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Gramco.studio plays games with Phantom VEO 4K for Manolo Blahnik

Gramco.studio plays games with Phantom VEO 4K for Manolo Blahnik

As the fashion world revolves more and more around social media so creative directors like Graeme Montgomery have cut their cloth accordingly. As one of the world’s leading photographers and moving image makers for luxury brands, Montgomery create high end, product focused social media imagery for clients including Graff, Harvey Nichols, GHD, Missguided and Primart from his London-based Gramco.studio.

Shoe designers Manolo Blahnik have taken to Instagram in particular with campaigns that showcase their chic but quirky image.

Delighted with Montgomery’s creation of a series short films for Instagram based on a circus theme, the brand invited him back to help them promote this season’s new collection.

“I’d just shot a huge production with a Phantom FLEX 4K camera for Essie nail varnish which was the first super slow-motion project I’d done, and I wondered if we could do something similar but on a fraction of the budget.”

He explains, “The Phantom FLEX 4K is a terrific camera but it’s expensive to rent, you need loads of lights and a specialist operator. Since the Manolo Blahnik campaign was for social media we needed to achieve the same high production value they’d expect for any other media but without a massive production budget.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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As he was casting around for options, VMI invited Montgomery to an open morning workshop all about the Phantom VEO 4K-PL.

“I often get my kit from VMI so myself and my DP Joe Dyer decided to go along and find out more. It would be far cheaper to rent but would it work for our project?”

“It was great,” he continues. “They showed us the camera and went through its use step by step. The VEO immediately felt much simpler to use than its big brother and we came away thinking we should just go for it.”

The VEO immediately felt much simpler to use than its big brother and we came away thinking we should just go for it.

Montgomery came up with the concept of games for the new series of vignettes showcasing various shoe designs worn by a model interacting in colourful and funky ways with scrabble, hoola hoops, jenga, playing cards and Connect 4.

“The trick is to find a concept that you can hold together for six or seven quite different looks. We felt the games idea could accommodate different styles of shoes and a mix of storylines that would be stylish, fun and quirky.”

They shot 4K at 500 fps, the oversampled resolution useful for cropping into the frame in post.

“If we shot 1000 fps, for instance of knocking over the scrabble board, the clip would be too long and boring when played back so 500 frames is about right. We played around with it in the edit, speeding the clip up and using the super slo to keep it interesting. We also looped most of the clips back so that they can play as long as the viewer wants.”

Montgomery says he found the Phantom VEO itself easy to operate. “You just have to remember to cut as soon as the end of the action happens in order to stay within the camera’s memory buffer but that’s not hard to do with a touch of practice.

“You get everything that you’d technically get with the higher end Phantom but I’d say be aware that the workflow is quite a lot slower because instead of downloading as you go, you need to allow time to download the data. That doesn’t matter so much in still life photography or product shoots such as this where you don’t have that pressure of time and talent on set that is costing you a lot of money.

The Phantom VEO 4K is perfect for this job. You’re not compromising on technical quality, just a bit on workflow.

Montgomery edited, added audio and finished the series on Final Cut Pro.

The series can be viewed at https://www.gramco.studio/manolo-blahnik 

 

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