“Living and Working in…” regional tourism videos
Last summer I had the pleasure to work on this series of videos for Northern Adirondack Board of Realtors. It was also a chance to work with my former colleague Kari Hoffman, who was the Producer on these. The idea was to highlight what select towns in the region are like to live and work in for potential home buyers. We shot the vast majority of it, but some select shots were supplied by ROOST. Kari did the rough editing in FCPX to flesh out the story lines, then I did the final edits by adding music and effects, B-roll and all graphics etc.
Timelapse video with the SONY A6300
Had some time this summer to shoot some timelapse cloud formations in the Adirondack Mountains. All the original footage is shot in 4k, but I edited it in an HD timeline so i could add some pans and zooms without losing any quality. I didnt use an intervalometer to do this in still photo mode, (triggering a picture every few seconds) instead I just recorded for 10 minutes or so and then sped it up in post. I like this way as I can control the speed of the clouds better and it looks smoother to me when it’s all edited.
Epic Great Camps in the Adirondacks!
Been having the honor and pleasure of shooting some fantastic camps/homes in the Adirondacks that are for sale. My friend Nick Politi of Merril L. Thomas Inc. asked me to shoot some of them. The first two here were just set to music.
This third one however the owner agreed to be interviewed for a more documentary styled video.
I hope you enjoy them and if you decide to buy one from seeing it here first…I’d be more than happy to come stay and film some more! 🙂
4K video production!
I’ve been waiting to get into 4K video for a little while now. Not that my clients were asking for it, but that I LOVE technology and always try and stay on the front line of it. I shoot and sell nature stock footage as well as make scenic shows that run on PBS. It was a natural fit to start shooting nature in 4K. The price to get into it was always quite steep. However leave it to SONY to bring the price of entry down. Their mirrorless cameras have been all the rage and the Sony A6300 has some of if not THE best 4K video out there. And it is under $1k!
Did I mention it is downright TINY!! This is a camera that can easily be popped into a backpack and hiked around without causing any back issues. I have added a few accessories to it but overall, this little baby can sure shoot some amazing 4K video!
This video also features the Edelkrone Slider Plus with Action and Target modules. (all seen below) I’ll do a full blog post on that soon as it truly is amazing at what it can do!
Check out this video out in 4k if you have the connection speed. (Click play, then where it shows a little wheel with HD in lower right corner, click that and select Quality then 2160p, then zoom it up by clicking the square in the far right corner).
Merrill L. Thomas Inc. – Company video
This is a video I worked on for adworkshop in Lake Placid (an advertising and marketing agency). They did all the concept and producing and directing, I was the videographer and editor. It’s nice to be a part of a team for projects like this one. It allows me to really focus on the shooting, and what is the best way to tell this story visually. I used a variety of cameras on it, my main camera the Canon C100 for the majority of it, but also set up a second camera for the interviews, the Canon 7D DSLR camera. I used the GoPro on a handheld gimble and the Inspire 1 for some aerial shots.
Editing is always a hidden craft, but it’s really driven by finding the right music. I usually piece the narrative together first (on this project from a script supplied by adworkshop), then find the right music to give it energy and convey the mood. That then drives all the edits of the cut away footage or Broll as we call it in the industry.
Check it out! Merrill L. Thomas Inc. is a great company and I am happy to get to know them better working on their video.
Adirondack Autumn (2015)
It’s been a slow to start but quite spectacular autumn here in upstate New York. I love this time of year and try to get out to shoot as much scenic footage as possible. Many years I have big projects and hard deadlines that keep me from driving around the mountains during the roughly one to two week period when the leaves are at peak color. To me peak color is when there is still some green trees mixed in as well. Enjoy this short video of the footage I collected this year.
