Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Thaddeus Harden on Transitioning to Video

Video has become an important tool for photographers as more and more cameras are capable of shooting high-quality video. From the 5D Mark II to the C500, many photographers are beginning to experiment with shooting video to add another element to their work. Photographer Thaddeus Harden is doing just that. Harden has recently created "Motorcycle Mason," the adorable tale of his son, Mason taking to the town on his bike for a fantastic adventure. We asked Harden to tell us about his experience diving into video and shooting this short:

Q. What inspired you to get involved in shooting video?
A. I bought a Canon 5dIII and 1DX in August 2012 from Foto Care specifically to add video productions to my arsenal of skills. Doing a video of my son was a great way of getting my feet wet and gain some experience with the cameras. I bought the bike for my son's second birthday in May. He immediately took to it as if he was born to ride. He's on it nearly every day and, as you can see in the video, he loves every second of it. This is my first "Action film!"

Q. What equipment did you use for this particular shoot? What kind of crew was involved in creating this video?
A. The main camera was the 5D Mark III and we used the 1DX as a secondary, camera B. Both do an outstanding job. And it was great to be able to have a second point of view (Camera B) while covering some of the scenes. With a 2.3-year-old child, we had to be as efficient as possible, and on a few shots we didn't get a second chance. My favorite lens was the 14mm. Great, undistorted perspective, very close-up focus while still wide angle and staying sharp with the bike moving in and out at a variety of distances. We used a light weight flat-form dolly truck to do a lot of our moving shots while hand-holding the camera. This turned out to be a fantastic tool. All real "Man"ual labor, push and pull. Small, but we were able to be very quick and mobile with it. We also used a Cinevate Atlas FLT 35 for a few of the scenes.

My crew was all family. My main assistant was my nephew and he's grown with me quite a lot over the years. My wife, besides being a great Mom on the set, also added some unique ideas of her own with some great perspective shots. Mason deserves a considerable amount of credit himself. He was outstanding throughout the shoots. Very patient, very easy, and as you can see, very cheerful. We really did ask a lot of him, and a few of the days were fairly long going from one location to the other. He not only followed directions incredibly well, he also gave us some of his own personality that we didn't expect and no way could have directed.

Q. How long did it take you to shoot and edit the video? What programs did you use for postproduction?
A. We shot about 15 days of footage, but plenty didn't make it into the final. Using Adobe Premier, we spent about the same amount of days editing, fleshing out some of our ideas. Working in Premier we had plenty of power, speed and tweaking all within the program. We've barely scratched the surface of what all is possible with it. The entire production took about 3 months in-between jobs, and two bikes. The first bike was "compromised" after some hard riding in his beginning days. I watched the bike closely over the shoot, and at one point, while doing some rehearsing (without Mason on the bike) we managed to total it. Though most of the story was pre-visualized, we did have a lot of the shots develop on the fly as we explored the city.

Q. Do you think you’ll be delving a little deeper into the world of video?Absolutely! This was just the beginning....

Q. When can we expect movie star Mason to bike on in to Foto Care to sign autographs?
A. Mason actually goes with me on a lot of my run-arounds in the city. He's definitely one of my best buddies. I bring him into Foto Care a lot. I'm sure he'll be more than happy to scribble out a few!

We think that this is a great first attempt at shooting video, and we are looking forward to what Harden, and Mason, come up with next!