a few months ago we started working on a series of films with several US athletes about their journey to the Olympics. the pieces revolved around the idea of showing the training, trials, triumphs and emotions that they go through before they step on stage in London. part of that story was told through archival footage and the rest of it we filmed on a rather tight schedule.
much like the Callaway series we DP’d a couple years back, this one features a series of athletes with spots that all tied into one campaign, but unlike that series where all the athletes played the same sport we had the challenge of filming all different sports. while this certainly kept things fresh it also made pre-production and production all the more intense as we had to prepare for swimming, soccer, gymnastics, track& field, beach volleyball and even tae kwon do, all within a couple months time.
one of my favorites is our shoot with Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte. for Lochte’s film we had all hands on deck. after all, this is Ryan Lochte,the man who just took home the gold for the 400 IM in London and swept Michael Phelps out of the water. Shawn Robbins, the director and executive producer for this entire series, had really neat ideas on showcasing both Lochte’s intense training regiment as well as his lifestyle outside of the pool and the entire team was so excited when we found out what was in the works.
Shawn produced entire sets built from the ground up to resemble the London locker room and tunnel out to the pool deck, a massive 50′ American flag as a prop and oh yes, even a private jet complete with an airplane hanger. it was certainly a lot of fun to be on a big shoot like this. with a full lighting crew and grip truck, dolly track that ran almost the entire length of an Olympic sized pool and the Kessler KC-12 with fully motorized revolution head for the more complex moves we all had a ton of fun with this shoot. P and I ran two cameras and bounced back and forth between setups to make the most out of Ryan’s time. after all we only had a total of 8 hours with him to tell that story so we came up with an entire lighting plan, did our research during pre-pro and rehearsed shots before he arrived on set.
for us it was a lot of fun being able to dial things in so that each shot was as close to perfection as possible, that is something we often don’t have the chance to do in the event, TV or documentary world. at the end of the day, we were all pretty excited about what we captured and it even had Ryan smiling behind the monitors as we reviewed the shots together. so here it is folks, Ryan Lochte’s journey to the London Olympics.
produced by Robbins Media
directed by Shawn Robbins
cinematography by stillmotion