Jumping the K120 – Lake Placid, NY
What’s it like to fly through the air at 80 miles an hour off a 120m tower on a pair of skis? It’s something I always wanted to know! The ski jumps in Lake Placid have always dominated the landscape since they were built for the 1980 Winter Olympic Games. I’ve been up to the top a few times covering corporate events up there, but was never fortunate enough to see it being used. The smaller 90m is used year around, but the 120m takes a lot of effort to get up and running and just one 45 degree day can melt the ramp surface. With the warming temperatures of the last decade or so of winter, it hasn’t been open…..until this year!
A friend of mine is a ski jumper and mentioned I should come get some shots of it in use. Luckily the technology of video has come so far so fast that there are now some new tools to show this sport in a way that wasnt possible just a couple years ago.
I just received my new DJI Inspire 1 aerial drone and its the perfect flying platform to get super stable shots! Couple that with the incredible GoPro action cameras and we were in business! I hope you enjoy the video, its the closest many of us will ever want to get to going off a massive ski hump like this!
“Songs to Keep” PBS documentary wins EMMY award!
“Songs to Keep” is a Public Television documentary about the life of Marjorie Lansing Porter. She was a collector of Adirondack folk music in the early 1900’s. Marjorie would go around and actually record musicians singing to preserve the songs which were handed down from generation to generation. The program won a regional Emmy, and I had the pleasure to be the videographer on it along with Daniel McCollum. It was produced by Paul Larson at Mountain Lake PBS.
One of the highlights was getting to videotape Kevin Bacon and his brother Michael perform “My Adirondack Home” at their studio in NYC.
I’ve worked with quite a few well known celebrities over the years and these guys were a couple of the nicest! Very generous with their time and cooperative to give us “one more take” for the music video portion of the shoot. The song is super catchy, just click the link below to see this section of the show. (The scenic shots from this section were also mostly mine -except the aerial- including the misty road shot which is actually my driveway)!
“A Simple Beauty” Scenic nature film
This is a collection of some recent scenics I shot for stock footage sales. I recently got the Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 IS lens. Its $1000 cheaper then Canon’s 70-200 and the quality is excellent! I’ve used both and I cant tell a difference in the video! Plus…its black and looks like it’s a part of the camera better then the white model of Canons. That white can reflect more in glass when you are shooting and just looks….weird! Almost all the shots are with this new lens, with a few Tokina 11-16mm F.2.8 shots in there as well.
Anyway, all this was shot on the C100 and recorded on a Atomos Ninja 2 at 24p. The overcranked shots of the water was shot at 60i (Shutter speed of 120) and retimed in FCPX 10.1.
Nothing ground breaking here, just wanted to test the lens in the field and figured I’d make a little film instead of a “test clip” reel.
Focusing on…Nature Photography!
I’ve been shooting more and more stills with my DSLR Canon 7D lately. It started with getting Lightroom and Photoshop leased for $10 a month. I really needed Photoshop for the Charles Steinmetz documentary I was editing to clean up all the old archive photos. Once I had the programs, I started watching online tutorials (can never stop learning) and was intrigued by what these two programs could do. I never shot much in the RAW format, I found the files too big and the workflow too cumbersome, but with the new software, the image possibilities were to enticing not to give it a try! What RAW does is basically record on your CF card the exact data that is hitting your cameras sensor. This allows you to change almost any setting after the fact! You can adjust color balance, exposure, sharpness, bring back detail in the white parts, pull up detail in the shadows etc… It basically allows near complete tweak-ability after you get back from shooting.
In the past you had to expose for the highlights and let the rest go into darkness, or expose for the shadow areas and the highlights would get blown out, but now you can get both to be properly exposed by shooting in RAW and tweaking in Lightroom and Photoshop after the fact. Is it “cheating”? I guess in a way…however it allows me to present the image closer to how I saw it in the filed, which before was always a compromise. Some times I do “paint” the image up with some added highlights and shadow areas to give it interest that werent really like that in the original scene, but to me it’s almost a blend between painting with paints and photography. It’s an artistic interpretation that is opening up a whole new level of “fun” for me! Here are a few examples: Click on them for larger views!
