I’ve been working with the Capital Region Builders and Remodelers Association in Albany, NY for a few years now. Mostly producing a TV commercial for them to highlight their PARADE OF HOMES tour each June. Visitors can tour a dozen or so homes over two weekends. This year they wanted me to shoot each home and produce a compilation tour video as well as break out each home/builder for their own separate video. The compilation one is below and I wanted to post it here as a sample of a home/real estate sales video. Nothing shows off a home better then moving video! My very wide angle lens (Tokina 11-16mm F-2.8) was used for the vast majority of this. It just covers more of the spaces in a single shots because it’s so wide! There is some barrel distortion with that wide a lens, but the benefits more then make up for it. Most of this is also shot with my Canon C100. The steadycam shots were done with a a Canon 7D on a Glidecam 200.
I only shoot a couple weddings a year. (UPDATE 1/1/15- I have decided to no longer do any wedding videos, they are just too much work as described below). With my regular work of corporate videos, TV shows, and commercials, I just don’t have the time to do too many of these. Plus to be honest, they are probably the most stressful gigs to do!! There is no second takes. You can’t control the situation like with most shoots. Its purely capturing the events that unfold the best you can. And to do them to the level of what I like to work at, its downright exhausting! Most times its a 12 plus hour day. I shoot mostly with my new C100 camera. But during the actual ceremony, I set up 3 other cameras, one that my wife runs, and two locked off shots. This helps later when you edit to keep the shots cutting around to hold interest. On top of that is the audio to worry about! I use two wireless mics, one on the groom and one on the officiant. The bride is usually close enough to either of those two that I can pick her up audio up from them.
I start shooting around 9am for most weddings, getting the bride getting hair and makeup done. Then go over to the grooms location and get them getting ready, then back to brides place to get dress going on. I also do interviews during these times to use through out the video. I find you need some statements to give some kind of “story” and meaning to the finished video. Once I get that all done, it’s off to set up the four cameras and audio at the event location. I also try to get shots of people arriving, the nervousness of the groom etc…this is by far the most stressful time of the day! The clock is ticking and it can be a challenge to set up everything where you need to, get the camera settings correct for each location, find groom and officiant to put wireless mics on them, test those mics to the camera and still get shots of folks arriving! My wife is great and a big help at schlepping gear, but I need to do all the set ups because she doesn’t know much about cameras!
Once the ceremony is finished, I feel a bit relieved! The receptions have moments you have to capture, but I only use two cameras for most of that stuff. By the end of the night, I have over 80GB of camera footage to then sift through later on for the edit. This equates to about 6-7 hours of footage for an eventual 25-30 minute final video! Within two weeks, usually sooner, I edit one of these “Coming soon” preview trailers for the couple to show all their friends what the day was like. They usually post it on their facebook page. These little 3 minute videos can take up to 8 hours to edit! The actual video takes closer to 40 hours to edit! Now, you can begin to see why wedding videos can be expensive! It’s not your Uncle Louie in the back of the event with his handycam, these are full broadcast quality HD movies that could run on TV!
Sometimes I think “Is it too much that I’m doing for these?” “Do I REALLY need to be so fanatical about it all?” but in the long run, it’s a life event for the couple and it’s my job to make the video a treasured keepsake for them. Even more then photos, the video has the ability to REALLY capture the day. The sights, the locations, the sounds, the atmosphere, peoples voices…one bride lost her grandmother shortly after the video and said she was so thankful I got her talking on the video so she could always remember her voice! It’s these little moments in a video that can truly make all the effort worthwhile!
Maryann and Andrew were a wonderful couple to work with! So full of joy and passion that I knew right away this one would be special! The rainy summer decided to take a day off and the actual wedding day was just glorious! They picked the Whiteface Club and Resort in Lake Placid for their destination wedding (Andrews parents live there) and I can’t think of a prettier place to have an outdoor wedding.
