Creative Discovery through Real-Time Production
10:00am in Studio A
Join JT and Sam for a discussion of real-time content creation technologies used for creative development while in production.
Laura Frank 00:09
Thank you for joining us again, first thing in the morning, I know some of us had a more vibrant evening evening than others. But I’m really grateful for everyone here. And if you’re just joining us for today, whether online or in the room, we had a really great day yesterday, I’m very excited about the buzz I’m feeling about this project. And I’m so grateful for everyone’s support. So thank you for being here.
J.T. Rooney 00:34
Awesome. Thank you. Yeah, thanks for everyone coming up again, yesterday was really good. Hopefully, for some of you. For most people here, it’s probably their first in person event for framework because we’ve had to Is there a second, but I think it’s been interesting to talk to people and see what you took from it versus not. And hopefully, it’s feeling really valuable for you. Something we’ve talked about today and yesterday a little bit is that everyone’s kind of existing through the work day still on trying to kind of like fight away emails and stuff. But hopefully today on Saturday, it’s a little bit more calm for you, and you can kind of dig in. If you saw Ben’s talking to you today, yesterday, it’s definitely a reminder of this as a community, and it’s our own community. So it’s only what we make out of it. So really take the opportunity to meet someone you haven’t met before, where they go dig and talk to people and really engage because that’s why we’re all here. It’s really worth it.
Laura Frank 01:21
And I don’t know about you, but I’m personally almost overwhelmed with with the level of support and people asking to help. And so every time we put one of these projects together, whether it’s the online events we did in 2020, moving ourselves into an in person event last year, every time we get through one of these, I find myself thinking, Oh, this is actually where it gets harder, like you build up to presenting and you think you’ve done, you’ve accomplished the thing. And then you realize, no, this is where the real work began. So all of you ready to like jump in, roll up your sleeves and see what we turn this community and this momentum into. We are charting this course together. I don’t know what to tell you to do quite yet. But please keep engaging with us, we’re going to find the solutions together. I know in the talk we started with yesterday, we not only have things to talk about as far as our perspectives on our work, and how we relate in the community, whether it’s client education, or new talent, education, or mentorship within our own community. As as we’re saying here. Now, there’s a lot of learning that can happen just together in this room. So please make sure you’re talking to someone you don’t know today. I think that’s the best way we can use this day together.
J.T. Rooney 02:37
For sure. A little bit of housekeeping before we get started. If you weren’t here yesterday, you’re just joining us or you don’t remember, because of your night last night. In the morning, we’ll be in the studio a for most of the panels, most of the conversations will happen here. Our vendors and sponsors and awesome folks are out in the lobby can visit them at any time. At around noon, we switch into two sort of paths back and forth. So something will be happening and B and A please, you know, check the schedule, see what you’re interested in and try something new, maybe are not interested in to learn new things. We will close the doors is one of those two panels go. So you can always walk in the back where Devin is standing at the moment, there’s a nice little walkway that way where the restrooms are and stuff like that. And then throughout the day again, today, the Kodak building will be open if you need a quiet place to go work or take a phone call or anything like that. That’s also where lunch will be again. So just a little bit of housekeeping. Yep.
Laura Frank 03:36
I had a thought and it’s completely gone. For me now. Our codes, oh, QR codes. Thank you. We are a QR code users. If you are looking for more detailed information off the program, there is a QR to take you to the online descriptions of all the presentations today. Also, your badge has your V card information so that you can get in touch with each other after the event today. So
J.T. Rooney 04:00
I think that’s a very convention II thing but super valuable. If you want to talk to someone just like take their contact info, it’s great. It’s really, really helpful and that you’ll actually be able to follow up.
Laura Frank 04:09
Plus, if you follow the QR code to our schedule, it’s also where we post information about framework as an entity, our mission statement and our goals. So I invite you all to take a look at it. Get in touch with us and we can talk about how we can work together in the future. For now I’ll turn it over to JT
J.T. Rooney 04:27
Awesome. Thank you. We’re gonna start our first presentation of the day if I can invite Sam Cannon up to the stage. Thanks everyone. Grab a handheld for Sam as well. All right, welcome Sam. Sam is a collaborator with us here at Extra studios. And if you missed I keep on referring to Ben’s talk because I’m by But if you saw Ben’s talk yesterday, he talked about maps and your relationship maps and how you get to know one person that makes another person which is another person. I actually know, Sam through framework through Shelley. So, Shelley in New York said she knew Sam from time and world stage and all these other places like that. That connected with another map, which we held a women in media events, and all sorts of stuff like that. So this organization is about, it’s not about who you know, or your LinkedIn, like Ben said, but it’s about like finding these connections and growing your people. So I’m happy to say that we’ve become people, which is great. So we’re going to talk a little bit about creating discovery through real time production. And just to get into some introductions, maybe Sam, you can talk a little bit about yourself.
