Tag: iphone

Producing Journey To Moab

We’ve been on the road for a little over 3 hours today as we’ve made our way up 24 from Capitol Reef National Park with a quick stop at Goblin Valley—our final destination for the day is a campsite near Rainbow Terrace Trail just north of Canyonlands. I haven’t truly showered in 3 days, unless you call wet wipes a viable alternative—I do not. All I can hear is the gravel grinding beneath my all-terrain’s and the squeaks of my dirt packed bushings as I weave in and out of the leading vehicle’s dust trails. Ahead of me is Steven, Patrick, and Dan in their 4runner’s. I’ve turned down my CB as the chatter is just a little too much while i’m trying to focus on shooting. Rainbow Terrace will be our first rated trail of the trip and we’re all looking forward to it. The sun is setting and igniting the plume of dust as we roll down Ruby Ranch road. It is exactly as I had imagined it being when I was jotting down rough shot lists for the trip during planning. We’re all tired, a little sun burnt, and it’s taking some will power to balance my need to get the shot versus take in this amazing moment.

Moments, like the one above, when all of your senses are stirring and you know you’re getting some good stuff on camera, are what made this trip special for me.

Please checkout the complete 3-part docu-series “Journey To Moab” 

When Steven, Patrick, Dan, and I originally decided to take on this journey, Peach State Overland hadn’t even been formally created. We were, and technically still are, just a group of guys that like to travel off-road, be prepared, self-sufficient, etc. (We’re just a little bit more organized and motivated now.) As the trip planning continued, it became evident that this was an opportunity of a lifetime if we could capture this and turn it into something. At the time I didn’t know what, simply that we must film it. This kind of documentary coverage, in the field, running and gunning, is exactly what I love doing.

Journey To Moab was a lot of firsts for me; first project of this scope, first time taking a road trip of this size and duration, and first time truly editing a project on Final Cut Pro X (I now prefer it over Premiere for cutting stories). Honestly, I came into the project a little wary when we initially looked at the scope of it. I typically cut smaller web featurettes roughly 2 to 3 minutes in length, but this was a different beast from every angle. The load was shared with the team’s other producer/camera operator, Patrick Metzger. He’s assisted on finding footage, guiding the story, sourcing music, and has come into his own on shooting—always experimenting, always learning.

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We knew there would be a lot of footage and new challenges, so we tried to account for them early on in planning. Patrick and I needed to look at equipment, charging batteries without access to power, backing up memory cards, as well as what we planned to shoot. We started by figuring out what equipment we needed based on a rough shot list for the trip. We both ended up bringing the standard affair, a DSLR and a GoPro, a 3ft slider, and other various but lightweight camera support. Steven also chimed in with his two Sony ActionCams that would provide various dash footage throughout the journey. We thought through what we’d be shooting day to day and analyzed how much footage would fit on a memory card of a given size. I like to shoot on smaller cards, 32GB, so if one fails you don’t lose as much. I ended up bringing two WD Passport Wireless drives to offload and backup my SD cards as the trip progressed; these are an invaluable tool in my kit now. Other concerns were batteries and charging. I ended up adding an inverter to my Xterra as well as USB chargers for the Canon and GoPro batteries. The biggest challenge though wasn’t the equipment or even knowing what to shoot, it was how we were going to shoot it. I’m not referring to shot composition here, but how we were physically going to shoot it with both Patrick and I serving dual roles as camera operators and drivers. This predicament is precisely why Expedition Overland has a production arm and an expedition arm on their trips. It’s just wasn’t possible to fully execute the kind of production quality I wanted to have and still drive my truck. So admittedly this is a sacrifice that we had to make on this production.

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The trip took 11 days for Steven and Patrick and 10 days for myself and Dan. Steven and Patrick leaving earlier so they could have some down time in Vegas with their wives. Patrick was the responsible for filming on their trip out and I was for our journey, prior to us meeting up in Las Vegas. We travelled through 17 states and roughly 4500 miles overall and ended up with somewhere around 20-24 hours of footage—the project as it sits is about 1.65TB of media. The footage we captured was from three separate shoots; the prep trip we took at the end of February 2016 as well as the trip itself during the first week of April. Over the summer we began planning the interview shoot which took place in July. This shoot would be integral to set the pace and move the story along. Ryan Basler was also a tremendous help as he ran camera for the interviews while both Patrick and I were sitting in the hot seat (Side note: I don’t know how anyone gets used to being on camera. Having to listen to myself talk was truly unpleasant, my only saving grace was the fact that I was recovering from losing my voice the day of the interview shoot so I didn’t sound like myself). From there editing began, starting with the syncing of the interview VO with camera audio and then getting all the media ingested into the computer, logged, and sifting through it to get familiar with the footage that not only I shot, but also all of Patrick’s and Steven’s additional b-roll.

