(TechTip – a short post about a quick tip that will save you time and frustration). I hooked up a Blueshape Bubblepack external battery to my Canon 5D MkII set up today. When I turned on the camera, it seemed like the battery was empty – although it was fully charged. If you’ve seen my rig, you know that I place the Zacuto plate that usually protects my EVF over the camera’s screen in the back, since I don’t use it while shooting. However, I did not see the camera message, letting me know that it can not communicate with the battery and wanting to know if that was ok with me. All you need to do it dismiss the message, by clicking ok and everything works fine. So here’s the tech tip: On startup let the camera know that you’re ok with it not communicating with the E6 battery – since it’s not installed and it will now be powered by an external battery (or AC adapter).
“The only humanitarian flight, that really exists,” says Laurent Saillard “is PACTEC.” He should know, since he in head of ECHO, the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection. He is referring to the humanitarian air service, that is the only NGO, that flies into about half of the 35 airports, that they service in and around Afghanistan. So not surprisingly I spend a lot of times in airplanes, which comes with filming a documentary film about an air service in Central Asia. If you know anything about flying, you know that take off and landing are the most intensive times in a flight and they require a sterile cockpit, which means that nothing is in there that shouldn’t be – like a nosy filmmaker for example. However, especially on long flights, when the plane is cruising along on auto pilot, I used that time to interview the pilots. I feel that having the conversations in flight adds authenticity to the shots and is a wise use of the limited time I had in country. However there are some very unique challenges to filming inside an aircraft that is in flight. First of all propeller planes are not the quietest environments I’ve worked in. So recording the voice of the pilot proved to be a challenge. Then there is the fact that the interior of the aircraft is much darker in relationship to the sunlit skies, that always exist at their cruising altitude of 25,000 feet. If I want to see anything of the outside, I’ll have just a silhouetted captain to interview. Lastly there is not a lot of room to do anything – [...]
So you’ve made your movie and you’ve been busy crafting a social media campaign for an online release and then some kind of opportunity comes along that will make your premiere stand out. Something unexpected, that drops out of the sky and into your lap. How do you transition your online release into a physical event? In a few weeks? In the case of “On Wings of Hope”, my short documentary filmed in Afghanistan, it was the fact that the plane, which I had filmed and flown in central Asia, was being serviced stateside at a local airport (it’s the actual plane that you can see in the trailer). As soon as I heard that, I know I had a once in a life-time opportunity on my hands that I had to jump on. I mean how many times will I film a great story in a beautiful country of people who are doing incredible work serving others and then have the opportunity to share something as cool as an aircraft with my audience, as they are watching the movie with the plane parked in the same room as the screen? And if that wasn’t good enough, the pilot who would be flying the plane back to Afghanistan – yeah, I know that sounds insane, but he’ll make that 5 day flight in a few weeks – anyway – that pilot would be the same guy that tells the story in the film. So I have the movie, the plane and the pilot to pull off a one time premiere. But how do you go about doing that? (Oh, here’s a few details I failed to [...]
You finished filming. Editing is almost done. The final details in the sound track are being worked on, the last color grading is being finished, the minute details are being ironed out. Your film is ready for the world to admire. But what do you do then? Do you simply upload it to your Vimeo page and hope for people to see it? Do you announce the YouTube link on facebook and wait for others to share it with their friends? You could do that – or you could follow the advice that Mary, a very successful entrepreneur friend of mine, lives by: “Go big, or go home.” However that’s much easier said than done, considering the volume of video that is uploaded onto the web every day. How can you make people notice your movie? This is where I am today. “On Wings of Hope” – the documentary I filmed in Afghanistan in 2012 is finished. And I’ve decided not to go home, so all I can do is go big. Really big. For the last 2 months, I have been crafting a social media campaign that will talk about the premiere. What’s that mean? In short that means you want others to help you, by talking, blogging, posting, tweeting about why this should be watched by their friends, followers, reader, … in the first place. The easiest way to convince some one to help you, is to find out how this premiere can help them or their company and not yourself. That may seem a little counterintuitive at first, but hang in there – I’ll explain what I mean. How do you figure out [...]
…and why a high tech firm ends up being worse than chinese water torture! It’s work getting a new customers. Not that retaining them is easy, but it takes a lot more effort to land that first job, than it does to do a great job and be hired again. But have you ever thought to put a dollar figure on how much you value them? I recently had two experiences with two very different companies and learned first hand how much each of them was willing to pay to keep me as a customer. ¢55 a day bought Earthlink 6 months of my loyalty Enter Earthlink. I just received a lesson in how to treat a long term customer, actually I got a lesson in how not to do it. Let me back up for a little bit, I have been a customer of Earthlink, an ISP, for over 15 years. That’s long term and that’s commitment in anyone’s book. (I bend over backwards for clients that I have worked with for a lot less than that.) OK, back about 6 months ago, we started experiencing problems with our internet connection and our VOIP, both provided by Earthlink. I started calling them to get the issues fixed. You put up with the typical (frustrating) scripted trouble shooting – you know the “Is your modem plugged in?” kinda stuff. Then you buy the $99.- modem, since the phone technical support can not figure out what’s wrong and says it must be the modem (we did that twice at $99 a pop). Two weeks later the modem shows up, a short time after that you call back, ’cause [...]
