Tag: video production

20Sep

Keeping Busy

We’ve been busy over here. This morning at 1am we delivered the first cuts of 5 new web videos for a major technology company based in Seattle.We shot on Canon C-series (we’re starting to really love the look those cameras give us), through Zeiss primes, and recorded to an external Atomos Ninja2 to give us a thick, massively gradable image to push around in DaVinci Resolve. Other post tools included the usual Adobe suite of products.

Behind-the-scenes photos and the videos themselves to come later, once the new product is launched.

28Aug

Non-Profit Video Production with Oscar-Winning SFX Makeup Artists

We recently created a video for a Los Angeles-based nonprofit called MPAC. MPAC is an organization that’s dedicated to developing leaders with the purpose of enhancing the political and civic participation of American Muslims. They needed a low-budget, yet interesting video- and didn’t want the same old rah-rah corporate video thing.

So they came to me.

We worked through some meetings, and I came up with an idea: what if instead of trumpeting historical events, we took a look into a possible future? A future in which American Muslims participated more in politics, media, and Hollywood (areas in which the American Muslim community has lagged behind other groups).

The problem became, how do you do this and not look cheesy? From the start, I wanted a Hollywood special effects makeup company on the job. I knew I’d do some digital makeup work, but I needed a great base to start with. I made a few calls, and found the gang at Barney Burman’s B2FX (Barney recently won an Oscar for his work on Star Trek) was willing to work with our tiny budgeted, yet interesting storyline.

The video turned out very well, and is currently part of the client’s marketing as they raise funds to support their ongoing programs in Media, Hollywood, and Politics for 20somethings who want to get involved.

Check out the video on our homepage.

Here’s some pictures we took at B2FX during prep:

 

29Jul

Do Cameras Matter in Filmmaking?

When the RED first came out, it changed everything. The picture was stunning for the price. Yeah, it was buggy, but they eventually ironed most of that out. And today, we have a plethora of amazing choices when it comes time to choose a camera for our films. Even on the lower-budget end of things.

These days, most professional camera systems are capable of fantastic pictures. There’s a particular few cameras that I personally like for filmmaking, though. And they are these: Canon’s C-series, Blackmagic’s cameras, Sony’s recent 35mm sensor cams, and (under certain circumstances) the RED. If you’re renting, throw in Alexa, of course.

Any of these cameras can give you a startlingly fantastic image. And it’s been like this for a couple of years, now.

The difference between the images you get and the images the pros get, though, isn’t the camera itself. What really sets the work apart is your choice of lenses, and lighting. These days, assuming you’re using a good camera system, the camera you’re using matters far less than your talent and your lens collection.

I know a bunch of camera fanboys just shit themselves, and are rising up to argue. That’s fine- you guys keep on arguing stupid things like specs and resolution. We’re set on making beautiful images. The fact is, once you reach a certain threshold in camera technology, what starts to hold you back is the optics. Great optics are not cheap, by the way! And your ability as a filmmaker to sculpt the light and create a look matters a lot, obviously.

So do cameras matter in filmmaking? Yes, and no. But certainly, rather than obsessing over camera specs, I think one would be wise to spend that effort on learning how to light and getting some good lenses. Bonus: lenses are a fantastic long-term investment, unlike cameras.

 

2Jan

2012 in Review

2013

Happy 2013! We hope this year brings you peace, happiness, and success. And yes, you guessed it- this is another “Year in Review” post.  Here’s some of our 2012 highlights:

  • We were pleased to add a Fortune 50 client (PepsiCo) to our already stellar Fortune 500 client list, with our well-received short film about PepsiCo’s amazing CEO Indra Nooyi.
  • Our client UCLA worked with us to create the first college promotional film shot entirely on an iPad. It turned out surprisingly well.
  • UCLA also partnered with us to create another well-received short film about legendary basketball coach and leader John Wooden.
  • Oxford University Press continued to work with us, and we shot video interviews and other material for a documentary on Los Angeles food truck culture.
  • We got to interview and video a number of other interesting and often high-profile people in 2012, including Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed (he’s an excellent interview, by the way). And we’re proud of the web promos, TV commercials, and corporate video production work we created for our technology, legal, and other clients this past year. Thank you all for your patronage.
  • On a more personal note, we finished production and post production on Patrick’s short drama “Unlaced”. It’s about a man whose life has come undone, and was shot in glorious widescreen on RED digital cinema cameras. It looks amazing, and begins showing at film festivals this fall.

2012 was a year of growth and tons of great video production projects for cool clients. Cheers to an even better 2013!

18Dec

On Camera Technology & Filmmaking

patrickErnest

This is how we got beautiful, cinema-quality 720p HD, 35mm-sized sensor imagery only a few years ago. This was state-of-the-art, a Panasonic HVX-200 with a 35mm lens adapter and external monitor. Unless you were shooting a project in the very-high-end, you had to deal with Frankenstein-like contraptions like this to get a beautiful, filmic look to your HD footage.

Our new Canon EOS C-100 gets a massively better image and can almost fit in the palm of your hand. Our RED MX is bigger, but gives an arguably even better image than the c-100 (I say arguably, because the RED gets its butt kicked in low-light and skin tones by the Canon C-Series).

The thing is, these days we all have an embarrassment of great camera choices. If you’re making a movie, a high-end corporate film, a tv commercial: the tools are there. Now it’s up to you to make your tools sing.

That’s why I don’t hang out on camera message boards so much, anymore. It doesn’t matter to me if we’re shooting RED, Arri Alexa, Canon… whatever. They’re all good, they all have their uses. And I think that’s a healthy attitude. In the end, when I make a film it’s not about worshipping camera specs. It’s about telling a story.