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The trip was a blast and we saw things that we’d only seen online and people’s trip reports on Expedition Portal. That site was one of the main sources of inspiration for how I wanted to tell the story of the trip. Everyone describing their own perspective of the trip, set to video, creating a visual account as the events played out. During editing I made it a point to not watch anyone else’s videos that have been coming out from other groups this year. There were so many…I did not want to get influenced by anyone’s production or editing style. I wanted this project to be my own, how I edit, and how I wanted to tell the story. The trip was what it is was, nothing added in. We simply didn’t have any break downs or big mishaps, so no drama. Call it boring or call it being prepared, that’s your call. I don’t think any of those that went would change a thing, and I can guarantee we would all do it again.

Bye Bye, Canon EOS-M

Image courtesy of BHphotovideo.com

I made a trip to San Francisco in the beginning of March for a vacation. Even during the planning stage for the trip I was beginning to dread taking my heavy 60D with me. I did end up taking it, without the grip and with only the 28-135mm kit lens. And while I appreciated the speed and incredibly sharper and more dynamic images than that of my iPhone 5, I hated the weight of it. By the end of the trip I was already researching mirror-less camera options to sub in for my 60D for my next excursion. Continue reading “Bye Bye, Canon EOS-M”

Facebook 3.0 delayed release

Just to get it down. While I may be completely off, I believe Apple is holding off on releasing the Facebook 3.0 update for the iPhone for a specific reason. They want it’s release it along side with iTunes 9’s new facebook social networking features.

This is probably way off especially with all the griping about apples app approval process coming from facebook this week. But we shall see. It’ll probably come out tomorrow.

Update: Guess I was sort of right…

“Layers” for iPhone

I started off using “Brushes” for iPhone, a very capable app. But coming from a photoshop background, I was still missing a few features that would make painting on an iPhone an easier transition for me. “Layers” brings some of those features to the platform at long last.

The first feature of course, is the use of layers. The is the first step towards non-destructive painting that the app offers to artists. Up to five layers can be utilized, re-arranged, painted on, filled, and deleted. Import pictures to layers and you can do some simple photo compositing too. You can even undo your steps (up to 30) using the counter-clockwise arrow and watch your changes backtrack on their respective layers in layer view. And then redo them as well. Pretty neat to watch.

The next tool is the eraser tool. Erase on any layer, with full access to the different brushes and sizes and a transparency adjustment slider. Finally! Like I said, I come from a photoshop background where I can erase something or even better, mask it out. But with “Brushes”, I was not able to do any erasing only additive corrections meaning if you went outside the lines so-to-speak, you’d have to re-paint what you screwed up with a similar/identical color. Seemingly “adding” paint strokes on top of paint strokes. Since you’re currently limited to five layers, there is still the possibility that you might need to re-paint or paint over something on one of those layers. Regardless the eraser tool is a very welcome addition.

Much of the same tools and utilities from “Brushes” have been used in “Layers” as well. Color sampling by holding your finger down on the color you want. Also an eyedropper tool that can sample all layers or your current one. Pinch to zoom, and also double-tap to zoom to a specific area (at 200%), and 1000% max zoom (over “Brushes” 800%) allowing for pixel specific painting.

Export settings include email as flattened JPEG, PSD (yes, a photoshop document) with layers, send to your photo album on your device, or save as duplicate. So you can take you’re layered painting and edit it right into Photoshop.

While this app won’t make you magically have talent (as I was hoping for), it will give you a greater tool set in which to create your next mobile masterpiece. Add a Pogo Stylus and you’re good to go.

New iPhone 3GS – Why I’ll be switching

Today, I was locked in on the live blog of Apple’s keynote at WWDC. What I was listening for was the realization of rumors that I’ve been following for 3 months now. The specific rumor I’ve been waiting for was a new iPhone handset. And today it was finally announced. The iPhone 3GS!

The are a few reasons that this particular version of the iPhone will be the one that makes me switch.

