Wednesday, December 30, 2009
The house was incredible. It had two guest bedrooms, a bathroom, and a cool loft/lounge area in the lower wing of the house. Then as you climb the stairs it opens up into a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean. The main room is extremely spacious and is raised above the ground so that you can see the waves below the bluff. And where better to put a hot tub than on the deck overlooking the ocean? Oh and this wasn't a sketchy hot tub, it went up to 106!
Then as the house winds back to the ground, you cross through my favorite room of the house which I have named the "Inspiration Room." It's a room with one huge chair in the middle of it that faces a massive window. The room is surrounded by bookshelves; though, most of the shelves are empty. Below that is the master bedroom, which is essentially it's own wing of the house.
It was hard finding the feeling that I wanted to convey in this video. I decided on going for a relaxed and inspired tone; one that invokes some nostalgia within me and I am hoping in others. I wish I had been there on a sunny day, I think it would have added to the upbeat mood of the piece. Nonetheless, it was a pleasure filming in such a wonderful work of art, and taking night time hot tubs.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Here is a special piece I edited for Metmedia. We've been talking about doing proposals for a while now and this was the company's first opportunity to do it. We created this piece in collaboration with Vince Tarry Studios, a company whose photography I love. Jeff (remember the J's?) from VTP was there with Jonathan to capture this enormous moment in Celeste and Anwar's relationship.
Both Jonathan and Jeff sat at a table near where the proposal would be. They hid their camera's under jackets or peaking out of camera bags. Anwar was also mic'd with a wireless lav so that we could hear some of the most important words of his life. After the proposal the couple went around Union Square to shoot some engagement photos with Jeff. They will be getting married in Hawaii where Celeste is from.
In editing this fusion piece I was dying to edit a fast paced video. However, since I only had one camera worth of video, I didn't have enough footage to do fast cross cutting. The song is one that Anwar suggested we use, and since we really want this video to be about the moment he planned for months, I figured it was appropriate to use it. I did only a little bit of color grading to the video. I didn't want to over stylize the moment and I wanted to keep the footage close to the reality of the moment, since it is something they will likely be showing their children and grand children.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Sea Ranch is a residential development on a bluff right above the ocean. However, it's not just an ordinary housing development. The houses here are architecturally designed in a beautiful and very peaceful way. Most houses seem to rise out of the ground like small hills; and, with their color requirements they are well camouflaged among the high grass and windswept trees.
I was expecting bad weather, but the sun broke through for a few hours on my first day there. I grabbed my camera and started shooting. I then noticed an Egret nearby and tried to sneak close to it. However, whenever I got close it would fly another fifty yards from me and wait for me to try to sneak up again. Stubborn bird... I could have made you a star. I guess that's why I need to invest in a telephoto.
Most of the other footage I shot in the daily Sea Ranch mist or in the gentle rain. Thanks to the 7D's incredible weatherproofing, I wasn't worried about having a camera malfunction. I did have to do a lot of lens cleaning, but it wasn't too much trouble.
The film is laid out to take the viewer from the sunlight, to the overcast skies, to the rainfall, and finally to shelter. "Gandalf's Hat" is a small non-denomination chapel on the bluff. It's always been a dream of mine to shoot it. Now I just need to shoot it in the sunlight and I will be very happy.
I really wanted to create a meditative mood for the film. Sea Ranch to me is a place where I can get away from my daily life, draw inspiration, and focus on my passions. I wrote my first 35 minute film The Third Stage while I was at Sea Ranch as well as my high school feature film The Age of the Ruash. For the video, I wanted it to really sooth the mind. I figured acoustic guitar is always a catalyst when it comes to chillin out.
Canon EOS 7D
Glidetrack SD 1m
I hope you enjoy the video! Check back soon for a video I created for Rams Head Reality, a Sea Ranch real estate company.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Nikon just closed it's online digital filmmaking contest and we got our film in a few hours before the deadline. The prompt was to make a film about "a day in the life." We had a few ideas, but decided we would take the opportunity to experiment with tilt shift photography. The idea behind video tilt shifting is to make objects appear like miniatures. This is done by immitating the depth of field of a macro shot on an object that is life size. When the brain accounts for the different depths, it assumes that what you are looking at is very small.
