Friday, November 19, 2010

The Dear Hunter Part II

I'm not quite sure I had permission to make this video...but I was so inspired by the song's tone and lyrics I didn't really have a choice! The song (from the upcoming green album?) asks such a honest/human/ecclesiastical question, which I think is common to everyone. But through pondering that question we're blessed. At least I have been. I mean, look at all the people there, from the children to the elderly and everyone in between. Life is beautiful, and it's a gift! So for me, the video is simply about the question. Because you know what? It's not wrong to ask.

Hope you guys dig on it.

Again, great photos of the evening here.

Ok, I had a ton-of-fun making this. Basically woke up on Thursday morning at 6am and shot footage until 5pm (while taking a break for lunch and watching 30 Rock :). Anyway, I just asked people if I could film them and like, one out of seven people said no. Really awesome. Plus, it was a perfect excuse to test my sweet new slider via igus slider for the dolly shots. LOVE IT. Although, I need to remember to lock it down when I'm moving stuff around. For instance, when I filmed that tough dude in the factory, I went to pick up my my tripod/slider and it wasn't locked down. The slider part (with my camera on it) started to slide off but I caught it JUST before it did...thank God! Cause, you would have been embarrassing crying in front of that tough factory dude.

It was a pretty gloomy day, with intermittent sun poking through here and there. So I had to do some movie-magic to make shots a bit more interesting. Other shots (like of the statues) I left with the grey sky in because it fit the mood better.


In a perfect world, I would have recorded Casey in a better space with better gear, and I would have had him lit better, and put in a different environment altogether with more shots. Anyway I was trying to record and film this at the same time and I'm not too familiar with the Zoom H4N for recording music, so for this song I actually left my camera rolling while I checked the audio. So I had to remove me too. :)


Anyway, if you guys like the song check out the band at

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Dear Hunter

When Casey of The Dear Hunter plays a show in your friends living room, you record it. You record it good. And I sort of did that. This song came out quite nice on both the camera and audio recording side of things. That boy's got pipes, and some of the more intense songs suffered from dreaded peaking. I'll post the other songs via just the camera audio soon, they wont be as polished, but still awesome none the less.

Also, if your friend's uncle or sister's boyfriend is some big wig in the music industry, be sure to shove this band in his face until they are signed with a big fatty contract.

I'm just sayin'.

Update: Check Chrissy Deming's awesome photos of the evening here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

New CloudKicker is here!

Go buy it, and enjoy. This band is really cool, we emailed them (him?) to ask if we could use their song in one of our promo video below. They were very cool, and since then I can't get enough of their music!

The Gravel Metric Invitation from OC Imageworks on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Youtube paying for your video?

Wait what? Yeah I know, but check this out, a friend of mine recently linked me to this article here. Where Alissa Wilkinson of World magazine writes:

YouTube's videos still have amateur content and production quality; most professionally produced videos land on competitors' sites such as, drawing away potential viewers and advertising revenue.

Hoping to change this, YouTube recently announced a $5 million Partner Grants Program, which will give emerging, talented, but non-affluent filmmakers a few thousand dollars—or a few hundred thousand—to back their projects. Through this program, YouTube hopes to attract more professional content to its site—along with larger audiences and mainstream advertisers.

Ok, so that sounds too good to be true. But, if it does happen that would be a very cool revinue source for independent film makers globally. But look out! Here comes the realist!

Holahan of states in her article here that there are some serious problems with this business model. For starters, reviewing the massive amount of crappy content to make sure it's not sexually explict, stolen, or otherwise bad/evil would cost a ton.

The potential for such legal claims, coupled with the difficulty of screening so many videos, could make paying creators more trouble than its worth, says Thomas McInerney, a co-founder and former CEO of video site Guba. "I think this is somewhat of a me-too move for YouTube, and I don't think they necessarily need to do it," says McInerney. After all, he adds, they don't need to attract additional traffic—they are one of the most visited sites on the Web as it is. And they don't have a problem attracting content. "People upload content to YouTube because there is an ego in broadcasting yourself," McInerney says. "People like the attention."

