The Brouton Stroube "Paintball Office" Photo Shoot
Further Explication from David A. Goldfarb: "The fact-checking team at TOP might want to vet this [note: I haven't —MJ], but I was wondering what this photograph was supposed to be advertising and found the following here, which purports to be a response from Bruton Stroube to a similar query—
"Whatever one thinks of the impressiveness of the results, this was not an unusually expensive production. The image was produced, not for profit, but to use as an invitation to a paintball party we were throwing for some friends and clients. The components of the set already existed from a previous shoot (that, by the way, was profitable) and we simply used our staff to produce the image for the invite. It was quickly done and really was no big deal. We just thought it would be fun to post a movie on it. It was our first effort at posting a production movie and, frankly, I'm surprised at the large reponse we're getting. I guess it's a big world out there. Thanks for your inquiry. Tom" [Tom would be Tom Stringer, the studio manager —MJ]
Featured Comment by David [note: not David Emerick]: "I ran a commercial photography biz for almost twenty years. Dropped out of college to assist and started shooting on my own when I was 23. Shooting multiple elements for assembly was, thank god, a smaller part of my work. However, I did enjoy the challenges that were presented. On film, it was majorly critical to get the lighting, angles, etc. spot on before handing off to the assembler/retoucher. The point of that video...it looked like it was a fun job.
"The commercial business is, for sure, 95% prep. Hard work. The most interesting part of the job is problem solving, and every day is totally different, even if you're shooting on white for outline. The dreariest part of the commercial biz is not shown in that video. The hours sitting at a desk creating proposals, haggling with copyright issues, peripheral crap...especially in today's photo environment. Even with a rep you have to be involved to properly protect your interests. It's the reason I shut down my business—that, and a growing dissatisfaction with spending a lot of hours creating work that usually has a shelf life of a couple of months to a year, stuff that is destined for the circular file.
"Pre-pro details such as: The prop stylist can't find a 50X bigger than life stethoscope for Andre The Giant posing as a Pediatrician for an ad in Physician’s Holiday magazine, So, we have to build one ourselves. I enjoyed this end of the business, pursuing bizarre solutions to quirky problems, doing oddball things to fill my day. Much better than waiting for the boss to lean over my cubicle parapet to say, 'We need to talk about your TPS reports….'
"The one thing that people don't realize when looking into the commercial world is how dirty you get and the incredibly long hours that you have to work. If you leave that set to go home, it can get stale in many ways...you come back the next day and in the most strange ways, things aren't perfect anymore. Most times you have to keep going and it means frequent 12 to 15 hour days and more. I've done many 23 hour day shoots. Crash on the couch, and back at it as soon as the lab is open, looking at snips and test film while scraping crud out of my eyes and gagging on a piece of dried up cheese from the production meeting two days ago.
"I used to marvel at what the retouchers could do with several pieces of film, it was a hands-on art/craft and those guys earned their keep. A lot of the old school guys went out of biz when computers swept in, kind of sad to watch that happen. The younger ones got with the new tech and kept going.
"Not much has changed when shooting those elements destined for assembly. You can fudge a bit with Photoshop but when you take great care and shoot the elements properly, it's fairly easy to make things happen in Photoshop. And that care pays off in creating those seamless illusions. A lot of times the easiest way to make the job successful was to actually shoot it live, in real time—fun to try to choreograph that type of thing.
"I liked the blonde’s hairstyle, very Victoria Beckham, only better!"