How do you shoot a mansion?
When a builder approached me to film his newly built mansion in Richmond BC, I was at first a little apprehensive. I had been less than inspired by the volume of mediocre real estate ‘video walkthrus’ and ‘virtual tours’ that I had seen on just about every realtor’s website in Vancouver. That is not cinematography; that is cookie cutter! That is not what Picture and Color Media is about!
However, he had seen some of my previous work and was adamant that I shoot his home. He spent a lot of time, effort and energy in this project and wanted it properly documented. He was very proud of his work and rightly so — his home was gorgeous.
He shared that he had examined and carefully chosen every single tile, carpet, color and texture that went into the build. No shortcuts were taken. This is an attitude that resonates with me and I wanted very much for my film to do his work justice. He really cared about this… and after speaking with him, so did I.
I took the same measured approach of careful planning, pre visualization, execution and post production that I would do with any human story. When you treat a location like a person and tell a story based on finding that home’s uniqueness and personality and keep those in line with the client’s objectives, that’s when magic happens and you get something with real emotion and feel. This isn’t a wedding, this is a house!
There exists two final cuts of this film. The one above is the shorter ‘theatrical’ version that I prefer to share and there exists a longer more comprehensive cut that included every single room and facility. That one is for archival purposes.
On the tech side, I shot everything on the firmware hacked Panasonic GH1 with the lpowell 44Mbits setting. All footage was native 1080p/24. Lenses used were the Lumix 14-140mm as well as the Lumix 20mm f1.7 pancake. The fast pancake lens was especially helpful in the darker corners of the mansion where natural light was not quite enough and the incandescent lighting did very little.
I am especially happy with the timelapse sequences, where the clouds appear to dance above the home. Another new thing that I’ve never seen anyone else do before in this type of shoot.
The client was extremely happy with the final product and went on to show all his contractors and friends. I was told that he was so proud of this home and so proud of my film that everyone he knew had seen it at least twice! This made me very happy that I had made such an impact and made the extra effort worthwhile.