Dubai Parkour Project: A Collaborative Student Video

What kinda magic can 22 photographers from 16 countries do in 12 hours in Dubai? Well if they can round up 6 traceurs, 1 beautiful woman, 1 Mountain Dew, and a Porsche Cayenne, they can create something pretty darn cool.

Enter the collaborative Dubai Parkour Project.

Here’s how it went down: we all gathered as a part of Gulf Photo Plus, an annual photo festivus in Dubai UAE of more than 1000 photographers from around the world. Just so happened that I was teaching a hardcore little seminar called Prep. Shoot. Wrap! for a range of photographers–some intermediates and some young pros. I also roped in Kate, Scott, Cody, and Adam the Intern from my crew for help. The seminar, now in its second annual iteration, basically sets out to simulate an actual commercial production. And this is the real deal, complete with scouting, casting, shooting, production, post production the whole enchilada…

But rapping about the main event is not the purpose of this quick post.

This post is about a fun new supplement to that mock print campaign we added this year aimed at collaboration and at addressing the convergence of photo and video–an important part of the changing landscape of professional scene. This go-round the students were also required to create assets for a collaborative group video project uniting those two media – all in one day.

This above video is the result of the class’ efforts. I hope you think it’s as cool as we do…in a group learning sort of way… It’s quick and dirty, not taking ourselves too seriously here…but really loving the concept of a bunch of photogs creating assets for one group project on the fly.

For a few of the details on how we pulled this together, plus some gear lists and shout outs, hit the continue reading link below.

To say the class “wrote” a script for this piece would be a huge stretch. A more accurate description would be to say we took 30 minutes, gathered around a white board and scribbled down a basic storyline and a mechanism for how we could possible make such a task feasible. That was step one. We considered how best to capture, review and edit a huge body of work in a really short time period. And here’s what we came up with:

Prep: First, the students agreed as a group that in order to facilitate the story we would together shoot a 20 second intro that set the scene, and a 20 second conclusion that wrapped the story. We shot both these from a bunch of different cameras and a buncha different angles with almost everybody gunning – and all the models on one set – lots of different looks. This turned out to be a crucial step in pulling this together. The rest of the random sequences would be pulled together to make the meat of the video.

Shoot: On the shoot day, the class of 18 divided into six groups of three, each with their own local Dubai parkour athlete–or traceur to use the parlance of the sport. Each group shot with a different athlete in each of three locations across the city. The intro and end of the video was shot in a group setting and then each group went their own way at each location. We moved from each location as a big group but made sure to select locations that were large enough that the athletes would be able to get their sport on and the photographers wouldn’t be trampling all over one another to get their shots. This also proved key. It was amazing to see so many of the same moves shot from a number of angles with different cameras… An uber low rent “bullet-cam” in some cases. Loved it.

Wrap: Once the shooting was complete–12 hours in total–the photographers each edited down to their favorite 10 video clips and/or 10 still sequences with up to 20 frames each, and provided us with their RAW files. From there, my brave crew took over. It was a heck of a task pulling together all the different footage, but Scott and Cody locked themselves in hotel room in front of a burly Mac Pro, surveyed those images, processed them all into tiffs and .mov files, and laid this sucker together as best they could in 24 hours. Intro at the front, closer at the end, and all those sequences in the middle.

Ultimately, everything went according to plan. The students worked hard together in the trenches, learned and laughed. I’m not sure something like this has happened before where a disparate group of photographers and videographers from a variety of backgrounds with entirely different experience and expertise levels have come together–on such a short timeline and around a sport that few of them had ever heard of–to take part in a collaborative learning experience that created something as unique and as relatively cohesive as this. And that is cool. It’s certainly not perfect, and there is plenty of opportunity for growth and polish, but damn this was fun.

The Take Away: Given the nature of photography meetups happening around the world fostered by you, me, and numerous others in this community, here’s a little call to action: I’d love to see this sort of thing catch on in your world. Let this be a little starting block. Occasionally, instead of getting together to simply learn about photography and shoot photos together, hows about you get together with some buddies, add a layer of complexity, and make something like this? Or way better. We did this in one day. What could you do in a week with your friends? You don’t need a seminar with an instructor, and you don’t need a bunch of fancy equipment. Get 10 of you shooting together toward some final project that we can all sit back and drink in. It would be great to see these things popping up on the web – a collaborative piece that reflects a bunch of different viewpoints and a creative synergies all bound up into one piece.

