Learning A New Thing

I’ve wanted a digital SLR for a long time. Years, actually. And since I’d been acquiring a small number of manual focus Nikon lenses for my “Frankencamera” movie camera system, I figured it was finally time to take the plunge.

This was taken with natural light and no reflectors or diffusers or anything. Just me and this refurbished Nikon D80 and a manual 50mm lens from the 1970s. Everything’s set to manual… which means it is a bit harder to take good pix, but the good pix tend to look way better than anything shot on “auto”.

I’m using this camera to learn more about composition, framing, light- all that useful cinematography stuff I was supposed to learn at UCLA. But I am also using it to help myself get a new perspective on Los Angeles. Sometimes a new perspective is a damn fine thing.

Click the pic to see it bigger.


Protected: 2007 San Francisco Escape

We spent the weekend up in San Francisco, in a bid to relax from deadlines and stress, have fun, and generally enjoy life. Most of all, we celebrated a pretty big and very important day. I highly recommend doing this, or something like this that suits your temperament and geography. After all, you only live once.

Here’s a slideshow of images from Flicker. Nothing too artsy, these are fun candid snapshots. Yes, the girlfriend turned out to be more of a shutterbug than I am. Ah well. One of these days I’ll get a nice digital SLR of my own…


Clone Wars

super duperSuper Duper disc cloner (free, too). Mac-only, naturally.

My laptop, which has quickly become my main computer- even for basic dv video editing- needs a new hard drive. The standard 70GB drive is almost completely full. That’s what you get when you run something like 20 apps a day for normal work, I guess. I also keep current client stuff on this laptop, and well… things have been busy here!

I am getting a new 200GB internal drive in the next couple of weeks, and one of the things I’ve hated about updating your main drive is all the files and system settings, etc that you lose. Hopefully, this new Super Duper thing will make this transplant a success.

But even if you don’t need to replace your internal hard drive, this is the time of year to remind all you kiddies to back up your data. I remember way back in the olden days, when I’d back up to tape. I miss tape.

Not really. Tape sucked.

And for those who care, I have about 2 TB of storage hooked up to this machine as well via firewire and USB2. And the tower Mac- dual G5s & 4 GB RAM which is about a year out of date except for its AMAZING video card- has about 2 TB as well. Hey, when you move around lots of video and high def video you need a ton of storage.


Back in Black

Wow, 2007 snuck up on me without warning. Luckily, I got to actually take a real 2 week vacation for the first time since I’ve been in Los Angeles. It was good for the soul.

I’ve been getting calls and buckets of enthusiasm from a distributor based on Wilshire about the Deliverance mobisodes I directed last summer, which is good news indeed. I do believe that these things appeal to an audience that could really be profitable and fun for everyone if the right distributor “gets” the work. Certainly, the Myspace page is doing well with over 6,500 fans at present. And yes, the distributor wants me to create yet more Pizza Dude mobisodes

I am currently working on a new show open, with motion graphics and music for the mobisodes. Just a bit of gloss to brand them a bit. I want them to stand out from the typical “YouTube” amateur stuff. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

My editor friend Brandon and I have begun playing with my new “Frankencamera”, which is based off a DVX100 with a number of special enhancements. I’m able to get a really interesting look with Frankencamera, which will allow me to shoot some interesting stuff in ’07.

Speaking of shooting, I’m the director of photography on Erica Gabrielle’s upcoming directoral debut, a film noir of sorts we’re shooting at the Ricardo Montalban theater in Holllywood. More about that later in the year. I may also be directing a reality television show for Erica this summer/fall.

I am also finally getting back to writing a feature on my own. I’d worked with a writing partner off and on in the past and I’m not against writing with a partner in the future- certainly collaboration is a big part of filmmaking. But I think I’m getting wiser about the kind of person I’m willing to work with creatively.


Taking a Break

I’m taking some time off and dropping down to “half days” at work so I can recharge my batteries for the new year. These last 2 months especially have been very busy, as I’ve finished projects up (2 big web projects and about 14 new interview videos for clients).

I plan on getting some writing done (for myself, at last) and working on preproduction for a short film I’m the director of photography on in January. But I’ll also be doing a lot of reading, and not just work stuff.

Mostly, I’m excited to finally get some time to visit family and friends. Plus, I’m spending New Years in Texas with my wonderful girlfriend. Yee-haw!


A bit of simple, straightforward work

This is my edit of a short student interview @ Marymount College. Clients are starting to really get into the power of online video, which is cool.

[ hosted on Revver ]
[hosted on YouTube ]
I had a lot of fun shooting these short interviews, and even though these are not dramatic or comedic short films they do have a decent hip HGTV type feel to ’em. The Revver version looks a bit better.


Tree Dweller

swingThis is me, swinging from a tree at an undisclosed location in Laurel Canyon a few weeks ago. The swing takes you far out over the abyss, where if you fall it’s a good 30 or 40 foot drop into rocks and prickly bushes. Broken leg at least, you know?

I didn’t want to do it at first- it really didn’t look safe and the pivot point for the swing was way the heck out there. I honestly wasn’t sure my weight and momentum would bring me back to the safety of the ledge. But then a few guys showed up and two of them did it. It looked fun. So, I gave it a try. I took a running start (after all, one must COMMIT to one’s actions!) and flew out over the abyss. Woohoo! It was sooo cool! Then I did it again. Damn, it was fun!!!

I found out later that one of the two other guys was a real life stuntman for the movies. And the other guy told us he came really close to getting stuck out there and falling when he did it the last time. I think I’m glad I didn’t know that until after I trusted that I could do it. Oh, yeah- and those of you looking for an allegory here? Nice. And you’re right. I’ve swung over the abyss this year… and I didn’t fall. Screw any of you who placed bets against me, you should know better by now.



rr1While working on some new story ideas (yeah, you didn’t think I’ve been sitting here doing nothing have you?), I’ve been playing with the Red Rock Micro M2 35mm camera lens adapter for my DVX100 24p camera.

It’s truly a pain in the ass to use. Once business gets to where it should be, I’m still looking at a RED camera instead.

However, it gives an amazing image (assuming you know how to light a scene and don’t want to shoot in very low light). It’s probably not very useful for most basic video clients, but for the ones who want a real “movie look” it certainly does the trick. More later, as I get ready to use the M2 to shoot a short film for a friend in January. After that, well, let’s just say I have some ideas I’m working on. Ideas that I could not have done before now.

But this one’s gonna need a LOT of testing.

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