Playing with My Food

Playing with My Food from stillswordsandmotion on Vimeo.

I filmed this brief web video on a Canon EOS 60D with an 85mm lens on my kitchen table. My subject was a bowl of cherry tomatoes, snacking tomatoes, and habanero peppers. These three ingredients made a beautiful harmony of red, yellow, and green—a bold, colorful contrast to the static white environment they performed in. Continue reading

Philippians 4 verse 8

Philippians 4:8 from stillswordsandmotion on Vimeo.

Years ago, back when I used a Canon HV20 (an amazing tape-based HDV camera that I caught the filmmaking bug with), I filmed a snippet of my son in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park reciting Proverbs 26:4. I used a Rode Video Mic mounted to the camera and edited the 33 second video in Final Cut Express 4 on a 20” iMac with 2GB or RAM (antiquated, I know). It was a great little movie with some advanced camera work (I used one camera to record several angles) and good color correction. The exposure and sound were acceptable to me—back then. Today? Not by a long shot.

This video—Philippians 4:8—was shot in a similar style to Proverbs 26:4 (and uses my daughter, not my son). It’s still a one-camera shoot using multiple angles to give the appearance of having shot it with multiple cameras. The difference is I used a Canon EOS 60D and a 17-40mm f/4 L lens shooting in 24p with the CineStyle picture style, the camera’s built-in mic, and edited the video using Adobe Premiere Pro CC on a 27” iMac.

Going forward, I would color grade my footage to match the subject and environment, not just strive for purity of color. While you can’t watch Proverbs 26:4 online anymore, I assure you that the color was akin to a saturated smartphone JPG. It was good, just not great. This footage, featuring a pre-teen little girl, would do well with a high-key, low-contrast treatment. My audio would be recorded on a separate device and sweetened in post.

I’m surprised at the overall quality the 60D can produce. Remember this is using the CineStyle picture style (hence the flatness) and I didn’t do any color grading to the footage—it’s as-shot, straight from the camera. No adjustments to curves, levels, color balance, contrast, sharpening, or anything else. Camera audio should never to be used, so disregard the unnatural sound. I never intended to do anything with this footage except test the movie controls and practice shots for narrative shorts, however the final edit made me decide to keep it.

National Donut Day

I received an unusual, last minute request to photograph donuts for a same-day publication. What was the rush? Today, June 6, 2014, is National Donut Day. Really (I never heard of it, either). The client wanted to seize the moment and be relevant to the confection-minded Googlers around the world.
National Donut Day Continue reading

PARALLAX Submitted to Local Film Festivals

I’m serious about PARALLAX—I want as many people as possible to watch and learn from this movie. One way to get a wide audience is to expand beyond my boundaries so more eyes can see it, eyes that I would not be in front of, otherwise. That’s where film festivals play a pivotal role.

I’ve submitted PARALLAX to two local film festivals so far. Each festival has its own marketing and audience, so I’ll have the opportunity to show my movie to each. Their marketing is responsible for bringing in an audience, and that’s where I benefit—they do the heavy lifting and I just have to deliver an engaging movie (self-promotion through my social media channels is still a good idea). The first festival I’ve submitted to is the NEC Communication Film Festival. This is their first-ever festival, so there’s no way of knowing the quality of work they’ll receive (and, consequently, what kind of competition PARALLAX will face).

PARALLAX submitted to the NEC Communication Film FestivalThe second festival is the Holywood Christian Film Festival of New York, which is in its third year. I’ve seen some of the work from previous festivals and believe the competition will be strong.PARALLAX submitted to the Holywood Christian Film Festival of New York

Both festivals are from faith-based institutions, so the experience may differ from other film festivals. The official “rules” prohibit certain subject matter and focus on morally-sound content, so there won’t be any NSFW surprises.

I’m also looking forward to the festivals for the experience as a movie producer. I may have the opportunity to market my movie to interested parties, so my “elevator pitch” has to be impressive. There’s so much to prepare for, and I’ll be ready for it.