Posts Tagged ‘PETA’

2009 PETA Campaigns

2009 PETA Campaigns

Is there a breeze in here?

One of our new 2009 clients was People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. I guess they figured they’ve got a lot of women wearing nothing for the animals…and we make women look great wearing nothing LOL. So I think it was love at first sight for our companies. (Actually, I owe a special thanks to Layla Kayleigh for turning PETA on to us.)

These are two of the three campaigns we shot in 2009—the third will be released in Feb 2010. Layla Kayleigh and I first met on a magazine shoot in early 2008, and we’ve remained friends ever since. When PETA asked her to do their “Animal Testing Breaks Hearts” campaign, she was sweet enough to recommend me for the gig.

Working with friends on a national campaign is really kind of surreal, because, oddly, no one is stressed out. Layla knows I’m gonna make her look great, I know the camera loves Layla, and we both know our beloved make-up artist Therese Willis is gonna take it to another level. It’s also really fun sticking mouse ears, a tail, and a virtual mouse (we used a plastic penguin for the stand-in) on your friend, who thousands of guys are in love with.

The next campaign was with Twilight‘s Christian Serratos. This was my first time meeting Christian, but she was a super-pro and very easy to work with. Michelle Cho from PETA and I had discussed a Twilight-like forest concept, so I knew I had two options: shut down the Angeles National Forest and light it with 18K HMIs from condor cranes like in Lord of the Rings…or greenscreen (LOL).

Sorry for the sarcasm, but I’ve just never been partial to greenscreen. Don’t get me wrong, compositing has its place, and I do it when necessary, but even then I try to build at least some of the set practically. For one, it helps the model/actor interact with the environment believably. Second, I think it disciplines you to build a concrete vision of the final product in your head, instead of what a lot of photographers are doing now, which is shooting the model now and figuring out the background later. The two dead giveaways for composited shots are the floor (where the feet meet the ground) and that all-too-common uniform backlighting…because it’s easy to cut out, but the lighting is always unmotivated. (Okay, enough soap-boxing.)

So I went to a greenery rental house in the Valley and rented a big tree. The people in my building thought I was crazy, and they’re not far off. I opted to shoot gray-screen instead of green-screen because I knew Christian was going to be naked and I didn’t want that awful green spill on the girl’s skin. Just drives me crazy. I knew I was going to fog up the background and desaturate it anyway, so gray made the most sense.

I’m really happy with how both campaigns turned out. I have to say the PETA crew is super cool, and my whole staff loves working with them. Michelle may be the coolest director/person-in-charge/celebrity-liaison I’ve ever met in my life. I hope we work together for many, many years.

Shooting PETA comes with it’s share of controversy, of course. SlickforceStudio was featured on Fox News recently while they were tearing apart PETA and the Christian Serratos/Twilight campaign…something about the exploitation of women and all that. Okay, guys. Thanks for the publicity. 😉

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