In order to get the look of a miniature, we also had to make the motion look more like stop motion footage. To give it this look I put a strobe on the footage and ramped it up pretty fast. This gives it the feel of it being animated, like someone playing with little toy people and cars.
The Waldo idea was to throw another element into the tilt shift mix. We know that the story isn't complex, or even a story at all. However, we took the chance to make more of an experimental type film that is more art than storytelling.
On this shoot I got to work with Nathan Visconti, a filmmaker from Berkeley, as well as a long time friend Cameron Clark who did the composting on the one shot of the book with the footage moving inside of it. I also made some other new friends in the Berkeley filmmaking crowd which is always, always, always a fun crew to shoot with.
You can see the submission to Nikon here.
Monday, November 30, 2009
For those who read my blog and aren't involved in the filmmaking industry... A DSLR is essentially a camera. However, recently Canon, Nikon and Panasonic have added into some of their cameras the ability to shoot HD video through their still cameras. Now, the still images the camera produces are still vastly superior to a still from the HD video; but, with a DSLR I can now use beautiful 35mm film lenses. There were adapters for video cameras that existed before these particular DSLR's but they were expensive and when combined with lenses and a video camera, quite cumbersome.
I've been using video cameras/camcorders to shoot every moving image I have ever shot. I'm used to having motorized zoom, real time auto-focusing, and decent quality built in sound. Needless to say this is quite a switch. Here is the first test video I have shot with the 7d. My kit list is at the bottom.
Here are my first impressions.
35mm Lenses - I can now use lenses that give me beautiful bokeh without having to back up 10 miles away from my subject and zoom in. Plus, with the added bonus of my Macro lens, I am able to achieve close ups of incredible detail.
Low Light Shooting - By adding ISO to the function of my camera, I have one more variable that changes how my camera takes in light. ISO in reference to film is how sensitive the film stock is to light. A higher ISO means it's more sensitive to light. As far as how good the 7D is in low light, consider this. I would normally shoot an outdoor daylight scene at around 200 ISO. With the 7D I can go all the way up to 6400 ISO. Now this isn't night vision of course and there is plenty of film grain when dealing with 2000+ ISO. However, being able to shoot with very little light on my subject is going to be a major plus.
Weight - Being a DSLR, it is incredibly light, even with my heaviest lens mounted.
Image Stabilization - coming from years and years of experience with built in optical stabilization, making this switch is hard. I only have one lens with stabilization and a problem with it is that I can hear the motor running in the lens. Not only that, the stabilizing isn't up to par with what I have seen on the Sony Z7U or HVX200. For the most part, hand held without any kind of support system is almost not usable. I will be looking into a Zacuto gunstock and a very good monopod when I can free up the funds.
Focus - Not having a follow focus is a problem. That is also on my list of upcoming investments. I was having trouble because I'm not usually an auto focus guy, especially with these DSLRs. But when I switch into manual, I had problems judging where the focus ring was on my lenses. Of course, with time this problem will go away as I will become more familiar with my equipment. The Zacuto Z-Finder that is on it's way should also help with my snap focusing because I will be able to tell what I have in focus and what isn't with a little more ease.
I love it. I am so excited. I've recommended to both my friend Sebastian Burke and Ben Tuller to sell their HVX/HPX kits and invest in a DSLR. On the other hand, I think that the HVX teamed with a 7D or 5DmkII would be a great team. Feeding audio into the HVX using the XLR inputs while shooting a wide shot teamed with a 7d CU or medium really could be perfect.
My upcoming investments to my kit are going to be an intervalometer for the 7d, a monopod, a Glidecam 4000HD, and a 77mm polarizing filter. After that I'll be adding to my glass kit.
Here is what my new camera kit consists of:
Camera: Canon 7d
Lenses: Canon 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
Sigma 105mm f/ Macro
Canon 52mm f/1.8
Support: Bogen Tripod, 501 Fluid Head
1 meter Glidetrack SD (to be reviewed)
Misc: Zacuto Z-Finder (to be reviewed)
I also added in a few 32gb Compact Flash cards, extra batteries, and the AC adaptor (over priced).
