Earlier this year Clayton and I were filming on location in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. On one of our nights off we decided to check out a local rodeo and shoot a short video on it. You know you love your work when you pursue more of it even during your free time! The event was loud, crowded, gritty, and a ton of fun to capture. We were running around behind the scenes, clambering over bullpens, and sweet talking our way into restricted areas. Clayton shot handheld using our RED cam and got some sweet slow-motion footage while I used my Canon 5D Mark III on a monopod to capture more visuals and close-up portraits of people’s faces. Check out the finished film here:
Costa Rican Rodeo: The People of Las Fiestas Santa Rosa from Jordan Lee on Vimeo.
One of the most common questions I get asked about this video is how we, two foreigners, captured such intimate shots of the locals staring right into the lens. I speak a little Spanish, but not well enough to fully explain the concept that we were creating a short film. Instead, I would approach an interesting looking character and simply ask them “Puedo tomar su foto? (Can I take your photo?).” Not one person I asked said no. Try getting that reaction anywhere in Vancouver!
After asking permission, I then got my “stills” camera with a 50mm f/1.4 lens and put it right in their face, rolling video the whole time. I had them hold their expression for as long as possible and then, just as things began to feel awkward, I actually clicked the shutter (even though I was in video mode on my Canon DSLR). This gave the subject some closure and reassured them that I actually was taking their photo (a half-truth). They probably just thought I was a very slow photographer. I did, however, inadverdently end up with some cool still photos as well:
Hopefully this little behind the scenes insight encourages some of you to think creatively about how to get a shot, to not let things like language barriers stop you, and to go film something outside of your comfort zone! There are so many stories to be told, characters to capture, and beauties to display out there – go find yours!