Posted on Jun 03, 2012

First I want to thank Gustaf Fjelstrom from Coakley Heagerty for contracting me to help with the Santana Row Fashion Show.  I was honored to be there and help shoot the entire day of models as well as the Row stores and atmosphere.  It was a great learning experience for sure while being able to use my camera gear in order to capture everything needed for that day.  Also, I enjoyed shooting along side my colleague/screen writer Matt McDonald and audio expert Manol Manolov.  We were all lucky that the weather wasn’t too hot even though in the end I was burnt from too much sun and forgetting sunscreen.  But the breeze was nice and we were given a tent for shade.  Thanks to my wife Ranya and her company Style My Heart for following me around the entire day capturing some behind the scenes photos of myself actually working.  This has never been done even though I have always wanted to capture some of the work that goes into getting the images during projects.  Also, keep an eye out for a possible video from Gustaf and the Coakley Heagerty company for a Santana Row video showcasing what we captured that day.

Thanks to Cinevate for their amazing quality built product that can withstand everything you throw at it.  Everything from my Atlas 10 slider to the Titan Mattebox with a Simplis rails system has been able to not only help with production value but also has helped with giving my company the professional look I have been wanting for a long time.  And my wife Ranya for making me those “Nuns Knickers” the night before the shoot.  They came in handy and worked great keeping the light out from behind the mattebox and lens.

Here are some of the bts shots Style My Heart captured of myself working.

 

Posted on May 31, 2011
Posted in Short Stories

I had a lot of fun filming these old Lifeguard towers sitting in the bushes far from the beach. The beach was located over a huge sand hill or dune and the wind was blowing like crazy on the other side. You can tell it was very windy by watching the tops of the trees in the video moving around a lot where the towers sat. The beach scenes of course looked crazy windy which they were. This made it impossible to keep my wide angle Rokinon 14mm lens clean for each shot. Also, I carried my Igus slider and tripod out there to film this crazy wind. After the fact I figured out that sand isn’t good for either a wide lens (or any lens for that matter), tripod, or a slider. Although I do have to say the Igus slider did pretty well out in the elements because there aren’t any roller bearings to get sand stuck in. It slides on a type of plastic which doesn’t need any lubrication for smooth camera slides on the rails. The wind however did get in my eyes every time I tried to get shots of the sand blowing past me at my back. My body seemed to make a funnel of sand in between myself and my camera equipment. In the end though it was really fun to get these shots and make a fun edit to go with the images I captured. Music choice was from Artist: Mindthings. Album Life’s Path. Song Cold Water. Great place for Creative Commons Music can be found at http://www.jamendo.com and http://incompetech.com/
Enjoy.

Posted on May 25, 2011
Posted in Kids

Kara is now 2 years old and her party was a blast for everyone there thanks to her parents and grandparents for opening up their house.  The atmosphere in the backyard was as if you stepped into a disneyland ride.  Disney music seemed to be all around us because of the speaker placement (hidden in bushes) which set the atmosphere perfectly for Kara and of course all of her guests including my daughter who immediately wanted to play.  As you watch the scenes I put together see if you notice a couple things I list here.  First there is a Jedi fight going on in the background where it seems one is towering over the other in combat but don’t let the small Jedi fool you.  He continues to battle in multiple scenes and doesn’t give up.  Also, can you find a clown following Kara to her new water & sand toy? (hint – shadow)  These little easter eggs aren’t necessarily in order either but the last one is when Kara talks on camera.  Do you know what she says in the jump house at the camera guy?  (hint – it’s in the last sentence and “Uncle”)  Also, what does she say when she is kneeling with her hands together.  (hint – you don’t need a hint for this one silly)

I definitely enjoyed filming this party and putting together a fun movie for the Day and Curtis family to enjoy.  Hope you enjoy it too.

Music is from the movie Finding Neverland composed by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek. Songs used were The Peter Pan Overture and Forgotten Overture.
Technical aspects.  I used a Glidecam HD4000 with my Canon T2i and a Rokinon 14mm lens.  I am still getting used to balancing it properly but I am finding that making it heavier helps a lot.  Not good for my arms but good for filming for short….very short durations.  The other lenses I used was a 55mm f1.2 FD lens and a 135mm f2.8 FD lens for most other scenes not using the Glidecam.  My slider is an IGUS Diy build with a tripod attached and now my bogen 501 fluid head instead of my magic arm attachment.