It’s been several years since I picked up a new camera. My last one was the Canon 7D, a DSLR that shoots video. It was all the craze about 3 years ago. DSLRs gave nice soft, out of focus backgrounds, the cameras were small and the lenses were plentiful. Along with those benefits were many “problems” that you had to deal with. There was no audio on the camera, you had to record the sound separately for an interview and sync them up later in editing. Fine lines tended to “bead” or shimmer. A nasty artifact called aliasing. If you needed to shoot a brick building or a shingled roof from a distance, look out! My 7D served me well, but I’ve been looking for another option for a while. It seemed a new camera was being released every month if not sooner so I waited until I could find one to suit all my needs.
The Canon C100 came out late last year and it fit almost every category of what I was looking for. It doesn’t shoot 4k resolution, but that is far off before it becomes a standard and everything else is just right on! I’ve only had it a few days but so far it is the hands down the best camera I have owed. The low light shooting abilities is simply mind blowing. It can capture images in such low light that you can barely make things out to the naked eye. Not only capture them, as many cameras can get you an image, but this one does it without falling into major grain and noise.
We went on a short camping trip this past weekend. It ended up raining for 3 straight days! But it did give me a chance to try out the camera and all it’s settings. I posted the clips in a short video below. Notice all the interior shots were done with available light! And the inside of that cabin was very dark. I’m still learning about the settings but this footage is very promising and I especially love how tack sharp it is when you want it to be.
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/67032306″>Let it Rain-A Canon EOS C100 test video</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user434753″>Paul Frederick</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Here is the TV promo I made to promote the Public Television special I’ve been working on with Joanne Durfee at WMHT in Troy/Albany NY. She’s been the Producer/Writer and I’ve been the shooter/editor. We hope to have the show ready to air by late June 2013. It will probably air on all the PBS stations in NYS. This half hour show will highlight the completion of phase four on the restoration project to bring the Capitol back to it’s original splendor. It really is an AMAZING building that one should visit if in the Albany NY area.
Our latest episode of “Plants are cool, too!” is now online! This one was shot right up here in Upstate New York and features a plant called “Skunk Cabbage”. Our host Chris Martine visits Rachel Schultz to learn all about this amazing plant that can generate it’s own heat and smells like a “Zombie”! Find out how and why by clicking below.
A collection of Winter clips I’ve taken with the DJI Phantom Quadcopter and GoPro Hero 3 Black edition camera since I received it 2 months ago. It takes some effort to get footage this smooth but it IS possible! Start with balancing the props! Many videos online about how to do it and it makes a HUGE difference. I picked up an isolation mount for under the copter, this keeps alot of the vibration from reaching the camera. Then I got an ND filter holder and ND filter for the Hero, this removes the last bit of jello in the footage!
Finally, I post stabilize each clip in Final Cut Pro X. Since I shot the footage in 1080 60p, I conform it in the timeline to slow it down to 50% speed, but because it was shot at 60 fps, it looks silky smooth!
So not quick, but this will get you the results shown below!
Isolation mount was purchased from here:
ND filter holder from here:
I do some local commercials for Time Warner cable from time to time. Usually it’s for the smaller establishments that want to get their message out but on a limited budget. This commercial for An Italian Affair in Massena, NY is a prime example of that. The owner Aaron clearly loves everything about his restaurant and wanted to promote it. I came up with the idea of the tired Mom, just getting home from work, and being met by the kids looking for dinner! To keep the costs down, I managed to talk my wife into being in it along with my son and his girlfriend. I also did the voice over for the rest of the commercial!
I utilized my new GoPro Hero 3 camera to get some unique angles. Its a small, 2×2 inch camera that you see snowboarders using strapped to their helmets as they fly down the mountain. Here I attached it to the pizza peel as it removes the pizza from the oven and into a box and also on the order the waitress is bringing to a table.
The food was all shot on a rotating table my Dad built a few years back for me using a chicken rotisserie motor! Food always looks better when it’s rotating.
We wanted to give off the vibe of a fun place to eat with great food. I think it worked with the help of all the great staff, great food and oh yeah….my understanding family!
Bluff Point Golf Resort is one of the oldest golf courses in America. It’s located on the shores of Lake Champlain, NY, near Plattsburgh. Last year the owner contacted me about shooting some footage to highlight some of the unique features they offer. Probably the main one is the lodging rentals right on the course. They have great “cabins” which may sound rustic to some but are actually quite cozy. There is also access to a private sand beach, horseshoe pits and more! This is an example of a video a client can put on their website by embedding it from YouTube at no cost. People love to watch video on websites now and there’s no better way to really get your message across then with video, narration and music all cut together into a 2-3 minute message!
