Focus-ing at Ontario Place: The Self Parking Cars

This weekend I did some freelance work for Maritz Canada, one of my favorite accounts from “back in the freelance days” (like I mentioned before…I still work with some of my cooler accounts even though I’ve turned Full Time). Anyways, this shoot was at Ontario Place in Toronto and it happened on one of the 3 days of the Air Show, so in addition to shooting video, I got to check out the low and very fast flying planes!
This shoot was of a couple of different “activations” where the new Ford Focus features were being showcased in an interactive environment. The 1st was the MyFordTouch competition where you race through a series of technology related requirements using the new voice activated system in the 2012 Focus. This focused on the ease of finding food, getting directions, and basically having your own version of K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider. The 2nd was the self parking feature which is really nice. This car will park itself, all you have to do is worry about the accelerator and brakes, all of the steering is done by the car…and it’s extremely accurate. 6 inches from the curb every time. One of my main objectives for the shoot was to capture the expressions and reactions of participants when they were behind the wheel of the self parking car. I figured the best way to do this was to buy a GoPro and mount it in various ways in the car and of course, on the dashboard and just in front of the speedometer were ideal places. Finally, the 3rd was the synchro-park or the “Stunt” as it has been called. This was where they had 3 cars all parallel park themselves, synchronized! All of this to engage the customer and educate them about the new features of this upcoming years model of the Focus, Edge and Explorer.
I shot this whole thing with the Canon 7D, GoPro, 11-16mm f2.8 Tokiina and 24-70 Canon f2.8. Circular Polarizing filters on all my lenses allowed me to shoot through the windshields with no reflections (great for the shot of the guy lying down, seat reclined while parallel parking, and also let me get those really nice deep blue shies while maintaining the saturation of colour in the cars and peoples faces. A great tool for outdoor shooting. I also used my Glidecam HD2000 and Zacuto EVF. The EVF is amazing! Not just the build and design of it, but the ability to see even in direct sunlight is unsurpassed. I have rigged a mount up to my Glidecam that allows me to attach the EVF to it, giving me more flexibility in how I use the Glidecam and makes me look more high-tec as well!
I realized when I got home that one of my favorite shots (the guy lying down while parking taken with the GoPro) had me with my glidecam shooting from the opposite angle (Whoops), so I returned the next day to reshoot that single shot. That’s right! All the way back for one shot…well, ok…maybe not just for that one shot. As coincidence would have it, I was going to the CNE on Sunday, which for those of you who don’t know, is right across the street from Ontario Place…so it wasn’t a big deal at all. And the bonus…I got free parking! Perks of the job.

Shoot em straight!

Advertisements

Back-to-back weddings

So, this weekend I have 2 weddings to shoot and despite the wedding schedule norm, both of these weddings are short and sweet.  Typically a wedding shoot lasts from around 7 or 8 in the morning at the Bride and Groom’s places while they get ready, until around 11:00pm after the garter is thrown and the cake is cut and the party has begun.  This weekend I am starting at 4:00pm and going til 11:00pm on Friday and 2:30-8:30 on Saturday.  Cool!  I am especially excited about tomorrow (Saturday) because I will be home in time to watch UFC 134!  I’m not sure if I ever mentioned this before, but I am a huge UFC fan…so, tomorrow works out perfectly!

Today I am shooting with a friend of mine who has a friend that’s getting married and tomorrow I am shooting with The Photo Studio out of Toronto Ontario.  I’ve been shooting with The Photo Studio for many years now and have met some really top notch photographers through this company.  Check out their blog!

Anyways, more later.  Don’t forget to watch UFC tomorrow on PPV!  I will be.

 

Til then, shoot straight…and stay focused.

Late night gear check – Jumpstarts JumpBall Tournament in the morning

Today I counted down the hours to my 1 week vacation…that’s right, I said vacation!  Imagine coming from the world of a freelancer where the word vacation doesn’t really exist.  Yeah, yeah, being my own “boss” lets me make my own hours and all of that good stuff, but if you don’t work you don’t get paid.  I remember this time last year I had my quote-unquote vacation with the family and because of a gig that I took last minute for an account that I just couldn’t say “No” to, I ended up working on the first 2 days of my time off.  It was worth doing since it basically funded the vacation, but I spent 2 days of that trip behind a computer (a very nice MBP I must say, but a computer none-the-less).  Now that I am with “The Corp”, I have paid vacation time so when I go away, I still get a pay cheque!  I’m loving it! (like McDonald’s).

