On Assignment – Super Fast Session For Super Fast Video Editing

Magisto CEOs, Oren Boiman and Alex Rav-AchaMagisto is one of them cool companies who have an idea that is very simple on one hand, yet quite complex on the other.

They promise to eat your videos (600 Megabytes at a time) and spit out a refined one minute of awesome, fine edited video that cuts in the good stuff and leaves out all the boring stuff.

So the premise is simple, give us your videos, we’ll give you something worth sharing.

So yesterday late evening I got a call asking if I could take a CEO portrait of Oren Boiman and Alex Rav-Acha the co-founders of Magisto. I go “Sure!”

And we need them by tomorrow 10 AM so the local press can use them. “Sure!”

But you can only start shooting at 9. <pause>… OK.

Oh, and we want to have a grungy feeling, so please take it in a car shop or something. <longer pause>…

And we also need head shots!

A short time check showed that for meeting the harsh deadline, I can only shoot for 10 minutes. Sadly, no shops were open that time of evening, so all had to be done tomorrow (which is today).

Scouting For Location

Luckily for me Magisto is one of them garage companies. They are located at the center of an industrial area so I figured I’d get there early and find a shop.

With only 10 minutes for the shoot, I had to make sure the location was secured and that lights were setup before the CEOs got there. It helps if you know what you’re looking for and if you can clearly explain it to the shop manager. I wanted a place where I can show some interaction between the two CEOs and have a nice wall for the head shots.

This is why arriving early matters. After checking a few shops we found just what we needed, a small radiator shop with lots of tools hanging on the back wall. I find that it help to chat a bit before asking for permission and then explain what you are about to do, and perhaps give out a credit business card, just to show you’re legit, you know…


The challenge in that shot was to setup in a way that allowed me to take the double portrait, tear down and move for the headshots in under ten minutes. (While lagging equipment between shops on the scouting stage).

I wanted as easy setup that we can tear down fast and move to doing the headshots. I used an SB800 with a Westcott collapsible umbrella.

Ambient read was 1/10 at F/6.3 ISO 800.I know that the D300 can carry ISO 800 as far as noise goes. I dropped two stops to get some fill and background light.

On Assignment - Super Fast Session For Super Fast Video Editing

Gelled the strobe with a 1/4 CTO for skin tones and was ready to shoot. Wait a second! How do you measure light with no one around and have it right for when the folks appear? Enter, paint bucket.

An old bucket is just the thing that I needed to grab a reading from. Actually, any object would do, as long as you remember to compensate for its color. The bucket was white so I was not over excited with the blinking burnt spots on the screen. What I did see is that the CEO who would sit closer to the strobe would get way more light.

On Assignment - Super Fast Session For Super Fast Video Editing

The solution to that was to turn the strobe so the main beam went to the far guy, while the closer guy was more skimmed by the light than getting hit directly. Here is the same image from the top of the post, only a bit bigger, click on it for a an even bigger view.

Magisto CEOs, Oren Boiman and Alex Rav-Acha

On Assignment - Super Fast Session For Super Fast Video Editing

Taking The Headshots

We quickly setup the same light stand against a bare wall close by and used the same umbrella and again gelled the flash.

On Assignment - Super Fast Session For Super Fast Video Editing

On Assignment - Super Fast Session For Super Fast Video Editing

Editing & Delivery

Getting the images on time was crucial, and after about ten minutes of shooting I got back in the car.

Small 500pxs wide samples were uploaded to dropbox for selection, 3 finals were chosen, edited and placed in dropbox again. I love using dropbox for those kinda of things. Probably one of the faster ways to move files around. Made it till 10:00 and made the news cutoff time.

If you wanna learn a bit more about Magisto, both Techcrunch and Engadget have a short segment on them.

My Takeaways

  • Always arrive early!
  • If time is an issue go for simple.
  • When nice to folk, they will be nice back. See garage manager for example.