Here is some footage from the DJI Phantom quadcopter. If you check the earlier post, I crashed it on my second flight! Now I’m getting better flying it, and also learning how to get the smoothest video from it. Still a little way to go before I’m REALLY happy with it but it’s getting there. For those who are interested in the technical details here is what I’m doing:
1) Balance Props! Basically you put prop on a rod, and see what side is heaviest, then you sand that side down or add tape to the other one. Continue until they are perfectly balanced and can stay in a horizontal position on the rod.
2) I’m using a GoPro Hero 3 Black-1080 60p medium view with Protune mode on. (This uses a higher bit rate for less blocky footage).
3) In FCPX, import footage to a 30p timeline and slow clip to 50%.
4) Use FCPX stabilization feature (I forgot to on the one clip at 1:05-for an idea of what a non-stabilized shot looks like).
5) Fly in as straight a line as possible in ATTI mode.
I’m only looking for short smooth shots to use in my video productions. Not in capturing complete flights.
Still some warble, mostly in the sunny clips, I think it’s the GoPro3 making an adjustment to battle the brighter light. Either cranking up shutter speed internally or lowering ISO? Not sure but on a bright day some kind of ND would help.
It’s getting there!
This TV ad features the wonderfully talented Aengus Andrew! He was in a spot we did last year called “Boo Boo” and did such a great job that we wanted to use him again. He has no formal acting training but really loves doing it and comes across very natural on camera. I Co-Produced, shot and edited the spot, Tim Kramer Co-Produced and ran audio and Alice Hyde’s Cathlyn Lamitie was also Co-Producer. We shot this all on the Canon 7D with separate audio recorded on a Zoom H4N and synced in post on FCP-X.
I’ve been wanting to try out shooting video from a remote controlled quadcopter. The small cameras like the GoPro 3 Hero can now shoot HD video that rivals the bigger cameras in quality. I got my GoPro Hero 3 Black edition in December and have been reading about the new DJI Phantom helicopter online. Its made for beginners to fly and is designed to fly a GoPro for video! Plus, it is one of the cheaper ones out there. It arrived in the mail yesterday, I did a short, low flight near my house (deep in the woods), it went pretty well so I ran in, attached my GoPro to it and took off for my second flight! Eager to see how video from it will look.
Well, it didn’t go so well that second flight! These things are quite a challenge to control. I ended up crashing it 40 feet up in a tree! At least the camera was rolling and it makes for a pretty funny video to watch!
Luckily, the copter seems to be fine and still flies. I’m now taking shorter, lower flights until I get better at it!
This a teaser for a public television documentary on Charles Steinmetz. I’m Producing it with Bruce Carlin. Steinmetz was one of the greatest minds of the early twentieth century. He worked for GE and was considered the wizard of electricity! When you throw a light switch on, it’s largely due to him that you get power. He was a hunchback dwarf that barely made it into America. He was the one Einstein and Edison went to when they were stuck on problems, however he has been largely forgotten.
He was also an avid photographer, socialist, philosopher, and his story is quite simply amazing!
We are currently in the pre-production and fundraising stage.
I made this video as a recruitment tool for the SUNY Plattsburgh Men’s Cardinal Soccer team. It’s my third year doing one for them and was struggling to find a “new” way to do it. While researching I found the speech “I am a champion” and with that it just came together. I shot this at just two of their games during the Cardinal Classic weekend. Luckily they scored alot of goals! It’s really tough to make a highlight video without scores. Having shot alot of sports highlights over the years, I’ve learned to move around the field alot and get different angles. It’s also hard to make a dynamic video when all the shots are from the same angle and framing. Finally I shot some of this at 60 fps, called “overcranking” so when it’s played back at the regular speed of 30 fps, it will have very smooth slo-motion!
Crank this one up!