Posted on May 08, 2011
Posted in Short Stories

I have been entering contests on www.zooppa.com and the latest one was for Buick during the Final Four. I was introduced to an amazing athlete who played for the University of North Dakota as their Quarterback. He led the team to a National Football Championship which later gave UND the opportunity to play Division 1 football. This isn’t the whole story at all. Kelby was introduced to a young man named Markus Bryant who was not only UND’s biggest fan but was also going through cancer treatments during their championship run. The entire team got to know this selfless young man who seemed to always have to right words of encouragement when the team needed it most. He would send them letters he wrote for the coach to read to help encourage the team when they lost. This type of selflessness is what Kelby talks about the most and his life was changed by this young man enough that he co-founded a charity in Markus’s name. Markus reluctantly agreed to have a charity in his name created because he didn’t want any of the spotlight on himself. Holiday Magic From Markus gives back to the community by delivering gifts to children who are going through the same things he went through and those who are less fortunate during the holiday season. The first year UND’s football team went out to distribute these gifts, Markus unfortunately lost his battle with cancer but his giving, selfless acts, and spirit lives on through this wonderful charity. If you want to get involved and make a difference in a child’s life then please go to www.holidaymagicfrommarkus.org

Here is the video entry for this contest.

UPDATE: This video won 5th place!

Posted on May 02, 2011
Posted in BTS, DIY

I recently went to Matt Mingus’s T-ball game and wanted to try out my Glidecam HD4000 but with my iPhone4 mounted on the lower sled. This of course made it difficult to get it balanced but I wanted to try out some different editing ideas cutting from iphone footage and my T2i with 14mm lens. Here are some pics of the setup when I was done figuring it all out. But ultimately in the end after running around with it I decided it wasn’t going to work perfectly until I got a fisheye lens for the iPhone. Funny enough they do make them and you can find them on ebay for a pretty decent price.

Posted on Apr 28, 2011
Posted in BTS

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.

Posted on Apr 25, 2011
Posted in Short Stories

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!

Posted on Apr 18, 2011
Posted in Short Stories

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
50mm 1.8
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.

Posted on Apr 16, 2011
Posted in Promos

Where to start? I have entered multiple competitions on zooppa.com for the Silk campaign, Ultimate Software, and Buick Human Highlight Reel fir NCAA. So far I have won 8th place on the sulk video ad which had my daughter making cookies and my wife was scene in a shot placing the cookie tray into the oven. Thanks to both of them for cooperating for those few hours of me filming basically a live event. A few shots with Tamara and her dolls having Silk and cookies at the end were setup by me.

My next entry was for Ultimate Software and I tried thinking outside the box for this shoot. I again used my daughter and her toy train set to achieve 1 bullet point from this company. It was showing off that they were a “Unified” solution and a train track being put together into a unified figure eight worked perfectly for my random idea. I won 1st place on this ad. There were so many great entries into this contest but I managed to beat them all.

As for the Buick entry I have to wait until after April 22 I believe to see if I won anything. For this video entry I interviewed Kelby Klosterman who was the University of North Dakota’s quarterback during their 2001 national championship run. His life was impacted by Markus Bryant who was suffering from cancer but showed selflessness and courage during his struggle. After winning the national championship and raising the trophy with Markus on the podium he co-founded holiday magic from Markus. The charity gives gifts during the holidays to underprivileged kids in the community which the football team participates in every year. Markus unfortunately didn’t make it to give the kids their gifts but his spirit lives on in this charity and the community feels the impact to this day. To help out with this great cause and to find out more information check out Holiday Magic From Markus

Posted on Feb 16, 2011
Posted in Kids, Promos

I have been busy making 2 commercials for www.zooppa.com and their “Silk” competition. The first thing I did was come up with an idea for this product “Silk”. Then, with the encouragement from my wife, I created a story board of my entire idea. Once I had the commercial down on paper I could see the shots that would work best in order to tell the story. The concept was from the saying “Milk and coookies” but changed to instead be “Silk and cookies” since they are trying to reach those who drink milk. I then purchased a carton of Silk to be used in a few of the shots during filming. At the last minute I decided to create 2 different commercials for Silk. The first one was shot the day before the baking idea was filmed with my daughter and her small but cute kitchen table. These shots ended up being used in the 30 second commercial I uploaded for the competition. Here it is for all to see and vote:
Kids Love Silk

You can also view the 30 second commercial here on Vimeo:

The second Silk commercial was done in a few hours. This was actually the hard part because getting my daughter to cooperate for the entire time was a little difficult in the end. My wife was also feeling the pain of standing in front of the camera for that long. Now I know how much work goes into making a short 1 minute commercial. There was a lot of prepping/cleaning the kitchen to make it look simple and clean while also being able to pull the shots off without worrying about things in the background. Using the 17mm Rokinon lens was amazing. I could get in close and not worry about losing quality. It also helped that I had a second Canon T2i with a 50mm 1.8 lens on it filming a different angle. To get some good audio clips I had to use my Zoom H1 audio recorder near by aimed directly at my daughter. This helped me get some really clean audio compared to some of the audio I used straight out of the camera. And because there were so many great shots taken during the filming that it was hard to cut them down to under 1 minute. I might in the future create another version of this commercial because of all the great shots I had captured. There could actually be a bts/bloopers video too but we will have to wait and see.

Please vote for this 1 minute video before March 4, 2011. Here is the link to view and vote: Silk & Cookies

You can also view it on Vimeo here: