Making of: Pete Parkkonen (Album cover)

The Assignment & Goals

Back in February I spent a week in Hawaii shooting a music video for Pete Parkkonen (read more about that project here) - two weeks after getting back to Finland, Warner Music also commissioned me to shoot Pete’s new album cover and some promotional photographs for posters and his album booklet. 

Our goal with these photos, was to create a set of simple and minimalistic portraits of Pete, that at the same time would convey a slight feeling of mystery and artistry. We really wanted to concentrate on perfecting the lighting setups, and worked mainly around a small set of different poses that we had decided on beforehand. I had Atte Tanner, my good friend and trusty assistant, helping out on this shoot. Together with him, we worked on each of these photos and tweaked the lighting for as long as we felt necessary, until we were 100% happy with the results we saw in the back of the camera.

Lighting

Here is a BTS-photo of one of our many lighting set-ups that was used for these two shots:

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Here’s a lighting-diagram from the same set-up: 

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In this light setup I used the large octa as the main lightsource, and used a large square softbox to fill in some of the shadows that the octa created. And to create some separation I added a hairlight behind Pete. The hairlight created some flares in the photos, so I used a black flag to get rid of them. I also felt like the hairlight gave a bit too much of an effect on the leather jacket, so I added an additional layer of diffusion in front of the light, just to soften it up a bit.

Post-processing

Concentrating on the lighting like this, made the post-processing very quick and simple for me. The light looked good straight out of camera, so I only had to use dodging and burning to accentuate the highlights and shadows that were already there in the first place, instead of needing to “sculpt” the face from scratch with extensive dodging and burning. 

The colors looked great straight out of camera as well, and I didn’t need to do much tweaking on them either. A simple curves-adjustment did the trick on these photos.

Making of

Here are some behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot - taken by Atte. If you have any questions related to this photoshoot, the lighting setups etc. - feel free to post them in the comments section - I’d be happy to answer all of them :)

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Final photos

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Lauri Laukkanen - Pete Parkkonen (Studio-final)-11.jpg

Check out the full set of photos over at the "Commercial Projects"-page: http://www.laurilaukkanen.com/commercial#/pete-parkkonen-warner-music-pete-parkkonen/


Making of: Pete Parkkonen / Warner Music - "Mun"

In the past month or so I have been travelling all around the world (Miami, Hawaii, UK) and have been working on several interesting projects that I'm very excited to share with you later in the upcoming months. Today I decided to write up a behind-the-scenes article about our trip to Hawaii. 

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The Assignement

Me and the two brothers from Los Taipales had been planning on a vacation-trip to Hawaii for a few months now, and about two weeks before flying overseas, Warner Music contacted me about a music video that they wanted me to produce for Pete Parkkonen. I had worked with Pete on his first set of photos and his first music video for his first single called "Mitä Minä Sanoin", so it felt natural for us to continue the co-operation on this second single as well. The problem was that Warner Music needed to have the video produced during the time that I was planning to be in Hawaii. Well, we started throwing some ideas back and forth, and came to the conclusion that the best idea would be to fly Pete over to Hawaii, and shoot the video over there. We felt that the sunny weather and beautiful nature of Hawaii would suit the story and feel of the video very well. Once we had decided on that, I started the pre-production process.

Pre-Production

We had written a script for the video together with Pete and his A&R manager Lasse Kurki. Based on that script we needed to find two actors from Hawaii. One adult actor to act as "the mother" and one child-actor to act as "the child". We'd also need to build a cross and find an indoor-location for the first part of the video. 

I had the Taipale-brothers helping me out with the production - they have a lot of contacts in Hawaii, and know the islands much better than I do. With their help we managed to find the amazing Brooks-family that was willing to help us out by acting in the video. Tiffany, the mother of the family, was the perfect fit for her role, and her daughter Seilah, was an adorable little girl who I knew would melt the hearts of everyone watching the video. Tiffany's husband Davidson agreed to play the part of the "dead husband" - which was a tough role to play as well... ;)

Our two amazing actors.

Our two amazing actors.

Building the cross from scratch...

Building the cross from scratch...

For the cross we figured the best way to do it was just to head over to Lowe's and buy some materials and build it ourselves. Daniel and Samuel did an amazing job with the cross.

When we arrived in Hawaii we started the location-scouting process. We drove all around the Big Island in search of the best locations. Our main concern was finding a good indoor-location for the first part of the video. Finally, the day before the shoot, we managed to get access to this amazing house called King's Mansion that is owned by YWAM. It was exactly what I was looking for. And while we were driving around looking for the indoor-location, we found this beautiful field next to the ocean that I thought was perfect for the final part of the video.

King's Mansion
The room we shot most of the indoor-stuff in.

Once we had taken care of finding the actors, locations and had the cross built, it was time to start the production!

Production

Pete arrived in Hawaii, together with his producer Joonas about a week after us. We had decided to reserve three days for the production.

On the first day we shot some "back-up" material of Pete singing and walking on the rocky lava-fields. I had decided to shoot this material mainly as a back-up - just in case we felt the materials from day two and three weren't strong enough to carry the video all the way through. 

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The second day was the "indoor"-day. We arrived at the King's Mansion in the morning, and shot the first half of the video on that day. We also had to shoot the family-photo that we'd have in a frame in the second half of the video. Working with kids is always an interesting experience and this was no different - but the day went by quickly, and we got everything shot, and I was very happy with what we were able to get done on this day. 

Shooting in the beautiful golden sunset-light.

Shooting in the beautiful golden sunset-light.

And then on the third day, we drove up to the field and shot the final part of the video. I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful golden light from the setting sun, so we arrived at the field about 2 hours before sunset. Having only two hours to shoot before loosing the sun, meant that we'd have to be very effective and get everything done in one or two takes. This required a lot of effort from everyone on set, but we managed to get everything done, right in time. 

Post-production

Sitting at the Warner offices - applying the finishing touches.

Sitting at the Warner offices - applying the finishing touches.

Because we were working on a very tight schedule, I actually made a first rough cut of the video the day after finishing the actual shoot. I showed it to Pete, and together we felt that it was going to turn out great. Then about a week later we flew back to Finland. My schedule was quite crazy as I had to fly out to England (to teach a workshop and give two lectures) 4 hours after landing to Finland - so I decided to make the first proper cut of the video on my laptop, on our flights back from Hawaii. Once we landed in Finland I drove back home quickly and while I repacked my bags for England, I uploaded the video on my server and sent it over to Warner Music for comments. I received the comments in my email as my plane landed in England. Based on those comments I tweaked the video a bit, and sent it back over to Warner. We were almost ready. I flew back to Finland four days later, and on the next morning drove up to the Warner offices, and sat down with Pete to do the last final tweaks for the video. Finally, the video was done, and ready for publishing! :)

Final Video

Pete Parkkonen / Warner Music - "Mun"

Directed, shot and edited by Lauri Laukkanen
Production assistants: Samuel & Daniel Taipale, Joonas Angeria