Sunday, January 29, 2012

Time Lapse: Sundance 2012 Main Street

I shot a few time lapses while I was attending the 2012 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.  The two shots were done using my Canon 5DMKII and 70-200mm f/2.8L lens.  I used an interval of 7 seconds, and the long shot was created over a 9 hour period.  The first shot has some flicker to it, and I would've used a de-flicker filter to help clean it up, but I was rushed to upload since I was being thrown out of my condo at checkout time.  If the flicker in shot #1 bothers you, just blink your eyes really fast to compensate.  I animated in Quicktime at 24 frames, then imported both shots to FCP.  While in FCP, I added a touch of contrast, saturation, and sharpness, then created the slow digital zoom in the long shot #2.  I exported out with Compressor to a manageable file, and uploaded to Youtube.  The music is by Jeff Hefti, and I chose it based on trying to avoid the traditional "speedy" tech song found in so many time lapse videos.  I think Jeff's excellent score adds a more somber tone, and is a nice contrast to the hyper activity of Main Street.  I always try to create contrast and conflict in art, and again, it was going against the grain of what's out there.  I synced the lights in shot #1 to the music cue, and adjusted my long shot (shot #2) to the ending of the music.  I actually shot a few more time lapses with my iPhone, but they seemed out of place to the dynamic 5DMKII shots, and decided to keep only 2.  I had a great view of Main Street from my condo, and could let the cameras run, while out and about at the festival.  I knew that Saturday afternoon and night were going to be the busiest time of the festival on Main Street, so I wanted to capture the population crush that happens during that time period.  I wish I had more time in post, but "they" were literally standing at the doorway, waiting for me to leave the condo, as I finished my Youtube upload.  I had to checkout.  Fate plays its part in the overall quality, but I made my deadline, and left town.  Thank you, Sundance 2012!

My personal pictures from the festival can be found here:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Time Lapse: The Road To Sundance

So I'm heading up to Sundance 2012, and shot a seven hour time lapse of the drive with my GoPro Hero 2.  I mounted the camera to the side mirror with the Fat Gecko camera mount, gaff tape, a rubber band, and safety twine (that's 4 levels of redundancy).  I set up the camera to shoot full res every 5 seconds, and finished in Adobe Lightroom & FCP.  I also mounted a 5DMKII and 60D inside the car, but those angles weren't as interesting as the exterior GoPro.  I slowed it down to 50% during the Arizona Gorge sequence because it's just so cool.  Oddly, there was no snow on this trip, so things are very spring-like.  I went through Provo, and around the backside of Park City, to end up at the world famous Egyptian Theater.

< GoPro H2 mounted to side mirror with Fat Gecko camera mount.

< Canon 60D mounted upside down, and the exterior GoPro H2.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Make Your Movie Interview

I'm about to embark on my 16th Sundance Film Festival, and I'm fired up about all the great films and filmmakers descending on Park City for Sundance 2012.  It's such a great time of year for the creative arts, and gives young filmmakers the opportunity to mix and match ideas in the confines of the Wasatch Mountains.  If you've never been, I highly encourage you to attend.  Crash on a couch, hit the wait list line, and see some world premiere films.  The Q&As after the screenings are always fun, and the parties don't suck.

Back in the day, I was the founder of the Nodance Film Festival, which was dedicated to first time filmmakers and digital filmmaking.  We were the world's first DVD-projected film festival.  That year, I gained a new partner in Forest Whitaker, and he was incredibly generous with his well-earned status to bring amazing talent to Nodance.  We invited director Mike Figgis (flown from London), and programmed a retrospective of his work.  This interview was from CNN, and we were about to give the Nodance "Free Spirit" award to Mike at the awards ceremony.  Salma Hayek was a great friend to Mike, and offered to present the award.  I'm the shivering lurkball next to Salma, rocking the goat.

Unfortunately, Nodance is no longer with us, but the hazy memories live on through YouTube.  The most important things are to make your movie with whatever tools you have available, and to help other artists.  With all the wonderful & inexpensive digital technology being created today, there's no excuse not to make your movie.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

How To Light A White Wall Video

DIY White Wall Lighting from James Boyd on Vimeo.

So I shot my first video blog about creating a DIY white wall video (while gooned on cold medicine, so please forgive any incoherent rambling).  I had a large white wall in my dining room, and blasted it with 3 lights.  I used the Lowel Tota (750w) centered on the ground behind me, a 600w Smith-Vector Q60-SG behind me to the left of frame, and a 250w Lowel Pro blasting the upper right of the frame.  The goal is to over-expose the back wall by at least 2 stops, then use a correct exposure on your subject in front.  Try to include some separation between your subject and the back wall for maximum effectiveness.

For my key light and fill light, I used the Creative Light Softbox umbrella with (x4) Alzo daylight balanced bulbs (5500k color temp).  I was very pleased with this simple and inexpensive light that produces no heat, and uses very little electricity.  I connected the bulbs to a 4-socket adapter with a light socket stand adapter and umbrella holder.  All in, you're looking at $128 for the light, adapters & stand.

< Lighting Diagram for white wall video.

< x4 Alzo bulbs daylight balanced to 5500k color temperature.

< Creative Light Softbox Umbrella with x4 bulbs inside.  I used this for my key light.  For the fill light, I only used x1 bulb.

< 600w Smith-Vector Q60-SG light for the background fill.

< 250w Lowel Pro light for some additional blast fill on the wall.  I love this little light for its versatility.

< Behold the power of the awesome 750w Lowel TOTA light.

< DIY dining room studio.

< The 5DMKII camera was sitting 10 feet back from subject (literally in my kitchen).  I shot ISO 160 with exposure of 1/50th second @ f/4.0.  Notice I used a Nasty Clamp for my Sennheiser 416 shotgun microphone.  I shot dual system sound with the Zoom H4N, and synced it in post.  I used the grey color board for focus, then removed it for shooting.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

10 New Year's resolutions for the filmmaker

Happy New Year!  If you're searching for a few extra resolutions to kick off 2012, Scott Macaulay from Filmmaker Magazine has listed 10 New Year's resolutions to make yourself a better filmmaker:

1. Amplify your voice.
2. Improve your social.
3. See the essential 100 films.
4. Work for a friend.
5. Make more [films] than you did last year.
6. Make one piece in a different form.
7. Read more.
8. Review your productivity and alter your creative behavior.
9. Learn a new skill.
10. Change your viewing practices.

You can read the full article with explanations HERE.

Imagine how you would grow as an artist, if you added just a few of these to your life.

Remember, filmmaker are not born, they're made.  Make yourself good.