Derek Shapton Envisions “Possibility” for United Way

by Alex Beetham on December 19, 2014

What you are about to witness, was created with only still images from Derek Shapton, and “a little bit” of post production magic from one talented individual.  Observe:

I’ll answer your question before you ask.  That gorgeous technique you just witnessed is named the “Parallax Technique.”  From Mr. Shapton:

“In essence, and without giving too much away, the Parallax method is a way of using various digital transforms, effects, and animations to breathe light, life, and a sense of depth into a series of still photographs.”

For more insight into the day, and to learn more about the Parallax technique, Derek has assembled some words up on his blog.  Here’s who had a hand in creating this piece:

Client:  United Way
Agency:  TAXI
C0-Director / DOP:  Derek Shapton
Co-Director / Post Production: Joe Fellows / Make Productions
Producer:  Phaedra Kennedy
Creative Director: Steve Mykolyn
Copywriter: Jake Bogoch
Art Director:  Yuko Brown
Broadcast Producer: Nicole Poon
Print Production Director: Sharon Govang
Stylist:  Cheryl Thompson
Assistants:  Jon Brown, Gabe Nivera, Peter Olson
Production Company: Westside Studio

A few looks into the shoot days snapped by producer Phaedra:


Gabe with flawless typing form on the left, and the ol’ location laptop huddle on the right.


Derek capturing hoop angle variations.


Shoot essentials: Good coffee, Sugar. Shoot Bonuses: Working lunch patio pints & beers.


Derek caught this moment between shots. A trio of assistants, and one post production magician.

And while we’re on the topic of Derek Shapton, are you acquainted with his alter-ego Thunder_Pino?  I’d suggest you give him a follow.  Here are a few of his observations from the scout & shoot days:

Thunder_Pino_Assembled“Possibility” Video © Derek Shapton
BTS Images © Phaedra Kennedy & Derek Shapton
Thunder_Pino © Derek Shapton

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    Toyota’s 2015 Camry got #Hoedlized.

    by Alex Beetham on December 12, 2014

    1.   To experience a Frank Hoedl set, generally containing a minimum crew of 20, at least 2 cube trucks crammed with gear, bi-tubes rigged higher than any one light stand can handle, and quality espresso. Example: “Oh man,  today I had to figure out how to rig a window light 3 stories up during a mild hurricane… totally got Hoedlized!”

    The experience of a Frank Hoedl shoot has become that of legend in Toronto photo circles.  He and his team work long, hard days (and nights) to bring his images to life.  But after one look at the final product, it’s immediately worth the effort.  This gorgeous campaign for example, just went live for the 2015 Toyota Camry:

    2964 TCi-14-143C 10x11.5.pd2964 TCi-14-142A 10x11.43.pd2964 TCi-14-141A 10x11.43.pd

    Allow me to introduce one of Westside’s long time producers John Stevancec, to break down Frank’s latest campaign with Toyota!

    Once again, Fridays seem to be the day clients call us to make campaigns come to life for them with very tight deadlines.  They obviously know we are always up for that challenge here at Westside!  Joel Arbez from Saatchi & Saatchi had three very impressive layouts for Frank Hoedl to work on for the new 2015 Toyota Camry.  The only issue was they needed to be produced and Shot in 1 week… No problem! We basically scouted over the weekend, Monday was a tech scout with Frank Hoedl, Joel Arbez, Brian Joe (our location scout), and myself.  We looked at various locations that day, made some executive decisions, then sent the client some  recommendations later that evening.  Tuesday we waited for client approvals, but had to start the permit process anyways that morning because it would never have gotten done in time otherwise!  We were really happy our client was onboard with the recommends, as they finally approved the locations on Thursday morning! Good thing we took the initiative to start the process right away!

    Our first Day was shot in Northern Ontario on some amazing roads, that was fun, but near the end of the shoot Coyotes were getting closer and closer to us, a little too eerie in a dark forest in the middle of nowhere and I’m not kidding!

    Comp #1 copy

    Left to Right: The cube truck convoy taking over a Northern Ontario highway, crew watching fog applications, & assistant Gabe Nivera keeping cameras dry.

