Tag: travel

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.

NAB 2013

Eight years! It’s been eight years since I’ve been to NAB. 2005 was the last and only time I’ve had the privilege of attending the National Association of Broadcasters trade show. That was when I was fresh out of school and was attending both NAB and the BEA awards for my Special Olympics video. That was quite an experience. I’ve been out several times since then and if I remember correctly this will be my sixth trip to Las Vegas.

I’ll be posting pics of the event during the two days that I’m attending. I’m looking forward to seeing all the new gadgets and wiz-bangs. I’m also looking for some specific technology for Millenia 3 as well. Wish me luck!

Update: I’m here… thought I’d post a pic or two since it’s just a few hours until bed time.

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”

LA – Day 6

We got a later start this morning. We started out with a trip across the street from where we were staying at the Universal Hilton hotel, to In-and-Out Burger. Double-double Animal style…the only way to get it. After that we opted to skip our previous plans to visit the LA County Museum of Art and the La Brea tar pits to instead go to Universal Studios to better enjoy the beautiful weather that we had.


We did Terminator 2: 3D, very outdated but still pretty entertaining. Also, Simpsons: The Ride, Shrek 4D, and The Mummy: The Ride. Of these, Simpsons was the newest and the best, using a near IMAX size screen and a flight simulator-like chassis to pull you right into the “Krusty Land” experience. And in a close second, The Mummy ride. This is an entirely indoor roller coaster that is short but well worth it…ride it twice if the lines are short.


After that we headed back to West Hollywood to meet up with Joey and Jason. I had to pick up a camera case for me to carry on for my flight back to Atlanta. We all chatted for a bit then Ash and I went to the Burton Outlet, and the Kidrobot store. Ash and I then made our way to Yogurtland which we’re told was recently the hotness in LA’s yogurt eating trend. Entirely self-serve, this yogurt paradise is a great place to stop in and get some refreshing mid-afternoon treats. Pick your cup size, pick your flavors and then toppings, but be careful as you’re paying by the ounce. $0.30/oz at the time.


Later, we had our name on the list for the green room at Jimmy Kimmel Live! After arriving we we’re told that the green room was up to capacity, so we waited outside for a while and checked out the stage that was setup outside for Kanye tonight. After a few minutes we returned to check on the green room. I looked down the alley as xenon headlights were barreling towards us. Two black Escalades on 24’s came to a halt right in front of us. I thought to myself, this has to be Kanye. Security jumped out and cleared the area and then Kanye, who is an arrogant half man, came out with two others in his entourage and entered the theater. We eventually made it in to the green room. They had free drinks, which was really nice.


Kanye’s performance was interesting. He performed “Love Lockdown”…eventually. He ended up doing the song 3 times. Thank goodness this wan’t a live broadcast of the musical part of the show. He blamed the band for screwing up for the most part. I’m not a big fan of the guy to begin with but this was really icing on the cake. He apologized for being un professional and performed 2 extra songs for the crowd. Overall this was a cool experience and was definitely a good show after all that crap.

LA – Day 5

Ash and I started out on Hollywood Blvd. for some morning Mc D’s. We continued shopping in that area and also East and West Melrose Ave. We met up with some friends at the Grove and got some lunch at the Cheesecake factory there. I know our choice in food isn’t very great…everything we ate pretty much we could easily get here in Atlanta but oh well, maybe next time we’ll research some more.


After that we drove up to the Hollywood Trail to check out the view and escape all the noise of the busling city below. Very romantical. We went back to the hotel after that cleaned up and headed to Universal CityWalk for some more shopping and dinner. We hit this great store called “It’s Sugar,” and I think the total purchase was $40 of candy. We had dinner at Wasabi, a not so good sushi joint at CityWalk. The only good thing was a big bottle of Asahi and also we saw John Stamos eating there as well. The sideburns gave him away.

LA – Day 3


The championship for the Formula D 2008 season was today. The morning started out trying to setup some interviews for later that night and getting some pre-event interviews out of the way. After that I was let go for the afternoon as I wasn’t technically being paid for any shooting on Saturday. I stuck around and shot some stills of various things going on throughout pit row as well as some of the top 32 drift practice.


In addition to seeing an awesome drift event today, I found time to hit the Hollyridge Trail. A great way to see the Hollywood sign and take some great pics. I was also able to drive by some other great sights like the Disney Music Hall and the Chinese Theater. Both we’re found inadvertently by a simple re-route by my GPS unit…I was simply trying to avoid traffic and ended up seeing some cool stuff.




After my brief tour of LA I picked up some In-and-Out Burger and headed back to the track for the top 16 finals. Vaughn Gittin JR. ended up with the event win while Tanner Foust took home his second series win making him the first back to back series point winner. Oh and Rhys Millen won the coveted? tires.com triple crown title.


We hit up a high end restaurant to wrap up the season’s work on Wrecked Magazine. Denny’s…oh well, it was still fun and good food.

Jayke and I just got to the Radisson Hotel at LAX to stay the night. He has an early flight and I have to pick up Ashley aswell.

K, bed time.

LA – Day 2

Woke up, had breakfast downstairs in the hotel. It was pretty good. Freshly made waffle’s are yum yums.

We got to the track and I was on my own. Joey left to go pick up Jayke, Wrecked’s sales guy. So I was left to video and tweet (twitter) everything I saw. There we’re a few wrecks during practice. Hiro Sumida, McNamara, Pat Attack, and Bill Sherman all ended up in the wall at one point or another.

Overall the day went well. We headed into Pasadena again to grab dinner and drinks with Joey’s friend Crispin tonight. Then I decided to head back to the hotel for some rest while Joey and Jayke headed to little tokyo for a J-pop concert.