I had the most fun shooting these last couple days with friends than I have had in a long time. It was the best experience being able to work with professionals outside of my day job and doing something creative. Matt McDonald @TheMcDo is the mastermind behind these short comedy sketches that we filmed during a 2 day time schedule. He setup everything, organized everything, and even had a casting call with real actors who were more than happy to help out with his scripts. The crew was even laughing during each take when the actors pulled off each line written by Matt. I was really excited that I could be apart of this whole thing and that I could help with providing some production equipment to pull off the shots needed. After it was all said and done I think we all came away from this experience really happy to have worked together while making someone’s vision (Matt) come true. Now we wait for the final piece to see our work in a complete short piece.
As far as behind the scenes info is concerned I put 2 GoPro cameras to the test to see if I could capture our activities during production. Dealing with GoPro placement while also trying to DP the shots for each scene was sometimes a challenge as you will see in the video and images I provide. There were times that objects obstructed the camera view but was able to capture some of myself in the corner of the image. I was able to use my experience with my Glidecam to help with some scenes as well as my awesome Atlas 10 slider from Cinevate to help add some movement for some shots. We used some really nice Zeiss ZE glass which was either rented or owned by a crew member and we shot on Canon 7D’s which was my first time using since I own 2 Canon T2i’s. I have to say that this camera is definitely a step above of build quality and seemed way easier to balance on my Glidecam HD4000. I might have to upgrade someday. 🙂 Either way I am ready to work on more projects with any of these guys.
So, here is the video shot with 100% GoPro cameras.
And some pictures from the GoPro angles.
I am still in shock that I get to participate in creating a music video for a very talented musician and long lost high school acquaintance Chris Ely. The first music video I get to participate in is for his song titled “Lost Souls” from his Album “Can’t Stay for Long“. You can find his entire album on iTunes and Amazon for purchase. Now back to the first day of shooting this music video. We had a half dozen dslr cameras on this first day. They consisted of Canon 7Ds, T2i’s, 60D, and T3i from what I remember. We utilized my glidecam hd 4000, my new cinevate atlas 10, a pico flex dolly, and multiple Manfrotto 561BHDV-1 monopods for shooting this day. I have to say that all of these things helped imensely with the production value but ultimately it was the creative eye from all of the shooters handling their cameras that made each take worth every second. Also, the entire band was a joy to work with especially when they recognized our equipment and talked to us about it. It’s surprising how many people actually know about DSLR stuff and have an interest in it. The guy in charge of this whole thing is Matt McDonald who I met at my new day job editing corporate videos for Cisco here in SJ. You can also check out his website here. We will have another shoot for the storyline of the song Lost Souls at the end of March. After that the editing (all done by Matt) should begin and be pieced together for a cool music video. I can’t wait to shoot the rest of this and to see the final product of our work. It’s great working with such professional people doing fun stuff like this music video.
Here are some photos of the shoot which took place at Westgate Church. All photos were taken with my iphone so the quality isn’t that great. But it is what it is. Enjoy.
I now have in my arsenal of production equipment an amazing Cinevate Atlas 10 slider. This thing is built like a tank and smooth like butter when sliding anything I throw at it with my DSLR plus attachments. Even vertical mode is a sweet addition when wanting a different type of shot during production. I found this awesome slider on the one and only craigslist. You never know what you will get on craigslist from random sellers but this time it was awesome. I bought it off of a fellow Vimeo user (that I have been following for over a year) and wedding cinematographer Luke Goodman. Check out www.lukegoodman.com if you are in need of an awesome wedding cinematographer. He made the whole craigslist process easy for me to purchase this slightly used but in great condition slider from him. He said it was a little too heavy for all the running around during weddings that he does but instead would be going with something lighter for himself. As for me this was perfect because I have always wanted a Cinevate slider ever since they showcased their first Atlas slider a few years ago. I have a few photos here with my camera and slider in vertical mode. I had to lock down the tripod head pretty tight to keep it there but it wont budge once tightened and upright like in the photos. Pretty sweet for my future production shoots. Adds just a little more to some sequence shots.
