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Exciting Announcement from CVMag!

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Another Great Issue of CVMag

December 11, 2012 Leave a comment

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Here’s what’s in the Sept/Oct issue of CVMag (free subscription at www.christianvideomag.com)

Cover Story, Inside the Mind of a Writer-Director, Darrel Campbell, by Gregory Fish

Article, The Way- choosing a life, living a life, by Martin Baggs

Article, The Rules of Design, by Dan Stevers

Article, Easy Green Screening, by Gregory Fish

Article, Top Tools for Problems in Post, by Ryan Geesaman

Article, Basic Composition, by Ken Erickson

2nd Issue as Editor

It’s time for the July/Aug edition of Christian Video Magazine, my second issue as editor. I’m excited about the contents of both this and upcoming issues. In this issue we have:

Cover Story, THE INCREASE, by Gregory Fish

Videos about the Faith of Pro Athletes (a good resource with free content)

Article, The Hunger Games- mindless entertainment and its effects, by Martin Baggs

A well-written and intriguing review of this blockbuster hit, that just came out on Redbox and on-demand. Written from a Christian perspective.

Article, Practice Makes Better by Gregory Fish
A case to create out of passion, not just for pay

Article, Eight Tips for Better Videos by Ryan Geesaman

ArticleStarting From Scratch by Ken Erickson
2 articles that are great for beginners, just getting started in video
This resource can show up in your inbox for free if you subscribe at www.christianvideomag.com
Go get it!!!

First Issue as Editor

Christian Video Magazine, Volume 5 Number 3 is my first issue as editor. It just went out today. This is pretty exciting for me and I look forward to the future of this publication as I continue to work on it.

If you do not receive it currently, I’d be honored to deliver it to your inbox. It is a free subscription. Simply go to www.christianvideomag.com and follow sign up directions. You can read this issue and past issues at our online community in a new flash viewer or download pdfs to read/ save.

This issue contains:

Editorial, New Beginnings by Gregory Fish
Cover Story, NOMaD 1-2-3 – An interview with Good News Productions, Intl, by Gregory Fish
ArticleThe Avengers – manipulation and teamwork, freedom and subjugation, by Martin Baggs
ArticleThe Power of Video for this Generation by Gregory Fish
ArticleSync Without Sinking by Ryan Geesaman
Quick TipIncrease You YouTube Upload limit from 15 min to 12 Hours! by Chad Gleaves

Jacob Mann on 7D, rigs, filmmaking

For this month’s article, I thought it’d be nice to interview an expert in the field. Jacob Mann was a good friend of mine growing up and now freelances for a living. I wanted to pick his brain a little, so why not come along with me as we explore the world of freelance video with Jacob Mann.

GF: Jacob, I’d like to welcome you to the Toolkit. You and I go way back. We both were missionary kids in Chile. We went to the same school. We had similar interests in music and basketball even. I never would’ve thought back then that we’d both be into video production now. How is it that you first got interested in this field?

JM: Well, I was always exposed to the broadcast side of things. Growing up as missionary kid, I was always around radio broadcast, as the ministry began
growing, they started adding live sound for concerts, lighting, and video. So being the Pastor’s kid, I was always there at every function. My buddy Job Alonso was always shooting fun little videos and movies, and then editing them old school style using VCRs. He actually really got me excited about it. With the
ministry side of it, and shooting skate videos with Job, then fast-forwarding a few years later I realized that I’m somewhat good at this, I like it, and I can
make money doing it. So why not!

[read more]

(Get a free subscription to Christian Video Mag and access to the archives and a flash viewer at www.christianvideomag.com)

Color Blindness

(This is pasted from my April CVmag article found here:
http://www.christianvideomag.com/articles/articles.php?recordID=305)

I am color blind. I’m not talking about the racial color blindness, though that is the case as well. I do believe that our Creator God made one human race with lots of variety in the pigmentation of our skin. That’s really for another article and another magazine. Back to my point, I do suffer from Daltonism or color blindness. I found out in first grade after messing up a math worksheet. We were to color the balloons certain colors according to the sum in the math problem inside each balloon. The teacher’s aid yelled at me and called me sarcastic and I went home crying. I knew all of the right answers but kept saying, “They didn’t have the papers.” meaning the crayons didn’t have labels for me to read what color they were. So my dad quickly got out the ol’ encyclopedia and quizzed me on the color wheel. Then he went to the color blindness entry and confirmed his suspicion when I couldn’t see the hidden image in the test. It runs in my mom’s family, and women are the carriers, so I am officially color blind.

