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.
Original Articles Written by Mike Wilkinson
If you work in a competitive area for your photo or video work, chances are that you’ve experienced losing a client at some point. Whether there were creative differences, budget issues, or you weren’t available, there are some things that you can do to alleviate some of the sting from breaking up with a client, and perhaps put you in a better position to work with them in the future, even if the root cause is simply that they couldn't afford your rates.
Blackmagic sent me one of their 4.6K URSA Mini Cameras to play with, and after just a few short days of messing around with it, the URSA Mini certainly made an impression. A RAW, 16-bit, 4608 pixel-wide impression to be specific. In short, this camera system is a beast, and comes at a price point that is very attractive.
I recently earned my Remote Pilot Certification, which allows me to fly a small UAS (drone) for paid photo and video work in the USA, under the FAA’s Part 107 rule. With no background in aviation, passing the test was no easy feat for me. If you’re considering taking the test yourself, read about my experiences to make sure you’re well prepared.
Aimed at DSLR filmmakers looking to invest in a larger production kit, the Blackmagic Video Assist 4K is a seven-inch touchscreen monitor that doubles as a video recorder. I was able to use the Video Assist during several shoots last month in Chicago, and I’ll go over the features, build quality, uses, and talk a bit about pricing as well.
The filmmakers of “The Muir Project,” known for their first documentary, “Mile… Mile and a Half,” have just released their latest film, “Noatak: Return to the Arctic.” I interviewed Director Ric Serena who told me about the production challenges his team faced when working on a remote river deep in Alaska and why they chose to go with the Canon 1DC as their camera of choice.
I’m a huge fan of gimbal stabilizers, and absolutely love how easy it is to get dreamy, floating footage with these relatively inexpensive accessories. A lot of attention has been on products like the MoVi and Ronin, but other manufacturers have stepped up their game and are making products that are just as competitive in terms of features and price. One such item is the Moza Lite II, which I’ve been reviewing for the last few weeks.
I know that I’m preaching to the choir when I say that personal projects, free from the constraints of commercial clients dictating production details, are an important outlet for creativity and staying sharp on your skills. Photographer Ray Demski just dropped his latest passion project, "Fireball," combining parkour, football (soccer), and beatboxing.
Pelican cases have long been an industry standard for top-of-the-line protection of cameras, lenses, lights, hard drives, and all other forms of fragile video or photo gear. Their new “Air” line of cases bring that same protection, but at a lower weight. I got to try the Pelican 1535 Air out and see how it performed on a travel video job.
Any seasoned filmmaker or photographer will tell you that it’s not the size of your camera, sensor, or lens that matters, but how you use it (or craft your supporting elements like lighting, composition, etc.). But what I’ve come to realize is that size does matter– because impressing a client on set is just as important as impressing them with the final product.
When traveling (flying, to be specific) for a photo or video job, there’s a lot more planning and logistics that go into being prepared for not only the job, but living out of a suitcase, sometimes without the support of people available to help you. I’ve put together a checklist of things that I often need to consider when traveling for a gig.
Lots of skilled videos editors have started to see the value in being hired for contract work. It’s a great supplement to other income, you can be picky about projects, and most of us enjoy the work. But what about negotiating rates, estimating time, and dealing with files after the job? Here are some tips for the business-side of being a freelance video editor.
The smaller size, lighter weight, and ability to get a high angle shot has made the monopod a useful tool for many photographers and videographers, especially for subjects like sports, wildlife, and run and gun situations. I got to review the new 3Pod Orbit Monopod to test its features on a couple of different projects to see how it holds up to real world shooting scenarios.
Are you proud of every commercial photo or corporate video production you’ve done? Have you ever found yourself explaining to someone, maybe even a client, about how a project you worked on could have been better, but you were held back by the lack of a big budget? That’s understandable to a point, but I think there has to be a certain standard of quality with any production, regardless of budget.
It’s safe to say that this camera doesn’t suck, and in the hands of someone like Tim Kemple, who’s at the top of their game, the results are pretty incredible. I got the chance to chat with Tim about his thoughts on using the new Phase One XF 100MP camera, including what happened when he flew it on a drone over a waterfall.
One key to longevity in filmmaking or photography is to have regular clients that you enjoy working with. What’s even better is when you have enough work coming in from those top clients, so that you can actually pick and choose the projects you take on, and even go as far as to expand your business or pass work off to qualified associates for a modest finders fee. It takes a long time to get there, but being savvy about building a client base can help tremendously.
Dave Sandford is a professional sports photographer from Ontario, whose roots in photography keep him coming back to bodies of water, capturing images that move him personally. What he found close to home in the shallow water of Lake Erie turned out to be some of the most dramatic waves he’d ever seen, and Dave came away with an incredible series of images to share.
No stranger to unique and challenging photography pursuits, Ben VonWong's latest adventure sent him across the Western United States in search of summer thunderstorms, with an entourage of assistants, filmmakers, and models helping along the way. VonWong shared this behind-the-scenes video, but also some insightful information as to the conversation he hopes to start– one about the seriousness of climate change.
It can be a real creative challenge to try and concept, as well as execute, something that has never been done before, especially in photography. Adventure photographer Craig Kolesky accepted that challenge and ended up in the desert of Namibia, with two unlikely athletes for such a location. I asked Craig a few questions about this project that he shot for Red Bull Photography.
Whether you’re a photographer, filmmaker, video editor, first assistant, or even just starting out as a PA, you’ve got to work to survive. There are many lengths of time where the work might seem to be non-stop; you work so much that when you do have free time, you might not even know what to do with yourself. The winds of fate can change quickly though, and you might find yourself all of sudden not having any new jobs lined up. After doing this dance for over ten years as a video producer and photographer now based out of Lexington, Kentucky, I’ve learned a few things about dealing with the stresses of when business is slow.