As a freelancer, I find myself taking on different roles in both production and post. I can do some modest animations, but any major work, I outsource to an animator. With plugins like the Trapcode Suite though, even a simpleton like me can make some eye-catching graphics.
Original Articles Written by Mike Wilkinson
Merrell, an outdoor footwear brand, wanted a photography concept that would celebrate diversity on trails, but in a way that felt genuine and reflected reality. While outdoor brands usually look towards more of a traditional commercial photography approach, Tim Kemple had something else in mind to achieve their goals.
Have you ever been out taking pictures, whether for fun or on a paid gig, only to have someone strike up a conversation about your camera? Turns out, a lot of other people take pictures with professional gear as well! And they all have an opinion about which is best.
I’d like to introduce you to the Shimoda Adventure Camera bags, specifically, the Explore 60. It’s a backpack that’s built for outdoor adventure photographers and filmmakers, and has options for 60L and 40L versions. Never heard of it? Well, I’m sure you have used or seen some of the gear that Shimoda’s lead designer has previously worked on. I’ll tell you about this and more in my full review.
Whether you’re about to head out for a day of shooting some corporate videos, producing a multiday lifestyle photoshoot, or even traveling abroad for a project, as a filmmaker or photographer you’ll likely have to do a fair amount of prep, called preproduction. This article will summarize a number of things that you should think about and probably not forget to do before leaving for your next job.
Sigma has been killing it lately with their Art series of lenses, and this entry doesn't stray far from the pack. With a great build, low distortion, and a very competitive price, it’s a contender for the best ultrawide lens available in its class. I had one for a few weeks and got to see if it lived up to the hype and high bar set by its fellow Sigma Art lenses.
For freelance creatives, earning passive income is a great way to increase your annual profits, but getting a large library of images uploaded can be a daunting task. Plus, which agency should you use? When will you find time? The simple answer is the time is now, and the sooner you jump on, the sooner it will pay out.
Every time I’m on a set or grabbing coffee with another local filmmaker, we always end up talking gear for a bit, and inevitably the question comes up of “What camera would you buy if you had to buy right now, and why?” I decided to research things a bit and put together an article that explains what I’d buy if I absolutely had to right now, and the answer might surprise you.
There’s an interesting documentary in the works if you’re a video editor. With an obvious pun for the title, "Off the Tracks" interviews professional editors, trainers, and application developers to dig into why Apple made such a shift, when their existing app suite was already successful. I’ll provide some background, but also some editorial commentary below, as I feel like this documentary has potential to either be very interesting or completely pointless.
Being a master of keyboard shortcuts isn’t just a party trick to impress friends and clients, it’s a path to a faster and more efficient editing process which makes you more of an asset as a video editor. Whether you’re hoping to earn a Pro Certificate or just become faster in post, one way to get you there sooner is to invest in a dedicated keyboard.
Last week I shared a video that used a couple of alternative techniques for aerial video, and coincidentally I was contacted shortly after to check out another video that had some unique drone video shots. In this kite surfing video, you'll see some interesting macro-style clips, speed ramps, zooms, and more. The fact is, all of this was done in post.
The National Park Service in the United States is one of the few organizations to have made clear policies regarding the use of drones, or small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS) on their property. Yet some people continue to ignore these rules, and it’s only going to make things harder for the rest of us if this trend continues.
A few weeks ago I shared some insight on using shotgun microphones for documentary style interview productions. This week, I’ve got a companion video that explores techniques for using lavalier mics, the standard go-to mic for most interview scenarios.
We've all been there. You were hired for a run-and-gun shoot only to find the location has terrible lighting. Or your shoot is running later into the evening and the sun is going down fast, without any lighting to plug in. The ISO gets cranked up, and your exposure is saved at the expense of adding unwanted noise to your image. This is where noise reduction software becomes useful, and a new product from Red Giant has changed the way it approaches this task with Denoiser III.
Audio is arguably the most important facet of any film or video production. There is a saying that goes: “Audio is 70% of what you see,” which means that sound makes up more of the experience than the visuals do. So while we may spend a lot of time planning for what our shot looks like, it’s even more important that we mic it properly for the best audio recording possible.
Camera sliders are often one of the first accessories that independent filmmakers purchase, just after a tripod and microphone. The simplicity in their design and valuable ability to create subtle motion instantly add production value. Cinevate recently updated its Duzi slider to its fourth version, and I got a chance to review one this past week.
Have you ever seen those amazing shots that show a subject holding its place in the frame while the background falls away or becomes extremely compressed? This is called a "dolly-zoom," and you've likely seen an example in films such as "Jaws" and "Goodfellas." While we don't typically use a dolly-zoom when filming interviews, we can learn a lot from studying what happens to an image at different focal lengths. In this video and article, I'll discuss the visual effects created when choosing a wide versus telephoto lens for documentary-style interview productions.
In a previous article, I shared some tips on scouting locations for a documentary video shoot where interviews would be captured. The next step is to decide on a frame that complements your talent, topic, and tone. In this video, we discuss background elements we see in potential frames, any why one “look” might work better than another.
When doing a documentary-style video production, an interview or series of interviews is often at the heart of the content. Uncontrollable lighting, background noise, and the size of the space you have to work in all play a significant role in capturing a quality testimonial, so location scouting to check on these is an important facet of our production process. In this short video, Joshua Pardon and I explore two rooms at a location and discuss what we look for when making a decision on where to set up for a shoot.