Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Your Comfort Zone

Posted: November 4, 2013 in Educational Stuff, News

Ok so here it is. Yet another day. Have I really pushed myself to my limit, have I truly done all that I can do to achieve my goals? This question burns me every time I wake up and think to myself, maybe, just maybe if I’d pushed a little harder that door would’ve opened. I can’t stay here any more, confined, having people try to dictate what & where”THEY” think I should be. So I’m saying bye bye to my comfort zone and moving out to more rough terrain. Maybe I’ll see you, maybe I won’t.

This is my current sentiment. As I sit here to write this blog, I realized how long it has been since I wrote the last one and I’m ashamed. A lot has happened since then and some changes were good and others were AWESOME! I am no longer cosigning negativity in any way shape or form. It’s not good for me, it’s not good for you, it’s not good for anyone. We’ve been consistently encouraged to cast blame, point fingers and ridicule for bragging rights, just to prove a point. If you are not going to be part of the solution, then shut your face. And I speak to myself first. it’s like what the little boy said to NEO in the Matrix, “Don’t try and bend the spoon, that’s impossible, instead, only try to realize the “Truth”…there is no spoon!” Only a line in a movie? Or is it a revelation of the truth that we have been programmed not to see any more. We truly do not see innocently like a child any more because of life’s bombardments, that “WE” yes we allow to happen to ourselves. Remember know one “DOES” anything to you, you “ALLOW” them to do to you, thus, it is and always will be YOUR CHOICE.

This post has nothing to do with film, music, movies or gear, just thoughts that have been rumbling through the corridors of my mind.  Maybe it makes sense to some, maybe it makes no sense at all, either way, it’s your choice to do something about it. I AM DOING something about it. Those words are very powerful, I AM, and whatever you put after, sets your creative powers in motion. So instead I AM TIRED, I AM NOT having a good day, I AM not worthy of any good thing in life, say I AM…worthy, I AM HEALTHY, I AM GRATEFUL and I AM THANKFUL to be where I am right now, because remember, it could be worse.

I WILL NO LONGER BE LOOKING BACK TO THE PAST, for if I do, HOW CAN I CLEARLY SEE WHAT IS IN FRONT OF ME. BE HERE, IN YOUR MOMENT, APPRECIATE THE MOMENT, REVEL IN THE JOY OF THE MOMENT, and let it carry you to higher levels of growth and happiness!

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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

As if the already in production “hack” was not already helping DSLR users, the team at Magic Lantern has released what they are calling their “professional” upgrade. I can say that I’ve been using it myself and I love it and I can also say that I’ve probably not used all the features and functionality that it can offer to its fullest but I’m doing more with it than most. A partner of mine especially loves the intervalometer feature so much he returned his amazon purchased intervalometer and got himself something else for the money. I love the feature of being able to listen to audio now, but I still prefer to have a independent audio recorded on a H4n or the likes whenever possible.

Here is the a link to their site and where you can download the latest rendition of the application.  Magic Lantern 

Also, with all the work they’ve done for us DSLR users, please please donate to their cause! It take a lot of time and effort and love for what they do to make our lives easier with the aid of their software.  I know I did!  For me, the aid of the sweet ISOs spots has been very useful, the intervalometer, which I’ve used for the time lapses and last but not least the histograms and ability to see the audio levels. A true labor of love is what I would call all their efforts and it continues to get better. You mus check out their new site as well!  So all you Canon users if you don’t know about Magic Lantern, here is your chance, somethings may excite you to try it and some things you may be like “eh, does nothing for me”.  In either case you know the option is there and you can choose your tools of mass film destruction!

Good Luck and Happy Shooting!

