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Mothers Day BTS

On May 10, 2015
By Connie
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Behind the scenes shot on our Mother’s Day video promo thanking all the mums out there for just being mum.

Two words: dinosaur onesie.  Happy Mother’s Day!

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Josh Goot Lookbook Video

On February 11, 2015
By Connie
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This was one of those projects where working with incredible talent can make any job feel so easy.  First of all, Josh Goot creates beautiful apparel – the clothing speaks for itself.  We created a minimal set with minimal styling in order to let his gorgeous designs stand on their own.  We knew that excessive styling would just clutter the imagery and would work against Josh Goot’s clean and elegant designs.

We had a limited amount of time to shoot each outfit so I designed a set and lighting scheme that would offer several interesting angles to shoot from.  I didn’t want to fuss with making dramatic changes to our set once we started shooting because I was concerned it would disrupt our workflow.  I am really happy with the results of this set up as I think I was able to create enough variety in the shots to avoid repetition without allowing the backgrounds themselves to pull focus from the clothing.

Our model, Natalie, was a pleasure to work with.  She truly did make my job easy.  After a quick chat about the Josh Goot brand and the look and feel I wanted for this video, it was obvious that Natalie and I were on the same page.  Aside for some minor directions here and there, I was able to just sit back and let Natalie interpret each outfit as we went along.  Since I knew that I would be laying music over the video, I had the luxury of being able to call out how I was framing my shots while I moved the camera around her.  In this way, we were always on the same page about what I was focusing on at any given time.  I had the fortune of having lots of great shots to choose from during the editing process.

So here it is, our finished lookbook.  I’m pleased to say that the folks over at Josh Goot were as excited with our video as us!

Be That Somebody Else (Official Video)

On December 12, 2014
By Connie
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Finally!  The long awaited, greatly anticipated, release of Be That Somebody Else by the talented Danielle Bellas.

Last month I had a fantastic time filming this summery, fun music video for Coney Productions, and I am thrilled with the final results!  Enjoy :)

My First Video Ad!

On November 30, 2014
By Connie
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I did it – my first commercial!  It was only a spot for the internet, but I did it nonetheless.  It was the first video I storyboarded, organised, directed, filmed and edited.  Jeez, when I write it all out it sure sounds like a lot of different jobs!  But that’s what I did.  With the help of an incredible team and our talented model, Renee Slansky, of course.

The brief for the ad was to create a brand story for Ozsale; we needed to illustrate what is Ozsale? in a nutshell while showing our viewers how fun and convenient it is to shop the site.  Basically, we had to jam pack a crap ton of information into an extremely short 15 seconds.  How do you say fun/convenient/easy/great variety/amazing prices/home delivery/fashion/homewares/awesome all in 15 seconds?  A clever story board and ruthless editing were definitely key.

Unfortunately, I’m not able to post the finished video to this site at the moment, but at least I can share some behind the scenes photos.  Yet again!  It seems to be my unofficial theme of the last month’s posts.  But I love a good BTS so here are some more.

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Photos by Montana Wilson

Catriona Rowntree BTS

On November 23, 2014
By Connie
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I love living in Sydney.  One of the greatest perks of working in this city is the many times I’ve found myself shooting on location at a gorgeous beach.

I was the stills photographer on our Catriona Rowntree shoot for a few travel spots we were filming.  As the star of the popular travel show Getaway, Catriona Rowntree was a true professional on camera and a pleasure to watch.  I was really impressed by her ability to nail her lines on just about every single take.  Talk about a seasoned pro!

I also managed to learn a great deal from the team filming the spot.  They were really receptive to my newbie videographer status and they were happy to answer my questions and explain their workflow to me.  The skies were overcast for most of the shoot so our lighting situation was pretty ideal considering we had to shoot in the later morning due to schedule constraints.  Lighting I get.  What I was interested in learning was capturing quality audio.  As a still photographer, by entire career up until this year has been purely visual and completely silent.  As I understand it, poor quality audio can really ruin any video because bad audio is too hard to ignore while a slightly out of focus subject or somewhat poorly exposed image can be forgivable.  It was a windy morning and wind plus microphones can equal not fun.  I learned a lot from watching the crew problem solve the noisy wind by choosing our shooting angles very carefully to mic placement relative to Catriona.  Again, talk about seasoned pros!

