A recent trawl through our kit list turned to a nostalgic chat about the one camera in our cupboard which helped us make the step from one-man-band filmaker to the Content Agency we are today - The trusty Canon 5D MkII.
We're delighted to have our Wild Mayo film Between The Wind And Waves nominated for the Outsider Awards Best Outdoor/Adventure Film of 2017.
Introducing our team! In this second installment we're introducing Production Manager Lisa. Read on to learn how learning Gaelic can lead to becoming a professional Wild Cat Herder...
It's definitely time for us to shake off the Festive slumber of mince pie snacks and mid morning naps... We've put together a spectrum of the tunes our team are listening to to get psyched up for the projects in the pipeline. Enjoy!
Photo Credit Chris Ball
Music is a huge part of what we do. It inspires and entertains, relaxes and energises. Gav is one of our in-house music geeks. We asked him to take the time to share his Top 5 Albums of 2017. Over to you Gav...
In our latest Behind The Scenes update we look back on some of the desitations we've worked in during our busiest year yet!
At the start of December this year we decided to have what we're calling a 'reverse advent calendar.'
LederBROsen is not your typical road trip film... Automotive tire giant Continental Tyres called on us to follow two of their top bike athletes on a roadtrip across their homeland. It wasn't as straight forwards as we had planned.
We’ve collaborated with the team at Red Bull UK many times over the years. From Imaginate back in 2012, to Dougie’s Wheelie, Wee Day Out and our latest work Frames Of Mind. Every time we work together, we both want to raise the bar in as many ways as possible - on a conceptual level, in cinematography, production and in the action too. It’s all about bringing something new to the table.
If you haven't seen Frames Of Mind? What are you waiting for!? Check it out then read on to find out How It Was Made.
For Frames of Mind with Matt Jones, the Red Bull team approached us with the idea of using a ‘photo sequence’ style concept, which you may be used to seeing in photography. More recently some music videos have used the effect by placing a still image of a moving subject in the frame. By doing this you can create a look where the primary subject is moving toward the still frame, where they meet or ‘collect’ the still. Pretty cool! But would this be possible in a fast flowing actions sports film?
This Club Feet music video 'Everything You Wanted' was our initial reference, both for the VFX influence and effect, and also the experience of how you engage with it as a viewer.
We set to work and told Red Bull that we loved the idea, but we wanted to take the concept to the next level using moving images 'traces' rather than simple stills. In order to get a handle on what was possible we decided to organise a test shoot to test kit, camera angles and settings to see what was possible.
At this point it feels right to introduce Gav, our in-house post-production/VFX wizard! From the outset Gav was super driven to realise the potential of the project and played a major role throughout. Every conversation about the project involved myself as director, Gav from post production, Andre in cinematography and Lisa and Katie in Production Management. On a project like this the benefits of having such a tight team working so closely together are so, so big!
We wanted to work with Matt during the test but unfortunately he was injured. Thankfully we were able to call on our friend and Glasgow local Kriss Kyle to step up and help out. The guys at Vision Ramps created a few sets for Kriss to ride, and Matt came up for the day to hang out too. It was perfect to have him with us to keep him involved and to see what we were thinking!
The test was a great success and we learned a lot about what we needed to do to make this concept a reality. Gav and I travelled to Milton Keynes for the first of many trips to scout the location at Rushmere Country Park. Red Bull, Matt and Forte Trailscapes were already on site and well into the set build, so we got a good idea of what we were facing including what Matt would be riding, the backdrop and the location. Everything looked awesome!
A few VFX issues were raised including the depth of some shots given the number of trees, and also deciding Matt’s clothing and bike to ensure keying (cutting Matt’s traces out using colour rather than physically cutting round the image) would be possible. Drone flying would be challenging too due to the dense trees, and we needed a BIG drone to fly a camera capable of super slow motion.
We worked with Matt and the team on location a few times during the project, however the bulk of the work was shot during a 10 day block where we had a full the crew and all kit on site.