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 a previous post I spoke about the Black Magic Design Cinema Camera. Well on Wednesday the 25th, the Atlanta Cutters had an event which featured some of Black Magic Design’s goodies.  I won’t go into too much details about the camera but you can read more details here. Bob Caniglia, the Senior Regional Manager, said that the camera at the event was the ONLY one in the US at this point.  Still in prototype stage.  There hoping for a ship time in the near future but the date is not confirmed.  At first glance the camera looked great, it was not beefed up with any super accessories as most cameras are.  It had a canon lens, I believe it was a 24-105.  Bob said that some menu items were not accessible at that time.  The aluminum body felt sturdy.  As I peered thru LCD, the image looked like the Technicolor Cinestyle Picture Style for the DSLRs, which means some awesome depth in post.

We all know where to find the specs on this camera so I won’t go into that here. Now it’s been said that some times confidence is what sells an item, not just the specs or the bells and whistles.  I heard many participants of the event say that they were not convinced, there were too many “I don’t knows” and “We’ll have to see once it’s released”.

Now with this open ended platform, they can possibly increase from 2.5k to higher with a firmware upgrade making this camera like the Red, a future proof unit in terms of increased functionality and new menu capabilities.  It was said that the limitation was due only to the media’s capacity or through put.  Another issue is the internal battery system.  The next model will probably have a way to remove the batteries, because in most cases you may not be around a power source the whole and time you are then restricted by it’s use if you run out of batter life and you are not near a power source. The currently in place procedure for replacement of the 2 year life battery is to send the unit in and they would replace it.

As a new comer in the film camera arena, it has lots of support due to it’s expected features and capabilities and of course PRICE POINT! I mean we’ve already spent $3k on the Canon 5D MkII and more for the 5D MkIII, so why not break the 1080p barrier and go into the realm of 2k.

With all that said, it’s really up to you the filmmakers to choose your weapons of mass destruction!

HAPPY FILMMAKING TO ALL!

So I was watching Monday Challenge with Ryan Connolly and the crew and he mentions Video Copilot and something called ELEMENTS. So I meander over to Videocopilot and see they’ve launched a new product. After about 30 minutes of me sitting there with my mouth dropped, I decided I need to get out more! If you guys don’t know about Video Copilot, you better get with the program!

So what do you need to know about Video Copilot? Well if you want to know anything at all about After Effects, they are the leading authority on it.  They have a wide array of tutorials for many different things that you can use a filmmaker or editor to take your projects to the next level.  Plus, he’s pretty funny! I’ve learned and used quite a few things myself.  As I said earlier, Andrew Kramer and his team have released this new application for 3D manipulation that will take your projects even higher. I’m not even going to pretend to understand how and what it really is but what it DOES is A-ma-za-zing! Check it out for yourself if you don’t believe me!

Oh and on a side note, I was sitting and watching the behind the scenes of Star Trek by JJ Abrams and heard him mention the opening title sequence was done by Andrew Kramer himself. so if you don’t believe me how outstanding he is, then take it from JJ Abrams.  He is the real deal.  So you guys better get all this knowledge and cool stuff from him before Hollywood takes him from us!

Happy Learning

Michael

UMMMMM, well I didn’t know Bella was going to be in this movie, I thought it was Kristen Stewart. The movie was a little slow moving for my tastes but I sat thru it, as they introduced the adult version of Snow White played by Kristen Stewart, it reminded me of seeing Bella from Twilight. There was a part of the movie where she says the lords prayer, I was like really!?!?!? In Enchanted Middle Earth? Then the heaving of the chest seems to be her best moments but again they reminded me of scenes out of Twilight. Let’ see, she jumps off a cliff into the ocean, reminiscent of the scene where she jumps off the cliff just to see Edward again. Then there was a scene where she bit into the poison apple and guess what, she dies slow like when she writhing in pain when she was about to be dispatched and Edward had to save her. Ok I guess I’ve done enough Bella bashing but, come on now. She did her thing in Twilight only because they needed an awkward teen and she fit that perfectly. But a princess?, Snow White to be exact, not so much! Do I think that Kristen deserves a chance as an actress to grow…absolutely! But as Snow White, she does not convince me.  I think she is cute in an innocent sort of way and that’s why I admit, I liked her in Twilight, or should I say, I grew to like her.  Remember, like the Harry Potter Kids (as I like to call them), they grew into their roles.  You saw them “becoming”.

