Our Tampa video production crew finishes a night shoot at one of St. Petersburg’s many gorgeous beaches!
“BTS” (short for behind-the-scenes) utilizes documentary style cinematography to follow a ragtag group of filmmakers as they produce a “big” budget film, along with all the crazy actors, executives, and characters that follow suit. The series takes a satirical look behind the filmmaking curtains to capture the absurd daily life of those working at a film studio as they attempt to produce a sci-fi space opera, combining the adventure of “Star Wars” with the music of “Les Miserables”.
It’s a duel at sunset! Filming BTS on St. Pete’s Gandy beach… Or is it an other worldly planet?
Litewave Media founder Christian Cashmir initially came up with the idea for the series years ago after experiencing a crazy day on set where everything that happened behind-the-scenes seemed more interesting than the project they were actually filming. In summer of 2016, that idea began to come to fruition when he and co-creator Jason Henne finished mapping out the entire series and sat down with our team of writers to being working on season 1. We approached the St Petersburg/Clearwater Film Commission (FilmSPC) about partnering, and they offered the project a generous grant… From there, it was off to the races!
The cast of BTS filming outstide Litewave Studios
Once our writers had penned their last drafts, it was time to begin pre-production. Series creator and director Christian Cashmir brought in co-producers Briston George and Alissa Schneider, directors of photography Eric Coughlin, Daryn Murphy, and Scott Sullivan, key grip and gaffer Sasha Sebesta, and assistant director Lynne Hansen to helm the series. For the cast, we brought on actors Chris Cavalier from the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures, Lucius Baston (Stranger Things, Bad Leiutenant), Owen Harn (The Walking Dead, True Detective), Vivian Alvarez (12 Years a Slave), Chris Jackson (The Inbetweeners), and Alison Burns Jackson, who was a lead in the national tour of the hit musical Rent, as well as a plethora of extremely talented local actors to accompany them!
Everyone’s excited for the new arrival. Who could it be??
Production was a hurricane of fun as we filmed the entire series in just under 2 weeks! To film the series, we brought our St Petersburg grip truck to some of the city’s most gorgeous beaches and exotic locales. Much of the series we filmed in-house, on both our St. Petersburg white cyc studio and Tampa green screen studio (needless to say, our Tampa video production crew was thankful for the easy load-outs!). Key grip Sasha Sebesta also outfitted the overhead lighting in the entire office-area of the studio with Kino Flo daylight balanced bulbs to make lighting for the office scenes quick, soft, and easy (our studio actually decided to keep these in place for any other types of future shoots – or maybe season 2…)
Director Christian Cashmir giving dance lessons to the BTS cast while filming on the beach. Just look at that footwork, baby!
From our equipment package, we filmed the entire first season on our Canon C300 Mk II and C300 Mk I cameras, some Canon L zoom lenses and Canon CN-E cinema prime lenses. We even brought out camera operator Eric Coughlin’s Steadicam to get some more cinematic footage for the “movie-within-a-movie” scenes.
Director of photography Eric Coughlin using the Canon C300 MkII camera on our Tampa white cyc studio.
With principal photography finished, we’ve now taken all of the footage we have to our Tampa post-production company, where our editors will cut together each of the 8 episodes. Looking forward, we’ll bring in the talented actors to our St. Petersburg recording studio, in which we’ll produce all of the songs for the series’ musical numbers. We’ve got a ton of work left and our team hasn’t stopped yet!
It’s ninja beach! Cast and crew sandy, yet happy after a fun day of filming fight scenes on the beach!
Watch the video below for a behind-the-scenes look at “Behind The Scenes”:
Stay tuned for more updates as “BTS” progresses. Remember to like our Facebook page for behind the scenes photos and videos as we continue working on the series! In the meantime, check out some of the other work we’ve done, like music videos and commercials!
Over the course of the last few years our Tampa production company has enjoyed participating in the 48 Hour Film Project, a world-wide competition that challenges filmmakers to write, shoot, and edit their own short films in only 48 hours. It’s become a bit of a tradition for the Litewave Media crew and we’ve met some amazing people along the way. This year, our team once again dove head first into the challenge and produced a short film called “Magazine Issues.”