I'm no market annalist, nor do I have a firm grasp on how these companies are run, but to me it seems like a flash-in-the-pan-idea. Kinda like a guy who announced 'Drinks on me!' only to realize he left his money at home; this idea will quietly make its way out a back door.

Although, if it did happen that would be very cool. Not just, for people like me, but people like Ray William Johnson, the Vlog Brothers, or Pomplamoose etc. They wouldn't jut be paid by advertisers, but by youtube too.


I emailed Alissa Wilkinson of World magazine and asked if she could link me up with her sources from her article (above). She hit me back with three very credible sources the next day. So from the horses mouth youtubes blog posts the rules for getting in on the fundage:

Here’s how it works:

  • YouTube is identifying eligible partners based on factors such as video views, subscribers, growth rate, audience engagement and production expertise
  • Selected partners are contacted by YouTube and invited to submit a Grant proposal
  • Proposals are evaluated by YouTube based on signals which include projected performance, distribution plan, marketing plan, cost requirements and appeal to advertisers
  • If approved, funds are transferred to the partner so they can get started on their project
Link to the blog post here.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Film Night Looks Nothing Like Real Night

So this Friday we get to film a chase-through-the-woods scene. So, in prep for this scene I've been watching a show that had more chase-through-the-woods then there are calories in a box of Kripsy Kremes, LOST.

Thanks to some A-Mazing BTS, I've been able to get a glimpse of how the pros do it. And the secret is...light! When shooting a really dark, gritty scene, light the crap out of it. Don't believe me? Check out some of these screen grabs.

Here we see two cameras and a hand full of high direct lights with no filters, or soft boxes on them. This is some harsh lighting, but it's up high and pulled back so it becomes nice and diffused. Sort of like, well, this guy.

Check out this still of Jorge Garcia and Josh Holloway. Note how some of the lights are there to simply light the back ground, and give depth the woods. This looks so bright doesn't

But wait, check out this still of Mathew Fox fighting Terry O'quinn. Again, a wide shot that looks too bright. But through the alchemy of post processing, lets see that same shot from the cameras perspective after a color grade.

Now that looks like some sexy night. Heck, I even took that shot of Mr. Garcia and Mr. Holloway into photoshop and got a similar result by a simple levels adjustment here.

After we finish our shoot, I'll post stills of the shots, before and afters as well as some wide shots to show what we did. It wont look as good as Lost, but it'll come close, a heck of a lot closer than if we just used 'available light'.

Gillvane from had a really good take on what it takes to convey darkness in film: contrast. Here's what he had to say:

A difficult concept to get is that in a movie, darkness is about shadows, not the amount of light. The most common mistake people make trying to make a shot look dark, is using less light. The amount of light is not important, it's the CONTRAST RATIO!!
What you want, is things that are well lit, and things that are black, with some stuff in between. That makes a dark shot. Everything lit to an f1.8 does not look dark, it just creates grain in film, or video noise in digital.
But if you get 3 or 4 fstops difference, contrast ratio, the audience will see it as dark.
it really doesn't matter how bright, or how dim, the contrast ratio is what sells it.
So one side of your face is really, really bright, like f16. It will still look dark if the other side of your face is f8.
and if one side of your face is f8, it will look dark if the other side of your face is f4.
But both sides of your face lit to f1.8 just looks dim and grainy.
The problem with interior shots is spill and reflection. If you light up one side of your face to f16 indoors, you're probably going to get so much light bouncing off the ceiling, walls, etc., that the the other side if your face is a 14, which won't look dark.
That's why to get darkness in interior shots, you end up using a lot less light, to avoid all that spill and reflection, but still it's not the amount of light, but the contrast ratio.

Join the discussion here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Giant Oil Companies Need Our Help!

Quick, go get your wallet because BP needs your help!

Ok here's what happened, my wife and I have a BP credit card which we got for buying gas a few years ago. It's barely used anymore but BP still sent felt it necessary to send us a letter asking for -get this- donations for help in cleaning up the oil spill. *Ahem*, their oil spill.
After I checked my eyes, I promptly decided I would not be donating any of my hard earned money to an oil company which in 2009 it's profited $14 Billion.

