Ridley Brandt Stoll      7/28/07 – 11/5/16

We’ve known for a long time that Dalmatians are coach dogs. We just never knew how much of an effect they could have on a trip while on the job, even if you are not being pulled by horses.

For nearly ten years, we traveled around the country for work and pleasure with Ridley keeping an eye on every part of the trip. I can’t tell you how many great people we met while exploring neighborhoods out for a walk, or testing the local dog friendly restaurants. He was the start of interesting conversations with people that if he had not been along, “hello” may have been all that was said. No matter where we went, Ridley always remembered if we had been there before, and the people we had met. He would get as excited about rolling into Venice as he did when we got close to home. Once, on set in LA, he was so excited about seeing someone he hadn’t seen in months, he wagged his tail so hard that when it hit something, he nearly broke it.

Ridley went to work with us everyday at our studio, and often when we worked on set. We have a lot of people to thank for going out of their way to help make that happen, and a lot of funny stories to tell because of it. Once we got booked into the Beverly Hills Wilshire because it was the closest dog friendly hotel to the set. Another time he was listed as crew in the production book so he would be allowed on the Paramount lot. Then there was the time he put the fire marshal at ease in the Los Angeles National Forest who insisted their picture be taken together. Another fireman story was visiting the Ghostbusters fire station in New York City.

Often, Mary and Ridley would take a walk before coming into the set. While they were out, the conversation would quickly turn to “Is Ridley here?”. He had a coat like velvet and petting him brought a calming presence to the set. He was always good for a laugh, everyone relaxed while hanging out with him. Forever the clown, he preferred to sit in chairs. That might have meant urging people to give up their seat. If a chair was not available, sitting on a person would suffice as an option to sitting on the ground. On many occasions, he stepped in as impromptu talent.

Ridley met every challenge we threw in front of him. If we were in, he was in, from riding for hours in the car, to climbing open mesh metal stairs, or riding a glass elevator to the 36th floor of the Hard Rock on Michigan Avenue. The one challenge Ridley could not beat was a bout with liver cancer. He fought it hard for almost two years, but we had to say goodbye Saturday November 5th.

Be safe on your journey, you goober. There are many people you made smile, and we’ll all miss you.

No Sign of Water

No sign of water. While the sun is cuttin’ cracks into the hard ground.

The Damnations lyrics certainly had the description right. Even though it might fit, I’m pretty sure when Amy Boone and Deborah Kelly wrote, “Makin’ demands and shooting up”, it wasn’t about a photo shoot.

We were shooting up a car on El Mirage dry lake bed in California. This was the second time we had teamed up with Stewart Cohen Pictures on a one day shoot of a limited edition vehicle for Neiman Marcus. Tim Flannery was art directing this shoot of an Infiniti Q60 for the Fantasy Gift guide.

Additional team members we met up with in L.A. included John Babor of JB5 Productions who was handling the California production, Kip Corley and Trever Gens were on lighting. Always a pleasure to work with this team.

The challenges started as soon as Stewart Cohen, Dylan Cauchon, and I landed in Los Angeles. We had around 17 cases of gear, and the car rental company did not have our reserved Chevy Suburban. They said a Tahoe was all they had, not even a van in sight. We did find a Dodge Caravan at another location, but we had to get there. We were off to a slow start, packing every cubic inch of the Tahoe, getting across town and repacking the van. We managed it and met up with Babor then headed out to scout the location. The plan was to also grab some sunset horizons for our hero shot. Scouting went well, and it was the night of the Perseids meteor shower. The three of us stayed out in the the dark, and saw what were some of the most magnificent meteors we’ve ever seen. One felt almost like a jet zooming in close overhead.

We have worked on many projects that were shot at El Mirage, but this was my first time to shoot there. It is always fun to arrive at iconic locations, and this was no exception. The mirages were so large and so perfect, when we first arrived we found ourselves wondering if it had rained, which would shut us down. Nope, just being fooled, no sign of water.

The shoot had the typical challenges of things like ferocious wind, but we banged it out. We shot still details and video through the afternoon. We shot elements Mary would need for post. Our few minutes of sunset came, and everyone jumped to action. We got what we came for.

This of course had us leaving after dark. Two cars were left, us and John Babor. Pulling out from the location, our biggest concern was finding the gate to get out of the property with no lights, road or signage. That concern completely vanished as we realized we had picked up a huge piece of steel in a front tire. Four guys to change a flat tire, no problem. Wrong. We unloaded most of the gear from the back and found the jack, but no spare tire. Babor found the manual, and started dictating instructions. The most terrifying words were “the spare tire, if equipped”. Turns out, you have to disassemble the front console, which meant the remainder of the gear coming out. Then the tire is wound down with a winch from the center of the car under the front console. We were all laughing about this group of guys trying to change a tire on a mom car. I guess we needed a mom in the group. With the tire fixed, we had the challenge of a fully packed car and a full size tire that would not go back into the spare storage area. Nothing is easy.

With the shoot wrapped and the excitement over, once again it was time to turn it over to Mary. We sorted through the shots and she began the task of building them into a single image. I always find it amazing how many people can be involved in creating a single photograph. But then, I still find the photographs amazing as well.

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
Photographer – Geof Kern
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

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

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

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!