Sam Cannon 05:43
Sure. Hi, everybody. I’m Sam cannon. I’m a photographer and director, I maybe have a bit of a, I don’t know, infancy with this kind of technologies. So I’m certainly coming into it, seeing it as a new tool for me that I’m very, very excited to start using in my work. And I’m really trying to champion with the clients that I work with, and help educate folks about what’s possible with it. But yeah, I would say that, like my, my position here, sometimes feels like I’m just happy to be here. And there’s a little demo reel of some of my work to try to get a sense of who I am. But I wear a lot of different hats. I’m not always great at my elevator pitch, because I just love learning new things constantly and playing with new tools and collaborating with new people. But I think an easy description is that I work across photo, video and installation, working as a photographer and director and then doing video and multimedia installation, which is how I’ve been really fortunate to meet really incredible folks like Shelley. And a lot of people in this room getting to be here yesterday and see a lot of familiar faces really was kind of like a pinch me moment of understanding how fortunate I’ve been to be more immersed in this community as someone who is an image maker,
J.T. Rooney 06:59
for sure. And we spoke a lot while preparing for this whether, you know Laura and I have no victory lap rule. And if I even talked about this and said yesterday, it’s really hard to speak about your work without doing that, you know, and your work is incredible and beautiful. But it is really helpful for the room to see what you’ve been doing to kind of understand what your Sphere is. So it’s, it’s just an interesting tidbit. Because now I’ll show a bit of extra studios work as well. And again, it’s not about who Kukuda is, it’s more of just like look at what’s happening with this Technology. Look at what the different types of tech is being applied for different ways because I think that’s the only way you can really have a conversation about it. For sure. It is very cool though. Everything This is the problem. Everything’s always very cool. Everything everyone does in this room in school, which is the problem that will play that real quick
I want you on my rap make you ring that wants you to unwrap to pull your string, bring me the next shiny new thing. Bring me the next shiny new things. Bring me the next shiny new shiny new thing. Shiny new things. Bring me the next shiny new shiny new, shiny new thing.
J.T. Rooney 09:12
Cool, everything’s cool. But it’s interesting to see, you know, that’s all that video shows stuff that’s happening here since this facility opened in March. And what’s interesting for that conversation is that the variety of things is so bizarre and strange in production that we all deal with and how do you make all this tech work and the design process work for all those different areas? So to kind of go through it and maybe we can talk a bit about some stuff that we’ve done together. So maybe you can set up this one a little bit maybe?
Sam Cannon 09:39
Absolutely. Is anyone here familiar with Leo Kalyan’s music, maybe some people have seen them on their Tik Tok explorer page or Instagram but I first came across the Oaks they do these really incredible, kind of like Bollywood pop mashups that are really beautiful and got to meet them in Hollywood for the first time a while back and really wanted to photograph them but wasn’t Sure what we should do. And the timing worked out where we were really fortunate to be able to test on stage B and use the LED back wall to do some experiments. And I had a little bit of time to test on the stage and was going to try to gather as many learnings as I could, for other projects moving forward. And what I really wanted to test in being able to shoot on one of these, for the first time was a little bit of video, and really shooting digital stills and film stills to try to understand how kind of space is compressed. And I was really interested in, you know, what kind of pixelization or Mori, you might see it, I came into it with, like some very kind of technical specific questions that I wanted to understand. But then also just really wanting to understand what it is like, in real time to kind of play in that environment. We all know that things can like move much faster than you anticipate them moving when you actually get to use a new new tool for the first time. And so this was just kind of a fun, first experiment to kind of dip my toes in.
J.T. Rooney 11:03
And I think for us, it’s something really interesting as a collaborator coming into the space. Because you come from a design background with VFX chops, and also the stuff like that Sam showed up with him going to bring a couple images, and then you generated 40 images the night before the day before whatever in mid journey, right? And it was like, partially, you know, and it was just like, oh, there’s a whole new approach coming into stage as well.
Sam Cannon 11:26
Yeah, it’s kind of it’s kind of a complicated feeling. Because it you know, it did become this use case of like, okay, now suddenly, I have this opportunity to shoot on a stage for the first time. And I want to try to have these, you know, environments, but I don’t have any time and I don’t have anyone that I can collaborate with to turn them around. And so that kind of felt like a perfect example of being able to just try to like, generate something very, very quickly and experiment with that tool for the first time. But then also, because of all of the complicated feelings around it, I was like, I don’t really know what I feel comfortable making in this and showing and like referencing of potentially other people’s work. And so I wanted to go for this kind of more like painterly traditional studio backdrop and kind of use the image almost as as more like a lighting element or something that could kind of fall off into the environment, and then be able to use the stage for the first time as a lighting element and understand what that’s like. And so for this image, for example, you know that the stages doing a ton of the work for lighting, but then I did still, I also was really interested in learning what it feels like to mix the stage and a little bit of continuous light with strobes because as a photographer, a lot of the time I’m using strobes in my lighting. And so for this, we do have a single stroke that’s popping off in the foreground to create some additional separation. And there were a lot of learnings from that as well,
J.T. Rooney 12:43
for sure. And it’s kind of I mean, bled I’m going a bit out of order. But this kind of led to another thing that feels very similar, which, you know, on the space using screens and Projection and stills and stuff like that, it’s not necessarily new, but with with screens and stills, but it is interesting to see how it can manipulate and now become a tool that on a very, very short notice, you can pull that trigger. And so that’s what this was was very fast.
Sam Cannon 13:11
Yeah, I do. i My background is in photography. And then I have a lot of self taught visual effects skills in my toolkit, and I have a lot of experience working with green screen. And that’s really just out of necessity a lot. I’ve done a lot of test shoots and editorial work in my own studio space where talent would have the amount of space you know, if like a wingspan, they can’t really move. So I use a lot of green screen there. But I have really been trying to push to do a lot more practical in Camera VFX. And for me, it’s always been a really hard thing to sell to clients, which can feel frustrating at times, because I can get someone to say yes to green screen like that, even though they won’t be able to see it in real time. There you know can be some crunchiness that comes with it. And and being able to like explain to someone what this can look like, especially if the if they don’t necessarily want to do something that’s like an over the top kind of, you know, shiny CGI build. Sometimes it’s hard to explain to them why something like this could be really beautiful and valuable. And the Leo Kellyanne shoot ended up being the thing that I could really use to show that and explain what that can feel like. And then that led to getting signed off on using that approach for this shoe, which is coming out next week, I think which I’m very excited about, but you’re getting a little bit of a sneak peek. So this is actually some behind the scenes for the next cover of Wired that’s coming out this month. And we shot on this stage. I know on stage B. So we had the we as a lighting element. We were using the back wall also to show the images that we were creating on the back the overhead continuous lighting that’s a part of the space and we didn’t end up using any strobes at all for that one. We used all continuous for an exclusively stills shoot on a stage and then shot most of the final images on film too, which was just a fun like constant It’ll be mixing technologies to create these images that feel very kind of like Metropolis inspired other worldly unreal space.
