FootageHub Brand Spotlight Q & A

Interview with Think Pictures


Q: When did you begin shooting?
A: I started shooting with stock footage in mind back in 2004-2005. I’ve always been fascinated by the film Koyaanisqatsi. The way it presented that form of timelapse is completely fascinating to me. A trip to New Zealand back in 2004 sort of re-inspired me to try my hand at that style of shooting and with my VFX background, I was able to apply certain techniques when shooting plates, with that form of time manipulation in mind. As my skills evolved I was able to implement new technologies to my work such as HDR (high dynamic range) and stereoscopic. Technology has come a long way in the last ten years and now with the cost of DSLRs becoming much more affordable, I could achieve professional looking timelapse at a fraction of what it used to cost using traditional film gear.

Q: What is your favorite subject to shoot?
A: I know the world is a big place and there’s so much beauty within it. I haven’t even scratched the surface but with the limited expeditions I have done, I am completely fascinated by the American Southwest. It really isn’t your typical landscape, it’s much more magical than that. It’s full of up heaved slabs of rock, tall colored spires, massive gorges and canyons carved out by ancient floods. Even the familiar backdrops of Wile E. Coyote-Roadrunner cartoons are located here. There are spots in Utah and Arizona that I would swear to you were on another planet all together. So in terms of subject matter, I guess the landscapes of Utah, Arizona, Nevada & California are my favorite subjects to shoot.

Q: Which camera(s) do you prefer for shooting stock footage?
A: I started out using Canon gear modified to work with my 8” Celestron telescope and portable motion-control unit. I’ve always liked the added flexibility of an external intervalometer, so I can trigger those really long exposures shooting star trails or capturing the galaxy. But as technology evolves, so does the kit. Currently we use dual REDs for most of our work. This year we’ve started our 3D stereo collection. As this growing trend really gains speed, we’re positioning ourselves to be able to offer more of that type of content using the latest gear out in the market. Currently our REDs utilize both a Beam-splitter and Hyper-stereo rig to produce the S3D material.

Q: What's your favorite clip that you currently have represented in the Artbeats FootageHub?
A: I’d have to say TP-FH102-39; Green Canyon during sunset. Very technically challenging from start to finish. Careful attention was given not to blow out the highlights as well as preserve as much of the shadowed areas as possible. This is where HDR really comes in handy and the results are just beautiful!

Q: What advice can you give to shooters who are just getting started in the stock footage industry?
A: Find your niche! There’s a lot of material out there. With DSLRs capable of producing really nice looking video, other shooters are getting really creative with shots that would otherwise be tough to get. (i.e. in remote locations or in public places where you’d need a permit to shoot.) Find what sets your material apart from others and exploit it. In 2005, I was fortunate to document a wildfire timelapsed with three cameras shot over a period of two days straight. Once all three cameras were composited together, I scored the piece named it Firestorm and sent it out to over the net…It completely went viral, ended up winning multiple awards including Current TV’s viewers choice and in 2009 it was named #1 nature timelapse by Wired Magazine . I was very fortunate in that the internet helped me showcase my piece to the masses. This form of distribution was impossible even a few years back. Take advantage of this and broadcast yourself!

View all of Think Pictures

About Think Pictures:

Founded by Visual Effects Supervisor/DP, Eli Jarra, Think Pictures LLC is about creating spectacular high end digital imagery for use in visual effects or as standalone stock footage.

Eli Jarra has worked as a supervisor and visual effects artist at many facilities in the Los Angeles and Detroit markets. Some of them include: Entity FX, Complete Post, Cinesite, GTN and Producers Color Service. He has worked on over 50 projects ranging from feature film and television to commercials and music video production. Some of his most recent visual effects work include: Michael Jackson's This Is It, Law Abiding Citizen, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, Into the Wild, Superhero Movie, Miami Vice, Hitch, Herbie: Fully Loaded, Spiderman 2, Vanilla Sky, Not Another Teen Movie and others. His footage has been seen in a variety of film & television shows, including Michael Jackson's This Is It, CW's Smallville, ABC's Eastwick, HBO's Entourage and Rush Hour 3.

Full Filmography credit list: