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28 December, 2009

Happy Holidays!

2009 has been a nice year for me. I started it by making a film I'm really proud of, and throughout the year, my work has been very satisfying and quite diverse. Going from shooting the outrageous (and talented) Lady Gaga and Adam Lambert, to the classy (and also talented) Joshua Bell and, of course, Barbra Streisand. Lensing everything from art to coffee. One day out at the Easternmost tip of Long Island shooting a charity bike ride, and then two in Dallas, Texas covering the pilot program of a new wave in social and digital marketing. New clients and opportunities galore this year...

What's in store for 2010? Things look good for a follow-up to the Gevalia spot - this time for their tea lines. Also, I'm attached to shoot an independent feature film in May. Everything else will come as it comes and hopefully next year will continue to build on this year's momentum. Can't wait to see what's next.

Happy New Year, everyone!

07 December, 2009

More Music and More Live shooting

First thing's first - here are two pics from last week's Gevalia shoot. The shoot was awesome but my Blackberry takes crappy pictures. I'll see if I can get a hold of some production stills, but until then-

Setup for a macro shot on the water-level indicator.

The setup for a few passes on a wall of Gevalia boxes.

We shot on the Canon 5D mkII, an HDSLR, in 1080/30p. The day after this shoot, the production was to shoot a "coffee-tasting party" using mostly available light. Since all of their stuff would allow the windows to go blue, I decided that these product shots should carry over some of that look. I gelled the kitchen windows with half CTO (to get the daylight a little closer to our lights), and we shot with a Tungsten white balance. All in all, I'm VERY happy with the images we got. Just got word that the client was too and there will likely be more stuff coming our way from Gevalia.

Thanks to this shoot, I'm starting to really think hard about buying an HDSLR...

As for news, tomorrow night I've got another concert shoot with director, Scott Lochmus. Looking forward to the excitement and incredible pace and energy of shooting live to tape (a sort of oxymoron - meaning, the footage will be switched/edited in real time). I'll be operating alongside Roger Grange again, and what's particularly cool is that it's going to be a VERY different feel from the Streisand gig. The featured act is Lady Gaga, who I hear is quite the performer. Should be fun!

02 December, 2009

Testing, testing...

"Hi, my name is Dave, and I don't own an HD camera." "Welcome, Dave. We're all here to help."

(from a Cinematographers Who Haven't Made the Jump to HD Anonymous meeting)

I've shot HD before and it sure is lovely. I've actually used just about every different HD format currently available - they're all great. But they're not for me. I must admit, I'm wary to make an investment. Things are just shifting so rapidly, that I don't think I can safely make an investment that will pay out over time. If I always had my way regarding shooting format, I could get something, but for most of my for-hire shoots, the production decides. What if they want to use a different camera?!

That said, I think the time may be fast approaching when I should buy an HD camera - so, what to do? There are a plethora of options. If I wanted to spend more than ten grand, the decision is easier, but frankly, that's not what I want.

One of the current trends is HDSLR cameras - small cameras intended for still photography that are also quite capable hidef beauties. So, lately, I've been researching the different cameras out there - particularly the Canon 7D and 5D, and the Panasonic GH1. Number one research method is searching online for sample footage. So, I go on www.vimeo.com and search "7D." Results come up - countless videos titled "7D test." Great. Someone did the work for me. Click, open, load the video... WTF?!

By now, I've seen hundreds of shaky, out of focus, poorly lit, crappily composed, unstable footage set to great music. This tells me nothing. Just like when 35mm lens adapters were coming out, none of the videos online help me at all. What I need is real world film-style testing. Good composition, good lighting, appropriate camera movement - stuff that reflects what I'll be doing with the camera. Among the thousands of 7D videos online, but a few dozen are appropriate for my research, and they're damned hard to find.

So that's it for this post. Sorry it's just a rant, but that's what I felt like today. Tomorrow I'm shooting some product work for Gevalia coffee - I think I'll have a nice amount of freedom to do my thing, so I'm looking forward to it. If I remember, I'll take stills and finally have some shots to share.