Green Bay, Wisconsin
Image © Steve Mason
Mirna Valero: Ultra Runner Ambassador for Merrell
First Place – Video
ASMP: What was your inspiration for taking this video?
Steve Mason: The project we were hired for was to shoot, in motion and stills, the experiences and perspective of Merrell’s featured brand ambassadors. This was an ongoing project to showcase all the ambassadors to advance Merrell’s product line through individual stories of inspiration, empowerment and accomplishment. This winning edit represents a shorter version of the five-minute final edit that was presented to Merrell and was featured as marketing efforts online, in retail stores, and as direct to consumer advertising campaigns.
ASMP: What type of setting do you prefer?
SM: Any one that provides me good light and a compelling story to tell. Both of which we had on this project shot in Georgia during the spring.
ASMP: Is there anything unique about your style or approach?
SM: Over the last six years I have been partnering with a DP out of New York (Taylor Scott Mason) to shoot the motion components for all our commercial clients. We specialize in providing motion and stills shot concurrently with one team, one Director, and one creative direction. The resulting content has visual/creative continuity across all the assets we deliver to our clients. It puts me in many roles: Photographer, Director, and Creative lead, but it’s something that has worked well with the location and lifestyle advertising work I’m most comfortable shooting.
ASMP: What type of lighting did you use for this video?
SM: Mostly we rely on natural light for everything. Searching for the best light during a limited shooting window is always the biggest challenge. When we do have to light it’s most always hot lights since we need a continuous source for both motion and still to be compatible on a single set.
ASMP: How long have you been shooting this type of photography?
SM: Motion and stills contained in a single set and crew have been happening, as mentioned, for about six years, but I have been shooting stills commercially for over 30 years. The shift into motion has been challenging, but incredibly rewarding as well. It’s pushed my skills as a storyteller and as a consequence has made me a stronger stills photographer too.
ASMP: When did you join ASMP and what do you find most valuable about your membership?
SM: When I joined 30 years ago it was default association for professional photographers and still is in my option today. Support and education are the driving motivators to my continued membership.
ASMP: What kind of gear do you use?
SM: For motion, this was a two-camera shoot. As primary camera a Canon C300 on stabilization for movement and close up work. Then another C300 on sticks with a longer lens to capture B-roll and the details to allow us something to cut against in the final edit.
ASMP: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started your career as a photographer/videographer?
SM: The toll that travel can have on your personal life.
That the time spent shooting is a minuscule slice of the bigger picture.
And that your aptitude for business is what will ultimately define your career and its trajectory.
ASMP: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your work? Go ahead, surprise us with something unique and unusual.
SM: My DP is also my 35 years old son who first started as a summer assistant for me, at age ten, as a way to spend time with this father who was spending 180 days a year on the road shooting commercially. It’s the reason I’m still enthusiastically still in the visual arts and the place where I learn the most each project. Partnering with a younger creative like my son is the height of visual collaboration for me.