 As far as action it was cool. Loved the effects, especially the way they made Ian McShane and Bob Hoskins look like dwarfs. The troll under the bridge scene was climactic but Bella oops I meant Kristen, oops I meant Snow White soothed the savage beast with her eyes. She might have been thinking about Edward and that’s what actually turned the beast away.

 Chris Hemsworth is getting a lot of face time since Star Trek and has been pulling his weight.  I can see him having longevity as an action or fantasy hero.  He seems to own those roles well! Loved him in Thor and the Avengers if you didn’t see it, you must go now, stop reading this post and GO NOW!

Charlize Theron, ok, she’s HOT! I loved her role in Italian Job with Mark Wahlberg, and she was riveting in Devil’s Advocate as the simple wife going crazy after her husband played by Keanu Reeves, lands a great job in NYC as a hot shot lawyer with your boy Al Pacino.  Anyway, I loved her as this character Ravenna, but honestly she is so good, she could have played Snow White and had some unknown play Ravenna (the bad witch) who is seeking to stay beautiful and live forever off of the blood of the young and pure of heart Snow White…Okizay!

For me an actor should be able to pull you into the character he or she is portraying, making you connect with the character.  I remember HATING and I mean HATING Christian Bale as he played a racist guy in Shaft, that if I’d have seen him in person I’d probably would have jumped on him and beat him down myself….but that’s how good he played his role and now I love him as Batman, the DARK Knight, which by the way, to me is the best vision so far of Batman.  Anyway, I digress.  Great effects, visuals were stunning and believable.  We even get a chance to see some fairies.

If you haven’t seen Snow White and the Huntsman, well in my opinion, you can wait for DVD/Blue Ray but if you have nothing to do on Saturday or Sunday at Matinee time..lol, then go check it out! Oh it’s kind of dark, so not for the kiddies!

Ok so we’ve been waiting and waiting and it is finally here.  I know most of you won’t know what I’m talking about but those of us who know the crazy wacky world of Film Riot with Ryan Connolly, family and friends, know what I’m referring to.  The Long awaited short film by Triune Films, TELL, I’m not gonna spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it yet! But, I will say this, I’m usually not predisposed to Horror Thriller movies, not my thing.  I’m more the Star Trek, Avatar, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter (Yes I’ll admit it here) type, but I loved the story.  Lead Character Taylor, played by Todd Bruno, had me sucked in from the start.  The intensity of his character was evident, yet he was vulnerable, corny sounding but true! Jenny, played by Shana Eva, gave us a nice view of a woman wanting answers from her seemingly inattentive and non communicative boy friend Taylor.  Ray played by Tim Connolly, is the friend of Taylor, who finds out the ugly truth.  Remember I can’t give it away if you haven’t seen it, so yes I’m being evasive…lol…also supporting actress Brigitte Kali Canales  who plays Terra and Adriana Pascual who plays Officer Diaz round off the cast of this well put together piece.  I will say this, Office Diaz took it like a champ and I felt her pain, just glad she was able to….oops, Oh well I guess your gonna have to watch TELL and TELL me what you think.

As a student of Film Riot and yes a student, I’ve grown to love the way they weave their stories and skits.  My favorite out the box short was LOSSES.  I felt like damn, I wanna be like them when I grow up! Check that out if you haven’t seen it but I blogged about it so hopefully you’ve been paying attention.

Let’s continue shall we, ok so Ryan originally had another person that he had mentioned before that was supposed to be doing the score at first but for whatever reason he ends with Hybrid Two a dynamic duo consisting of Daniel James and Aaron Frensley, who in my opinion are phenomenal at what they do. I must have been on their site for about an hour, easy before regaining my senses.

By the time you read this post it will be a few days after the official release date of Wednesday May 23rd, 2012.

Make sure you stop by and TELL ’em HI! Support the independent film maker.  They’ve got DVD/Blue Ray and the sound track available for pre-order.  I pre-ordered MINE!

