Wild & Crazy Times Update

I do hope that your 2012 has started amazingly well and will get even more epic as it progresses. The gang and I (aka CLAi) have certainly had a busy last few months – which means that it must be time for an update!

On the production front, the new year has happily seen an increase in projects compared to the much quieter late summer and fall – with a bunch of fun pieces that have stretched our brains a little. The most entertaining of these was a promo branding video for a newly reborn aftermarket car parts company, specializing in BMW M-series go-faster-look-cooler changes. The result was a whole bunch of craziness, shot in an old, very large, helicopter hangar with eight BMW M-Series cars – from a brand new 1M to a perfect M6, a pair of beautiful M5s and every model in between.

The five-camera day and night shoot tested our RED digital cinema camera to be it’s very best, pushed our Canon cameras to their limits, and left a bunch of GoPROs lying right in peril’s path – along with a pack of deafened assistants… eight of those engines screaming through a hangar is extremely loud! The resulting short film cut together beautifully, the cars looked stunning; the parts even better, and it should be online very soon… we helped our client transition to their new branding with a bang – or at least a roar!

Another project we have taken on couldn’t have been more different – an unusual and very emotional, non-profit, educational piece for those diagnosed and being treated for cancer. The series of programs will focus on many of the fears that commonly arise after diagnosis. It offers suggestions on how survivors coped with going through the months of treatment, as well as letting folks know they are not alone and their problems have been shared by others. The shooting was based around a discussion circle between eight survivors of different types of cancer, from ages 16 through 69, and a family member, using a total of sixteen cameras including three REDs on dollies. Shooting was completed in a single day at Meets The Eye Studios in San Carlos, who were gracious enough to give their space and time at a minimal cost.

Technically and creatively it was a lot of fun – we were able to capture some amazing footage that should not only help those with the disease, but inspire anyone. They are a group of very brave people who humble us all, and it is a privilege for us at CLAi to be able to produce, shoot and edit their experiences. The video is in edit now and we should have out a trailer and initial fourteen minute program very soon, followed by a bunch of other programs cut from the two plus hours of conversation.

In other news, we’ve added two amazing new individuals to our staff – our intern Tyler Burroughs has graduated from film school in Monterey and joined us full time in December to move up to the RED DIT and cameraperson role. Another Santa Cruz area local, Jaimy Sandoval, has come on board to help as our PA and marketing assistant, while also completing her masters degree at night and weekends. Alexandra Conway has also changed her role slightly beyond being our primary editor, as both she and myself have advanced our Colorist skills to include the newest DaVinci Resolve software with our Avid control surface.

Our new RED Epic digital cinema camera has finally arrived and we are all excited to get our hands on it. This cutting-edge camera shoots beautiful, crisp, and ultra high-definition 5K images. It also allows us to shoot in super slow-motion and adds a new concept to video production and high dynamic range cinematography. This amazing piece of technology is beyond anything ever seen before in a digital or film camera and will allow a host of new creative opportunities in what we can achieve – it’s smaller and lighter than our old RED One as well, plus it comes in a really cute box!

If you would like to find out a bit more about what our latest toy will be bringing to our projects, drop us a quick email at Chris@CLAi.tv and we’ll share our experiences – or keep an eye on Twitter (@REDVideoProd) for live updates.

Last but certainly not least, we have finally had the time to take a more energetic role in our Bay Area community. In 2011 we started to get involved in several small business organizations, localization groups and nearby Chambers of Commerce – and even dragged out the old RED One to shoot a few pieces for the Chamber in Santa Cruz. We also aggressively looked to find new hires and production resources locally, and are only just scratching the surface; every week we seem to find more incredible talent that is hidden away in our area, just doing their own thing!

In 2012, we have taken our role in the Bay Area community a step further, with a much expanded presence on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter that has allowed us to become more interactive. We have also started shooting a new reel that will create a portrait of our community in the South Bay, through it’s geography, peoples and industries. We look forward to making it available not only to our community, but to everyone, to show how we see the area through the lens of an Epic.

Perhaps most importantly of all, we have begun to actively look for organizations and individuals from within the community who could benefit from our particular style of production – which in many cases means working with them to make our level of quality and creativity feasible at realistic budgets. So far we seem to be making a difference…

So, please do let us know if you have any projects that you could do with a little heavyweight help in producing, and we’d love to know how you are adapting and changing to meet the demands of the new year – we are just dying to share ideas.

Perhaps in the meantime you might like to spare a massive eighty five seconds to take a peep at our new show reel enigmatically named “The CLAi 2012 Reel” and do let me know if you like it!

Chris Layhe