Friday, September 30, 2011

Declare His Glory

Bible Truth Music has just released a set of music books along with the demo CD which I engineered. It is a collection of songs for ladies' trios to sing in church.

They have a few clips from the cd on their website.

Master of None

Have you ever met a jack-of-all-trades? Well, let me introduce myself. Here is a list of the hats I regularly wear--often all in the same week. I am still trying to figure out which one of these is supposed to be paying my bills.

• Video/TV producer
• Editor
• Camera operator/DP
• Film director
• Script writer
• Radio/TV producer/show designer
• Record producer
• Live sound engineer
• Recording engineer
• Voiceover artist/Radio announcer
• Live event announcer
• Radio/TV/sound consultant
• Audio/Video Instructor
• Acting Instructor
• Graphic designer
• Web designer

Believe it or not, this is not enough! My wife thinks I should know how to fix the garage door and crack eggs without breaking the yolk. With this list, it is pretty clear that I will never be really great at anything. The upside is that at least my life will never be boring. Little blessings.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Correcting An Underexposed Shot

Working on a shot this morning and I thought I would post about it. This was shot in Phoenix with nothing but a standard tungsten interview light kit. With daylight correction gels on each lamp, it was just not enough light to match the subject's lighting to the level of the windows in the background. Because of that, I left her underexposed in order to keep the windows from blooming too much. To get enough rim light on her hair, I had to put my light stand just behind her and in the shot. I was careful to shoot a clean slate (without her in the seat) for replacing that area of the frame in post, and did so with an 8-point garbage matte cutting out around the light and stand.

In color correcting the shot, I cranked the mids way up and then boosted the saturation to compensate for the desaturation that naturally occurs. Because I shot with a camera that has good detail in the shadows and did my grading in a 10-bit environment, the shot looks fairly natural--just a tiny bit of grain. I also added a face light, which is like a little bright spot over just her face and upper body. This helps set her off even more from the rest of the image. One other thing that would focus the attention on her would be to do a vignette centered on her. I tried that look, but really prefer this shot to have a little brighter and more open feel, so I decided against it.

The only thing I wish on this shot is that I would have had a larger sensor to work with on the camera. The background is just in too sharp a focus for my taste. One more thing to point out about the text. I really like the look of the thin lettering I have chosen. Because it is so thin, however, it tends to get lost in the background. My solution on this one is to have the text moving just slightly (the words slowly pass one another), which always makes it more readable.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Identify Any Font Quickly has a great little app for web and for iPhone that will identify any font for you. This is a big timesaver when trying to match the fonts in your video to the client's existing print and web designs. Kevin P. McAuliffe has a short tutorial to show you how it works.

View tutorial

Moving On...

Making the transition away from Final Cut Studio is looking like more and more of a necessity each day. Oliver Peters explains why in this article and gives some sound recommendations about how professional editors should begin making the transition now by making current FCP projects as future-proof as possible. If you are a professional editor, you should at least skip to the end of his article and heed the six transition steps he gives.

Check it out.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The 12-Step Plan for Film Actors

I start my acting class tonight--assuming we have a few people show up. In the last week, I have been developing a curriculum and have come up with what I am calling a "12-Step Plan". This seemed fitting since we will all be sitting around in a circle anyway and starting with something like "Hi, my name is Jason...and I am an actor."

My twelve steps are the skills an actor must develop to be a success in on-camera acting. If you are in the south Atlanta area, come check out the class some Thursday evening. Here is the website.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Amazing Inexpensive Equipment Cart

I travel to most jobs in a Chevy Suburban with the seats laid flat. With all the equipment loaded, I have very little room left. I have been needing a rolling cart for a long time, but the ones that fold small enough are either way too flimsy or way too expensive (as in $1,000). Usually, I end up borrowing one from the shooting location when they have one. The last one I used was very small and two of the wheels kept falling off at the slightest bump throughout the three days of shooting.

Today, I saw a great solution at Costco called the Origami Rack. The Costco version already has rolling casters (although you will probably want to consider putting larger wheels on if you will be on any terrain rougher than interior floors or concrete sidewalks). While it is not as heavy duty as the $1,000 version, it is an amazing cart for the price of just $50. It folds flat for transporting and is super simple to use. The one I am referring to is the medium sized cart in the photo above. Check out the video here.

Promo Video for Brian Neher

Just posted a promo video that I have been working on for portrait painter Brian Neher. The look of the piece starts with an After Effects template from Footage Firm that I have customized. I also used a built-in Motion template from Final Cut Pro for the photos flying in three at a time. That also took a little customization, including reversing the effect occasionally so that viewers would not get tired of the effect happening the same way every time. Watch the promo here.