Leon Shipp Belt
editor | designer | animator


Random detours and road work. 

Behind The Scenes: A Walk In Your Shoes Interviews

We take a walk in the shoes of DC's Mabinty Koroma as she discusses what she loves about the city, what has inspired her to run a marathon, and of course where she got her shoes. To help sponsor her run click here.

It was a great shoot. If you are more interested in the design and style in or want to see more of these great interviews, head on over to angelabelt.com. We took a simple idea, a walk in your favorite shoes, and finding creative people and we had great premise for an interview. At first we were going to just shoot photographs, but my wife suggested we take further and shoot video. The goal was to create a fun airy atmosphere in each photo. We went down to the boardwalk in SW DC and used the vintage transportation posters and outdoor sculptures as a backdrop. Mabinty Koroma is a DC native and currently running in a marathon to fight AIDS.

As far as the tech specs on the shoot, we shot with the Canon T3i, 50mm 1.8 and 35mm 2.0 with the 320EX Flash, Zoom H1 and a 5-in-1 Reflector. Ok, now that that's out of the way here is what I learned after finishing this project.

  • Fill Flash Rocks and can really balance the light on your subject's face

  • A Gold Reflector IS actually useful when you need to warm up skin in the late afternoon

  • Buy a REAL microphone. As you probably noticed the background noise was hard to remove in Soundtrack Pro and a good windscreen would've saved a few takes.

You can never be too far away from a water fountain when it comes to audio recording.

  • Adobe Lightroom gets you in and out of post-processing your shots in time to eat dinner
  • Moby has free music for filmmakers. Take adavantage of it, we did.
  • Position your interviewer to match your framing in order to keep eyelines natural.

In the first photograph of the shoes I tried to compose the shot on thirds with graphics in mind. We shot a few angles of the shoes, but this one worked the best. The next two portrait shots were setup with the tripod low and a 35mm lens and then handheld with a 50mm. I really wanted to experiement with using flash for outdoor portraits. Honestly, I just wanted to see if the hype behind "fill flash" was real and it is. It adds a pop to the shaded sides of the face and when shooting with E-TTL mode it is simply a matter of adjusting flash exposure compensation.

Creatively, I wanted to capture a kind of effortlessness in each shot. I had passed these vintage posters on my treks through the park and just knew I could squeeze some great photos out them. The sun was fading in and out all day so once we had the shot I had to hustle to get the right exposure. In the end, when I felt like I had the right composition and Mabinty was striking the right pose everything technical fell back and it was just time to shoot.

Video wise, I cut this in FCP7. All the titles were done in Motion and the art in Photoshop. I used Soundtrack Pro to clean up the audio the best I could. We had to use the built-in audio on the T3i which is less than stellar. The Zoom H1 was a fail on set as the wind beat the hell out its puny mic. We will be borrowing a Zoom H4n for the next shoot and investing in a lapel mic or at least a shotgun mic down the road.

I really enjoyed putting this together. Sifting through takes and using animated titles and music to stich together an more intimate look at who wer were talking to was fun. I hope to experiment with the cutting of the story as much as I did on set with the photography, which brings me to the challenge of doing both.

It is all too easy to get so absorbed with the drama and timelessness of photography that you forget to bring these qualities to your videography.

The DSLR is a little dumb when it comes to video compared to its photo IQ. No I am not tearing down DSLR's has video cameras, just suggesting that this modal way of thinking has its drawbacks. When I am in video mode I often think only about shutter speeds, ISOs, apertures and framing. What about the backlight, fill light and the tone of the scene? Which of these can I manufacture with the natural light around me to add drama to an other wise pedestrian shot? I am not looking to hold up production while I consult my pocket light meter( not yet), but my goal is to strive for the same level of craftsmanship in the moving image as I bring to the still image.