In the end, we nailed those shots with the help of an amazing team and some very cooperative clouds.  The whole day ran so smoothly that we actually managed to wrap up ahead of schedule – such a rarity!

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Photos by Montana Wilson

Danielle Bellas Music Video Shoot

On November 5, 2014
By Connie
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A good friend of mine asked me to help shoot an indie music video at the beautiful Shelley Beach in Manly – so of course I said hell ya!  You want me to work with some really talented people, who happen to be my friends, on a stunning beach at sunset followed by more filming at said beach at an unofficial DJed dance party complete with fire twirling performances?  This was one of those I love my job moments.

Ed Coney, founder of Coney Productions, asked me to shoot the B-roll for the music video he was filming for the very talented R&B songstress Danielle Bellas.  It was my job to run around and grab all the extra footage and atmospheric shots while Ed filmed the main footage of Danielle singing to camera.

We were blessed with amazing weather that Sunday.  We headed out to Shelley Beach in the late afternoon after Danni had most of her hair and make-up done at another location.  The sun was starting to the get low in the sky and there wasn’t a cloud to be seen.  With the warm glow of the setting sun and the calm waters washing up on the beach, there was so much to film.  It really was a pleasure to be playing around on the beach practicing the new skills I’ve been learning at the studio and at the recent workshop I did with PDV Digital Cinema Workshops.  It was a particularly great opportunity to practice assessing a scene for filming footage while the event was unfolding.  I’m used to working in very controlled studio environments so this was a wonderful change of pace.  Knowing that Ed was focusing on getting footage of Danni singing to camera, I ran around making sure I got wide shots to establish the scene, medium shots from angles different to Ed’s, and close ups of details such as the DJ’s hands on his gear and the detailing on Danni’s outfits.

Everyone worked so well together and it was easy to see that we were all having a blast.  I can’t wait to see the final music video.  Until then, check out these behind the scenes shots from our awesome day.

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Behind the Scenes Stop Motion

On October 26, 2014
By Connie
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Check out my behind the scenes stop motion of our homewares photo shoot last week.  I set up a camera on a tripod next to my shoot camera and set it to interval shoot mode so it would automatically take a shot every 5 seconds.  There were a few times I paused the camera for longer chats about the shoot, but I still ended up with over 1000 frames!

I actually had to edit out a lot in order to get the pace of the video to feel just right.  It turns out that making lots of incremental adjustments to cushions isn’t all that interesting to watch repeatedly – even in fast forward.  The final video has about 350 frames.  Even though I cut out about two thirds of the original footage, it still shows a pretty good overview of our styling process.  The shoot itself took about 2 hours with a big chunk of that time devoted to making styling adjustments.  Big props to our stylist guru Bri Lurhmann – fantastic work as usual!

Style Insider: TOPSHOP

On September 5, 2014
By Connie
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TOPSHOP has arrived to our Australian site!  Yet another perk of working for the Mysale Group is getting access to big brands from overseas.  I love living in Australia, but boy do I wish we had better shopping opportunities here!  Thank the gods we have online shopping.

Check out this promo video I created highlighting the latest designs by a huge favourite, TOPSHOP.

Beginnings of a Videographer

On August 17, 2014
By Connie
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Ladies and gentlemen, and now the moment I know you’ve all been waiting for: the premier of my first video project.  Directed by moi, videography by yours truly, and edited by myself (also, styling by Bri Luhrmann, and with our lovely model, Gina Mendoza Lafaurie).

 

Having done only a few quick lessons on capturing video, and a short, but very informative, editing workshop for photographers learning how to use Final Cut Pro with SunStudios, I’m very happy with this first solo project.  Using a DSLR, I shot the entire piece handheld in order to get that behind-the-scenes feel.  I had a lot of fun experimenting with framing, panning, and pulling focus.  Pulling focus (switching the point of focus from one object to another in the frame) is a tricky skill I’m still playing around with.  It takes a lot of practice to get the timing and speed of pulling focus to work with the overall feel of the project.  I kept re-shooting some shots adjusting the timing of my focusing hoping to get the right one in the can.  As with photography, seeing your footage on a computer screen after it’s all done, is very different compared to when you’re in the moment, and I was trying to cover my butt.

