Breaking the Rules of Cinematic Composition

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” – Albert Einstein Filmmaking and photography have a lot of rules. Once we learn these rules, we then have the ability to choose to apply or break them. Let’s discuss three traditional cinematic composition “rules” and how to […]

New Lessons I’ve Learned About Video Production

A while back I wrote about some of the “Lessons I’ve Learned On Set.” Today I’d like to share a few more I’ve learned recently, not only while shooting, but from reading several different books, discussing this topic with colleagues, and receiving feedback from the first article. • If you learn how to shoot like […]

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, […]

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 […]

My Absolute Worst Experiences On Set (And What They Taught Me)

I’ve worked on a few sets over the years and, as it tends to happen, you get some wonderfully inspiring as well as absolutely horrible, makes-you-rethink-your-career-choice type of experiences when you’re first starting out in the biz. Not that you’re immune to them as you gain experience and begin to work with more seasoned directors but, for […]

Lessons I’ve Learned On Set

I’ve been thinking about some small (but very valuable) lessons I’ve learned while working on set. The following list is in no particular order, however, I will say that the very first item of business in any shoot should be deciding where the camera goes. After that decision has been made, everything else falls into […]

Additional Thoughts On Camera Movement

Unlike still photography, filmmaking is a medium defined by motion. Motion is the action within the frame but also of the frame itself. Even a series of well-lit and nicely composed shots can be perceived as a slide show, as opposed to a story in motion, if they remain stagnant. Nowadays we are hard-pressed to […]

Why Camera Movement is (Often) Important

Production Value What’s the point of shooting video if the frame never moves? A sequence of locked off shots is really not all that different from a slide show and does not take advantage of one of the most powerful cinematic tools: Motion. Infusing your work with camera movement can often seem like a daunting […]