Three guys, 1700 miles, two location shots, 40 hours

“You do realize this trip will be like driving to New York City, only to run into Walmart and drive home, right?”

My question was met with a bit of a blank stare. I just wanted my grandson to know exactly what he had volunteered for.

He was spending the night at our house, and we were leaving before dawn with Michael Mayo. We had been invited to participate in another of Michael’s self promotion car shots. We were headed to Louisville, Kentucky. The plan was to shoot backplates of the full pipe skate park. That meant drive all day. Grab magic hour and sunset shots. Get a few hours of sleep. Then head back in the morning to catch sunrise shots. Wrap. Then get back in the car for the drive home. Three guys, 1700 miles, two location shots in 40 hours.

“You mean no museums or anything?” I explained that the highlight would probably be a nice dinner together, and it was. I also pointed out he was being an extra in this shoot, which earned him a new board, and he was getting to skate at a renowned park. I thought that was a good deal. I also wanted him to feel first hand the true glamour of this job and the feel of the open road… And of course what it feels like to load 800 pounds of gear several times a day.

The park turned out to be an odd hodgepodge of skaters, campers and spectators, all of whom were very gracious about us getting in their way. We had anticipated shooting many locations in the park, but finally concentrated on one. We got exactly what we came for, and the trip went perfectly. I was proud of my grandson Ryan for being very mature on the whole trip.

Once back in Dallas, Michael secured a car to shoot at a Dallas area Toyota dealership. That turned out to be another experience with a bunch of very gracious and accommodating folks. We took over their showroom for the better part of the day.

With the shots in the can, Mary set out to take these parts and create an outstanding image. She and Brian built an image that is a lot of fun. Nice that we had some fun doing it. Thanks to Michael for bringing us “on board” for this unique project!

Turning dreams into reality in London.

Digital Artwork – Imaginary Lines
Photography – Geof Kern
Art Direction – Mark Dickens
Agency – The Blue Hive
Production – BPH Productions
Client – Ford UK

On the “Stop Dreaming” campaign for Ford UK, we had the opportunity to work with a talented team that included photographer Geof Kern, BPH Productions, and The Blue Hive creative director Mark Dickens. We provided Capture and Phase One cameras as well as artwork.

Campaign concept – Stop dreaming and get a new Ford

Geof Kern and I flew into London with seven cases of gear that included two Phase One 80 megapixel cameras, lenses and computers, everything we needed for capture. We based ourselves in Shoreditch and spent several days shooting backplates around the London metro area. The daydreaming locations were small and complicated. They included a conference room, hair salon, gym, and a bathroom.

A couple of the rooms were about half the size necessary to fit in a car. We determined the placement for each of the vehicles by measuring and imagining the room with a car in it. This is something Geof is really great at. We also had to determine the content necessary for Mary to build new spaces for the cars as envisioned. We shot those assets as well as all the backplates required. Back in the U.S., Mary had to quickly comp some images to make sure that the spaces were going to work. The hair salon and the bathroom presented the most challenges, where half of each space had to be created.

Once the location shots were complete, we moved to Park Royal Studios to shoot the cars. The position of the car, the camera angle, and the lighting was carefully set up to create a look that matched each location. We were working with an outstanding crew that Included Ben Hills, Roger Richards, Dan Ross, Sam Maclwee, and Gillian Hyland who provided the knowledge, talent and humor necessary to complete this complicated project. Somehow I managed to hurt my back getting out of a taxi on the first day of scouting. Dan and Sam went the extra mile and showed up at my hotel every morning at 7 to drag around my cases of gear.

We completed the UK portion of the job and handed off the images to Mary and her team to create the artwork at Imaginary Lines in Texas. Rooms were built, then talent and cars were added and retouched. Finally, reflections, shadows and lighting completed the illusion necessary to make the images work for Mark, Geof and Ford. Thanks to Mark and Geof for including us in a truly fun project!. It allowed us to meet and work with a skillful and fun team while creating some spectacular images.

Mercier Natural Hard Apple Cider

Digital Artwork – Imaginary Lines
Agency – Grant Design Collaborative
Client – Mercier Orchards

Every time we start a job, we have a feeling about it. We might think “This will be quick”. Or a challenge. Or a ton of work. I could go on and on with this list of adjectives. But sometimes, we just know – THIS WILL BE FUN!

That was our feeling teaming up with Bill Grant of Grant Collaborative, on an image for Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge, Georgia, and we had it right.

