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  • A. Turner

Behind the Scenes-Shooting a promo video for CBI Offroad Fabrication

It all started with a cold call from a strange voice…..

"Hi this is Nathan from CBI Offroad"

The very intriguing conversation went on, and by the time I had hung up the phone, I knew I had some adjustments to make on our planned trip out west.

Nathan Wright, owner of CBI Offroad Fabrication

You see, we had already planned an exciting trip that would be taking us through Colorado, Utah and Idaho. After speaking to Nathan Wright at CBI, and discovering that he needed some marketing video for his company, we decided to lend a hand. After all, Idaho Falls was pretty much on our way to one of our destinations, the Sawtooth Mountains. So I agreed to divert our convoy and spend a day visiting CBI, and shooting a promo video for them.

I immediately called my partner J.D., and conveyed the exciting news. At this point though, we were only a few days away from departure, and did not have adequate time to plan the shoot. Yep, we were going to have to shoot this one from the hip. Wing it.

We departed on a Thursday evening, drove for about 30 hours and arrived in Ouray, where we spent a night recuperating from the grueling cross country drive. We woke up the next day and filmed for about 13 hours on one of the areas most beautiful trails, Imogene Pass. After that, it was back to camp to do a gigantic media dump, and then pass out. We woke the next morning and decided it was time to make the push to Idaho, and meet our new friends at CBI.

Two days later, we found ourselves on Nathan's doorstep. We introduced ourselves, looking ragged and tired from the long drive. We agreed that we would meet back at the shop bright and early the next morning and get to work….

J.D. and I showed up the next morning after having consumed a healthy amount of grub from Hardees, and began the days work. We thought the best course of action would be to go ahead and knock out any exterior shots before the already intense sunlight got to be unmanageable. We promptly deployed #globalchickenhawk and put it to work on some long dollies and jib shots across the front facade of the building. While we had the drone out, we figured we might as well do some handheld work with it as well. We had the idea that it might be cool to follow Nathan as he walked into the shop as he arrived in the morning, so we followed him in, hand holding the drone and capturing a nice stable follow shot. The trick here was to keep our selves out of the shot as we were walking straight towards the mirror tinted glass of his storefront. If you look closely at this shot, #mamba makes a sneak appearance in the reflection!

Mamba sneaks into a shot

We continued on and set up the Edelkrone slider for some b-roll shots in the very impressive showroom. J.D. spent about 5 hours with the Sony A-6000 grabbing all manner of shots. After that, we ventured back to the fabrication area and started chatting up the metal techs and learning a little bit about what they do from day to day. It was truly impressive seeing what went into building some of the most well designed offroad armor on the market.

J.D. sets up the slider

While playing in the fab shop, we decided to attach the gopro to some parts being run through their various metal forming processes, which gave us a unique 1st person view.

Once finished in the fab area, it was time for an interview. Keep in mind, NONE of this was planned. We just decided to blindside Nathan with an impromptu interview, and he was a great sport and obliged. We set up the Canon 5D MKIII, Zoom H5 audio recorder and lavalier mic and the Sony as "B-camera"….(which we ended up not using the footage from in the end due to a technical issue) To our amazement, Nathan banged out a flawless interview on the first take, no mistakes! I guess Nathan is accustomed to winging it like we do :) At any rate, he was a natural in front of the camera, and made our jobs easy.

We wrapped for the day, thanked our gracious host for allowing us to interrupt their very busy day and continued on our journey.

Once we were back home, the real work began. Dump footage, backup footage, transcode footage, review footage etc. etc.

It took me a few days to get into the zone and start working on the edit. I had already established that we were going to be making a sub-two minute video, and began to block it all out. I found a license free music track that I thought would work well and set the mood. Once I had the blocking set, and had approval from the client, I decided I would divert my attention for a day or two and jump into Adobe After Effects and create a nice logo animation. I received the vector artwork from the client and got to work immediately. I was pretty stoked with what we came up with in such a short time period.

A couple of days later and the finished edit was done. Time for color grading. Since we shot this project on several cameras, we knew it would present some technical challenges getting a consistent look across all of the shots. We put our edit in Davinci Resolve, and got to work. We quickly realized that we had made some technical mistakes with one of the cameras that was going to make this a real jackpot….Oh well, cant drive 3,000 miles to go reshoot it. Got to make this work. So we graded the best we could with what we had, learned from our mistakes and delivered the final cut to the client. Nathan was very happy with the outcome, and we were glad that we had come through for him.

In closing, this was an incredible learning experience for us and we cant wait to test ourselves out again on another project!


Check out CBI Offroad Fabrication at

Some of the gear used in filming this promo:


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