My hat is off to this hardworking bunch of students. We had a blast making this, and I think you would too. Share the idea with your friends.

Big ups to The Saturday Knights for providing the perfect music for this piece. Please support them and buy their music here on iTunes.

Video cameras used:
_Nikon D90
_Canon 5d MkII
_Canon XH-A1
_Canon HV-20

Still cameras used:
_about 15 or 20 makes and models from consumer dSLR to top of the line pro rigs…

A quick nod to the class photographers:
_Abdula Abuidrees
_Ali Alriffai
_Amreen Khan
_Angelika Demidova
_Billie Muller
_Daniel Schweiert
_Ed Gabrys
_Hamdah Abdulahman
_Jason Curtis
_Jerry Balloch
_Johnnie Gjedved
_Julian Love
_Karim Hesham
_Maha Nasrallah
_Omar Sikander
_Richard Shirazian
_Timothy Armes
_Wouter Kingma

And to my crew:
_kate
_scott
_cody
_adam

And the athletes/talent:
_Ali Al Zaabi
_Brahim Chafik
_CJ Al Shamsi
_Luai Abdulla
_Salim Siouane
_Steve Smuts
_Uliana Egorova

And special thanks to:
_Evren D’souza
_Karyn Miller-Hall
_Mohamed Somji
_Gulf Photo Plus staff
_Theresa Tsui

[if your RSS feeder or email didn't pull in the video, click here to see it.]

_

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63 Responses to Dubai Parkour Project: A Collaborative Student Video

  1. Michael Nielsen April 22, 2009 at 12:15 am #

    Wow – Great job I must say! Amazing what a bunch of photographers can do together.

    I must also give props to the guys doing the post, because the color grading is great even though it was shot with so many different cameras.

  2. Anonymous April 22, 2009 at 12:17 am #

    Thanks for that. Super cool!

  3. Ivan Lesko April 22, 2009 at 12:18 am #

    This is dope!

  4. Michael James April 22, 2009 at 12:21 am #

    Very cool! How the hell someone dealt with color matching those four cameras is beyond me! Well done.

  5. Alvin Stillwell April 22, 2009 at 12:50 am #

    awesome job, chase and crew! the traceurs were incredible to watch as well!

  6. Carson Blume April 22, 2009 at 1:03 am #

    Love it, I would have went for the Girl.Now if it was a good bottle of wine mayyyybe

  7. wranner April 22, 2009 at 1:26 am #

    Love what you all pulled of! Great!

  8. Roger Overall April 22, 2009 at 1:32 am #

    Absolutely superb.

    Mountain Dew must be bouncing up and down with glee.

  9. Craig Ferguson April 22, 2009 at 1:58 am #

    A great idea well executed.

  10. Gary Eddleston April 22, 2009 at 2:22 am #

    Excellent video, Especially for a learning class. This is the sort of lessons we should have over in the UK!

  11. Fardan Raffii April 22, 2009 at 3:22 am #

    Great work guys
    specially to chase for his new ideas and Ali Al Riffie our home town friend :-)

  12. Marten April 22, 2009 at 6:45 am #

    Purists will probably remind you that this is technically freerunning. Parkour is similar, but really only for getting away from people, or chasing them. Once you start adding moves which look cool, but don’t get you any faster from A to B, you’re talking about freerunning.

  13. Fotografi April 22, 2009 at 7:04 am #

    Really FUNNY!!!
    I miss the message! But I lke it.

  14. jerseystylephotography April 22, 2009 at 7:06 am #

    So cool it’s hot.

    Love it. Thanks, Chase!

  15. Steve. April 22, 2009 at 7:12 am #

    I would have thought too many chefs etc, I would have been wrong! Could also be interesting to see people collaborating on a project like this around the globe without meeting up.
    One last thing, don’t let David Hobby see that Mountain Dew getting spilled at the end, there’ll be trouble :)

  16. Karim Hesham April 22, 2009 at 7:25 am #

    Aaaaaaaaah :) finally chase uploaded the video :) enjoyed working with all the team looking forward to join the next prep wrap shoot.. but next time i hope we use flashes :)

  17. Rud Media April 22, 2009 at 7:39 am #

    dull, boring, didn’t like it at all. Check out the videos they make after each Grand Prix. Or good wedding videos.

