Nike - Giannis Antetokounmpo Graffiti
Shot exclusively with S Y R P
Client : NIKE
Syrp has been my sponsor for Greek Skies II which as mentioned above has been postponed to 2019 and I must say a company that anyone would love to work with.
Not just for the equipment but also for the understanding and the human part that characterises all their team, especially when it comes to obstacles and problems. I got to give it to them, they are more than just a sponsor and helpful.
I hope Greek Skies II in 2019 will compensate for all the lost time and obstacles of 2018.
2017 NBA All-Star game
Who is Giannis
The time lapses had to be short intense and I had to cover 3 corners on the ground and 3 on top from different buildings (5-6th + floor buildings) as the graffiti artist would go from place to place.
Me? One person 3 cameras, 4 Magic Carpets, 4 Genie Mini, 2 Genies, 2 L brackets for 3 axis, 6 tripods. That's all but one man to handle all of it. The toughest part? I had no assistant as it was all last minute and had to empty cards, run up and down to each and every building and camera, backup the cards and on my lunch break edit, render LRTimelapse, Lightroom and more… Yes you read it correctly… Mission impossible? Perhaps..
Day 1In the morning I started setting up my ground setups for panning action. The usual KIT that kinda helped me a lot was:
1) A Genie mini on a Genie with a ballhead and a D810 with 70-200 f/2.8 on a Magic Carpet in the corner of the basketball court
2)Same setup on the other side with a D7200 16-35 f/4.0
3)On the roof across the street above the basketball court a D7200 static
Day 2Is the day that I realise HOW MUCH i needed a slingshot! So my setup was not enough as I wanted to have a pass over the whole basketball court and couldn’t do it. I made so many calls and in the whole Athens photo shops there was not even one slingshot available! So I had to improvise.
I decided to go crazy, borrow one of the cranes available in the court and some plastic cable ties (40cm) to be able and stabilise my tripod on top of the basketball backboard and setup on it the following setups
1)A Genie Mini with a ballhead and a D810 with 24-70 f/2.8 on an L bracket by Syrp that would simply tilt up and down.
2)Same setup on the other side with a D7200 16-35 f/4.0 but for panning left to right
3)On the roof across the street above the basketball court a D7200 static with 2 Genie Mini and L bracket for 3-axis to try the crazy shot of shooting across the court the Acropolis and on the way down and left to the centre of the court the moment that the graffiti artist would sign with spray the end of the masterpiece. That would happen the next afternoon to night (golden hour). I will elaborate more on this scene later on.
Day 3The setups are more focused on getting footage around the court and 2 cameras on top of the roof of a building across the basketball court. Here are the setups for the whole day. Important is that this is the day I would shoot the 3axis (Acropollis - Signature of the graffiti in the centre of the court) :
2) A Genie mini on a Genie with a ballhead and a D810 with 16-35 f/4.0 & 24-70 f/2.8 on a Magic Carpet in each side of the basketball court on two tripods trying to mimic pass over (slingshot)
3)Same setup on the other side with a D7200 16-35 f/4.0
4) On the roof across the street above the basketball court a D7200 static with a 200-500mm f/5.6 for the Acropolis shot.
In general after this marathon project and with so intense deadlines here are my thoughts :
- Always have reliable equipment
- Never forget to double check your equipment before every trip
- Make sure you always have spare parts NO MATTER WHAT
- Be ready for the unthinkable
- Plan before hand every scene and run it as many times as possible in your mind and paper
- Have PLAN B for any case scenario. Take my example. I didn’t have a slingshot and had to improvise. Do I wish I had it? Yes. Did I have it? No.
- Ensure that if everything goes wrong, it will be you who has to save the day. Acropolis scene taught me a valuable lesson. The day we wanted most the lights didn’t come up.
- Have extra batteries at your disposal. Do NOT take as granted that you will have access to a power bank or source. Things break down and equipment can go wrong the very last moment. Do not lose that shot.
- Learn from your mistakes. I learned from mine with the -14C and my batteries draining and more.
- Don’t blame the equipment. It is a machine after all. Be prepared and make things work even when they tend not to want to work.
- Have faith. Regardless your ups and downs even if that is surgeries, injuries, bad luck whatever the reason, in the end what matters most is be healthy and rise up again. It doesn’t matter how many times you fell down but how many you rose up.
A few words on Syrp Genie,Mini,Carpet.
I believe, today that I am writing this, and having seen Genie II, Genie I and Genie mini are still an amazing motion control kit to have regardless what.
The fact that I can break it in 3 and have 3 cameras at the same time on each of them time lapsing or video is astonishing. Imagine this, you have on the Genie a camera tracking on the magic carpet, a second camera on the genie mini panning and a third one vertical. You are getting 3 scenes out of 1 KIT! How amazing is this?
Asking myself if I would love to have the Genie II? Big yes duh! But would I give up my old KIT ? NO WAY! Genie II has amazing capabilities that I envy and I wish I had during this project, starting from the keyframes to ramping etc. No question asked hands down is far better. But in the end of the day the old KIT is a MUST-HAVE in my bag. Not just for the reasons above that I mentioned but also for the size, battery life and everything. Even when I am not on work, I still have it in the car with a camera and a 16-35mm lens just in any case.
It can be useful from documentaries, to sports, to landscape, to astrophotography, nightscape, seascape and more the list can go on and on…In my upcoming film I will have the opportunity to show you how I used it during 2017 and how I improvised on getting some scenes. Sometimes I had to put a genie mini on the tripod itself and mount a wire on the bullhead over it to pull my camera. Unorthodox ? Yes 100%. Did it work? You will be the judge of that soon.
I also know that the guys in Syrp are working hard to make the new featured of the app (keyframes) available for the old KIT as well. Once they succeed there will be no need for upgrade. Of course that’s what always is my main argument, when you have faith to the product and the people behind it, eventually it will come through no matter what.
Keep shooting, even when periods are rough (as was for me 2018) and keep storing your footage in 3 separate disks. One day (like this) you will be able to show your work and publish it and be proud of it.