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Posts Tagged ‘filmmaking’

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

New Lens and DOF test

September 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Here a new test of that famous switch the focus effect (focus pull) with the Canon 50 mm f/1.4 lens. You can hear my son wanting to play with the neighbor, but we were leaving to try out the camera (Canon 7D) and the new lens. See previous post for a Slow-mo test.

Categories: filmmaking, fun, personal Tags: , , , , ,

Slow-mo and Color Correction Test

September 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Just a quick little test, first thing I’ve really done with the 7D. I realize my focus was off a bit. It was a bad time to shoot (the sun’s position). You can see a big change from the flat straight out of the camera shot to the color corrected version. This was done in After Effects with levels and curves. The slow-mo was done by taking 60fps footage and importing into After Effects into a 24fps composition and the a time stretch to 500% and turning on frame blending and motion blur. Gets me excited to film stuff!

My Best VBS Highlights Video (I think)

We just finished a wonderful week of ministry at our church.  VBS is a lot of fun, and it is always my task as resident video guy to capture that joy and preserve it in the church archives in the form of a highlights reel.  This for me is an easy job and one that I very much enjoy doing.  Usually it is done very quickly and, though I hate to say it, kind of throw together in a nonchalant fashion.  I never would recommend this style of editing, but it happens and is accepted as being OK.  It always bothers me due to my standard of excellence.  I’ve blamed it on the time crunch– being busy and having to finish by Friday’s big finale.  This year, I had some more time to dedicate to it, since I was home sick half of the week.  I decided to edit with intent.  

I remember one year I threw a bunch of footage into Muvee AutoProducer and added music, made a few changes and was done with it.  I gather that I’m not the only one that has been in this unfortunate situation.  This time having spent the time to sync the lyrics and music to what’s on the screen, I was much more pleased with the outcome.  Taking the time to do a few more advanced techniques and raising the production value really paid off.  Though I wasn’t there for the debut, I heard about it.  There were many good comments about the video and I heard reports about how much people liked it.  I got to see the reaction of the audience on Sunday.  I’ve seen the video shared all over Facebook within our community.  It gave me a sense of satisfaction, much more than previous years. 

(This was part of July’s Christian Video Magazine Article- http://www.christianvideomag.com/articles/articles.php?recordID=246.   I walk through the editing process for this vid.  For free subscription- www.christianvideomag.com)

The Bible in Rhyme

I’m enjoying partnering with The Bible in Rhyme using its poetry for videos.  Kyle Holt spent three years writing this book.  I hope to make videos of some of the most famous passages in the next year.  Here’s the first.

I mentioned this in my latest article for the CVMagazine- http://www.christianvideomag.com/articles/articles.php?recordID=238.
Download, even in HD at – http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/19310/Genesis-1

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