Last night was the pre-opening of the show, Fox on the Fairway, at Twin City Stage. I think they have all the big donors come and see the play before anyone else does. The director asked me to come and film it and make a short 30 second commercial for the show.
For this show, I did something I’ve learned never to do, I left the ISO on automatic. The corners of the play were too dark and when the characters stood too far in the front, they were too well-lit. So I didn’t want to worry about focusing, zooming and changing the ISO or aperture all at the same time. I was pleasantly surprised with the results after looking at the footage. In an uncontrolled environment, I would use this trick again. Camera Canon Mark ii with the 70-200mm 2.8f lens.
Recently, I had the pleasure to do some promotional work for local theater group Twin City Stage here in Winston-Salem, NC. It’s for their upcoming play Fox on the Fairway which is about golf…I think. I mean, everyone had a golf club in their hands and they were constantly yelling at each other so it must be golf, right?
Anyways, here’s a nice article about the play in our local arts rag.
My friend asked me to help him get a video ready for a trade show he was entering in Atlanta. The trade show was a week away. Without enough time to get footage of the bird feeder in action, I came up with this instead.
I met someone during my last job and they had a Rubik’s cube on them. I noticed him solving it repeatedly so I asked him how he was doing it. He was nice enough to show me the tricks. Then my brother wanted to know how, but he lives ten hours away. So I decided to make a video for him. Before I did though, I went online and found a bunch of other videos about how to solve it. Most are poorly shot in low res and the ones that aren’t are too long. I even feel mine is too long, but even if I didn’t explain it, it takes me almost five minutes to solve it. So I think a ten minute video is acceptable.
Please keep in mind, even if you know the tricks, it’s difficult. It takes a lot of practice and patience. It took me two full days until I had it down. The guy that showed me told me it took him a whole week.
I’m working on a promo video for In Saturn’s Rings and I needed to find music for the piece. Unfortunately, I can’t use what I like to listen to because it’s not going to be for personal use and just put on Vimeo. I needed music that I could easily get a license for.
Anyone that has to find the right music for a piece knows how difficult it is when you can’t use your own library of favorites. It’s such a drag to search hours and hours through creative commons licensed music because so much of it is pure crap. Then when you find a great song, you plop it in your edit and it just doesn’t fit properly and you have to go back to the drawing board. It becomes a dreaded chore.
Then I came across Dexter Britain. Wow. I was blown away. It’s without a doubt the best creative commons music I’ve come across. It has a classical contemporary feel to it that is timeless. If I was making a feature film, I wouldn’t hesitate to put this in.
Anyways, just trying to help fellow filmmakers out there with more options.
Give it a listen:
For more, click this soundcloud link for his page.
This past weekend, I spent my time documenting Stephen van Vuuren promoting his film In Saturn’s Rings (formerly known as Outside In) at Astronomy Days in Raleigh, North Carolina. For those that don’t know, In Saturn’s Rings is a film made by still photos from NASA space missions. It is being made specifically for IMAX theaters and dome theaters.
I have been a long time supporter of the film since he first told me about his idea in 2007. I have seen it transformed from many script revisions to what it is today. I’ve seen Stephen persevere through many pitfalls. I’ve seen the motherboard failures, hard drive failures and lightning storms fry computers. He’s also shown the patience to wait for new software to be developed and improved upon and for new photos to come in. I’ve also watched him develop new techniques to get his image on to the IMAX screen.
So to be there from the beginning and watch all the hard work pay off for a special weekend was nice. In Saturn’s Rings got a huge response at North Carolina’s Museum of Natural Science’s special event Astronomy Days. Both screenings were at standing room only capacity. On Sunday, we had to turn away as many as fifty people. The booth outside was visited by people of all races, ages, religions and genders. Everyone seems to love space exploration!
I did some interviews with fans after the screenings and what seems to get people excited the most is that these are real photographs and not CGI. All the images in the film will be actual images taken in space. Below is a short clip Stephen posted a year ago. If interested, please click the link above and check it out. He’s still looking for supporters and volunteers.
This past April, I drove from North Carolina to Kansas to pick up my mother and move her to Michigan to take care of my father. It would have been exciting if my father’s health wasn’t so poor, because my mother hated living in Kansas. It’s a desolate place where there isn’t much to do. My mom doesn’t have many hobbies, but she likes to play bingo and the nearest place to play was a half an hour away and she had to rely on friends to take her because she had no car.
I’ve been there numerous times to visit her over the past decade, but I hated going. Really, there’s nothing to do. There’s maybe two stores in town – a grocery store and a pizza store – and only the pizza store had VHS tapes to rent. Yes, VHS. And some DVDs, but their selection was very small and I’d mostly seen everything they had to offer. And most of the time, the store was closed – either seasonally or in transition of ownership; I didn’t care to know why, I wasn’t staying.
But there’s a weird thing about towns like this – they’re ripe for photo and video opportunities. I could shoot thousands of fantastic things out there if I had the time. Of course, you have to be careful; there are many people there that grow weed or make meth and they don’t like it when photographers start taking photos of their homes – as I learned. If I didn’t have a business card on me showing my website, I may have been in trouble.
Below are some photos I took while I was there in April and a short video I made to remember the town by. Most likely, since my mom moved, I’ll never be going back.
I told myself I wouldn’t do the movie/music reviews anymore (I used to on an old blog), because there are so many people out there doing that already (I recommend James Berardinelli), but I get asked a lot because I’m in the industry. So I thought I would just post a list of the best movies/music I saw/listened to this year. And these titles aren’t limited to release date, but what I actually discovered this year.