Archive for the ‘Directory of Photography’ Category

We were blessed to be able to work with a composer from Japan, named To-Ki who is an awesome pianist.  Neysa was inspired by a track that he composed and their collaborative efforts birthed “Addicted”.  There are more things in the works for this international collaboration! This was also Neysa’s debut as an editor!

Enjoy and expect more things to come from Neysa and her team! Special thanks to To-Ki from To-Ki Music in Japan, to Gregory Ruben of NuFocus Management, Reggie Maddox of RoughMecca Mastering and Digital Distribution, StewArt Media Studios, LLC and Hit ’em Hard Entertainment, LLC

Support Independent Music!

Ok so it’s my blog and I can write what I want to. With that said.

I’m excited to announce the release of an international collaborative effort between artist Neysa and producer Mpolo Beats from Dusseldorf Germany along with his crew of Rapper NOS9000, Camera 1/Editor Markus Friebe, actor Marek Renk and actress/model Lani Nguyen, also additional camera Denys Safra, additional camera and color correction Dennis Schroder, Director/Script writer Olli Sieger, and Assistant Patrick Deutscher round out the team in Germany.  Footage of Neysa was shot by yours truly and I’m so happy that it fit the idea and story they were doing! Special shout out to Viktoria Eb.

Can’t wait for the next project! Love from Atlanta to Germany!
Enjoy

Ok, so I know this is not a new topic and there are many resources online especially YouTube and Vimeo that go into depth on these subjects. Why might you ask, am I going into it as well? Well I’ve been out a few places and have heard people refer to color grading and color correcting as the same thing. NO it is NOT, NO I SAY AGAIN IT IS NOT!

To put it in layman’s terms if I may, Color Correction is the process by which you fix any white balancing issues that may or may not be there. Increasing the contrast maybe, adjust highlights and even saturation. In most cases, a simple COLOR CORRECTION can help an alright piece of footage look GREAT! Now I’ve just scratched the surface on this portion because I want all of you to go out and check out for yourself what I’m talking about it.

Ok so now on to Color Grading.  Color Grading is done after the primary color correction is completed and can be part of the color correcting process.  Color Grading sets the overal style of your movie.  SinCity had a highly stylized grading that most people remember.  It actually helps to tell the story.  Transformers, Star Trek, Avatar and Lord of The Rings are all examples of movies that used a color grading scenario to convey a feeling or aid in the telling of these stories!

If you are still confused and you say Michael “What the heck” are you blabbering about. Here are some examples from our friends at Film Riot and oh if you didn’t know Emily is BACK! I love Emily…if you don’t know who Emily is the make sure you watch the clips below!

A little back story on some color correcting tools.  In most NLEs (Non Linear Editors) Final Cut, Premiere, Sony Vegas, AVID and the likes, come with a form of color correction, usually a 3 way color wheel of some sort.  Final Cut Studio 3 had the wonderful Color application that to me at first was a little intimidating with its bland opening screen and scary interface.  Then Red Giant came on the scene with Colorista which was so powerful everyone was talking about it.  Then they also came up with Magic Bullet Looks which had a stable of preset looks that you can apply to your project and then tweak if you wanted something more.  For the most part all of these tools can be used.  It’s up to you to choose your weapon!

Now if you are one of those that don’t have the time or the patience to learn yet another thing pertaining to this business, then there are lots of Colorists out there that specialize in this field.  Had the pleasure of meeting a few at the last Atlanta Cutter’s event.

Remember, this is a learn as you go industry.  Even right out of school, different directors and producers go about things differently. Be adaptable to all circumstances if you are able.  Learn as much as you can and when the time is right, ask questions, please not during a take…you’ll be asked to leave the set!

I’ll be talking more about this subject later as it is important!

Happy Coloring!

I’ve just finished work on a pilot by a wonderful Writer/Director named Lonnie Jackson called “UPYRI” (pronounced You PIE Ree) it’s Slovak for Vampire.  The premise is, what if a vampire had the blood of Jesus, would it change him and how? I can’t go too deep but what I was a part of, was amazing.  From the talent to the team.  It epitomized all that I’ve been reading and writing about.  It does still take a family to raise a child and in this case, the child is this wonderfully inspired idea from the mind of Lonnie Jackson.