What’s this have to do with this magazine? Well, since you and I dabble in graphic arts and video and other creative outlets, we know how important color is. It is vital that colors be right. What is right? Depends on whether or not you’re colorblind. Maybe what’s right for you is not right for me, or maybe I’m not going to know anyway! What I’ve had to learn to do is either ask my wife (a good general rule for even non-colorblind men, perhaps) or color by numbers.

Paint or color by numbers is very doable with RGB numbers or even easier with Hexadecimal numbers. Just do a google search of hexadecimal numbers and you’ll get a 6 digit code for whatever color you need. Whether it’s a primary yellow or a forest green or even a magenta (I have no idea what that is). What’s even better is a tool in some programs to match any color on the screen. In Adobe software this is known as the eyedropper tool. You can click on any color and the info on that color gets locked in. You can copy the hex numbers and go to town. Also displayed will be the RGB numbers- three sets of numbers. “I used the eyedropper tool in The Bible in Rhyme’s mother’s day video from Proverbs 31- http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/23804/Proverbs-31– to match the text color to the mother’s shirt color in each scene.”

This comes into play, for instance if you want to add text over a video. Use the eyedropper to get colors for your text out of the image or take a screenshot into this site- http://www.degraeve.com/color-palette/ and it will give you a palette to work with taking it from out of the picture along with dull and vibrant versions and hexadecimal numbers!

There are some things, though, in which numbers won’t really help you. What if you shot with the wrong white balance setting? What if you want to correct color? What if you want to accomplish a certain look or feel to your footage. This article certainly won’t answer all of those questions, but it raises the issue. It is for you to go out and find the wealth of info out there on finding out how to achieve these goals. For me, I usually have to rely on my wife’s eyes to help me out. She will sometimes get tired of me calling her back in to look at the screen.

She helped me just recently on a little Mother’s Day countdown that I did- http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/countdowns/23520/Crazy-Things-Moms-Say. To have and maintain consistency I used the same project I had for “Crazy Things Dads Say” but obviously used different sayings and had a different ending and music. The only other thing that needed to be different was the color scheme. The “dads” video was sort of manly earth tones and this one need to be more girly and pink even. I was able to take my motion background and manipulate the hues until I had a result that worked well. For this, of course I needed to borrow my wife’s eyes to come and help me out. I scrubbed through until she said, “Stop…no, go back…there it is.”

I also asked for her help on a recent poptent.net spot that I created for Stauffers Animal Crackers. In the creative brief they emphasized that the color palette match the packaging of the product. They wanted an “organic” piece that didn’t feel like an ad using no logos or tag lines. I was pleased that another producer commented on the poptent upload and picked up on the fact that our clothing went well with the brand’s logo. Anyway, I color corrected it using a levels adjustment which I wrote about last month in “Gotta Level With You”. I rendered out a version I thought was pretty good, but then when she came home I requested her expertise and use of her non-colorblind eyes again. We went through and made minor adjustments a couple of times. We checked for overexposure and congruence from scene to scene. Some of the shots that were too yellow were corrected by “color balance” adding some blue mid tones and at times highlights. You can see the whole ad with split screen (half the straight out of camera flat image and half the color corrected display): http://vimeo.com/22127915.

I know there are many studies in color and color palettes and I will be studying some of this. I believe there are plenty of sites out there to help understand the psychology behind colors and which ones go well together. Suffice to say that colors do matter. Interestingly enough, in a “lighting” lecture at Lights Film School the instructor said it’s good to dabble with Black and White before attempting color, so that with your lighting you create and can recognize good contrasts in your shadows, mid tones, and highlights. That’s a challenge; but let’s takes it to heart. Lighting is one area that I really need to work on. The good thing about shooting with a flat setup in HDSLR is the ability to boost those levels and make the colors pop in post. However, it would be best to get all that looking good when shot. As my instructor said, “You can’t fix tonal range in post. You either have tonal range or you’re flat. You can darken your blacks and pop your highlights if they are there in camera, but you can’t invent them in post.” Get it right the first time! Those are good thoughts to consider.

Even though I’m color blind I can see colors. I appreciate colors. Colors can also evoke different emotions if we understand and use them correctly. Watch films and see how there’s a certain tint to different types of films or even scenes. Colors are truly a gift from a creative God. Let’s try to use amazing colors that He has given us and create images that are most interesting.

