On Set- Join Me Shoot

Another shoot with the talented gents at p3, this time teamed up with the also very talented Black Math guys.  The video was for JoinMe, an online video calling/collaboration service.  Morgan Myer was the DP for the spot directed by Jeremy Sahlman, and they rented my Red Epic which I operated.  

Morgan really stepped up his game on this one, with a perfectly even-lit cyc wall and great talent lighting to boot.

Now that's how you light a cyc.

Notice on the bottom left of the monitor the waveform with the solid green line going straight across from left to right.  This waveform monitor interprets the amount of light in the image from 0 (meaning total black) to 100 (meaning pure white).  Black Math wanted a clean white to be able key out if needed for the animation they were going to create over the video.  Having an evenly lit background is essential for this, and the waveform monitor notes how there is no variance in the lighting of the white background, which is not an easy thing to achieve on a 30'x40' wall.

 Got to use some sweet cinema primes.

Got to use some sweet cinema primes.

Nothing says Italy like a Vespa (apparently).

Our setup for the "French Cafe" scene.

A fun shoot with some really talented people.

On Set- Reverie Gallery shoot

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of working with the wonderful women at a Reverie Gallery- Erica Powell (my sister-in-law) and Caitlin Diggles (my beautiful wife)- on their photo shoot with Bliss Celebrations magazine.  Reverie Gallery is a wedding vendor/inspiration guide, launching in September.  

 Sarah and Amy from Bliss Celebrations, along with Caitlin and Erica from Reverie Gallery getting ready for the shoot. 

Sarah and Amy from Bliss Celebrations, along with Caitlin and Erica from Reverie Gallery getting ready for the shoot. 

The shoot was at the University Club in Providence, R.I., our old stomping round once upon a time. The shoot was gorgeous and all the work that Reverie Gallery and Bliss put into organizing and planning it made my job easy.  From the talented models to the amazing floral designs and decoration, all the sets looked fantastic. 

It was also a pleasure to meet and work with the incredible photographer, Ben Verley, who happened to be another Syracuse native!  I learned a lot just from watching her work with the models and seeing how she took the beautiful settings to another level through her direction of the models.  

I will be posting some screenshots and a few videos from the shoot after the magazine publish date in February.  

On Set- Emily Cain #2

Working again with the talented guys at Gum Spirits Productions (aka Chi/Donahoe + Cole/Duffey) on a shoot in Bangor, ME yesterday.  Pulling up to the first location, got a cool surprise.  We were filming across the street from this house. Props to anyone who can guess the author that lives here (hint: look closely at the gate). [answer below]

 Stephen King's house in Bangor, Maine

Stephen King's house in Bangor, Maine

He was the first author that got me to read on my own for pleasure as a kid, and his Dark Tower series is my favorite of his works.  Except for book 7- I still don't get what happened at the end there, or when the characters in his book meet and talk with Stephen King, in the book.  Weird moment.  

The shoot was another political spot for Dem candidate for US Congress, Emily Cain.  It was a busy, long day with 4 locations and multiple groupings of people and a many scripts, but also included a stop at a cabin on a lake and strawberry rhubarb pie.  Can't beat that end to a work day.  

 Setup for first location of the day, awaiting the interviewee.

Setup for first location of the day, awaiting the interviewee.

Two camera setup for the first location interview (I covered profile).  It was early morning, so the sun was moving fast across the windows in the background.  Took a little work to keep the white blinds from blowing out and bringing in enough subject lighting (with bounce board and LED light to the right with umbrella).  Thankfully the sun was moving in our favor and by the time we rolled it was mostly off the background windows.  Final shot looked nice though.

 Dem Emily Cain candidate for US Congress in Maine's 2nd district.

Dem Emily Cain candidate for US Congress in Maine's 2nd district.

On Set- Road Trip

Just got back from an 11 day road trip with Gum Spirits Productions, another stellar group of talented, creative guys based in Portland, Maine.  We went to 7 cities in the 11 day trip, which became a routine of wake up early, hop on a plane, fly to a new city, pack the largest rental truck available, drive to the location, film for a few hours, drive to another location, more filming, then check into our new hotel, sleep for a few hours, then repeat.  We went to Philly, Pittsburg, Orlando, Jacksonville, Columbus, Ann Arbor, back to Columbus, St. Louis and then home.  

