A Tomato Project
Target Launches Stylagrams Just in Time for Back-to-School Inspiration
I never thought I would say this, but I was lucky to have worked last week on my first photo commission shooting with an phone. Yes an iPhone.
Way back in May, 72andSunny approached me to shoot a project for Target using Instagram as a platform and primary source of distribution.
The project was called Target #kidsgotstyle which was going to be this fun project where parents sent pictures of their kids to Target via Instagram, #kidsgotstyle,
and we would do same day still life images that matched the personality of the kids using Target back to school products.
Quick turnaround, fast paced still life shots using a standard digital work flow.
The shot count was high and the days were going to be long but what is new.
Production was moving forward, concepts were being formulated, approaches discussed with 72andSunny, and the prop stylist Amy Chin, we were good to go.
Forward to June, Instagram launches a video feature to their application.
Now our single shot lay-down stylagrams were morphing into 15 second stop frame animations.
One draw back of the initial Instagram video function was that you had to capture the video in their application, rather than importing the video from your library like you could with still images.
72andSunny developed a work around to this uploading process enabling us to create stop frame animations outside of the application and upload them into the program.
This gave us the opportunity to shoot with digital cameras and animate using video editing programs.
Sound engineers were to add music and sound effects and we would turn the videos around in one day posting them back on Instagram.
Editors were being chosen, sound teams were in place and our approach was defined.
Less than 2 weeks before the shoot Carnival Cruise Line created an Instagram foul by repurposing an existing video advertisement and uploaded it into Instagram, using a work around much like we were going to use.
72andSunny consulted with Target on their comfort level of such a work around and Target responded negatively.
Another curve ball was thrown our way, the biggest yet.
This means that we had to shoot the whole campaign in the Instagram phone application.
Yep, we now had to shoot this project with a phone.
My first response with less than 2 weeks till the shoot was to start testing: how did the Instagram video function work with multiple captures; what was the editing capacity; could you preview without posting; how was sound going to be inserted in a live rolling take; would remote controls function? I was also reacting inside too, 6-8 shots for 7 straight days on a phone, this would be interesting. All parties were testing; 72andSunny was testing functions and approaches, the sound engineers developed a way to insert sound directly into phone while shooting; we created a live feed function that enable us to view what was happening on the phone 9 feet above the set and transmitted to computers on the set floor or across the country; iPhone 5s were purchased; and our approach was in place.
Pre-light day Milk Studios, Los Angeles; all systems worked, test videos were shot, bloggers were in place, parents were sending pictures of their children to #kidsgotstyle, the prop department was fully loaded with back to school supplies, the art department was working on story boards, we were all set.
Shoot day: Instagram releases version 4.1; lets you import videos from your media library, translation you don’t have to shoot videos directly in the Instagram application.
We circled our wagons and had a good think about our options.
Collectively we decided to stick with our current plan of shooting it all in Instagram video, and that was going to be our look.
Six, 14 hour days later we created some fun stop frame animations, all in phone; concepts created, story boarded, propped, styled, sound engineered, captured, and uploaded in the same day.
It was remarkable to produce as many pieces as we did and it was all done in the phone.
It took a team, but we did it and I am happy to say that I am glad that we shot the campaign with a phone.