Gonzaga Manso

Preparation

I’m obsessed with preparation. I love to set sceneries exactly in the way I had imagined, I'm always seeking for the right atmosphere for the picture, I want to have the right actor for that specific character… A thorough preparation allows me to create what I want to create; preparation is crucial in my storytelling process.

Sometimes I need months to prepare a picture… sometimes just weeks… A good preparation (officially called pre-production) will cover everything in the shot… wardrobe, casting call, scenery building, props, make-up test, scouting, pre-lighting, finding references, filling your car with impossible quantities of whatever…

Actually, preparation is one of my favorite parts of the creative process. It allows me to visit interesting places and to meet amazing people I would never have met if not by doing that picture. For example, a couple years ago I needed some goats for a personal picture, so I went to the countryside to try to “rent” some goats from a goatherd. I finally managed to get the goats, but more importantly, I had a really mind-blowing conversation with the goatherd. I'm not kidding, that conversation was very inspiring, and even today I feel privileged for having met that guy.
 
Why am I telling you this? One: I wanted to share with you my process. Two: I’m currently preparing three amazing (I must admit that’s a very subjective opinion) personal projects, and I’m really excited about all of them.

Of course, while preparing all these personal projects I keep on working. Last week I directed a commercial for an insurance company and I also shot the pictures for the printed campaign. It was something technically simple, the only problem was that we had to shoot 8 commercials and shoot 16 photos on the same day!!! I’m a big perfectionist and I love to have time to take care of every little tiny detail. In this case, I had to run like hell. To complicate matters further, all of the 8 models weren’t real models or actors, they were regular people, so they had no acting experience at all…

I’ll get to the point: we had to produce a lot of material in very little time. To achieve that and not die trying, we had to PREPARE really well every detail of the shoot: the stylist had a huge variety of outfits for each character, we had two cameras to shoot motion and a third for the photographs, and above all, we had a nice lighting set up that allowed us to change from shooting motion (continuous light) to stills (flashes) in about 10 seconds. The DOP used powerful HMI lights to get the softness we needed, and we placed Siros mimicking each one of them. So when we had the video shot of one character done, I just had to grab my phone and turn on the Siros with the Broncolor app and voilá! Ready to shoot still photographs. Using the app we could change power instantly, so we could adapt the lighting to the skin and face of each model in a matter of seconds. No ladders, no lowering the tripods and losing the sweet spot, no assistants risking their lives climbing a column… just one click. That was amazing, I’m truly excited about the wifi feature. Stupidly excited.

I’m sure we wouldn't have done it in time without a good preparation, and being able to control my lights remotely was a huge thing working with this extremely tight schedule. I’m really happy with how my Siros performed. I can´t show you the pictures yet, but here you have some behind the scenes images.

As I was saying before, I’m PREPARING three personal projects that excite me a lot. I hope to show you the results of one of them in my next post. It’s a very special idea, I hope to achieve what I imagine… I’ll prepare it well ;)

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