    Especially what irritates the viewr are a series of still shots put in between the motion pics. Not smooth, awful effect, it’s like raping smbd’s brain. Music choice… Man,I’ve seen better videos from Chase and corp.

  18. GoForIt April 22, 2009 at 7:57 am #

    Too long. I think you guys could have gotten the point across in about the 30 seconds. Especially since it’s basically an ad for Mountain Dew.

    Good effort tho.

  19. Anonymous April 22, 2009 at 8:51 am #

    Chase, I'm rather disappointed, and I can't believe I'm saying it. I understand it was a colab effort with A LOT of talented individuals, but man I've seen better from you guys..Way better. The concept let alone the story line wasn't original. The cross between still motion shots and motion hurt. Stick to one or the other. The music hurt. At 35 seconds I wanted to turn it off, but saw it all and felt it was too long.
    With such a talented group & 12 hours, I wish you guys could have brought something more original to the table.

  20. John April 22, 2009 at 9:09 am #

    @ Anonymous: While you are 100% entitled to your opinion, your comments suggest a lack of understanding as to what’s going on here. I’m a video editor by trade, and I teach video and photography on the side through a junior college. The fact that a bunch of students have come together and created this in one day is almost unbelievable. Shooting all the images in itself is one feat. Getting twenty different cameras to look the same in the finished product is another entirely. To do this all in one short seminar is not only original, but it’s a testament to a bunch of hard work and commitment.

  21. Chase Jarvis April 22, 2009 at 9:51 am #

    Thanks for the great feedback y’all. Keeping the context that this was a student project that went down as an aside to their main project (mock print campaign), and was pulled together in one day from 20 cameras (thanks for all the props on that – those of you know how hard that is, really know…), I gotta give another big high five to the class for making this happen.

  22. anthony April 22, 2009 at 10:27 am #

    This was very entertaining! Too cool! Great work to everyone! :)

  23. Forest Woodward April 22, 2009 at 11:42 am #

    Quite enjoyed this. I recently did a Parkour shoot on the coast of England. Pretty cool stuff, and I think we’re going to be seeing a lot more of it in the future as people move away from the gym and towards more “natural movement”.

  24. Fabian Gonzales April 22, 2009 at 12:28 pm #

    Was this from last years GPP? I visited the website, but it only had the 2008 schedule up. This sounds like a great class. Are you planning to host another one?

  25. Indian Car Blog April 22, 2009 at 12:29 pm #

    Awesome stuff there. One thing is for sure, photography is not easy. No, no not at all.

  26. my. April 22, 2009 at 12:45 pm #

    It’s truly cool and inspiring to see something like this. The video is no more than 3 minutes, but the list of people involved was abundant.

    Life, art … it’s a collaborative effort. And how amazing to have been able to share an experience like this with a group of people.

    Thank you for sharing this!

  27. Brad April 22, 2009 at 1:19 pm #

    I am amazed this video made it onto this website. While the filming and camera operation was good, the storyline, soundtrack, and editing were not.

  28. Ellis April 22, 2009 at 2:13 pm #

    Concept is cool. Though, the stop-motion stills was a bit nauseating…and I’m usually pretty resistant to that. I think I would’ve been to use a held singular frame to express something that the “moving” images just fly by.

    All in all, it’s a nice fusion of media to push the envelope. How I see it, it’s a precursor of what’s to come in the future of the industry.

  29. Kati Debelic April 22, 2009 at 4:22 pm #

    I love the concept of collaboration between photographers, as the creativity is amplified many folds, ideas pops from one another, etc… Thank you for sharing this video- and I hope it encourages creatives to play in the same sandbox instead of feeling somewhat stressed by the competition.

    Cheers, Kati

  30. Paulo Rodrigues April 22, 2009 at 4:22 pm #

    I have so got to get the London Strobist group to do a spoof of this. I’m thinking perhaps a pair of your shoes instead of mountain dew and a bunch or lardy types like myself getting out of breath all over London. :)

  31. Anonymous April 22, 2009 at 8:00 pm #

    I hate it like hell to post my first negative experience from your blog. Simply the music killed it HARD for me.

    The shots looked cool, but the music forced me to mute it very quickly to keep my sanity.

    I am a huge fan and have been for a long time, this for me was not a good experience at all, and I do realize how difficult it was to do in so little time. Music choice, so important!

