I love grips. You tell them what you need to do and then they fancy up some contraption that may look like “the ultimate in low-budget ghetto rigging” (as my key grip, Tom, described it) but totally works and gets the shot. This piece of work, pictured above, was a great solution for one shot we had to get over a conference table setup on the floor below. The ledge was really thick so we couldn’t just bring the sticks right up to it and lean it over, nor did we have a jib or whatnot. So Tom came up with this thing. A ladder, two full apples, a rolling cart, sandbags and some ratchet straps that suspended our camera and Ronin over the edge. We controlled the camera with the remote and there you have it! It was awesome. The rest of the shoot was wonderful as well. We got some great shots for an [name withheld for now] commercial. We shot most of it on a Red Epic Dragon with a couple of shots done with a GH4/Ronin rig and a Phantom 3 Professional drone. Here are some frame grabs from the dailies and some behind the scenes …
Driving, Driving, and More Driving
First off: I just want to say that, with this post, I have now exceeded my posting average of one per year for the last few years. It’s not that I haven’t been working â€” that’s for sure! When I started this blog, I had three little kids. I now have six… so I hope that explains a lot. Over the last two days, I was shooting a series of driver safety videos for AARP which consisted of mostly driving shots. As much as I wanted to shoot the driving scenes with a process trailer like the one pictured (photo courtesy of GripToyz), we had to keep it lower profile because we would be driving in various situations that prohibited it so we ended up shooting off the back of an insert car while towing the picture cars.
And Now for Something Completely Silly
I had the great opportunity to shoot the second season of a web series called, “Pretty Darn Funny” which follows Gracie Moore, a mom who gets more than she bargains for when she forms an all-female comedy troupe in efforts to clean up the local comedy scene. Season 2 launched with this [really, really] silly parody of “Footloose” from the point of view of under-appreciated moms.
Can We Turn On Some Lights?
Last week I was hired to shoot some testimonials for an infomercial. We shot 13 people at a couple of beautiful homes over two days. We shot on the Red Scarlet with Zeiss high-speed primes (f/1.4). I had plenty of light in the lighting package but ended up using hardly anything for these setups. I’m still baffled by what we got and how we got it. The shots were gorgeous and high key; but because of the native 800ISO of the Scarlet, the high speed of the glass, the desire to have soft backgrounds, and the lack of ND filters, I needed to use so little light that it was almost disturbing.
Shooting in the Valley of Volcanos
I was up in Oregon a couple of weeks ago shooting a little mini doc piece about a senior missionary couple for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The couple called their Â journal, “Serving in the Valley of Volcanos,” because the region they were in (circa Bend, OR) is surrounded by volcanos and buttes. I wasn’t able to take too many pictures because of run-and-gun nature of the shoot, but I was able to steal a few here and there. We shot with our usual setup of 2 5Ds, 24-70mm, 70-200mm, 16-35mm, 2 Litepanels 1×1, GlideCam, GoPro, etc. These photos don’t tell much about the shoot, but here they are anyway.
Working on “Vacation”
My wife always says I go on “vacation” when I work. I know what she means. With four young kids and another on the way, parenting can be a challengeâ€”especially when your spouse goes off to work for days or weeks at a time to places you only dream about. In this particular case, I was shooting at La Costa Resort & Spa, a fancy high-end resort in Carlsbad, CA for a series of online fitness coaching vignettes. It was a pretty sweet resort. So it doesn’t help when I post pictures like this on Facebook:
Back in March, I had the chilling opportunity to shoot a documentary in Alaska. It was cold (understatement). If you missed my post about it, click here to read about it. We went back for a follow up shoot in September and it wasn’t as cold. Daytime highs were in the low 30s, so technically, it was still freezing. But it was a welcome cold compared to the -30s I was in last time. I had to trade one discomfort for another, though. If you haven’t gathered this about me already, I’m not the outdoor/woodsy guy. Camping? Hunting? No. But on this trip, I got to be involved with both. I can’t say it necessarily grew on me, but it became tolerable. LOLÂ Most of my fears about moose hunting and being eaten or mauled by bears melted away after a day. Sticking close to the guys with the rifles helped.
ALASKA: Adventures on the Yukon
I don’t even know where to start. Right now I am in the comfort of my hotel room in Fairbanks, AK feeling very grateful to be warm, alive, and connected to the internet. I’m only five days into the shoot, but I can say that the worst is over. Â I hope. I am shooting a documentary up here for a few weeks and the first thing we covered was the preparation and departure of Vern Stickman and his epic run down the frozen Yukon river to raise awareness for suicide prevention. Vern’s son committed suicide a few years ago and, expectedly, has devastated his family’s life. As part of his own healing process, he has decided to do this run from his home in Tanana to “nearby” villages to speak to the youth about suicide prevention and healthy living choices.
Plan B: Shoot with the T2i
Over the weekend, I shot a short film with a good friend from film school, Michael Sokey. The last time we shot a short was 15 years ago in school. It was great working together again and it was also really interesting to note the differences in the shooting style of the previous shoot to this one. Â We shot the last film on Super 16mm black and white film with a crew of maybe a dozen; this time, we shot on a DSLR with just him and me for crew. It’s amazing how technology has changedâ€”allowing us to capture infinitely better photography 15 years later. Maybe 15 more years of experience had some part in it that, as well ;) I was intending to shoot this project on my 5D but it got damaged earlier in the week so I had to send it to get repaired. There was zero budget so renting another 5D was out of the question. Michael did have a T2i, though, so we shot it on that instead. I was a bit saddened by that because I love the images I get from my 5D and the idea of shooting it on a Rebel was …
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