J.T. Rooney 15:08
I think that’s part of it. And we’ll dig into it a bit here in a minute. But like, again, you’re using film for stills is a really interesting conversation on this. But also, this physical set pieces, there’s the little steps, there’s, you know, stuff like that. But when you are working in this space, you are crafting and moving things as if you are a set designer in real time, like, hey, let’s move that giant thing over to the left. Let’s do this. And I think that’s what’s interesting about the tech and the conversation today is the time scale that you have is very short for a project like this. So normally, you would go and say, Hey, let’s shoot in a hotel room or an Airbnb or whatever. And let’s just like, you know, get it done. And we’ll touch it up into stuff later. What if the Technology gets faster so that the design process can get faster as well? And then you can do something new in that time. And I think that’s what is really interesting with this. And same with the next one as well. Like, I think, how do we do something fun and playful? Maybe on this one, which is something different to chat about?
Sam Cannon 16:03
Yeah, totally. I also before we hop into this, and I think another thing that’s really interesting is just because I I’m I’m very adamant about not removing people’s jobs in any way. But I do really love making people’s jobs easier for everyone on my crew, and also allowing them to focus on the areas that they’re going to be really excited about. And so for the wired cover, shoot, we did have an incredible production designer Wesley Goodrich, who could really, you know, it is it’s a fast turnaround, it’s a very, very quick lift, it’s editorial, there usually aren’t very big budgets. And so it’s very cool to go into a space like that with the production designer, with the lighting designer, with our grips and our gaffes and be like, okay, you know, these elements like lighting the backdrop, we can take that off of your plate, creating this background image, we can take that off of your plate, and then you can focus on these specific things. And so that’s, that’s something as a photographer and director I found really rewarding about working in this space is just kind of seeing where we can kind of redistribute some of the lift to
J.T. Rooney 17:02
Yeah, it’s interesting, because that’s the thing with time is it’s people’s time as well. And you can only have, you know, the pipe that you have. So if one thing gets faster, what else can you unlock with it with real time versus, you know, just adding another thing to the list, basically.
Sam Cannon 17:16
And then this, this project is a fashion campaign that we shot on this stage on stage a for Cash App, who has a clothing line, which I didn’t really know, sometimes it feels like a bit of a mad lib,
J.T. Rooney 17:30
it’s like, I don’t know if it does anyone know what Cash App is, I’m not that wasn’t that familiar. It’s like Venmo, or something where you send people money on an app, they have a clothing line to help,
Sam Cannon 17:41
it’s very stylish,
J.T. Rooney 17:42
I don’t understand I don’t get it.
Sam Cannon 17:44
It’s very cool. And they make a lot of really beautiful, very cool Content around it. And they, they wanted to reskin their site and shoot a ton of pieces, shoot video shoot still. So it was a huge lift of how much we wanted to capture in a single day. And originally, we were talking about shooting this just on a white site in a studio, and maybe projecting some Content on the walls or maybe trying to do some some kind of like roto or keying out in certain moments to bring in some graphics, I was like, but what if we could do it on a stage like this and, you know, use the stage in a way that people don’t often consider use it as something that’s really, really graphic, and, you know, isn’t trying to represent a real space or recreate anything, but is really this just kind of like fun, saturated, you know, world and then we got to work with a really incredible designer animator, who’s here, Chris golden. Who created these really, really incredible animations that we could kind of flood the world with. And that being able to use a stage this size as not only a lighting element, but an Animated Lighting element was very, very cool. Everything looked so stunning. And we captured an insane amount I actually I brought the schedule. I brought a screenshot of it. Which don’t tell any don’t say that this is possible. I’m never going to show this to tell clients what’s possible. Yeah, no, no, no, this isn’t this. It’s we shouldn’t always work this way. But the fact that we were able to work this way is really incredible. And shout out to Meghan Chumbley my ad for not only creating this, but keeping us to it. But okay, first shot look one, shooting stills on white, two minutes, second shot, full body video on white, two minutes, five minutes for lighting tweaks. Then we shot video on graphics. First Look, five minutes, three minutes pick up after that. I mean, every single shot on this schedule, we had like two to five minutes to capture everything and move forward. And it was insane. blasting music. Everybody was having a great time. The only way we could have it move forward in a way that wouldn’t be completely chaotic was to have a talk with the talent beforehand. We’re never going to call action we’re never going to call cut. We’re just going to hang out and play all day and there’s always going to be something shooting And the final images and video that we got, it was just it was a completely different kind of energy than I’ve ever been able to capture before. Because the stage wasn’t just this backdrop, it was a space that we were playing in. And that was very cool.
