Thursday, December 29, 2011

A darn good year...

It was an amazing year to work in the motion picture industry in South Florida.

We had 4 television shows, a 30 million dollar feature, a low budget feature and a bunch of commercials and music videos all shooting at once. I've been working here in Florida since 1993 and my father since the late 60's. It has to my knowledge never been busier in town.

I had the great fortune to work on all 4 television shows at various times as the 2nd unit DP, shoot a ton of great commercials and music videos and do 'A' camera/steadicam on 'Step Up 4' which was shot in 3D. I basically worked all year.

And that would have been WAY more than enough to call it a 'good year'.

However, I got to work on a project for the last month of the year that really put 2011 over the top. Unfortunately, I can not say the name of the job, where it shot, post any pictures of any of the locations or really say anything about it. I think I can get away with saying I was a VERY long way from home. I also think I can say that I got to see and do in one month things that most people would never get to see and do in ten life times. I put in over 80,000 kilometers of travel in 33 days and yes, I got the frequent flyer miles.

I think (I'll have to double check) I can post pictures after the show airs (I have over 5000 of them). The picture above is me during some of the very little down time we had at an unnamed water park in an unnamed country. The job and pretty much everything about 2011 was amazing!

2012 already looks like it's going to be gang busters with a pilot and a feature solidly in the works. I can't wait to start posting about 2012!!!

Have a great holiday season!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

One Republic

Step Up 4 is over and it's back to my day job. I leave for Australia to shoot a season of a television show next week but before I run around the world for a month, I thought I slip in a few commercials and music videos.

Doing a nice little 2 day job at Disney doing steadicam on a music video called 'Good Life' for the group One Republic. I figured since I was going there any way I'd make a family trip out of it. It works out great because we are only doing 8 hour days (actually today was only 7 hours) so I'll get to spend some time with the Jill, Mikey and Ayla at the parks each day. We are also going to stay an extra day and make the most of the super sweet hotel and pool and some time away from home with the family.

Looking forward to introducing Mikey to my new friend Donald.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

What I did on my weekend...

Step Up 4 is going great. I'm learning a ton about 3D and making a pretty kick ass dance movie. I'm also getting into some of the best shape of my life. The working out at the gym every day and then carrying around my 100lb rig every day is really showing. I'm planning on giving a full review of the show and the 3D rig when we wrap (October 21st).

We had our first 4 day weekend this first weekend of October. Instead of taking it easy, I decided to shoot some second unit for Magic City. Artie, Gabe and I went to Nassau and took a shark boat to shoot some night shark feeding for a scene in one of the first episodes. We got some great surface footage with an Alexa in day, dusk and full night. We also decided to stick a GoPro on the end of a boat hook and put it in the middle of a shark feeding frenzy. Really amazing how durable a GoPro is and how good the image quality is when you consider the sensor is about the size of a pea.

If you are going to work on your days off, this is the way to go.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

SU4 in 3D + Segway = Woot!

Started 'Step Up 4' in 3D last month. It's my first 3D job and my first time riding a Segway.

So far the job is going great. I have a kick ass Florida camera crew mixed with a top of the line 3D crew from all over..... Total of 13 in the camera department!

3D does slow you down and it does change the way you frame but done correctly and for the right reasons it really adds a lot to the picture.

We have two 50" 3D monitors on set so it's possible to watch our work in 3D on a pretty decent sized screen.

Getting ready to start week 3 on Tuesday and looking forward to some of the 'big dance numbers' coming up.

More pictures to follow...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Necessary Roughness

We actually shot this a few months ago but I just got the pictures today. Me, Artie, Greg and Keith went up to Atlanta Speedway and shot a NASCAR sequence for the show 'Necessary Roughness'. It was two travel days, one prep day and one long hot shoot day. Most of the work was on the HyperCam but we did some work with the Super Techno Crane, some long lens work and a bunch of GoPro's and 5 and 7D's all around the track.

We also came up with a new way to balance the weight on the bike when we are doing high speed work and shooting off the back. Instead of having Artie drive, the assistant (in this case Greg) ride in back and me hang off the way back, we moved greg to the seat I normally use when shooting off the front and just strapped him on backwards. This made a big difference in the weight distribution on the rig and made for faster speeds and more precision turning.

Our episode aired two weeks ago and our sequence opened the show. Good footage and a good time had by all.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Charlies Angles

They just released the trailer for the new Charlies Angles TV series. Artie and I shot all the second unit which included a cool car sequence, some under water work and a really kick ass helicopter vs house boat gun fight. I'm super happy with how every thing looks and I can't wait to start working on the series.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Epic doesn't do it justice.

I'll start by saying that this is not a scientific review. It's a personal opinion based on field experience.

I also want to note that my grand father shot film, my father shot film and I still shoot film. 35mm film is the standard by which all HD cameras are measured.

Okay, so I've been using the Alexa a bunch. The camera is a game changer. It not only does things that other HD cameras do not do, it does things that film cameras do not do. It has insane latitude, fantastic image quality, the ability to shoot in super low light with out using large source lights and produce a virtually noise free image. It has a super easy to use interface and it is a very durable camera. If you gave me 40 million dollars to shoot a film (prior to my using the Epic) I would use an Alexa hands down. Over 40 million and I would use 35mm. The camera is that good.........