The shooting was all interviews with people with some fascinating personal stories about being transgender and/or an ally.  What struck me most about these people's stories was the amount of courage and conviction they all had and the simple need for them to be their authentic selves.  I had never spoken with a transgender person before at any length and didn't know anyone personally, so to hear these stories was quite eye-opening for me.  If I learned anything from what I heard, it's that no one ever chooses to be transgender.  I can't image anyone just deciding on a whim to go through what these people have.  

Some other highlights include staying at Sawgrass in Jacksonville, FL, where they host the Players Championship.  They also have a great pool, which we got to spend a little time at during our only morning off.  

 Sawgrass Marriott lobby

Sawgrass Marriott lobby

 Our first interview setup of the trip

Our first interview setup of the trip

 Day 2 of the trip.  We were all so young and fresh-faced back then...

Day 2 of the trip.  We were all so young and fresh-faced back then...

 The crew waiting for our interviewees to arrive in Columbus

The crew waiting for our interviewees to arrive in Columbus

 Camera setup and Patrick hiding behind the bounce

Camera setup and Patrick hiding behind the bounce

 Schmidt's in German Town in Columbus for dinner one night.  Great sausage and beer 

Schmidt's in German Town in Columbus for dinner one night.  Great sausage and beer 

 Driving from Columbus to Ann Arbor looked mostly like this

Driving from Columbus to Ann Arbor looked mostly like this

 Cool stone house with some neglected landscaping

Cool stone house with some neglected landscaping

 One of many setups in St. Louis. A church meeting room standing in for upper-middle class living room.

One of many setups in St. Louis. A church meeting room standing in for upper-middle class living room.

 Screengrab (unprocessed) from another interview with a very cool pastor in his church

Screengrab (unprocessed) from another interview with a very cool pastor in his church

On Set- Red Epic Helmet Cam

For a recent shoot (see the MTI-Connections video), I was again working with the talented guys at p3.  The idea for the video was to put the viewer into the eyes and body of an entrepreneur/inventor/designer.  To achieve this, p3 wanted a POV rig that would allow the main character in the video to move freely, use both hands and walk around unconstricted.  They also wanted to maintain a high standard of visual integrity and beauty in the shots, which ruled out simply using a GoPro, which would have made the POV rig much more simple, but compromised on image quality.  

So, we built a helmet rig for my Red Epic.

 Brian taking a turn wearing the helmet cam

Brian taking a turn wearing the helmet cam

This was a bit of a beast, weighing in at over 15 lbs including the counter weights and battery on the back of the helmet and we had to constantly switch off wearing the rig to avoid major neck cramping.  But weight aside, the rig worked a dream.  We used my Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 lens for 95% of the shots (using my 50mm 1.2 to fill in a few key sky shots), which was wide enough to give that POV feeling without much distortion.  

 Morgan enjoying the beautiful weather on Casco Bay

Morgan enjoying the beautiful weather on Casco Bay

We even had an excuse to go sailing with the rig for a few shots.  It was more than a little scary to have my camera hanging over the side of the boat, but we got the shots and no harm was done.  Yikes!

 Me, CJ and our guide at EIMSKIP shipping dock.

Me, CJ and our guide at EIMSKIP shipping dock.

 Morgan rocking the rig in a field near Boothbay.

Morgan rocking the rig in a field near Boothbay.

All in all it was a fun shoot with some new technical challenges (we burned through a few Noga Arms trying to keep the camera locked into position) and a lot of cool labs and settings to film in.  Here's the finished product, with some excellent graphics by Nathan Gillis. 

On Set- Emily Cain Campaign Video

Two days working on a few campaign videos for Emily Cain up in the Bangor area.  The spots were produced/directed by Gum Spirits Productions, a group of really talented, passionate filmmakers.  They also happen to be really great people to boot, which is always a huge plus.   

 Emily Cain campaign video set-up

Emily Cain campaign video set-up

A lot of driving time as the her district is up in Bangor, but I always appreciate the chance to explore more of Maine.  

My Epic was the b-cam and it worked great (despite breaking my shotgun mic cold shoe earlier in the week, hence the camera tape mount in the picture above).  Shot mostly 4k at 10:1 compression, using both my Canon 50mm 1.2 and Tokina 11-16 2.8.  Used the 50mm for the interviews to punch in for a nice medium/close-up, and the 11-16 for some wide-angle b-roll clips.  Cropped in at 4k, the 50 is closer to 62mm and the 11-16 becomes a 14-20, which is also nice because it loses any vignetting or distortion you might get on 5k at 11mm wide open.  Really impressed with the quality of the Tokina, and am understanding why so many red users love this lens.