I recently saw an article on www.cheesycam.com that showed a viewfinder for dslr’s that was cheaper than the regular brands out there by a few hundred dollars. But I guess the question is Does this viewfinder compare in quality? First of all I don’t have the expensive brand viewfinders and this was my first purchase. After receiving the viewfinder in the mail only a few days after buying it on ebay I was in complete amazement. The build quality is exactly what I was hoping for. It’s made from really thick plastic, has very clear optics for the diopter (-4 to +4), and comes with a bracket with double sided tape. I am using it on a T2i so the bracket covers a small amount on each side of the LiveView area on the camera which doesn’t noticeably cover any of the display metering info. I chose to also purchase a glass viewfinder eyepiece cover from ebay. This was also on cheesycam’s website awhile back. I got this in conjunction with the viewfinder so that I could permanently attach the “bracket” that came with the Seagull viewfinder to the glass protector/eyepiece. this way I would easily remove the entire thing if needed. Once I received the glass protector I decided to remove the glass in order to not lose any stops of light when viewing the LiveView through the viewfinder. This was kind of accidental since I broke the glass after sticking the adhesive side of the bracket slightly off center. It worked to my advantage. Both of these products work great together or separately depending on what you would want to do with the viewfinder. I can easily say the Seagull 3″ dslr viewfinder is crafter really well and by saving hundreds of dollars for those low budget/no budget filmmakers this works great!
Glass viewfinder protector: Glass LCD protector
Here is the ebay item by Seagull : Seagull Viewfinder
Here is the VF Prime on Amazon: VF viewfinder
If any Seagull purchasers need another bracket go here: VF bracket
Of course I have not purchased this bracket myself but it looks identical to the seagull brand found on ebay so purchase at your own risk. For $10 it’s not a bad deal to try if you need another bracket. I personally like the blue logo from Seagull rather than the VF brand orange color but that’s a personal opinion. Either way the product will be the same and you can’t go wrong.
I had the priveledge to be involved with interviewing the Mingus family with Randy Ksar. Matt has been given the title “Boy of the Year” because of his very recent history with Leukemia. He is in remission now and can easily be seen as a courageous young boy who fought this difficult battle and won. From the short time I got to hang out at his house I could tell he is living a very normal life as can be expected with a loving and caring family. After interviewing his mother Kat and hearing the very familiar details of what he had to go through at such a young age it makes me realize how much life is so precious. Taking just the little things for granted is something we all should strive not to do and instead enjoy everyday we have with each other.
So, now for technical side of this interview and story. I shot this with 2 Canon T2i’s, FD lenses, diy Igus slider, glidecam hd4000 (t-ball game), zoom h1 audio recorder, sennheiser mics, and a diy skater dolly. After filming the interview, getting shots of Matt playing xbox with his sister, and on another weekend his T-Ball game footage, I ended up with a very informative and captivating story told by his mom Kat. Here is the video and go to www.10kin10weeks.wordpress.com for more information on how you can get involved. Thanks for everyone’s support!
I have been helping with the promotion and video production for the nomination of Randy Ksar for the “Man of the Year” campaign for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I interviewed Randy a month or so ago at night in his front yard because of the ambiance of that location. Some of the gear I used for this shoot was:
2 Canon T2i’s
Igus Diy slider (http://igus.com/) with Friction Arm (Friction Power Arm)
2 can lights with clamps (from home depot)
1 LED work light (home depot) (Home Depot LED Work Light)
Z96 LED (Z96 LED)
55mm 1.2 FD Lens
135mm 3.5 FD Lens
Zoom H1 audio recorder
Sennheiser wirelesss mic set
A lot of my equipment was purchased due to Emm at cheesycam.com and his many helpful reviews on a huge variety of dslr production equipment.
The whole production recording was shot within an hour and Randy did an amazing job telling his story of how he became involved with LLS and Team in Training. I enjoyed creating this video for such a great cause that he has been involved in for many years and raised a lot of money for too. To find out more information on how to get involved or if you would like to help please watch his story and check out www.10kin10weeks.wordpress.com. Together we will find a cure for cancer. Thank you for your donations and sharing this video.
heavensentfilms.com has filmed 2 new babies using multiple lenses and a lot of production equipment with the Canon T2i DSLR. First off, these experiences filming babies other than my daughter has been very exciting and brought back those memories of my daughter growing up. Since heavensent films usually only films babies up to 1 year old I know that it’s more of a creative workflow than anything else to achieve a creative final movie. Both sets of parents have been the best to work with and really allowed me to use all of my techniques in filming their beautiful baby. The filming usually only took about an hour or so and if needed we would schedule another day with a possible location change. As you will see in one of the videos I was even allowed to film during a much needed nap time. I of course know how to be quiet around a napping baby but a few times I came close to being noticed by the napping one. In the end I enjoyed filming and creating these videos because it helped me step out of my comfort zone of just filming my daughter growing up.
