How brave is Robb Wolf? Well, the author of the best-selling book, the Paleo Solution: the Original Human Diet, is brave enough to let me twist his character into that of a lovable serial killer. While developing the script for a marketing video I’m producing for his gym, Norcal Strength & Conditioning, it occurred to me that a mash-up between the Paleo lifestyle and the open to the hit show, Dexter, would be fun. Robb agreed and here’s the result. I shot all of the scenes with a Canon 5D mark II and the versatile Canon EF 100mm/2.8 macro USM lens.Most of the scenes are close to the actual open but I had to make small modifications to make it Paleo-Kosher; like coconut butter instead of regular and running shoes instead of boots. Thanks to Robb for being such a great sport and sharing my warped sense of humor!
Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a good friend of mine, Chuck Lundgren of Iris Software, on the Freeport Regional Water Authority project. As the end of the contract approached he asked me to create a 3D animation of the intake facility and adjoining pipeline segments. Always glad to tackle a 3D challenge, I modeled and rendered the intake facility and the several twists and turns of miles of pipeline that connects the Sacramento river to the Folsom South Canal .
The model of the building was provided to me in a CAD file which needed several days of “fixing” to make everything render correctly. I built everything else from scratch basing much of the layout on a simple Google satellite map. I used Lightwave 9.6 for both the modeling and rendering. Of course, there was the occasional trip to After Effects for integration with some of the 2D mapping elements.
As if Content Aware fill wasn’t enough, Adobe has unveiled a significant upgrade to their lens correction technology. Now included in Lightroom 3 and Camera RAW 6.1 (shipping with the CS5 Suite), is the ability to easily correct lens distortion, chromatic aberration, and vignetting. Now some of these controls have been available in earlier versions, but not in a one-click tool that also provides a great deal of manual overrides and the inclusion of both preset and custom profiles.
For the latest direct from Adobe
I had the opportunity to review the groundbreaking new suite of media tools from Adobe, CS5 Production Premium, for Videomaker Magazine. For the last month I’ve been testing what I really believe is a revolutionary upgrade. For certain key tasks, like editing multiple layers of HD video, I’m seeing between five an ten fold increases in performance. When was the last time THAT happened in a mere dot upgrade? Check out my full review at Videomaker.
For the past several years, I’ve been working under contract providing both photography and videography for one of the country’s largest water infrastructure projects. The Freeport Water Authority is a joint agency that has been coordinating the development and construction of an intake facility and pipeline that will provide both the greater Sacramento area and East Bay Municipal Water District customers with new access to fresh water from the Sacramento River.
Today was the ribbon cutting and grand opening featuring speeches from local, state and national dignitaries. In fact, if anyone was counting I think there were about 14 speakers. Yes, this was a big deal and the media coverage was impressive. I haven’t been in a news gaggle like this since my reporting days in the ’80s.
The Butte Environmental Council wanted to inform residents that the safety claims of common household cleaning products they regularly use are not tested by independent or governmental agencies.
In Smart Mouse, I proposed a very simple and perhaps overused icon, that of the white lab rat. Believe me, working with animals is not for the impatient. Getting that last shot took a ridiculous number of takes!
For Toxic Trails I developed an idea that highlighted the residual “footprint” of how the many chemicals we use can be spread and even consumed.
For Alternative Cleaners, I created a series of look-alike 3D products in a fully animated PSA.
I was honored to help Wendell Summers, the co-pilot for Admiral Byrd during his second antarctic polar expedition, assemble an hour long video documentary of his recollections of that historic adventure. Here is a clip from that story.
A friend of mine, Lou Mars, not only operates SmartWebSales.com, but he also is a professional drummer. In fact right now, he is attacking the world record for marathon drumming right here in Chico, CA. You can follow his progress and cheer Lou on here; http://www.ustream.tv/channel/lou-mars-world-record
Or check out some pics of his continuing attempt:
The drum set on the right (the gray one) will be raffled off at the end of the attempt. Tickets are only one dollar and all proceeds will go to the charity Little Kids Rock, an organization that gives instruments and music lessons to needy children.
