Last year I got the opportunity to travel the country and segment produce, shoot, and edit this Red Bull documentary series about indie gamers and developers. Super excited to be a part of this series and work alongside the School of Humans producers (Mr. Brandon Barr and Ms. Taylor Church) and my main man, DP/Editor Kyle Rippey.
Check out the series if you're ever on the internet and bored (how about now?). In the meantime, here's a sweet profanity laced sizzle reel that I'm going to have to explain to my grandmother at some point.
Nerd Alert Gear List:
Bcam--Sony A7sii (i shot with this on the Ronin exclusively)
Canon CN-E glass--We stuck with 24mm,35mm,50mm, for cross shooting, and the 85mm for interviews) A 14mm is just too unnaturally wide for my tastes
Easy Rig- I could not operate the Ronin all day w/o it.
Sound Guy-Not technically gear, but I have seen Ace Harney monitor 8 lav's at once.
and a variety of failing local light panel rentals to bounce off the ceiling or wall
Earlier this summer, I got to shoot a DMB show while they were passing thru Atlanta. Check out the slideshow above for a few selects.
(It helps to know the video crew ;)
Perhaps one of the more interesting shoots I've been on in the past year has to be the Adult Swim show, Daytime Fight League. Shot with 2005 state-of-the-art Sony EX3 technology, we achieved the rather unique 'aesthetic' we were hoping for. With School of Humans producing, Chad Crowley directing, and me as DP and editor of for 15-episode tournament series, it came out exactly like I thought it would, really fucking weird.
Here's one of my favorite episodes, Sky Sub.
Ish Herrera is your quintessential blue collar man. Full-time welder and owner of one of the only bars in town, he's without saying, someone you'd like to have your side in the heart of the Mississippi Delta.
Here's a vignette me and Kyle Rippey made about him while working with the Town of Wilson, Arkansas.
One of my first big gigs as a cameraman/storyteller was working on Sixthman's music cruises. I would run around like a madman and try to capture moments from all the shows, and put together recaps of each cruise (and occasionally have a drink or two). It was a good gig to say the least.
After shooting a few cruises in 2010, I got a call to be Tim McGraw's documentarian/photographer on his upcoming tour and had to take the gig, which in turn ended my cruising days. So when I got the opportunity thru dealmaker-people-shaker-producer Mike Williams to shoot Cayamo this year, I had to jump aboard (yes I did just write that).
Thing was, I wanted to make something a little more in-depth than the classic montage-to-music recap. Something to reinforce how amazing the atmosphere is on one of these boats. Something that could give a better idea of what Cayamo really is.
Hope you enjoy.
I love it when clients call back. Especially when the project is a no-strings-attached shoot about real people. No product placement, no overbearing producers, just a day with a person doing what they love to do. Here's the first of two vignettes, Jeffrey Price, Agricultural Pilot.
I love sports. I mean LOVE them. If someone played on a professional basketball, baseball, or football team in the last 20 years, I can probably tell you where they went to school, who drafted them, and how well they did throughout their career. That said, I have always hoped for the opportunity to shoot big events and meet the players firsthand.
Starting in late 2014 that happened. Except there was an "e" before the sport and they weren't very athletic. They're video game players. Before you start talking $#!+ about how video games are child's play, please remember, they're traveling the world, doing what they love to do.
And they're making more money than you.
Let's be honest, I never thought I'd be hanging out in Wilson, Arkansas, much less, really enjoy it. Located in Mississippi County, (in Arkansas) it's an hour above Memphis, right in the heart of the Mississippi River Delta. The sunsets, small town feel, and back-to-basics philosophy all attribute to its charm that I've come to know and love over the past year.
So, after producing a couple of mini-docs for the town, I decided to test out my copywriting skills and try something a little more closer to heart.
Jumping onboard with Filament again this summer (it's always a nautical reference for some reason, isn't it?) along with Kyle Rippey and Sanjay Suchak, we busted out some promo videos for the inaugural festival in Dover, Delaware. Check out the first 4 videos for Big Barrel, Red Frog Events, and Filament productions.
Searching the web the other night, I came across one of the videos I got to shoot last December in San Jose. As a two man crew, me and director/editor Matt Pecinni, got to visit the home of Logitech sponsored team Cloud9 and accompany them @ an Intel's Extreme Masters Event.
And I must say: putting in a busted take as an intro is brilliant editing, Mr. Pecinni.