I have relatives who live about 20 miles from Newtown, CT. They have three children who are in elementary school, and when I heard there was shooting in CT at a school my heart stopped. While I was glad they were OK I’m still sick to my stomach, as is most of America, at what happened. I started putting this together a few days later. It’s dedicated to all those we lost in Newtown, CT on December 14th, 2012. This video uses a haunting song written by Hans Zimmer called “Aurora” that he created for the victims of the shooting at a movie theater in Colorado this past summer.
When will it all end?
It’s all about the light! Photography and videography are, by their very nature, dependent on light hitting the sensor of the camera. That light can be soft and muted or bold and vibrant. I found both kinds while out shooting this years autumn colors in Northern New York. It was a spectacular year (2012), with many bold reds mixed in among the yellow and orange hues. Most of these clips are again from the Adirondack Mountain region of far upstate New York.
While I think you can’t beat bright blue skies and sunshine for the best Autumn shooting, I did go out on some misty, rainy days and found the light to be quite spectacular as well, but just in a different sort of way.
I’ve included both in this video, which features the music of Tim McMorris (“Translation”). His work can be found on AudioJungle.net. I just recently learned of this site and find the licensing fees to be priced right and plan to use more from there in the near future.
FInally I used the Canon 7D and my Sony XDCAM EX1 for the cameras, and my cobracrane jib and Konova slider for the moves.
This episode of Plants are cool, too! brings us all the way out to Idaho in the summer of 2012. We were visiting the Clarkia Fossil Bowl, one of the most unique and rare fossil deposits in the world. In 1972, the land owner was expanding his dirt bike race track when he uncovered some fossils, a fish and some plant/leaf ones. The Professors at the University of Idaho thought the fish was “Ok”, but the leaf ones were what really amazed them. They weren’t compression fossils like you normally see, they were the actual leaves, preserved in the mud, from 15 million years ago!
It was the perfect place for the next episode of our internet show! We worked with Dr. David Tank and his grad students Hannah Marx and Simon Uribe-Convers of the University of Idaho for 4 great days of shooting. While there we met some remarkable people such as Dr. Bill Rember who showed how he can actually “lift” the leaf off the rock and hold it in his hands. I shot it and co-produced along with Tim Kramer and Host Chris Martine. Tim helped rough in the edit and I did the graphics and added all the b-roll footage. It was a real team effort and one I’m real proud of!
An amazing story like this couldn’t be told in 3 minutes so block out 15 minutes sometime and check it out! Its further proof that, well….Plants ARE cool, too!
Hannah’s Hope Fund is an organization some very dear friends of mine started when they discovered their daughter Hannah had a very rare, neurological disorder. I made a video for them right after they learned of it and this is the follow up four years after. What they have done is nothing short of a miracle. I really wanted to accomplish two things with this video, first, let people know what these ordinary people were able to achieve in just four years and two, help them raise awareness and ultimately…money.
I’ve often times wondered if I could have managed what they have done if put in the same circumstances. We all say we will do anything for our kids, but to actually go out and not only raise 3 million dollars, but sit on the doorsteps of finding a cure in such a short time, is well…mind boggling!
Please take some time to watch this incredible success story!
This is the new TV spot called “Parking Lot” just completed for Alice Hyde Medical Center. They wanted to promote the ideas of “Keyhole Surgery” and “Minimally Invasive”, which are a challenge to do in 30 seconds! Public Relations director of Alice Hyde Cathlyn Lamitie planted the seed of using “siri” on her iPhone and away we went. Tim Kramer of Northway Productions and I worked on a script and then he found the actress Michelle Ouellette. This changed a few times from concept to completion, at one time she was going to be arriving at a convenience store to get coffee. That was when we were going to have part of this done by a narrator, but as it evolved into a straight conversation with her phone, it wouldn’t make sense to have her talking to it in a crowded store, so the parking lot scenario was born!
This is a short video that shows how I shoot video from a boat including some sample shots! I like a flat bottom boat for minimal clearance under it (you can go to REAL shallow water), and also for setting a full size tripod on it, being able to smoothly pan is a big plus. I also shoot from a canoe but a flat bottom “John” boat works better as it’s less tippy. Use an electric motor driven off a deep cycle marine battery, this will add minimal vibration to the boat. Setting the bubble (keeping horizon straight) for the tripod is important and tricky as a slight shift in your body will change the horizontal level in the boat. You need to put your one arm back on the motor like you are running it, then adjust the bubble of the tripod to keep it level when you are shooting. If your arm isn’t back like you are steering it, then the level will be off when you DO move your arm back!