Ok, so after waiting so so very long, it’s HERE…..AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!

So of course, I’m not going to wait on any ridiculous long line to see this film when I can wait a couple of days to see it in comfort! Well for me, it was well worth it!  I’ve been a Marvel comic book fan since I was a kid and this was by far the most exciting real action adventure version of a comic book story.  Not to mention the individual stories and their characters.

Some would say it lacked enough action in the beginning, but there was a story that needed to be told and I believe they told it well. In the beginning it seems that many had an issue with Joss Whedon as director of the Avengers.  Well I would say that he did a smashing job! I was a little distraught the they killed off Agent Phil Coulson played by Clark Gregg though.  It had humor, emotion and action, plenty of action.  I actually liked Ed Norton as Bruce Banner the mild-mannered super nerd (but I wouldn’t say that to his face, he has anger management issues), but Mark Ruffalo did a good job as well!  It’s nice that Lou Ferrigno was honored by being the voice of the Hulk for the new Avengers, to me that pays homage to the pioneers who started it off!  Of course Stan Lee makes a classic appearance. If you want to get mad at something, let’s take a brief look at The Last Airbender, or maybe not… never mind it was so bad I don’t want to bring it up in my blog.  M. Night was just not the right person to do The Last Airbender, they they butchered the pronunciations of the names, which sounded horrible, I mean the original writers were there, that should not have been a liberty given to him to change the names, when the followers of the series are well accustomed to the names! Tsk Tsk Tsk and now we have to wait until someone wants to pick up the reigns again and do a brand new version. Oops sorry let’s get back to business!

Cast Breakdown

Robert Downey Jr. has totally owned the Stark/Iron Man character.  I’ve always liked Robert Downey as an actor, he seems to get into his roles and plays them with passion.  Chris Evans, aka, The Torch, does a great job in playing Captain America, Steve Rogers, but what are we gonna do when we need the Torch again….they are gonna have to make the Captain America suite flame resistant.  What can I say about new comer Chris Hemsworth, who did a smash-up job in the first climactic scenes of Star Trek!  I can’t see any one else playing Thor but him now! Great presence on camera as the demi God of Thunder, he really makes me believe Thor is well and thundering! Scarlett Johansson, I’m still undecided about her.  I mean she fights well but, I’m just not sure…to me, she needs to be like Kate Beckinsale from Underworld…I mean Kate is just a beast with the fighting skills, I’d even take Carrie-Ann Moss who played Trinity from the Matrix with her scorpion kicks.  But we’ll see how Scarlett develops! I heard another comment pertaining to Hawkeye played by Jeremy Renner, it was said that Legolas had to watch out….hmmmm I think NOT! Hawkeye is killer with his bow don’t get me wrong but he’s no match for Legolas Greenleaf an Elf of course played by Orlando Bloom plus Legolas can walk on snow and not leave a footprint…come on… but that’s just in my opinion, don’t want any hate mail about that so let’s continue shall we.  Tom Hiddleston as Loki, I love that as a bad guy he doesn’t mind really getting his hands dirty.  I mean he can fight with that damn staff can’t he.  But I think hulk made a pin cushion out of him, when he slammed his @$$ around like a doll.  Damn that’s gonna leave a mark, but to say the least, he takes a licking and keeps on ticking! Stellan Skarsgård has had a really good run so far. He’s acted in a lot of movies but most notably 2 of the Pirates of the Caribbean, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Thor, Angels and Demons and Beowulf and Grendel just to name a few.  Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, she is just right for the job! Demure & Sexy all in one package! Ok and last but not least Samuel L Jackson as SHIELDS Nick Fury, man he took some hits but he’s a fighter and of course a manipulator.  He knows what he needs to do to get the job done! I see from the photos that War Machine is expected to make an appearance!

So there you have it! All the right ingredients to make the right popping dish call the AVENGERS! If you didn’t see it, GO IMMEDIATELY! I will leave you with this….stay until the very very end so you can see how the set it up for the next movies and yes there’s gonna be MORE!

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!