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
If you prefer to think of me as a wedding filmmaker, do not watch this video.
If you prefer to think of me as a normal human being, do not watch this video.
Still curious? If you would like to think of me as a crazy kid who loves making movies, then hit play...
At the bar we toyed around with doing an over the top action movie. The next day, we got together, hydrated, and decided that we'd just make a movie as we went along. We piled a bunch of guns, costumes, and camera equipment into the back of our cars and headed out to film.
Saturday night was a drag. After getting most of our shooting done, I imported the footage and took a look. You can't imagine how terrible and how bad this footage looked. Not only that, we didn't even have a story.
Then I brought the movie into the editing room. It started to pick up steam when I paced it out. It started to come together even more when I did some coloring samples. I spent hours cutting, tweaking, searching through footage, timing music, adding sound effects, and laughing at the ridiculous movie before me.
We showed the movie to the crew Monday night. We were all pleasantly surprised at the final product. I mean, if there has ever been a case of turning garbage into anything more, this is it. Don't get me wrong, I know this movie is still a piece of, well... whatever it is. But damn it's perfect.
Also, this was the most fun I've had filming a movie. Possibly ever.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
When I talked to Jared about the piece, he told me he wanted Christy to get the last word in all of their playful bantering. This speaks to Jared's character so well in that as cool as he is, he wants Christy to shine even brighter. I also used mostly video elements rather than pack it with photos because I wanted to have movement that progressed forward.
Again, I need to credit Jeffrey Neal from JNP Studios for his fantastic photo work. I'd also like to thank Jared and Christy for the fantastic opportunity to make a special piece that really hits the type of film I am most passionate about. Please leave any comments you have. Thanks!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Of course, Jeffrey wanted to do a mix. I actually secretly wanted to do a mix also, so I was ready for it. To create the inspired mood I picked a song that felt "cool" with some electronic elements. I then paced it out so that the video builds momentum in an energetic way. Using fast cuts and flashy transitions, I wanted to give it a modern feel. Jeffrey is a very hip, modern guy so getting this across in the video was essential.
The video is about how he runs his shoots. How does Jeffrey act on location? How does he interact with his clients? As you can see, he does everything in a fun way which makes for better photographs.
Stay tuned for the cut I created for Jared and Christy!
Monday, November 2, 2009
So, when Jeffrey said he was going to shoot an engagement session up in Yosemite, I urged Jonathan to accompany Jeffrey. A few days before the shoot, I found out that my friend Jared Cotton (again with the J's) is the groom in the engaged couple. I knew Jared from back at Chapman when we used to work on film sets together and hang in the same crowd. So when I found this out, I was amped. Time to edit a kickass piece for Jeffrey and a killer love story for Jared.
Another cool thing is that Jared himself is a stellar photographer. Back in college, I used to shake my head in amazement whenever I saw his work. He had an incredible ability to see interesting angles in ordinary things. There was one shot I remember vividly of an A shaped rooftop. I'll try to link it below.
And on top of that Jared runs a Redtail Media in LA that does video and photography. So as you can see, the world of creative professionals is wrapped around and around. I wouldn't have it any other way.
So here is a nostalgic shout out to the early days of college. Carl Lammi, Alex Rock, Brandon Ballard, Pierce Templeton, Adam Hein, Nick Markham and Jared Cotton. The dream team that never took full form; but kicked ass anyway.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Let's just say I learned a massive amount about the wedding film industry. The most notable seminars besides Kevin Shahanian and Jasmine Star, who I blogged about previously, were those of Joe Simon, Jason Magbanua, David Robin, and Oleg Kalyan.
Joe Simon is a very inspirational filmmaker. He was kind enough to show us how he breaks down his shoots, down to the detail of using tape on the floor to set marks for the toasts. He's also quite young, and completely on top of his game. This really motivated me to start diving into the wedding film industry and get myself out there.