Mr. Jackson started out with a group prayer, which he requires to keep what he calls the “Good Vibes” going and of course to have every one on the same accord and to dismiss any mishaps that may occur.  Producer and 1st AD Danielle King lead the crew and cast at a steady pace.  Nina Patterson PA/Script Supervisor assisted with some set design and was upbeat. Still photographer and 2nd Camera Cymande Coburn was on deck helping out in any capacity that was needed and had great energy along with Facility coordinator, sound, grip, electrician DreQuan MeDallion who also assisted in every way possible, Writer and wardrobe Geveryl Robinson, Hair and Makeup Iasia Anderson and yours truly as DP/Gaffer.  Cast members Cameron Miller, Darren Radcliff and Barry Piacente rounded out the team.  Their professionalism and performance made the day. Even with some conditions being not so pleasant, the spirit of the entire cast and crew was undaunted and we moved forward eagerly to reach our goal.  It was refreshing to see things move smoothly on set and with convicted direction!  There is no “I” in “TEAM” and this team proved that statement.

Also check them out on http://upyri.tv/

Although this particular footage was not the footage shot, I look forward with painted breath to the final results.

Enjoy

Ok so in the past I’ve spoken about the importance of a “crew” in filmmaking. Well at least I think I did…so if I didn’t, here is just a tidbit of that information from a wonderful site The Black and Blue. I recently subscribed to them and have been getting wonderful bits of information, tips and knowledge.

Now we all know that the world of film is usually a visual world, right? But with bad sound that can make a good film bad and a bad film unbearable. With indie films we, and yes I said “WE” tend to skimp on things because we either can’t afford it or may not know the “RIGHT” people to get to the do the job. I would venture to say that sound is like 80 to 90 percent of your film unless of course it is a silent film or one without the need for dialogue. We’ve already got the understanding that you have to have clean shots and proper lighting, the basics, but sound is the elusive holy grail. We’ll spend money on the LED light and the new Tokina 11-16 lens but we don’t put anything in the budget for proper execution of sound acquisition. Hmmm that sounded pretty cool.

With people out there like Ryan Connolly of Film Riot, Caleb from DSLR VideoShooterKoo from NoFilmSchool, where by the way you can download a copy of a his DSRL Cinematography Guide, and Dave Dugdale from LearningDSLRVideo just to name a few, I actually watch a lot more but this is to save you from scouring over the entire internet.  I’m actually waiting for my DVD copy of the movie TELL, which I wrote about in a previous blog! Ryan Connolly and his team have me on the edge of my seat and eagerly waiting for the next installment of media mayhem they successfully provide along with a hearty mindful of knowledge for that bootay! The DVD package is something I’m excited about because Ryan is providing some really NICE extra material that I’m dying to see.  Maybe one day I’ll have some thing worthy of him directing! That’s on my santa’s wish list along with my RED camera. But I digress, I was just saying that with these resources online you should be able to get your sound to a level where it need not be CRAPPY (yes that’s a technical word)! And yes it is a learning process, each situation will dictate a different method of working around a particular problem.  We’ve got H4ns, H1s, Tascams, Rodes, I mean the list goes on, so please please pay attention to your SOUND!

Sorry I think I rambled on too much.  Without further adieu

Thanks to Evan Luzi from The Black and Blue for this wonderful video!

So while we’ve been waiting for the 5D Mk III and the we’ve been playing with the C300 and the Scarlet by Red, another player has been making a lot of noise in the background! A company named Black Magic Designs have come up with a unit that places a lot of very high end features in a very cost effective package for ALL filmmakers alike.

Please say hello to the Black Magic Cinema Camera

Now this camera impressed me with the stats out of the gate and for such a reasonable price point.  Not to say anything but it’s almost what I expected from the C300 and was hoping for some in the 5D Mk III but that’s another story!

“The Blackmagic Cinema Camera features an amazing 2.5K image sensor with a wide 13 stops of dynamic range for a true digital film camera. You get a built-in SSD recorder, popular open standard uncompressed RAW and compressed file formats, compatibility with quality EF and ZE mount lenses, LCD touchscreen monitoring plus metadata entry, all packed into an exciting hand held design!” This was taken from the site itself.  From what I can tell the industry is a buzz with this new entry into the film world.  It’s compatible with EF lenses and since I’m with Canon already that helps me out.  Although I was planning to get the PL set when I get my Scarlet.  So the only thing I see so far is the lack of more FPS, it goes to 30, there goes my dream of super slow mo’ EFX without using a plugin…but again I digress.

For the money this camera, based on the specs, should produce some very stunning images.  We’ll wait to see the explosion of tests that will undoubtedly start to trickle in as some more people get their hands on this unit.

For more information please see the Blackmagic Designs website for all the juicy tidbits!

From what I can see from the information, it’s gonna be a pretty cool unit that will offer a lot of things to filmmakers! Oh I didn’t mention that it comes with Davinci Resolve and I love the color editing features in that application.  I had to download the light just to see it work!  I’ll tell you more about that later

HAPPY SHOOTING!

Ok, so I know some of you guys are wondering what ever happened to the SOLO video project, our editors are currently away in Venezuela, their jobs take them abroad. So it’s coming!

With that said, we shot a video for a new song called “Big Stupid Liar” off of independent artist, Neysa’s upcoming album called “Out The Box”‘ which will be a diverse musical journey! With the help Mark SQuared, who you should remember from a previous post and some unexpected talent replacements, we were able to have a great shoot and had a lot of fun and pull off Neysa’s vision!

Another spectacular thing was I got to work with my son Jaysen Jae B Stewart of WEARETHEPPL, who was D.o.P. or DP of this project. He, with the aid of the 1st and 2nd AD Dave Evans and DreQuan Medallion, respectively, was able to keep things together and get the shots needed! There was a point where we actually shot a scene both hand held together at the same time!

Now on to the talent, we had some last minute changes and aspiring actress and model Mona mia and Nicole Goolsby and then we have Erika Allen and Katie Aikins and of course NEYSA

Here is a first look behind the scenes of “Big Stupid Liar”|

More to come…

I was honored to again to be a part of a really awesome project by a close friend and partner Reggie Maddox of RoughMecca and directed by Dave Evans. This is a return to basics and I think you all will enjoy it!

Ok, so I got bit by the bug. I’m officially working on a project of my own and starting to do some screen tests as I develop the characters. Who would have thought that I would be doing something like this. It is a very interesting process with regards to the writing and I use a free program called Celtx for writing the script. To me it’s easy and very user friendly and best of all for us DIY/Independent Filmmakers, it’s FREE and for some advance features and options you will have to pay a nominal fee but it’s still worth in my opinion. I’ve been involved with several independent projects that has helped me to understand some of the basic fundamentals needed to make a film work and make the process of making a film a little less strenuous as if that is entirely possible.  Watching some of the behind the scenes on some of my favorite movies leads me to believe that even multimillion dollar films have issues that can drive you to drink!

There are lots of areas to cover while doing a film and some things you really can’t skimp on, while others if you do your research right, you’ll be able to come with some surprisingly effective substituions. So planning and planning and oh did I mention PLANNING is the key to making your project successful!  That’s why I chose to take my time and get it right. Sets, wardrobe, actors/actresses, extras you name it. Man, what an undertaking. You’ve got to be crazy for wanting to do a movie. Guess I’m crazy!

I’m eagerly waiting for the November 3rd and Canon’s big announcement so that the rumor mills can stop churning out gossip. Also as I’m getting more acclimated to my own gear I’m able to better get myself ready for upcoming film/video projects. I realize it’s not about how much stuff you have or even how expensive your stuff is, you need to know your stuff to get the best out of it, regardless of what it is.

Well let me stop blabbing and get to the fun! Here is my screen test of one of the characters of my movie…I’m still developing the powers and working it all out in After Effects and here is my first attempt. Also check out my new StewArt Studios film bumper! Enjoy!

Ok so when we think of Shane Hurlbut, we think of Terminator Salvation – Big TIME! Not truly independent in nature, but as you will see from this post, he is thinking about the indie filmmaker. He’s joined up with letus to create the Master Cinema Series collection that caters to the DSLR Filmmaker! At first looking at it I was like wow this is gonna be a lot of dineros. But it’s actually not as bad as I thought at first.

Vimeo member Tom Guilmette posted a great video commentary about the launch and guess what, some of my favorites were there too. Vincent Laforet and even Ryan “The Film Riot” Connoly. I love it. Why you ask, was Ryan there, well Ryan maintains that his job is to teach us indie filmmakers not be indie all our lives. 🙂 Well something like that in a nut shell! To see him there was awesome! I guess I need to get out more!

Well enjoy the videos

Maybe I’ll be making one soon of my new toys in action…when I get them…

Happy Filmmaking!

Here is the Letus Master Series site http://www.mastercinemaseries.com/