Wolfpack Boxing Club is a really unique facility nestled in Carnegie, PA (a little south of Pittsburgh). When I first went to scout with producer Sean Montgomery, my initial thoughts were to make a gritty and intense video similar to an Under Armor ad. But to my surprise, that wasn’t the story of Wolfpack Boxing. After talking to owner Jeff, I threw out all my initial ideas, deleted my notes and started fresh. This boxing gym isn’t a tough guy, train till you die, type of place. It is a welcoming, family friendly gym where you can get a good workout while learning a skill. Ok, if my initial thoughts were this off, I bet others were and this is where my story started.
How We Shot It
As the Director and DP, it was my job to tell the right story and show how friendly this gym is, while also getting an authentic boxing workout. We achieved this by interviewing two students and hearing their experiences from the first day walking through the door to where they are now. I was fortunate enough that Jeff was open to my ideas and willing to let us run with an idea. Sean handled all the logistics and scheduling which allowed me to concentrate on shots and interview questions.
The overall mood of the story was inviting and welcoming without downplaying the intensity of workouts. Therefore, we didn’t want to make the interviews overly dramatic but still make sure we had an ‘edge’ to it. I decided to go with a large book light. Utilizing the Hive Wasp and tuning the color temperature until I got the warmth I wanted. With the built in tungsten PARs in the background, I didn’t want the key light to be tungsten. Depth by color is a beautiful thing and worked great for our interviews. To help wrap the key and give him a kicker, we added a 4×4 Kino with mixed tubes on camera left on the edge of frame. To control our fill, I had a Kino Diva above the camera with all daylight bulbs bouncing into foam core. Dimmed until I got the look I wanted.
A big shout out goes to Brett Wagner who shot all the broll for me. I got sick with pneumonia and he stepped up to get us the shots we needed. I was on the phone talking with him through out the shoot and texting ideas, and Brett was able to take that and run with it. On the interview day I had help from key grip Jeff Zoet as well as grip Danny Harritan who also operated the camera while I conducted the interviews. It takes a team to pull shoots like this off and I was lucky to have a great crew on my side.
They utilized the Wasp as needed but relied mostly on the house lights. The gym had so much control with lighting and the Par cans were perfect for creating a hard backlight.
The Gear and Why
Knowing the interviews wouldn’t be long, we decided to shoot on the Red Dragon. The color science in this camera is amazing and can be broken down into nothing but the brain, monitor and lens. This allowed us to get right in the ring and be in the middle of the workouts. For the interviews we found our sweet spot to be at 5k with the Canon L 16-35 f/2.8 zoomed in all the way to 35mm. I wanted to see the space and still be close to our talent. I initially tried the Canon 70-200 L but that felt too distant from our talent. The audience needed to feel as if they were sitting with them talking about their experiences at the gym and a long lens loses that feeling.
Hope you enjoyed this post and the inside look behind the video. There will be more coming soon!