Jason Magbanua, a top end Philipino wedding film director, shared with us his strategies for his wedding films and same day edits. But more importantly, he showed us his passion for what he does. He shared a story with us in which a typhoon hit the Philippines and he and his crew still went out to the wedding. In fact, he then used the news footage from the typhoon as a way to frame the day. The resulting video was an amazing blend of a reminder of the destruction mixed with the dream of the couple's love. His passion is something I admire and I will continue to look to him for inspiration.
David Robin is probably one of the most respected pros in the industry. He has been making wedding films for over twenty five years as well as doing amazing 3D photo montages. He shared with us a list of twenty five things he has learned over the twenty five years. Every single one of them was insightful. They ranged from creative ideas to business management. It was a pleasure to learn from such an experienced pro.
And I thought I was a good editor... How about Oleg Kalyan, one of the most incredible wedding filmmakers I have ever met. The way he cuts his films together is a work of beauty. The Russian filmmaker showed one of the first weddings he ever edited. It was all in slow motion, over diffused, over saturated, and looked basically awful. Of course that was 10 years ago. He then showed us his recent work, and my mind was blown. His style is amazing. He uses a combination of fast cuts, ramped up footage, and sound design to create a monster of a video. Just today I was editing and referred to some of Oleg's work for inspiration. My goodness he is good.
My final thoughts on Re:Frame. The conference was incredible. The people I met, the videos I saw, the closeness of the community all inspired me so much. However, I was disappointed by one thing. As a local, I opted to not stay in the hotel and commute to the conference. Early in the week I realized that most of the bonding between the top pro's and some of the attendees was happening at night, at the hotel or on the streets of San Francisco. When I attend the next conference, I will absolutely book a hotel room, have a canon 5d Mk II, and spend more time mingling with those who I admire so greatly.
One more note: I need to thank my boss Jonathan Metcalf and MetMedia for giving me the opportunity to attend ReFrame. It was a pleasure to represent MetMedia.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Well seeing as how I only got about ten hours of sleep this last weekend, I'm a little bit tired coming out of the first day of Re:Frame. However, my fatigue has had no impact on how inspired I am.
Today I met so many great people who share the same passion as I do. Going into Re:Frame, I was a little worried about the atmosphere being a little competitive. I thought that people would be trying to top each other, bragging about their work, and concealing their struggles. This was not the case at all. I found that every single person I met was not only extremely humble, but also highly accessible.
The first seminar was by Kevin Shahinian and was centered on the idea of using filmmaking storytelling in weddings. Rather than the standard documentation of a wedding day, we need to approach it as if we are showing a story. When we look at it like that, we start to create a more inspired and moving piece. So the first lesson I learned is that from here on out we are making wedding films.
To make a wedding film, we need to make it look like we control in environment we are shooting in. It needs to look like our shots are pre-planned, and almost as if we have taken multiple takes. The difficulty is that we are shooting a wedding and we only get one chance at each moment.
Overall, Kevin really inspired me with his talk. He reminded me that I want to show a couples story. I want to show their love. It's not about capturing a moment forever, it's about capturing a feeling forever. I feel like I am very capable of doing this, as I was one of the only people in the room who has a film school background.
The next speaker was Jasmine Star, the blog master. She is probably the most accomplished blogger in the wedding industry. She told us about her approach to booking clients and how to create an online image that really sells "You."
I've known how important blogging is. I, of course, started mine a few months ago as a result of seeing the impact it has had on the industry. She had some very interesting ideas on how to best have an online presence. Also, as we were in the middle of the seminar, I signed up for my twitter account! I'm not a huge fan of the name and the whole "tweet" thing. But the truth is it's worth it. Anything us professionals can do to have more of an online presence is time well spent. My twitter is here! Help me get started!
The last part of the day was an elective. I chose the elective that centered on Wedding Concept Videos. The speaker was Lloyd Calomay, an accomplished wedding concept filmmaker. His idea was new to me. He does spoofs of real movies, re-enacted with the bride, groom, and their family and friends. Exciting! The films themselves looked a little under produced, but the writing was great. I feel like if I were to try the same thing, my films would have more production value but would probably lack in the writing. It looks like a fun idea and I would love to try it out soon.
