Art Streiber on shooting Wired mag’s first motion cover for the iPad

Wired has just debuted its first iPad motion cover—which is also the first motion cover in magazine history—shot by our very own Art Streiber. Unlike the print edition of the September issue, whose image-free cover bears the provocative announcement “The Web Is Dead,” the app is themed “The Future of Television” and features an exclusive cover video plus six short films starring actor/comedian Joel McHale, all of them by Art and his crew.

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“Watch as Joel McHale explores today’s TV universe: You’ll learn how to quit cable, overload on sports, find the best picture quality, build an entertainment system that will make your neighbors cry, and more,” reads the description at the iTunes store.

Since launching its first app with the June issue, the Conde Nast publication has been expanding and refining its approach to the iPad, and the September motion cover is its latest innovation. It’ll be interesting to see how readers, and Conde’s fellow publishers, respond.

Just before Wired’s September app was released, I interviewed Art, Adam Grossman, the DP and editor on the project, and Hugh Milstein and Tim Wilcox of DigitalFusion, which worked with Art and Wired. I’ll present those interviews individually over the course of this week, starting with Art. The behind-the-scenes photos accompanying the interview below are by Blake Farrington.

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Stockland Martel Blog: This is Wired‘s first motion cover, and the first motion cover in magazine history. For those who haven’t seen it, can you explain how the cover “plays” to viewers? What do they see when they arrive at it? And what are some of the interactive options?
Art Streiber:
After you’ve downloaded the September issue of the Wired app onto your iPad, the horizontal cover is the McHale cover, and it plays for about 35 seconds when you touch the “prompt” button. McHale attempts to introduce the cover story (“The Future of Television”) but interrupts himself as he jokes about how long it takes to download the app.

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SMB: I’m curious about what assets you needed to deliver so that they could assemble/produce this cover. Did you shoot stills in addition to motion? What was the brief?
AS: We shot stills for the print edition, and we shot video for the iPad edition of the issue.  We covered every setup with both the Hasselblad H2 for the stills and the Sony EX3 for video.

My DP, editor, and video content producer, Adam Grossman (Good Dog Media), and I made two different edits of the cover video and sent those to Scott Dadich (creative director) and Carolyn Rauch (photo editor) at Wired. Scott and Carolyn gave us notes, and Adam went back and did a final edit, which was approved and sent to Tim Wilcox and Hugh Milstein at DigitalFusion.

Tim and Hugh then worked with Scott and Carolyn to translate Scott’s graphic design for the cover and make it move; the cover logo unfolds, the cover lines appear, etc.

I gave notes, and Scott and Carolyn gave notes as well, and the final video, with type, was uploaded to the Wired FTP site.

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From left: producer Joanne Davidson; Art Streiber; Scott Dadich, Wired's creative director. Photo by blakefarrington.com.

 

Art Streiber (right) and Adam Grossman (second from right) discuss additional camera coverage with assistants Christopher Fragapane (left) and Johnny Tergo (second from left). Photo by blakefarrington.com.

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SMB: Where did you shoot? And can you give us a sense of the gear and crew involved in the shoot?
AS: We shot at Smashbox in West Hollywood and were lit on a white cyc for both hot lights and strobes and switched back and forth between the two, depending on whether or not we were shooting stills or video.

In addition to my crew, who lit the set, we also had Adam DP the shoot, and we had a sound engineer and a teleprompter engineer.

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SMB: How did you prepare for this shoot?
AS:
Scott and Carolyn and I had a few phone meetings to discuss all of the concepts that we needed to execute with Joel and how the concepts would translate from stills to video. We arrived at the studio at 6 AM in order to have a preproduction meeting and work out scripting details prior to Joel’s arrival at 11 AM.

We shot stills with a stand-in and printed those out in order to make storyboards for Joel.

After Joel arrived, we took him through all of the concepts and explained how we wanted to execute each idea, and he gave us notes and spent an hour or so reworking the script so that it landed in his voice.

And from there…it was nonstop shooting, with a lot of improv as we went.

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Art photographing a stand-in. Photo by blakefarrington.com.

Photo by blakefarrington.

Joel McHale and Art. Photo by blakefarrington.com.

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SMB: Since this was a first for Wired‘s creative team, can you describe the collaborative process as you were working with them on conceptualizing the cover?
AS:
The folks at Wired are very smart, thoughtful, and creative, and the ideas flowed back and forth between the magazine, my set designer, Nick Tortorici, and me. Editorial covers in general are conceptualized and created in a very short time span and often improved on set, and the same applies in this case for the editorial video.

In addition to the cover, we created six other video segments: an overall introduction to the “Future of Television” package and individual, sidebar introductions to five of McHale’s favorite television shows.

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SMB: Were there things you tried that you later discovered were not possible in this medium? And what were some of the things you were able to do with a motion cover that you had not expected?
AS:
For this shoot, working back and forth between stills and video was challenging—rock & roll for the still portion and silence for the video, for example. Also, we created a multi-camera setup and discovered that for this video, a direct, static shot was best.

Adam did an amazing job “cropping” the video, which gave each of the pieces an urgency that really moves them along.

Working with video, in addition to stills, forced us to come up with a number of different improvs for Joel to execute in order of us to have a lot of material to work with as we edited.

And the next time we do something like this, we’d shoot on green screen in order to make the postproduction and motion graphics that much easier.

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Coming up on Wednesday: An interview with Adam Grossman of Good Dog Media.
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Related:

Wired Magazine’s iPad Edition Goes Live

Wired iPad Edition on Pace to Beat Newsstand Sales This Month

Reports Say Interactive Magazines Could Bring In as Much as $3 Billion

Dueling Covers on the iPad (SPD’s Grids blog)

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2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Amparo Escobedo, Stockland Martel. Stockland Martel said: Art Streiber on shooting Wired mag’s first motion cover for the iPad: http://wp.me/pqdVV-1uh […]

  2. […] Feliciano from the Stockland Martel Blog has a great interview with Art Streiber himself, discussing the process & production of this […]

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