Our basic kit list was:
- Phantom Flex 4k
- Sony FS5 with Atomos external recorder
- Freefly Movi Pro with FS5
- Defy Dactylcam Cablecam with FS5
- Freefly Alta with FS5
- Arri Ultraprime lenses
- Mini Jib
- The biggest blue screen we could find
We planned our schedule to get the right shots when we had the right gear available. We were prepared to be flexible however as Matt was aiming to do world’s first tricks, which he may or may not land. We also needed to consider what was realistic for him to do day after day. We’ve got a lot of experience of working with athletes, so it’s something we’re used to and we like to plan for as much as possible. With that in mind we sat down with Matt and pulled together a schedule that would work for him, which would spread out the bigger tricks, and maximise the use of kit while we had it.
One of Matt's world first tricks the 'backflip to caveman drop' on the Hitching Post
Gav spent weeks in the edit cave on this, and I mean weeks... Long hours fuelled by Red Bull and coffee. For each shot we’d rough out the trace effect, decide on shots and what position the trace would take in each one. When that was established, Gav would get to work. There were various techniques to be used in post-production, all continually discussed and thought about from the very start of the project.
In very simple terms, the techniques we used were:
- Rotoscoping – ‘cutting around’ Matt and his bike mid trick to insert in the same shot in real-time or even another shot.
- Keying – ‘cutting out’ Matt and his bike by colour rather than physically cropping round him.
- Luma Keying – ‘cutting out’ Matt by luminance. (luminance has a lot more information than colour).
- Motion tracking and 3D camera tracking - Each time we place a trace in the master ‘realtime’ shot, we’d have to track that trace to the right part of the shot and place it in 3D space. For example, if Matt rides toward a jump and the jump comes into frame, the trace has to be at the right point in the air for him to 'catch' it seamlessly. With that in mind we had to ensure we track the trace to the right point of the shot.
- Blue screen - For certain close up shots we could use a blue screen which made life much easier.
One of the major decisions to make was what appearance to give the traces to differentiate them from ‘real Matt.’ We felt that they needed to represent Matt’s visualisation, but without going too far with anything too crazy or computer game style. This was similar with the sound design where we felt it was important to have a subtle sound as real Matt met the trace, without going overboard! After looking at all of options we eventually settled on a simple transparent effect with slight desaturation.
Following many long days we ended up with the edit you see today. As is becoming typical, we delivered different cuts for YouTube, Red Bull homepage, social edits and festivals to try and maximise the impact and reach of the campaign. We’re only a week in, but the response seems to have been great so thanks to everyone who’s clicked to have a watch!
Do you have any other specific questions about the making of Frames Of Mind? Just hit us up in the comments and we'll do our best to answer them.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Have a look below for our latest Post Production/Grading reel..
Danny MacAskill Vs The Munros is our latest work with Endura and features Danny and Stu tackling the iconic Ben Lawers Munro in Scotland.
We pushed the boundaries conceptually and in the use of visual effects in our latest work with Red Bull. Get an insight to the post-production effects we used on when making 'Matt Jones - Frames Of Mind', and stay posted for a full Behind The Scenes feature soon!
Projects come to us in many different ways. Strega came to us with a visit from our good friends at Santa Cruz Bicycles. Here is a Behind The Scenes Special on how we created Strega.
All Images Gary Perkin
To mark Halloween this year we threw together some of our favourite spooky songs, just for a little bit of fun. These are the songs we'll be listening to in the studio today.
We're always adding to our Spotify playlists. Whether that's to find the soundtrack for a new project, to chill in our own time, or to get into the zone while in the studio. Here are a couple of our favourite tracks we've used in projects over the years, as well as one which didn't work out for us. Let us know what you think.
Photo Credit - Gary Perkin
Introducing our team! We're starting off with one of the OG's, Scott Marshall. Read on to find out more...
The projects we all get the most excited/stoked/proud about at Cut Media are the ones where; from pitching our concept to hitting the upload button, we've been trusted with full control of the creative process and production. We get to start with a blank canvas, develop our ideas, shoot the scenes and then work all the edit and post right here at Cut Media HQ. The launch film for Cervelo's new R-Series is the perfect example.
We were given the brief by Cervelo to develop a concept for the launch film of their new classic range, the R-Series. The brief was reasonably loose, based on including their primary race team Dimension Data, some event footage from the Paris Roubaix classic race and also their tagline 'Till the End'.... Other than that it was all ours!
