Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Films for Clients

    I'm just now putting the finishing touches on a film that I'm doing for an organization called Mainstreet de Las Vegas, a cultural and historic preservation society in Las Vegas, NM. It's my first film for a client, and the experience has been interesting. Mediating between what your client envisions and what is practical to fit into a video of a certain length can be a challenge, but client input is by no means a hindrance. For this type of work, when your client comes to you with their idea,and  it amounts to a good portion of your job already being done. You don't have to pull a concept out of thin air. Your job is to just help your client realize what will work realistically and stylistically. For the most part, you have to take yourself out of the equation. There is no room for your "vision," artistic integrity, or ego in this type of work. It's about what the client wants. I'll post a link to the film when it is finished. 


Sunday, July 14, 2013

No Use Crying Over Lost Data

My external hard drive crashed, so unfortunately I can't continue to make corrections to my previous films. It's also unfortunate that I can't do data recovery due to the fact that no one else on campus has a 2TB hard drive to recover the data on - not even the IT department. So, in lieu of cutting myself, I'm just holding out hope that I can recover the data when I'm able to save up for a new hard drive. It was a desktop external by Seagate, and it did tip over once, but it kept working for three weeks after that. I'm not sure what the problem is since, like I said before, IT didn't have a large enough drive to recover the data on.

If anyone has a good lead on an inexpensive 2TB drive, preferably portable, please feel free to write to me and let me know. 


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

On Set with Longmire

    Last Friday I worked as an extra for the television series Longmire. I was clad in a cowboy hat and a jean jacket, and I was on set from 6:30 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Even though it was a long night, I loved it. I got to be on a real set and I got to see how things are done. The show was filmed with three Red Epics, and I studied what the director and cinematographer were doing as much as I could. It was interesting to see that the techniques are pretty similar to indie film making, but they have a lot more money to throw around in regards to cast, crew and equipment. Also, there is a vast difference in amount of takes from what I usually do. I do multiple takes from different angles due to the fact that I have one camera. They have three cameras and can shoot each take from multiple angles all at once, yet they film at least twice as many takes as I do. The whole experience was fascinating, and I'm really looking forward to doing it again.


Friday, April 5, 2013

Kuleshov Effect

  For this project we had to utilize clam shell or glamour lighting, and we had to try to create the Kuleshov effect. This is an effect were the subject of the film keeps a neutral expression, and the viewer infers emotion through whatever the subject seems to be looking at. I tried to do something a little different with mine. For a more detailed description of the Kuleshov effect click the link below:

       Kuleshov Effect - explaination

    For the original Kuleshov film, click here:

       Kuleshov effect example


Clamshell Lighting

    For this lighting scenario (if you can understand the diagram) we had to light our subject from above at about a 45 degree angle, and then use a  lower light or reflector to remove the shadows underneath. The lower light or reflector should be about 50% of the intensity of the above KEY light. For this project, we had to use an additional hair or back light on our subject.


Tascam DR-40 vs. Zoom H4n

    The first project where I attempted to record external audio was for the Rayo del Alma project. I borrowed a Zoom H4n, which I set on an additional tripod off camera. The H4n is a great product and I highly recommend it. I was amazed by the quality of the audio that it recorded, especially through the expensive Sennheiser headphones that I was using at the time.
     Since I would be recording primarily with a DSLR, I realized that I was going to have to eventually purchase one of these digital recorders. I did some research and I decided that the most reasonably priced competitor for the zoom H4n was the Tascam DR-40. Both have similar features and recording patterns, especially since the firmware update for the DR-40, but the Tascam is anywhere from $50-$100 less, depending on where you purchase your gear. I purchased the DR-40 and it didn't disappoint.
    I'll start with the aspects of the DR-40 that I like better than the H4n. First, the X and Y patterns of the DR-40 have a more distinguishable sound pattern. When in the X  pattern the Tascam picks up noticeably less noise from the sides than in the Y pattern. The Zoom's mics stay in an X position and rotate from a focused 90 degree coverage pattern to a wider 120 degree coverage pattern; however, I still picked up a lot of side noise with the zoom in the 90 degree coverage position. Second, I felt the Zoom picked up a lot of unnecessary high frequency which I had to remove in post. I'm sure this is a good recording feature in some situations, and that it's also purely preferential, but I prefer the range of the DR-40.
    Both devices are geared towards musicians and I've been told that the Zoom has more internal mixing and recording features, but since I always adjust the audio in programs like Adobe Audition, this point made little difference to me. As I said before, the Zoom H4n is a great product, and I'm sure that many people prefer it, but I love my Tascam. The only way to truly know which is right for you, is to try them out for yourself. Good Luck!

  DR-40                   H4n 

 Picture by dslrfilmnoob.com

UPDATE 05-07-2016!!!
Warning!!! There is a flaw with the Tascam DR-40 that I had the misfortune of experiencing. After a while, the power button just stops working. Mine faltered right after my year warranty expired. After checking online, quite a few people have also experienced this. I still stand by what I said about the DR-40 and it's performance, but buyer beware.