DP Eric Coughlin gets set up for one of the first shots of the day filming our short “Magazine Issues”
The 48 Hour competition supplies only minimal guidelines for filmmakers, providing a genre, character, prop, and a line of dialogue that must be used in every film. Each team receives their guidelines on Friday night and must turn in their fully finished film Sunday night, only 48 hours later. Our team pulled the genre of “romance,” and writers Jason Henne and Michael Garland went to work forming a cinematic story that also captured the essence of romance. With our writers working through the night on the the script, our Florida video production crew began preparing to film at dawn’s first light.
Next, we loaded up our Tampa grip truck and drove to our first location in Clearwater, Florida to begin filming. Using gear from our St Petersburg video equipment rental package like our Canon C300 MkII and Canon cinema lenses, we hit the ground running (literally) and began production! Filming took place at various locations all over Tampa Bay, including our very own Tampa green screen studio for multiple special effects-driven scenes and a wrestling ring almost an hour from the studio.
Award-winning actress Alissa Schneider plays the melodious sounds of the key-tar in our Tampa green screen studio.
With the clock ticking down, we rushed all of our footage back to our Florida post-production suite for editing. Once our special effects team hustled to compose the visuals needed for the green screen portion of the film, director and editor Christian Cashmir brought the film together with his skill and expertise, cuttin’ up footage and taking names! With the editing finished on literally zero sleep (not even a wink!), finally it was time for submitting the finished film.
Director Christian Cashmir, steadicam operator Eric Coughlin, and lead actor Chris Cavalier review footage before sending it off to our Florida post-production suite for editing.
After waiting for what seemed like the longest 2 weeks ever, it was time for the 48 Hour Film Project ‘Best Of’ screening! With so many great films to compete against, the awards ceremony was a nail biter, but all of our hard work paid off! Our team was nominated in 9 categories and were honored to win the following awards:
Best use of the line “You’re Next!” – Team Prairie Dogs featuring Uncle Henry’s Bowling Club (Us!!)
Audience Favorite – “Magazine Issues” Team Prairie Dogs featuring Uncle Henry’s Bowling Club (Us again!!)
Best Screenplay – Jason Henne and Michael Garland (Our devilishly handsome writers)
Best Supporting Actress – Alissa Schneider (Our drop dead gorgeous actress)
Best Song – “Salesperson of the Year” Music and Lyrics by Chuck Fonshell Jr, Christian Cashmir, and Chris Cavalier (Our extraordinarily talented musicians)
And, drumroll please… BEST FILM!!! – “Magazine Issues” Directed by Christian Cashmir (Our fearless director)
We won Best Film out of 34 competitors! Ignite the fireworks! Wookie yell! Rejoice!
Now that our film “Magazine Issues” has won Best Film – Tampa, we move on to the next round where we’ll compete against the winners from over 100 cities worldwide at Film-a-Palooza in Seattle, Washington next March!
As with every year, we had an amazing time working on the 48 Hour Film Project, and we look forward to competing again next year. Check out our finished film “Magazine Issues” below (Made in just 48 hours)!
The Litewave Media team celebrates after the 48 Hour Awards Screening
Recently our Florida video production company had the chance to work with Grand Villa, a resort style senior living community with multiple locations throughout Florida, to film a TV commercial campaign at one of their communities. We went to their St Petersburg, Florida location to learn more about the services they provide to their residents, take a tour of the facilities, and brainstorm ideas for the commercial.
Director Christian Cashmir and grip Sasha Sebesta film with our Dana Dolly and Sony a7S II.
Tampa video production services
Once we had a chance to sit down and speak with the marketing team and get a feel for the community, our production team was excited to draft a script for the project and provide our Tampa video production services. With multiple communities throughout Florida, Grand Villa is one of the more popular retirement communities among seniors, hosting a friendly staff, resort-like amenities, and high quality assisted living services.
Makeup artist, Nikki, puts final touch-ups on makeup before filming the 60’s flashback dinner scene
The video production process
Working together with Grand Villa marketing team’s Ben Rizzo and Clint Dockery, Litewave Media founder Christian Cashmir and writer Mike Garland planned out a fun, emotional story to film. Over the course of a week, the team transformed the idea into a fully developed commercial production- complete with storyboards, costumes, cast, and crew. The concept of the shoot was to journey through the life of a woman at milestones in her life, shown through various decades encompassing the 1950’s, 1960’s, and present day. Our Tampa video production crew was ready to begin filming!