J.T. Rooney 20:14
I think it’s the fun part of it, as we’re talking about things that are real time or near real time, you know, this is one that it wasn’t live rendered graphics, but it was using disguise. And for a lot of people in this space, their whole career has been doing d3 or disguise or other media servers to modify stuff in real time. But in a setting like this on a shoot, or in a fashion world, having a team like our lovely folks at SR who were able to say no, I’m going to project this one or this is going to be flat, or I’m going to flip it and invert it and stretch it and do this and all that sort of stuff like that in a shoot, like that’s something that it’s like, Oh, hold on, pause this do a reset, whereas like it just felt like play in this space, which I think is really fun. So let’s watch it real quick.
Sam Cannon 21:25
Also, our DP, Patrick Jones had the great idea of working on a Sony Venice with this with the separated bodies so that you can have this like very light handheld Camera and be on here with talent kind of playing around. And they were all just kind of dancing with one another. And it was just very cool to see the space used as this Immersive environment not only for what we’re seeing in Camera, but for the crew for all of us. And I’m like, laying on the floor photographing right here. It’s just, it’s all encompassing, in a very cool way.
J.T. Rooney 21:56
That’s even like, you know, we were talking about the definition of what real time is. And Laura has written a book on real time, we’ve all talked about real time in lots of different ways. But if you kind of turn the phrase on its head, the Camera operator using that Venice. And if you guys have seen it’s called the three alto rear Camera, what’s called the body of the Camera stays here and you can disconnect it with this nice cable. Yeah, it’s like 20 meters or something really long. And then they just kind of have a sensor with a lens on it. So all of a sudden, the Camera operator the Camera, the Camera is over there. And he has like a little lens and a and a sensor, and then a light strapped onto his Steadicam rig, right? You didn’t even have a study, it was just like Holding, holding a light and a Camera and this walking around where you’re shooting. And this is definitely just like, it’s kind of chaos. But it’s also kind of what creation should feel like, it feels like you’re playing with Play Doh or something in real time. And I think that’s what’s really interesting about it versus just like, Ooh, pretty picture, pretty picture, it was just discovery and playing with the tech showing it not perfect like this image. On screen, I love seeing the image skewed and stretch like that, that’s fine, it’d be hard to actually create that in another environment. Whereas some of us who are always trying to create a perfect image sometimes are like, Oh, no, it’s not exactly the right thing. But that’s okay. You know, totally
Sam Cannon 23:12
and even like seeing the texture of the floor, understanding that it’s all real, or like the, the horizon line in the background, I really loved all of that and didn’t want to hide any of it,
J.T. Rooney 23:21
for sure. And so I think to kind of like, you know, keep keeping mindful of the topic and the time, you know, bringing it back together is kind of what we were just talking about, like, it isn’t about necessarily rendering in real time relatives and stuff like that. It’s that real time interaction, and how do you actually design things with time and knowledge and time in mind. And something that I was just thinking about the other day was like, when you’re designing things, there’s all these different steps like and real time or sort of near real time, or much faster new efficient technologies allows you to affect all these different steps on the design side, you’re able to now design in a quicker or different way using AI tools or real time rendering or whatever it is. But it also affects the rendering and the export and the authorization and stuff as well as delivering to the client. And, you know, maybe we will talk a bit further but like, not all of those things are good. And all these things are bad. If you’re delivered, your delivery time is now a third of what it should have been maybe that’s a bit sad. But maybe that’s okay, because you have more time to design. Now the problem is sometimes I’ll get squeezed. But I think it also just creates something different. It’s not necessarily good or bad. I do want to riff a little bit and talk more about AI like we were talking about before and I just saw Pienaar walk in the team and say how many is here now which is great. So extra studios little self plug but we worked with a team called say how many to create an AI tool in the space last October. And there’s some stills from it with Aaron all mark at the bottom was here as well. And it was a tool in its earliest conception of text image generation. Everyone was kind of I think the world kind of knows what that is a bit now of like you write a sentence and it creates a magical picture You’re great, then the great idea from the Sahami team was how do you use this in a space like this or similar to actually shoot with and do productions with. So it was a tool that was created to create two and a half d layers within painting and out painting. So you get a little bit of parallax, right? So like Disney’s multi plane Camera where you get the Snow White effect and get a little bit of that separation. And there’s some really stunning images created like that one in the right, even very, very early on. You’ll hear more about their tool later. And the some really interesting stuff that come in that comes with that. But I think our conversations about that tool was more about creating freedom on set. And I think that’s for me what I really like when talking about real time and AI is like creative iteration. Versus Oh, this make it faster, faster, faster. It’s like, oh, what else can we do? So what if we’re in this, you know, beautiful rocky mountain scene, and then let’s see what the same thing looks like underwater real quick, just, you know, type away. And it’s more of a Kickstarter to conversations, which is really interesting.
Sam Cannon 26:03
I think it also in trying to actively figure out where I feel comfortable implementing it, and what I, which I feel like my own feelings like all of ours are kind of shifting day to day. But I think there is an interesting conversation about decision fatigue, and the ability to constantly change something. And when you’re doing it in an ideation phase, that’s one thing, but I think a lot of us have experienced going into post and having the idea that you could make unlimited changes to something once you’re in post production, AI is terrible. For everybody, it can it abuses people, it, I think decision fatigue is a real thing, I think it doesn’t necessarily lead to the best possible version of what you can make. So to be able to quickly create options beforehand and explore ideas, I think can be really helpful. But then I do think it also brings us back to the idea of shooting on a volume because then to get to that place and be able to do in Camera VFX and then leave with something that’s, you know, half baked and that you can’t make changes or even fully baked, I find that more freeing even to like, let’s all get to a place where we feel really good about this, and then can move forward instead of just like constantly spinning in the same place.