    Day 2 was going to be, quite literally, a day at the beach, but Joel wanted it to look like snow had just started falling and our talent was running towards the lake for a quick dip! No problem, once again! We had dressed the set with fake snow, had snow cannons for falling snow, and our talent was actually quite warm in their swim suits that day. It was about 15 degrees celsius which was quite the surprise for all of us at the end of October! We got lucky with weather once again! (editors note: *Knock wood*.)

    Comp #2

    Assistant John Wayne Brown keeping tabs on a bi-tube (on a grip arm, in c-stand, in a sky-high), a look back into the set, and an additional angle of the talent on the move.

    Day 3 was shot in Kensington Market, as you know it’s a very busy location with so much happening there at any given time, but throwing in a large production stills shoot, hero car on the road, 20 talent, set dressing, lighting, generators, Police officers, Wardrobe stylists, Prop Stylists, 6 Photo Assistants, and interesting shop owners, the day went very smoothly, and that’s why they hired us in the first place!

    Comp #3

    Frank looking thrilled that his picture is being taken, and a look at setting up shop in the middle of Kensington Market.

    Frank did his magic once again as you can see, the final ads are quite beautiful!  A big special thanks to our crew who worked endless hours, it was fun!

    Lets do it again!

    – John Stevancec, Producer

    Client: Toyota
    Agency:  Saatchi & Saatchi
    Photographer:  Frank Hoedl
    Producer:  John Stevancec
    Executive Creative Director:  Brian Sheppard
    Group Creative Director:  Joel Arbez
    Senior Account Executive:  Kat Ledgett
    Assistants:  Bryan Ulrich, Abe Roberto, Jon Wayne Brown, Gabe Nivera, Peter Olson, Logan Allmendinger
    Casting:  Milo Casting

    Photographer Frank Hoedl shares a great tip for location scouting (ask the locals!), and other insights into this campaign:

    The very tight timeline turned out to be a great motivator and led to my discovery of the best road I think I’ve ever driven in Ontario.  Hwy 13, Southwood Rd, between Hwy 11 and 169 near Bala.  While on my way to another potential location, I stopped at a Motorcycle shop and asked the local mechanic which were the best roads for riding.  He was right about the road.  The beach execution allowed me to discover the beaches on Lake Eerie and drive my 4×4 on the sand.  I had the best espresso in Toronto, in recent memory, in Kensington Market at Casa Acoreana Cafe, the corner of Baldwin & Augusta.  All my locations from now on will hopefully be within 100 ft of a coffee shop.

    Sure the timelines were crazy and yes, we got a car stuck on a beach briefly.  Yes, the locations were approved before we got their permission but we got it done!  As usual, the team at Westside led by John the producer, performed above and beyond the call of duty.  The Toyota job was fun because of the people involved, and the team at Saatchi were great to work with.   – Frank

    All Images © Frank Hoedl
    BTS Images © John Stevancec, Abe Roberto


      Vicky sizes up Bayer

      by Alex Beetham on December 3, 2014

      Vicky Lam dusted off her writing chops to give you a first hand look into one of her recent assignments. Take it away Vicky!

      I feel like I’ve had my fair share of shooting miniature scenes over the years so I was delighted when the team at MacLaren McCann approached me to work on a unique project for Bayer Crop Sciences.  Miniatures are always fun to shoot, exploring the different ways of bringing life to tiny characters.  However it’s also because of the miniature size that makes it challenging too.  The slightest movements make the biggest differences.  Thankfully, I had help from prop builder extraordinaire, Jamie Oxenham to create our tiny construction team and stylist, Christina Yan, to build our landscape of bread.

      Here are a few shots from our shoot and how it all came together.

      To give a sense of scale, each figure is about 2-3 cm tall and was custom made based off of moulds and altered for body positioning. Each piece was then carefully hand painted!

      BTS comp1

      Our construction site consisted of breads from all over the world.  It was carb overload at the end of the shoot day.