Pay to clean up your own mess BP.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

How Social Networking Expands Your Rodriguez List

This post is a reference from a reference. Stu Maschwitz talks about the Rodriguez List in his book the DV Rebels Guide, which is a reference to Robert Rodriguez' book, Rebel Without A Crew.

What's a "Rodriguez List"?

The idea is simple. You make a list of all the assets you have access to, things your friends, family, in-laws, extended family own that they would let you borrow for your film project. Cars, locations, props, etc. I love this idea, it's both efficient and frugal.

So, we're filming a movie called Dust, and within the story there's a scene in which a cop car parks in front of the main characters house. Well, how am I going to get a cop car? Enter facebook. Here I have three hundred or so friends, family, acquaintances who through a simple 'event' know that I'm making a movie, and that I'm looking for a cop-like car.

I ended up getting two cars (!) that were cop-like. A white Chevy Impala, and a white Chevy Blazer. After removing some hub caps, putting a cage in the back seat, adding an air-soft shotgun under the rear view mirror, and putting a laptop on the center console: we had a cop car!

Social networking at its finest.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

OMG That Was Close (an HDSLR scare)

We were filming a scene in a borrowed location the other night at about 10:30pm. Trying to direct and operate the camera takes 100% of my brain. Not to mention the fact that we filmed the sequence in reverse order. Thank God for script supervisors, and sound guys! If I had to try and do all of that, my head would very likely explode. And because I was holding the camera, it wouldn't even make it on to youtube....

Anyway, like I said things are crazy, I've got this poor actor in a prosthetic, trench coat, and hoodie. AND it's like 89 degrees in there. The next shot we had to film called for a tripod, and I need to switch to it from our shoulder support. Well, I'm doing the switch and after the camera is on the tripod I go to set the exposure and fear strikes my soul. It looks like video. Oh my God, we've been filming in 30p. Now, keep in mind this is after about an hour and a half of work that could have just been flushed down the toilet. And I'm there with the script supervisor in utter terroR. tthat is until I go into the play back menu and hit the info button.

And there it is like a cold glass of water on a hot day, 24p listed on all of my files. Thank you, THANK YOU Canon for including that information on the video files. Come to find out what had happened was when I was taking the camera off of the shoulder rig, I had bumped the mode wheel and switched it to C1 (custom one) which for defaulted to 30p instead of the beloved 24p.

I just moved the mode dial back to 'manual' and of course everything was fine. PLUS none of the clips we had shot previously were in the wrong frame rate!

So lesson learned. Even though things are crazy out there. It's good to take a breath to center yourself.

Whew. That was close.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Things I Never Thought I'd Have To Do

So in making a film I've done somethings I never thought I'd have to do.

1. Buying Make Up at Walgreens. Our film (Dust) calls for a prosthetic piece (which we had made here) Two nights ago, I went to Walgreens because I needed to buy make up to blend the prosthetic back into the actors skin. So, that was weird. It's not everyday I ask a girl there what foundation cream she uses.

2. Applying A Prosthetic Joe from Four Finger Effects was kind enough to teach me how to actually apply the piece to the actors face.

3. Beg Everyone for Everything If you have someone in mind for a one word (yes, word not line) roll, like say...a social worker, you may find out that the person who you thought would do it no problem, is a terrible actor/actress. So, you have to find someone. Now, to be fair I've found that getting people involved isn't as hard as it seems. I'm finding that people seem to want to be a part of something, and if they can be a part of a film and you have a positive attitude, people will pick up on that and want to contribute. On the other hand, asking a relative to borrowing their crown vic to deck out like a cop car might not be as easy, some begging/bribing may be required.

4. Talk To the Police We're filming a scene this saturday where the fake cop car I begged to get is sitting in front of the main characters house. I rented a police light from a local guy who rents police cars for movies. Strange that he was so close, but I'm not going to argue. Anyway, there are fake cops and airsoft guns in this scene so we thought it'd be a good idea to let the local authorities know. The worst thing that could happen is have the real cops show up while your filming with your fake cops. Ugh. Your whole crew could loose faith in you. Also, letting the neighbors know isn't a bad idea either.

