Monday, September 20, 2010

Filming Tempt'd at Fashion's Night Out 2010

Here is the video I filmed and edited for, a New York based fashion blog. This was shot using a Canon T2i, a Sigma 18-50mm f2.8-5.6 lens, a Z-96 LED light and a Rode Videomic. Post Production was done in Final Cut Pro. The titles and lower thirds graphics will vary between my version of the video (above) and the one that appears on as the graphics were changed to match the esthetics of their previous videos.
To celebrate their 1 year birthday,'s Founder and Editor-In-Chief, Roselyn made her way through Fashion's Night Out in New York. During the night, Roselyn updated her Twitter and Facebook with clues to her location. Readers who followed the clues and found her, were rewarded with an array of prizes.
The night was perfect for filming, and the locations were less then dull, buzzing with fashionistas, ranging from laughable fashion duds, to the world renowned fashion gods. As the cinematographer, it was difficult to get steady shots due to excited patrons scrambling for swag and free cocktails, but on the upside, there wasn't a boring place to point the camera the whole night.
As a life long student, I look to learn from every project I work on, and Fashion's Night Out is no exception. Here are some thoughts on the evening's shoot.

1.) The HDV- Z96 LED Camera Light is an indispensable piece of equipment. A huge thanks to Emm at Cheesycam for discovering this powerful production tool. Without this light, it would have been nearly impossible to capture noise-free footage given the lighting conditions in the various locations we filmed in. Furthermore, using a camera light instantly bumps up production value. If used properly, it gives a polished, pro look to footage that otherwise would look like it was shot on a camera phone. Being able to dim the light allows you to use it both indoors and out, and I even used it in place of a flash.
2.) The Rode Videomic captured audio in noisy environments extremely well. In fact, the mic is so sensitive I had to knock down the sensitivity by 10db to keep it from clipping the audio. From about 7 feet away, on a busy NYC street, I figured the camera's AGC would keep the audio from over modulating. NOPE! This mic is a blessing for DSLR filmmakers, and the high pass filter works very nicely.
3.) Less is more. With the venues being jammed with patrons, it's difficult enough to walk around without a gear bag, so you can imagine what it's like carrying the bag, and trying to operate the camera. I brought my full gear bag as I wasn't sure what the night would call for. However, I only used the 18-50mm lens, the mic, and the video light. Although I would have liked to use other lenses, the locations were too crowded, and the shoot to fast-pace to swap out glass. That being said, the Sigma lens performed very well, and I'm considering getting their 18-200mm lens for future events. The larger focal range would come in handy.
4.) Producers make life easier. When on a shoot, the talent and the cinematographer (me) are usually too focused on other things to make decisions about what needs to be shot to effectively tell the story. That's where a producer comes in. They help keep the production moving forward, and in many situations make sure enough of the right stuff is filmed to tell the desired story. We did just fine without a producer, but having one, would have made the night easier for Roselyn and I, as we wouldn't have had to keep "changing hats" throughout the night.
5.) Shuttering down the lens would have been a good idea. Although I love the look of Bokeh and a shallow depth of field, it is very difficult to keep focus while moving through a crowd at faster f-stops. It's hard to stop down the lens due to on sight lighting, but the Z-96 light provides ample light in most situations.
6.) I love my camera. The Canon T2i continues to serve me well. It performs wonderfully in low light, and makes some beautiful pieces of film. Sure, I'd like a 5D mark II, but I wouldn't trade the T2i for anything. It's small, light weight, and for the price, you can't find anything better at the moment.

After only a year, Tempt'd has a loyal fan base , but is hoping the incorporation of video with their written posts will invite in even more of an audience. We've yet to schedule our next shoot, but you can expect to see more videos like this in the future.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fashion Week and Up Coming Events

The past few weeks have been quite busy for me. I've been helping Andrew Bellware on the set of his new film Earthkiller by filling in as a Gaffer, running production audio, playing a zombie, constructing sets and just about anything else that needed to be done during the course of a day's shoot. It's been a lot of fun.

I offered to replace the photographer my Father's company usually uses to photograph art work for appraisals, but it's been such a legistical nightmare, I haven't had a chance to shoot yet. I think we've finally hammered down a schedule, and I should start shooting later this week. I'm looking forward to shooting some stills with the T2i. I shot some pictures of the sunset last week, and they came out great, so I have little doubt in the camera's ability to shoot great pictures.

It looks like I've landed a paid gig filming an event during fashion week. I found a highschool friend on Facebook, and it turns out she has built a rather successful fashion blog, and was interested in including some videos to compliment the print media in her posts. The details are vague at this point, but more information will follow shortly. It looks like the first shoot will be this Friday.