Well, I am tired. I will be bringing my camera tomorrow so I can share with all of you what it looks like to hang out with the best. The first day was fantastic, and I am excited to meet more Re:Framers and learn more about our industry!
I'm here in San Francisco at the Re:Frame Collective, a week long conference with the best wedding filmmakers in the world. We're gathering to collaborate with others and talk about Marketing, Production, Workflow and basically everything else regarding video.
Some of the top industry pros we are hearing from are Jasmine Star, Phillip Bloom, and Kevin Shaninian, people whose work I admire and whose strategies I admire more.
I will be blogging each night; reflecting on people I have met, what I've learned, and what my ideas are for what's to come. Stay tuned for photos, video, and all the other good stuff. What an exciting week!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Producer's Award: Best Overacting
"Nellius 5000 and Zupitron: Ultimate Battle Buddies" by 4QR98 Pass
"Nellius 5000 and Zupitron: Ultimate Battle Buddies" by 4QR98 Pass
"Nellius 5000 and Zupitron: Ultimate Battle Buddies" by 4QR98 Pass
Runner Up for Best Film
"Nellius 5000 and Zupitron: Ultimate Battle Buddies" by 4QR98 Pass
Here is the link to the 48HFP website where the awards are announced.
Congratulations to our team for the epic 48 hours of epic filmmaking mayhem.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Here is another excerpt from Laura and Scott's wedding down in Southern California. The full wedding video has been completed and delivered, but Laura asked me to upload this section so that she could post it on her blog.
Here is what she wrote about her video.
"Thank you so much for all the obvious time, thought, and care you put into making our video so truly wonderful. It far exceeded any expectations we ever had. Your work is amazing!"
Laura and Scott's wedding was not only a beautiful occasion, but it brought together quite a few very talented professionals. Since the wedding, Metmedia and Jeffrey Neal from JNP Studios have been working together and are planning to do a fusion shoot in Yosemite later this month. Design Visage also did a fantastic job with Laura's makeup and hair. She truly looks stunning!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
David Jay's been credited as one of the top 15 wedding photographers in the world. Not only does he have a fantastic eye for photos, he's also one of the best industry pros when it comes to marketing his work. He spoke to us about how to use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to reach potential brides. I'm excited to see these new insights applied to MetMedia.
He also showed us some of the fusion pieces he made. Some of it was impressive, some of it was not. He outsources all of this video work to another company who shoots and edits it for him. I was glad to see that his fusion work wasn't the best that's out there because it means there is room at the top. I hope to shoot and edit some more fusion very soon, so as to get known in the big kids playground.
I also got a chance to network with some photographers who I am excited to work with. I haven't yet looked at their work but their personalities and openness speaks volumes about the kind of work they do. I could certainly see myself working with these people in the future.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Here is a video I shot and edited for Vince Tarry Photography. They'll be using it as a marketing piece and selling a Fusion Video as an add-on to their photography business.
With the advent of the Canon 5d Mark II, Fusion seems to be the next big thing hitting the wedding industry. It allows photographers to collaborate with videographers to offer a sweet product that has a very polished feel to it. I'm very excited to be at the forefront of this movement. I'm also excited to work with so many different photographers. I love being on shoots where I can hang out with other professionals who have a fantastic eye for images. With Fusion, it's not a competition to see who can get the best shot. We're all working together to make the best possible product that we can.
We actually did a whole re-branding of the company. Along with the website, we have new business cards, demo kits, and a new confidence in the company. Now that our marketing is up to par, we're look forward to great things.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
This is the final segment for Laura and Scott's wedding. Laura and Scott came out of their reception to talk with us about the day which was a fantastic opportunity build some emotion for the end of the video. I inter-cut their interviews with highlight footage from the day, as well as photos, to turn it into a nostalgic piece that I'm sure they will remember for a long time.
When we talked to Laura and asked her about music she wanted to use in her wedding, one of the songs was Transatlanticism by Death Cab For Cutie. I've always liked that song, but had never through about putting it into a wedding video.
