I just stumbled across this video when searching for an old album I'd published somewhere...this baby girl is nearly starting school. I am floored! Have babies they are the BEST!
This one is super special for several reasons. Firstly, it stars my beautiful friend Rachel's eldest child Lily, and secondly, it was my first win for MOFILM. It was when I realised you could ask the Account Managers any questions you like, because *shock* they actually want you to do the best job you can. So I worked really hard on making sure I had a concept the client was after. But then I worked with children and animals...and that was a nightmare...even though both child and dog were very well behaved!
So big props to Harriet Beaumont with MOFILM for sticking by me and helping me produce something I'm really proud of, and to Rach, for being ok to talk sternly to her daughter when all I could do was say 'please do this Lily?!'
Lens Whacking. The name itself is strange. Togs call it free-lensing (I think?!) which sounds way dreamier - oh well! There are lots of tutes out there on the subject, a few on the art. I am a fan of trying everything out - why not? You'll never know if you hate working in 6K if you never shoot 6k now will you? By all means, put yourself through hours of hell trying to get your machine compatible with editing huge-mungus files! Seriously though, I would kill to. Currently 4k sends my laptop over the edge so it may be a while for little old me. But I did some minor edits on a practically finished ad shot on 6K and I must say, I drooled. I don't care what you say - you can see the difference! Disclaimer: yes it still matters more the person behind the camera. I digress!
I am a fan of lens whacking. It makes things look dreamy! But could you achieve the same thing in post? NO! Because you cannot get the parallax. You can get light leaks and film burn effects, but not the displacement and depth of whacking. Every time I write the word it sounds more and more rude...
I have not mastered this practice AT ALL. I could suck. I don't care though - because I love how it looks! I just love the creamy light, the tiny fractures, and the tiny windows of movement you can maneuver in without totally losing focus. And I guess there is the fact that if you are shooting for yourself, then risks are fine. But if you're on a client shoot, a lot more planning would be required before committing to whacking a take! Unless you wanna do 2 versions of every shot...
Recently I purchased a 1000x speed CF card so I could hack my 5D mark ii with Magic Lantern and shoot RAW for more than 3 seconds (which is how long my 400x CF card would allow me to shoot before crashing).
I like how it looks! Considering the 5D is my second camera now, I am actually beginning to prefer shooting RAW although at only 25fps, over 1280x720p at 50fps (my typical set up).
Obviously, the standard is continually rising and I can never keep up, but it can be fun to try and make the best out of whatever you have. When I get a paid gig, I can hire the gear. When it is just me I have the 5D mark ii and the 6D. SO I can shoot slow motion but only at 1280 which is pretty much obsolete now, or 25fps 1080 or RAW. Is 4K the new benchmark? I feel it is becoming that way...but would you want 4K on a go pro over 1080HD on a 5D?
I will never afford to be ahead of the game in gear, but it is imperative to keep learning and to at least know what your limitations are. And if there is one good thing I took away from Avalon, it's that 'constraints unlock your creativity.'
Had fun once again at the most beautiful Long Gully. Usually courtesy of my darling sister who owns land there but THIS time, 'twas courtesy of Josiah & Jo Watson. I want to post lots of pix but think I'd better not...
The younger two of the Watson clan were my loyal guides, actors and contributors. Si, a talented photographer and filmmaker in his own right, agreed to take me to the places on the farm I don't usually go, starting with 'the Pines.'
I attempted again on the Ghost V2 which worked for the first half of the shoot and the glide. Stuck on the glide mainly. I'm getting better...
We spent the arvo skating, laughing. learning, running down sand dunes, frolicking and eating. The hospitality of the Watsons' was incredible, and Brittany and I spent the night in a beautiful bach on the south coast beach, reviewing rushes and possibly watching Pitch Perfect...at 1am...:):):)
A few months back we shot two films for Astra Jewellery. What a huge day it was! Trying to get two, 2minute films shot in a 10hour day was full on, especially as the main male talent wasn't available until 3pm! The purpose of this blog entry is record what I learnt from it.
