Archiving and logging footage

26 01 2010

Archiving and logging footage

Save in 3 places

Hard Drive (internal or external)


Online (if you have a website that offers server space or one of the many online backup sites such as www. or

Save raw and the finished project. The most important and often most boring job is logging footage. It is important to find the best shots for the project…..more often or not you will need to re-re-edit. If for a client one than one edit will happen.

The more info you put down for each shot the easier it is to find them. Easiest way to put down type of shot (cu 2s 3s cowboy mos…etc), length, people in shot and the scene #+ take # if applicable. Some people take a sentence about the scene, the mood, what action is taking place or effects to added if any. ex. cu 1:30 hero (3h 3rd take) Find the one that works for you and make it standard for you and for your crew. The easier the system the better. Use Excel or any spreadsheet or database program to create your EDL (edit decision list).


Pick your gear

20 01 2010

When I started film school the first thing a lot of my classmates bought was the Panasonic HVX200. Really awesome camera by the way.  Slowly after they bought it the joy settled nothing was shot. All the gunpowder in the world but no match.  For people who don’t have 4 grand burning a hole in your pocket, there are easier ways.  First off figure out what kind of stuff you’ll will shoot.

A 3 month backpacking trip through Europe shooting video for your blog or for the folks back home. You don’t  need a Panavision Genesis (a HD digital camera used by Hollywood crews to shoot blockbusters).  You would be better off with a Flip cam or a Mini DV cam around $200 to 300.

If going the Mini DV route check out for xlr adapter for awesome audio. Its cheaper to get a Mini DV camcorder and an adapter compared to a Sony XL (a prosumer camcorder) People can forgive weak shots and not lousy audio. Xlrs are the cables for production level microphones.

3 Day commercial shoot or a music video

Panasonic HVX200/Hpx170 with or without a Red Rock/ Letus Lens adapter

Red One w/ sound recorder equipment

Canon 5D Mark II w/ sound recorder equipment

Feature Film

Panasonic HVX200/Hpx170 with or without a Red Rock/ Letus Lens adapter

Red One w/ sound recorder equipment

Arri 16mm or an Arri 35mm w/ sound recorder equipment

If you find that you really need the RED One getting the gear is easy just google film rental houses. Heads up most rental houses require insurance to cover any likely problems or unlikely. I would much happier to pay 1,500 for insurance rather pay 50,000 for a new RED One.

Final Word take a hard look at project and your funds and shoot from that.

Good luck and see you in the pictures.

Top 10 reasons to run a minimalist production (can be used for tv/web/feature film productions)

25 11 2009

Top 10 reasons to run a minimalist production (can be used for tv/web/feature film productions)

  1. Costs less money

a) less gear less to insure

b) fewer PC programs less to buy easier to use faster training

c) Smaller crew less payroll less insurance moves faster

2. Offers more creative solutions

a) forces the crew to work w/ different ways for dealing w/problems w/o the money to throw at it

3. Forces focus on the story not on effects

4. Work more effectively and efficiently

a) know the desired output of your project have the right programs to convert the audio and video to the end product

b) offers experiment w/ open source programs and/or cloud computing

c) offers more coordination across time zones (outsourcing)

d) allowing people to work to their strengths

5. Some positions could be outsourced

a) location scouts

b) script writer

c) editor/ after effects/ sound editors

d) publicist

6. Allows for flexibility

a) fewer distortion through the team “clearer communication”

b) faster to move “IE. Company move” fewer transportation costs

7. A small team is easier to motivate

a) have a like minded, energetic and focused team

b) get the best DP Script Sup and Sound guy/gal

8. If the project is profitable a bigger take for each member

9. Using speed as a start up tool

10. Faster turn around leads to availability of team members to take on more projects and allows for easier scheduling

How to prepare for TV

21 10 2009

These pointers for anyone going on TV.  I work at a local TV station and watch people with great companies or non-profits to promote.  Some knock it out of the park, while others are a train wreck.  I hope to help anyone who is looking to do their first TV appearance.

Step 1 PRACTICE!!!!!! Nothing is worst than watching someone from bright and cheery with the host before the cameras go on to someone just freezes the second we go on the air.  If possible contact the studio and find out who will be hosting and what questions will be asked. It’s not cheating to do so.

Step 2 Be Prepared. Have a package ready with pictures, props (if necessary) and the points you wish to cover and anything you would like to be shown on a graphic, such as the correct spelling of your name (It happens) to your website, phone number or a brief description of your event.

Step 3 Be Interesting. Think the 4 w’ and 1 h of journalism. Who, What, Why When and How.  As a side note learn the art of the soundbite. Be able to summarize your point in a sentence or two max.

Step 4.  Be Relatable…. you were charming enough to get on TV. Just relax and talk to the host. Don’t worry about looking into the camera, your focus should be talking to the host and answering their questions.

Step 5. Be on TIME!!! If you’re scheduled for a certain time be 10 minutes early.  If you are going to be late CALL!! It’s still possible to be on that days show. If you are the last guest and you’re late don’t count on being on as the director as most likely has filled your spot.  (Take this as the average…always call the studio beforehand to find out their rules.)

Step 6. Be patient. The Control Room is a busy place. A lot happens in there…DO NOT interrupt them unless it is absolutely necessary. Someone will let you know what is going on during a commercial break.  Technical difficulties happen!! DO NOT panic. When on live TV anything happens, just roll with it.

Step 7. Be Presentable. Clean hole less clothes, no swear words  or indecent images. Think of this as a job interview. Even Chelsea Handler asks her losers to dress nice.  Also don’t wear clothes or accessories that make a lot of noise.  Mics pickup everything.

This is just a basic list but you follow these rules you will find that your TV appearance will go a lot easier.