Kickstarting a New Product

 FILMING AN ADVERT FOR "THE RIB"

It's always a pleasure to meet other creative people.  One of the benefits of being a photographer, is that it is a profession largely based on effective networking. This particular weekend in May of this year represented a weekend of firsts for me, as not only did it demonstrate the power of networking but it also reinforced the concept that photography and the job of a photographer, is a constantly evolving one. A job that demands we adapt our skills in line with an increasingly diverse range of visual products.

This weekend was my first time being involved with shooting an advert.  My only experience of making any sort of videos until then had been with students creating a short film for an assembly or representing school activities in glorified slide shows made on i-Movie meant to record events such as International Award weekends, sports days or student's art exhibitions. So it was an interesting opportunity to be able to join my ITR Space Studio colleagues and their  clients: "Enthousis" at Sun Yat Sen University campus grounds one overcast Guangzhou morning.

Just who are "Enthousis" anyway? They are a team of young designers, 'makers' and entrepreneurs, who describe themselves as: "bring[ing] together experience and expertise in aesthetic design, product design, product development, manufacturing, and visual media presentation. . .We make, present, and deliver beautiful and practical fashion pieces for the needs of a global life in motion." They are also, perhaps one of the best introductions one could ask for into the world of "Kickstarter",(www.kickstarter.com)   judging by the success of their product "The Rib" (featured on this website) to date. It must have been, in part, due to a successful advert!

  Enthousises: "The Rib", as seen on Kickstarter.com with a link to the successful advert.

Enthousises: "The Rib", as seen on Kickstarter.com with a link to the successful advert.

As you have probably guessed by my tone, this was my first real introduction to the world of Kickstarter  that weekend too. As well as  being introduced for the first time to a more thoughtfully designed answer to: carrying a rucksack, wearing a bum-bag or having over -stuffed pockets through the phenomenon of "The Rib" : a holster style pouch, which is worn under the jacket. Designed essentially for men with too much stuff to carry in their pockets but too little to merit leaving the house with a bag in their hands.

First launched in 2009, and quickly dubbed  "one of the best inventions [of the internet presumably] in 2010, Kickstarter is a hugely inspirational website which celebrates creativity through the power of crowd-funding. In a nutshell; you have a clever / creative idea for a new project and people opt to back your project, in return for being offered tangible rewards and one-of-a-kind experiences in exchange for their pledges. This model traces its roots to subscription model of arts patronage, where artists would go directly to their audiences to fund their work.

Filming for the 'Rib' advert was broken down into sections and various locations around Guangzhou. Beginning at the university grounds, where Anders Hsi (an 'Enthousis' founder) was shot walking towards the camera explaining the benefits of having two hands free along one of the tree-lined drives of the campus. It is amazing how many untoward things that can happen, particularly effecting the quality of the audio, when making such a video. Anything from back-firing vehicles, horns honking, noise from groups of passing pedestrians to the sound of passing traffic itself. I think we reached at least 12 takes by the time Anders, successfully and without interruption, swept his jacket away to reveal the hidden 'Rib', marking the end of the first segment.

  Highlights from shooting the advert for "The Rib"  

Highlights from shooting the advert for "The Rib" 

Successfully convincing a Guangzhou taxi "Shi Fu"  to assist in creating a transition shot. Anders  was then portrayed climbing purposefully into the beaded back seat of a taxi followed by accessing his cellphone from the 'Rib'. This presented not only focal difficulties in the cramped space but issues with stability while holding the heavy D800 and 24-70 lens still on the rig during the familiar white -knuckle ride provided by any Guangzhou taxi.

The busy Zhong Da Chang Heng Textile Market provided the next venue for filming another main segment. There we had the task of show-casing Anders (now jacket-less) using the 'Rib' as he strode confidently through the teeming alleys of fabric vendors - unleashing his cellphone / note pad / wallet from the 'Rib' effortlessly, in simulated transactions with the very vendors who he and his team had used to source the materials from which the product is made.

  Inside "Textile City", at Zhong Da Chang Heng Textile Market

Inside "Textile City", at Zhong Da Chang Heng Textile Market

In the final segment we get to meet the rest of the 'Enthousis' design team: - Steven, Ryan and Javier as they perch on a couch in the ITR Space studio to pitch their product. Like most things in life, which at first glance appear easy; talking into a camera with a mental checklist of specific things to say, isn't one of them. In spite of a mini whiteboard bullet-pointing the salient remarks to be made(and by whom they were to made by) there were several amusing retakes beyond what we expected.

This was truly an inspiring days work. I made a mental note to return to the Zhong Da Chang Heng Textile market as the Guangzhounaut to do a feature on this mini citadel dedicated to textiles trade in future. I had particularly enjoyed some of the tilt-shift effects I was getting from my shooting with my i-Phone.

  The joy of the tilt-shift effect.

The joy of the tilt-shift effect.