Mercier Orchards was making a move into the hard cider business and needed a hero image for collateral, packaging and the product itself. The image needed to connect with the generations long heritage Mercier has in the North Georgia area and stand out in the crowded beverage market. Grant Collaborative came up with the clever concept. They were inspired by the famous painting, “American Gothic”, adding a whimsical nod to the proverbial party goer wearing a lampshade, the talent would wear an apple basket. A stock image was found of the actual house used in the painting. Then the photographer shot talent dressed, lit and positioned like the subjects in the painting, along with appropriate props. We were given the task of creating the artwork for this project.

The photos were handed off to Mary Brandt, our creative director, and she had a great time working on it. To match the original painting, she created background foliage and a barn, and also changed architectural details and lighting on the stock photo of the actual house. The talent was retouched to give the same pensive attitude and structure as the original. The result is a playful image, inspired by an iconic painting from the past, but firmly placed in current context by a humorous twist.

This image won a Bronze at the American Advertising Awards in Dallas, Texas this year.

Using still elements, Mary later created an animation suitable for web or social media.

Please enjoy this image responsibly.

Capital One & Uber exclusive partnership campaign

Digital Artwork – Imaginary Lines
Photography – Nick Simonite
Art Direction – Abbey Nield
Agency – T3
Production – Homestead Creatives

This was a fun project in Austin, TX. Homestead Creatives brought us in to work with photographer Nick Simonite. The agency creative team from T3 was headed up by Abbey Nield. We were on set providing digital capture and to advise on content required as we moved into post production.

On this project we extensively retouched still images. These were for stand alone ads as well as the start point for animations. Using video shot along with the stills, we color corrected and masked elements, adding them to the retouched stills. The final looping videos were used for social media. Along with the videos, we delivered large retouched still images for other uses. This workflow produces images that can be used on everything from web to outdoor.

Participating in workflows from implementation to post production is always our favorite way to go. While providing capture we can compare the images coming in to a content or shot list while still on set. This gives us a transition to post production that is smooth and quick due to having been involved from an early stage. And usually with fewer surprises!!

Happy New Year!

Photography & Artwork – Imaginary Lines

Happy New Year from all of us!

Neiman Marcus Limited Edition Ford Mustang

Digital Artwork – Imaginary Lines
Client – Neiman Marcus
Photographer – Stewart Cohen

A Horse of a Different Color

A day spent at Texas Motor Speedway can usually be counted on to be a fun day.
When you get to spend it down on the track, shooting a sports car, then it’s a great day. We had the pleasure of working with Stewart Cohen Pictures and Neiman Marcus creative director Tim Flannery, shooting and retouching a beautiful pony – a Limited Edition Ford Mustang offered by Neiman Marcus in the Holiday Fantasy Gift Catalog.

This was Texas in July, and the temperature on the tarmac had to be over 110°F. I had an air conditioning unit running in the capture tent to cool the computers. We were shooting on our Phase One cameras with IQ180 backs. We tried to keep them shaded with flags, but even so they would occasionally overheat and give us trouble. Since we have two of these cameras and backs, we could swap them out if they started to hesitate. A few minutes in front of the AC unit and they were ready for another turn on the track. We use Firewire Cables from Granite Digital but even those began to suffer. I left one laying on the tarmac too long and it became so soft it felt like it was filled with liquid and has never worked again.

The task we were given was to create an image of two cars speeding across the finish line together. The pair needed to look like they were being shot from a car rolling with them.
However, we only had one car, and it needed to be shot standing still.
Oh, and the empty grandstand had to be filled with spectators in post production.
We wanted to capture the motion with the still camera, so we shot still and motion backplate options. Then the car was placed in each of two positions. Again, we shot it still and with motion, shooting separate motion plates for the wheels.

All this was handed off to Mary Brandt, our Creative Director. She and her team handled the labor and artistically intensive process of building the final image. I was really excited about the project, and it was hard to keep it under wraps until the image was released in the catalog.

It’s a very fun and challenging process to partner with photographers for this kind of Photo Illustration. We can provide everything from cameras to workstations at the shoot. We work with photographers on different locations, with props and talent, creating the assets that make this post production workflow possible. In a day when the creation of challenging images is often handed off to CGI, it is always satisfying to work with a photographer who has the talent to visualize the final image in parts and the trust in us to assist building a library of photographically created elements. The final image takes Mary’s artistic talent, but creating the components for her to work with is always part of the team experience. We work very closely with photographers and art directors throughout the entire process from capture through post production.

We appreciate Stewart Cohen Pictures and Neiman Marcus making us part of the team and taking us along on this ride.

Commercial Property For Sale Terrell, TX

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We’re moving to a new location soon, so we’re selling our current studio. It’s 35 minutes from downtown Dallas.