The idea of a poetic voiceover piece based around the bike was dreamt up around the table in our studio. We then set out to plan and shoot road cycling pieces that would capture everything that the sport, and the classic racing season, mean to both riders and fans. The romance, the heritage, the extreme physical and mental efforts, the culture and camaraderie, the heightened emotions... you name it, we wanted to create a film that showed it all!
Filmed in the Dolomite mountains in Italy, at the Paris Roubaix and at home here in Scotland, it's fair to say we're really proud of the results. Big thanks to everyone who got involved, particularly the Dimension Data team and our additional riders John Archibald, Rob Friel, Jason Roberts, Charline Joiner and Rab Wardell who are all local Scottish riders and graciously and generously put themselves through a bit of pain for the cameras.
So while we all hope you love the film... It's probably worth noting that having one sat in our studio through the duration of filming resulted in a call to Cervelo, a payment and it's now in my garage instead... The R series bikes are AWESOME! :)
County Mayo is a beautiful area of Ireland set on the west coast and home to the world renowned 'Wild Atlantic Way.' Through their partnership with Visit Ireland we were approached to develop and produce a series of films and 30 second TV spots to promote the region with a particular focus on the wild and rugged scenery that comes hand in hand with the Irish coastline.
There was a particular interest shown on the client side in the potential to include some local people in the films and from our own perspective our experience shows that with tourism work the most honest, credible content comes from those who truly love the location/country/destination that they are focussing on. While it can be effective to recruit a specific 'talent' to promote a destination, often the most beautiful and engaging stories come from the locals.
With that in mind we began with a focus on creating a series of films that could truly represent the county, landscape and culture. Researching both local people, stories, location and music. This was quickly followed by a short recce trip to locations and to meet some of the potential characters for the films. Following that trip the #Wild Mayo campaign was born.
In the end the first series will consist of 5 films, however we started with production on 3 clips, each telling the story of a different athlete that represents the outdoor, wild landscape and culture of Mayo. Shooting was for 2 days per film plus an interview/VO recording for each.
The first film was with Kitesurfer and local hostel owner Francois Colussi. A frenchman who has found his home in Mayo. Francois is amazing to work with, a bundle of enthusiasm for life and in particular Ireland and it's culture. Filming Francois (and his Kitesurfing skills) offered us the perfect opportunity to show the beauty of the Wild Atlantic coastline and although logistically it was a bit of a challenge with the wind and wet, having tools such as a jetski and boat at our disposal made life easier (and fun!).
The second clip is based around the local hero of the Irish community, the GAA football stars Aiden O'Shea, Leeroy Keegan and Colm Boyle. I can't emphasise enough how huge Gaelic football is in Ireland, with players always representing their local team these guys are not only a huge draw for the Irish audience but they have such a strong affiliation with Mayo that telling their story was a must.
Finally Con Doherty, a junior international triathlete medalist who lives and trains against the backdrop of Mayo. Con (as you will tell by the film) is so strongly passionate about his homeland but also has a beautiful way with words. We really wanted to adopt a more poetic approach to one of these films and after meeting with Con we were so excited to collaborate on a script that represents his relationship with the landscape and coastline of Mayo. The sport of triathlon offered us the potential to capture a wide variety of locations from in the (very very cold) ocean, the roads of the Wild Atlantic Way and also the infamous 'Reek' mountain that is such a draw in the region. The combination of Con's script, the epic landscape visuals and the haunting, beautiful music of local pianist Connor Walsh has resulted in an extremely powerful piece of film.
Con's film will be released on 20th June so check back soon!
All the films are (or will be) available on our YouTube channel, Mayo.ie along with 30 sec TV spots which will be playing out from June.
It’s been another epic journey to create the film but Red Bull have just dropped our latest production with Danny Macaskill, so as seems to be tradition now here is a little blog on how it came together!
In early 2016 Adidas approached us about becoming involved in their latest outdoor campaign. Simply put it would be around a project documenting athletes who are embarking on their dream adventure to locations across the globe... It didn't take us long to say yes!!