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Posts Tagged ‘filmmaking’

New 48 Hour Film

October 31, 2019 Leave a comment

My son and I participated in a 48 hour film festival laster year, as you can see here. This year, we did it again, but it was quite different. I wrote last year’s script which was a bit more serious. My son, Nathan, who is a junior in high school, wrote this year’s script entirely, and it’s just fun and crazy. See for yourself and try not to laugh!

But first, a few details. Each entry share 5 common “required” elements which were chose at random at the kickoff event. These were a them of transformation, a location being a dining room, a painter character, a prop being a tube of lipstick, and a line of dialogue being “This might be the __________ day of my life.” Nathan wrote these into his script on Friday night, but due to busy lives, we would not shoot until Saturday. He saw it was supposed to rain all day the next day, so he wrote that into the script and kept things at one, mostly indoor location. To our surprise, it NEVER RAINED! We had to use a hose and special effects to try and pull off the script as written.

Being that our Sunday is fully booked with church duties from 7:30am until noon, we needed to be done by then, and not the 3pm deadline. We filmed Saturday until close to 5pm and immediately began editing. I started exporting the video at 1:30am and set my alarm for 4am to get up and see if any changes were needed. Fortunately, there weren’t any pressing issues to fix, so we went with the first render.

At the awards show, it was a clear crowd favorite, but with the judging, we got second place again. It was a mostly fun experience, and I’m finally getting to feel somewhat rested!

Now, enjoy “Vanderkalt the Magnificent”!

 

 

A World Map, Twine, and Editing

October 17, 2016 Leave a comment

What do you get when you mix a world map, twine, editing, and sound design? Here’s what I came up with illustrate the vast network of GNPI:

 

And here’s the Behind the Scenes video of the fun time our intern, David Velazquez and I had shooting this video:

Behind the Scenes (Cartoon Making)

November 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Here’s a behind the scenes look at how to make the characters of Liam & Ruby come to life!

A Revolutionary New Stabilizer

With NAB starting in Vegas tomorrow there should be a wave of new announcements of new gear to buy or put on your wish list. Among those is what appears to be a game changer in the image stabilization department for filmmaking. The product is MōVI gyro stabilizer by Freefly Systems. Be sure to google “MoVI” in the coming days to see all the specs. For now, see what Vincent LaForet has created with this smooth new product:


Amazing, right? It’s even been called “magical.” What used to take huge rigs and tracks and dollies and jibs can all be done with a tiny piece of equipment. See how this 24 second video shows the stability achieved with the fiercest of movements:


The saying is you get what you pay for. While this revolutionary innovation will surely appeal to all studios, even in time the big ones, the price point is probably too high for most indie outfits. However, when seeing what this can do, it should be a focal point for many people’s gear envy!
To appreciate fully the gains made by this system, you must see how it works in reality. Vincent LaForet does just that and shows us behind the scenes footage of his “MōVI” short:

$50 Stabilizer!

October 19, 2011 2 comments

I recently stumbled upon Guerricam’s Low-Cost Camera Stabilizer for Guerrilla Filmmakers. He has an IndieGoGo campaign in effect right now for the next 30 days or so. If you go right now to http://www.indiegogo.com/GUERRICAM-Camera-Stabilizer you may be able to pick up yours for $25 plus shipping. If you wait, you’ll pay a little more. I went ahead and contributed towards this first production run and claimed one as a perk.

I asked if it would work for a 7D with a small prime lens on it. He said he had tested successfully on a T2i with many lenses (some heavy).  The total weight would be about the same. Obviously it’ll take some tweaking and practice, but for that price, what’s to lose??? I’ve done some DIY (see my DIY category of posts), but this looks great and affordable.

Here’s Guerricam’s prototype test:

 

Again, you can go to http://www.indiegogo.com/GUERRICAM-Camera-Stabilizer to contribute like I did and secure your stabilizer with improvements over this prototype from the first production run. I did. After I get mine, I’ll post some footage and my thoughts. But by then, it’ll be too late for you to get yours shipped to your door this cheap! Act now. (Sounds like an infomercial, huh?)

Inspired Creativity

Today was the last day of #echo11, or Echo Conference. It was my first time, and will definitely not be my last! I’m headed home with inspiration, practical tips, and encouragement. Over the next few days I’ll be blogging about some of the many gems. I’ll also be posting my review and interview of Gary Molander and his new book- “Pursuing Christ, Creating Art”. I’ll be posting thoughts on the “Blue Like Jazz” movie as well as a short but great interview of Steve Taylor. So stay tuned.

I was really excited to go to Echo, I it turns out, I should’ve been. However, even before Echo I experienced a sort of surge of inspired creativity. Let me tell you about it and how God used it in ways that I would not have imagined. And you can do the same!

So let me link you now to a pdf of my July article in Christian Video Magazine, entitled “Inspired Creativity“.

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)

DIY Project #dos

May 26, 2011 3 comments

Here’s my latest DIY project for DSLR video, project número dos.

It’s a fig rig. To do this I used this tutorial- http://vimeo.com/16415597. The sprinkler tube clamps were impossible to find. In the comments it was stated that these would be hard to find. I gave up and went with plan B, simply using PVC T’s in their place. Also on the top part of the fig rig I customized mine using some 90 degree elbows to extend it out slightly to make room for putting my 7 in. monitor in the cold shoe mount above the camera in this application.

The plate at the bottom was done differently than in the tutorial. I came up with this part all by myself, which for me– non build-it type guy (computer geek)– that’s a pretty big accomplishment. You can see in the pics here that I used a thumb screw with a washer and bolt. It’s fairly easy to attach and take it off using this setup.

Here are pictures in stages:

I still need to touch up some of the paint job (plastic spray paint) and add some bike handles to the side for a better grip. Since it’s all glued down I’ll probably have to cut those to get them on and glue them to the PVC.

Do-it-yourself is a lot of fun and it saves a ton of money. Check out my other posts in the DIY category. On a more serious note let me interject something here. I ended my May Article for www.christianvideomag.com this way:

Do it yourself philosophy is not always a good one. In matters such as salvation, it’s obviously an impossibility. Another area where this concept is discouraged and rightly so is in ministry, care, and charity. As I write this, my hometown of Joplin, Missouri weighs heavy on my heart. With such devastation, we cannot simply tell those victims of the single deadliest tornado in history to do it themselves. The long relief effort must be shared by concerned and generous souls. I know Joplin is a resilient town, and the body of Christ is in action in that place. However, we should not expect them to rebuild all by themselves. Any support you can give would help so very much. I plan on investing some of my savings gained by doing DIY projects, to assist in the on-going relief effort, and organizing further assistance for the cause. I know of many great places where you too can help. If you are moved to do so, email me at fish.gregory@gmail.com and I will connect you. Thanks.

Rode Lavalier Product Demo

After waiting months to get mine, here’s my first experience with the Rode Lavalier.

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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