Friday, September 25, 2015

Mobile, Alabama: Ryan Reynolds Approved!

When asked what non-LA city was his favorite for shooting, actor Ryan Reynolds replied without hesitation: Mobile, Alabama! My hometown has a great little filmmaking community, which I have used myself on numerous occasions. I also have championed Mobile's friendly attitude towards tourists and warm climate as a great place to shoot, as well as praised the Mobile Film Office for its continued effort.

Reynolds recently wrapped Mississippi Grind, shot in Mobile, New Orleans, and Baton Rouge. It premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

Check out these other available shooting locations in Mobile!

Blacksher Hall on Government Blvd 
Old Courthouse (non-functioning) on Government Bvd

Visitation Monastery (actual religious building, ask Archdiocese of Mobile first!) on Springhill Blvd
Happy Filmmaking!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Using 4K on your iPhone

If you have read this blog before, you know that I am an advocate of "available camera." Namely, it doesn't matter if your camera is a RED, ARRI, Canon, GoPro, or an iPhone, as long as you know filmic technique and language, your film or video project should look professional.

While there are some technology limitations with some cameras, such as the iPhone's native wide-angle lens, a true artist will work with these limitations. There are some amazing films with an iPhone and terrible films with a RED.

So when Apple announced the release of 4K for its new iPhone 6s, the indie film community both rejoiced and displayed skepticism. 4K picture is becoming more inexpensive each day, but the files continue to be massive, compared to HD or DV pictures. More devices can display in 4K, so Apple's timing is appropriate. While it's a good thing that 4K is now accessible to the average consumer, the iPhone's internal storage has not changed, meaning you'll be deleting tons of apps and data just to store 10 minutes of 4K video. I assume Apple's photos app will try to solve this by convincing consumers to upload to the iCloud directly from their phone. Your can potentially do this with Google Photos as well, but as of today, Google's Video storage is limited to 1080HD.

Only time will tell if Apple's storage limitations will limit how useful 4K will be. I cannot wait to see what indie solutions the community comes up with.

Happy Filmmaking.

Monday, August 24, 2015

New State, New Projects

Earlier this month, I relocated from my hometown of Mobile, Alabama, to Omaha, Nebraska. This makes my second cross-country move in five years. As I adjust to the film culture in a new state, it hit me: just a decade ago, a move outside of New York or Los Angeles would have set my career back. Nowadays, we can live anywhere and find work! Where you live is no longer an excuse.

I am ADing on a local Omaha project and enjoying the entire process. I still work on other projects outside of the feature realm. It's a new adventure and I am up to the challenge!

Happy Filmmaking!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Why Make Films Against All Odds?

Have you ever been discouraged as a filmmaker? I have just this week when I walked off a set for the first time in my nearly decade-long career. The following video made me feel better. Even with all the setbacks, you have to ask yourself, "why do I do this?" Here is your answer:

Happy Filmmaking!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Best Advice I Received While in Film School: Set Etiquette 101

I recently wrote the following simple set etiquette guide for a project I'm working on. Many people on this particular project are first-timers. Sets are intimidating places, even for seasoned vets. But I found that the following advice works fairly well for a set, regardless of the size.
  • Arrive on time! Once the production schedule is made, you will be given a calltime. The time you are given is the latest you should arrive on set. If you are running late, you have to alert the AD.
  • Report all issues and concerns to the AD. Safety issues should be reported immediately to the AD.
  • It is considered a major faux pas to direct issues to the director or producer. Ideally, the director will talk to certain people one-on-one. Talk to the AD instead.
  • Do not bring unauthorized people or animals to the set. This is a safety precaution.
  • Do not take photos of the set without permission from the AD or producers.
  • Only smoke and eat in authorized areas.
  • Drink water. Drink water. Drink water.
  • Tell the AD when you are leaving set to go to the bathroom or handle personal business.
  • Film sets are known to be “casual workplaces.” Language and jokes that may be inappropriate in routine office settings may be heard on sets. If you find some language offensive, alert the AD. We want to make set comfortable for everyone.
  • Listen and obey all of the AD’s commands. Commands may include “Quiet, please.”
  • Do not pick up or handle any equipment, unless authorized to do so.
  • Do not touch the camera.
  • Do not use a cell phone while on set. The vibration setting on a phone may disrupt sound equipment. Turn phones on silent or off.
  • Keep up with your trash/water bottle. You will be given a sharpie to write your name on your water.
  • Do not block the “video village.” This is usually a monitor set up for the director, the camera crew, and the script supervisor. If not present on-set, do not block the director’s view.
  • Crew members should dress in dark colors to avoid bounced light.
  • Closed-toed shoes only!
What do you think? Happy Filmmaking.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

My 5 Favorite Field Apps for iPhone

Below are my five favorite apps I like to use when working in the field. I use an iPhone 6, so sorry, Android users. Some of them are on Android, but I’m not sure which ones.

  • DSLR Filmmaker Toolkit is a app that includes a slate with shot log, a viewfinder, and a depth of field calculator. I mainly use it for the slate and shot log, as I can email the file to myself as an Excel sheet. It’s a paid app. 
  • The Magic Hour app alerts me an hour before and during the magic hour. It also gives me the angle of the sun at my exact location and a countdown to sunset. It is free. Can’t beat that.

Magic Hour
  • Dark Sky tells me almost to the minute when rain is coming my way. On the Gulf Coast, this is useful, whether you are shooting or not. You can request a weather report for a particular address and even receive UV and wind reports. I received it for free at Starbucks, but it's a paid app.

Dark Sky

  • Google Maps is a no brainer, but it just gets better and better. The app can now calculate your drive time while on route and can let you know if a faster route is available. You can also get public transit routes and bike paths if you lack a car.
  • Adobe Hue CC is the newest app in my toolbox. It only came out days ago, but I have already fallen in love with it. It allows you to make LUTs on the go with your phone’s camera. If you are an Adobe Creative Cloud user, you can sync your LUT collection to use back in Premiere Pro or After Effects. App is technically free, but is better with the Adobe CC.
Adobe Hue CC

 Happy Filmmaking!