J.T. Rooney 27:18
I think that’s the thing when it comes to trying to find the right word for it, you create a structure, and within it, you can play right. And so I think actually, I’m a little tangent, sorry, but one of my first jobs out of school was working at a symphony in Miami called the New World Symphony. And we would create Projection map visuals using cool Lux way back when using cool Lux. And the interesting thing about doing a symphony and doing Projection, or symphony, which a lot of people who work in opera music and stuff like that is that musical scores are actually one of the best ways to allow for creative freedom and expression while maintaining an overall vision and journey. And Michael Tilson Thomas, who’s the director, they’re always said that it symphony is like going to a national park, like you can walk through it, you know, most of the trees are there, some things have changed with the overall rocks and mountains are always there. And we use scores, which would allow you to change tempo and speed and time, but the overall idea remains the same. So instead of doing a time coded piece of pop music, I would have 600 cues in a symphony or something like that. And we would be essentially playing along because it would change. And so I think that kind of leads into the next thing, which is talking about, again, real time, design real time choices. We want to maintain this sort of overall path. But what if we could play on the inside and it doesn’t have to be always, real time doesn’t have to be a giant 3d Sphere ball on a render that looks really video gaming and cool. It can be all sorts of stuff. And some of the talks we heard yesterday can be lighting, it can be physical set, it can be automation, things that move and so something I wanted to talk about that was important to me was was using real time rendering from a lighting perspective on this Kanye tour a long time ago was the most physical of elements which 1400 Parkins and want to talk about timing shifts and what’s real time what’s not changing all the gels on those every night for every show was very interesting for everyone. Every crew member learned how to cut and change things because every night the design is different of the color, but a very traditional tool which is Parkins and then mixing in all these other new things that you just never hear about who would never knew were there. So most of the lighting on this tour was driven through notch in touch designer, and probably didn’t have to do it like that we could have done a effects engine in the MA and done something different but it was a choice to allow structure over time but flexibility in the middle and the Mike Dean, the music director and keyboard is would play things throughout the show Oh, and it would affect both the live i omega effects, but also the lighting. But the automation cues would be this long structure, if that makes sense. So just a little quick example. But it’s just showing that things can shift and change and find creative freedom while retaining structure, which is something we talked about a lot. So here’s a little eye candy from that. Then there you can see he’s kind of as he’s playing, all sorts of stuff gets really random, but all of that sequence was predetermined, but time could change velocity, all sorts of stuff like that, as well as that affecting the sort of live iMac on screen. So again, it’s not about the tech because no one even knew that there were other tools involved besides lighting in there. But it just allowed for a different set of expressions, which is really interesting. And so as we were going through different examples together of like stuff in the studio, this is obviously very much out in the world. Also, the most entertaining thing that ever is like watching people go to that show for the first time and trying to find the stage was just incredible, like people just running around in circles. Another very, very different example we were talking about that’s similar to the Cash App thing is like, what are things that are near time? And what are things that aren’t necessarily rendered in real time that allow you to iterate and play? And there’s a piece here that’s actually from myself and Ben Nicholson from way back when, but, and Ben Kitely, who is unfortunately not here, but a big part of this community was, you know, how do you retain flexibility and change ability? And how do you deal with sort of stuff while still creating an image that is completed and successful and all sorts of stuff like that. So this piece was done very theatrically and but also done like Photoshop, basically, which is something I think for you is very familiar, but that castle, for example, the giant Emerald City, or whatever, was always kept as a separate layer, so you can move it per shot and change the scale and stuff like that. And everyone who’s in theater is like, Yeah, but when it’s for a Camera, it’s it’s kind of a different approach. And that led to a lot of really interesting things like disguise, or d3, ar 11, or whatever version that is with colors still, but then Kylie’s timeline had all of these different things and tools and stuff like that to remain flexible at every moment. So each one of the little fans and vents and steam were always in different queues and triggers to allow for flexible flexibility throughout that process. And I think I’m really harkening back to something a long time ago, but it just kind of shows that we’re all just reconnecting again, or whether it’s in the theatrical space or in shoots, if that makes sense. And yeah, I think it’s just something that we’re starting to see more in the shoot in production in single Camera space, a lot of these tools that have existed forever, in this space. And everyone can thank Ben Kiley for disguise being able to scroll up in the taskbar. So it didn’t used to do. I want to talk a little bit, I’m jumping around a lot. Apologies. But talking about your use of film on stage, I think is something also that is like, that is time. Right. And maybe you can speak a bit about how that affects all of it, you know? Yeah,
Sam Cannon 33:52
I mean, I think, you know, there’s definitely like, Film, film fetish is real. I think being a photographer, like I want to shoot it on film, because I just want to shoot it on film, because that’s really fun and beautiful. And I love seeing how it compresses space and color and the dynamic range of it. And that’s an I went to school at RIT. So like Kodak is in my blood, and I’m proud that the Kodak is my football team, basically. But I think also, you know, in listening, like and listening to Eric Alba talk yesterday, which I’m, you know, still jazzed on it may I remembered the fact that one of my first jobs when I was in college was working in cloud tanks also. So I’m very like practical visual effects is something that I’ve always been really really excited about. And for me, I think the the reason why I love kind of creating these worlds and shooting them on film is to really the two biggest things is like being able to prove that it was all really in Camera, which might seem obvious, but I think to a lot of people it is this kind of like subconscious thing that you see it and then you understand in a different way that this was a thing that was captured and was a real moment in time. But then I also just There’s time itself. There’s this like extension of these different technologies moving forward and backward and being able to speak to each other in a way that I think is really poetic and beautiful. And I think, you know, in a lot of industries, Technology changing and moving forward can be really scary for people. People can eat, you know, easily think that something is, you know, less valuable than before it’s become more commercial, or it’s become more a tool for communication, and it’s lost a bit of its artfulness. But I love coming from a photo background, because that is the history of photography, the history of photography is photography, like constantly fighting for the fact that it is an art form it like, every single iteration of it wasn’t considered an art form until someone like fought for it and decided that it was. And I find that really freeing because then understanding that history and understanding that like, black and white photography wasn’t art until it was in color photography wasn’t art until it was it lets me throw out that entire rulebook and think that everything has value, every new tool and old tool can come together to make something really beautiful. So aside from just like, technically wanting to understand the difference between what I would see on a stage shooting film versus digital, there is that there’s that history to it, which I find really interesting.
