Banana Boat Suncare, BICYCLE POLO and Branded Content

Banana Boat Suncare just released the first of a series of video’s I shot for them with Director Eliot Rausch and Uber Content and Grey/NY. We shot the series all in one day following three different players on a Los Angeles Bicycle Polo team. Pretty amazing watching them play and prepare for the game. These players really love the game and are pioneering it, building their own mallets, creating wheel protection and customizing everything.

You can view the spot here:

Where as before this might have been a traditional 30 second spot for TV, advertising is turning more towards branded content and the web to showcase it’s products. What is branded content? Essentially it’s any story, about content that has nothing to do with the product, yet the advertiser wants to be associated with this content and usually puts their logo on the back or presents the story through their web portal. I believe this is great for filmmakers because we can show unique stories and the product becomes secondary to the story we are telling. Eliot Rausch, director of the vimeo winner “Last Minutes With Oden” is the master at finding and telling special, and unique stories. Please check out his interview on Carson Daly to see his special perspective on filmmaking. For Banana Boat spot they had to put a little more product shots in then we intially thought, but it’s still a unique story about a sport and people on the fringes, and not just a traditional advertisement.

The goal was to get into what makes these Polo Players tick and show they’re lives and their passion. It was tricky following three different players in one day but we made it work. To accomplish this I went to my good friends at HD Camera rentals and they set us up with an Arri Alexa, an SI-2K, a Cinedeck and a 7D with a great heavy duty PL Mount made by Hot Rod Cameras. I’ve mentioned it in every other post…but HD Camera rentals is amazing! rent from them.

Director ELiot Rausch and 1st AC Michael Merriman waiting for me to show up on set

We had a set of Cooke S4’s for the Alexa and the 7D. I operated the Alexa and the excellent Matt Taylor opped the 7D. We had the 7D on close up during interviews and the Alexa on wide because of possible aliasing issues. As you can see from all the mirrors we had flairs going into them at all times. With the S4’s on both of them cameras the images matched amazingly well…in fact in small scale i was blown away by how well they matched together. I did not get a chance to blow them up, nor did i sit in on the color correction session at company 3, so I cant say for the big screen.

When we were inside the rink shooting the actual bike polo, we only had a few hours. We had Matt on a skateboard, me on a dolly, running and weaving through the game. We also attached the Si-2k mini and the Cinedeck to a pole and had one of the players bike around, following the ball. Really turned out amazing and the Si-2k handles the motion great (as you can see from my F1 car racing shoots as well). Attached is vimeo link of just the SI-2k footage on the bike so you can see just that camera in action

SI-2K on the bike

Originally we had the Cinedeck attached to the stick so she could see. This was too heavy and vision wasnt necessary since it was flat all the time. So we popped it into the backpack and it was a much better solution. We recorded to Cineform Filmscan 2 on the cinedeck.


Some other tech notes, we shot the Alexa straight to pro res in LOG-C. It’s tough as a cinematographer doing that when you know you want be at the color correction, but the final color came out great with the supervision of Eliot and Company 3. Shooting to Pro Res is certainly a time savor.


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