Cinematography Archives - Page 7 of 8 - … catching light in motion!

Category Archives for "Cinematography"

How did you get that shot? … the one where time gets sped up?

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?

GoPro Camera clicking away for a second time lapse angle.

GoPro Camera clicking away for a second time-lapse angle.

The simple answer? Time lapse. According to WikipediaTime-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 a continuous action. If however I take a picture once every hour and play it back at 24 fps (frames per second) you just watched a whole day in one second. Got it? Ok back to speeding up time.]
GoPro birdseye view from paint boom

GoPro birdseye view from paint boom

Let’s take a look at the gel coating. In this process a giant router has cut out a huge block of styrofoam to the exact specs of the hull. Expert Craftsmen coat this with a clay like substance, that gets sanded down to perfection. This “plug” gets spray coated with special gels and paint to create the mold that all boats are made in. Since this part of the process happens only one time in the life of the boat, it’s important and interesting to document.  So I captured it with 4 cameras: a Canon 5D MK II for video, a Canon 5D for time-lapse, a GoPro shooting video and a GoPro shooting another time-lapse.

5D Time Lapse

Clamped to the wall the 5D is shooting a frame through the window every few seconds.

Since I did not know what we were going to use in the final film, it’s nice to have options. I’m not going to go into all the planning portions of this time-lapse – you can read how to plan for a commercial time-lapse project, if you want more details. There are also some excellent tutorials on time-lapse photography, check out Philip Bloom’s post for instance, so I’m not going to go into the technique here.

Time  lapse absolutely has a place in corporate videos, especially if you combine multiple camera angles and include video into your motion piece to hold the viewer’s attention. Take a look …

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