Recently I found myself driving along Kelly Drive banking through natural tunnels, breezing between cherry blossoms, intricately engineered bridges bracing powerfully above, the sun gleaming up from the river and through the trees. It’s hard to imagine that there isn’t a constant flux of cameras capturing the picturesque scenery. And I know that I had realized this before, but Philadelphia is constantly reacquainting me with the fact that it is a great backdrop for a multitude of productions. Not just the natural beauty of Fairmount Park, but the gritty inner city of Germantown and West Philly; the high end scapes of Center City and the Main Line, or even the constantly budding arts of South St, or Fishtown. In one sense, it makes it very simple to find the perfect location, and in another it can present the fantastic challenge of having to choose between several great locations.
At GK, our camera crew recently had the opportunity to appreciate these striking locations while working with one of Philadelphia’s top up-and-coming filmmakers, Josh Coates. Josh has been working on his latest feature, Iniquity, which he wrote, produced, directed and is currently editing. Shot entirely within the city, Iniquity tells the story of love, lust, deception and murder in a twisting crossroad of coinciding worlds. GK was able to provide a full production service with our 1 ton grip truck and HD camera package, as well as our multitasking crew services, for the final days of production for the feature, scheduled for release this Summer.
Keeping it local, our grip truck and crew were floating around Philadelphia locations in late May shooting a TV spot for myphillylawyer.com. Working with Steve Ratner, Tom Segale, and Rick Felty of Ivy Creative, a creative agency out of Massachusetts, our crew traveled from Citizens Bank Park, to the Art Museum steps, with some b-roll in between, for the TV bound commercial. The iconic Philadelphia sites established the hometown feel for the locally concentrated injury trial web service, established by attorney Dean Weitzman and his associates.
Our region is rich with locations, and we are lucky enough to work in the industry that can capitalize on such diverse eye candy. Of course, with enough creativity and time, there are ways of making any location beautiful, but who wants to work that hard when beauty comes integrated with Philadelphia sites. Who needs fancy green/blue screen graphic 3D FX? Cameron could have shot Avatar in Wissahickon Park, saved millions of dollars and 8 years of his life.
Visual F/X have been an increasingly integral part of cinema since the early stages of moving pictures. As early as Georges Melies’ “A Trip to the Moon” (1902 – above), VFX have been utilized to progress and enhance storytelling visually. As with any art, the challenge to create innovative, exciting, and mind-bending visuals has catapulted graphical capabilities into a realm where architecting entire worlds, or even an entire universe, is within reason and gaining feasibility. Recent CGI masterpieces, such as Avatar, the Lord Of the Rings series, and (to a lesser extent) the Matrix series, break rules and reinvent possibilities. This technological catapult has compelled Hollywood’s budgets to swell into the range of hundreds of millions to achieve remarkable large scale graphical FX. As the digital graphics business grows, it has also become a more accessible enterprise; the market is more competitive and programs are getting more affordable. However, it’s simple to buy all of the top graphical FX software there is to offer, given the sufficient funding, but it still takes an artists imagination and skill to integrate something digitally manufactured into real images with awe inspiring results.
Get-Kinetic’s personal artist, Dan Gauthier, has kept our GK edit suite bustling with such imagination and drawing some very noteworthy clientele. Dan contributed color grading and super-hero VFX to create a world that is Arlandia, one of the singles coming off the new Foo Fighters’ album, Wasting Light. The music video was directed by Nick Spaventa and shot by DP John Welsh of Parlay Studios. It is slated to be the second single off of the album, which is set for release next week. Dan also added his graphical touch to a music video for New York based electro/metal/rock band, Tigersapien. This time directed by John Welsh, Dan composed CGI fire and background elements for their latest video/single, Touch.Move.Feel.
Dan’s latest role is the VFX supervisor for a short film of biblical proportions. Producer Scott Gabriel and director Kevin Stocklin are beginning pre-production for a short based on the story of Adam and Eve. Dan met with Scott, Kevin, and award winning storyboard artist, Robert Castillo at Parlay Studios in Jersey City to begin formulating a look that will be Eden. Production is scheduled to begin shooting in 2011.
It is a big advantage to have someone with Dan’s skills in our post-department. His ability is unique because it’s derived from his MO and inspiring creativity. Now all we need is someone hand us a budget for hundreds of millions and we will make Pandora look like a sandbox… ok maybe not a sandbox, but Dan’s brain-child world would look pretty amazing.