Thursday, July 14, 2011

Film Versus Digital.

As much as I love the ease of use of digital, there's just something about film that keeps me coming back for more. It could the fact that every picture costs money, which forces me to think about the picture I am composing. Or it could be the fact that film slows you down in an effort to check all your settings. Or it could possibly be the thrill of waiting weeks until receiving your pictures back and discovering past memories and events that you had documented prior. Whatever it is, I love film -- its look, its feel, its aesthetic, its method, its everything.

I still use my digital SLR in terms of metering and focus to copy over, but the results are always much more astounding on the film negative/positive when compared with its digital counterpart. There are a number of jobs where digital is the necessary tool of choice because of its immediacy, but if I have the time to slow down, I'd highly consider selecting film as my medium.

For reference, here's the image I took on my Canon 5D DSLR (large amount of post work done).

Stand Out.

And here's the image I took on my girlfriend's Medium Format camera (no post work done except for removing dust).


My girlfriend is kind enough to let me use her beastly Mamiya RB67 camera so long as I buy film for it. FIlm is something I've been meaning to explore more and more of, and now that I have a bit more time on my hands, I have no excuses.

I Love to Flash.

Finally took the plunge into the world of off camera flash photography and bought myself a Yongnuo wireless trigger system. This little device connects your camera to your flash wirelessly so you can move your light source independently. On a recent trip to visit my mom down south in sunny San Clemente, Jenny and I gave our new toy a go. We headed up to the scenic bluffs that overlook all of Orange County's coast. We also happened to catch the sun just as it was setting behind the ocean.

Here is one of Jenny shot with a Canon 580 EXII fired from the right of the subject with no bounce or diffusion.

Golden Girl.

I still have a lot to learn in terms of making the lighting appear natural and deliberate. Since getting the wireless trigger, I've also invested in a bounce umbrella and stand to help with diffusion.

Here are two photos of my pug Coco that we used for Graduation Thank You cards.

Graduation Pug.

Ahead of the Game.


Yet another film I was fortunate enough to help out on. This one centers around an injured downhill mountain biker who doesn't let his handicap dictate his life. Simple story, great visuals, compelling storytelling... what else do you need? Director Eric Gillespie has a bright future ahead of him in terms of action sports filmmaking. Good luck my friend.

Dinapoli Tomatoes.

About six months ago, I was approached by a local tomato company centered out of Los Gatos, CA to help create an edit for their upcoming site. The point of the video was to showcase how the organic tomatoes were grown and harvested. I was to use footage that had already been shot, which proved difficult considering it was shot on one of those camcorders that records straight to DVD. We worked through all the hiccups and after a number of e-edits later, we had a finished product. I had a wonderful time working on this project with Rob Dinapoli of Dinapoli Tomatoes and hope to callaborate with him and his team in the near future.

The final edit can be viewed on his site:

or you can check it out here. Please heed the SD footage.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Smallfrys Contest.

**UPDATE** We Won!!! Build-a-Bear purchased our commercial for $7,500! Feels good man.

In an attempt to make some money, a few friends and I got together to work on short spot hosted by The contest was to make an advertisement for Build-A-Bear Workshop to promote their new "Smallfrys" line of plush animals. After much debate, we settled on a concept that involved a monster costume, which we all hoped would set us apart from the competition. On Friday, David, jenny, and I got together and bought all the necessary building materials to create our epic monster. The green fuzzy fabric we got shed like no other. As much as I'd like to say David and I contributed equally to the building of the monster, it was really all Jenny. As the only one who knew how to operate a sewing machine, David and I were sort of at a loss. Thanks Jenny for your master craftiness!

Here is the head of the costume Jenny made. It sort of resembles an Admiral Ackbar...

On saturday, we met up in Millbrae with David and his girlfriend, who is also conveniently named Jenny (hinting at sarcasm here). David's Jenny had found not only a house, but a mother and daughter who were willing to act in our commercial. We met the family and thanked them for helping us with our project. The daughter, who was about seven, was a bit timid at first. Although, once Jenny put the monster costume on, it was nothing but giggles. Even from behind the camera, I could not stop cracking up. The way the mouth on the monster sort of sagged and flopped when Jenny talked was hilarious.

Millbrae was already excruciatingly hot, but to be in a green fuzzy monster costume was torture. Because of this we had to shoot quickly so as not to overheat our awesome actress Jenny. Both the mom and the girl were extremely good sports about doing things a number of times from different angles. It was both a challenge and a blast to work with a child actor. you really have to break down an action into steps otherwise our young actress would rush and blend all the actions into one. She was great and we got some really genuine expressions and emotions out of her.

When $7,500 is at stake, it's no wonder there were so many last minute entries. After the contest closed yesterday (July 4th 9pm), there were 138 video submissions in total. I feel a little better about our commercial being one of the "staff favorites" along with 26 other videos, but there are some really great professional-looking ads in the running. All we can do now is keep our fingers crossed...

Check out our entry!

Hester Prynne.

Here's another short film I helped out with from my Film 196 class taken at UC Santa Cruz. I was Director of Photography on this particular project. After numerous complications with actors bailing, I think the film came out as good as could have with the script revisions. I was also fortunate to work with a great group of people who all have their unique passions, which helped make this film so much stronger in the end. I mean come on, who else has an orchestra score their senior thesis film?

"There are skeletons in Robert Cleaver's closet. When Robert's wife, Martha, is late to meet him at the theater for a showing of "Hester Prynne" - a theatrical interpretation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" - Robert can do little more than wait and dwell in his thoughts. That is until the show starts. To Robert's surprise and horror, he witnesses the skeletons he had been hiding manifest themselves onto the stage."