11Dec

Camera Nerds: Having trouble getting 24p out of your Canon C100 and Ninja2?

We’ve been testing the awesome new Canon c100 cinema EOS camera, and the new Ninja2 external recorder. However, getting 24p out of the Canon c100 and into the Ninja2 has been a real trick… when you connect everything up, you’ll find the 24p option on the Ninja2 is “grayed out”.

After much time spent trying dozens of different options, I picked up the camera and moved it to another place.

And suddenly the 24p option worked!

I turned everything off, and tried again. No go! No 24p on the Ninja!

Then I waved my hand in front of the lens.

And the Ninja2’s 24p options became active, again.

Why?

Easy. By moving your hand in front of the lens, you’re telling the Ninja that the Canon c100 is sending a progressive signal inside an interlaced one. You’re showing the Ninja that there’s pulldown to be removed.

I know. Weird. But it works. I hope this helps a lot of you- I’ve seen dozens of people online begging for the Canon c100/Atomos Ninja2 24p “fix”. And this is it!

28Nov

Corporate Videography on an iPad?

UCLA Anderson recently approached us to help create an informational video for prospective students. The catch: they wanted to shoot it on an iPad. Why? Because they wanted to emphasize that, just like an iPad or iPhone, their new Fully Employed MBA Flex program is flexible, and can be easily accessed whether you’re at home, at work, or on the go.

I wrote a short intro piece that showed FEMBA Flex in action through several scenarios, and we supplemented that with corporate video style interviews, and even a remote interview done on an iPhone from a student. We also had a couple of tricky visual effects shots, including screen replacement on an iPhone, and an After Effects shot created after the shoot based on client requests.

The experience of working with the iPad was difficult at times (it has a very limited dynamic range, and of course an almost-infinite depth of field), and at the time we shot the video there were very few tools available to help us use the iPad in a filmic/cinematic way (the exception being Tether Tools‘ excellent stuff- thanks guys!) but the client was thrilled with the final result, and it’s good to stretch a bit sometimes. I’m happy that, in the end, we were able to create a very credible corporate video presentation using only the iPad and its built-in camera.

Of course, I would not recommend this approach for most projects. The subject matter is what drove the choice to use iOS devices as our cameras for the video.

 

 

16Nov

Latest Press Release: Video Agency PatrickOrtman, Inc. delivers for UCLA’s John Wooden Global Leadership Awards

Los Angeles, California (PRWEB) November 16, 2012

Video director and filmmaker Patrick Ortman created two films for UCLA’s annual John Wooden Global Leadership Awards last week in Beverly Hills.

The first film honored coach John Wooden’s storied life, including his amazing feats of success as a coach, and his philosophy for a successful life- his influential Pyramid of Success. The film also introduced the three Wooden Fellows from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, each of whom embody Coach Wooden’s values.

The second film honored Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo’s Chairman and CEO and the 2012 recipient of the John Wooden Global Leadership Award. It celebrated her life story, from her early days in India through her professional career, culminating with her Performance with Purpose, Pepsico’s promise to do what’s right for the business by doing what’s right for people and the planet. It included interviews with colleagues such as Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

UCLA’s Britt Benston, Director of Creative Services for UCLA Anderson School of Management, says “When I knew this would be a full-service, multifaceted request –with last-minute demands– there was no question about going with Patrick on this. Patrick can do it all: produce, direct, shoot, edit, create motion graphics, do the audio mix in ProTools, mastering, and more. He’s everything in a single resource. On top of that, he produced these challenging short films with soul and artistry. He would not sacrifice quality at any turn. As a reward, the piece earned multiple compliments and inquiries from members of our C-level audience.”

PatrickOrtman, Inc. is an award-winning Los Angeles, California video agency and corporate video production company, with clients ranging from the Fortune 500 to new tech startups in the USA and UK. The company’s website is http://www.patrickortman.com

11Nov

What Is A Video Agency?

Over the past several years we’ve rapidly left behind any new business that isn’t related to video production, and we’ve brought in substantial and ongoing investment in tools and techniques that have helped us create award-winning videos for our clients, successful web series and mobile-oriented video properties, and best-of-class multi-platform video campaigns. It’s the way of the world- professionals specialize. We’ve become solely focused on delivering great video to clients, and maximizing their video’s reach. We’ve become, in short, a video agency.

But what, exactly, is a video agency? And why should one hire such an entity?

Rob David from mega-advertising agency Ogilvy wrote:
“It is unreasonable to expect brands to have a fluid understanding of the advanced video marketplace. The changes come too fast and new opportunities open on the fly. A Video Agency of Record not only brings a brand the best of the current landscape, but positions them for the ever-changing but increasingly disciplined road ahead. ”

And that’s exactly what we’re all about. We are video specialists- we know the web, we know video, and we know how to make the most of a client’s video efforts from a strategic point of view as well as the creative and technical points of view. A great video agency helps you cut through the noise, enhances your brand, and helps drive traffic to your website.

Now, why not call ourselves a video production company, one may ask. Simple- because to us a video agency is more than a video production company. To us, the words “video production company”  conjure up visions of antiquated broadcast-only projects with limited vision. A video agency is the fast adapting, leading-edge mammal to the corporate video production dinosaur.

A video agency delivers far more bang for the buck. We give you the sizzle and the steak, and we make old-fashioned corporate video look, well, really old-fashioned. In addition to knowing how to create great video, we know how to position your video efforts for today’s landscape, and that ever-changing road ahead.

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