Monday, November 23, 2015

Andy Davis Designs + Said Space Gallery + Ziobaffa Wine

It was truly an honor to bring down some Ziobaffa Wine and help Ando kick off his new show, "Cooked Just Right" at the Said Space Gallery in Encinitas.  I have looked up to Andy's artwork for years.  He has such a casual and relaxed take on the surfing lifestyle and he is one of the nicest people you will ever meet.  Surf Art has always been a big part of the surfing sub-culture and Ando's work has established an often replicated style as well as inspired many fans.

Chris Del Moro was on hand to spin some vinyl and the party went late.  Ziobaffa was definitely in the house!  A big congrats again to Andy for a beautiful exhibit, please go check it out and take an original home if you can!  

Our hope with Ziobaffa Wine is to find opportunities to support artists, free-thinkers, lovers of food, drink and our extended global-surfing-family in a way that resonates by creating a sustainable product that is 100% organic and embraces bio-friendly production.    @ziobaffa @andydavisdesigns @saidspace

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Farm League & Jason Baffa Films shoot Brazil for Samsung

I recently had the opportunity via Farm League Productions, Cheil Advertising and the World Surf League to shoot a mini-documentary for Samsung.  We traveled to Brazil, a place I love shooting and spent a few days at the Oi Rio Pro.  Never in my life have i seen such a crazy seen at a surf contest.  The Brazilian fans are passionate to say the least and this was a big focus of our story.

Last year, Gabriel Medina won the world title, it happened not long after Brazil's soccer team suffered a brutal defeat on their home turf in the World Cup.  The timing was such that I think the Nation needed a hero and Medina, taking down Kelly Slater in pumping Teahupoo fit that role perfectly.  His title has truly ignited inspiration in the entire Brazilian cavalcade of pro-surfers, known as "The Brazilian Storm" thanks to some media reports.  A term, I think they like although I got the sense that they didn't love the fact that people were now making money off of printing Brazilian Storm Tee-Shirts, Hats, Foamie-Fingers (yes, foamy-fingers), did I mention it was chaos on the beach?!!!

I think what really caught my attention at the event was the fact that beyond the crowd and the chaos, every person was fixated on the actual surfing.  There were cheers and jeers for every wave ridden and the odd 100,000 people in silence when a non-Brazilian surfer did something good.  It was amazing and thanks to Globosat broadcasting the contest live on TV along with a strong internet audience, the WSL states that this event was seen by more people than any other event in the history of pro-surfing.  That's a pretty amazing statement.

On our end, two RED Dragon camera packages were in hand-held mode trying to capture the aforementioned chaos.  I chose RED because I was really impressed by it's ability to handle contrast while shooting my #Redirectsurf project.  I also love the slow motion capabilities.  It is a handful for shooting documentary work both physically and meta-physically with the amount of data you are capturing but the end images make it worth the effort.  We had a A-team crew from Rio.  These guys work on all the features that come through town and they really made my life a lot easier (not to mention the Brazilian bbq they cooked for us was stupid good).

The most brutal zone for our shoot was the spot we really wanted to get images of, that being the surfer exit and entrance from the main tent.  For those who don't know surf events, you have a main area with judges, media and athletes.  The surfers must exit this area to get to the beach and in this case, the beach was full, so the surfers just needed to get into the water.  A VIP roped off section allowed them a good 50 yards of protection but that still left an open area at the water's edge, where media, fans, $85K RED Camera carrying gringos, all congregated in the midst of 8-10 bodyguards in some kind of salt water soaked, sand-crusted, surf media orgy of sorts that could only be likened to a Rugby scrum.  Framing a shot of this train wreck, I did get run over once.  Farm League Executive Producer Tim Lynch got a pretty classic photo of that!

Luckily our final edit has access to the WSL production team's archives.  With RED production happening under the watchful eye of my old friend, Chris Merrit.  Those guys have the scene dialed.

