Behind The Scenes
Hallenstein Brothers – If Suits Could Kill
Its an unwritten law at Vita Brevis Films that the production team needs to know how to ride a motorcycle, fast.
On rare occasion we will step away from our own projects, cameras and adventures, and work with other filmmakers and crews. When Nik Beachman from New Zealand based production company, Thick as Thieves presented a project for clothing company Hallenstein Brothers, it sparked our interest and we accepted the offer to produce the job. The project required two production days at the Bonneville Salt Flats/Wendover, Utah; one day for video production followed by a day of stills with photographer Derek Kettela. Carey Hart is the face of the “High Performance” suiting campaign, and FMX motocross riders Drake McElroy and Greg Garrison were on set wearing the suits, while performing FMX stunts.
Our goal as the production team was to create an accessible workflow, in an otherwise inaccessible environment. Three weeks of pre-production were required for the two days of shooting, with no room for error not matter the circumstance. The Salt Flats can become a disaster quickly, our production day involved 105 F degree heat, followed by rain storms, and a constant wind from the time we arrived.
Working with director Joel Kefali from New Zealand, and cinematographer Kevin Phillips out of Los Angeles to create a unique style that combined a fashion brand and actions sports. The majority of the shots were shot off dolly on tracks, controlled and precise shots for an active subject matter. The lenses used by Kevin Phillips were 17-80mm Angenieux Optimo T2.2, 24-290 Angenieux Optimo T2.8 and a set of Cooke S4’s (18,25,50,75,100). Phillips went from a tracking shot, then transferring to an EasyRig off the back of a truck, then hopping into a transport helicopter to capture aerial shots. Additional aerial footage was provided by our team, flying a Cinestar Octocopter with a M10 Movi as B-camera.
When we had to improvise around our delayed stunt team; we suited up our production assistants and put them on the bikes. Its an unwritten law at Vita Brevis Films that the production team needs to know how to ride a motorcycle, fast. As soon as the FMX team was set they took to the sky, wheelies came soon after, followed by blowing out a transmission on the cafe racer.
The two RED cameras with Dragon sensors were new to most of the team; new digital technology in outdoor conditions always heeds warning, but performed without hesitation. The mobile studio by Radar One provided digital assistance for DIT and download. The carbon fiber wrapped RV with realtime playback gave the team constant feedback throughout the day. It was great to see the RED Dragons perform in some of the harshest environments for sensors. Between the heat, salt, rain and the over abundance of light; the cameras sensors kept their image, and never gave the crew concern.
By days end we had finished two location changes, ten different set ups, not including pursuit vehicle, aerial pursuit, and multiple octocopter flights. Shooting continued until we couldn’t get anymore out of the Cooke lenses paired with the RED Dragons ISO. That night we traveled back to Salt Lake City, to prep for the quick turnaround for the photography shoot the next day.
After two days with our salt fried brains cooking in our skulls; it’s a relief to spend a day power washing off the fleet of vehicles and vacuuming salt covered floor mats. It’s always enlightening to work with talented human beings and forge new friendships, thanks to the crew, talent, Joel Kefali and Kevin Phillips. Thanks to Lachlan McPherson & Friends, and Thick as Thieves executive producer Nik Beachman it was a pleasure.
The next adventure begins.
- Director Joel Kefali
- Agency Lachlan McPherson & Friends
- Executive Producer Nik Beachman, Thick as Theives
- Producer Skylar Nielsen, Vita Brevis Films
- Director of photography Kevin Phillips