California State Parks contacted me to help them develop a promotional video to use in their new visitor center that would give visitors with limited mobility a good sense of the beauty of the falls without making the steep walk to the bottom. The project soon broadened into a general look at the history of the immediate and surrounding areas. I used a small crew to provide lighting and grip work as I was using my 21-foot crane and EFP Steadicam for many of the setups. The video was mass replicated and has become one of their top sellers.
Solar arrays continue to pop up throughout the Northstate. I was commissioned to shoot a series of images for Chico Electric and Mitsubishi Electric today of two new arrays on the Butte College campus. This campus is now the most solarized community college in the state.
As the panels below are mounted on an angled scaffolding that is already about 8-feet off the ground, this shot required the use of my 21-foot camera crane to get an angle that showed off the project.
- Butte College water treatment facility solar array
During the past couple of weeks I had the pleasure to again work in news with ex-colleague and friend, Debbie Cobb from Action News here in Chico. I produced a short three part news series from the footage I’ve acquired during the past 18 months documenting solar installations here in Northern California, the main one, of which was the record-setting rooftop array installed at the Sierra Nevada Brewery by Chico Electric. The first part aired tonight and the following two nights will feature parts two and three.
Solar energy projects have been popping up everywhere. I recently was hired to provide aerial photography for five new solar arrays; one here in Chico on top of the Sierra Nevada Brewery installed by Chico Electric, two in the bay area, one just north of Bakersfield and one near Los Angeles by Perpetual Power. It’s really hard not to love your job when it includes grabbing quality images while banking hard turns a mere 1000-feet above the ground. Usually, I hire small Cessnas like 172’s or 162’s because they can fly nice and slow and two of my favorite pilots are Jimmy Bryant who flies air attack missions for CDF during the fire season and Amy Ellis of Bridgeford Flying Services. However, for the trip near Bakersfield, no regular fixed-wind aircraft were available, so I flew a little after midday in a very cool small ultralight. Now that time of day is when thermals make for a pretty bumpy ride in a regular plane…so I was very, VERY, glad to have fast optically stabilized lenses with me!
Local up and coming drummer, Lou Mars, is getting propular. Lou recently came in first place in the national, Drum Your Way to Hollywood contest. From the notoriety gained from that exposure, Lou was asked to provide a demo tape to see if he would be a good fit for an upcoming Hollywood music video with a 1950’s feel. Instead of simply doing a straight drum demo, Lou and I decided to go one (make that five) steps further and create our own music-video-within-a-demo-video. I brought in my 21-foot camera crane to provide cinematic opening and closing shots, used my broadcast HD video cameras, and used lighting that mimicked that of a Hollywood set. Short story is, Lou’s incredible talent and showmanship got him the gig and the “demo” video was deemed so good, the producers actually cut many shots into the final music video. Check it out!
I’ve been following the solar array installation at the Sierra Nevada Brewery since it began in October of 2007 for inclusion in a documentary on solar energy in the north state. When completed, the rooftop array will be the largest privately owned array on a commercial facility in the country. This morning, solar panels were being installed on one of the few remaining roofs that still are not making power. But the crews from Chico Electric, the contractor installing the record-setting array, get going before sunrise. So that meant it was up at 4:40 this morning to load both photo and video equipment, get down to Chico, and bum a lift up to the tall roof by 6:00am. The smell of hops while watching the sun come up over the Sierra Nevada mountains is an experience I won’t soon forget.
- Solar Sunrise
It’s not everyday that I have a chance to renew a friendship with a past colleague and provide both a head shot and a video for a prolific author. But today, Leonce Gaiter, author of a soon to be published work, Waking From King’s Dream, examining the legacy and impact of Martin Luther King, Jr., walked into my studio. We had the fortune to work together while at the American Lung Association of California. But it had been many years since we had a chance to catch up, and our studio session was a great opportunity for me to hear about his nearly completed manuscript. He is in the process of shopping the work to publishers and needed a powerful head shot and video to accompany the submission. When he gets a deal, I’ll be sure to post a link to the book.
- Leonce Gaiter