Monday, November 30, 2015

Glamourous Fashion Shoot Observed on Expo Line

So I am on the Expo line between Culver City and downtown Los Angeles when suddenly 5 people get on. We are about to all be part of a fashion shoot.

The subjects are two oriental, probably Japanese, young women in some sort of friendly but conservative sports wear. They sit together on one of the rows of the train across from me and engage in a pseudo conversation under the direction of the photographer.

The photographer is a young woman in perhaps her early 30s. She is dressed in full hipster scruffy and directs the fashion models and takes 99 percent of the pictures over the next 10 plus minutes. She has not one but two assistants, one of whom, the lead assistant, wins the award for full-scruffy regalia. I was not close enough to tell, but from appearances we would guess he had not shaved or bathed for a solid week if not more. The other assistant was primarily a big fellow who watched over and carried the various tripods and backpacks filled with equipment that was not being used right that second.

The equipment in use seemed to be two bodies, one of them the high end Canon, and one of them a Sony, what I believe must have been a full-frame sensor mirrorless body with a Canon lens adapter on it. But it could have been any of the Sony full-frame bodies for all I could tell. There were two lenses in use, both of them Canon zooms, what I think was the 28-70 MM and the 70-200 MM zoom which was the lens most in use. Both bodies were used about equally, but with lens switches it was the 70-200 MM mostly in use.

From time to time the scruffy lead photographer, a very entertaining looking woman who shot the entire time with very dark sunglasses on (I dont actually understand how you do photography with very dark sunglasses the whole time, but thats just me) would give direction to the models, the jist of which was that they should pretend to chatter away like best friends saying absolutely nothing of consequence.

I would guess that about 500-600 photographs were taken in the 10 minutes they were on the train.  This  is a very loose estimate based on at least one photograph per second for 10 minutes.  Often it seemed the lead photographer was shooting more than 1 per second.

I would guess that the two zoom lenses were a matched set, in other words, between the two of them we had the full range of 28 mm to 200 mm, and that she needed that flexibility to compose the shots given that she could not easily change her position in the train.

As an additional accessory to this glamourous fashion shoot, having a British accent may be useful.  She certainly seemed to have one, at least as far as I could tell the few times I heard her speak.

At one point during this period, two very colorful men of color with disabilities, large and profane of speech, got on and I felt would be very entertaining backgrounds but I think she composed them out of the shoot because I did not notice anyone getting any kind of rights waiver.

After about 10 plus minutes of this, the whole crew got off on a stop and quite possibly got on the same train going the other direction. This you could repeat as long as you liked while the light was available, in other words for hours.

As always, it is entertaining to watch professionals at work. The thing that particularly stood out to me was that every time I have seen a professional of this type on location, there was at least one assistant and in this case two. Also, there was no toy equipment. Obviously everything was digital, there were no film changes but that is what we would expect. I was impressed and surprised to see the Sony body as the second body. I have heard that this was happening and obviously this is good for Sony. It perhaps makes them the third professional photography brand behind Canon and Nikon.

Earlier in the day, in Culver City, I had walked by a film shoot on location and I asked what project. The security guard said it was a commercial. So that suggests that on this Sunday we had not one but two professional commercial shoots going on in Culver City that I just happened to run into. This suggests to me that advertising production is healthy in Los Angeles, which is certainly good for the economy.

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