My decades of award-winning professional stills photography were an excellent platform from which to begin telling stories in video.
I enjoy pre-visualizing what a video will look like, the impact it will have upon the target audience - how I will light each scene and use subtle camera angles and movement to further express the details and emotions of the story.
Here are some examples of my recent video productions.
Jaclyn Steele in Concert
This 22-minute performance of phenominal talent Jaclyn Steele has five original songs and a bit of the story behind her singing and songwriting. Jaclyn lives and performs in and around Scottsdale, Arizona.
The use of several cameras filming simultaneously gives the viewer a better seat than anyplace in the live audience. Professionally recorded audio (in this case by Michael Capella) brings out the fabulous qualities of Jaclyn's voice.
I had been wanting to do a video - a "story" - about the creative process of song writing. I’d seen Jaclyn Steele perform and talked with her and our friend Michael Capella. They asked me to do a video for her Athens, GA debut.
I came to Michael’s house and set up a few cameras to capture some “B-roll” of one of their twice-a-week song writing sessions. Amazingly, Jaclyn and Michael actually wrote an entire song during that session. I had three hours of video (on multiple cameras) to condense down to just a few minutes. It was a great start.
I planned to video Jaclyn and Michael’s house concert the following week. I did a reconnoiter of the site and found there wasn’t nearly enough light to capture video, so I got permission to clamp two 600 LED panels to the ceiling beams and one tiny hair light above and behind Jaclyn. Those were the only lights in the room that we had on.
During their 80 minute performance, after one of their songs, an audience member asked them how they’d gotten together. She elicited Jaclyn’s story right there in the middle of the performance.
That evening, Jaclyn and Michael premiered the song I'd filmed them writing, so I was able to do a flashback to their writing of that song. I had the "story" I wanted to tell in this video. The rest of the video is their exceptional talent, my editing and Michael Capella’s great audio work.
Producing a green screen introduction for
bluefx.net with Jeff Sengstack
I worked with Emmy-award-winner and Adobe Certified Expert Jeff Sengstack to create green screen footage to be used as an introduction to the After Effects templates and instruction offered by bluefx.net. We decided to work against my green screen so the
background could be replaced with whatever images bluefx.net had in mind. I also provided a scrolling prompter since Jeff had eleven pages of script to cover during this several-hour session. Here's some of bluefx.net footage.
A tutorial series for Brooks Anderson
Brooks Anderson is a well-known landscape and seascape painter near Boston, MA. Jeff Sengstack and I created an instructional video of him demonstrating a series of oil painting methods he has developed over his lifetime as an artist. The DVD series is being offered to those new to oil painting as well as experienced artists hoping to learn his dynamic new techniques.
We filmed Brooks' presentations on four carefully positioned cameras at the same time. In addition to cameras fixed on Brooks from two angles, Jeff and I followed Brooks' movements with our cameras for the best perspectives of each movement. Four cameras were able to bring the viewer more intimately into the scene, capturing subtle nuances which would be missed in boring one-camera, or (more often used) two-camera filming.
Over FORTY-TWO THOUSAND video makers
this video I made
getting more out of a video jib boom.
As they are, jibs are usually limited to raising and lowering the camera with the lens pointed straight out from the boom and swinging the camera around a stationary stand. I’ve invented several ways to get beyond those limitations and I put those methods into this 24-minute video, Enable Your Jib to Do More.
One thing that prompted my invention of the remotely steerable fluid head was that performance by Jaclyn Steele (above). In the conceptual stages of this video, I knew I wouldn’t have much room to move my main camera around behind the packed audience in the small room. I knew I could swing my ten-foot jib seven feet to the left and seven feet to the right above the audience, but I’d need to be able to pan & tilt and focus the camera while standing at the base of the jib. It would be a plus if I could change focal length, too.
It turned out there wasn’t room for the jib stand at the back of the room after all, so I wound up just moving from place to place back there using a long lens while four un-manned, static cameras captured continuous footage. By the time I found out there wasn’t room for the jib, I’d already built the steerable head and adapted the remote focus and zoom motors.
Jan Schultz Creates Hole Notes (19 minutes):
Jan Schultz is a Colorado artist. For years she did metal sculpture and wanted some way of demonstrating her creative process to those who come to her studio tours. It would be dangerous for people to be near her as she cuts, grinds and welds, so she asked me to make a video which followed her as she created one of her sculptures.
The Spark of Creativity - How Susandra Sculpts
My wife, Susandra, above, was Jan's mentor in "found object" metal sculpture and Susandra and Jan shared the same metal shop for years. I made this video in 2011, a year before the one I made for Jan.
Five dimensions: Working in motion pictures is exciting. In addition to the three dimensions that normally come to mind (height, width and depth) with each camera, filming introduces stereo sound and the important dimension of time. This enables us to tell the story with far more richness, depth and detail, immersing our audience in the story.
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