Archive for April, 2010

BritWeek Los Angeles

For the past few years I’ve been lucky enough to be asked by the British Consulate to document BritWeek in Los Angeles.  www.britweek.org This is really a departure from the commercial work I do, so it is a nice change of pace and style to mix things up a bit. This is  much more of a journalistic approach to shooting. At times it’s very frustrating though because I’m used to having total control in my commercial shoots, not so much here. I have to really let loose of the reins a bit and think and move quickly, nothing wrong with that to keep the chops up right.

Another fun part of this job is I get to be surrounded with a lot of very interesting people. Whether they be celebrities, prominent business people or politicians, it really keeps it interesting.

I’m right in the middle of the job, with several more events to shoot, but I wanted to share as I go.

Although, most of the shooting is grab what you can, and fast, sometimes I get to spend a little more time in the set up. One of those shots was to shoot the LAX sign at the entrance to the Los Angeles Airport. In recognition of BritWeek, they had changed the colors of their lights to a combination of red, white and blue. I had to park myself and camera for a bit of time right at the entrance on the middle island. I was a bit worried that a police car would drive by while I was shooting this because I’m not sure if I would be allowed to shoot there. It was a very cold and windy night so I bundled up with a big jacket and black beanie cap. I looked a bit like a bank robber / terrorist. With this security concious world we live in now, this wasn’t a good look at the airport. I did get this pretty interesting look at the famous LAX sign though, that’s all that matters.

On the tech part of the image, to keep the balance of all the different light levels I composited several different exposures to hold detail in the plants in the foreground to the bright lights themselves. I did try doing this in a HDR plug-in, but did not get the results I wanted, so I just processed the raw file a few different times and made a composite manually.


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NAB 2010 gadgets

I just got back from a couple days at NAB in Las Vegas. I wanted to share with you some of my findings.

There were two very prominent topics in this years NAB show, and they were everywhere:


On the 3D side, I went to the Panasonic booth for their 3D experience. I really wasn’t all that impressed. I just don’t feel like the steroscopic 3D is quite there. I had a slight headache watching some of the footage. Things will be changing in this arena very fast though.

Before I get to DSLR film making, I wanted to mention the other hot topic of , online content.  Online content is king. We all know about the advent of the online magazines and the devices that read them, I’ve mentioned this several times on older posts. With the release of Apple’s ipad, that topic is hotter then ever. One major problem is that Mr. Jobs over at Apple doesn’t want to play nice. He seems to be playing strong arm with the content creators, device manufactures and software developers. It’s “my way or the high-way” type of mentality. It’s quite frustrating on a lot of levels. The big issue especially for me is the non-compatibility of Flash on his new baby. We want full feature content on the ipad, including motion graphics and video. The problem is most of that content for web is Flash based.

I had a talk with a person at The New York Times booth about their introduction of the NY Times online version that will be readable through their Times Reader software powered by Adobe Air. They are very excited about it, as well they should be. Although, for the time being we won’t be able to view the full features of this site with our new ipad. That’s a shame because that’s excactly why we want the ipad.
You know there are developers in their offices, workshops and basements all over working on this issue of ipad compatibility.
I did run into one company at NAB that was working on just this.
They are simplifying the publishing of mobile video assets for ALL devices, INCLUDING the ipad. I am going to be learning a lot more about this company in the coming months. Stay tuned for more on this in coming posts.

Here are a few of my favorite booths and speakers from the show.

It was great to have hands on experience with a lot of the manufactors of the tools I will be using in the DSLR film making side of things.

The first is Red Rock Micro, they make the rigs that make it much easier to turn our 35DSLR ( Canon 5d MK11) into a very viable film making camera:

The cinema bundle with follow focus control
The brand new remote control follow focus, WITH YOUR IPHONE!

Redrock Micro remote follow focus with YOUR IPHONE

Another leader in the DSLR rigs and gear is Zacuto:

Zacuto DSLR rigs and viewfinders

Viewfinders and rigs for the DSLR

Here’s a new jib / slider combo rig I really like by Porta Jib. To be able to have a two-in one device like this could be very useful on a lot of shoots. You normally would need two different rigs for this application.

Slider and Jib all in one, “Sweet”

Porta Jib Explorer:

As far as favorite speakers, I would have to give that to Shane Hurlbut. Shane is a veteran cinematographer shooting for major motion pictures that has made a mid-career change to shooting very high level films with the DSLRs, specifically Canon’s 5 and 7 D’s.

Beautiful work and a very entertaining energetic guy, way to go Shane.


Another great presentation was from Alex Buono, Director of Photography for NBC’s Saturday Night Live.

Alex is in charge of shooting all of the pre-show titles, new talent intros and mock commercials for the show. He showed us a reel of all the latest work he just shot for the show, all on the 5D and 7D. Those motion shots from the top of the taxi cab at the beginning of the show, 5D!  This camera is really changing the world of cinema.

See some of it here: http://www.dslr-cinematography.com/news/2009/9/29/saturday-night-live-shoots-canon-7d-and-5d-mark-ii.html

Stay tuned for my new demo reel, I’m all pumped up!

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