An eventful week began with my first full shoot at Hydra Creative – a flat out, adrenaline-filled, fitness promo.
It’s 5AM Monday morning – I’m packing up the gear and heading into Sheffield. Thankfully, the longer October nights mean sunrise comes at a more sociable time and, luckier still, the skies are clear for the first shot of the day, a time-lapse.
We set up the FS700 aiming down the tramlines, shooting towards the rising sun. The sky’s a spectacular mixture of teal, black and orange which makes for a colourful opening shot. After a quick 20 minute burst we’ve gathered enough for the opening few seconds and leave to gather the remaining external shots.
After a quick run around a few iconic locations, including Park Hill Flats, we wrap on the externals up the shots and head inside into the warmth of Ponds Forge.
For the interior shots, we need to gather as much footage of personal trainers as possible – jumping from spinning classes, to weights and cardio. As we’re working with live sessions and real clients, we need to work quickly and unobtrusively.
Inside, lighting conditions are hugely varied so, to help compensate, we shoot in S-LOG 2 on the FS700. Kit is also extremely limited which makes composing shots difficult. So where possible we light with a 6″ LED light to bring some contrast. With low power lighting, concentrating on small areas of the face or shoulder does enough to lift our instructors from the background. and bring some contrast to otherwise flat lighting.
We work quickly to gather a range of close-ups that focus on personal trainers encouraging their clients, along with the obligatory shots of exertion, pain and smiles! The sharp Zeiss glass captures the sweat of a spinning class instructor in sweet 200fps – this would turn out to be one of my favourite shots of the shoot.
The most difficult location is on the second day of filming. We arrive at a room with light wooden flooring, magnolia walls and a cream roof. Skin tones are everywhere which makes creating colourful, dynamic shots very difficult! To make matters worse, the class is so intense that we’re unable to get even the smallest of lights in. A full length mirror along the back wall helps to add depth but does nothing to control the tungsten light. In this situation, we open the lens right up to lift the instructor from the background, using the 35mm in periods of high intensity and 85mm when we’re able to get a lot closer.
Overall, the shoot lasts just over two days and spans a total of 26 hours. A mixture of time-lapses, slow motion, close ups and tracking shots combine into a high-intensity edit that follows soon after. Keep your eye on the Hydra Creative blog for the finished production – expect to see it in the next few days!
Overall, the project was challenging but great fun! The energy that comes with personal training is infectious – meaning you quickly forget about sleep deprivation. I enjoyed having to work quickly with limited kit and the demanding lighting conditions made us think carefully about each shot.
I spent the rest of the week gathering some more GVs for the upcoming documentary… Keep an eye on the blog and Facebook for more regular updates. Followers on social media will have seen a couple of sneak peaks – They’ll be some more big updates over the next week with more filming taking place this week!