Joseph Aguirre Interview - The Making of "The Sartorialist"

Blogger Scott Schuman, aka "The Sartorialist", shares photos from his fashion blog with 70.000 readers a day. More about The Sartorialist here. Joseph Aguirre shot the beautiful 7min piece directed by Tyler Manson. A short documentary about the pioneer of fashion photography in blog form & one of Time Magazine's Top 100 Design Influencers. Joe is a freelance cameraman and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in commercials for Converse, Intel, ESPN, Pepsi, Nike and Microsoft, and in music videos for Lady Gaga, Green Day and The Raconteurs. His documentary film "Next Year Country" (2010) was funded by ITVS’ prestigious Open Call initiative, and won the “Big Sky Award” at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and “Best Film” at DocuWest.

Alex Maragos:

• So Joe, what camera did you use?

Joe Aguirre:

We shot it on Canon 1D mark IV

• What was your camera settings?

We shot mostly at 24p/1920x1080 but there are two shots where we shot 60p/1280x720.

• I'm looking at a certain sepia-tone soft color range, what picture style did you used? How did you color correct it in post?

I started with the "Neutral" profile, then dialed the saturation back one point and the contrast back one point. I also shifted the hue one point towards red. Our colorist was Marshall Plante at Ntropic. In the grading we went for a muted kind of old kodachrome look (photographs of Louise Dahl-Wolfe were a specific reference). So in the grading we added some warmth to the highlights, and added some red/brown to the blacks. There isn't a whole lot you can do with the Canon DSLR footage in grading because it's H.264 so it falls apart pretty quickly if you push things too far. That said, Marshall has an incredible eye and did an excellent job with the final color.

• What was your lens range?

We used four lenses: the Canon 16-35mm zoom and the 70-200mm zoom, as well as the 24mm and 85mm Zeiss ZE primes.

• Did you used any other gear?

I used a basic Redrock Micro rig stripped down, no follow focus, with a Marshall HDMI monitor. We also used some Neutral Density filters in front of lens to keep our aperture open. Sachtler tripod and 20p fluid head for the barber shop footage.

• Was it all handheld? Any stabilizer mount?

Everything on the street was handheld. We had a doorway dolly that I sat on holding the camera for the close ups of him on walking the sidewalk, the tracking stuff was done handheld from a mini van. I think there was one long lens shot where I had the camera resting on a sand bag on the ground, other than that it was either on my shoulder or cradled in "football" mode. The interview footage was shot with the camera on a Sachtler 20p tripod and fluid head.

• What mic did you used for the street shots as well as for the main interview?

We used a local sound guy in New York, he was using a wireless lav as well as a shotgun mic on boom. Not sure about the mic specs.

• Where did you cut the footage?

Tyler cut the film on his home FCP system in four days, not sure about the hardware specs other than to say it's Mac. The color and sound mix were done at separate facilities. (Color by Marshall Plante at Ntropic, sound mix by Woody Woodhall at Allied Post).

• Where in New York did you shot it? Was it all in Manhattan?

The shoot took place in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The material shot with Scott (the Sartorialist) was shot only in Manhattan: the West Village, the Meat Packing district, Chelsea, Chinatown & Soho. A lot of the projections you see at the end of the film were done in Brooklyn. The penultimate shot in the film was shot from the Brooklyn Bridge.

• How was it like working with Scott?

Scott was a pleasure to work with. As a photographer, he's aware of the time and care that it takes to make sure things look right. Often times you need to wait for light, for the sun to clear the clouds, for people to move away or for people to fill up your frame. He understands this and so was very easy going about it. He was also a very good sport about doing things twice and three times when it was needed.

Visit: Joe Aguirre | Tyler Manson

Check: The Sartorialist | Intel Visual Life