Filmmaking is for Warriors: Introducing Baby Cam #1

10 years this summer. That’s how long I’ve been living the good life and making films. Yep, that’s my first set. Aren’t we adorable?

Whats Life Worth
Sometimes it’s easy to make films. But mostly it’s like climbing a mountain while getting shot at by snipers and Stormtroopers in the freezing rain without the right kind of ropes and helping a 2-year-old climb next to you. Yeah, I’m not gonna comment on whether the 2-year-old is the cast or crew or your own childlike heart.

Maybe it’s all three.

Filmmaking is for Warriors 1

This is baby #1. She’s the best little workhorse of a camera that I’ve ever encountered. With the look of a cinema camera, the ease of use of a DSLR and the perfect in-between size from consumer to pro, the Sony FS100 gives guerrilla filmmakers like me the versatility we need to make a legitimate-looking film without the hassle of dealing with millions of dollars (what am I talking about, that’s not a hassle…).

Sony Handycam NEX-FS100UK Digital Camcorder – 3.5″ LCD – CMOS – Full HD [Camera]

Now, I didn’t originally get this beast from Amazon, but I have bought several of her accessories through the company and they have all arrived in good condition. Also, Amazon is cool because with Prime you can get things shipped cheaply and swiftly.

You should be asking me now what’s up with me calling a camera my baby. Well, you try braving the wind, rain, cold, snow, water, ice, woods, tics, blazing hot sun, grouchy cast and crew, lack of food, lack of water, lack of coffee (why is the coffee always gone?), car trouble, location trouble, cops, lost actors, lost crew, lost mind and forgotten shotlist and see if you keep thinking of the beast-that-never-stops-going as anything less than your own baby.

This thing is the only way you can tell your story. Treat it with respect. And you can show the world things like this. Filmmaking is for warriors ya’ll, we gotta fight to make the best story we can.

Kevin StillMargie Still

And that my peoples, is my Baby Cam #1.

As always, feel free to comment with feedback, comments or projects of your own!

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52 Weeks of Creative: Week 2

I know some of you were expecting this post to be a sword fighting video.  Sorry, that’s not this week.  Though we did film some sword fighting yesterday.

I’m keeping very quiet about it.

This week I quarreled with myself about whether or not to post my creative project.  I’m not a huge fan of putting my face or myself on camera or on the Internet, which is why you see very few pictures of me on this blog.  But as a personal challenge this week’s creative project features, well, me.

Singing.

Please forgive me this moment of narcissism.  I really don’t think of myself as the premier singer, but I’ve always liked it, and I did a lot of musical theater in my teens.  I wrote a song once when I was 19 or so and I write a ton of poetry.  A few months ago I found this song that I loved, but it’s just music.  And it intrigued me.

So I wrote lyrics.

I guess I was pretty frustrated at the time with some people in my life so these lyrics are not exactly…nice.  But it was fun to sing and record them to music I really like.

I’ve never made a legit music video before.  I don’t recommend trying to make one by yourself of yourself.  There’s some logistical issues with that plan and it ensures that a lot of your footage will be out of focus, especially when you use a lens with such a short focal length.  It does mean that no one else will see or hear you pretending to be Lorde or Pentatonix, but then you also have no way of knowing how much you’ve failed in this pretension.

Here’s some of the color correction I did on the footage:

Before:

Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 11.10.47 PM

After:

Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 11.10.51 PM

Before:

Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 11.20.20 PM

After:

Screen Shot 2014-01-11 at 11.20.23 PM

The Sony FS100 is a delightful camera.  And I do love editing on FCP7, even though it is a bit older.  Color correction on it is very effective.

The original song is called Celestial Soda Pop and was written by Ray Lynch.  This man is a genius and of course owns all the rights to the song.  Thank you, Mr. Lynch, for writing something that inspired me to make up lyrics and then be brave enough to share my performance with the whole Internet.


Feel free to jump in and join me in creating something every week this year.  Or offer creative ideas in the comments.  In case you missed out on why this is week 2 or what’s going on, here are the rules I set down from last week’s post:

“My goal is to create and finish something “creative” every week.  That’s 52 things.

1.  Must finish by 11:59pm on Sunday of the week (Yeah, I edited that because 12am didn’t make any sense).

2.  Must accept a CHALLENGING project, not something like “draw one picture of a dude.”

3.  Must post by the following Monday.

4.  May work with others on any project.

5.  May work in area of expertise, as long as the project still offers a degree of complexity.”

Time To Be Thankful

I realize that Thanksgiving is an inherent American holiday.  It was started by a group of travelers who had made it to a new land and then suffered horribly.  Many–most really–of them died the first year or so they were here.  When they had a colony established, including houses, they were blessed with enough food to keep them alive.

And they were thankful.

Okay, a lot of Americans don’t really remember or care about the origin of Thanksgiving.  And this is a bare minimum summary of it, at best.  But in the words of my fellow Co-Producer, “I believe that this is the time I was meant to be born.  All the technology…I feel right here.  I belong now.”

So I’d like to take this moment–3 days after the American holiday of Thanksgiving–to list some things I’m thankful for in the realm of technology, artistry, and filmmaking.

1.  The continuing evolution of the camcorder, from RED cameras to my Sony FS100, to the Blackmagic Cameras to the DSLR in all its forms.  I am so thankful that we found a way to record motion.  Thank you French guys who worked on the first cameras.  Thank you to every filmmaker and inventor since then.

2.  Every tablet on the market.  I love tablets.  Read more about my obsession with tablets here or here.

3.  Youtube, Vimeo and every single outlet with which I am able to share my work with the rest of the world, and see theirs.  I don’t know about you, but I think that this time period is the best for opening up our world–Americans, Canadians, New Zealanders, Indians, British folk, Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Egyptians, Italians, etc–to other cultures, artists, technology, friendships and new thinking.

4.  Texting.  Yup.

5.  Books.  In every form.  And the access I have to hundreds upon thousands of them.  There was a time when money, gender and social status would’ve kept me from reading like I do.  And technology, whether or not you prefer to read digital books, is preserving books beyond what mere paper could do.  When all the physical books are gone, I will be the last person printing an entire book from my computer.

That’s my top five technological thank yous.  I’m thankful for a lot more stuff, including you.  But ain’t nobody got time to read all that.

What Not to Post?

I keep reading this stuff about what to post or not post online.  Made me kinda jumpy.  I feel like little demon elves are peeking over my shoulder while I type, making sure I don’t talk about my emotions or post pictures of food or rave about a significant other or rant about an annoying friend/coworker/random person that somehow deserves to be derided.

Good.  Grief.

Let me get this straight, you don’t want people to post pictures of things they eat because you find it annoying?  Psst.  I got this.  Read closely:

Stop following them.

Nope.  Just stop it.

If I’m ever annoying or decide to blather incessantly about my love life (oh my goodness my Sony FS100 is the most gorgeous thing in the world.  Totally gives me all the footage I need and never complains about the cold or being carried all over and….), feel free to stop reading.  I won’t take it personally.  (I may make a quiet phone call in a dark alley to a man I met in a different dark alley, who may or may not know 8 different ways to scare you so bad without even touching you that you confess every sin you’ve ever committed and few of your neighbor’s sins just in case…)

I’m just a little tired of all these people telling us Social Media users what we should and shouldn’t say.  Especially since they only transmit the message over…Social Media.  Guys, we’re all entitled to our opinions.  And my opinion is that your opinion needs to not mess with my opinion.

And for the demon elves out there…I dare you to unfollow me.  If you’re not yet convinced, here’s a picture of what I ate for lunch:

IMG_2091

(I promise I didn’t eat the iPad.)