What do date night, a snowy hillside trek and a bowl of batter have in common?
Each seemingly ordinary occurrence has been spun into 180 seconds or less of cinematic splendor by the winners of Nikon’s “Everyday Cinema” video contest.
“This was Nikon’s first cinema video competition, and we’re delighted to reveal that we received entries from all over the country,” said Sharon Henley, Sr. Manager of Marketing at Nikon, Inc.
“Judging was fierce yet enjoyable on many levels. The range of creativity from the entrants’ interpretations of the theme was inspiring. Such strong participation reflects the growing popularity for using current filmmaking technology to capture today’s important moments in a more cinematic way—whether those moments record personal, business or entertainment themes,” said Mark Soares, Technical Marketing Manager at Nikon, Inc.
First prize winner Joshua McLawhorn of Tallahassee, Florida, will take home a Nikon cinema package valued just shy of $18K*. The second place prize, valued at more than $6,500, goes to Tim Burton of Pleasant Grove, Utah. The third place recognizes Elke Talbot from Boone, North Carolina, with a package just under $3,000.
For Nikon’s debut filmmaker competition, over 500 participants uploaded their 120- to 180-second video that captured an everyday moment as spun into a stunning cinematic short. Entries ranged from the building of a fire, to the exhilarating ride down a mountain, and everything in between.
First Place: “Almost Ready”
For his contest-winning creation “Almost Ready,” as envisioned by Joshua McLawhorn, take a peek at the novel au natural way one date preps for pick-up in just ten minutes.
For Joshua, the biggest challenges to creating “Almost Ready” were time and directing. “I came across the contest on the Nikon Web site rather late and did not begin shooting until December 14, which gave me slightly more than two weeks to do everything. Additionally, my leading actress was out of town for the entire week of Christmas.”
With a laugh, he shares another challenge: coaxing model Gabriela to act in certain scenes. Her reluctance to be half nude and submersed in the Wacissa River on a cold and rainy December day was pronounced. In jest, the director recounts, “[there were] moments where her burning stares caused me to fear for my safety!”
Having never made a short film before, Joshua credits the Nikon contest as the impetus that got him started on short films. “I took great care in the conceptualization and creation of “Almost Ready” to not only adhere to, but embody, the theme. This experience has been a catalyst for me. I will continue to tell stories in video and film.”
Second Place: “Home”
In second place, filmmaker Tim Burton takes us on a winter day snow trek to his “Home.” The simplicity of subject and set is made that much more powerful when paired with poignant narrative.
For Tim, the hardest part of the contest was figuring out what everyday routine or everyday event to profile. One thing for certain was including the snowy weather to help the look of the video. At that time, snow in Utah was definitely an everyday occurrence.
“The theme really helped me look at simple events in a new perspective,” says Tim. “I didn’t think hiking the side of a mountain could look that cool, or cinematic for that matter, but it really turned out well. The video made hiking appear to be a lot more epic.”
He reveals being completely floored when the email arrived to say that he had earned second place. “It was definitely surprising, and I couldn’t have been happier. None of this would have been possible had it not been for my extremely generous friends who loaned me equipment.” He goes on to say that winning the camera and lenses prize package will help turn a hobby into a career.
Third Place: “Cake”
And in third place, Nikon judges panel selected “Cake,” from Elke Talbot, with its batter close-ups and intimate ingredient moments, as just too good to pass up. Elke says the theme of the contest was challenging and fun: “It was a simple idea but actually incredibly complex to create. It made you sit down and think about all of the everyday events that we overlook every day. It was a lot of fun to see what people came up with.”
But capturing an everyday moment in a cinematic way has its challenges – “The biggest challenge in shooting “Cake” was probably trying to visualize a simple process as something that was more impacting” says Elke. “I wanted people to be inspired and realize food is a beautiful thing!”
“In each of these winning submissions, we see a great attention to detail and technical ability that brings a whole new cinematic look to everyday moments,” said Soares. “This is evident in 'Almost Ready' as the camera follows the actress through the scenes, as well as in the thoughtfully composed angles in “Home,” plus the beautiful close-ups present in “Cake.” These submissions, along with the honorable mentions and many of the entries, show us that everyday moments can be both beautiful and memorable.”
Each submission was judged on three key criteria:
• Quality of Submission
• Fit to Contest Theme
For more information on the Nikon Everyday Cinema Video Contest, please visit www.everydaycinema.com. To see additional work from the winners, please follow the links below:
1st Prize Winner: Joshua McLawhorn, “Almost Ready” – see more of Joshua McLawhorn’s work here
2nd Prize Winner: Tim Burton, “Home” – see more of Tim Burton’s work here
3rd Prize Winner: Elke Talbot, “Cake”
To see the winning videos and honorable mentions of the Nikon Everyday Cinema Video Contest, please click here.