J.T. Rooney 36:17
I think it’s also like the one we talked about time, I think Luke calls spoke about this last year at brainwork is like, you can go as fast as you want. But sometimes you need to just think for a second and be really decisive with your moments. And something about shooting on film is like I am choosing right now I want to do something and I’m not going to find out if it worked or not until later. And I think that’s really really important either for stills. And there’s another photo here from we did a 35 mil shoot last week with Kodak. And it was just like, Alright, everyone, like check the gate? Like I don’t know, it doesn’t like, here we are. And I think that’s really, really cool.
Sam Cannon 36:50
I think it also goes back to the idea of protecting your team to which I know a lot of people have been talking about, I think that as things can happen faster, and we can make more changes, we all have to fight to mean that that doesn’t mean we all move faster. I think those things can set us up to be able to actually slow down and take our time and have room to experiment in a way that I hadn’t really had for years other than those kinds of recent shoot experiences. So yeah, I think that’s an important thing for everyone to keep in mind and to fight for. At every point in the industry.
J.T. Rooney 37:26
I think it’s something that segues into this, which is like you and I have talked a lot about like, working on these real time spaces and with Yes, LED screens, but even out in the field or out in the world doing something it’s like how do you get to that discovery? Using this, this faster Technology versus main Cash App was maybe a bad example because we did squeeze it but it was also it was to discover things and and to look at different things and do different setups and like, you know, there is this balance, like you say, but what I think is interesting is like, my interest in this Technology and with notch in early days, and stuff only comes from like, what if you know, or what else, you know, maybe it’s a good term. So we were talking about this example with a shoot last week of like, it sounds so silly, but moving a tree on set in real time is really satisfying. Like from a creative standpoint, like you just do it all day long. We will look at this but like it’s so interesting, like we can change an entire composition of a shot. And Alex Vicenta who’s over in Studio B today was just playing with the director on that shoot of like what if we had a mountain Hold on just like extruding it What if there’s a I think he brought a wheelbarrow and at one point or something but it was just you know, it’s not it’s it brings this sort of like playful childish adventurous thing which creates a really beautiful product which I think is something that you really focus on.
Sam Cannon 38:44
Totally Yeah, I mean like seeing beautiful Volumetric light carved through something is always so satisfying. And I think it also it makes me think about just being able to have those experiences with other people because I mean like I’m a big Andrew Kramer like the effects video fan I like your Kramer here Andrew Kramer Yeah, like I’ve started too many mornings just like watching a YouTube tutorial to learn a new After Effects thing. And so like I’ve you know, watched a lot of videos of trying to learn how to create that sense of Volumetric light in post just using 2d layers and After Effects and I really wish that I had been there to see this in person because the idea of like having that experience but not just being like alone in a cave by myself watching it, it just that I don’t often get to have this like larger sense of community when creating in that space. And so I’m very excited for these tools to like allow all of those things to happen in a room with other people and not just like me alone watching an Andrew Kramer video.
J.T. Rooney 39:42
I think that’s like such a good point though, because like that’s been one of the biggest joys for me over the last four years working in all this virtual space is that I come from, you know, a live world like that, you know, doing something real time with the Kanye example is like instant gratification for everyone. Like, like, turn into pretty light and everyone goes Ooh, like it’s so it’s so instant and so shared as an experience. And when you’re in live shows you get this gratification that like, is why a lot of people stay up all night or Brian and Morris talk because it you get this feeling of watching 60,000 people freak out like it’s amazing. It’s hard to recreate that when you’re by yourself as an editor as a VFX artists or even in virtual production. Sometimes there was a moment where Scott Miller and I had this crazy conversation after the VMAs in 2020. Because we did it in XR during earthquakes, fire tornadoes, the pandemic brownouts, like it was just absolute chaos. And it happened. And then at the end, they’re like, Okay, pack up by and like everyone just leaves and like, it’s just there’s moments where you don’t get this joy in the same way. But with real time tech and with real time Technology, you’re allowing that sort of amazing moment, as a VFX artists, you’re now doing that with grips and gaffers and production designers who have no I’ve never seen that before. And now all of a sudden, they get to share in that experience, which I think is why a lot of this tech is just starting to bleed in a lot of different ways in the live audience space, which is something I think you’re interested in as well and do a lot of work and also,
Sam Cannon 41:10
very much so it’s I also just, I’ve gotten to see two different times now the first time that that like a DP gets to see and understand the idea of throwing up cards for lighting on the screen. And that’s so beautiful, seeing it in their eyes, like giving someone a Christmas present in the morning, where suddenly they’re just like, whoa, and something clicks. And it’s really, it’s very cool.