So, like I started saying, I was counting down the hours of the work week while finishing the edit of the Gas+ video that I shot with Mark on Monday (See the posting called “Shooting at the Gas Station”), and got things ready for my last shoot of the week, the Jumpstart JumpBall Tournament.  This is an early morning shoot that I am doing with Brad (The Media Technician and occasional cameraman/ editor).  Because I’m gonna be on vacation next week, Brad’ll be editing this one with both of us on the cams.  For this shoot we have a pretty detailed shooting strategy that includes a series of interview questions for kids and separate ones for the adults, timelapse sequences shot with the dslrs as well as the GoPro and lots of other dynamic shots of the day.   We designed the questions to provide some powerful story driving soundbites; at least that’s how we hope  designed them, and we have a cool audio recording strategy as well.  We are going to use the Rode Video Mic Pro on my 7D for the 1st angle and on the 2nd 7D we are going to mount the Zoom h4n like a shotgun mic and use the 4Ch recording feature which will also let me put a wireless handheld into one of the inputs on the Zoom and the mic in the interviewees hand if need be.  Now I have 3 audio sources (2x shotguns and the handheld), it’s quick (grab an executive team member for 2 minutes and start asking questions…no lav’ing anyone up), and I also have proper audio monitoring on the Zoom, which I’ve been finding is a major shortcoming of my Beachtek DSA-XLR.

I’m bringing my son’s skateboard with me to do some nice dolly shots (I’ll post some if I don’t kill myself) and Brad is bringing his 60D so we are probably gonna have a chance to do lots of timelapse stuff.  I bought a remote on eBay for 20 bucks and Brad just bought one on Amazon yesterday for 30 bucks…and get this…hey got the delivery today!  Superfast!

Anyways, same lenses as usual (see this link for lens run-down), 1 Flo-light (LED light that runs off of AC or D-Tap type battery which makes it very, very convenient. The only thing is that the construction of this light is kinda crappy.  Not super bad, and the light that it throws is good (a bit blue with a slight magenta spike), but the double-priced Lite-Pannel is better and worth the money in my opinion.

Well, that’s it for tonight.  I’ll put up the video from tomorrow as soon as I can.

 

July 30th wedding…now it’s July 31st…barely

So the day is done.  I’m home after leaving the house before everyone was up and getting and everyone is sleeping except the dog who greats me like Dino used to greet Fred at the beginning of the Flintstones.  No…seriously…he does!  My dog is a 135 pound Mastweiler and when he gets excited he can knock a grown man down just by pushing up against you and wagging his hind quarter and non-existent tail (clipped at birth).

Anyways, the SDE (same day edit) played, the dancing started and true to form at weddings, the countdown to departure was on and we hadn’t thrown the garter and bouquet, the sweet table hadn’t opened, Groom and Mom hadn’t danced yet and there were 4 or 5 family shots that needed to be done.

A good rule of thumb that Sean (who is one of the photogs, a colleague, a new dad and friend), and I were discussing tonight had to do with deciding how long after the discussed quitting time do you start charging OT if things go late.  We said 30 minutes, then you’re into overtime hours, payable at the end of the night. So here’s the thought process:  We wake up early…really early to start shooting, go on minimal food most of the day, are on our feet most of the day, are hot, sweaty, always happy (even if we don’t want to be), our minds are on full-tilt all day and I’m away from the family for the entire day.  So, that being said, don’t do this job unless you love it!  smirk!  Just kidding, the real point is that you can’t just walk up to the B&G and say, “yeah, contract says 11:30, it’s 12:01 that’s $100/hr/person”, not cool and probably won’t go over well.  But at the beginning of the night what I like to do is go over the flow of the night and let everyone that needs to know, understand what time I’m contracted to, this way we can all work towards having things run to time.  Also, it gives me a chance to say (as it did tonight) at 10:00, “hey Mr. DJ, any idea when we might be able to get the parent dances out of the way?  Don’t want it to get too late on us”…or something like that.  Giving the B&G a heads up on timing early on makes the onset of the conversation about overtime not seem like a cash grab.  In actuality that conversation about overtime is a great catalyst in moving things forward and sometimes they actually keep you around…at $100/hr/person.  One could only be so lucky.  So, to summarize what Sean and I were saying…30 mins past contractual end time (with multiple previous reminders to B&G as well a the DJ) is when you should start billing the overtime.

Anyways, Jeremy edited the SDE today that Pierre and and I shot the footage for and it was a hit (I’ll post it as soon as I get my hands on the edit).  SDE’s are always a big crowd pleaser. After all the formalities were done, I headed home.  Til next time…

Shoot straight!

Don't mind the shiny bald dome...it's all about the rig!

 

Same Day Edit

Introducing…me!

This is my first blog posting of what will hopefully be a regular thing.  My name is Joseph and I am a freelance video producer/ editor/ shooter turned corporate.  In other words… I got a Full Time job.

I graduated from the Digital Media Technical Production at Seneca College in Toronto back in 2001 and immediately started freelancing to supplement income.  I was lucky because I started getting gigs right away, have worked basically non-stop and have been on tons of really cool and unique projects. I’ve done things like teach at the post-secondary level, edited 3 seasons of 2 TV shows, done tons of corporate video, shot over 300 high end weddings, beta tested software for Adobe, become certified as an Apple Pro, done video sales and done quite a bit of traveling, meeting up with “famous peeps” while running my own business and having a ball doing it!

So why the change to full time corporate video?  Lots of reasons…hope you keep checking back; I’ll talk more about that stuff.

I also love to blab about new video gear and other things video related,  You know, the conversations that make the dinner company’s eyes gloss over…yeah, that’s me. I shoot DSLR and edit FCP.

I guess, to start off, you can check out this short video;  My Demo Reel.

Till next time, shoot straight!