Cade Martin Makes the Most of his Time on a Shared Set for Toyota
Brands are now developing content for more and more channels. It is rare to have only a stills set. Instead, a photographer might find themselves shooting alongside a director, collaborating with an influencer, or working with an entirely different kind of artist. To be able to jump in when it’s your turn and create continuous imagery is a skill that is acquired and practiced overtime and perfected over a career. On a new project with Toyota, Cade Martin needed to be “ninja-like” in his work; quiet but aggressive in getting the assets he needed.
Lucky for Cade, his imagination keeps his mind on high alert, looking for that opportune moment to step in and create. Working alongside multi-channel content creation teams required him to find moments of pause to jump in during a tight and busy production and maximize his moments. You would never know the dexterity needed to produce the final assets so we sat down with Cade to learn more.
How did you manage your time working others during production?
Today, content for campaigns is often created for multiple channels – television, social, stills, and production timelines don’t really change. For this Toyota campaign, television was central, and as a photographer, I had to be ready to work in the margins to create images, finding my moments in tight and busy production windows. So those moments were important and I needed to make the most of them.
As always, relationships are key to successful photo shoots, and in these circumstances, I made sure to introduce myself to the video/tv/motion team on the PPM and pre-light days so they knew (and were comfortable) with me when I was jumping in and out of set to create what I needed to create.
Explain your process when working adjacent to motion/television directors.
On this Toyota project – whenever there was a break or filming had wrapped – and sometimes when it was still rolling, I often had minutes to work with the talent available to me. I was in a space adjacent to the TV set, I lit my set with continuous lights so we would not have strobes firing which would interfere with their filming. In addition, we had to be quiet as a mouse (a ninja mouse?) so we would not interfere with their capturing of sound.
In general, the game plan working alongside TV always varies depending on the project and the needs. It’s paramount to have a grasp on the production for the motion element, forging relationships with everyone involved in all the aspects of content creation. Knowing the lighting and perspective of the cameras for the motion work, so that I’m best prepared for my moments both during and after the cameras are rolling.
After filming wraps, I often have two minutes or so to jump into the set and photograph the subject in the same setup, piggy backing off the continuous light set ups, without being restricted on our camera placement and desired POV.
Finally, and I’m probably a broken record on this point, I’m really focused on relationships and how we can all complement and make things run smoothly for one another – because ultimately we’re all working toward the same creative narrative.
What are key elements to ensure continuity between motion and stills?
A strong understanding of what the client is looking for from all different channels, so that I am clear in what I am trying to create and how the channels work together to communicate the creative brief. Also, when I’m able to create stills during filming using a camera on quiet mode so that I’m not picked up by audio. Those images help create that cohesive whole between motion and stills.
How do you ensure you remain calm and “ninja-like” when schedules are tight?
Experience and patience helps. This has become a common way to operate on projects across multiple channels, so each time I’m bringing new tricks and skills and really honing my technique. It’s also vital to be around and involved on PPM and pre-light days so that I know all the players and they know me, and I’ve got a map of where I’ll find my moments.
And finally, it’s a matter of being nimble, flexible, physically quiet and operating in a way that won’t be captured in the audio or distraction to the television filming, for example working with a mirrorless camera on quiet mode so I could make images during filming without the clicking of a camera being picked up on sound recording.
What was a challenge on this shoot?
I think long travel, working entirely with an unfamiliar local crew in a different country and a condensed and fast paced production schedule can sometimes be a challenge, but it was also exciting to be in Riyadh and to be working with a brand like Toyota, and with Truffle Film, Plugged Production and ServicePlan Group all of which are full of professionals who really help the process hum along.
What was a memorable moment on this project?
Flying halfway across the world to be involved in a cool, fast-paced campaign for one of the most recognizable brands out there was an adventure! I like to say that I chase adventure, and am quick to say “yes” when it presents itself. So this was an easy yes and the buzz and energy of the shoot coupled with the location was all really memorable.