      Our little figures hard at work:


      Stylist Christina Yan, and assistant Christa Guia carefully start slicing down the the baguette tower for the construction workers:

      IMG_6824 IMG_6834

      And here is the final ad:

      10244195-BCS 6.875x10-4C.indd

      Concepts like this are always fun to shoot, and it is what keeps me excited about studio photography.  This shoot was even more of a surprise when I realized that the ad would appear in National Geographic magazine!  As a studio, still life photographer, I never imagined any of my work would ever appear in National Geographic magazine.  I’ve always thought of National Geographic to be a staple of top notch photojournalism and the best of the best of wildlife photography.  Ok, so maybe I didn’t shoot a story for National Geographic, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel just a little giddy at the idea of even appearing in a global publication.  And it was all thanks to Bayer and MacLaren McCann for giving me the opportunity to do so. – Vicky

      Client: Bayer Crop Science
      Agency: MacLaren McCann
      AD: Steven Davenport
      Prop builder: Jamie Oxenham
      Prop stylist: Christina Yan
      Photography producer: Phaedra Kennedy
      Assistants: Rebecca Leach and Christa Guia
      Retouching: Robyn Nowoczin
      All Images & BTS © Vicky Lam


        Dave + Yoga Pants + ??? = Profit

        by Alex Beetham on December 2, 2014

        We’re thrilled here at Westside to have Dave Delnea join us full time in Toronto. A few differences from Vancouver: Less mountains, more snow, and a far superior hockey team.  But that goes without saying…

        Dave recently reunited with a familiar client, and created some new lifestyle work for Lululemon.


        Wet, cold and muddy… perfect for a day on location.

        We were back at it with the crew from Lululemon last month on the west coast.  A change from our past yoga and running shoots, we were able to have some fun scrambling around a few Squamish rock faces in a rain storm.

        Most of my talent direction ended with “… and try not to fall off the cliff”!  - Dave


        I’m pretty sure this sign means that you should try and reach for the giant floating “R” above all cliff edges as a last ditch effort as the ground gives way under you.

        BTS compAll Images & BTS © Dave Delnea

        Stay tuned for more from Dave & team!


          Joey L takes focus on Canon L Series Lenses

          by Alex Beetham on November 27, 2014

          It’s a rare full circle moment when the a leading manufacturer rings you up to create ads for the tools you use on a daily basis.  This is exactly what happened when Joey L was approached by the fine folk at DentsuBos & Canon, to create the latest print campaign for the legendary L-series lenses.  Here’s a look at the final images, layouts, and a few words from Joey.


          Fortress of Solitude.

          Retoucher Nick Leadlay’s mobile fortress of solitude.

          Working on the Canon L Series photoshoot was a crazy whirlwind that greatly challenged everyone involved. Any advertisement shot on set was going directly to print in less than 10 days, and going to be seen by thousands (potentially millions?) of people. After shooting a setup, we chose our final image selects right then and there with Dentsubos and Canon, and our retoucher Nick Leadlay began the retouching process immediately on set. No time for second thoughts!  Nick had built a little computer-fort out of V-Flats and set up shop not too far away from the action so we could walk over to his hideaway and give him notes.The photo team would move on to shooting the next setup, and the process would continue like that over 3 days until all the final advertisements were finished. I might sound crazy, but I actually kind of liked this workflow, because it kept us on our tippytoes and when the job was wrapped, everything was already completed and in the can. Sometimes the retouching process can drag out over months, so it was refreshing to simply be done, dust off your hands, and walk away, and hopefully get some sleep finally.And of course, as the shoot was for Canon L series, those were the only lenses we used for the actual shoot, which is not really a departure from my regular kit. – Joey L

          Here’s a look at the final image pairings, with original crops from Joey:

          Final Comp #1

          Final Comp #3

          Final Comp #2

          Photographer:  Joey L
          Client:  Canon
          Agency: Dentsu Bos
          Art Director:  Kyle Scotland
          Producer:  Kirsten White
          On Set Retoucher:  Nick Leadlay
          Stylists:  Marie Eve Tremblay
          Hair & Make Up: Lisa Vella
          Assistants: Jesse Korman, Caleb Adams, Rebecca Leach, Adi Saciragic, Eryn Wind

          Here’s a look into what happens behind the camera to make these images possible.  From Joey’s GoPro’s:


          From the phone of producer Kirsten White:


          Images © Joey L
          BTS © Joey L & Kirsten White


            Ford + Toronto Maple Leafs = A Chris Gordaneer Special

            by Alex Beetham on November 25, 2014

            Sure there’s always death and taxes, but here are two more certainties in this life –  Chris Gordaneer will always be a Leafs fan, and he will always drive a Ford. This made Chris an ideal candidate to photograph die hard leaf fans that, like Ford says, go further.

