Free - A Mosaic Film Performance

This is a project I shot a few years back that I thought I had lost the final video. I was going through some old hard drives the other day, however, and came across it, so I thought I'd share.

I love shooting in black and white. I also love shooting in odd aspect ratios, so this is one of those times the two coincided. We shot the project on a RED Epic MX, which is a color sensor. To get a better idea of how it would play in black and white, I merely turned the saturation all the way down to give us a black and white image while the color information was retained in the R3D file. We shot in widescreen, but created custom frame lines to give us a 3:1 guide for our final aspect ratio. The whole thing was shot gorilla style, with only a bounce board to help shape light. Shooting black and white also helps with that, as you can shoot a bit harsher light than you would in color and it will look good as long as you get the image properly exposed.

Story-wise, this was to be exhibited as part of a live performance, with the protagonists leaping off the screen at the end of the film and onto the stage to perform a dance routine (with the faceless people as background dancers). It was pretty cool to see this exhibited as a hybrid film/live performance piece.


End of 2018 recap

I closed out the last couple of months of 2018 with a few shoots. The first of these is Correspondence, a 5-part anti-suicide project. It was nice to work with actor Chris Candy (Mystic Cosmic Patrol) again and we were fortunate to have Sheryl Lee (Twin Peaks) involved as well. We shot this one on a Canon 60D with various Canon lenses (24-70mm F2.8 did most of the work). It was a tiny crew, with me DPing, lighting and gripping. But we got it done and even ended our day on time.

I've also been involved with a group of filmmakers doing a collaborative series of related short films, for which I shot one of the first batch of episodes. Our episode is called A Mother's Love and was directed by Marilyn Ghigliotti (Clerks), a longtime friend of mine. This was shot in two locations on the Alexa Classic and Cooke S4 lenses. We had a small lighting package and I opted to use as much available light as possible, utilizing sunlight through the windows and shaping the light with flags instead. I think this style of lighting fit the piece really well and let me shoot a little more into the shadows than I usually get to.

Finally, to end the year, I went to Guatamala to shoot a documentary project in VR for Free Wheelchair Mission, a program that helps people in developing nations that can't walk and don't have access to wheelchairs. We brought along two Z Cam S1 VR cameras. While my Spanish is pretty terrible, it came in pretty handy while down there. We had a translator with us during the day, but when we'd go out to eat, I was the only one that sort of spoke Spanish, which turned out to be good enough to get by. We spent a couple days working in a more touristy town before driving a few hours out into the interior, far from the tourist traps for a couple more days of shooting. I always enjoy getting to see the "authentic" side of other countries, traveling far from the normal places that you'll find tourists and getting to experience a place that isn't all dressed up for the sake of foreigners.


The Sword and the Pen available to watch

After a successful run at the Temecula Valley Museum, I've made The Sword and the Pen available to watch online. I'm hoping to do more directing in 2019.


The Sword and the Pen completed

After editing the almost 6 hours of footage down to 13 minutes, I delivered the completed documentary last month. It is now playing for "The Art of Stan Sakai" exhibit at the Temecula Valley Museum, which runs through October 22nd. It was a real pleasure directing this documentary and I'm pleased with how it came out.


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.


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.