Over the past few months, I've shot a few lil mini-documentaries for the keyboard/mouse/all things gaming company Logitech. From Santa Monica to Berlin, these guys eat, sleep, drink, and live the game "League of Legends". It's an up and coming E-sport and these guys are the star athletes: complete with adoring fans and sponsors...
And NO, your kid brother doesn't stand a chance against these guys.
I had the opportunity recently to shoot and edit a video for the Bloom Foundation, a non-profit that helps foster kids.
After getting the band back together again and working with Mike Williams and Kyle Rippey, all formerly of Southern Reel, we produced a video I'm proud to say helped the foundation's fundraiser @ their annual Bloom Ball.
In November of 2014, I got the opportunity to shoot and edit a mini documentary about the revitalization of Wilson, Arkansas. I had never been to the delta before, so I jumped at the opportunity when Brian Dempsey, who I'd worked with on Tim McGraw's tour, called me with the idea. The people of the town and The Lawrence Group couldn't have been any more hospitable, not to mention the lunch @ Wilson Cafe.....
Shot with a Canon 5D mark iii and armed with my 3 Ikan LED lights, I shot, lit, and even did the audio for all the setups.
Music purchased from Music Bed. Edited in Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
2014 was a big for me professionally and personally. I went from running a production company & being a tour documentarian for Zac Brown Band to running my own business as a freelance digital filmmaker. Conversely, my work grew exponentially with a slight change in theory: I went from trying to sneak pictures of people in their environments to engaging with them. Following in one of my favorite artists footsteps, Andy Sapp, as a street photographer, I stepped out from behind the lens and met the people I was photographing.
While there might be a few pictures from the tour days interspersed, leaving has given me an opportunity to develop my own style. And while it's not easy to break into the freelance world individually as a cinematographer & director, I guarantee you this: Even if I don't, I'll die trying.
Hope you enjoy my favorite stills from 2014.
Thanks for viewing. Personally, I can't wait to see what 2015 brings into the picture.
IG: colecassell email@example.com
How I wrote, produced, directed, and shot a short film as a one-man-band.
In late June of 2014, I left my full-time gig as the 'quarterback" of Southern Reel, Zac Brown's production company. After running point on all projects for 3 years, from music videos to documentaries to touring, I was tired to say the least. Without much to fall back on, I immediately decided I would take the time to write, shoot, direct, and edit a short film. With no funding, I drove down alone to an old family cottage on the west coast of Florida, sat down and started writing. I had already contacted a few friends to gauge their interest and surprisingly to me, they were willing to see what I came up with: Jeremy DeCarlos, the best actor I know and fellow Winthrop alum, and Chandler McGee, Front Man of Atlanta's own The Law Band, who I worked with on the Georgia Music Award-winning music video, Crazy Lonesome.
With a few ideas rattling around and an idea of who my actors were, I sat on the front porch and looked out as I began to write and thought "Man, this would be a good set, huh?" Logistics aside (I live just outside of Atlanta, GA and travel means $$), I started writing. Being your own writer affords you a couple of things that make life a lot easier for production. Take props for example. Knowing I had a ton of old pictures, cameras, fishing equipment, and the location, I used it in the script. After a couple days and a Dali museum visit, I came back to Atlanta with a script and started to make lists. Props, shot lists, shooting schedules, and gear needed.
Gear-wise, I was anxiously awaiting the DJI Ronin to ship. I had pre-ordered it months before and knew it would be a game-changer for more reasons than one. Not only could I get the cinematic/Steadicam look, but I could also setup shots A LOT quicker than normal. No need to setup the slider, tripods, tracks, on every shot. Just light the scene, rehearse (OK, sometimes) and shoot. Fortunately, I got it 4 days before shooting. It was just enough time to dial in the settings, troubleshoot, and practice my moves.
With the DJI and Phantom 2 quad-copter, I was getting the shots a small feature would want, at a fraction of the price. With zero budget (still awaiting that sponsorship DJI), I used what I already had from years of touring with Zac Brown Band and Tim McGraw: the Canon 5D mark iii, a set of super sharp Rokinon cine lenses, my compact Ikan LED dual-light kit, and the GoPro 3+ on the Phantom 2 w/ the H-3 Zenmuse Gimbal, which is a must for stabilization when flying.