“Drawings” TV Commercial
This is a TV commercial I shot and edited for adworkshop. They wrote and produced the spot for North Country Savings Bank. Like all their work, it’s very clever and fresh! It can be a challenge to work with kids but I must say this all went down without a hitch. I shot it with my C100 which I mounted on a jib arm to get it directly over their heads looking down on their drawings. Anne Rast and Kari Hoffman were the Producers and Directors on the commercial and lined up the kids, the location (LP Elementary School) and created the “drawings” in various stages of completion for the kids to color in!
Their Last Days- A Canon C100 Nature Film
I love shooting fall scenics in the Adirondacks of Upstate New York! This year was a great one for color. I was only able to get out a couple times, but when I did the light was fantastic. This was all shot with my Canon C100 and recorded to a NINJA 2 external recorder. I sell stock footage online at Shutterstock.com so having all the clips already in ProRes is worth the hassle of setting up the external recorder. It also helps give better image quality for very highly detailed shots or shots with lots of motion. These are the ones where the AVCHD codec runs out of bits.
Specifics: Shot using a picture profile I cooked up that is a combination of some I found online and tweaked to my liking. Mostly based on the Wide DR setting. Color turned up some and adjusted for more red and contrast increased some, (black level and gamma adjustments). Further post color correction was done to get the most out of each shot.
Lenses: Canon 24-105 F4, Tokina 11-16mm F2.8, and most shots were with my Tamron 18-270 super zoom! I love that lens and while it isnt as sharp as the Canon, it gets you an incredible range.
Thanks for watching!
Whiteface Lake Placid – Summer Passport video
I shot and edited this video for adworkshop in Lake Placid. It’s a fun video showcasing the Summer Passport from whiteface.com. It was all shot in one day. Kudos to Kari Hoffman for putting together the tight schedule and lining up the “actors”. The song is very catchy and it’s licensed from audiojungle.net. I’ve been using them for a while now because you can license music for @$17 a song. Very reasonable and it’s quite good! I had heard this song on there and was waiting for the right project to use it on, I was excited to hear Kari say she thought it would work perfectly for this video.
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to jump off an Olympic size ski jump. Luckily, Kari’s husband Taylor is a ski jumper, so he and his buds took the gopro helmet strap up and did a few runs with it! Pretty cool stuff so make sure you make it to the 1:45 mark!
This video is a good example of using the right camera for the right job. Most was shot with my Canon C100, however, the GoPro 3 was used on the POV car shots, stuck to the outside of the Gondola and on the ski jumpers and luge/bobsled riders. I also used my Sony EX1 for the overcranked shots of the ski jumpers going slo-mo into the water. Each camera has it’s strengths, and you need them all to get the job done sometimes!
Finally…a new camera!!
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>
Plants are cool, too! Episode 3
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.
Winterland: A DJI Phantom and GoPro Hero 3 film
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:
Bluff Point Golf Resort 2013
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!
Quest for the Magic Light
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.
How to shoot from a boat!
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.
My Demo Reel 2012
Check out my Demo Reel for 2012! Its just a collection of some of my work from all areas of what I do. A little bit of everything thrown in with some cool music. If you are thinking of hiring me, this is a good place to start checking out what I do! Then click a category across the top of the page that is more in line of the type of video you are looking for and give me a call to discuss rates. Asking what a video costs is like saying “What does a car cost?” It all depends on the options! Are looking for a KIA, a basic model to get you where you need to go, or do you want a Lamborghini, something very high end that makes people say “Wow!”? Either way, call me and we can discuss it and figure out the best way forward. With over 20 years of doing this, from National TV shows to Weddings, I am confident I can help you get your project started on the right track!
Return to Moose Pond
UPDATE June 2012: This was chosen as one of the five short films to be shown at the Lake Placid Film Forum!!
