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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
Probably my most viewed film online! Posted this over at VIMEO a couple years ago when I first started using the Canon 7D camera. It now has over 44,000 views and is a big demo video on that cameras abilities, being embedded and reposted about on many, many sites!
I shot everything in it in just a few hours one late October day in 2009. It edited together quite quickly too. Not having endless amounts of video makes an edit go quick as your choices on what shots to use are limited!
The first highlight video I did for the Plattsburgh State Cardinals was very highly received! Coach Waterbury asked me to make another for the 2011 season. So I shot the same tournament weekend as the year before. I also used some of the same big movie trailer type music. The final game could not have ended any better with an overtime goal and a huge celebration right in front of where I was standing!
This is the coming soon preview for the wedding of Jill and Derek in Lake Placid, NY on 10/1/11. They were such a fun and happy couple and couldn’t stop smiling all day! The music is “Chevaliers de Sangreal” from the DaVinci Code soundtrack by Hans Zimmer. He’s one of my favorite composers and this song is available on iTunes!