A Letter From Reid Bangert

By the time this issue lands on your desk, spring will have sprung and summer will be only weeks away. And as Summer heats up, I encourage everyone who reads this to take a break. As we all know, this industry is full of late nights, early mornings, and 80 hour weeks that can take a toll on both the body and the mind. At Northpass, we encourage our team to take as much time off as they can when they can, because overdrive mode is always a phone call or email away.

This spring, we’ve definitely been in overdrive. We’ve finished out a second edit suite to facilitate our ever-increasing post schedule, shot projects from Los Angeles to rural Arkansas and added brands like Cargill, Gatorade, Keurig and NAPA AUTOPRO to our reel. As we grow, we continue to stick to our guns, delivering the highest quality content at the best possible price - we’ve been calling it our no bull approach.

On The Matter Of Equipment

By Kurt Bangert

Around here there’s no doubt that we see the talent behind the lens as the key factor in delivering superior results. But I believe there are pieces of equipment that inspire better results just by their inherent design.

For me, one of those pieces of equipment is the Leica M series camera. The M is virtually unchanged in its basic operation for over 60 years. The current digital models operate exactly like the first M3 of the mid-50’s, manual focus, manual exposure, optical range finder, and exceptionally quiet shutter. Not only will you find a 1956 M3 and a 2016 M262 very similar in-hand, and every M lens made will work with every M camera built, all functioning exactly as designed. Pretty incredible, and certainly unique in today’s photographic world.

There’s something special about these cameras. If you pick any specific parameter to compare against other currently available cameras, you’ll find that in most cases, the other brand will be technically superior in that given area (and probably many), but somehow, the individual functions and features pale when you consider the qualities of the whole.

For me, the traits that make an M special is that it engages you in the process of photography and the Leica lenses deliver a unique rendering of the photo you make. Instead of pushing a shutter release and letting the camera do the rest, you must manually set shutter speed, aperture, and focus, finally releasing the shutter. Only then does the camera make the image that you envisioned. You have to think. If you blow an image, it’s your fault. Period. But when you get it all right, the results can be divine. Frankly, with practice, you’d be ecstatically happy with the majority of photos made with an M and there will always be those ones that got away. An M keeps you honest, and that is what allows you to be deeply engaged with the process of making a photograph, a very satisfying place to be.

Is the M the best camera for all assignments? Not at all. Is it the best camera in the world? That’s a subjective matter to be decided by only you. All I know is that shooting an M is gratifying and engaging. Many of the photos you see in our Quarterlies are captured with an M, some are shot on our RED cameras and others on our medium format Pentax.

All have their place
here at Northpass, but
the M, that’s special.

Access Passport | Animation

By Luke Englert

When Access Forms asked Northpass to create an animation for an upcoming convention, we jumped at the opportunity. I was especially excited as character animation is my forte.

As it was for a convention, it needed to be eye-catching and funny. The main props were a vacuum pipe, a claw, a rocket, a robot and a drone. Each being different types of physical paper form delivery. The last prop is key as they were giving away drones at their booth. Because this would include propcomedy I looked to old cartoons for inspiration. Primarily utilizing quick movements, on-point facial reactions and stylized character forms.

The animation of the main character, Access Bob as we like to call him, we kept simple. His movements primarily focused on handing forms to the different props. By keeping him in the same position within frame, it allows the audience to focus more on the props failing and the hero’s facial reactions.

The setting is an old 70’s era office, to fit the theme of the old way of doing things. I used the existing brand identity as a base for the color palette and type treatment, as noted by the Access greens and blue for the wallpaper and other objects throughout the video. As each scene progresses the office area gets trashed with the finale being the drone burning what remains in the old office. All that is left are the charred remains of the office and the forms in Access Bob’s hand.

At this point, the “Access Passport” logo is introduced. It magically turns the forms in the hero’s hand into an ipad simultaneously changing the setting into a clean, modern office space. Effectively solving the problem of form delivery, thus ridding the need of excess forms. Don’t forget the touch of magic particles.

My favorite part about this animation was taking classic cartoons as inspiration to create a practical piece. The practical message being that it’s best to update to a more accessible digital form delivery system rather than risk physical forms being destroyed. Moving from physical papers to digital really transports a business into the modern day and I feel this video is a good, maybe just a little exaggerated, representation of that.

Gatorade | Sweat To Success

By Northpass Media

We’re excited to be the first team to deliver video to a new ad platform developed by Instagram. Gatorade was selected as the first brand to launch and their agency VML was tasked with developing the creative for a four part video ad carousel. Cool.

The challenge was that the project had a short time frame and severe schedule constraints. Fortunately the VML team had done their job very well, our treatment for the project aligned with their creative, and we were off. The entire Northpass team went into overdrive, pulling together production and post crew, scouting, securing a location, developing a shot list, building a schedule plus all the other details needed to make some magic. Good thing we eat pressure for breakfast, and good thing we have Director Matt Blume who had the vision to develop the plays and deliver the win.

 
 

What did we have to work with? One night, 8 hours, whatever weather would come, three days for initial footage review, color, layback and delivery. All this happened in less than seven total days. At the end of the all-night production, we were exhausted, but it was that good kind of exhaustion that comes with work well done.

So how did it turn out? Click here to watch the series.

NAPA Autopro | Car Enablers

By Northpass Media

This project took our team to Los Angeles to create broadcast spots for NAPA’s Canadian subsidiary AUTOPRO. Whenever a production team has a location away from home, it poses additional logistical challenges. In this case, our experience shooting all over North America and Senior Producer Melissa Willis’ contacts made this job fluid. But just like any professional operation, it may seem easy, but it’s only years of experience and critical attention to detail that make it that way.

Aside from the logistical challenges, the task was to create two broadcast :30’s and two :15’s in one ten hour day of production. Since these spots are for the Canadian market, there were two different principal on-camera talent, in order to deliver both English and Canadian French versions.

As with all the projects we take on, our team pulled together to make it a success. With Director Reid Bangert’s vision and Assistant Director Tres Falls keeping production on track, we completed shooting one minute ahead of schedule and delivered the footage our client was promised.

We shot entirely with our RED Epic on a Steadicam rig operated by none other than Andy Shuttleworth, the man responsible for the longest single Steadicam shot that famously opened the movie Boogie Nights (that’s worth googling by the way). Andy was brilliant and quickly formed a strong bond with Reid that produced the shots he planned with the efficiency that comes with dedication to craft and professionalism.

In the end, we had a lot of fun shooting, editing and finishing these spots. Our hats are off to everyone involved, we couldn’t have done it without you.

Click here to watch the spots.