Majorca Master Class

I recently attended the Master Class with Philip Bloom, Sebastian Wiegärtner and Nino Leitner on the Beautiful Island of Majorca. I came to this workshop for a few reasons. 1st, I’m still learning – have so much to learn and wanted to learn from guys who’s work I admire. 2nd, My assistant, Wendy, thought I would benefit from the experience and recommended I make the trip. 3rd, I will always take the time to network and I will go out of my way to do so. 4th, It’s Majorca, Spain. Gorgeous.

The real delight in attending this three day workshop was the challenge of making a short film. From concept to completion in 24 hours. You can see our completed film here :

I learned a ton from this experience.. mostly as I did some things I wouldn’t normally do. First, I was “in” the movie and most of the time had no camera (other than my iphone) in my hand. This was hard for me to do as I’m normally a “fly on the wall” BTS, one man operator who keeps out of the way of others doing their job. Secondly, I was elected to be the “Director” which I also don’t normally do and is out of my comfort zone. I thought it more appropriate and effective that all group members get a chance to direct and I opted for the group director title of “The Breakfast Club” as we all contributed to the directing of this video.

Nino Kharabadze, aka Nino the Georgian, is stunningly beautiful, wonderfully creative and a thrill to work with. I will be happy to say years from now I was fortunate enough to share the screen with Nino K as I’m quite certain the world will be seeing more of her. She’s a very talented actress and absolutely knows how to work the camera.

It was a real pleasure to work with a very talented and driven, Director of Photography, Michael Kromschroeder. I tend to work quick and dirty and most of my pre-visualization work I’ve done in the past is very “guerilla”. So it was thrilling to see someone take the time to create beautiful shots. In different circumstances, I would crack the whip a bit differently but under the workshop settings I thought it best to keep things light and keep things fun. I think we did that. Working with Michael re-confirmed something I take to heart. Those that do it, just do it!

Coco Van Oppens is a very talented photographer and I was thrilled to put my 5D into her capable hands. Collectively, Coco and I shot nearly 200 BTS shots running over 4 hours. I do hope she learned a few things about shooting with a 5D.

Michael Treutler is a very delightful guy with a lovely sense of humor who kept the entire group moving along and most certainly set the pace for the project by providing the music selection Juan Serrano »Entre Olas« .. Once I heard the track, things rolled easily.

Gary S, was a member of our group but was a bit on the sideline for personal reasons. I was, however, fortunate to spend some time with him “on the beach” and will be thrilled to cross his path again should he ever “Go West”!

On most video productions I’ve been around, regardless of the final product, I find Behind the Scenes video (BTS) to be more interesting than the final product itself. I preach BTS to most people I come across and in recent days it has provided me some interesting shoots. I had been selected by Philip to be editor and team leader of my group as I both carry a powerbook and have editing skills. But, in recent days I’ve been determined to learn a new workflow using Adobe Premiere CS5.5 and no longer wish to push Final Cut Pro and therefore wouldn’t learn much myself by editing someone else’s camera work using FCP. When I arrived sunday morning, I thought it best that Michael and Michael push out the final film as they are quite capable. I was confident they could handle the edit and did a wonderful job on the final film! For me, I saw the challenge in editing the BTS footage using CS5.5 and thought it would be more beneficial to have both a short film and BTS and have them both completed by 5pm. We did that. I’m proud that I rolled thru 200+ shots (most of which I did not shoot) in a short period of time and created a 15 minute cut, then a 5 minute cut. I think you get a better sense of the environment we found ourselves in and for those that did not have the opportunity to attend the class, see the value in shooting while you shoot. It was a lot of fun and I hope the “fun” factor shows. I did not grade the BTS. I don’t think it needs it.

Check out my BTS edit here:

Thanks to my group, The Breakfast Club: Nino Kharabadze, Michael Treutler, Michael Kromschroeder, Coco Van Oppens, and Gary “Orange Shoes” S. It was my pleasure to meet and work with all of you! Thanks to Nino and Sebastian for their recent support. I’m certain our paths will cross again!

A very special thanks to Philip Bloom for taking the time to help our group out “late night”. You’ve inspired me greatly the last several months and it was a real pleasure to work with you in a production setting. A little “hand holding” goes a long way. Always a delight to cross paths with you!

An extra special thank you to my assistant and friend, Wendy, for her advice and support. You rock!

-Ben Pieper
June 19, 2011
Majorca Master Class 2011
With Philip Bloom, Sebastian Wiegärtner and Nino Leitner


8 thoughts on “Majorca Master Class

  1. Hi Ben I enjoyed reading about your experiences! You guys did a great job on the film and the amount of time put into this shines through! I really should start doing more BTS on my own stuff from now as well. It really is worth the effort , as you’ve shown.


  2. Hey Ben. Loved reading your piece and appreciate your heart felt words. LOVED working with your 5D very different to The EX1 specially for BTS ….200 clips in 4 hours ouch 🙂 Have a great journey and keep in touch let us know where you are and what you shooting. Hasta la Vista x

    1. Thank you, Coco. Certainly is possible to overshoot BTS and then do nothing with it. I find CS5.5 to be good at clearing thru lots of footage fast. No way I’d 422 convert all of that using FCP. Hasta que nuestro próximo encuentro!


  3. Ben! Immensely enjoyed reading your entry. I am so exhilarated by your kind words, will have to mop myself off the floor now, I’ve also melted…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s