I usually do non-narrative short films. This one is different! My wife, son and I love to go wilderness camping. Where you canoe in with a tent, food and all you need to a remote site. The last several years we have not found the time to go, however our son is getting older and soon won’t be able to go with us, so we made sure to get away the summer of 2011.
It was a special trip and one that I felt needed some narration to explain how I was feeling about it all. Most of the music is by a friend of mine, Scott B. Adams from the CD “Listening to the Adirondacks”. Check him out on iTunes!
I hope you enjoy what is surely my most personal film to date.
On the technical side, I used a SONY EX1 and a Canon 7D along with a Konova slider. Only had room in the canoe for a real junky tripod, hence not much panning or tilting! I shot the 7D footage with the Technicolor cinestyle preset and graded with Magic Bullet Looks.
Let me know what you think of this departure from my normal videos!
Winter can be so still and quiet! Had some time to kill the other day so I shot this video, what struck me most was the stillness of the afternoon. I went back to Pt. AuRoche State Park in Upstate New York to shoot this. Same location as my Winter Solstice piece, but the same place can sure look different depending on the light.
I also finally got Magic Bullet Looks. Used it to add the vignette and to color correct these shots. Used it even more toward the end to add the soft warm glow to the footage. It’s a powerful tool but I see it overused alot. I’ll try not to do that even though it is quite fun to play around with the look of your footage. To me it’s all about enhancing the mood you are trying to convey.
Music is by Bill Douglas “Earth Prayer” from Hearts of Space records.
Stay warm! Spring is coming….so they say!
WARNING: This is a post for those who like to know the technical side of things!!! If you are not interested in that, just scroll down and hit “play”!!
This is a video I made to test the Technicolor Cinestyle preset for my Canon 7D. It basically is a free download for Canon DSLRs that greatly opens up the shadow areas of the image. The picture as shot will look very washed out, (MANY examples of uncorrected technicolor cine footage on VIMEO) so it needs to be color corrected in post production to dial in the correct black and white and color saturation settings. But once you do…..WOW! It adds more dynamic range to the image, and it doesn’t have that DSLR, super contrasted look as much. I also feel the moire is reduced quite a bit!
To really test things out, I shot what I consider a contrast range torture test! A mountain stream on a bright sunny day, with lots of dappled light. Bright, bright highlights and deep, dark shadows!
I then transcoded all the footage into ProRes LT, imported and edited in Final Cut Pro and then used Magic Bullet Looks to color grade all the shots. Basically I used lift/gamma/gain and then color saturation. I did not use curves as I found it crushed the blacks and blew out the whites a bit too much. Actually I had issues getting the LUT (Look up table) Technicolor supplies to load into Magic Bullet Look Up Buddy (I think my system- a G5 PPC-is too old to properly use it!). I felt using Lift/gamma/gain gave me the best tonal gradations anyway, especially for nature subjects where a real cine tone isn’t as needed.
I mostly used my Tamron lenses. My trusty 17-55 F2.8 and the super zoom 18-270 F3.5-6.3. Kept shutter speed at 60 at all times, using ND filters when needed to expose properly.
Remember, this is shot using Technicolor cinestyle, but then color corrected in post. Your footage MUST be worked on after you shoot it, it does not look like this out of the camera. It amounts to alot more work in post production, is it worth it? I think so! I found this to make the 7D footage look quite stunning, especially considering what I usually get shooting such a contrasty subject.
Music is from Stock20.com, an excellent source for buyout music.
Arrival of Winter
Here is a short video of some new clips I got with the Canon 7D in the fall and early winter of 2009. Shot in the Adirondack Mountain region of far upstate New York. I missed the peak fall season because of some projects I just couldn’t get away from, but I also like the end of the season and the transition into winter. That is what this video represents.
Hope you enjoy it! The music is “Rock Island, 1931” by Thomas Newman from the “Road to Perdition” soundtrack.