes from kind of the kayaking dynasties dad was an olympian world champion the sister was a world champion and now dane is a world champion so of course when I made this list I thought the odds of actually getting thes three athletes my top picks to fit into a two week block of time is pretty much zero like the likely these air busy people with really tight schedules they're doing cool stuff all the time and I think it was fate, but I made the phone calls and everyone schedule fit together perfectly. I was able to get dane jackson first and very cruz, mexico. Then we went from dane jackson, teo, rebecca, russian, moab and then from moab. We went to joshua tree, california, so I'm going to show you a three minute clip of this video. By the way, if you want to see the whole video, you go to corey rich, dotcom goto our emotion page, and you can see why. And also, how of why, which is the behind the scenes, but let's, take a look at it. There's. We used three nikon d force. There were nine on the planet at that time. Nine prototypes. We had three with us in on my shoot. Joe mcnally was using three others for another portion of the shoot and bill frakes who's using three others. So the nine were spread out and and I'll explain my methodology once you see this quick ah it's a big question that's why so many part of it is a challenge like the fact that it's hard fact that it demands a lot of theme part of just the simplicity of soling is really feeling to it it's just you and the route and clothe don't think they're that many things in life that required one hundred percent focus that you get out of the way like most pure form the final weigh one of the main reasons I cock it's just the all finding new beautiful places it's the feeling of being somewhere new that nobody else has ever been or you've never been just beauty of what's happening around you iconic because it allows her to wait I'm always afraid at some points without the fear it wouldn't be the same overcoming fear what really makes amazing way people ask me why I do this over and over again and the best thing of come up with is because I have to I don't know how to hold my life in a way I do because I love it and I'm inspired by the places that I go I feel the need to explore and to be somewhere new see what's around the next corner yeah I guess everyone's fall you have this moments were like this is really magical like this is like this is awesome without kaaya gotto know of my life would be a definite wouldn't be the same just drive my life tapping into who I am as a person is something that I need to do on a regular basis, because you never really get to that place in normal and that's the point where it's perfect it's nirvana. So we went out in the fields small crew is a handful of us, and we traveled to vera cruz, mexico, moab, utah, and then on to joshua tree national park now think this is really this was the beginning of that still in motion shooting at that next level for me, out of every shoot we need deliver very specific still images that illustrated the feature sets of the camera, so my rational always wass we would go to the location and I'm going to show you this. This exactly what this course is about, I would go to the location small crew dane was on that shoot, I think just dame from ordain and my wife marina, we're on the shoot, we'd go to that location, we'd do a quick scout. The way we laid it out was one day of scouting and prepping to days of shooting travel one day of scouting, prepping, shoot for two days, it was just back to back travel, shoot and really it was like a map I would draw a map of the location and I would say what are the guaranteed great still photographs and I would present position myself at that location first to capture this still photograph and if and oftentimes with like the guy soloing rocks without a rope or a kayaker going over a huge waterfall drops you're not going to get a lot of opportunities I mean you might only get one drop off a giant waterfall so as a director you know we wear lots of hats that's part of this game you're going to wear a lot of hats as the director I am constantly thinking to myself what's the c y a right what's the cover your ass shot like how do we make certain that I get one great photograph straight out of the gate and how do I make certain that those other two cameras because we only have three cameras are capturing video content that looks fantastic so a position two cameras for video one camera for stills usually still in video we're side by side and then and then as soon as I felt like I captured this still I would switch modes if he was going to go over the waterfall the second time a third time and then I would switch into a video modify didn't nail the photograph because it's a lot of pressure to just nail it in one take if I didn't nail it, then I would continue to shoot stills while the other guys were repositioning cameras and it was really intentional like where do we want the camera during each take? It's not random it's not, you know everyone's out there just spraying the camera and hoping they get spray and pray as they call it it was really intentional it's we're going to shoot here, then here, then here and we've mapped the positions so here's a great example this was a unique position. I got the still photograph, you know, on ly one guy can hang, there was really awkward, it was really like like any and I kept on my feet would slip and then it hit my shins on the rock and then as soon as I nailed the still, which I felt like I got on the first pass, then I switched into video mode and captured the same video sequence. Now one of the things you might have noticed and I know everyone's coming at this from different worlds with still photographer we go out of our way to hold our cameras still is possible, right? It's perfectly framed you're paying attention to the edges, you're paying attention to the top and bottom of the corners and you keep on massaging your camera just thes nuance adjustments until your frame is perfect and then you capture that one one thousandth of a second motions, a totally different world motion is you want something compelling to unfold in that frame, and, ideally, you're actually gracefully moving that camera intentionally. Moving that camera, or your subject is moving through the frame. So that's, a big adjustment for those of us that have come from the still photography world. It's. You think about that rectangle on a very different way, so I'll show you how we tried to move the camera on this. You, I really wanted tons of camera movement, so we brought mike and his helly along the entire trip way, tried to be methodical and safe body shot, but on day two, we pushed a little too far, made it the chopper's, mostly intact and live to fight another day.