In no particular order:

  • Capacity – For the first time, the iPhone has reached a capacity that can hold my entire itunes music collection plus several movies and tons and tons of apps.
  • New camera with video – As a photographer and even more so, video editor, the iPhones new 3 mp camera is a welcome feature. Increased still image resolution and also the ability to shoot 30fps VGA video, edit it down to the exact moment you want to show, and upload it to youtube is just plain cool. Or as a buddy of mine would say, “Deluxe!”
  • iPhone OS 3.0 – Copy and paste, search, push…all features my blackberry has had and one of the biggest reasons I couldn’t make the switch before.
  • Battery life – This is just speculated as Apple generally pads their battery life numbers a bit. But it’s supposed to be better. And even currently, my long trusted blackberry curve has to be charged every other day or sometimes every day.
  • It’s an apple product – I’ve used a mac for my home computing for years and it will always be simpler from Apple product to Apple product, to sync my contacts, calendar, aswell as music and movies because of this fact.

Icing on the cake:

  • MMS (eventually)
  • Voice Control
  • Faster 7.2Mbps data connection
  • Awesome apps, that do very specific things that I need done. Like track my hours for freelance video and graphic design or tons of awesome games.
  • Fairly early release date
There is one minor but noteworthy hiccup that might keep me from switching and it’s AT&T’s network. I’ll have to research it more, but I remember when the first iPhone 3G came out and I saw some very unhappy friends of mine with iphones that just plain sucked at picking up a signal.

Formula D Media Coverage – No Cell Phone Cameras

The few times that I’ve attended Formula D events as part of the press, the officials there always stated that they want to see real deal cameras out there. This means no cell phone cameras or point-n-shoots. They have their reasons for saying that I guess. But I’m not clear on what they are and I’ve never tried to challenge them on this. I have always used prosumer/professional equipment at the events regardless. Well times are changing. Print media isn’t necessarily dying, but web media is definitely on the rise. With many of the automobile based magazines shutting down their operations, web media is the consumer’s only alternative to get the information that they crave. E-zines and blogs, like WreckedMagazine.com and Speedhunters.com are fast becoming the go-to outlet for drifting and other motorsports coverage.

So, how does this relate to Formula D’s media rules?

The Internet generation wants their information fast, really fast. To me, this means that technology to get that information published quickly, needs to be utilized to its fullest potential. But this doesn’t mean the coverage can lack quality. Typical equipment for shooting a Formula D event could be a digital video camera (at least something from the prosumer class) and/or DSLR. Turn around time can be quick if done correctly. Usually media, whether it be video or stills, can be posted that night, after the event. But the current trend across the Internet is moving towards real time. People want streams of video, status updates of their friends, and instant news coverage reported live, as it happens. So how do you accomplish that? New technologies/services such as Twitter, allow websites to publish short 140 character headlines and other facts in real time, as they happen. A blog can be set to import this Twitter feed along with anyone else using certain key words, such as #FD or #FormulaD. This not only allows the authors of the website/blog to contribute, but also allows anyone with a cellphone or laptop attending the event to collaborate via text, images, or URL links, current happenings from their point of view as they occur.

The future also holds a number of great things for real-time streaming media. The revolutionary Apple iPhone is set to enter its 3rd generation this summer and it promises to be quite a leap forward. Rumored specifics as to the devices capabilities include shooting video as well as an industry first, basic video editing within the device. Imagine the possibilities that this kind of tech could open up for journalists alone.

Another potential packed technology is the Eye-fi SD card. This card can auto upload photos from a digital camera via Wifi hotspot connections. Combine this with Verizon’s new Mifi 3G portable wifi router and an amazing point-n-shoot like the Canon G10 Powershot, and you can produce fantastic images and have the ability to upload those high quality photos in near real time.

On my last trip to LA for FD Irwindale, I was toting around a Canon GL2, Nikon D90, and my blackberry curve. I shot video of drift runs first, waiting for something to report on, then shot high quality stills, and then a secondary shot with my curve to post to Wrecked Magazines Twitter feed. All very important to the success of the story. A reminder though, technology is useless without the knowledge of how and when to utilize it. It is merely a tool though, you still need to be able to tell a story. That is the root of all journalism. And by no means should this new technology replace tried and true approaches and outlets. The need for a solid flow of well written articles, quality edited video and sharp photographs published or broadcast in a timely manner, will never run dry. But with the additional need to be the first on the scene with current events, it is definitely worth it to invest in another hand or person to report via these new tools.

Formula D is going to have to change the way they look at media coverage as a whole if they plan on getting the most out of it. Cell phones, as well as point-n-shoots are becoming perfectly capable for the production of the futures web-based media.