Recently for Quickblade Paddles, I got to make a very cool video for their new, innovative paddle – the Trifecta. It’s a really special paddle that needed a really special video.
Most of our work with QB has taken place in their paddle flume, a gym designed for training water athletes. We have used this for our backdrop for most instructional and other types of content. But for this video, I wanted to show the process of the paddle – showcase its unique features and make something a bit different then usual.
One of the neat things about QB is that the place is a manufacturing center. The paddles are made and assembled on site – and in the owner Jim Terrell’s suite are actual presses used for molds. They are stainless steel, beautiful and are labeled with the QB logo. In addition, there are workspaces with carbon fiber dust, foam dust and all kinds of other things that go into making the paddles. This is the very room where prototypes are born.
To give the look of a car commercial I opted to keep everything very dark and moody. One challenge of the room though are skylights and I was shooting the middle of the day. The nice thing about the Panasonic GH3 is how flexible the camera is and through a combination of manual settings, I was able to make the room dark enough to look like it was pitch black. The next ingredient was a single LED light.
I put the paddle in various positions and going handheld with the camera in one hand and the LED light in the other I created light pans across the paddle. I shoot most things handheld, it is pretty rare that I use a steady cam or tripod these days, it takes practice, but once you get it down it’s simple. The LED light created very cool shadows and the fades in the video itself are not post production fades – they are literally the light coming up and backing down across the paddle and work areas.
As luck would have it, Jim walked in while I was shooting and needed to sand a paddle blade. It was actually an outrigger paddle with a Trifeca blade – a sort of test. But I saw the opportunity to get some moody shots of the master at work. I used the single LED to shoot Jimmy sanding a paddle out and this impromptu shoot created one of the best collection of moments in the video. It shows that you need to be open to what could happen next to get good footage. Jimmy working was not even in my storyboard.
We got lucky that one of our Hawaiian dealers was going to see Travis Grant, one of the co-producers of the paddle – so we had him conduct an interview with Travis and send to us. It all fit together perfectly and created a very dynamic, contrast filled video. All shot with a Panasonic GH3 and one LED light.