School’s in Session!

December 21, 2010 1 comment

The following review is copied and pasted from my Greg’s Toolkit December 2010 article in www.christianvideomag.com:

I’ve written a column in this magazine since its inception. In many instances (including the little blurb bio at the end) I made mention to the fact that I had no formal training. All that I’ve learned has been through trial and error and/or tutorials, books, and blogs, etc. This month I’ve had to amend the blurb, because school is in session. That’s right. I’m going to school. And I’d love to tell you where I landed.

For some time, and funny as it may be, I prided myself in having no formal training. At the same time, I earnestly yearned to enroll somewhere to study filmmaking. This is because I believe that we should always strive to make better and more quality films that have a lasting impact. Formal education can make a real difference; but, where to enroll? There are many good places to learn, but they were simply out of the question for me, and I suppose for some of you, too. I can’t simply uproot and move my family to some campus and go through college again. It’s not feasible for me. I thought about taking some classes at a local college, but again, the cost factor was intimidating. To pay such prices per class, and possibly not learn much until having to ante up for a later class? No thanks. If there was only something online that I could work on from home (at my own pace), that would certainly be an answer.  That’s what I needed. I looked into a few options – only to find the same thing – too expensive for a narrow scope approach. Then I came across my answer – Lights Film School (http://lightsfilmschool.com).

Lights offered all of the features that I was looking for. Number one, on my mind and yours too probably, is the pricing. Lights is extremely affordable, and I say affordable because the product is anything but cheap. As I write, their website states the course is “now being offered for 50% off our regular enrollment fee of $600 and is now being offered for only $299 (USD) (a full $300 discount).” The value in what you get for their unbelievable low price goes way beyond anything I thought was possible as I shopped around for a place of learning.  It’s a bargain! A real steal! 

The scope was a big selling point for me as well. I wanted something broad that would give me an understanding of the many different skills needed. Lights has designed a comprehensive 8 module film course that allows students to systematically work through the different areas of the filmmaking process. The 8 modules of their course are: 1. INTRODUCTION TO FILMMAKING & ONLINE LEARNING, 2. SCREENWRITING, 3. DIRECTING, 4. CINEMATOGRAPHY, 5. SOUND DESIGN, 6. EDITING, 7. DOCUMENTARY, 8. FILM DISTRIBUTION & MARKETING. This all-encompassing syllabus is tailor-made for people like me, and if you’re reading this magazine, probably you as well.

I also love that Lights is not simply a theory based school. They provide a hands-on, practical learning environment. When you enroll, you’ll learn about their philosophy of “outcomes based” learning, which differs from the traditional approach of objective based institutions. Simply put, “objective based learning focuses on providing opportunity for learning while outcomes based learning focuses on how learning is used.” With a limited time scale and an online structure, their model is much better than traditional models.

I am still a student and have much of the course ahead of me yet to be completed. However, I can already say that I genuinely appreciate the hard work and resources that have gone into making Lights possible. So far, I’ve learned a wealth of information and ideas on storytelling, which is invaluable to me. I have been challenged through the assignments, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

The personal attention given each student is also such a positive aspect of their educational system.  The Student Grading Center “acts as a collective learning experience for all of the students in our school. It’s a great way to learn from other beginners´ mistakes.”  It’s a true community of like-minded folks, with an international flair.  At a live online Lab chat conducted recently, there were students from Italy, Kenya, Canada, and the USA. We, as students, are able to see what others have done and learn from them and the instructor’s reviews of each assignment. Constructive feedback is a necessity in any work of quality substance. This is provided when you enroll in the course.

The course is a tremendous resource. A buddy of mine, who has a college degree in the same field, mentioned to me that he had the same assignment in his college course that I just completed at Lights. Lights will point you in the right direction and expose you to great films and interviews that compliment the subjects being taught, as well as software and other online tools that will aid in the process. Upon completion you will receive a certificate, but even more importantly you will literally embark on a journey of a life-long learning and refining the craft and powerful art form that is filmmaking.

I’m so glad that I enrolled. I look forward to working hard through this course and gaining so much at the same time.  For me, it’s just what the doctor ordered.  How about for you? Give yourself a Christmas present you’ve been wanting (or needing). Or make your New Year’s resolution be the completion of this course. It will be such a benefit to you in your filmmaking aspirations.


http://lightsfilmschool.com

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