September 6, 2016 – Halloween is right around the corner, so Studio 11 Pittsburgh decided to get a head start on a commercial spot for Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s annual Zoo Boo Event.
Our video production crew filmed the zoo’s curator Henry Kacprzyk in front of the siamangs. The camera we used for this shoot was the Panasonic 3700 and its variable lens, which would prove essential when it was time to photograph the animals. Instead of utilizing the sun to light Henry, which was unreliably dancing between clouds, we opted to block it out entirely with two foamcore boards clamped to c-stands. Doing this greatly reduced Henry’s exposure, so we bumped it back up with two diffused Astra Litepanels and a third foamcore board to bounce any remaining light towards him.
The next step was to grab B-roll shots of the spotted leopard, giraffes, zebras, and siamangs. The giraffes and zebras were easy to capture, but the spotted leopard posed some difficulty, as it was not an open enclosure and the glass was extremely reflective. To combat this, we built a “tent” around the camera with duvetyne cloth and c-stands. After crossing that bridge, the leopard became camera shy and hid behind a small waterfall. It required us to move very slowly and with tons of patience to have the leopard emerge again.
The final leg of our commercial shoot brought us to the siamangs. Although we already had footage of Henry standing in front of the pen, we needed to return to capture them in action. Siamangs have a large throat bubble called a gular sac that allows them to vocalize a resonating call. These particular siamangs preferred to begin their calls at around noon, so it was important for us to come back and capture their songs. It was very important to monitor the audio for this portion, as these songs are so loud, they can be heard over a mile away! Studio 11 Pittsburgh looks forward to another fun shoot at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.