1) Production Assistants are irreplaceable.
Having planned out the day in half hour increments, it was imperative I had accurate time-keeping on set. Corey was incredible. Along with keeping me on track and meeting the new talent every 30minutes, he had a calm demeanour that completely put me at ease. Which brings me to my next point...
2) It's OK to find MY crew.
Meaning; booking people based on how their personalities will balance on set is GOOD. Not just good but perhaps necessary. In order for me to work to my best abilities, I need calm people around me. I wish that my creativity weren't as fickle as this but unfortunately I am too sensitive!
3) Nothing beats natural light - but know how to use it!
I'm used to shooting in natural light because I don't have any other lights. But what I've only recently discovered is the importance of the flecci. I've often used one, but not considered it imperative. As in, if I'm in a rush and think about it just as I'm leaving, I wouldn't turn around and grab it. Big mistake though! In order to get that beautiful backlit, sun flare look I always aim for, I need a different light source on the subject's face! SOMETIMES. This is subjective remember. But boy, did it help.
4) Bells and whistles are not imperative.
This is the Sony A7S - and yes, that is a dirty old glide-cam. But that there, is Jono. And he knows how to USE THEM. TANGENT: Now Jono and I are totally different in how we approach our creativity. When I look at his screen on the camera, I see all the info displayed, all the zebras on and focus highlighting; but I can't see the frame. That's how he shoots and he knows how to look past them when he needs to. It enables him to be accurate and I guess frees up his thinking, knowing that all his t's are crossed. I love this because I am a no-info person. I don't want to see anything on screen other than my final image. Which interestingly, might be why I find it hard to let go of the flat, S-log look in post, as I've accepted on set that that is the look; I grow to love it. Grey is whimsical! I enjoy being able to trust that the image is "correct" and I can focus on the frame. I just ask him to switch the info off when I need to see it. END TANGENT!
Back to the point: On that glide-cam we got some beautiful images. When you're watching a film, do you stop and say oh that was definitely not shot on a gimbal, no way. Probably not. I think, oh that was a nice smooth shot, oh that was handheld and matched the emotion of the scene etc etc. Now I can't use the glide-cam as I explained in my previous post, but I love how it looks when used. Most people use it for wides, moving through forests and the like. I love pushing it to a shallow focused frame and wrapping around the subject. If you can nail it, what a great image! Looks as good as any gimbal! Not when I'm operating mind you.
The Sony was a treat, new to me though. I took it out to shoot some B-roll on the lunch break but couldn't figure it out. I have since had some time with it and really appreciate it. It is light-weight and easy to use (now). So really, on set we had a tiny DSLR camera, A glide-cam and a flecci. And it was great and looks great. End.
Had some fun entering another stellar MOFILM competition last week, this one for Getty Images. They wanted to expand their stock footage library and so put out a brief requesting footage that inspired 'wanderlust.'
We knew through the brief that they were after immersive, POV footage (Go Pro / Red Bull), but we went a different direction. Largely because we don't have access to Go Pros or UAVs or for that matter, really exciting activities! But we wandered through my sister's land and got inspired anyway.
Having had a crash course the night before on how to use the A7s and the Ghost V2 gimbal, we turned up bright Tuesday morning and straight away spotted a wild Deer. We quietly exited the car and tried to set up the gimbal...nothing. Half an hour of tinkering later, we could not get it to work and had to resort to plan B - glide-cam. I HATE glide-cam! But only because I cannot for the life of me operate it. Jono is the master and I have seen what he can do with it here. And if it weren't for Ben balancing it on the day, we would have been hand held!
It was hard to let go of using the mechanical gimbal, not having to worry about horizon shifting and much of any swaying would have been A-MAY-ZING. But it just means the next time will be even more special (eye-roll).
In the end - we got some nice stuff. I'm pleased! The contest winner has been announced and it was not (alas) us, but we had fun!
UPDATE: We came 7th woot woot!