Color, Cinematography, Storytelling and Beauty Combine Wonderfully (Interview) - NSFW

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I’ve just watched one of the best fashion shorts I’ve seen in months. It combines gorgeous color, cinematography, camera movement and Hitchcock-styled, film noir sensibility beautifully. Interestingly, after speaking to one of the directors, regardless of budget or what we’re shooting, there are real gems to be gleaned from their experiences. Read on for the full scoop. 

Hunter & Gatti is the creative duo based in Barcelona and New York, made up of two long time friends, collaborators and partners, Martin Cespedes and Cristian Borillo. Both Martin and Cristian worked together for over a decade as art directors, with some of the most prestigious ad agencies and fashion labels in the world, before giving that up to become fashion photographers.

"Why?" was the first question (amongst others) I had on my mind. I was also intrigued to know how they'd transitioned to produce intensely compelling fashion films like their latest short, “K Woman”, picking up Vimeo Staff Picks and wider acclaim.

When I got the opportunity to chat with Martin, I found some very interesting answers. Although my interest in their work was piqued as a result of their latest film, there is a lot of great information you can apply to your own work from his insights. You don’t have to be working on big budget shoots or even in the world of fashion to learn something from this interview.

Fstoppers: Martin, some of the key things I loved about "K Woman" was the color, the noir feel, and the strong plot, complete with twist at the end. It is not your typical "fashion film", and the production value is very high. Can you tell us a little about K Woman and how it evolved?

Martin: As you said, most of our videos are more image or inspirational-based, combining beautiful images and music, or sounds. But with some clients we have the direction to create some story, and we can take cinema-like inspiration and apply it. The key though, is the story you want to tell has to be interesting, with a touch of humor or with some hook at the end. That's why we research a lot of old movies, because it’s really nice to twist the classic scripts.  Everything today is an evolution from the past.

In this particular short, we liked the idea of making the color start from the idea of the "technicolor", an old process known for this saturated final effect used in Hollywood through until the 1950´s. Of course, its a reinterpretation. Today with DaVinci (Resolve) you can really spread a lot of elements and give them particular colors. That's how we work in fashion photography, giving each element (face, eyes, car, sky, plants and so on) the color combination we feel is right. The color process takes more than two weeks of intense working, masking every single object we want to show.

The “K WOMAN” film is the most expensive production we’ve ever done. Eniko and Andrés are ranked tops models in the fashion industry today. KOCCA asked for a video that makes the woman an unusual character. They will preview this video during men's fashion shows in Milan. For Arturo De Lucca (Chief Operating Officer of Kocca) it was really important to produce something that broke into the men’s fashion shows, that's why the woman takes the lead and we present a twist on an iconic classic movie role.

Fstoppers: Can you talk a little about the team and collaboration involved?

Martin: For high production videos like these, we always collaborate with Daniel Aranyo, a really important cinematographer from Spain. In this project, we combined his film knowledge with our fashion background, that's why everything works so well. We also secured beautiful models, with the best location, and always think about how to present the composition of the scene, particularly focusing on how light and the human body work together. The color grading in fashion is really important, and we spend a lot of time researching fashion campaigns, films and so on, before committing to the final color palette.

 

 

Fstoppers: Can you please briefly describe why you guys transitioned from advertising and art direction into the world of photography? What was it that made you want to do this and how did you find the transition?

Martin: We worked as fashion art directors for years in the past. We worked with many photographers and noted they were not really involved in the projects - they arrived to the shoot and did whatever they wanted. They were not in contact with the client and didn’t care about the concept too much. That´s why we decided to be photographers, to really stay close to the brand brief and concept during the full campaign.

Fstoppers: How do you work with clients so that you can bring something of your own creative vision to the work, when the client might already have a specific view on how things should work?

Martin: The most important thing is to develop the concept side by side with the client, and to think about the full campaign and the positioning of their brand. Before each shoot, there is a lot of work back and forth with proposals and ideas. After this comes the shoot, then the post production. Post is one of the most difficult elements - you can lose a client because of bad post work. You need to meet deadlines and stay on the client and seek feedback. If you are late delivering the final work, it is never seen as the client’s fault.

Fstoppers: What was the biggest challenge for the K Woman shoot, and can you please briefly explain how you overcame it?

Martin: K woman is a combination of great client and team work. We worked so hard to get the video shot in 16 hours, and all of the team was really coordinated. We work with energetic, committed team members that want to get the results no matter how long it takes. The workflow with the client is really important too. If the client has doubt in each scene, then it won’t work. The client has to trust in what you are doing and love your work.

Fstoppers: Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Martin: Maybe it's a cliche, but inspiration is everywhere. We are inspired by Stanley Kubrick, Yasujiro Ozu, Terrence Malick, Alejandro Jodorowski, Wong Kar Wai, Francois Truffaut, Michelangelo Antonioni....we don’t have a favorite, it really depends on the story you want to tell. Even in Vimeo, there are a lot of young people making personal short movies that are really inspiring too.

Image Credits & Special Thanks [Hunter & Gatti]

 
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15 Comments

wow! the colours and the shooting blew me away!

true

Enikő Mihalik is the most beautiful hungarian woman! I'm so proud! :)

I'd love to know what sort of cameras they used to film this with.

David Geffin's picture

Arri Alexa Plus 4:3

Crazy how the images quality is good! must be so much work to shoot a short like this!

You must be easily impressed. This unimaginative script is garbage - all they've done here is to reverse roles and add neon colours with a touch of soft-porn. Hitchcock is spinning in his grave.

Brian Reese's picture

I'm betting Hitchcock is very impressed.

Zabu Mutua's picture

Where can we see your great works?

Jake Brown's picture

Story was meh but the cinematography and color grading were outstanding.

Tam Nguyen's picture

Very much agreed with what you said there. Lighting was excellent too.

Always Amazing Work from Hunter & Gatti

The coloring here is nothing short of marvelous!!!

Zabu Mutua's picture

Loved it all. Great colors, pacing, and sounds. Please make more.

ahhh eniko