When Bayliner was revolutionizing the boating market, they hired me to help them tell their story about how they listened to what people wanted in a boat, when they created the brand new Bayliner Element. I was tasked with creating a short corporate documentary film that walk the viewer through the process from the initial conception of their idea, through brainstorming new ways of addressing the issues Bayliner heard their customers look for, engineering and designing a patented new hull and deck to the manufacturing process of the Element. Filming this project over a period of several months in their Research and Development plant, where interviews got combined with recording parts of the production process, where some of the tasks take hours or days, way more time than a short piece allows us to show – so how do I squeeze in the few hours it takes to gelcoat the mold for the hull? Or how can I show the joining of the deck to the hull? The simple answer? Time lapse. According to Wikipedia “Time-lapse photography is a technique whereby the frequency at which film frames are captured is much lower than that used to view the sequence.” In other words in slowing down the amount of pictures you photograph, you shorten the length of time it takes to view. [Here's some math - in case your interested, if you're not, it's totally safe to skin this part. A regular movie plays at 24 frames per second (30 for video, but let's stick with one number for now), which means that if I show you 1 second of motion, you actually see 24 frames, but it appears to be [...]
Remember the client that hired me in 43 minutes after my facebook post? It’s the same client I had created a behind the scenes motion piece of how they set up for the Miami International Boatshow. Well that relationship has been the underlying reason that I was had the opportunity to tell a unique story. People – especially other photographer – often ask me why I’m getting into shooting video. Here’s an example of a corporate film that I have been filming for the past few months. One of my clients (I started off shooting still photos for them), approached me in the summer and ask me to help them tell the story about a brand new boat they were developing. They did not want to show the production process only, but rather tell their customers about how they came up with this patented new hull design. And they wanted the team that actually build the boat tell the story. This piece was shot over the course of about half a year, following the process that the boat took, from conception to production. One of the things I love about creating these corporate stories, is that I get to become a little bit of an expert on a lot of things and that I usually get access to some really interesting places and processes in the meantime. So I get to spend the day in the paint room, where the mold of the Bayliner Element gets created. I get to install a camera inside the deck as it gets joined to the hull. I love still photography. It’s crisp and concise. You capture one fraction of [...]
What a ride 2012 has been for Photography by Depuhl, there’s been so many first’s for us – in short it’s been an incredible year. First Documentary: In January I traveled to Afghanistan to film my first documentary film. I had spend the second half of 2011, which an impossible dream in my head, wanting to create a short film, that would impact people. (We actually had an exciting opportunity in November of last year to actually measure, if the movie was able to achieve this goal.) After much planning and careful preproduction,I set out on a two and a half week adventure in capturing the sights and sounds, that were to become the short movie ‘On wings of Hope’, telling the story of the people of Pactec, a humanitarian organization that relieves suffering through technology. I still can’t believe that this project actually happened and it’s rewarding to know that I created this – on the technical side – all by myself; of course this documentary would never have seen the light of day, without my friend Daniel, who is the chief pilot and head of security of this NGO. Thank you so much for giving me an opportunity of a lifetime. Putting this together, however ended up being a whole ‘nother story. As I had never worked on a documentary film, my only experience with shooting had been projects that had been storyboarded or scripted. All of them had also been much shorter shoots – it’s amazing how much material you produce, if you film with multiple cameras for 17 days straight. The film is now finished and is currently undergoing the final sound [...]
Moving photos, film, video, motion work – what ever you want to call it – is a powerful medium, but we hardly ever get the opportunity to measure it’s impact in an objective, empirical way. I had the opportunity to present a short 15 minute documentary film with a professor friend of mine the other day, as we showed it to about 100 students on the north campus of Miami Dade college. In addition to showing the film to a full auditorium we streamed it online at live.depuhl.com and were running a Twitter Q&A session, text and tweet polling the audience before and after the movie, in addition to a focus group that, was interviewed after the event – a cornucopia of tech and data, which allowed us to measure the impact that the story we were telling, was having on the audience. And boy where we surprised, when the results came back.
More and more photographers are looking at video. We’re experts at lighting, composition and visually telling a story, so putting that into motion only seems natural, but there is such a huge range of video from home movies to hollywood blockbusters, that it seems overwhelming to even know where to start. The most commonly asked question I get from photographers is “where do I start?” If you want to know what I think keep on reading. First of all I’m going to make a few assumptions. First of all I’m gonna assume that you have a still camera that can capture video. I’m also gonna assume that you have at least one lens, so what is the one piece of gear I think you should purchase before anything else?