The Video Department at YouTube (owned by Google, so really, the gang at Google) came up with an idea of inviting orchestral musicians around the world to try out for a 96 person symphony orchestra that would play the debut of Tan Dun's piece 'Internet Symphony #1 (Eroica)' at Carnegie Hall. Thousands entered, and a lucky 96 were selected from 30 countries around the world to play at Carnegie Hall. The musicians only had two days to practice, so YouTube enlisted the help of composer Michael Tilson Thomas to bring them up to speed and get them ready for the performance. Norm Magnusson at Google hired me to put together a highlight reel of the weekend, giving the audience a quick look at the endeavor. Check out its YouTube Channel for a look at many of the participants and the concert at youtube.com/symphony.
Samsung: 'New Species'
I cut this commercial spot for a house called '1st Ave Machine', under EP Hae-Sook Song and Director Arvind Palep. As with many graphics-based spots, my role was primarily to make versions and manage the clients, who were a trio of great guys who made this spot a breeze. It was decidedly more difficult for the many animators and 3D guys who slaved for weeks to get every color just so, every light and texture pass to feel just as it ended up looking. They were dogged in their diligence, and in the end, 1st Ave Machine ended up with a great spot for Samsung's new line of HDTVs. Check out 1st Ave Machine's work at 1stavemachine.com
Google - 'AdBlitz'
My friend Nick Cucci of MKTG hired me to cut Google's 'AdBlitz'. As it is a B2B spot, I was able to use any video I could find on the subject of the piece, the SuperBowl, from Google's YouTube platform. Taking the SuperBowl open and splicing in splashy commercials made for a fun spot. Using P2 media of the talking heads, screen captures and streaming video from YouTube, I was able to explain YouTube's 'AdBlitz', in which a company's spots are seeded into the site in various ways, to capture more viewers.
Honeyshed - 'Brookadelphia'
I got a call from Alexandra Henry of Smuggler about a spot for a new site owned by Microsoft, 'Honeyshed'. Aiming to be a platform for people to find unique gear from boutiques countrywide, Honeyshed created a series of one minute spots, to bring local creations to web consumers through engaging video. Alexandra knew of a funky boutique near her place in Astoria, SITE. Owner Mackenzie Farqua agreed to let DP Chris Caiti and I shoot and direct two spots, one for wall graphics and another showcasing a series of mod necklaces from a company named Brookadelphia. Mackenzie's friend Hani hosted and I cajoled my friend Aurora to model. Eddie Sia produced on set, and we were done in about five hours. I only had two days of turnaround time to edit and polish the spots, but in the end, this spot was chosen to be the showcase for Honeyshed when their spots went up online. You can learn more about the necklaces at brookadelphia.com, and see Smuggler's work at smugglersite.com. As for our boutique location, check out SITE's wares at sitedesignnyc.com.
'True North' Nut Clusters
The final commercial I cut at Digital Kitchen was for an 'All-Natural Nut Snack' (say *that* ten times fast), 'True North'. Working with an agency called Strawberry Frog, Huy Dang and Kenji Yamashita created a 3D space in which a trail of assorted nuts collapse into a pattern, being chased by camera rigs all the while. Tweaking the size of the 'nut clusters', reflection of light in the polished table, and making each nut react to being knocked down in its own unique way made this quick little :15 spot into a serious endeavor. You can check out Huy and Kenji's work for DK at d-kitchen.com, and that of Strawberry Frog at strawberryfrog.com.
This spot for Fidelity was my first all-graphics spot. In such cases, the editor tries to punch up the edit by manipulating the relative speed from shot to shot, to match the music and make the commercial sing. I worked with compositor Ian St. George Freeman at Digital Kitchen on this piece. When the music underbed was changed to a song by The Bravery, the spot became something really satisfying. You can also see this spot, and others, at d-kitchen.com.
Maxwell House 'Twin Cups'
My second spot for Digital Kitchen introduced me to Asif Mian, with whom I would end up working on several projects. This :15 spot aimed to introduce two new brands of Maxwell House coffee. Shot with a motion control rig that controlled both cups and the camera, this little spot is proof positive that the simplest, cleanest looking cuts take a ton of behind the scenes compositing. Asif and I worked well together under producer Celeste Gilbert, rewriting the copy to satisfy both the client and the concept. Asif and Jacques Broquard composited my edit to add bubbly smiles and smoky heat to this commercial. Check out more of Asif Mian's work at evaq.com, and Digital Kitchen's at d-kitchen.com.
My first television commercial launched a period of time in which I cut for the New York office of Digital Kitchen. Helmed by Executive Producer Dave Skaff, DK shoots, directs, and edits commercial work, using everything from live action shoots to After Effects compositing and 3d software like Maya and Cinema 4D. Directed by Drew Lightfoot, this spot was shot in Argentina. The copy aims to correlate the feeling of naughtiness one gets from chocolate with the thrill of sex. Learn more of the director's work at drewlightfoot.com, and about Digital Kitchen at d-kitchen.com.
The Webby Awards - 'Documentary: Series'
While editing at Digital Kitchen, The Webby Awards hired EP Dave Skaff to use DK's talent to design every award category's 'bumper'. Skaff and I chose to create two bumpers, that of 'Documentary: Episode' and 'Documentary: Series'. DP Chris Caiti was hired to film the spots; Skaff produced while I directed. Most of the DK spots were graphic-based, so Dave and I shot live action spots to balance out the bumpers. The idea was that the best gifts are those that a recipient would never buy his or herself; similarly, documentaries are gifts that, ordinarily, one would never discover on his or her own. Skaff and I ran with the idea and shot up in Riverside Park; producer Christos Montzouros hired actress Emily Nelson to be our subject. DK All-Star Rama Allen composed the musical underbed, and compositor Greg Hermann took my cut into After Effects to add titles, as well as a sheen that heightened its ethereal look. This is the second of the two bumpers. You can see more of Dave Skaff, Rama Allen and Greg Hermann's work at d-kitchen.com, and see what is up for this year's Webby Awards at webbyawards.com.