O.K., it may not be as glamorous as shooting professional models or as fast paced as breaking news events but photographing real estate can be very rewarding. I used to have to lug my studio lights to make each interior look its best but by using the latest High Dynamic Range shooting methods, I don’t even have to bring a flash. Of course, even with plenty of automation, I’m still spending more time behind the computer than during the shoot but the results are incredible. I recently shot a beautiful home in the foothills with an indoor swimming pool and adjacent game room. The challenge, like in so many situations is to compress the wide range of exposure and color values into one natural image. The game room, despite the roof lighting, was quite dark and the pool room and outside very bright. The first shot is the base image that correctly exposes for the highlights and the one below is the final that is a composite of about 7 images blended together.
Remember Elvis in Blue Hawaii and all of those early, and none too convincing, chroma key driving shots? Well here Chico VW gives a subtle homage to the King’s movie career during their Hawaiian vacation give away promotion. Of course it really helps when we live so close to (the other) Paradise.
Trying to schedule a day between recent rain storms was a little tricky when trying to image a sunset time lapse for Chico Volkswagen. But we got lucky and had good weather for the couple of hours needed to get the closing shot. We also did a little more 3D graphics than we normally get to do so this was a particularly fun production.
This is the first commercial production I’ve had a chance to create using our new Blackmagic Cinema Camera. Since the images were placed in frames with flaring and reflection effects, the full color and resolution cannot be appreciated here. But I can tell you the original footage, after grading in Resolve, looked incredible. All scenes were shot using two lenses, a 17-40mm f4/L (for which I used a variable ND to control exposure) and a 70-200mm f2.8/L. Some scenes required slipping a graduated ND in the matte box as well to keep some color in the sky.
Videomaker Magazine asked me to review the game-changing new production camera that is capable of capturing 13 stops of dynamic range, 12-bit color and all in raw format. I am lucky to have been the Editor in Chief of the magazine so I often will get first crack at reviewing what I think are the most exciting new products. And this is certainly one of them. In fact, if the camera does what Blackmagic claims it can do, I’ll be getting on the long waiting list like so many others (No, I don’t get to take cuts just for doing the review). Check it out at Videomaker.
I have always admired the work of fine craftsmen. I have also lusted after great sounding guitars. So it was natural that I eventually sought out accomplished guitar builders. I met Brian Burns a few years ago when I thought I could become a guitar builder myself. I have since come to appreciate even more the experience, patience and attention to detail that a great builder must possess to hand-craft a great sounding guitar.
Rudy Giscombe recently died of prostate cancer but his legacy lives on in his many friends. Here is a sample of how he touched the lives of those who knew him well.
I have recently completed production on an 11-minute mini-documentary following the development and construction of phase 3 of Butte College’s solar project. This record setting project makes Butte College the first in the world to become “grid positive.” It was an exciting 2- year process being there from the start all the way through to the ribbon cutting and final commissioning of the arrays. Being a one-man-band, I enjoyed every step of the process from shooting to writing scripts to narrating and final editing.
Local visionaries decided to give the big stock agencies a run for their money. After years of planning, Student Stock has taken flight and is well on the way to becoming the next major resource for innovative images. This was a very graphics intensive production and much of the work went into the concept development and communication with the client so that the end product was precisely what they wanted.
Local entrepreneurs developed a unique way to guide PC owners in the repair and maintenance of their own computers. This promotion shows how it works.
After 22 years and a few hair cuts, I may be returning to KHSL-TV (and now KNVN) to anchor the weather portion of the newscast on a fill-in basis when Kris, Robb or Cort can’t rearrange their schedules to cover for vacations and illnesses. Yep, 4th string weather guy…so no, I’m not leaving my day/night/weekend job of actually producing videos for my clients. It will only be an occasional gig that is fun and keeps me very sensitive to what I ask many of my clients to go through when they face the pointy end of my cameras.
While I’m not a meteorologist, I did take meteorology courses in college and became intimately committed to weather forecasting in northern California as an active glider pilot. I’ve been training with chief meteorologist, Kris Kuyper, to learn the the station’s new computer graphics system for the last couple of weeks and meeting the staff and crew, several of whom I had to supress the urge to blurt out that hackneyed quip, “you weren’t even born the last time I…”
Unfortunately, today, one of the young crew members declared that fact before I could deflect the obvious. To underscore that aged feeling even more, here are a few clips I found in a dusty old box along with a can of pretty toxic looking hair spray.
A friend of ours, Dennis Gulla, is an experienced dog and exotic animal trainer. He recently moved out to California, in part, to assist with the relocation of the Barry Kirshner Wildlife Foundation facilities. The owner and operator is his wife’s aunt, Roberta Kirshner, who graciously allowed Dennis and his daughter to give my wife and I a private tour of the new facility today prior to its opening to the public. Many of the exotic animals cared for at the Foundation are former (and current) “actors” such as Nyla, a Sumatran Tigress who was the commercial Exxon tiger. Other big cats have recently appeared on the Jay Leno Show and soon on Konan O’Brien. These are wonderful animals that are well-loved and cared for.
Of course I couldn’t resist taking at least a still camera with me.
I recently wrapped production of NorCal Strength & Conditioning’s latest marketing video. Everyone, from the owners Robb Wolf and Nicki Violetti, to the coaches and clients were incredibly dedicated to making this video as powerful as it is. Watching it will give you little sense of how much coordination and energy it took to schedule interviews and time away from the gym with busy professionals. But as Nicki, and particularly coach Natalie Taylor can attest, it was a real challenge.
We did the interviews during actual training time, so you’ll hear plenty of clanking and grunting of workout activity in the background. But more importantly, I think the casual atmosphere allowed each interviewee to reveal their genuine feelings about their NorCal experience without the worry of trying to sound like an actor. Most of the interviewees either spoke just before or, in some cases, right in the middle of their workouts. So yes, this is quite real.
To get some of the open and close video, we scheduled a Saturday morning when most of the people I interviewed could make it for a “camera” workout. Well, I think most will admit that it turned into a gruelingly real one. I later heard that my asking for just “one more time,” over and over resulted in me getting an honorary coach title (I imagine it was actually something far less flattering).
Thanks to everyone for contributing their time, expertise and unique voices to this project.
I edited two versions, an 8.5 and a 4.5 minute version. The short version here will give you a taste.
Just a few months after Robb Wolf debuted his best-selling book, The Paleo Solution, local strength and conditioning coach and cook, Sarah Fragoso, is poised to release her new book, Everyday Paleo. We just finished putting together a very simple but effective video of her for use on Amazon, Borders and Barnes & Noble websites. We shot in my studio starting in the late morning and then went straight to editing. A little chromakey work, finding just the right background and a few emails back and forth and we had a finished product ready in less than 48 hours.
The book should be out in April and I’ve seen an advanced copy, and can see that there are really three books here; a background of the science behind Paleo nutrition, a Paleo cookbook with more than 100 recipes and a great introduction to workout programs for everyone from the beginner to the advanced athlete.
While shooting a series of TV commercials for Ginno’s Appliances, the executive producer, Scott Whiting, grabbed this shot of the clients and me reviewing a take. There’s three of us standing there, but look closely at how many “faces” you actually see.
No, this didn’t touch Photoshop.
Some shoots are just stranger than others.