Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Brooklyn Tale - DSLR Meet-Up with The DSLR Master Philip Bloom and the Love Of Filmmaking

Last night I left work early, gear bags in hand, and trecked my way out to Brooklyn Bridge Park for a DSLR meet- up hosted by Philip Bloom. I use the term hosted lightly, as Mr. Bloom's first priority was shooting some timelapse footage of the East River. For those who don't know, Philip Bloom is a bit of a rock star for many DSLR cinematographers as he has strove to prove that they are a viable tool for film making.

I wasn't sure what to say to the man when I met him. Being a bit of a celebrity in my mind, I didn't want to being like a teenager at a Back Street Boys concert, so I did what I'm best at... made some jokes and got a chuckle out of him.

Our conversation pretty much ended at that, but what was nice to see is how light hearted he is. Watching him jump from camera to camera checking the timelapses, and seeing the smile when the shots looked good, reminded me of the reason I wanted to be a filmmaker in the first place. It's not about the gear, or the budget of the production, it's about the love of making films.

By some stroke of luck, the weather cleared up for us, only relapsing into a light drizzle for about 10 minutes. I got some really great shots of the sun coming down over the New York skyline, and there will be a video posted up shortly.

I met some really nice people at the event, and was surprised by how many of them came up to speak with me. Many of the conversations revovled around my camera support system which really surprised me. It's nothing special or fancy, but maybe less common among the DSLR users.

The people attending the event seemed to be split into three distinct groups. There were the talkers, the doers, and then some people that floated in between the two. Some of the talkers brought gear, I met a few who brought nothing, and they just kind of floated around chatting about filmmaking, and gear, and the industry. Many people in this group talked alot about buying gear, but not very much about working with it. I got the sense that many of these people picked up a DSLR as a hobby.

The doers had their priorities straight, They came to film, not to talk, and although they paused for a brief conversation, they would go straight back to shooting. Philip was one of the doers, as well as Brian Russell. I had a very interesting conversation with Brian as things were winding down at the end of the night regarding the advantages of using DSLRs in small/location shoots, as well as ways to use youtube and a blog for marketing.

I fit some where in the middle group maybe closer to the doers. Upon arriving at the meet- up, I went straight to setting up my gear. I wanted to go down and shoot by the Brooklyn Bridge for weeks, so I didn't want to waste the opportunity chatting away. Once my gear was set up, I spoke to people as they approached me, shooting video in between the beats of the conversation. I think there's one factory that seperates me from the doers. They make a living as a filmmaker. I still haven't reached that point.

I think working a full time job is slowing down the process of becoming a full time filmmaker. Many of the professional cinematographers I spoke to dove in head first. They had enough money saved to not work a 9-5er, leaving a lot of time to make films, post them on the internet, build an audience, and find paying clients. I work on my projects when I get home from the day job, which makes it very hard to turn projects around quickly. With this schedule, it usually takes me 1-2 weeks to edit footage from a days shoot.

I never thought I'd say this, but I miss working at Metro Bicycles just for how much free time I had. I only worked three days a week which left me lots of time to work on film projects. With that schedule I could turn out two short films a week. Look at Brian Russell's awesome video from the event. He shot the footage, cut it together and had it posted on vimeo last night.

Well until I save the money, I guess I'll continue sleeping less and editing more.

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