I have been making documentaries for almost 30 years now. In this day and age of shorter and faster, it’s nice to still be able to tell a story with some feeling in it. I’ve been lucky to work with Merrill L. Thomas in Lake Placid NY for a few years now. They believe a good story is as important, if not more so, than how many bathrooms and bedrooms a place has. Here a few of my favorites we have done recently in this style.
Another little video featuring my wife and a warm day in the Adirondack Mt’s of NY. All shot with the SONY A7III, a SONY 10-16mm, Sony 35mm F1.8 and a Sony 50mm F1.8 lens. Used a gimbal for only a few shots the rest were handheld.
I frequently head out to shoot stock footage to sell online. It’s one of my favorite things to do and occasionally I can bring my wife out with me! She is a real trooper about carrying tripods and lenses but also for being in my shots. I’ve found nature shots with people in them tend to sell a little better than just pure nature shots so it’s fantastic that she is so cooperative.
This is real short, the song I picked for it was only 1;15 long but I really liked it and felt it matched the mood of the footage and the day.
It was back on the road this summer to shoot a couple more episodes of our plant show! This time we went to the central part of Pennsylvania. These are always so much fun to make. It’s a chance for myself, fellow producer Tim Kramer and host/producer Chris Martine to get back together. We all used to live in the same area when we started this series, but now Chris and Tim have moved away. Getting to see them and make these programs is like getting the “band” back together again!
Here is Chris’s explanation of what this video is about from YouTube:
“Many off-roaders think conservationists are all “tree-huggers”… and many conservationists think off-roaders are all “tree-killers.” But somewhere in between there is a sweet spot where forests are appreciated and cared for. In the case of the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA), that sweet spot might even help to reinvigorate a local economy.”
We met some fantastic people making this one including a kindred spirit in Lance Schwartz who makes his own videos for ATV Rider magazine! He is in the video and was loads of help, and fast became a good friend!
Animals may get all the love on TV but……Plants are cool, too!
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! 🙂
Shot this a few months ago but forgot to post it! Was having fun shooting snow falling at 120 frames per second on the SONY A6300. When played back at 24fps, or normal film speed, you get very smooth 1/4 speed slow motion. This was shot out at Pt AuRoche state park near Plattsburgh, NY.
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).
This is a collection of clips for a documentary I am making on William Miner of Chazy, NY. He was a philanthropist from the turn of the century who made his fortune in the railroad industry. He developed a state of the art farm in the early 1900’s that still is functioning today. It will be a historical documentary on his life that should be completed in late 2015. These clips were shot with the Canon C100 and recorded on a Ninja 2 recorder. Shot mostly with the Tamron 70-200 F2.8 IS lens. I love that lens for getting telephoto shots! It’s tack sharp and very fast and clear at f2.8.
This is a slower paced short, to match the feeling of a lovely country farm in the heat of summer. Pour a glass of cold iced tea and enjoy!
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.
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!
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!
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>
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Another short that I shot with the Canon 7D. November is a dreary time of year here in Upstate New York. Not much light or color. Very short days. I went to a waterfall not too far from my house that has an old abandoned mill next to it.
I used the indiSlider in a lot of these shots to add some interest. I call this piece NOVEMBER GRAY, though in reality, the 7D captured alot of color in these scenes! It continues to amaze me. I shot this one at 1080 24p. I also used the stock lens that came in the kit for some of the closeups of the waterfall. Its the 28-135 f.3.5-5.8 IS Canon Lens. Its tack sharp and the depth of field is quite nice when you are zoomed in, even though it’s only a f5.8 lens at that point.
I did some color correction, mainly to adjust white balance, I was shooting so early after sun up that the color temperature was changing quite rapidly.
The music is from Digital Juice. Vol. 50 the song is called MOVING FORWARD.