5. Work So Hard Making an hour long film is hard. Making an hour long film on a spiders thread budget is harder. I mean, I'm so thankful for my dedicated actors and crew (two guys). But I will say, that even with all that, it takes a lot of planning, dedication, and attention to EVERY detail. It takes time and effort, but then again, most things worth while do.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Let Them Eat Gravel

The Gravel Metric is a gravel road ride (don't call it a race...but whoever finishes first does get bragging rights). Anyway we shot this in a day (5D, 7D, & a GoPro) I edited, colored, and rendered it in about six or eight hours.

The Gravel Metric Invitation from OC Imageworks on Vimeo.

So, a few geeky notes. The shot of the barn with the windmill was an effects shot, as was the guy coming out of the tree.

In the barn shot, I replaced a new looking barn with a wind generator in a field, and in the tree shot I removed the guy standing on a ladder handing off the bike.

I will say this, this is one of my favorite projects yet! I fell in love with CloudKicker while working on this, and the guys in that band are very cool.

We shot the on-bike shots from the back of a van, again using the beloved 70-200mm. I love that lens. And these guys(in the video) rock. They were totally cool with us dousing them in baby powder to look dusty, putting them in culverts, drainage ditches, and making them climb trees in those biking shoes.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

AliBoo Farms

David (my business partner and I) went out on a whim to shoot for a day at this local horse farm. We did three interviews and I used two of them in the final product. This family is impossibly generous, and fun. It was fun getting to know them and being able to get some great footage. I mostly shot with a 7d and a Tameron 17-50. David shot with the 5DmII and traded between his 400mm and 70-200. In my opinion all great lenses. It was at this shoot I just fell in love with the 70-200. Such a filmic image. The lens does cost about as much as a body for a 7d, but it's the glass that makes these images sing. For the interviews I used 50mm on the 7d and the 70-200.

Of course we shot with a flat picture profile so the grading in post was just fun. I converted all of the footage using cineform's neoscene and all of the color work was done in AE using the methods found here.

Before & Afters:
Horses Final (0-00-00-00)_1
Horses Final (0-00-00-00)
Horses Final (0-01-09-15)_1
Horses Final (0-01-09-15)
Horses Final (0-00-55-03)_1
Horses Final (0-00-55-03)

Also the music was a track off a friend of mine's (Greg Wheaton) recent cd. Check him out here. He's an expert guitarist, who's music is just inspiring.

Anyway, you can see I did some simple effects in this film. There's the windmill (just shot against a blue sky and chroma'd out the blue) and of course the OCimage credit.

AliBoo Farms from OC Imageworks on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dimensional Letters

We did this video for the print side of OC, as a spot to show their customers the what's-what about Dimensional Letters. Thankfully, this was shot in much less time than our previous video.

Dimensional Letters from OC Imageworks on Vimeo.

Lost: It ends tonight.

Best. Invite. Ever.

Also, if you talk I will kill you. :)

Side Job! OCImageworks

So, I was recently hired (via handshake) with a local production company who shoots primarily with Dslrs (!).

One of the owners is a long time photographer who saw a niche and we've been working together to build this, er, division.

At this point we've shot about four videos. The first one was a vignette on a local artist, Steven Hill.

I was one of two camera operators (yes, I used my 7D) and Brian Barrow Shot with a 5d. We used a Zoom for external sound. It was a LONG day of shooting. We had no plan, but I think it came out pretty nice. Cudos to Brian for the brilliant editing, and Steven Himself for the music.

Steven Hill: A Potter's Journey from OC Imageworks on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Left 4 Dead The Movie

Not that anyone's asking me to...

Recently, my wife had our first child (Lucas!) Anyway, he's about three months old and when he eats at night we usually get our Left 4 Dead on. Yes, my wife rules. So if I were to make Left 4 Dead the movie, I'd cast the following people:

Jada Pinkett Smith as 'Rochelle',
Chi McBride as 'Coach'
Dean Winters as 'Nick'
Eric Ladin as 'Ellis'

This is before I went to IMDB and found out that Eric Ladin is already Ellis. And Rochelle Aytes, Hugh Dillon, and Chad Coleman would most likely all do great.

Totally random. Just thought I'd share.