Pick a very calm day (no wind or waves) and use an external monitor.
This a TV spot I made for Bluff Point Golf Resort in Plattsburgh, NY. They are one of the oldest golf courses in the country! It’s very scenic being located right on the waters of Lake Champlain. It was a pleasure to work with the owner Paul Dame and his staff, as well as my niece Emily and her friend CJ who are seen in the cabin section! We are going to putting out an extended video for Youtube soon that explains the cottage rentals and golf course in more detail!
Here’s a spot I put together to show some new clips. I recently went to Vermont and shot a bunch of covered bridges, old barns etc., most are for my stock footage company www.shutterstock.com, but I thought I would put a bunch of them together in their own video and post it to Vimeo. Believe it or not, by posting videos on there, I get quite a few requests for footage from people searching there for clips now. I always liked this song by DEAD CAN DANCE and thought it might work with some of these clips. The lead singer Lisa Gerard has such a haunting voice…I’ve been hooked on her since hearing her sing “Host of Seraphim” in Baraka.
Here is another TV spot I shot and edited for adworkshop in Lake Placid. They are the marketing agency for North Country Savings Bank. Its a humorous ad based on the bank’s “We Get the Whole Story” Mortgage/Lending campaign. The spot highlights how NCSB loan originators look at more than just the credit scores when evaluating a loan applicant. I lit it with 3 LCD dimmable lights and 1 of my ARRI 350’s. There was some nice ambient lighting already in the restaurant, and believe it or not, it was during a bright winter day with banks of windows behind the camera and to the left of camera! Using the LCD’s with daylight color temperature as the outside light helped make it all match. I then set the camera for shooting at 5600k and it then it was a matter of augmenting what was there with the 4 lights I used.
As always, adworkshop did a great job of finding the actors and dressing the set to look perfect! And of course they came up with this funny way to show off a service the bank offers.
This is a commercial I shot and edited for adworkshop. The client was Canton Potsdam Hospital. It was a fun one to work on. I was going to be shooting it and doing the editing. There was some special effects for this one, beyond what we normally do, so I did some test shots in my yard with my son to figure out how to do it. We wanted a jogger to be jogging in slow motion while everyone else was running full speed. At first we thought having him run against a green screen would work, then we could composite him in and then slow down the footage, but then the realities of painting a treadmill chroma key green and how realistic it would look began to sink in! Plus the shot he was to go against would have to moving at his slo mo speed, meaning a dolly or truck shot. To avoid this he needed to be coming directly at the camera.
After some test shots, I figured out that if the camera is stationary, then you can shoot multiple passes and then just mask out certain things (the guy jogging) and it would all look seamless. With the camera locked off on the ground level shot, we had the guy jog towards us, I shot this in overcrank mode (60 FPS instead of the usual 30FPS), so the slo mo would look better/smoother after when played back at 30FPS. Then once he ran by, we positioned the other runners to run on each side of where he was, when it came time to edit, I masked out a box around him and put it over the background runners shot! Since the camera didn’t move, it looked seamless! For the next shot to freeze him, I took a freeze frame, cut out around him (And his shadow!) and put that over the same composition of others running by, again, don’t move the camera and it’ll work! What really sells it is the foreground runners, which I shot over a chromakey on location. Just frame up the chroma key in bright sun, then have some runners run through the shot! The blur is perfect, and all you need to do is composite them on top of the other two layers!
Check it out below!
Here is a spot I shot (DP- Director of Photography) for adworkshop. They are the marketing agency for Canton Potsdam Hospital. Its a great concept that was a fun time to shoot. Kari Hoffman was Producer and Anne Rast was the Director/Art Director. They did a great job of finding all the 1950’s props and also in hiring the 2 kid actors. Anne also made those cool looking baseball cards of regular people to look like 1950’s baseball cards!