On Color: Its Role in Cinema and Filmmaking

How much do we know about color? Typically it’s what we learned in school: primary and secondary colors, complementary colors, warm and cool tones, etc. But in photography and video, color can do much more than that. We can add an emotional layer to a scene, story, or picture through colors. I’ve always liked the […]

Robert Rodriguez Says I’m Lazy

I’ve been reading the Robert Rodriguez book “Rebel Without a Crew” and I am feeling both excited and depressed. The guy grew up with many siblings (10 if I remember correctly). His father, a salesman, bought a video camera to enhance his business. Robert started shooting his family and everything else within a 12” radius, […]

Anamorphic Comeback. Panasonic is Not Alone.

Last week at NAB in Las Vegas, Panasonic announced a new firmware update (version 2.2) for the GH4. Perhaps to keep things balanced, there’s one major feature for filmmakers, Anamorphic 4:3 Mode for 3328 x 2496 video, and another significant feature for still photographers, which is 1/16,000 sec shutter speed when using Electronic Shutter. But […]

Grip Equipment: Working with Natural Light

An obvious, but somewhat overlooked, difference between using artificial lights vs. harvesting sunlight is that we can’t control the sun. Taking the time to plan the position of our cameras, select the proper lenses, and figure out how to block our talent becomes essential decisions if we are using the sun as our keylight. Timing is […]

Essential Apps: Location Scouting

Location scouting and technology. I love scouting locations. Not only do we get to see interesting places, which are often inaccessible to most people, but we have priceless opportunities to plan our equipment, lighting, crew, and permit needs. I am probably the only person left in the universe who didn’t know about Sun Seeker until a few […]

Lighting Tips for the Run-and-Gun Interview

An increasingly common corporate assignment is the fast-paced, high-pressure, small-crew gig; a two-camera setup where every detail matters. For many reasons we can’t always scout a location before the shoot. And sometimes the conference room or nice looking lobby we saw changes at the very last minute. We have to work fast with the least amount of […]

When Auto ISO is Not a Bad Word

Many current cameras allow for Auto ISO to be used in all shooting modes, including Manual mode. Most pros would immediately think “Why would I EVER use Auto ISO? I always want full control!” And yes, I confess I used to think the same way, but I have found more than a few situations where […]

Basic Camera Techniques for Photo-to-Video Shooters

Film, like many other visual arts, is a two-dimensional medium that attempts to trick the viewer into perceiving a three-dimensional space. Decisions like where to put the camera, which lenses to use, and even the aperture used to increase or decrease the depth of field will all have a significant effect on how the viewers perceive a character’s behavior. […]

The Five C’s of Cinematography

There are many great books on filmmaking. From those interviewing legendary directors about their craft to the ones sharing DIY tips and tricks all the way to the books covering complex technical aspects like grading or movement. I’ll write about my favorite books in a later post, but today I’d like to mention one particular […]