And then I used the Epic. It is also a game changer. It also has insane latitude, we had detail in hot spots that were 8 stops over key and a black face at night 4 stops under also held up great. It has ridiculous image quality and can shoot 120fps at 5k. Its user interface is a kick ass touch screen that you can use to control all of the cameras functions. It's well laid out and works under any conditions. The camera boots up in about 5 seconds and lasts forever-on one gold mount battery. It also has an on board that goes in the handle and lasts for about an hour. Carrying it around felt not much different than carrying a 5D. It has a great rail system that works with pretty much any accessory you could think of and it's not bulky and doesn't feel like it's in the way. The whole thing is light, so light that I actually added weight to use it on steadicam.

One of the most important features to me is durability. I am really hard on equipment and I demand a lot out of it. I can say first hand that the Epic is a beast. With the go ahead from my producer and director and under the supervision of one of RED's representatives I beat this little workhorse to a pulp. Water, salt water, dirt, sand, impact, you name it; the Epic has the constitution of a concrete block.

At this point I would need a budget of over 100 million dollars before I would consider using 35mm film and even then I'd have to think about it. I hope Sony, Panavision, Arri and every other camera manufacturer is hard at work creating some serious equipment. Even if they are, they have a major up hill climb if they want to run with the EPIC.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gilles Luka - I can believe

Did a low budget french music video for an artist named 'Gilles Luka'. Brett and I did steadicam all day with a 7D. Cool track and really nice people. I got a few pictures (as usual taken by Brett) with the model boxers and a former cruiser weight champion.... I think I can probably take him :D
I leave tomorrow for Jamaica to do a Rihanna music video with Anthony Mandler. I get home on the 2nd and leave from the airport and drive to Atlanta to shoot a NASCAR crash with Artie for a TV show called 'Necessary Roughness'. Should get some good pictures to upload when I get back on the 6th.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Busy 30 days!

Where to start... This may have been the busiest 30 days of my life. I probably worked (or traveled) close to 500 hours in the last month or so.

I was shooting the second unit (and day playing on first unit) of the Charlies Angles pilot. We shot mostly hard nights. Around the same time, Burn Notice started season 5 and I started shooting second unit there as well. I also did some under water work for the Burn Notice season 5 promos. There were a few music videos, some commercials, the television stuff and finally Wrestle Mania 27 in Atlanta.

Most of the work was with Brett and the new addition (from the old school) to the team Greg. Greg was in California and Costa Rica for the last few years and came back to Miami just at the right time. It was so busy in town that there were a few days that we literally could not find an available crew member to fill several positions.

Every thing went well and we have a ton of kick ass footage for a bunch of different clients. Aside from being tired we all had a great time and a good amount of fun. I made a quick slide show with a few pictures from the various shoots (mostly taken by Brett).

Coming up this month we have some more Burn Notice, another music video or two and yet another trip to Atlanta. This one is with Artie for a Nascar sequence for a television show. Further down the road it looks like Charlies Angles is going to shoot a season of the show here in Miami and shoot a couple of days of second unit per episode.

In the next few months we also have HBO/Stars doing 'Magic City' and Warner Brothers doing 'Rock of Ages' staring Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anne Hathaway and a host of other 'Big Stars'. Looks like Miami is going to stay busy for the foreseeable future.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ikelite Underwater Housing

Just got a new Ikelite underwater housing for the Canon 5D. The little guy totally kicks but. It takes all of about 2 minutes to set up the camera and make it ready to dive and about 45 seconds to change a lens. It's rated for 200+ feet and it is so small you hardly notice it's there. Not to mention, every single function of the camera is available while it's in the housing.

The timing on this purchase was no accident. Less than 2 weeks after I got it, I've used it for 2 days on the Charlies Angles Pilot and a day for Burn Notice promos, it's almost paid for itself already.

I've been shooting second unit for Charlies Angles and it's going great. It looks like they will come back in June and do the first season of the show, go South Florida. Burn Notice (and The Glades) starts today and I have my first day of Burn Notice second unit on Friday.... 5 seasons and still going.

Next week Brett, Greg and I are off to Atlanta for Wrestlemania 27. We did 24 in Tampa a few years ago and it was the definition of a 'Big Show'. People fly in from all over the world (Russia, Japan, etc.) and pay as much as ten grand for a floor seat! Look for some pictures from Atlanta next week.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ford Focus Rally

Been working a bit on a new show for the internet, Ford Focus Rally. It's streaming, real time and interactive by the people that do Amazing Race. It's been pretty cool stuff. We worked at Homestead Speedway and up in Macon Georgia. The crew does a few other locations and then I may meet up with them again on the West Coast.

The host is none other than Jonny Moseley, Olympic snow skiing bad ass. He's a super cool (as you might expect) dude and seems to be having a good time hosting the show. I've always been good at flashing the instant uber cheesy 'big smile' when a camera gets pointed at me but I think Jonny has me beat.

The rally cars are actually stock Ford Focuses with some extra cool gfx. I wonder why Ford doesn't offer show room cars that look like this. If I was going to buy a Focus, I'd want it to look like this:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Home Again

Season 2.5 of Make it or Break it has come to an end. I had a great time and got to work with a great crew. Mikey and Jill got to spend some quality time with my West Coast family and I got to do come cool stuff and meet some great people.

I also got to work with several amazing people including Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci (who hold a total of 11 Olympic medals, 7 of them gold).

I also had a chance to have a mini high school reunion with some of my closest friends from South High.

I even managed to get in a day of snow boarding with my brother and a couple of days at the indoor gokart racing track with Kurt.

It was a fantastic trip and a great job but I'm glad to be home in Miami.

2011 here I come!