J.T. Rooney 41:31
It’s always super fun. And I think that’s what we’re seeing. And what we’re getting at in a space like this is taking what’s here and getting out into the live world. It’s, again, kind of obvious for the attendees of framework, because a lot of people are from the live space and going back and forth. But it’s been so satisfying to watch and see people learn real time stuff in a different space. And I think it’s just going to start growing and changing. And maybe that’s kind of the segue to the end here of, you know, for you and your career like, what do you think is next? And what do you think with this Technology you’ve seen in here or at home? Where is it going to go for your other experiences that you do out in the world? Maybe?
Sam Cannon 42:11
Yeah, I mean, I think I, you know, we’ll always have to be reactive to things and see what kind of kinds of jobs are available and make, you know, interesting things where we can. But I think I have a photo background, because that’s what I knew and what I understood it in a way for me to kind of get into the industry of creating things and working with teams at the scale. But if I could have gone back in time, and like showed myself something else, when I was younger, I would have really love to go into theater design and lighting design, I think it was something that I just didn’t really know existed and I wasn’t exposed to. And now all of the things that I’m the most inspired by are in that world. And I think that’s part of the reason why I had a hard time kind of like finding a niche for myself and I wear so many hats and I like want to learn all of these tools. I think it’s because in the end, the thing that I am actually the most interested in is what’s happening during the shoot, that like the experience that we’re all making. And the thing, like seeing the illusion and seeing it all happen in that moment. The shoot itself is always the thing that I’m the most excited about. And the final images are beautiful, but to me, they feel like a documentation of this magic trick that we all did together. And so I guess my hope, and what I would like to manifest in the future would be that the lines between the kind of built experiences and the kind of beautiful experiential design and the way that we experience things in theatre, and then what happens on set, and what happens behind the curtain for image creation, that those lines just get blurred a lot more, and the spaces that we’re able to create and become, you know, larger and encompass everyone all together. And they can feel like these more kind of Immersive, beautiful experiences so that you don’t just, you know, end up having the version that is like the huge giant budget production build that you know, creates a lot of physical waist and then goes away really suddenly, or this small hotel room that has a piece of paper on the wall and then somebody comes something into the background. I hope there’s more things that exist in the middle that are just really beautiful, positive experiences for everyone involved.
J.T. Rooney 44:28
I think what we you know, speak a lot of our process usually in this space again, we’re very focused on the process and I get super focused on the process as well as a lot of the more technical focus friends here are like ooh, but what about this new plugin this new tool and this new thing and sometimes I you know, question Am I too focused on the process and therefore not focusing on bid and vision but the process does kind of create the Envision sometimes you know, and because we want to use you know, we built the sage of the screens it for one purpose, but people are starting to use it in really weird ways. is and it’s great. It’s fun. It’s really fun when people are taking their own process using it. So I think, you know, we both were gaga over what new calls did with the West Side Story. That was, I know, very few people got to see it because it opened right before the pandemic, but it was this gorgeous movie like full budget motion picture film, basically on screen, intermixed with live iMac, orchestrated by Luke Hall’s team and Zach pellets and all these wonderful people. And it was just this weird blend of like, pre shot things, live things, it was just like that. And I loved that the conversations going more towards again, wishing this versus like, Oh, that’s a pre take thing versus Oh, this is live versus whatever. So
Sam Cannon 45:41
totally, and like using tools to be able to manipulate scale and space and time. And that way, like I didn’t get to see the show in person, I’m obsessed with documentation of it that I’ve seen and think that it’s really stunning. And I was really inspired by the idea of seeing a live performance and seeing a person at that scale. But then in real time, also being able to like really see someone’s close up emotion in a theatrical space. And like thinking about what it means to have a DP in a theater performance. And yeah, the more that all of those worlds blend together, the more excited I get.
J.T. Rooney 46:16
For sure. Totally agree. Well, that’s it for a time for us. Thank you so much. Hopefully, we can keep talking about real time stocks. And we have time for questions, I think. So I’m supposed to be running this room. But I’m on stage. I’m sorry, I didn’t think Pablo.
Thanks, I’m Pablo. It was really striking for me to hear you guys speak about, you know, all of this, which is so new, using terms that do me feel so old, right? Like, this is something that, to me has been going on for so long? In other disciplines. You know, it makes it reminds me so much of just, I would say instead of real time just structure improvisation, right? What’s been happening in jazz since the beginning? Or contact the improv in dance or device theater, physical theater or dance theater? And what, what makes me but what I wonder about is, should we be inviting those people in? Should we be bringing those people who have been doing these kinds of structural improvisations in the real world without Technology, or with different types of Technology into our world? And help us discover what’s next? Right? Like, that kind of collaboration with somebody who’s so imbued with the would that talent for improvisation in their own craft? I think it would be like it just fascinating to me, the possibilities of what we could create together, if we include more artists that are not necessarily part of our little club of technologists, for sure. Anyways, yeah, totally. It was fascinating and beautiful talk and beautiful work. Thanks.