We were also able to spend some time in and around Rio capturing lifestyle inserts and details.  It was nice to take some time to really create some nice moments.  As much as I enjoy the energy of the live events, it was difficult to truly achieve all the coverage I had in my head.  In the end, we will utilize a mix of pure documentary and controlled filmmaking to tell our story.  I've shot in the favelas above the city a few times.  It is amazing that some of the poorest people economically are rich in the phenomenal views they have of such a unique city.

Our team then moved to quieter zones where we were able to spend some time with the Medina family.  I truly thank them for their hospitality.  I also want to thank my hard working crew, including everyone at the Farm League offices as well as my right-hand-man in the field, Tyler Emmett and our fearless producer Arlo "the NYC veggie burger king" Rosner.  I look forward to where Cheil Advertising and Samsung take the final edit of our film.  Look for it to drop in the coming months.

UPDATE: see the director's TV edit here:

#farmleaguer #shotonRed @jasonbaffafilms #Rio #WSL

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Bella Vita - water cinematography

Once Chris Del Moro and I decided to make Bella Vita, the first call I made was to my old friend Scott Kassenoff.  Scott has shot with me on Singlefin: yellow & One California Day.  He specializes in shooting from the water and loves to shoot film.  We discussed our desire to visually "raise the bar" with Bella Vita and a big part of my focus was telling the story from "in" the water.  I wanted the audience to really feel like they were with the surfers.  Obviously, there are many fantastic digital cinema options these days.  (I'm currently testing the RED Dragon for #REDirectsurf and I am very impressed by it's ability to handle light, dark and shoot slow motion, all very important things for capturing surfing)

But with Bella Vita, Scott and I wanted to pay homage to our previous work (shot on 16mm and super 16mm), yet explore it on a more cinematic scale.  So he suggested shooting 35mm Film in the wide-screen format.  For those who don't know, 35mm was the staple for Hollywood for many years and although filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan and Quinten Tarantino still use film, many have switched to digital.  Note:  there is an interesting documentary on the subject of digital & film in Hollywood on Netflix called, "Side by Side".

I loved Scott's idea.  It was bold, 35mm is a larger format film negative so the equipment is larger.  With a big Hollywood crew, the larger gear is just part of the machine but on a small independent Documentary, the endeavor was monumental.

We were able to find scott one of Don King's old surf-housings for an ARRI film cam and it was off to the races.  Scotty, Myself and our assistant Johnathon Taylor shlepped two 35mm camera bodies, batteries, lenses, film-magazines, raw film stock and peripherals along with two super 16mm film cams and 3 small digital cinema units all over Italy.  The gear filled up two Jeeps.  That's a lot of stuff for 3 guys guys to handle... but I'm so proud of the accomplishment.  Below is a short video with a few of Scott's water clips, truly beautiful imagery!

Bella Vita's Water Cinematography from jason baffa films on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ziobaffa - imported by surfers

a short clip i put together with the stylish, chris del moro for our ziobaffa wine collaboration.

ZIOBAFFA - Imported by Surfers from jason baffa films on Vimeo.

music by the honolulu jazz quartet.  written by dan del negro.

youtube - death to intellectual property?

I haven't spent much time on youtube in the last several years but recently, I was kind of amazed to see how many clips from my films (DVDs) are posted by other people.  Not only do they post the clips but they run ADs before them?  So potentially, these cats are generating revenue off of my work.   numbers like... 77,009 views and  52,000views - if all those people stepped up and bought a DVD or rented the film digitally, we could go make more films.

I suppose people are excited to share things they like but is there absolutely no realization that what they are doing is illegal and actually takes away revenue from the filmmakers?  

Part of me says, cool, share away- hopefully it promotes the work on some level.  Another part of me says, what a minute, that's chicken shit- I spent time and money creating that content and why should you get to give it away.  I don't really want to start policing the internet for piracy.  I know it obviously happens, I just wish people would think a little more about the consequences of what they are doing.  aka @someGuyNamedDave   sorry about the rant.  #ScratchingMyHead