Thanks for the compliment Ian.
This black series is one of my favorite. We shot it in our Dallas studio which meant we had a different but more unique on camera talent base to draw from.
We wanted attractive people, but as realistic as possible. In LA, we'd usually cast through a dozen agencies, see way too many people, probably get lost in the process and then fight our way back to the original creative brief.
In Dallas, the talent range is more limiting, but for this project, I think better, because we went to all types of sources, swim clubs, schools, pro, semi-pro, amateur sports leagues and found the talent we wanted that was realistic and comfortable in their sport.
The talent also didn't have the pre disposed thought of "I have to look this way".
I'm fortunate in that my partner is the producer, usually does the styling, either does makeup and/or directs the makeup so when we review the talent she knows how a subject is going to look in final as she will construct the look.
For the lighting, I wanted a textured look, so we used profotos on some but for all the images I have this older set of photogenic monoblocks. Have about 30 of them (obviously didn't use them all for this) and they're amazing lights in that the power is on a sliding type reostat.
We drop a 1/4 or 1/2 spun over the reflectors to keep from blowing the highlights, or do get less/more specular.
I also have crew handhold lights to follow talent or to get an exact highlight without a lot of moving stands and forcing the talent into one exact place.
I went with my P30+ and Contax which probably doesn't seem like the right camera for this type of project considering 1/2 the images had fast movement and with my contax you have to slightly anticipate the action as there is a slight delay.
I think it actually works well to "plan" one frame rather than 10 fps, but everyone works differently.
I also wanted to work the files deep and have a oversharp look and I think CCD's and no AA filter pulls this off easier than modern cmos. Once again, my opinion only, but I do like the look of CCD cameras.
It's interesting that today with the economic pressures on a project and the client anticipation of the on set turn around time of digital I think the photographer and in this case photographer/dp/director's role is more about time management than anything else.
I know the look is important, but with a list of 20 setups, you have to get it right and move on, so in this case reliable tethering was a must.
Just to note, I'm really format agnostic. I use what I use, just because at the time I think it's right. When I'm working on the computer I listen to the ASC podcasts which features DP's and their latest movies.
It's always interesting to me what cameras, or film/digital format they chose. Sometimes they have technical reasons, sometimes it's a format that forced upon them, but usually there is no exact logical reason they select a camera.
Usually under high pressure, especially economic pressure, the camera selection is to use what is trusted and comfortable and maybe that's why I shot this with my Contax/Phase.
Sorry to go off topic, but this week we finished shooting a video project of a high pressured, high profile news/political analyst with two RED 1's and 1 Scarlet. Our studio manager was processing out the clips and shows me how much better the Scarlet footage looks.
I'm never convinced as the R1's I love, I understand them, they have t-stops on the lenses, they don't have that glossy, over sensitive touch screen thing of the Scarlet and redundant buttons.
The cameras I like best, I know the best and I trust the most.
I also shot the stills of the that project with the Contax and a p21+