Portfolio : Nikon Photo Contest

It is rare that I am involved in a project solely for the shooting, but one such recent occasion was a project I did on the final round of judging of the Nikon Photo Contest.

During an intense 3-day session, nine judges from eight countries came together and sorted through thousands of photos to decide the winners of this year’s contest. With photography being a vast art form, the judges also all came from different backgrounds. From a four-time pulitzer award photojournalist to a globetrotting wedding photographer, there could not be a more diverse group of “photographers”, and the selection process was colored by numerous debates of cultural, social, religious and professional nature. I will not go into the details, but needless to say that I have never been so entertained from shooting a “meeting”.

And, essentially, this was a three-day meeting that we had to thoroughly cover, and those are without a doubt one of the most difficult shoots. To spice up the visuals, the production that hired me threw in a panther dolly and a steadicam, the latter which I was tasked to operate over the entire project. The fact we (obviously) had to use Nikon cameras to shoot with was also very fun, as I usually use Canon when we do dslrs. The cameras used were Nikon D750s and D810s.

The resulting video has a nice variety of shots. I was thrilled to work once again with Toppan Printing’s Hirotsugu Komiya, his friend and renowned photographer Akio Kon, and my partner on this project Junya Takahashi, who kept the shots in focus.

See below the short version.

Videos edited by Ellroy.

Congratulations to the winners!


Portfolio: Haptic Dice for Toppan Printing

Involvement: Shooting, Editing, Translation, Post-Production and minor VFX.

I initially wasn’t aware that there were competitions other than the Cannes International Film Festival in Cannes, France. Speaking in movie terms, Cannes was all about the celebration of cinematic expression. Simple. But it turns out there is such a thing called the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and I apologize if this is all old information to fellow filmmakers and videographers.

This competition was brought to my attention by a friend from Toppan Printing, who was working on a project involving developing a game/tool for visually impaired individuals. The goal of the project was to make a video that explains the concept of the product and to submit it to the Cannes Lions festival.

To get a better idea of the project and the product, I suggest you first take a look at the video embedded above. (Below is the Japanese version.)

The mission of the product is to give back the joy of touching to individuals who may just about be fed up of relying on it to live everyday.
As people who see, we absorb most of the information surrounding us with our eyes. Therefore, when we touch something we are able to anticipate the feel of touch we are about to experience, reducing unfortunate surprises. However, that is no so for visually impaired individuals, and for some, touching is the most uncomfortable and terrifying of experiences. For some, it’s a necessity of life.

This game encourages communication between the players as they describe the texture they are touching. They are sometimes met with surprised reactions from other players, who got different “feels” by touching the same texture.
Some would chose a different texture to describe the same keyword. When you think of a “teenager’s skin”, do you think of soft, young skin, or skin riddled with acne?

My involvement in the project started with the shooting of the game session in March, which led into the editing process.
The rules were simple. The video simply needed to be under two minutes.
However, cramming a description of the game, it’s backstory, creation, interview sound bites, natural sounds, all the while maintaining an emotional core and a logical narrative through-line proved to be pretty complicated.

Was the description clear enough? Are the visuals strong enough? Are the sound bites making sense (cuz of course they are heavily edited)? Does the video have time to breath? Finally, is it engaging?

We ended up working on the details (including narration and length) until the very end, but I think we managed a good balance of the above elements. The results don’t come until June, but here’s hoping it goes far.

A big thanks to Hirotsugu Komiya (cameraman) and Akiko Kondo (Project general producer) for inviting me into the project, and TILS (Tokyo Independant Living Support) for their support.

Portfolio : HOYA corporate video

Last year I had the privilege of getting involved in a video project for HOYA, a Japanese lens manufacturer (both medical and IT related). They wanted to produce a global promotional video that lays out what the company is all about, but through a more ‘humane’ point of view than they usual do.

The pitch that I gave the client was well received, and after a few tweaked ideas, I was tasked to come up with a comprehensive storyboard and bring the video to life.

Various logistical reasons meant that shooting had to be done in a single day, in a single location and our team scoured the internet in search of an ideal location. The studio had to be able to be both the “house” set and and the “doctor’s office” set. This was not easy.

Furthermore, making a “global” video in Japan proved to be no slight task, design-wise, and in the end the studio choices we had were rather limited. After careful planning and recce, we found a suitable place and went forward.

A limited part of the ground floor became the “home” set, while a bedroom on the second floor was converted into the doctor’s office. I cannot praise the set design team enough for what they achieved, especially on the second floor. The doctor’s office was utterly convincing, and amazing to behold.

Shooting happened on a beautiful sunny autumn day. The cast and crew (including two young charming performers, quickly discovered by our casting director) braved through the day with absolute focus and professionalism, all the while keeping a light, non-stressful work environment. Our director of photography soldiered on carrying a Sony FS7 on his shoulder, while the lighting team used every second effectively to anticipate and deal with the ever changing daylight.

The result was, I believe the very best outcome possible. Soon after I got to work on the edit, using Adobe Premiere Pro and a few sequences in After Effects. Color Correction was also done in Premiere Pro.

A huge thanks to the entire crew, especially Toshi Maeda from PBMC, for their faith in my direction, and I hope to do this with them again.

Producer : Toshi Maeda, Pacific Bridge Media and Consulting (pacificbridge.jp)
Assistant Producer, DIT : Tomohito Goshozono
Director of Photography : Ken Hirama (Sony FS7) (https://www.youtube.com/user/happydogsproduction/videos)
Second Camera : Daishi Kusunoki (Sony FS7)
Lighting : Haruki Shiga, Max Zama
Set design : Yuji Fukuzawa, FIS (http://fisdesign.wixsite.com/fishp)
Casting Director : Eiji Leon Lee (http://filmsta.wixsite.com/eijileonlee)
Make up and Hair Stylist : Team from ウインズ
Animated Graphics : Shoki (https://vimeo.com/zhong2603)
Additional Crew : Yui Saikawa
Direction, storyboard, editing, post-production : Nicolas Ito