500 W. Nash St

Terrell, TX 75160
MLS 13258154
Real Estate Agent: Wyatt or Monica Cox 214-876-3365

1328 Square feet

Completely renovated 2004

Utilities
New wiring throughout building
20 Amp circuits with a dedicated circuit in each room
Emergency exit lighting
Rejuvenation lighting fixtures
All new copper freshwater supply lines
Bosch tankless water heater
All new drain lines inside to building perimeter

Construction
New sheet rock throughout
Exterior wall insulation replaced
10” insulation blown into attic
Pella Architectural series windows
Kraftmaid hardwood cabinets
New roof
Custom millwork throughout
New hardwood floor
Workroom with heavy load floor joists-4×6, water access in two walls
Concrete ramp to back door
New furnace and AC evaporator
New HVAC ducting
Cast iron Hunter Classic ceiling fans

Server Room
Dedicated AC unit.
Fiber Optic internet with underground conduit to pole
Audio distribution with individual remote control amp in each office.
Two 20 amp circuits
One 30 amp 220V circuit
Thirty five Cat5 Ethernet lines distributed around building
Plumbing stubbed in back wall for conversion to restroom

Property
104’X125’
Large lot with room for additional parking and/or expansion
Lot access from two streets
Second electrical service drop on property-no meter base
Great restaurant location

Honda HR-V Social Media Campaign: The HR-V Makes People Smile!

Digital Artwork – Imaginary Lines
Client – Honda
Agency – RPA
Photographer – Hugh Kretschmer
Art Creative Director – J Barbash
Director – Jason Ringhold
Art Producer – Ashley Holmes
Production Producer – Lynn Campbell
Assistant Production Designer – Erin Dinsmore
Make-up Stylist – Isaac Prado
Wardrobe – Gillean McLeod

We collaborated with photographer Hugh Kretschmer and LA agency RPA to create a series of still and motion images for the Honda HR-V Social Media Campaign, Tagline: The HR-V Makes People Smile!

Lurzer’s Archive 200 Best Digital Artists Worldwide

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Lurzer’s Archive Special 200 Best Digital Artists Worldwide

Lurzer’s Archive selected us to be in the 200 Best in Digital for 2015. I can’t tell you how proud we are to be one of the 28 studios in the United States to be included.

We didn’t achieve this all by ourselves, we work with a bunch of great people.

Producers, Art Directors, Creative Directors, Photographers, Crew, Stylists, on and on. I guess you all know who you are. Thanks for helping us achieve this recognition.

Knowing which end is up.

Chris in South Africa
Ok, we all have those moments. You’re moving through the day thinking it’s all going well, and you get a not so subtle blow to the forehead that reminds you that you never know as much as you think you do.

I use the compass on my iPhone regularly on location. That frequently ends up in the magnetic north vs true north conversation. I have to admit, I usually forget which side of that one I intend to come down on. Anyway, in addition to that, there are the potential problems like no signal or even a dead phone. So I keep a cheap compass in my kit.

Preparing for a trip, I decided to get a better traditional compass. I dropped in at Whole Earth Provision Co. We like to shop there for several reasons, but mainly we make a big effort to support dog friendly businesses. Consequently, Ridley likes to shop there as well.

I wasn’t looking for anything fancy, just durable. The guy behind the counter showed me something. It looked fine, it had the features I was looking for. Namely a little needle swinging around, and a big N. I looked down, and saw another one in the display case that looked exactly the same, but it was thirty dollars more.
So I asked, “What would I get if I spent another thirty bucks?”
He said, “It’s really exactly the same, except it’s a global compass and it works in both hemispheres.”
I know the look I had on my face. I’m sure I always have it the split second before the blow takes place. I looked at the one in my hand and said, “This one only works in the northern hemisphere?”
He said, “Yep” or some other short appropriate affirmation.
Pointing at the global compass I said, “Do you have to make adjustments? Make settings?”
He said, “Nope, it just does it.” I felt pretty sure the look was still on my face.
I wasn’t sure what to say or what to believe. The only thing certain was I had this sudden vision of standing at the Cape of Good Hope not knowing which direction to go to end up at Heathrow airport.
My response was, “I’ll take the one that does both hemispheres.”

A few days later I relayed this story to a friend whose opinion I generally respect. He berated me with logic and was convinced that I had been taken advantage of. North is north and this was just a marketing ploy. I had to know.

As with so many things in life, the simplest explanation is the correct one. It turns out that if you hold a traditional compass upside down, it will not work. The needle suspension system allows it to bump into the housing. And, as physics would have it, in the southern hemisphere, you are standing upside down most of the time, or at least some kind of sideways. Within a few hundred miles of the equator, with careful positioning, you can get a northern hemisphere compass to work after crossing south. Any Son of Neptune worth his salt knows, you can’t take that chance.

So here’s to asking questions, tiny bits of information, and keeping your needle pointed to the big N.