Steadicam operator Eric Coughlin, director Christian Cashmir, and Grand Villa’s marketing guru Ben Rizzo review footage in between takes.
Stocked, locked, and ready to rock, we drove our St Petersburg grip truck to Grand Villa to begin our first day of filming. Their St. Petersburg location was a great choice for production as it boasts tennis courts, a pool, coffee shop, multiple hair salons, and a grand dining room complete with its own cafe. With multiple areas perfect for cinematic storytelling, our crew began filming with our Tampa video equipment rental package. Using our Canon C300 mkII and Sony A7sII video cameras with Canon cinema lenses, director Christian Cashmir helmed the production, bringing his technical skill and directing expertise to the project. Alongside Steadicam operator Eric Coughlin, our Tampa video production crew flew in our Arri and KinoFlo 4 Bank lighting kits, and also filmed scenes on our Dana Dolly.
Our Florida video production crew films a scene on Steadicam for the Grand Villa commercial
We recorded a little time lapse of one filming location (shot by grip Sasha Sebesta):
On day two of the shoot, our Tampa video production crew planned to travel in time to the 1950’s. But, since our time machine was out of batteries, we decided on the next best thing: Johnny Rockets, a 50’s-style diner. Our crew loaded up our grip truck and set forth. With a vintage theme, leather seats, and decor reminiscent of the 1950s, Johnny Rockets was the perfect place to film a scene for the Grand Villa TV ad campaign. The quiet restaurant was transformed and set ablaze with colorful costumes, laughing actors, crew members, and of course a classic dish of ice cream. (The crew may have had refills)
Actors Lexi, Linda, and Chris during the second day of filming at Johnny Rockets, a 50’s-style diner.
Post Production Time
After a lively, creative shoot it was time to head back to our Tampa Bay video studio to begin the editing and post production process. We hired a top notch voice-over actress, who we captured in our sound booth and Tampa recording studio. Our post team even created a visual effect sequence to augment the great work our production crew started.
The cast and crew at Grand Villa St. Petersburg celebrate completing the first day of filming.
Our Florida video production crew had a great time working with the Grand Villa team on such a fun project. The TV commercial will air regionally in Florida. You can also watch the finished commercial below!
The one take! The scene in Goodfellas when Ray Liotta’s character walks into the club and the whole the camera never cuts… Or the opening scene in Touch of Evil? And most recently the Oscar-Winning Birdman – an entire movie filmed in a one-take style. Our Tampa video production company was excited to produce a film using the same technique for the 2016 Single-Take Challenge, with our short, Kiss Tape!
The cast and crew of “Kiss Tape” after a great night of filming.
The Single-Take Film Challenge, sponsored by ManaSota Films, challenges filmmakers to create a new and original short film. The catch is, there can be absolutely no cuts, meaning the entire film has to be one long take! To pull it off, writers Christian Cashmir and Eric Coughlin began planning a month in advance at our Florida video production studio so that every tiny detail would be ready on the day of filming.
Co-DP and Steadicam operator Eric Coughlin rehearses blocking with the talent Lexi and Chris
We gathered a cast of over 20 extremely talented actors and a crew to match in order to pull off one of the most fun and challenging films we’ve ever made: a one-shot film that weaves in and out of our video studio during an elaborate movie being made. That’s right, it’s a movie within a movie!
Our crew took about 8 takes to get the film completed. We tweaked the timing as we progressed through the night. Almost every take was usable, but the very last take was the one we used. Even though we had over 20 actors they never missed a line!
For the shoot, Christian Cashmir and Eric Coughlin directed and Co-DP’d, bringing both their skill and expertise to the project. For the shoot the Litewave Media team brought gear from our Tampa video equipment rental packages, filming on a Canon C300 MkII with the Canon 15.5-47 Cinema zoom lens. Because it was a film within a film, our St Petersburg video production crew were able to “hide” by pretending to be actors crewing the behind-the-scenes film, but actually acting as crew on the real film. It was film crew Inception: crew within crew within crew!
Director Christian Cashmir gives the cast final notes before filming the first take of “Kiss Tape” while actor Chuck preps the pooch.
