7.25.2018

The Sword and the Pen documentary

It's been an extremely busy year and I just had the pleasure of directing a short documentary on famed comic book artist Stan Sakai. I've known Stan for several years now and have wanted to do a piece on him for some time. After watching tons of comic book creator interviews and documentaries, I was left underwhelmed by the lack of visual storytelling. It seemed that everything I watched used the same old, boring style of interview shooting that we're all too familiar with, so my pitch to Stan was to do something a little more visually compelling and cinematic.

We shot on the Alexa Classic using my Sony CineAlta prime lenses. To help give it that slightly softer, vintage look, we ran a Hollywood Black Magic 1/4 in front of the lens at all times. We used a combination of tripod and handheld shots to help give a visual energy. While the stills are from a very quick color look I built, it demonstrates the slightly warm and desaturated look I'm going for, with the desaturation being a subtle nod to the black and white nature of the comic book series, Usagi Yojimbo, that Sakai is known for.










10.11.2017

Lyric video and This Is Living With Cancer documentary

I recently worked on a simple music lyric video that we shot in a couple hours. The concept was pretty simple and we only had a couple lights, so I used my Kino Select 30 to light the white cyc and a 1x1 bi-color LED for lighting the talent. The stage's blue LED lights in the ceiling added some accent light. This was shot in 4K ProRes 422 HQ on the RED Epic-W with Sigma Art zooms.


This past summer, I also worked on a documentary/ad campaign for Pfizer and their new app. The project is called This Is Living With Cancer. While I was not the primary DP on the project, I did shoot second unit/additional photography unit work for a couple of the spots. Below is one that I helped shoot, with my footage constituting about half of the spot. This was on an Alexa Mini with Master Anamorphics in 2.8K Anamorphic, ProRes 4444.


8.31.2017

Mystic Cosmic Patrol on Funny or Die

Mystic Cosmic Patrol has arrived! It actually debuted last week, but I wanted to wait for the second part to drop today. Because of short attention spans, the episodes are being released in two parts, whereas I think they work better as a complete, whole episode. So now you can get the whole episode experience by watching part 1 and part 2 back to back.






And the good press and interviews keep coming in:
TrunkSpace (Tim Jo)
TrunkSpace (Chris Candy)
TrunkSpace (Minae Noji)
TrunkSpace (Chris Masterson)
TrunkSpace (Cig Neutron)
TrunkSpace (Laura Monaco)
TrunkSpace (Tim Russ)
Japanator
ComicBook.com

And an interview with KTLA 5:

8.22.2017

Mystic Cosmic Patrol is coming!

After a long wait, Mystic Cosmic Patrol is finally going to see the light of day! It will be airing soon on Funny or Die, with four episodes coming out weekly over the course of a month. It's been a long road, but I'm eager for people to finally watch it.

For now, we have a trailer that gives a preview of the low-fi comedy that we were going for.



Not only is the trailer out, but we've been getting some good press from:

Forces of Geek
Fanbase Press
TrunkSpace (Gavin Hignight)
Daily Dead
and BigShinyRobot

And the show isn't even out yet!

I'm super excited for people to see this. I had a great time shooting it and we had a incredible scripts, a great producing and creative team, and the cast and crew were fantastic. Hopefully there is much more to come!

MCP on Facebook



5.21.2017

Time is flying by!

Whew, been a busy year so far and I've had fun shooting a bunch of things. First and foremost is that we wrapped principal photography on the documentary about human trafficking that I started last year. I returned to Florida to finish the shoot and I think we got some compelling stuff. There may be a pickup day or two coming up, but I'm proud to have finished my first feature length documentary. It was an interesting change from the narrative features I normally shoot and I learned some great stuff along the way.

As with last time on this documentary, we shot Epic-W at a 2:1 aspect ratio on Sigma Art zoom lenses. The sit-down interviews (not pictured here) utilized a Kino Select 30 and a couple 1x1 bi-color LED panels. We had a lot more walk and talk this time around, so I had an Easy Rig Vario 5 to help with the camera weight.

Smile!

It may look peaceful, but there's danger lurking in the depths.

Interview on the beach

Some tilt shift fun with my Lensbaby Composer 50mm.
Recently, I shot another music video with long-time collaborator Emii. This was a no-budget lyric video, so we mostly used what we had available. Shot on the Epic-W and Sigma Art zooms, and lit primarily with some China balls wrapped in bleached muslin and on dimmers. I had just watched Dennis Villenueve's Enemy the night before and they really embrace the super warm yellow lighting at times, so I thought I'd give that look a try as well.

This wood wall treatment adds great texture and mixes well with the warmer color palette I was going for.

Gotta love out of focus backgrounds. For this room, I went with a little more neutrally balanced whites.

Tried to channel a little bit of my inner Wes Anderson for this shot.
I have a couple other projects I'd like to share, but I'm waiting to get some footage and approval to share, so those will have to wait until another time.

1.27.2017

Hotels, hotels, hotels

Been a busy month doing hotel corporate work. I just got back from a week in Las Vegas where we shot some corporate events using Canon DSLRs and a Sony FS7. I stayed on the Canon 5D MkIII with a Canon 70-200. Being a live corporate event, we didn't have the opportunity to light and we had same day turnarounds on the videos, but it turned out pretty well all things considered. Below is one example of what we produced (we made 4 spots total).

 

Besides that, a few other hotel spots came out. The video from the Four Seasons Health and Wellness shoot last fall came out. We shot this on the Alexa Mini with Sony CineAlta PL lenses. The color grade is a little flatter than I would have done, but overall I like it.


Last month we also shot some interviews at a hotel, but while there took the opportunity to shoot a little promo video as well. While the interviews were lit, all the hotel promo stuff was shot in a working hotel and we couldn't light it. Still turned out decent, I must say.



When I wasn't working on hotel stuff, I was busy with pre-production on a nature documentary that I've had in the back of my mind for a couple years now. I met with some experts on the subject and have been researching more about this particular animal. Right now, I'm not 100% certain how I'm going to approach funding and producing this project, but will be looking at grant opportunities and making sure I've done all my homework.

In parallel, I've also been working on the outline for a feature length screenplay that, like the above documentary, I've been thinking about for years. I figure that if the idea has stuck with me this long, then I better do something about it. The outline is progressing nicely and this will be the year I finally get the thing written.

Back in the camera world, I also went out with a couple new RED owners (Scarlet-W and Epic-W) and did a little training with them, helping them to learn how to better use their cameras as well as some tips and tricks for setting up and getting the most out of their RED cameras. We had a great sunset that made for some fantastic cityscape shots.

Local rental house EVS had the new Canon C700 in for a few days to play around with. While I couldn't take it out and shoot with it, I did spend a good amount of time playing with the settings and getting used to the menus and buttons. As far as usability, I think the controls were well thought out, with logically arranged settings and quick access to the things I use most. I really like the design of the camera, so hopefully their sensor and processing pipeline lives up to the high marks I give the ergonomics and user interface.