Thanks to support from RED, Zeiss and Adobe, this year’s Emerging Pro contest was a huge success. It was the most unique contest we’ve ever put together. The contest was open to still photographers, as well as filmmakers, and it was promoted to readers of Digital Photo Pro and HDVideoPro magazines. The competition was held in two distinct stages. The first was an open submission period during which time entrants were encouraged to submit a project they had previously completed. We reviewed and evaluated those submissions, and from all of the entries, we selected a group of Finalists who were given a RED EPIC camera and four weeks to shoot and submit an original project.
Like being on the infamous TV show, Chopped, being selected as a Finalist was only part of the battle. The few who made it through the first stage had to deliver something completely new on an extremely tight deadline. As we go to press, the final judging and verification stages of the 7th Annual Emerging Pro contest are happening. You can see all of the final projects at http://www.digitalphotopro.com/7th-annual-emerging-pro/finalists.html. In this issue, we highlight a few of the finalists and ask them about the projects they submitted.
FILMMAKER: Christoph Gelfand
DPP: What’s the story behind Farm?
Christoph Gelfand: For years my friend, Robin, has been a wanderer. Although she’s a terrifically gifted artist and writer, she has been moving from farm to farm all over the U.S. and abroad. There’s a freedom to her travels that I’ve always admired, being a more stationary sort myself, to some extent. I wanted to capture Robin for who she is, while also expanding upon her experience on the farm. The goal was to show Robin without really showing her face too much or seeing her speak on camera. I wanted to create something more ethereal.
I’ve visited the farm Robin works a number of times. We’d spend hours listening to the wind through the trees or jumping in the river. There’s no Internet and her cabin is completely solar-powered so you feel pretty close to living off the grid. I noticed that I felt different on the farm, and it seemed like a compelling challenge to bring to the screen this feeling the environment evoked. The operative word was "simple." Simple is a way of life on the farm. Things happen slower, and you appreciate sounds and weather in a unique way. I knew I could just talk to Robin and find the story in her words. I imagined something in the style of Terrence Malick that would allow words and sounds to meld together, and for the most part, I think I achieved that.
DPP: You were given a very short window to create this video. How did you manage your time? What was your workflow like?
Gelfand: Honestly, the short timeline definitely freaked me out a little! I’ve worked with EPIC and SCARLET cameras on set, but I’ve never operated one solo. So there was this initial sense that with shooting, then processing, then transcoding, then editing, then mixing that there simply wouldn’t be enough time. I was really surprised at how easily the shoot went. The piece was shot in two days and then transcoded and processed the next day and night. I shot on a Friday and Saturday and was editing by Monday. I actually cut the piece over the course of three days and nights, and then spent about a week tweaking.
DPP: Did you come up with the idea for this project specifically for this contest, or was this a piece you already had in mind and you took this opportunity to create it?
Gelfand: I did create this piece specifically for this project. In fact, it was really a breath of fresh air being able to autonomously plan and process a film from beginning to end, again, without clients or any other outside influence. It has been awhile since I’ve been able to really focus on pieces that were dedicated to the art and craft of filmmaking as opposed to any promotional goals. It was a lot of fun to just play around and shoot. Very fulfilling!