            LeafsYearbookBarber LeafsYearbookTattoo LeafsYearbookWedding

            Client: Ford
            Agency: Blue Hive
            Photographer: Chris Gordaneer
            Art Director: Marc Caringal
            Producer: Kirsten White
            Assistants: Brendan Smyth, John Wayne Brown, Adi Saciragic, Paul Swanson
            Tattoo Artists: Maddalena Ruggiero & Alex Richarson
            MUAH: Taylor Savage
            Wardrobe: Marie Eve Tremblay
            Prop Stylist: James Kennedy

            Here’s a look at Chris’s final images, uncropped and outside of the final ad layout:


            Producer Kirsten White was good enough to snap these BTS shots of Chris channelling his inner bride:

            Kirsten BTS Comp1

            Tattoo artists Maddalena & Alex had our talent under their markers for a full a day to create this custom back piece.  First assistant Brendan Smyth snapped these BTS shots:

            Brendan BTS Comp2

            All Images © Chris Gordaneer
            All BTS Images © Kirsten White & Brendan Smyth


              Vicky + Paper + inBusiness = Profit

              by Alex Beetham on November 12, 2014

              November 11th is a day of significance for many.  First off it being Remembrance day – a day in honour of the soldiers who fought and perished in the many wars past and present.  On a lighter note, it is also international Pocky day (or also known as Peppero day) which happens to also be my favourite snack of all time.  But little did I know that it is also Origami day, which brings me to reflect upon one of my shoots from earlier this year.  Although it isn’t truly origami, it still involved some meticulous paper craft and design.  I was asked by art director, Erik Mohr, to illustrate a story for Globe and Mail’s quarterly publication, InBusiness magazine.  Innovation was the theme of this issue, featuring Canadian companies that are the frontrunners in their respective fields.

              This meant that I also had to be innovative in my approach to illustrate five very different companies and create a series that would tie them all together.  Erik had mentioned the idea of exploring paper illustrations. So, it only seemed fitting for me to call Kyosuke Nishida and Dominic Liu of Studio Toki. I’ve collaborated with Studio Toki before on other paper based projects, so I knew they would be the perfect fit for this one.  With their design savvy and eye for detail, we were able to come up with a series of original, 3D paper illustrations.

              It took a lot of brainstorming, sketches, construction, problem solving and a bit of MacGyver to make it all happen.  Although the process was sometimes painstaking and challenging, seeing our ideas transform into a tangible form was really rewarding.  Not to mention, we were left with awesome and cute little paper sculptures afterwards!

              Here is a glimpse into our pre-shoot process with some sketches from Studio Toki:


              Here are the final paper illustrations representing Canadian companies with innovative business approaches:

              Pebble Smart Watch:

              Silicon Sisters Interactive:

              David’s Tea:

              Freed & Freed International :

              A.F. Theriault & Son:

              And finally the opening image –  a structure a bit inspired by M.C. Escher’s surreal drawings:

              Many thanks to Erik Mohr for the unique assignment and also to Kyosuke and Dominic for helping to bring this idea to life!

              Client:  inBusiness Magazine
              Art Director: Erik Mohr
              Paper design and construction: Studio Toki  - Dominic Liu and Kyosuke Nishida
              Photography interns: Christa Guia & Kate Ince

              A look behind the scenes:

              photo 4

              photo 2-1

              photo 5

              photo 3-2



                Matt takes on Movember with Campbell’s Chunky

                by Alex Beetham on November 4, 2014

                Campbell’s just launched their Movember Chunky campaign, which was shot by our very own Mr. Barnes! It looks a little something like this:

                Matt Barnes - Hockey Matt Barnes - Hoser Matt Barnes - lumberjack

                Agency: Real Interactive
                Art Director: Kelly Small
                Photographer: Matt Barnes
                Producer: Tara O’Malley
                Assistant: Gabe Nivera, Lori Waltenburi
                Hair & Makeup: Sandra Yang
                Food Stylist: LeeAnne Wright

                Check’em out on Campbell’s Movember page!