They say the weather changes every hour in Florida. Except during our 2 day shoot. The first two days were absolutely miserable. Pouring rain that rarely stopped and atrocious humidity, I embraced it and adjusted the shooting schedule in order to keep the continuity in case the storm blew over. It was windy too, but not putting the surroundings in danger with the drone, besides, I was all in. I flew in actors, secured hotel rooms, rented a truck, bought a ton of props, so there was no way I wasn't shooting, even when raining. After seeing the storm shots--the clouds with the impending wrath on the horizon, Jeremy driving the van in the rain, Chandler fishing in the gulf, it gave the short an eerie feel that would have been hard to recreate. Even the Ronin held up in the rain, even though it's stated as not being weatherproof whatsoever. Luckily.
One of the most important things for me as a shooter and director is to leave room to improvise. While I have shot lists, I don't have storyboards. I have reference shots in mind (Jeremy's shot outside the window from below is my Kubrick homage), but I leave the majority of the shots to find when I'm shooting. A lot of this has to do with lack of prep time, but working live events has allowed me to get better at finding a shot quickly. That said, I attribute a lot it to being an editor as well: knowing what cuts and what doesn't makes getting a shot in the first couple of takes makes it a lot easier to move on with confidence.
As for the actors, Jeremy and Chandler were amazing to work with: they took their jobs seriously, even though the shoot was grossly small and independent, which I was worried about at first, but I think by knowing exactly what I wanted, keeping them abreast of what we were doing at all times, and sticking to a schedule, they had the confidence to do whatever I was asking of them, which is all you can ask for as a director, even if it did involve a gopher trap, shady motel, or going fishing in a storm.
In the end, I have to say I'm excited about the final cut. Shooting, directing, and editing gives you the luxury of having complete control, but if I could do it again, I would definitely invest in having another set of eyes on set and maybe another editor give it a look. Since I was so close to the shoot and script, it would have benefited for someone foreign to the film to critique.
As for the viewer, I've noticed each person takes away something differently, sometimes even different conclusions from what you expected. But as I hear from other filmmakers, once you release a project, it isn't yours anymore, it's the viewers. That said, I hope you enjoy it. It's rare a group of people get together to make something for the sake of art, but that is exactly what this is; a chance to entertain people with our art, whether it be Trappers Cabin & The Law Band's music, Jeremy DeCarlos acting, or my first attempt at narrative film-making. It's honest with the hope that by enjoying what we are creating, you will too.
Point of View will be released online 12/31/14. Watch it here.
Viewer Discretion: Strong Violence & Language
insta: colecassell twitter: @colecassell email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gear used: Canon 5D mark iii, Rokinon Cine-lenses, Canon 70-200mm ii, Singh-Ray Variable ND filter, DJI Ronin, DJI Phantom 2 w/ ZenMuse gimbal & GoPro 3+, Sachtler FSB-8 Tripod, Kessler Pocket Dolly with manfrotto monopod head (a little ghetto, I know), Zacuto Z-finder, Marshall 7in HDMI Monitor, Ikan LED Dual-Color light kit, Zoom H6N w/ Rode mic boom pole & NTG-2 shotgun mic.
Edited with Adobe Premiere Pro 2014 cc
Special thanks to:
Mike Williams-- my drone op for a day and great friend who needs to get more rest. Kyle Rippey-- After Effects, second eye, and great friend. Jeremy DeCarlos- We hadn't talked in 10 years and it didn't feel longer than a week. Chandler McGee- Channeling his David Mamet, Boom Op skills, and music. Aaron Hill-Sound Engineer/Foley Sound- See you on a holiday. Beth Moore- For helping me get this project off the ground. Joel Nettesheim- (Or Trappers Cabin) For making an epic song The Law Band-For your psychedelic western sensibilities.
It's always nice when Rolling Stone gives you a shout out as a director. Check out the write up below of the "All Alright" music video, from "The Grohl Sessions, Vol.1"
I have to admit, I was pretty excited to hear that some of our footage from the Zac Brown Band documentary, "The Grohl Sessions, Vol.1" made it into the Foo Fighters HBO series.
Check that one off the bucket list....Now if I could just get the whole documentary on HBO and not just a clip of it......I'll take it nonetheless.
Check out the series preview below:
I recently got to shoot a festival with the opportunity to help pilot & drone operator (Joey Baldwin) with a few of his shots. Here's a peak at my favorite.
*No stabilization added.
***Yes we had permission.