“The Story Behind the Still: The Cabbie” (Vincent Laforet on Vimeo)

The Story Beyond The Still: The Cabbie from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.

I’ve decided to include a post on this video that I came across on Vimeo – it intrigued me for several reasons, and as a result I’d like to help promote it:

  • The video / short film is well made and engaging, and at the end leaves you wanting more, but just a little creepy also …
  • Vincent Laforet is roughly the same age as me, but in an entirely different career, and half way round the world from me (you can read his bio here)
  • I’m also interested in DSLR photography, but only on an amateur level (sadly not having the time to let this hobby develop yet … no pun intended)
  • The video is the initial step in a social network / crowdsourcing style contest, not too dissimilar to the exercise you might have done at school, where everyone wrote a different chapter to a book in their English class … in this case Vincent has filmed the first chapter in a film and contestants will submit subsequent chapters starting where the last one finished (given the ending to “The Cabbie”, it will be interesting to see where the contestants and judges take it next)

According to Vincent on his blog:

I’m very, very, VERY excited about this!

I’ve been working with Canon & Vimeo for close to six months on getting this going and they’ve responded with a pretty resounding show of support!

I shot an ad for Canon a little over six months ago and got to talking with some of the creatives on the team at Grey Advertising. I told them that 2009 had been a pretty amazing year for me following the release of Reverie – and that I wanted to find a way to share some of that excitement and energy with others. We came to the conclusion that launching a nationwide film contest would do the trick.

As we all know – there are a LOT of film contests out there – but I believe this one is DIFFERENT.

There is A LOT OF POTENTIAL here for something very special to come out at the end…  each video chapter will start with and end with a still image… you need to interpret the previous photographer/filmmaker’s still to start the (your) subsequent chapter (those are pretty much the ONLY rules/guidelines (outside of the obvious))… should make for a pretty unique series of chapters in the end!

I came across the film on Vimeo’s “Videos we like” list on its homepage (in my experience, Vimeo typically has better videos, and better comments, than YouTube).

I am however a little surprised that the contest isn’t marketed better already, other than on Vimeo’s homepage, Vincent’s blog and a small number of other sites – I think (based on a comment someone left on the Vimeo site) the contest is open only to US residents (which I think is unfortunate anyway) so perhaps there is better marketing in the US, but Canon’s own website doesn’t mention the contest at all as far as I can tell (I even found nothing searching for Vincent’s name on the Canon USA website). Even Googling “The Story Behind the Still” only finds seven bloggers and other reviewers thoughts on the contest.

Nevertheless, according to Vimeo the video has already been watched some 12,900 times in the last couple of days (as of Saturday 9 January – the video was only launched on Thursday 7 January) – it seems that it might eventually go viral, via bloggers and on Twitter. Vincent’s blog also states that contest rules / details will be on the Vimeo page shortly, so maybe since they’ve released the film already I’m just being impatient for the start of the contest on 15 January (why are they waiting??).

According to Vincent’s blog also:

When I was asked to interpret the still image of an abandoned teddy bear at an airport terminal – a thousand different interpretations flooded my mind.

I wanted to create a dynamic film that took the audience on a journey and showed off many of the strengths of this new breed of HD DSLR cameras. This breed of cameras’ low light capabilities and light weight allow you to do things you’d never thing of trying with traditional cameras. But almost more importantly: I had to make sure that we made a film that both photographers brand new to filmmaking  as well as more seasoned filmmakers  felt that they could easily follow.

This project is about bringing EVERYONE into the fold – regardless of their prior experience or their access to “toys.” We’re looking for a series of ORIGINAL films that spotlight your talent and creativity.

We are not asking anyone to try to make a polished Hollywood film… ideas always win in my book. The quality of execution always plays a role of course – but on this one contest it will take a clear back seat.

This has been an amazing experience and I am quite confident that it’s just the beginning. The film you are about to see will open on a still and then it will come to life in this short film. You will notice that this first chapter comes to an end on a still of its own – that’s where you come in and run with it. Take that still and follow in my footsteps if you will with your own interpretation of it.

A few IMPORTANT notes: I think that each chapter should make it clear that it is one of many – i.e. that something needs to come next. Also – I was asked to interpret the initial still pretty closely -I do know that we don’t expect you to be able to do the same. While you may not be able to start in a similar setting, or even with the same object, or the lighting that you’ll see at the end of this film – just make sure that whatever you shoot will transition smoothly from this initial chapter to what you are submitting. To be clear: this does NOT HAVE to be one continuous narrative that is carried through over several chapters…  as long as the still that starts YOUR film is similar enough or in the same spirit of the previous still – that’s good enough for us.  In other words: BE CREATIVE! As long as each chapters flows from one to the next – this experiment will succeed.

Further details on the contest are set out in this ‘behind the scenes’ video:

The Story Beyond the Still “The Cabbie” – Behind The Scenes from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.

Finally, I think some credit needs to go to Takeshi Furukawa also (responsible for the scene setting music in “The Cabbie”).

Also, if you are interested, Vincent also short a great surf video, “First Look“: Surfer Jamie O’Brien on the Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore of Hawaii. Shot with the Canon 5D MKII, Red One, and HVX200.

3 Responses

  1. While I am a fan of Vimeo, it had me perplexed and frustrated trying to embed the videos above into my (WordPress.com) blog, until I eventually found the solution:

    WordPress blogs require a ‘workaround’ to get embed the Vimeo videos properly – all details are on the Vimeo and WordPress help pages:


    Once you know how, it’s dead simple …

  2. Just noticed also that Vincent is on twitter – @vincentlaforet (I guess I should have spotted that already …):


    He is tweeting about the contest also, with some insights and behind the scenes comments.

  3. The Canon & Vimeo contest page is now live. You can enter as of January 15th (now) but there is no rush – you have just under a month to enter your submission for Chapter 2 – the first deadline is February 11, 2010 at 11:59.59 p.m. E.S.T…


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