Once we finished principal photography, it was time to head back to our Tampa post production studio, where Christian Cashmir mixed sound and colored the film, bringing it to it’s final form so it could be submitted to the competition. It was accepted a week later and…..
Just last week, our film Kiss Tape premiered at the 2016 Single-Take Challenge in beautiful Sarasota, where it competed against many other excellent filmmakers from all around the country. There, we took home two awards, including Best Film and Most Entertaining Film! Congratulations to all of our extraordinarily talented cast and crew for helping bring Kiss Tape to life!
Our Tampa video production company took home the Best Film and Most Entertaining awards!
A few weeks back, our Tampa video production company had the chance to write, shoot, and edit a Star Wars fan film for the official competition sponsored by Lucasfilm and Disney! The challenge, put on yearly, encourages filmmakers to write, produce, and edit their very own fan film set in the Star Wars universe. There are various categories in which filmmakers can garner recognition: best visual effects, filmmaker select, audience choice, and more. When our Tampa video production company heard about the competition, we just had to throw our lightsabers into the mix!
Our Tampa film crew getting a low angle shot of young actress Lennon Brock (just 5 years old!).
We started out with an idea from Litewave Media founder Christian Cashmir and developed it into a short story with the help of writers Mike Garland, Mario Graniello and Steffen Thiel. We wrote in a bit of mystery, intrigue, sprinkled in some tragedy, and of course an epic lightsaber battle (what Star Wars fan film is complete without one?)!
An professional team of stunt choreographers and performers helped to plan out the intricate battle scenes. After a few days of choreographing in detail, our Tampa video production crew were ready to capture our fight scenes on film.
Director Christian Cashmir, actress Mary McDonnell, and camera operator Jake Jalbert review footage on the set of our Star Wars fan film. (Photo: Courtesy of Anthony and Estelle Brock)
With scripts in hand, prosthetics and makeup on, and fight choreography fresh in our minds, the Litewave Media team drove our Tampa grip truck to our first location in Dead River, part of the Hillsborough Wilderness Reserve. Using our Tampa video equipment rental package, our fearless crew hauled gear through the dense woods to our filming location. Miles out, in the middle of a swamp, not unlike Dagobah, our crew setup camp for the first day of principle photography.
Working alongside park rangers, our Tampa independent film production went off without a hitch. Working around the clock, we were able to successfully film all scenes and finish the production on time despite the many challenges presented by the location.
Steffen Thiel, in his (potentially award-winning?) American film debut, as Stormtrooper TH-137.
Director Christian Cashmir and Cinematographer Eric Coughlin worked together using gear from our Tampa video equipment rental package including the Canon C300, and C300 mkII, SteadiCam, MoVi M5 with Sony A7s mkII, and plenty of lighting to give the film a cinematic look. We even brought out our portable generator to the forrest so we didn’t have to stop at Tosche Station to pick up more power converters!
Actor/Stuntmen M. Joshua Todd and TJ McDonnell ready themselves for battle during our Star Wars fan film shoot. (Photo: Courtesy of Anthony and Estelle Brock)
After a successful shoot, it was time to head back to our Tampa post production suites to start the editing process. We had a ton of excellent footage, but we needed to add in lightsaber effects and, of course, the epic sound design and music that makes every Star Wars film so unique. We utilized our Tampa recording studio to record ADR for the main characters, replacing their dialogue with studio quality recordings of their voices – much like the original Star Wars did.
Next, we reached out to our friend Angelo from Panetta Studios to partner with us on the sound design for the film; He and his team created soundscapes, brought the lightsaber battles to life, and transformed the swamp into a character in its own right. They gave our antagonist a unique voice effect as well! Our editors and visual effects team put in a few sleepless nights to make the deadline, and with the hard work of our dedicated team, our film was ready to compete!
Our editing and special effects teams work to finish our Star Wars fan film.
Finally, we submitted our completed film to LucasFilm and Disney for the Star Wars Fan Film Awards, and it was time to celebrate! aarrragghuuhw! That was Wookie for “Partaaaaay!”(seriously, we looked it up). We had the whole team over for a cast/crew screening of the finished film, which we projected on the large white cyc in our Tampa video production studio. What a blast!
Two young padawans (Zack with actress, Lennon) practice lightsaber skills during the cast/crew screening of our Star Wars fan film.