Last week, we relaunched BJJ Hacks with a new website, a new direction, and of course, a new video. That video was our interview-profile of Draculino, and part of our new direction means we’ll be posting ‘Making Of’ articles for each new release.
Around Xmas we heard Drac was in town. He’s from Barra da Tijuca, and he usually comes home for the holidays. We saw him last year hanging out at Gordo’s academy, so we figured he’d probably be around at some point. Thanks to Twitter, we had first-hand confirmation that he was in Brazil. With the help of Dennis Asche of Connection Rio, we managed to set up an interview with him at the Gracie Barra HQ academy.
We met around 11.30am at Gracie Barra, just one block from Barra beach. Situated on the top floor of a health club / commercial gym, it’s one of the biggest jiu-jitsu academies in Rio. We’d had the benefit of filming there before for the Real Rio Show, so we knew what to expect in terms of set-up, space and availability. All was looking good for a smooth shoot.
Draculino is a great guy, charismatic and outgoing. He’s a fantastic talker and we discussed many different topics that have been saved for future projects – you should some pretty cool stuff coming from us soon.
The interview and rolling footage was filmed in one relatively-quick session. The cutaways (scene shots of the gym and additional rolling footage) were filmed during a secondary visit a few days later. Archive footage of the evening group classes was shot during a visit last August with the Real Rio Show and was used with permission.
Somehow, we managed to forget our external microphone for the interview and had to rely on the Canon DSLR’s inbuilt mic instead. This means that we picked up a lot of ambient noise, especially from an aerobics class that was going on in an adjoining studio. Rest assured we won’t be making that mistake again.
Visually, we’re very happy with how the film looks, and much of that is due to the wonderful available light. Being on the top floor and having windows all along one very long wall means that plenty of sunlight comes into the room, a rarity for most jiu-jitsu academies that are lit by dim and dirty fluorescent tubes.
The interview and rolling were straight forward enough to shoot. A static tripod for the talk-time, handheld and mobile for the rolling. You wouldn’t know it, but Drac was carrying a pretty bad back injury and he said he couldn’t really roll too much. He still rolled for almost 20 minutes solid with BZ, a fellow black belt from GB and one of Drac’s old students.
When it came to composing the shots of the academy, we had to get creative. The gym is pretty featureless save for the logos on the wall and a few shelves of trophies away from the mat. We tried to add a little visual spark to the vid by framing long, static shots of the academy.
In effect, they were like moving photographs, with framing and composition being more important than the movement of the subjects. We wanted it to feel like you were really there in the academy.
This vid marked the first time we released something edited in Final Cut. We’re incredibly indebted to Stuart Cooper of Grapple Videos for the crash-course and amazing advice. He literally shaved months of research and self-learning off our schedule. Stu is an editing ninja and we’re proud to be working together on an exciting (and as yet, secret) upcoming joint release.
This vid is all about the content of the interview. We didn’t just want to make a music video with a bit of rolling thrown in. The focus had to be on what Drac was talking about, because to be frank, it was fascinating. We deliberately chose a subtle, non-intrusive track for the montage that starts at 2.03 (the track is ‘Ante post meridiem beats’ by Mobster, which was released under a Creative Commons license).
What a great way to kick off the new year. The Drac vid got over 10,000 views on YouTube in less than a week. The man himself called it “a piece of art”. It was shared on Twitter by everyone from Romulo Barral to Marcio Feitosa (who of course, Draculino mentions in the film). One of the things we love about crafting these short films is to see people’s reactions when they go live. The considerable number of Gracie Barra fans out there probably helped the vid get some good traffic, but the controversial nature of the topic and the speed at which it was shared across various social media platforms and blogs definitely made this one a winner.
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