Cinematography Archives - Page 7 of 7 - … catching light in motion!

Category Archives for "Cinematography"

How to change 100 minds in 15 minutes.

Moving photos, film, video, motion work – what ever you want to call it – is a powerful medium, but it’s not easy to objectively 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.

Live polling via text and twitter of studio and virtual audience

In addition to showing the film to a full auditorium we streamed it online at 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.

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Why the one piece of gear you need for good video, has nothing to do with video.

Audio recorder

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?
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How to get hired for a video shoot in 43 minutes on facebook.

Facebook is a waste of time. I don’t need to know what you had for lunch today” is a common response that I hear when I speak with people about why I am involved in social media – hmmm, what did I have for lunch today … but back to the point of this post: I wanted to share with you how I got booked to shoot a video shoot from my facebook post in less than an hour.

I have been getting into shooting video over the last few months – you can check out some of my films on vimeo – and I have been seeing that there is a lot to learn from a photographers perspective. I purchased my first HDDSLR 3 months ago and got booked on my first paid video production last week, so I posted a blurb about editing this shoot on my facebook page.

Blurb I posted on Facebook about editing the video last Thursday.

I tagged my wife (the beautiful model in the photo) and left it at that. I also did not design the post to be anything special my comment on facebook merely read: “Spend most of the day editing a commercial movie project, while learning Adobe Premiere, incidentally the client was very happy with the rough cut :)

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Behind the scenes at the Miami International Boatshow

I’ve been writing about an exciting project that I had the privilege of being a part or: a 5 day behind the scenes time-lapse and video shoot of the set up of Meridian Yacht’s ‘booth’ at the Miami International Boat Show 2011.

You’ve bee reading about all the planning that goes into a commercial time lapse project and I have also broken down how to pack for a multi-day photography assignment like this. I will post about the actual photography of this job, which is now been completed as well as how to put the whole project together, but in the mean time enjoy a short video trailer:

Packing for a commercial Time-Lapse project

2. Pack it

Packing for the shoot

An overview

Now you know where you’re shooting from. You know how many shots your taken. You got the power and storage issues figured out. It’s time to pack. If you’re shooting a time-lapse sequence for fun, this will seem a little over the top just remember we’re talking about a commercial professional application. Redundancy is the name of the game, although I want to be able to walk into my time-lapse set up in one trip.

All gear needed for the time-lapse project in it's cases and on the hand truck.

Everything I needed for this project fits on this one cart. I like this specific one, since it can double as a shooting table, once it’s unloaded.  I’ll go through each bag in detail with everything that’s in it, but here is the overview: slung over the back of the cart (on my back when I go to location) isContinue reading

Planning a commercial Time-Lapse project

I just finished shooting a four day time-lapse project at the Miami Boat Show for one of my new clients Meridian Yachts. Our goal was to show the 3 day set up process, which no one visiting the boat show gets to see. It’s fascinating to watch the Miami Beach Convention Center transform from an empty cavernous warehouse to the biggest boat show in the States. In my research I have found numerous video tutorials, examples, web posts, … on time-lapse projects; but I have not found one that speaks about the process of preparing to shoot one in detail. This blog post will talk about how I planned, produced and photographed a commercial time lapse and how I put it all together after all the pieces were been shot.

1. Plan it

Scouting the location

I’m gonna assume that you already have a project in mind. So the first thing I do is to scout the location that I will be shooting in. What is the subject that you’re going to be shooting? Where will it be? Are there vantage points that will become obstructed in the course of your Continue reading

GEAR – 3 must watch reviews before you buy your DSLR.

Eeny meeny miny mo …

If you have not purchased your DSLR yet, this Emmy winning set of Webisodes is must watching. Zacuto, a film making accessories manufacturer, put together a test a few months back, in which they pit DSRL’s against 35mm motion picture film, which was screened in front of film industry professionals. The results may surprise you.

Webisode 1 tests the latitude of DSLR cameras and film, webisode 2 looks at ability to shoot in low light due to the increased sensitivity of DSLR’s and the final webisode 3 looks at the ability to have DSLR’s used with green screens and looks at resolution and color. You’ll need some time each episode is about half an hour long, but it’s worth every minute of it. It’s an objective test between DSLR’s and movie film cameras. In addition to this you get the feedback of industry professionals.

Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

So now that you know which camera to buy (right), you gotta figure out how to move this – for us photographers, movement (and sound) are new challenges that we need to wrap our heads around, since my still photo does not move at all. I stumbled across Phil Holland video, in which he describes his DSLR rig. He does a nice job explaining why and how he uses the different components of this rig.

This is a great place to start learning about some of the things you’ll need want to have, when getting into video on your DSLR.

Can you hear me now?

Sound is the other dimension that I don’t think about. I was shooting for Mars a few weeks ago and the Creative Director that was on location with me stopped the shoot, when a plane went over head – something that did not even phase me – nor did it have to, since we were shooting stills. However in cinematography this becomes a major issue since at least half the content (speech and music are communicated non-visually). But the sound recording features on the DSLR’s are not really up to par with what you need to capture that ‘Hollywood sound’.

So how do you record sound on you DSRL? Philip Bloom, one of the guys that was in the Zacuto shootout film, sounds off about this problem in his blogpost “How to record sound with the Canon 5dmk2 and a great plug in for Final Cut for auto synching“.

If you’d like to read a little more detailed review of external recorders that can be used with DSLR’s take a look at Jon Fairhurst’s series of video post on the Canon 5D tips blog. He reviews 4 different external recorders for your DSLR.

This post is a work in progress, I will continue to post articles, webisodes, blog posts, … that I find helpful in making decisions on what equipment to choose to create motion pictures.

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