I’m definitely at that early stage of my videography career where you capture way too much footage because you’re just not sure you’ve covered the whole story.  It makes for a longed editing process, but I am pleased that with this video, I managed to capture more great footage than was needed.  As I’m learning with my editing, it’s important to be objective when choosing what footage makes it into the final video.  It was frustrating to realize that some of the footage I was proud to have shot could not be included in the final edit for some reason or other.  For example, I had captured some great footage of Bri applying make-up on Gina where they were chatting and laughing, but the story was about bandage dresses and not about make-up artistry so it didn’t make sense to include too much video of that stage of our shoot.  Still, I’m rather gratified to have been stuck with the problem of too much great footage versus not enough at all.  Props to me :)

 

Stop Motion Start

On July 13, 2014
By Connie
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We’ve starting playing with stop motion these last few weeks at the studio.  As this is my first foray into stop motion, I’ve been really keen to dive right into these projects.  So. Much. Fun.  It’s playing and craft time all the time!

I understood the general concept of stop motion videos: lots of still images of incremental movements played sequentially in a video.  I did not, however, really understand just how many still images were needed to create a short video of only one minute.  We assumed a lot.  We should have assumed a lot more.  Thankfully, amazing things can be done in Final Cut Pro.

For this stop motion video, we did a style session called One Knit Three Ways.  It’s pretty self-explanatory; we took one green knit sweater and created three different outfits involving said sweater.  We created our set on the ground, and high above we rigged a camera on a stand.  The camera was tethered to a computer so we could see our progress as we moved the clothes around the set.  It was good fun making the clothes walk around, flap about, and dance on the set.  There was plenty of laughter, and, by the end of the day, a lot of sore knees.  Next time I’m wearing knee pads!

When we pulled all the images into Final Cut Pro, we started to really see how much control we had in this editing program.  We experimented a lot with speeding up or slowing down the frame rate to see how it changed the tone and pacing of the video.  It really started to highlight just how essential it is to have a skilled and talented editor for any video project.  Tiny adjustments to the frame rate, the sequence of imagery, and the length of each shot drastically changed the overall tone and story of the piece.  This was a new skill I really wanted to master (or perhaps, more realistically, just be good at – lots of props to professional editors out there!).

So behold – my first stop motion video.  Thank you.  Thankyouverymuch.

About Connie

I was that geeky camera chick who spent her high school lunch breaks in the darkroom.  I still miss the smell of those stinky developer chemicals.  Sort of.

Born in Canada, I graduated with top honours in Applied Photography at Sheridan College before spending several years assisting and producing for  some of the best commercial shooters in Toronto.  After gathering a wealth of valuable skills and getting my first DSLR, I bought a plane ticket to Asia.

It was my first backpacking adventure, but I managed to survive nine months from Seoul to Singapore with only some shoddy mandarin and a lot of luck.  I had the time of my life. So I did it again.  Seven months of zig-zagging around India and Nepal taught me ingenuity with limited resources, clarity when surrounded in chaos, and how to eat with just my right hand.

Sydney became my new home in 2008, and I’ve been enjoying the sunny weather and great coffee ever since.

Today, I’m a fashion and product photographer extraordinaire.  Based at Studio 8 in the northern beaches of Sydney, I relish the challenge and precision of studio lighting.  My clients are drawn to my clean, stripped back approach to every project.  My simplistic yet direct style is refreshing and elegant in a market full of heavily Photoshopped images.

When I’m not in the studio you can find me hand folding dumplings or scaling walls at the rock climbing gym.  I’m also really good at winning board games (or my friends are just really good at losing).

 

Accolades

Finalist – Shoot The Chef 2013
Top 5 – Australia’s Emerging Travel Photographers of 2010 – Capture Magazine
Winner – Best Marketing Imagery Award 2010 – New Mardi Gras
Semi-finalist – Shutterbug Awards 2010 – Shutterbug
Short-listed – Travel Photographer of the Year 2009 – TPOTY
Finalist – Cultural Explorers 2009 – STA Travel
Winner – World in Focus 2007 – Photo District News
Top Emerging Photographers of 2007 – Photo Life Magazine

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