Sam Cannon 48:29
No, I mean, I completely agree with that sentiment. And I think it’s part of my responsibility, when I’m setting up a team and when I’m planning out a project is, is to try to understand different folks that we can bring into those spaces. And that makes me think of like, what I think is one of the most important role on roles on set. And a lot of times for clients, it’s their first experience with that role, which is a movement director. It’s really, really important to me to have a movement director on set, because, you know, and for people who don’t know, a movement director can mean a lot of different things. And it’s someone who oftentimes exists in a live performance space concert tours. But for photoshoots, and video work, as well as someone who’s there to whether there’s like specific choreography that your talent is going through. But for most of my jobs, there isn’t any it’s really about me sitting down with this person and us talking about the vibe and the story that we want to tell. And then they can kind of help kind of build the visual language of the body in the way that our talent is posing and moving. And it seems really kind of silly and obvious, but it is the kind of role that I think a lot of times for certain types of productions people don’t really consider and for for both of the shoots that I was lucky enough to do in this space. We had Quinton Stuckey who has a background in ballet and modern dance and to bring someone into a space like this and kind of think through different ways to imagine In the human body posing and the way that the light bounces off of it, and it just have a different perspective of someone who isn’t necessarily there to like look at the screen and see the final image, but to think about form in a different way. And that’s just one example of someone. So I think bringing more people into spaces who have those kinds of different perspectives and have experience with improv. Improvisation is a huge point. Yeah, I think that’s a fantastic idea.
J.T. Rooney 50:23
I think it’s also like, there’s something else that you’re touching on, which is a big part of this group. And my more personal thoughts versus company thoughts is like, all this tech has been here for such a long time, right? Like everything is like you know, it, it’s so weird to watch in the very loud and noisy virtual production space. There’s a guy, I think you’d be okay with me saying this, because I give him crap about all the time. But Tim Moore, who’s an owner view studios, they have a bunch of view, led volumes in Florida and Vegas and Nashville and stuff like that. He called me once and he was like, you know, what I’m, you know, we have the screens are great for shoots, but I’m doing these events, and people are coming in person, and they’re looking at the screens with their eyes, and they love it. So I’m just doing more of that. And so like, he’s discovered our entire industry from like the other way around. And it’s great. And like, kudos to him, and he’s leveraging it in a good way they do events. But for someone who’s been like yourself, who has been like, bleeding real time for so long. It’s so interesting, but it is like, yeah, I don’t know. It just comes in waves and seasons. So we just try to educate as much as we can. But getting other people in that space. I would love to do a shoot with just jazz, like saxophone players on every roll and just see what happens because it’d be probably awesome. It sounds like a Tupac problem. Probably. Yeah, maybe we have time for one more.
Soren West 51:48
Hey, I’m sorry, Sam, great to hear you talk about your work. Thank you for sharing. I encourage you never to pin yourself down or stop wondering. Bowie. David Bowie said something like, the minute you know, you’re on safe ground, creatively, you’re dead? My question is about the Cash App. thing when you were doing two to five minutes per shoot. Can you tell us about how you prepped the team for that? Did that kind of come as a surprise to anybody? Was everybody ready for it? How much had you premeditated? What was going to happen in those minutes?
Sam Cannon 52:30
Yeah, definitely wasn’t a surprise. That would be horrible. Maybe the meanest thing I could do to anyone? No, it was it wasn’t a surprise, the way that we prepared was to really stripped down what was needed. There were no moving parts, once we were on. It’s also a safety thing, right? You can’t you can’t have that many people moving around when you’re going that fast. But we basically we went into it treating it that we were always on, we were always shooting in some way. And so we kind of it did become a bit more of like a live performance of the talent on stage, just kind of going through these motions, our movement director tells them, you know, what they expect to see, we also weren’t rolling sound, which is hugely helpful in that circumstance. So you know, Quentin can be off to the side. And it was really, it was so fun. Because we would really just, we kind of played musical chairs a bunch, we had these objects that were on the stage, there’s all of these beautiful looping animations that Chris made. And you know, we have for talent that are all kind of sitting and doing these cool poses, and everybody’s hyping each other up and being like, you look amazing, and there’s music blasting, our DP is standing in the middle of the room, our ad calls that their three minutes starts their shooting video. And then as we get close to that countdown, which honestly when you when you’re shooting, something that has that much movement is very dynamic. Three minutes is a lot of footage, you have a ton of options then if that person can free float. So while it was a bit stressful, we also knew okay, if cameras moving talent is moving background is moving three minutes, that’s a ton of options. That’s actually a lot of different shots that we’re gonna have in that amount of time. And then as we get close to the end of those, then you know the DP starts to pull out. I’m like getting you have my stills Camera handed to me, I’m walking in and starting to like lie down on the floor because we have this amazing tall backdrop and everybody can look 10 feet tall, but it really did become this like larger dance that everyone was doing. And we got really good at it by the end of the day. And we like knew all of the motions but it was it did leave so much room for play, because we would seriously just like have everybody posing and then Quentin would scream like switch and then everybody kind of gets up and moves to their different thing and like hits another pose and it just it was one of if I had seen it and I wasn’t there in person I would have been like this sounds horrible. Never let anyone on this team hire me to do anything. But it it we had so much fun. It was just like a huge part. be in very, very good vibes. Nobody felt like they were stretched to their limit, nobody would have been asked to do anything that was like very physically taxing in that way. So yeah, it was safe and it was fun and it left so much room for play, which was awesome
J.T. Rooney 55:14
i think it’s also ironic that while that was happening in here, there was a panel in the other room about white balance with etc. So very technical, very focused Tucker and all these other people. I was talking about photons and balance and you would poke her head in here and be like, French house music and just like you know, it was it was but it’s perfect. Thank you. I do think that’s probably the first time so thank you so much, everyone. Really appreciate it.
Sam Cannon 55:41
I’m gonna hang out. So yeah.
J.T. Rooney 55:44
We’ll be back in 10 Five, back in five minutes. Thank you so much.
people, shoot, real, talk, interesting, space, create, lighting, tool, feel, moving, stage, stills, image, camera, understand, moment, experience, beautiful, video
Laura Frank, Sam Cannon, J.T. Rooney, Soren West