Archive for category Video

Pro “as Arri” Lights

So the other day I was thinking about investing in a light kit for my video work. There were a couple of options and I was really leaning toward getting a Lowel DV Creator 1 kit. But after researching my options a little more I found that a couple friends were having good results using a cheap knock off kit out if China that resembles Arri lights.
After searching a couple days on eBay I found a complete set of two peppers a tweenie and a baby for 650 dollars, minus scrims. So I decided to bite the bullet and put in a bid. I won.
Now they have already shipped and in about a week they should be here. I can’t wait to try them out on upcoming projects.

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Battle Of The Bands at UVU

This Tuesday is the battle of the bands at UVU produced by a friend and senior student Brian Parsons, with help from the Audio and Cinema Clubs on campus.  It is going to be a huge and fun event for sure.  We already have tons of sponsors and 13 bands that will be performing.  The Audio and Cinema Clubs will be taking care of the event sound wise and also for video taping and making a DVD later on.

The video team will be intensive, 21 people including myself are on the call sheet.  My role is DIT, known as the data wrangler, I will be copying files all night as they come to me.  There will be some challenges as I expect 4 camera cards to get me at once, and they will be SD cards being transferred with the oh so fast USB2.0 protocol.  Plus there will other cameras shooting CF cards, an Atomos Ninja and some KiPros, so we’ll have to see how it goes.  I will be setting up a mac based DIT station tomorrow with one of the professors and maybe we’ll see if my HacPro can see some action.  I finally got it not too freeze when new drives are plugged in.

 

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Trying To Get A Documentary Off The Ground

One thing I really like is documentaries.  I have always been fascinated by programs like Nova or The American Experience that rely on a documentary format.  And for me they do a great job at being compelling, the majority of the time I am stuck to the screen.  So I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I want to make one.

I already have the main idea.  This happened as I was checking a Facebook group page about Cape Verdians. One of the posts was about the research a woman had done tracing her family roots back to the early 1700’s on the island of Fogo.  So I looked at her website even closer and found a treasure trove of information that can be used to make a great documentary.  I got ahold of her and she thinks it is a great idea, so now to get this thing up off the ground.  It will be a retroactive telling of the history of this woman’s homeland as seen through her own genealogical history.

For starters I have already applied to two charity organizations for grants.  One being the BRITDOC Foundation in the UK and the other being Cinereach.  I should hear back from them in one to two months to see if they are interested in giving me money.  It would be great if they asked me to submit a full proposal, so here I am crossing my fingers.

Other options on the table are to pitch the idea to a couple of organizations, maybe Ancestry.com or try to find people who have connections to the History Channel or NatGeo.  So I do have my eyes open to suggestions if anyone has some leads for me on this front.

Another great resource I found on the topic of fundraising is from the Desktop Documentaries website, the link to them is in the blogroll sidebar.  That site has a guide of 25 ideas that can be used to raise money, you have to subscribe to a newsletter to get it, it is a pdf download.  This guide covers topics such as crowd funding, yard sales, house parties , cooking demos, and selling movie frames to name a couple.  But on the site itself and not in the guide is the suggestion to do video contests through sites like PopTent and Zooppa. Sounds like a no-brainer on that one.  Big payouts if you win and that is great to purchase gear and save up for the airfare required for this documentary project I have my heart set on.  So wish me luck, I’m filming for a couple of these contests fairly quickly.

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Fun Little Music Video

My single’s ward had a tiny “film festival” for the ward members to enter.  It was part of family home evening and they gave us two weeks to put together something.  I actually waited a week before I even did anything, then I talked to a friend in the ward and said that we should do something.  We decided to do a music video to Imagine Dragons’ “It’s Time.” On Labor Day, we got together and storyboarded some shots, brainstormed ideas and locations.  We then shot the video over three days when we had breaks in between classes and then I spent around 7 hours editing it.  The lip syncing isn’t the greatest, but hey, it works.

When we showed it at the festival people really liked it.  In fact it was the only one the judges didn’t have to make up a category for it to win a prize.  The other videos there were very excruciating to watch, but I’ll give them credit, they tried.  So the video won best cinematography and judges choice.  Enjoy it below.

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Thoughts On Building My Hackintosh

A Few weeks ago I bit the bullet and purchased around $1500 in computer parts.  I did this for a couple reasons, one to give me an edge in editing and to build a business with it.  The other is because I really like Apple’s operating system better than window’s and I wanted a nice machine that didn’t cost as much from Apple with the same specs.  So I went for it. I researched for a couple months and followed along with the newest hardware that was supposedly compatible with OSX Mountain Lion.  When I found a configuration that people said they weren’t having problems with I finally gave in.

The wait wasn’t long at all, I re-signed up for Amazon Prime since I get it half price for still being a student. I got everything except the motherboard from Amazon.  I got the motherboard from NewEgg, so the motherboard came a few days after everything else.  Once everything was delivered I laid aside most everything and started to put the pieces together. Unboxed the case, looked it over, removed the side panels and laid it on its side.  Unboxing everything was like a kid on Christmas morning, joy and excitement, but not about play toys, about a powerhouse waiting to be unleashed.  I took the motherboard out of its packaging, gently placed it into position and set the screws. Next the processor, then the graphics card, firewire card, and hard drives.  It took a while to do this as it was my first ever build.  Then finding the proper power connections on the motherboard for fans, case power and also the front ports took a while to to find as well.  But hooking up the power supply was a breeze as I have switched out a few on older machines.

