Beer can be more than just an excuse to get drunk. When crafted correctly, beer can actually be a pleasure to drink. Fortunately, craft brewers exist to offer an alternative to the watered down, tasteless experience that we’ve become accustomed to. Since forming their company, the goal of Reclamation Brewing has been to craft great beers and educate people about beer and its history. If you know anything about Reclamation Brewing Company, you may know that I’ve been following the crew since the beginning, filming a three-part documentary series about their journey from beer lovers to beer brewers. However, this project was different. Instead of just following their journey, I needed to help them continue their journey.
Instead of creating the typical, “this is why we need your money” crowdfunding video, I wanted to focus on the crew and their passion for brewing. I began by coming up with a list of five keywords that best described the team and their work. I picked up this technique from Stillmotion, a group of extremely talented filmmakers from Portland, Oregon, who focuses on storytelling above all else when planning, shooting and editing a project. If you’re interested in becoming a better storyteller, check out their various tutorials on Vimeo. These five keywords, which included passion, quality, community, determination and faith, would then shape every visual and storytelling decision that I made moving forward. Once my keywords were established, I decided that I wanted to challenge the way that people think about beer. I wanted to show the viewer the work that went into crafting a quality beer by getting the camera close to the action. This resulted in several close-up and slow-motion shots while the beer was being crafted. I also felt that it was important for them to tell their own story (instead of just reading from a script), which helped convey their passion and determination for brewing. Lastly, I knew that community and faith were both very important to the crew and, in my opinion, is the thing that sets them apart from other brewers. Once I knew the approach that I was taking, it made it easier to decide on the locations to shoot, the questions to ask and the shots that I needed to get.
In total, the project took two days of filming and another seven days of editing. We filmed the interviews on the first day at the future site of Reclamation Brewing Company in Butler, Pennsylvania. The building is mostly empty and the walls and floor are bare, which made a great textured backdrop for the interviews. It was important to show that, despite the failed Kickstarter campaign, progress on the brewery was still being made. The second day of filming took place at their current headquarters in Kittanning, Pennsylvania, which should look familiar to those of you who have seen the documentary. I had already prepared a shot list in advance and knew the look that I wanted thanks to my pre-production work, so both days of filming went smoothly. I’ve learned that it’s not easy to set-up, shoot and tear down when you’re the entire crew, so it’s best to plan your shots in advance.
When establishing my approach, I knew that I wanted to create a very stylized look, which I decided I could create in two ways. First, I wanted to place the camera in unique areas and use slow-motion to achieve a very cinematic feel. Secondly, I wanted to use color and contrast to make the beer and ingredients stand out from the rest of the image. This gave me a great opportunity to try DaVinci Resolve for the first time on an actual project. If you’ve never used DaVinci Resolve, I would highly recommend that you download the Lite version and try it out for yourself. Once I decided how I was going to fit DaVinci Resolve into my workflow, it was surprisingly easy to transcode my Canon H.264 footage to Apple ProRes 422 and begin adding power windows, adjusting luminance values and boosting contrast and saturation levels. I typically shoot with a very flat picture profile (reduced contrast, saturation and sharpness), so this gives me plenty of room to play with when grading the footage. The cinematic feel of the shots and contrasty, saturated look of the images make this video stand out from my previous projects.
I filmed the entire project on my Canon EOS Rebel T3i DSLR (running Magic Lantern) with a Sigma 17-50MM F/2.8 lens. I used the Davis & Sanford Provista 7518 Tripod with FM18 Head and Glide Gear DEV 235 video camera track slider for support. Audio was captured with the Rode NTG2 condenser shotgun microphone and recorded using the TASCAM DR-60D linear PCM recorder. Two Qualite 300 V-2012 focusing flood lights were used along with two Impact LB-QL300 Luxbanx Duo softboxes to light the scene. The video was edited using Adobe Premiere and After Effects CS5.5 and color graded with DaVinci Resolve 10 on an Apple Macbook Pro. If you’re curious about what other equipment was used, you can view my entire equipment list at http://bit.ly/BREquip.
I hope you enjoyed the video and will help support the Reclamation Brewing crew by donating to their Indiegogo campaign. Visit http://igg.me/at/ReclamationBrew for all of the details. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the first two episodes of Building A Brewery.
Building A Brewery: Episode 1 Craft Beer Documentary:
Building A Brewery: Episode 2 Craft Beer Documentary: