Video

Video for Photographers: Filmmaking Essentials.

As we have covered in numerous articles before, still photographers can reasonably quickly learn the most essential filmmaking techniques and greatly expand their creative options and the range of professional services.

In our latest Lynda.com course we help bridge the gap between still pictures and moving images, by explaining and showing, what it takes to transition from one craft to the other. We tried our best to include the most essential video productions techniques; from framing and lighting for continuous shots to directing the viewer’s attention and incorporating camera movement and sound, and even offering a brief overview of our post-production workflows.

This course, our fifth on Lynda.com is the “theory course.” Our goal is to explain why certain techniques, steps or tools are important. Other topics include:

• Understanding the 5 Cs of cinematography
• Choosing the right camera
• Framing for continuous shots
• Lighting techniques
• Using camera movement to enhance your story
• Leading the senses with sound
• Working with different microphones
• Editing and post-production considerations

A follow-up “practical” course (available in a few weeks) will cover hands-on composition, camera movement, sound and lighting techniques, among other useful tips like packing and working with very small budgets and crews.

Enjoy!

Video

Hybrid Assignments Equipment List: The Essential 41 Items

In aviation, an MMEL (Master Minimum Equipment List) is a categorized list of on-board systems, instruments and equipment that must be operative in order to flight. Any additional equipment not included in the MMEL may break temporarily but it won’t make the aircraft inoperative. Here’s an attempt to create a hybrid MMEL for three different crew sizes.

Let’s start with the definition of “Hybrid.” What I normally mean by this term are productions or assignments where one or two people are required to be the photographer, filmmaker, sound recordist, producer, and even editor. And, these gigs are becoming increasingly popular. It sounds crazy and these sorts of shoots can be. One of the keys to making them run smoothly relies on great planning and working with less equipment that gives you more control in less time. It also helps to team up with other people who can complement our weaknesses.

Short and one-man crew hybrid projects

One substantial challenge for photographers shooting video is how to travel as light as possible while carrying a full production and post-production setup that is literally on their back. Here’s a picture of my backpack, which contains every single piece of gear that I’d need for from one up to three days, except some clothes and toiletries that will go on a small backpack.

Hybrid-Assignments_Image01

Bag for a 1-day or 2-day gig by myself.

EduardoAngelVisuals_BTS_001_SmallGear EduardoAngelVisuals_BTS_004_SmallCamera

1. Media Credentials which sometimes, but not always, can give you special access, get you discounts and the most important part, allow you to travel with some heavy or oversized gear without paying a fortune. Here’s a link to Delta, American, and United Media Baggage policies.

2. Two external portable hard drives. I suggest this one, or this one.

3. Audio field recorder like the H4n (or a more current model and smaller version like Tascam’s DR-05) to capture interviews and my own production notes.

4. Camera A for video, in this case a Panasonic GH4 (Amazon and B&H) with a Lumix 35-100mm 2.8 lens (Amazon and B&H). I’m in love with this lens. So small, yet so sharp!

5. Camera B for video, another Panasonic GH4 with a Lumix 12-35mm 2.8 lens (Amazon and B&H)

7. Camera for stills and location scouting; I always carry my Fuji X100s (Amazon and B&H)

8. A variety of Tenba Tool Boxes (Amazon and B&H) to pack all the batteries, chargers, cables, adapters and other small accessories.

9. A small tripod (Amazon and B&H)that sometimes serves as an improvised handheld rig. A car mount works great for time lapse and even to hold the H4n or small lights during interviews.

10. At least one Rode VideoMic (Amazon and B&H) to capture some ambient sounds or  interviews.

11. A 15″ MacBook Pro (Amazon and B&H) with Adobe Creative Suite (Amazon and B&H) and Shot Put Pro.

12. One of my favorite photo bags ever, the new Tenba Shootout (Amazon and B&H)

13. In terms of lighting, for these assignments I try to use mostly available/natural light, but I bring a 5-in-1 Collapsible Reflector.

And here’s my typical outfit and setup for some of these solo hybrid gigs.

Hybrid-Assignments_Image02

My outfit for hybrid shoots.

1. My good ol’ Columbia jacket/vest has been traveling with me to more than 40 countries. It has lots of pockets, a hoodie, and because it has a self-stowing pocket, it sometimes doubles as a pillow on the road. A priceless item, to be sure.

2. Benro S4 Video Monopod. Small, relatively light, and sturdy. Works great.

3. Panasonic GH4 with a Lumix 35-100mm 2.8 lens.

4. Rode VideoMic Shotgun

5. I always bring gloves unless I’m going to the Caribbean in July. Montreal was pretty cold and wet!

6. Obviously, the most important tool if you are crossing any borders: the passport. This website compares the “power” of passports from many different countries, and, as Americans, we are blessed to have the most powerful one.

7. I like to dress in layers and in dark colors when shooting on the road. Black hides dust and stains very easily. A cashmere sweater is worth its weight in gold.

8. Camera for stills: The Fuji X100s is especially handy after a very long day, when I don’t want to carry more gear but still want to capture a few night scenes of nice-looking dishes during my evening meal.

9. A hat—another essential item.

Longer projects and bigger crews

For a longer hybrid assignment where I’ll have one or two more people (gaffer/grip and a second camera/DIT) I’d bring a few more items. In this case we wouldn’t  need to carry everything on our backs, but we definitely need to pack as little and light as possible.

We would bring a Tenba Transport Rolling Tripod/Grip case, to pack one or two Benro S8 tripods, a Benro S4 monopod, a very compact and portable slider that would take the same fluid head from the S8 tripod and/or the S4 monopod. Some grip accessories that I consider essential are at least a couple of adjustable Gaffer Clamps, and a couple Collapsible Reflector Holders which also double as boom stand. These two light and inexpensive items effectively function as one, and sometimes two, additional crew member. A no brainer if you ask me.

On the camera package I’d include an external monitor/recorder like the Atomos Shogun with plenty of Solid State Drives (you can also rent them for only $28 per day!), and all the charges and cables you can imagine, and a power strip (get one with a long cord) that becomes essential when downloading all the footage every night AND charging all the batteries for the next day. I use one Tenba Roadie Hybrid bag for the most expensive, essential and fragile items, namely cameras, lenses, Shogun and hard drives. The brilliant design of the Roadie Hybrid allowa me to treat is as a standard rolling carry-on, but I can also use it as a (very heavy) backpack on uneven terrain, subway stations, etc.

Here’s a view of my carry-on bag.

Hybrid-Assignments_Image03

My carry-on bag for longer jobs and/or when I have a bigger crew.

EduardoAngelVisuals_BTS_002_MediumGear EduardoAngelVisuals_BTS_005_MediumCamera

1. Tenba Roadie Hybrid bag

2. Media pouch with ten 64GB SD cards

3 and 4. Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 and Sigma 24-105mm f4. These are the same lenses I used last year on another one-man Hybrid project in Istanbul and Europe

5. SanDisk Solid State Drives for the Atomos Shogun

6. Two external portable hard drives

7. Sekonic Color Meter

8. Sekonic Light Meter

9. Rode VideoMic

10. H4n Audio field recorder.

11 and 12. A couple of Panasonic GH4 bodies with Varavon cages, one with a Metabones Speedbooster (for the Sigma and Canon lenses) or a couple of Canon C100 Mark II or C300 Mark II bodies if the job doesn’t require stills.

13. USB 3 reader for Solid State Drives (included with the Atomos Shogun kit)

14. 6TB G-Tech External Hard Drive (compact, super fast and awesome)

15. Atomos Shogun

16. My sharpest and heaviest lens, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 [

17. Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm 2.8 lens and Panasonic GH4 with a Lumix 35-100mm 2.8 lens. These lenses are the equivalent to a 24-70mm 2.8 and a 70-200mm 2.8 but super light and small

18. In terms of lighting I usually bring two or three 1×1 Bi-Color LED Panels with batteries and two Chimera 1×1 Lightbanks with grids. That pretty much covers all me needs. Another option is a Fiilex kit, which I like a lot, but find it way too expensive. I’ll need light stands and cables.

19. Depending on the job we would add another camera movement tool, like a Glidecam or a Ronin or even jibs and dollies. It depends on too many different factors.

EduardoAngelVisuals_BTS_AllBagss

All the bags packed. The LED lights are in the back seat.

Well, there you have my little setups for hybrid assignments. Obviously, there isn’t a perfect setup of gear list, just like there isn’t a perfect camera, but these items have been working great for us.  I hope this article benefits some of you involved or interested in run and gun, single-operator scenarios like weddings, events, corporate shoots, documentaries, red carpet premieres, product launches, sporting events, video podcasts, and even student films.

If you are interested in some packing and traveling tips, especially when shooting overseas, or what to do the day before your video/shoot shoot, we have written about that too. Did I forget anything? Let me know here!

And of course, there are those crazy long, crazy hectic, crazy complex and crazy awesome projects that require everything and the kitchen sink.

EduardoAngelVisuals_BTS_003_LargeGear EduardoAngelVisuals_BTS_006_LargeCamera EduardoAngelVisuals_BTS_008_LargeStudio

Video

Shooting 4K Anamorphic and V-Log with Panasonic’s GH4. Ten Valuable Lessons.

UPDATED: I just added two video tutorials: one comparing “Panasonic’s V-Log L vs. Cinelike D” and the second one “Conforming 4K Anamorphic Footage in Adobe Premiere Pro.” 

Anamorphic is enjoying a huge comeback. The reasons to go this route vary from project to project, but generally it’s the desire to achieve a different look and use as many pixels from the sensors as possible. Panasonic’s Firmware Update v.2.2 (available here) enables an Anamorphic (4:3) Mode capable of recording video in 3328 x 2496 pixel (equivalent to approx. 8.3-megapixel) resolution at a frame rate of either 23.98, 24, 25 or 29.97 fps. With an anamorphic lens such as 2x Lomo lenses (see below) we now can capture and un-squeeze a 3356×2496 image in post-production. To make things even better, 4:2:2 / 10 bit HDMI output is also available.

Just like in 2013 when we had the opportunity to field test a GH3 in the Middle East and last year when we shot with one of only three prototypes world-wide of the GH4,  for the past couple of weeks I had the privilege to work with director Davis Northern, DP and tech wizard Sean Davis and many other talented people on one of the very first GH4 Anamorphic AND V-Log L projects, shot exclusively for Panasonic North America and produced by The Digital Distillery.


Panasonic 4K Anamorphic and V-Log L – Official Video from The Digital Distillery Inc. on Vimeo.

The project was exciting and very challenging, as working with hardware prototypes and beta versions of software or firmware always is. We had a lot of moving pieces and an extremely tight deadline, but I’m proud of the final results and very satisfied with the lessons learned. This article covers some of the most significant ones, and it is written from my very own personal perspective. As always, I try my best to be as objective and brand agnostic as possible. The lessons aren’t in any specific order and some links will take you to articles with additional information . Please consider using our links to help support our very time consuming articles and tutorials.

Ready? Let’s go!

1. Shooting Anamorphic

It can definitely be achieved by a very small crew on a small budget. We mostly shot with a crew of three, with very limited gear and time. I’ve always assumed you needed a 2-ton truck and a crew of 30 to pull this off. Clearly, this was not the case for us.

EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_013EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_018EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_021 EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_022 EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_024

2. Lenses

In terms of lenses, we opted to keep a “low profile” while keeping our options open. In other words, we rented a set of vintage anamorphic Lomo lenses (35, 50, and 75mm) and tested an SLR Magic as well as a Letus AnamorphX 1.8X Pro Adapter and a  Veydra Mini Prime

A. Lomo:

The lenses are huge and heavy. Lomo 50mm + 75mm with case = 25lbs. Lomo 35mm with case = 35lbs with each case weighting about 30lbs. Not ideal for the “guerilla” approach we needed for this project. They definitely have a unique look, but are very hard to focus, especially when using a very flat profile. We rented the set for $500/day or about $1,700 for a week including tax. Not cheap by any means but definitely worth the investment in terms of time and quality.

EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_028EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_027

If I were to shoot this project again (or on upcoming anamorphic projects) I probably would test the Cooke Anamorphic/i Lenses (25, 32, 40, 50, 75, 100, and 135mm with a 2x squeeze). Unfortunately these lenses cost about $30,000 each, and the rental rate is about $500 per lens, per day.

EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_007

B. SLR Magic:

We had access to a very nice selection of Panasonic glass that we wanted to use with an SLR Magic adapter. The first challenge was that the front diameter on all the lenses has to be below 62mm in order to use the step down rings. The second limitation was (for the Panasonic lenses) that anything wider than 28mm would vignette. We could have used the Panasonic 12-35mm lens, at 28mm or longer (kind of pointless), but for some odd reason with the SLR Magic adapter it vignetted all the way even at 35mm. The Panasonic 35-100mm didn’t vignette at 35mm. Go figure. The next usable lens on our Panasonic arsenal was the beautiful 42.5mm Noticron f/1.2, but we needed a step DOWN ring (from 67mm to 62mm) that wasn’t included with the kit. The last option was the Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 lens, which worked well but focusing was a MAJOR issue (not Panasonic’s fault). I found the SLR Magic system very finicky and unreliable and unfortunately I can’t recommend using it.

EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_025EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_004

C. Letus Anamorphx:

The Letus Adapter worked much better than SLR Magic but it was also cumbersome. A matte box is pretty much required and there was an issue with one of our widest lenses. The lesson here is, if you are shooting anamorphic, use the real thing.

EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_010

3. Storage

There’s some heavy math involved when shooting Anamorphic. An anamorphic lens produces roughly a 2X horizontal squeeze of the image onto film. Traditional anamorphic lenses were designed to work on a 4:3 standard. The anamorphic footage captured with the GH4 on the Atomos Shogun is 3840×2160, so not technically 4K but pretty close. Shooting internally (to an SD card) the footage is 3328×2496, so greater vertical resolution than the 4K standard, but not full 4K horizontal resolution. To keep things in perspective, the 4K footage out of the GH4 4096×2160.

As you would expect, the files are huge. Shooting ProRes 422 you need about 4GB per minute of footage. Two cameras: 8GB, after only one backup you are at 16GB per minute. So somewhere around 20GB per minute is a pretty safe storage estimate for a two-camera setup. As always, we trusted all our very valuable assets to G-Tech Hard Drives.

Regarding Solid State Drives, Atomos has a great chart with all the supported drives for the Shogun and other devices. Make sure you triple check the chart before investing in one.

One SECOND of footage takes about 50MB so even if you are shooting into seemingly endless Solid State Drives, being smart about when to start rolling and when to stop can save a lot of storage.

SanDisk-Extreme-PRO-240GB_850

4. HDMI

As we were shooting, Atomos was literally finishing writing the Shogun’s firmware update (available in May or June as a free download) will enable a number of awesome features:

  • Anamorphic de-squeeze for Panasonic GH4 and standard lenses
  • RAW recording to ProRes, DNxHR and Cinema DNG for compatible RAW formats
  • Expanded RAW compatibility to include Sony FS series, Canon, Arri and AJA
  • 3D LUTs on HDMI/SDI output
  • Cinema 4K DCI support
  • Uncompressed V210 support
  • Genlock

We had to use a Small HD Pro7 (to de-squeeze) and the Shogun (to record in 4K). The setup seems pretty obvious after a lot of trials but it wasn’t at first. Here’s the executive summary that will hopefully save you some time and stress:

1. Micro HDMI to Standard HDMI cable from the GH4’s HDMI OUT to the Atomos Shogun HDMI IN
2. Standard HDMI to Standard HDMI cable from the Atomos Shogun HDMI OUT to the Small HD HDMI IN
3. In the Shogun, the 4K downconvert option should be OFF while connecting the Small HD and turned ON when everything is properly connected.
Our Small HD had a nasty tendency to constantly lose signal for no apparent reason, so step #3 had to be repeated many times throughout each shoot.

EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_005 EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_006EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_008

5. Premiere Pro CC 2014 Workflow

To be totally honest, I was shocked by how easy it was to conform the footage in post. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Import the footage the way you normally do.
2. Select the anamorphic clips.
3. Go to clip > Modify > Interpret Footage
4. Under “Pixel Aspect Ratio” select “Conform To” and “Anamorphic 2:1 (2.0).
5. Create a “new sequence from clip” and start cutting.
6. Done and done. Wow!


02_EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_unsqueezed_Premiere01 03_EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_unsqueezed_Premiere02 04_EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_unsqueezed_Premiere03 06_EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_ungraded 07_EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_ungraded&graded

Here are some screen grabs from the camera’s LCD:

EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_029 EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_031 EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_032 EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_035 EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_036

6. Focus

Focus is super, extra, hyper critical, especially when shooting with a very flat profile like the one we used. Unfortunately we couldn’t trust the SmallHD and had to rely 100% on the Shogun at a 1:2 zoom.


EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_011 EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_019

7. Accessories

• A sun hood for your external monitor is absolutely essential (if given the option get the black version).
• Obviously you will need lens adapters if you are planning to use the SLR Magic or Letus AnamorphX options.
• Make sure you get plenty of batteries, The small battery that comes with the Shogun lasts about 30 min only and we got about one hour of recording time with TWO Canon batteries on the Small HD. Instead of buying tons of batteries I’m a big fan of renting them (more here). The same goes for additional Solid State Drives.

EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_003EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_020

8. Bonus lessons:

• Shooting anamorphic takes a lot practice and fine-tuning. I’d recommend scheduling at least a full day to test all the gear before a shoot.
• If we keep a small footprint and move fast, we can get a lot done.
• The “shoot without lens” on the GH4 must be turned on in order to work with the Anamorphic lenses.
EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_034EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_016EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_014

And…..here are two more videos (not anamorphic) shot with the Panasonic GH4. Check them out and let me know if you have any questions or comments via Twitter (@EA_Photo)


Video

Shooting the Black Swan.

How was the film Black Swan shot? How did the filmmakers deal with all the mirrors? How many lights did they use and what kind? Those were my thoughts while watching Natalie Portman’s remarkable performance. Here, I have compiled the most interesting technical aspects of the movie, gathered from several articles and forums, including a great interview by American Cinematographer’s Stephen Pizzello with the Director of Photography Matthew Libatique.

Mirrors

Regarding the mirrors and avoiding camera reflections, which is the real reason why I did some serious  research on this movie, Libatique says “we did as much as we could practically, but we knew there would be moments when we wanted to create seemingly unachievable shots, and for those we just removed the reflections digitally with the help of Dan Schrecker, our visual-effects supervisor at Look Effects. A good example of Look’s work is the scene where Nina is rehearsing in front of a mirror, the lights go out, and her reflection starts moving independently; the camera was right where you see the reflection, but Darren wanted to get tight eye lines, so we had to paint ourselves out in post. For other scenes, it was easier to just hide the camera or shoot from angles where you couldn’t see it. We also used one-way mirrors to get a shot where we created an ‘infinity reflection’ of Nina sitting in front of a dressing-room mirror. We positioned Natalie between two one-way mirrors and just shot from behind them. We wanted the film’s horror beats to be a bit more stylistic.”

Black Swan Hallucination Scene

Lighting

The main lighting source was “a strip above the dancers’ heads. We had about eight rows of 1K cinema globes running 60 feet across the stage. We just used different gels and put the lights on different channels; we’d go from a green gel to white to magenta, and we also started to mix them, which was nice. It was less complicated than using moving lights. For one sequence, we combined a moon backdrop with a rain effect that we created by filling a pool of water with broken glass and placing it at the base of the background. We just powered Source Fours into the pool and modulated the water movement with fans.”

Natalie Portman Pictures CompilationCameras

“The movie was a single-camera shoot except for maybe one day, and our main camera was an Arri 416, which we used with Arri Ultra Prime 16 lenses. We used a Canon 7D or 1D Mark IV for all the subway scenes; I could just carry a 7D and shoot on the subway all day with a very small crew. I did some tests with my wife beforehand to figure out my ASA, my stop, and how I was going to deal with the focus. I didn’t use any rigs with it because I wasn’t trying to shoot in the traditional way. I tested a bunch of different exposures and then brought the footage to Charlie Hertzfeld at Technicolor, who put it in the system so I could look at the highlights, the moiré and the resolution. Then I went back to the drawing board to do more tests. The 7D has more depth of field than the 5D, but I needed that because I didn’t have a follow-focus unit and needed to work really fast. I shot everything documentary-style. I did all the focus pulls by hand, and we’d just look at it on the camera’s monitor. I ended up shooting on a Canon 24mm lens at 1,600 ASA to get as much depth of field as possible at a stop of T81?2.”

Director of Photography Matthew Libatique shooting Black Swan with the Canon 7D in New York's subway.

Special Effects

Check this short documentary on this movie’s special effects.

blackswan05

Camera Movement

Every performance was covered in long master shots, which “we just augmented with other moves as necessary. To Natalie’s credit, we rarely did more takes for her; if we required additional takes, it was usually for us. We knew we’d be shooting her from the chest up most of the time, but we knew we’d be in great shape, performance-wise, as long as we could see her face and arms. For wider shots, we could just use her dance double. We did almost everything handheld.” The only Steadicam shot is at the climax of the final dance number. Unreal.

The movie is now available on Blu-Ray.


News

Want $70,000 worth of filmmaking gear?

This is awesome. RØDE Microphones (the company that in my humble opinion delivers the best quality at the best price in audio gear) has put $70,000 worth of filmmaking gear up for grabs for their “My Rode Reel” short film competition!

Rode Awesome Competition_Eduardo Angel

Entries are open from March 1st till May 31st. Watch the video for more info, or visit www.myrodereel.com

Video

Francis Bacon and The Last Tango in Paris.

 

Inspiration often comes from the most unexpected sources. I am reading Moviemakers’ Master Class: Private Lessons from the World’s Foremost Directors, and found the conversation with Bernardo Bertolucci, and his inspiration for the “Last Tango in Paris” fascinating.  (more…)

Video

There are two kinds of movie directors.

 
According to Woody Allen there are two kinds of directors: “the ones who have it, and the ones who don’t.”

It is well-known that there are two more kinds of movie directors: the ones who write their own material like Tarantino, and the ones who adapt, like Alfred Hitchcock, or Steven Spielberg. (more…)

Video

Wes Anderson’s Top 10 Movies, and the Color Trilogy.

 
I recently read an article where Wes Anderson picked his 10 favorites movies from the Criterion Collection. Guillermo del Toro does the same here. Some of their picks are “Pigs and Battleships“, “The Insect Woman“, and “Kuroneko.” Clearly, I have a LOT of movie watching to do this Summer.

I will also be reading the latest Criterion’s Film Essays. The one about Krzysztof Kie?lowski’sthree colors trilogy“;  Blue (1993), White (1993), and Red (1994) is simply spectacular. (more…)

Video

On editing photos and telling stories.

Wow! Our video interview with PhotoShelter hit a nerve! We have received over a 100 emails and tweets with additional questions. That is awesome!

For the people requesting the GH3 article, here’s the link, for the ones asking about Custom White Balance for Video, here’s the link, for the ones asking for additional Lightroom 4 Tips and Tricks, here’s the link, and here are a TON of additional articles on photography and filmmaking. Enjoy! (more…)

Video

10 (new) Cool Gadgets for Photographers and Filmmakers. Part 1

 
1• Edelkrone SliderPLUS
Edelkrone’s SliderPLUS is a super-compact and very smooth slider that easily fits onto Tenba’s Video Backpack. Unlike other sliders, this one moves with the camera, taking full advantage of rails’ length. With a price tag of $500, this toy is at the top of my shopping list.

2• Redrock Micro’s One Man Crew Parabolic Camera Motion System
This amazing gadget consists of a motorized parabolic track slider that “guides the camera on a precision-curved track at any speed while keeping the subject stationary in frame.” The system includes speed control, automatic in and out stops, and 36” of track for camera systems under 20lbs. All for $1,500. If you are part of a small crew doing a lot of corporate interviews or a single photographer creating educational content or product demos, this is an extremely attractive option.


(more…)

Video

Our 10 hidden gems of 2012.

 
Earlier this week we shared with you our “Crème de la Crème” of 2012, the 10 most visited articles on this site. Today, we would like to share 10 more articles that we feel should have made our top ten list. As a team of educators, technology consultants, and visual storytellers, we are very proud of these posts as we feel that they are extremely relevant and worth your time. We encourage you to read them, share them with those who might be interested, and respond by starting a conversation below.

Without further ado here they are:

1) How to fix a broken education system. My thoughts.

We believe young students should be learning flexibility, teamwork, accounting, time management, project management, and languages (especially Spanish and Chinese), to be prepared for the future job markets.

Fixing a broken education system.

How to fix a broken education system

2) Notes from the Field.

Check out my personal notes and pre-production techniques for photographers and filmmakers.

My notes.

My Notes from a pre-production plan

 3) Same, but different:  An Intro to Digital Cinema.

We explained the 5 main similarities, and 5 main differences between shooting stills and shooting motion.

Digital Cinema Intro.

An intro to digital frame rates and shutter speeds

Click here to keep reading  (more…)

Video

How do you envision your Day One?

 
All of us have (or will) experienced a time when we have to plan for retirement, but have you really stopped to think about what you will do on that very first day? That’s exactly what Prudential’s brilliant and beautiful “Day One” campaign is about.

image of man in retirement

Mapping out the next stage of your life after a long working career should be a fascinating journey, not the struggle and fearful “task” we currently experience.  The campaign was targeted at the more than 10,000 American baby boomers who retire each day, capturing what it feels like to wake up on a person’s first day of retirement. The project is hosted on a microsite dayonestories.com, where more than 250 retirees have participated by submitting their images and videos.

The “Day One” campaign was awarded a Gold Integrated Lion at the 2012 Cannes Lions, a very prestigious achievement that only two campaigns in the entire world received.  We are very impressed from the quality and effort of this campaign, as they are producing amazing short videos that are truly relevant to everyone.

Click to keep reading (more…)

Video

Interview with ADF at Photokina.

 
Here’s another interview from last week at Photokina, this time for the Arbeitskreis Digitale Fotografie or ADF, which means the “Working Group on Digital Photography” and is the equivalent to the APA or ASMP in the U.S.

This link has an interesting collection of photography links in Germany, including museums, education, journals, and other relevant online services.

Video

Video

A movie about the most inspiring Brazilian artist you’ve never heard of.

 
UPDATE 0905: Mission Accomplished!!!!!

My extremely talented friend Andre Constantini has been working on a feature film called “Bel Borba Aqui.” The movie is about the most inspiring Brazilian artist you’ve never heard of.

While chatting with Andre about the film and his current Kickstarter campaign, I was schocked to know that they have well over 600 hours of footage. Andre shares here snippets of our conversation.

It’s Exponential

I just recently completed my first feature documentary film. With over 600 hours of footage and 3 years in the making, there has been a lot of time invested into the project. I had made short films before but increasing the scope of any project of this magnitude seems to exponentially increase the time it takes to complete it. But I digress, before you start a documentary it helps if you know the story you want to tell or the topic you want to explore.

Put It Out There

One year before I even knew that the subject of my film, a Brazilian artist living in Salvador, Brazil existed, I had a conversation with a colleague of mine expressing my desire to make a feature documentary on a living artist. A year later, I received a phone call from the same colleague stating that he found him and he was in Brazil and that I should come and meet him to see if it would work out.

Always Be Ready to Go

Even though we were just supposed to discuss the possibilities, on the first trip, I brought all of my equipment to shoot and after meeting the first day, we started shooting the second day. When I returned from my week long trip, I had already filmed for three days. This was enough to start cutting a short piece together to excite the subject and support.

The Edit Room

The editing process went along simultaneously with the shooting to some extent, coming up with rough sequences or themes. The key is not the is not where you start, it’s THAT you start. I find that as you have an idea for one scene or footage that you know worked out or you like, start there and find other footage that supports it visually or thematically (maybe even both). This part always takes the longest. But plan to have plenty of time to do this. Personally, I am best when I have large chunks of time where I can focus without distractions.

Here’s the Trailer:

The film is scheduled to release theatrically on October 3rd for a two week run at Film Forum in NYC. Let’s support Andre with his Kickstarter campaign. It could be you needing financing in a few years…

Video

Interview with WPPI en Español.

 
For over 30 years, Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) has been a main source of events and education for professional photographers. We are thrilled to be part of their ongoing interview series with photographers and filmmakers. I shared some insights about our work, the transition from architect to photographer, and our passion for everything visual. We briefly discussed how we successfully built a business that is able to maintain an equal balance between technology consulting, education and training, and visual storytelling.

Please take a few minutes to check out the interview, and as always, post your comments and questions below.

WPPI Mexico Page

Video

Great interview with X-Rite Coloratti on Color Management.

 
Last month, I was invited to join the prestigious X-Rite Col­oratti team, which includes the world’s top pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­phers. I was interviewed by X-Rite about my work, as well as my thoughts on color management for digital photographers, and specifically for those shooting video. We also chatted a bit about my views on how video has changed the playing field for all professional photographers. Please take a few minutes to listen to this short clip of our conversation.

We recently shot a series of video tutorials, focusing on the importance of color management and monitor calibration for video editing. Here’s the most recent episode.

If anyone is interested, there are a few spaces left at my upcoming workshop: Inkjet Printing: Color Management and Calibration at the International Center of Photography in New York City, Aug 4th, 2012.

Please feel welcome to leave any feedback, questions or comments below.

Video

Conversations with Friends.

 
For this week’s “Conversations with Friends,” (Episode 7), we continue our dialogue with Ted Kawalerski, professional photographer and director, about his own transition from still photography to documentary and corporate filmmaking, and the challenges involved.

Ted also shares more light on his upcoming Family Life Academy video project, located in the South Bronx in New York City as well as his views on retirement.

As always, please share with us your feedback and thoughts.

Video

Conversations with Friends.

 
On the sixth Episode of our “Conversations with Friends” we sat down with Ted Kawalerski, professional photographer and director, to talk about his transition from still photography to documentary and corporate filmmaking after a 35-year career.

Ted talked about finding great partners for his digital cinema projects, and shared with us some of the rewards and  joys and technical frustrations he has discovered during his transition.

We discussed Ted’s upcoming Family Life Academy video project, the importance of sound, the video editor’s role, and storytelling. In fact, we covered so many interesting topics that we decided to edit Episode 6 as Part 1, and Episode 7 as Part 2.

For this Episode we used Rode Lavalier Mics and Ted mentioned his preference for Rode Shotgun mics.

To celebrate the Spring’s arrival, Eduardo enjoyed a “sparklingly mild and fruity” Paulaner Hefe-Weissbier natural wheat beer with a “delicate yeast flavour, gleaming orange colour, and uniform cloudiness.” Ted drank about a gallon of tap water.

Here are the links to Episode 05, and Episode 04.
 
Please add your comments below! Are you enjoying our Conversations? Did you learn something new today?

Video

Conversations with Friends.

 
On the fifth Episode of our “Conversations with Friends” we met with Peter Waisnor and discussed his 5 favorite movies, and why he feels “lost in translation” when visiting Tokyo on business trips. We also had a little “difference” regarding Jim Carrey’s acting skills.

The wine was a special bottle I was saving specially for Peter since last summer, a very beautiful 2005 G.D. Vajra italian Barolo.

“A sweet, inviting bouquet leads to roses, cherries, raspberries, flowers and spices. The wine possesses gorgeous inner perfume and wonderful depth as it hovers on the palate with a Burgundian sense of weightlessness. This is an emotionally moving, delicate wine of the highest level.  Simply put, this is a marvelous bottle.” Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

 

Video

Conversations with Friends.

 
Welcome to Episode 4 of our “Conversations with Friends” series, today with professional film editor Christopher Pecoraro. Ruled based art, Alfred Hitchcock, and filmmaking techniques are among the interesting topics we discussed.

Our wine was the Indian Creek Pinot Blanc 2009. It was fairly balanced and refreshing, with lemongrass and pomegranate notes on the nose, with a short finish and decent acidity. A decent QPR if you can find it under $10.

To see Christopher’s work please visit his website and blog.

If you missed the previous episodes, check them out here: Episode 001 with Justin Katz, Episode 002 with Bobbi Lane, Episode 003 with Robert Ammirati. The next Episode will be awesome!!

Video

Conversations with Friends.

 
For Episode 3 on our Conversations with Friends series we had the pleasure to chat with Robert Ammirati, great photographer and friend. We talked about how Red Hook, Brooklyn is now becoming the new Soho and how the magic of shooting film will be lost on younger generations of photographers.

The wine we enjoyed today was the 2009 Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais-Villages, Burgundy, France.

“The 2009 Beaujolais-Villages from Joseph Drouhin is a stunning bottle of wine that has to be one of the absolute steals of this superb vintage. The bouquet is deep and exuberant, as it soars from the glass in a fantastic blend of plums, black cherries, intense violets, chocolate and woodsmoke. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, plush and tangy, with a rock solid core of fruit, just a whisper of tannin and outstanding length and grip on the complex and perfectly balanced finish. High class juice for its pedigree and clearly a wine that will improve with bottle age- though good luck trying to keep your hands off of this gem!” 91 Points – John Gillman

 

Video

Exclusive Canon Cinema EOS screening.

 
On January 26, Canon will be hosting “an exclusive Cinema EOS Event” in Chicago. They will present a series of short movies shot with the brand new, game changing EOS C300 camera, as well as “Behind the Scenes” interviews with the directors and crew members. Canon’s amazing technical staff will be available to answer all your geeky questions.

There will be two screenings (morning and afternoon), and registration is required. Please share your experience with us if you attend.

Canon Cinema EOS Private Screening

Video

Conversations with Friends.

 
Today we start with Episode 001 of our bi-weekly series “Conversations with Friends.”

The goal is to meet with different people we find interesting (and opinionated) and simply chat about trending topics, recent developments in technology, new toys that we like or hate and simply have a good time while enjoying a glass of wine.  On today’s episode I talk with Justin Katz about the Eye-Fi Pro X2 8GB Wireless Memory Card. Did we like it? Watch to find out.

If you want to participate on our conversations or would like us to cover a specific topic just post a comment or shoot me an email.

Next week I’ll add the link with step-by-step instructions on how to set up the Eye-Fi Card on an iPad, an Android Tablet, and a Mac Book Pro. Here are the card’s features.

The wine we tasted was the 2009 Casarena Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina. It was very good and a great buy for $14.