Next was powering up and setting the BIOS to work to Mac standards. Not a problem, installing OSX from a USB drive, not a problem. I was impressed with what I was seeing.  Then I installed the drivers to make the ports and sound work. What happened after was great, I could hear music now and life seemed great… that is until I restarted the computer.  On the loading apple screen right after the circular loading indicator appeared my screen filled with text and needed to be shut off, it was a kernel panic. I didn’t know what to do, I thought it was from the drivers that I had loaded so I did what the next reasonable person would have done, I did a clean install.  After clean installing I went and tried different combinations of drivers, but each time I didn’t have success. I did over 20 clean installs.

Then I did more research and learned that all this could be avoided by changing the machine’s boot.plist file.  But you still had to install the drivers first and then change it on start up.  So you go into single user mode and type in code, unix code.  So I learned a little bit of unix, it’s like DOS and once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy. Went and changed a few values in the list and violá, it worked and booted up just fine.

Testing was fun and now I know that my machine has a little personality, external drives have to be connected to the computer before booting up, otherwise the computer won’t recognize them and will freeze.  Kinda annoying but oh well, youtube and flash based web players will flicker really bad unless it is in fullscreen mode, that’s even more annoying.  Now I don’t care anymore because it wasn’t really made for browsing, it was made for editing.  I have Adobe CS6 Production Premium working most perfectly, have a small issue with photoshop. Adobe is super fast and can handle a lot. I can’t seem to get Avid to work, but I hope I can figure out a solution someday.

So far, I love it, great functionality at a fraction of the price.

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Stock Producer

During the summer I did a few things that were pretty cool.  First was I took an Avid training course and passed with flying colors.  So now I am an Avid Certified Editor.  Really awesome, and that led to another opportunity.  A local media company has recently acquired the domain name for stockfootage.com and was looking for people they could train to produce and polish assets for them.  They held a cooperative agreement with UVU and was able to train in a room at the college.  They only accepted 14 people, of which I was one of them.

It was a really great training and I learned a lot of valuable things, but I’m under an NDA and can’t you about them.  Not to worry though as I have also become a stock producer for them.  Things we learned were workflow, after effects procedures, editing procedures, time remapping, cameras, and whole bunch of other information.

Below is a demo reel I edited for them, it is slow motion, shot on the phantom camera, and I assisted in the creation of 8 clips that you will see in it.

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Canon C300, Red Scarlet, GoPro Hero2 and many more

The past couple of months have given us some very interesting new toys, or tools depending on the maturity level of the beholder.  One thing is for sure, these new cameras are top notch and would be a welcome addition to any cinematographer’s toolkit.

The first one to come out was the Hero2 by GoPro.  These things are built like a brick and could could probably survive an impact from space, no wonder it is the ultimate extreme sports camera.  The Hero2 sports the same size and look with a couple minor outer differences from its predecessor, and that is an LED light on all sides and some added ports.  Users of this camera now have a stereo audio jack for improved sound, and a mini HDMI for HD playback straight from the camera.  Also improved is the sensor, brains and lens.  Three different field of view angles lets you choose how much of the scenery one can see, and at the smaller angles lens distortion isn’t as much.  It sports 11 megapixels and can shoot 10 stills in one second.  A very amazing camera, below you can see an amazing promo video using only shots from the Hero2.

Next up is the Canon 1Dx, announced on the 18th of October this camera looks to be the next generation of HD-DSLRs.  Not being available till next year Canon is forcing us to drool over the spec list which could be updated when the camera finally becomes available.  Everything about this camera is sweet, well, almost everything, it has an MSRP of $7000.  Other than that being the only drawback this camera has dual CF card slots, can capture full HD clips up to 29 minutes long, and many other features that are just awesome.  This camera is foremost a still camera designed for photographers but it’s great to see Canon now thinking of the videographer even more with their products. Still haven’t seen any sample footage.

Next up from Canon is their first ever cinema camera, the C300.  This beauty of a camera was revealed last week on the 3rd of November and looks to do some amazing things.  The sensor is the size of a 4k camera but don’t let that fool you, it actually outputs 1080p. Why? because every 4 pixels is one red, one blue and two green and the camera puts them together as one pixel with a very dynamic color range.  So while it may not be as big of an image as everyone hoped, it sure will have some of the best footage to color grade.  Also this camera shares some features of the 1Dx, that of dual CF card slots, time code sharing and the ability to use any Canon EF lens.  So will Canon finally start to make a dent in the cinema market?  Time will tell, but in the meantime here is a short produced by Vincent Lafloret using the C300.

And RED on the 3rd came out and stole a little bit of Canon’s thunder, well, a lot of Canon’s thunder.  RED finally unveiled the Scarlet camera.  Full frame with a 4K sensor this baby can put out the same image quality as the RED Epic, the only difference between the Scarlet and the Epic is the Scarlet has brains that aren’t as powerful as the Epic’s, and it also happens to be $20,000 cheaper.  The body for the Scarlet is $10,000 but you can get a shooting ready package for $15,000. No sample footage out yet of he Scarlet but we don’t really need it.  But to whet your whistle The Hobbit is being filmed on the Scarlet’s bigger brother, the Epic.

There were also other cameras released in the past couple of months.  Sony is trying to get into the DSLR video market with some smaller mirror less camera. It looks ok but I don’t know where I stand on that.  I am pretty taken by Canon on the DSLR as they are the ones who pioneered the video DSLR. Man, with all these new cameras coming out it is a great time to be a filmmaker.

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