                Campbell's Movember Landing Page


                  Vicky joins the Commonwealth

                  by Alex Beetham on October 14, 2014

                  It’s a rarity for a band to stick it out for over 2 years these days.  How about 2 decades, with it’s original members no less?  It’s also a rarity to hear of bands composed of 4 song writers, all given equal share of the creative pie.  This kind of democracy lends itself to a very fitting 11th studio album title for the Halifax born Sloan:  Commonwealth.  The honour of photographing the album artwork for this record, was given to our very own Vicky Lam.

                  I was really excited when I heard I would be photographing Sloan’s LP cover art.  I have never had any work appear on a record before, and the idea of doing so for a great Canadian group like Sloan really made me feel happy.  As a still life shooter, I’m so used to working alone in a dark studio, so I was really excited to know that Chris Murphy and Jay Ferguson from Sloan would be there in person.  Perhaps I was even a little starstruck by the idea.  However, when the shoot day came by and I met Chris and Jay, they turned out to be the nicest and most laid back guys ever! I was even more impressed when I learned that they usually have a hand in designing all of their album art.  This one was not an exception.  It was neat to learn that each item was carefully hand picked by the band members themselves and all have personal significance and history. It’s a great feeling to know that the guys from Sloan take so much care not only in their music, but all the smaller details too. And it’s probably the reason why they’ve held such a successful and ongoing musical career for the last 20+ years.

                  If you look closely, you’ll notice all the items tie in to the song titles.  Can you spot them?




                  Jay Ferguson, putting the finishing touches on his carefully thought out composition.


                  You can read what other people think about Commonwealth, (Noisy, Pitchfork, COS,) but might I suggest you pick yourself up a copy on iTunes/Amazon, or give it a streamy listen for yourself!

                  Here’s a little trip down Sloan discography lane…


                    IN PRINT | Tyler Feels the Passion

                    by Alex Beetham on October 9, 2014

                    paSH-uh n/
                    1. strong and barely controllable emotion.
                      “a man of impetuous passion”
                      a state or outburst of strong emotion.
                      “oratory in which he gradually works himself up into a passion”
                      synonyms: (blind) rage, fit of anger/temper, temper, towering rage, tantrumfury,frenzy

                      “he worked himself up into a passion”


                    2. finding the right Scion for you
                      Middle English: from Old French, from late Latin passio(n-) (chiefly a term in Christian theology), from Latin pati ‘suffer.’

                      Use over time for: passion

                    From the desk of Tyler Gray:

                    One of the coolest things about working in adverting is that the surprises are never ending.  I mentioned it in one of my last posts that hearing my email ding and opening a PDF full of layouts is like Christmas morning over and over again.  Vic Bath at DentsuBos now has the unique distinction of sending me my first layout where a guy had an octopus stuck to the side of his face.  Yep, an octopus.  John and I were out in Los Angeles shooting when this came through and had some pretty good laughs with Vic about how we were going to pull this shot off.  We looked at prop options in Hollywood and were both amazed at how detailed and believable some of the options were.  We hummed and hawed over getting a live one and just throwing it at our talents’ face when he wasn’t looking, we discussed a dead one and we even discussed CGI.  In the end, we decided to go with the live option.  We named him Billy and he now lives and works with Lindsey at front reception.  He’s really good at answering phones and typing. (Editors note: Lindsey also really appreciates Billy’s suckers as an alternative to licking the postage stamps.)

                    Big thanks to Vic and Ryan at DentsuBos for the opportunity to work on this.  Oh and an even bigger thanks to our client Mary at Scion for introducing the movie frozen to my Kids that day.  **Twitch**

                    - Tyler

                    All Ads.indd

                    Peep some pixels:


                    SCION_PAINTERAll Images © Tyler Gray
                    Photographer: Tyler Gray
                    Agency: DentsuBos
                    Client: Scion
                    AD: Vic Bath
                    CW: Ryan Grosman
                    Bryan Ulrich, Christa Michelle, Olga Kozitska

                    BTS-Comp_Scion_Tyler_webAll BTS Images © Alex Beetham & John Stevancec