Now onto my production equipment. For both films I used my collection of DIY video equipment which worked flawlessly for the most part. My DIY slider from Igus.com worked but has a tendency to vibrate the camera if I am sliding at an angle or off center from the rails. On my slider I use a “flexible friction power arm” as seen here http://cheesycam.com/flexible-friction-power-arms-for-dslr-accessories/ This arm is amazing on a slider. It allows me to shoot upside down, as high as the arm can extend, as low as the arm can fold, or at different angles. It’s a really strong arm to use and holds the T2i just fine at any angle. The problem comes up with the slider not allowing me to use as many angles as I want with the arm and camera. With the Igus slider you really have to center your camera on the sliding platform in order for it to be a smooth slide across the entire rail system. I now know the limitations but I do know that I can film at creative angles if I slide slowly and by putting an even amount of pressure from my hand I can get some amazing shots. Now for the glidecam hd 4000 and filming babies. I enjoyed this the most out of all my production equipment. The only thing I need to do is practice practice practice because I am nowhere near perfect filming with this yet. I know the shots I want but somehow I don’t think I have everything balanced perfectly yet to get those shots exactly the way I want them. I have tried more weights and less weights while extending the center post of the glidecam but still get some wobble in the image while I am filming. The technique using the left hand to barely stabilze and turn the glidecam could be where I am having issues but I don’t know for sure. I really just need this balanced perfectly first and then work on my technique. It’s just going to take time and practice.
The FD lenses I used during these shoots were the Canon FL 55mm 1.2 (my favorite), Canon FD 100mm – 200mm, and the Canon kit lens 18 – 55mm on the glidecam. There are many other lenses which I will be using on my next baby films now that I have an FD to EOS adapter with a diopter for helping get these lenses to infinite focus. I had been using a standard metal adapter without a glass element but I couldn’t achieve infinite focus with any of the FD lenses. Now with this new adapter all of my FD lenses work like they should and look amazing when filming with them. Here is a link to check it out http://cheesycam.com/the-cheaper-road-to-a-lens-with-f1-2/ The cheesycam website is a definite go to place for all of your production needs and questions you might have. He answers everything from DiY video equipment projects to actual products on the market for DSLRs.
Here are the 2 baby videos heavensent films has done and thanks for watching
Ok, it’s been way too long since my last blog entry. I am so excited about my new company and the new tools I have created and purchased to help with production. I have been looking at dslr cameras as a stand in product to use before the RED Scarlet comes out and found the Canon T2i to be cheap enough and still have the production quality I have been trying to achieve with 35mm adapters on my video cameras. This dslr is awesome and can also use most of my old canon FD lenses with an adapter. I say most of the old lenses because some don’t allow infinite focus because of the adapter that is being used to attach these old lenses. But Macro focus does work with all of them. This new camera will help give me a way cleaner look to my film projects rather than the Jag35 adapter which causes huge light loss when using any lens. I love the Jag adapter because it gave me the film grain look I was trying to achieve and the Depth of field from the lenses used.
Now onto my favorite new website called cheesycam.com.
DIY DSLR full cage
This site is awesome because if you are trying to figure out best pricing, reviews, and other random video production things for yourself it has everything you could ask for. I love DIY projects which allow me to build video capable rigs for low cost to my pocket book. The latest build was for a camera cage with parts found at home depot and a skater dolly with parts found at my local Big5 sporting goods. The deal I found for creating the skater dolly was a sale for a beginner skateboard. All I needed was the trucks, wheels and bearing to help create this awesome skater dolly for my camera. The camera cage parts were easily found at home depot but I made the mistake of buying the items shown in the DIY video instead of asking if those were the actual parts needed. This meant multiple trips to the depot before assembling the cage. Also, my brother in law Donald Reeb is a pro bike rider who I hit up for some much needed bike grips for the finishing touches on the cage. I have pictures added for both these items.
On another huge note, I now have an up and coming new company called Heavensent Films. This company is based off of my daughter and her being the miracle baby to my wife and I. And during her almost 2 years now I have created multiple videos of her growing up during this time. I have found my new passion in life creating baby videos and want to share this form of creative videos with other families to have of their new born babies. I do believe these videos will be something to cherish for the whole family and fun to look back on and watch as they get older. Stay tuned for the website and more info. http://www.heavensentfilms.com