Laura and Scott's wedding was such a beautiful day. The happiness and love in their eyes was such an inspiration for me. The venue, Rancho Las Lomas,was absolutely stunning. Their photographer, Jeffrey Neal of JNP Studios, was a fantastic photographer to work with. Not only was his eye sharp and creative, but he helped us immensely when creating the Fusion piece by giving us his photos and feedback.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Genre: Buddy Film
Prop: Piece from a board game
Character: Zack Alexander, Exterminator
Required Line: "Tell me again why this matters."
After stressing out for hours about our story, we decided that we should just have fun with the movie and make something totally over the top and ridiculous. After flushing out the gist of the story, Brian Schlotterbeck and Ben Tuller each wrote separate prologues and then we combined the best parts of both.
Our film was in the finals for the audience award, meaning we were in the top three films for the screening. We are still waiting to see if we will get nominated in other categories. We're hoping for nominations in Costumes, Sound Design, and Editing.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
I shot most of the video in this piece. The photography was done by Curtis Myers of Perfect Circle Photography. It's always a pleasure to work with him and his images.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Here is the first Fusion test I edited with footage from Laura and Scott's wedding. Their wedding was at Rancho Las Lomas, an incredible venue with massive trees, rustic architecture and a stunning ceremony area. Capturing the expression's on their faces as they first saw each other was a priority for MetMedia. We had two camera's rolling on them; and with the editing, I incorporated the photos taken by Jeffrey Neal of JNP Studios.
This is a good example of what Video/Photo fusion can create. Video captures moments as they pass, but the viewer rarely gets to pause and look at a beautiful frame or priceless expression. When I edit photos into the video, the viewer can stop and take in the moment. He or she can look at the subtleties and not worry about missing something else.
In an interview Laura gave as she was getting ready, she revealed that she liked the "vintage" look. I took this and ran with it. I added various film effects to some of the footage to achieve an old, muted 16mm film like feel. I also did some bleach bi-pass processing to give it an old, found footage type feel.
The only negative feedback I have gotten is that the camera shutter sound effect is too loud. I agree, and have since altered it to be less obtrusive. I decided to keep this version up until I had some free time to compress the new version. Enjoy!
Monday, August 3, 2009
Here is a wedding I edited a few months ago. One thing I really liked about this couple was how energetic and excited they were. Michelle, especially, was glowing the entire day.
The approach I took for editing their wedding was to give them a very hip video with quick cuts, lots of motion, and a contemporary soundtrack. This is just an excerpt of their wedding; the whole video runs about 45 minutes.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
This was our first 48 Hour Film competition. This particular competition was based in San Francisco, where there were another 70 teams competing. We were given a few required elements and then 48 hours to write, shoot, and edit the film.
Character: Claude Green, Guitarist
Prop: A Hat
Required Line: "I believe anyone can change."
We had our idea very quickly; however, we spent so many hours grueling over the script that by the time we had to shoot, we had gotten very little sleep and our brains weren't working very quickly. We were also at an extreme disadvantage as we only had a crew of 2, and 2 actors. The thing is, that's all we need. I'm extremely confident in my teams ability to make films with a skeleton crew. In fact, I'd venture to say there aren't many teams that can do what we can with the resources we have.
The screening for our film went very well. It was at the Roxie theater in San Francisco.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
We submitted this film for the San Francisco Film Racing
event of 2009. We were up against something like 14 other films. The theme of our film had to be "Embarrassing" and we had to include a key in the film. We actually couldn't think of anything Friday night and just went to sleep. With 13 hours left we came up with our idea, and had the film done with 30 minutes to spare.
For some reason the judges absolutely hated our film. Perhaps it was the violence, perhaps it was the style. The judging was so unfair that we lost "Best Costumes" to a film where their actors were wearing T shirts and Jeans. Yea.
However, in all fairness, it was our first film race and we learned a couple things. First, we learned that making a pro-war/pro soldier film for a competition in San Francisco isn't the best idea. We were trying to do something different that what everybody else was going to do with the theme "embarrassing." We decided to take it the dramatic route, which nobody else did. We've since decided that we should play to the audiences expectations, and not try to stand out in THAT way.