Alcatraz BTS

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Alcatraz – BTS from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.


It’s important to remember that being a filmmaker or photographer is both a craft and a business.   We all need to make enough money so that we can not only pay our bills, pay our employees, re-invest in our business and gear, and hopefully have a little extra to put toward future personal projects.    

The dark little secret is that some jobs we’d do for free… for me this was one of those!  (And no – I didn’t do it for free!)

I was contacted by the Red Bull Media House and TJ Walker from Boombox,  to go shoot footage for the upcoming Red Bull King of the Rock – a global one-on-one basketball tournament held in the yard on Alcatraz! 

 I’ve been fascinated by the island since I first visited it as a young teenager.   Al Capone – the attempted escapes – the birdman …  such incredible history!    The place is absolutely magical – and at times a little spooky.

Our job was to go and shoot a series of time lapses  and some RED EPIC footage for use in the TV promo.    The challenge is that our crew had to be very small and we had to get on and off the island by boat.  So we kept is as compact as possible.    We had a total of 5 cases and somehow brought enough gear to shoot w/ the Epic on the Kessler Shuttle Pod (8ft.) and to shoot five 5D MKII cameras simultaneously for time lapses.   We were able to get 13 time lapses that afternoon and a bevy of live action footage as well.     The National Park Service was incredibly accommodating and a pleasure to work with.   We were able to shoot in locations closed off to the public (we even got to go on the roof!)  and we had the Island to ourselves after the last ferry had left the Island… it was absolutely amazing!    The total silence was a bit spooky I must admit.  Nonetheless I was sad to leave the island after sunset on a private boat back to San Francisco.   A huge thanks goes to TJ and Boombox, as well as the RedBull crew and Todd at H5 Events for taking care of many of our logistics!

Besides video/ and time lapses we also played with audio.   We used the the Mitra 3D audio mic and got some pretty stunning results.  Normally I would hire a sound engineer but in this case we couldn’t have gotten an extra body on the island.  And to be honest we weren’t asked to do audio – but I was able to "throw it in" if you will – given how little effort we had to put into collecting the audio.   (But pls don’t misinterpret this – there is NO SUBSTITUTE for a solid audio engineer on all of your jobs.  None.)   You can hear some of the audio in the piece above or check out our previous post on the Mitra 3D audio.  (You can also still take advantage of a 15% discount on both the "Pro" and "Indie" version of the mic Go to and use coupon code VL3D2011 during checkout.)

That’s it for now.   Hope you enjoy the video.