How to make an Editorial FASHION FILM | BMPCC 6K + RS3 PRO + DZO + LOAWA | Pia Cruz wears Junli, Jennlee, Prada, Versace + Gucci
In this post I’m going to discuss the creative process behind an editorial fashion film I made with model Pia Cruz.
Hello, I’m Joe Gainsborough – a fashion filmmaker and Director of Photography, working in the creative landscape of fashion, advertising, and am in the pursuit of making narrative feature films. Nestled in the vibrant heart of London, I’ve started this blog to provide a glimpse into my craft and share the invaluable lessons I’ve learnt in the worlds of creativity and business. I’m considering this space as my digital journal, for putting my mind on paper so that I can learn, grow and develop as a filmmaker as well as passing on my learnings to the next wave of filmmakers. So lets get into this break down of how I made this fashion editorial film.
I wanted to make a film with beautiful sweeping camera movements that explored the space and moved along with the model. The film was about walking and the movement to show off the power and confidence in the clothing. I had a vision to create a graphic image using simple grey concrete backgrounds to make the clothing pop out from the screen. I got in touch with a very talented model I had worked with before called Pia Cruz and asked her if she would like to collaborate on the concept. She was very down to come on board which I was very happy about because she brought so much creativity and energy to the project. She also brought on a stylist that she loves to work, so straight away we had an amazing team of talent.
I researched and found locations that related to the visual that I wanted to create. I knew that I wanted backdrops that were striking, industrial and graphic. I wanted to find locations that had a backdrop that was simple in colour so that the clothing would stand out and be striking and multi layered, with interesting detail and shapes. I did a lot of research on google maps, searching for industrial places and then dropping down to street view to get a quick idea if the space was working for me or not. Sometimes this can be an amazing and quick way to scout a location. However I wasn’t able to find anything that was working for what I wanted to do. So I decided to do what I find is always the best way to find unique locations that I didn’t already know about. I chose a train station on the map in an area that I suspected would give me what I wanted and went on an epic long walk. Going on walks is my favourite way to get creative, I find it to be an amazing way to get inspired, get great ideas and also find people, locations and culture. After a good 2 hours of walking I found the space that was perfect, it was simple yet epic, large and quiet so hardly any people around so the shots could be empty of crowds.
So I took a bunch of photos on my phone and planned out some specific shots, compositions and movements. When I got back home I immediately curated the photos into a shotlist and sent them over to the stylist. She took on board the colours and shapes from each space along with the tone and concept for the film and curated 3 amazing outfits with clothing from Junli, Jenmlee, Prada, Versace and Gucci.
Now that we had everything planned I asked for a little extra help from a local camera assistant to help me with carrying the filming equipment and pulling focus as there is so much movement with the camera and the model. Now onto the shoot!
It’s shoot day and we have all arrived at the location. I find myself confronted with a storm of creative possibilities, both metaphorically and, quite unexpectedly, meteorologically.
The weather was abysmal, it was cold, windy and lots of short bursts of rain. Fortunately the main location I found had a large concrete overpass which gave us shelter. I have to give kudos to the team for putting up with the weather and digging deep for creativity, positivity and perseverance.
The capricious British weather graced us with a storm that rather than hindering, bestowed upon our scenes a moody and ambient soft light that complimented the grey concrete tones of the scene.
Armed with the DJI RS3 Pro, my intent was to create long sweeping camera movements, lending a cinematic quality to the visual. One of the heroes of our production was undoubtedly the focus puller, equipped with a wireless focus handset and monitor we were able to achieve camera movements and model blocking that would have been impossible without him.
In crafting close-ups and mid shots that demanded a heightened sense of drama, I turned to the 24mm DZO Vespid, which combined with the 35mm sensor of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6k gives a slight amount of compression and shallow depth of field that looks photographic whilst being wide enough to be able to achieve smooth tracking movements using the gimbal. I used the Mirage Variable ND to control the exposure and allow me to shoot with a low F-stop and the Dream FX Diffusion filter that resulted in in a soft glow effect, transforming our image from sharp and digital to a quality slightly more reminiscent of analogue film.
For broader perspectives, the Loawa 12mm gave us epic wide angles whilst maintaining straight lines in the architecture. Using the 12mm for close ups gives us an incredible feeling like the viewer is standing right in front of the model. Using this lens as a low angle, close to the model gives her such a sense of power and confidence that works so well with the outfits.
In an act of creative rebellion, our modest crew opted to forgo the formalities of acquiring location permissions. I decided just to blag it as we were such as small team and didn’t have much equipment. As this was an editorial shoot if we got asked to move on I knew that I would be able to improves to finish the film. This guerrilla-style approach allowed for nimble manoeuvring through the urban landscape, adapting to the rhythm of the shoot.
This creative venture, however, did not unfold without a touch of unforeseen drama. As our impromptu fashion shoot caught the attention of security guards, we approached the situation with affability assuring our harmless intentions and a friendly demeanour. They watched us for a while and then left us to it.
Once we had covered the 3 locations and outfits we called it a wrap and ran off to a local bar to get warm, backup the footage and have a celebratory drink together. Everyone was super excited to see the final results.
The process of editing was a lot of fun and quite straight forwards because the shots were so satisfying. I was very happy with the graphic tones of the concrete and the smooth tracking shots gave the film such a cinematic quality. The entire process unfolded seamlessly within Davinci Resolve, a tool I hold in high regard for its ability to encompass the entire post-production spectrum while offering an exquisite grading process. If you would like to try this software there is a free version that has amazing tools.
Once I had the final edit I wanted to try out a power grade called CinePrint 16, which is a pre created look. I had seen some pretty interesting results online that gave digital cameras an interesting hint towards 16mm film. The amalgamation of soft hues, the infusion of halation, and the delicate diffusion effects became the brushstrokes that painted the film’s final look. Transcending the digital image and infusing the film with a nod to the timeless charm of analog cinema.
Thank you and catch you next time.