    Thanks as always for what you do, this is only one bad experience out of .. hmmm 100′s?

  32. vitch April 22, 2009 at 9:08 pm #

    that was great. I love seeing actions from different angles. It would be great to be able to participate too!

  33. Tahnia April 22, 2009 at 11:31 pm #

    Great ride thanks guys, with a walk like that hard to believe the Mountaindew cleaned up over the gal

  34. Anonymous April 23, 2009 at 1:34 am #

    It’s time for you to move on….all that other crap (coasters, boring interviews, etc) you do in comparision to the work you do on these photo/video shoots is really a waste of time.

    You should be doing advertising/promo’s 100% of the time. Amazing stuff! If MD hasn’t hired ya by the time I type this, they’re living in a cave.

    Nice job.

  35. Gordon April 23, 2009 at 2:23 am #

    Well the end result is obviously not a finishd add campaign standard but I completely undertand the point of the post,,,which seems to have past many readers by.

    If the purpose was to show what is possible in a short period by abunch of motivated indivduals then it worked….It’s also inspired me to try and do soemthing similar with my photo graphic friends.

    Thanks to all involved.

  36. PhotoRunner April 23, 2009 at 6:36 am #

    I personally LOVE this track. I first got acquainted with the Saturday Knights from an earlier vid of yours where they were 100% hip hop. This punk track made me dig deeper and I have since bought the album and told some friends. Thanks and keep turning us on to new stuff.

  37. Al Marsh April 23, 2009 at 12:56 pm #

    The class did a great job–much better than my class did. The guys leaping around without breaking legs was amazing. Great ending.

  38. Yuli April 23, 2009 at 2:06 pm #

    The biggest issue I have with this work is that I don’t see much of the supposed collaboration.

    I know that multiple photographers worked on this, but all the photo sequences ultimately look alike because they are graded the same way to fit one person’s vision (the editor, colorist, whoever put it together.). So while each photographer had his or her input on the camera position, focal length, etc. during the actual shoot, I still feel that much of their vision and uniqueness is missing in the final piece.

    This work might have worked better if each photographer graded his or her own work so that the final piece would feel more like a mesh of unique visions and therefor more like an actual collaboration.

    In addition, how many people or how long it took to make should never cloud someone’s judgement and opinion. It’s great that this work was done by students or that it was produced very quickly, but that in itself doesn’t make it “good”.

  39. JonDoe April 23, 2009 at 8:39 pm #

    @Yuli: Well said. I totally agree.

  40. Brett Beyer, www.brettbeyer.com April 24, 2009 at 7:42 am #

    Hey Chase

    Great Video! I've been shooting Parkour in NYC and just released a book. Here's my website: http://www.brettbeyer.com

    and here's where you can download a pdf of the book for free:
    http://www.brettbeyer.com/#mi=1&pt;=0π=6&p;=-1&a;=0&at;=0

  41. Frank Doorhof April 25, 2009 at 12:57 am #

    Wonderful and indeed amazing what can be done in a day or so.
    I liked it better than most of the adds we see here on TV :-)

    Hats of to the guys/girls making it work.
    It’s always rewarding when a group you teach turns out something that makes the teacher proud.

    A good teacher not only teaches but also motivates and that’s what Jarvis did here otherwise this would have been impossible so hats off to both :D

  42. Frank Doorhof April 25, 2009 at 12:59 am #

    chase I meant of course :D

  43. Jason Coobs April 27, 2009 at 9:53 am #

    Awesome video! Looks like an awesome trip!

  44. Anonymous April 27, 2009 at 9:37 pm #

    No offense, but this is a copy of a commercial that used to run in Europe two years ago with pretty much the same concept. Pretty cool though

  45. Nathanael Gassett May 6, 2009 at 3:10 pm #

    Well that’s one way to combine video with still photography! Interested to see where this thing goes. Altogether a wicked vid.

  46. Kholloud May 17, 2009 at 3:26 am #

    Chase, I was in Davids hoppy class and he said to us “watch out for Chase students work” and I was STUNNED in the closing event amazing job, everyone invalided in it even YOU have to have a credit

    Waiting for next year to join in ;)

  47. Ricardo Cordoba November 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    Thanks for that article

  48. Erik Bearman April 14, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    You are unable to do this! Jesus isn’t going to approve! *snicker*

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