Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas, Happy Festivus!

Merry Christmas, and Happy Festivus!

What am I doing? Working on the house... We bought the floor tile and I was about to lay it down when the wall heater died. Yes, during a record breaking cold weekend, our heater died. Thank goodness we have a fireplace, and thank goodness for presto-logs!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


been working on the kitchen... the walls are sheetrocked in and should be painted this week. Hopefully this weekend I can start laying the granite tile floor, then we can finally get the stove and fridge out of the living room!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Prayer photos

Here are a couple of more set photos from the "Prayer" shoot:

This shot is Gaffer Jeremy Moore scaling a power pole to mount a 1k. Handy having those baby-sized pegs...

We put the light up with full CTS to simulate sodium, which worked well. The cool thing about mounting to the existing pole was that when shot the wide establishing shot, it totally played as a working practical!
Here is a CU w/ the sodium light:

This scene was easy to light, just a little skirting to the existing fluo fixture...

Here is the crew shot at the hospital scene in the former McClellan AFB hospital.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Binary J

Hey I found a cool site on the net that takes a picture and converts it to ascii art. There are lots of options, but in this case I opted for "random binary greyscale" (click the image to see it bigger...)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Prayer of a Righteous Seed

We've completed shooting on a nice little short film called "Prayer of a Righteous Seed" We shot it on the DVX at some very nice locations, including a great little church with nice stained glass windows, and here below at the American River.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Time Lapse Edit

I've compiled some of the time lapse stuff I've been working on into a 30-second file.

It is downloadable here:

It's 13.5 megs

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

DIY 15mm support rods

So I went ahead and made myself a set of support rails for my camera. I’d been wanting to build some as they are extremely expensive, but I don’t have access to a metal shop, and couldn’t figure out how to build some of the items. That is until I found these:

These are electrical connectors that just happen to be exactly 15mm – the industry standard width for support. They are made of aluminum, so they are lightweight but strong. Perfect, especially at $5 a pair! (If ordering I would get the TA-250)

So I went ahead and bought all the parts and pieces, then found Cavision came out with affordable (~$160) and well made rods:

I’ve also seen these very affordable rods at ~$90!

So why put myself thru the grief of a DIY epic when I can buy some well built rods for an affordable price. That’s what I though until I got tired of looking at all the raw materials just sitting there – potential unfulfilled. Well, two weeks later I was able to put them together, and I’m quite happy. I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t already have the pieces, but since I did, I’m quite happy. Below are some pics. I plan on blacking the aluminum and bluing the steel parts, but I thought I’d grab some shots so the parts are easy to see. The rods are 14mm, so they are a little small, but work just fine when clamped down. (It’s darned near impossible to find affordable SS or Aluminum 15mm rods in the US!)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Studio of Tomorrow

After two years, we are finally finishing production of a short film I crewed on. As luck would have it, two days of production were filming in Oakland.

I jumped at the opportunity to work with some long-time friends on what is quite possibly the best short film I have been associated with. Lots of cool people on this shoot, and I can’t wait to see an end result. I’m sure you will see something, as this project should be verry good. My job was Key Grip, I got to work with old friends Eric Petersen, who gaffed, Aaron Rattner who produced, as well as many new ones, including the director, Teddy Newton (of Pixar fame!) Life is good when you are working on a great project with a great crew, thanks guys for the opportunity!

I got to make my second cameo – look for the back of my head in the final edit!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Demolition Derby – State Finals!

This weekend was the demolition derby state finals, a two day event at the California State Fair. For those who have never been, you may snicker but everyone I bring to the derby gets hooked – guaranteed. This year was no different. The first night my wife and I went with her best friend Tala and her husband Mike. Then next night I brought my friend Erik Espera. Here are some shots:

Dinner - Fair Food!!!

Derby participants...

My Wife and I.

Erik and I.

The aftermath...

Everyone's a winner!

Friday, September 01, 2006

It couldn't be that easy...

So I’m experimenting with timelapse with a digital still camera for a promo shoot I‘m doing. I wanted to mount the camera to the front of my truck, and since it has a brush guard, that should help with additional mount points. But how to do it…? I’ve done lots of carmounts before, hostess tray, hood mount, even the doggie cam mount which worked very well. But I’m not near a rental house for such equipment, so how to mount on to the front of my truck… I could clip a couple of mafirs or cardilinies, then bolt on an “L” bracket and mount the camera to that, with reinforcement of course… So I went to take some measurements of my grill guard to figure it out when I saw this:

No way! Could it be this easy?!? The brush guard has two mount points for off-road lights. This goes against the second law of thermodynamics! All I had to do was unscrew a $2 garage-sale tripod head (thanks mom for that find!) and screw it on to the mount point:

Put the camera on, safety cable it to the grille and off we go, easy!

Below is a grab from the sequence, I put 2 ND.6 filters on in addition to the internal ND filter to help the camera take a slow picture for lots of motion blur:

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

It's been a while...

It's been a while, and just in case anybody was wondering, here is what I have been speinding most of my free time working on:

We have no kitchen. It's stripped down to the 2x4s and concrete floor. Even the ceiling is torn apart. I'm removing the soffets, adding new outlets for the dishwasher and garbage disposal, and extra outlets for the counter, and new lights above. We are getting new cabinets from Ikea and I am installing a black granite tile counter and floor. Right now I really miss home cooking...

Monday, July 17, 2006


This spot was for “LawnMiser”, a device that measures the moisture content in your yard and adjusts the sprinklers for optimal saturation. The client wanted an attention grabbing spot, and that’s always good to hear, but how do you convey the technical aspects of the product without sounding clinical?

The concept I came up with was to show what would happen if someone built (Rube Goldberg style) a contraption to do the same thing. One neighbor would have the eyesore contraption, while the other would have the elegant end effective LawnMiser.

Here is a rough sketch of the device:
(click to enlarge)

As the water from the sprinkler fills the umbrella with water, it pulls an arm down.

As the arm moves an indicator dial moves from “dry” to “wet”. While the umbrella moves down, the other end of the arm moves up, pulling a rope, this rope, attached via pulleys, pulls a boot (mine) up. Simultaneously, as the arm moves, a pair of scissors (connected via cables and pulleys) is pulled closed, eventually cutting the rope, thereby dropping the boot, falling on a valve, shutting off the water supply to the sprinklers.

What’s amazing is:

a) I was able to build this thing out of parts lying around.

b) It actually kind of worked. (almost, would have…)

As I was putting this thing together I also thought it would be cool to dis-assemble the unit 98% and with the help of fishing line, film it falling apart. (although we did have a collapse during production that set us back about an hour…) As it turned out, I’m glad I did because even though it wasn’t in the original storyboards, It fit in very well at the end of the spot to bring home the point.

At any rate, you can download a copy of the spot here:

Thursday, July 13, 2006

NYC -> SLC -> Home (Monday)

An over-crowded shuttle ride took us to JFK and the famiar Delta terminal. Our flight ot Salt Lake City got in early (!), but the flight to Sacramento was overbooked. We volunteered to sell our seats for a later flight and found ourselves with a 7 hour lay-over. What to do?

We thought about taking the free Mormon tour to the tabernacle, but the pressure to join would be too strong. We decided to catch the public bus into SLC and see an IMAX movie at the mall. We got bored while waiting for the public bus and rented a car instead. We headed up north a bit to visit Antelope Island. It’s an island in the middle of the Salt Lake, connected by a 6-mile causeway. We picked a beach in a cove and I took off my shoes, rolled up my pant legs and went for a stroll. I walked out about 100 yards but it only went up to my knees. There are no fish in the lake, but there are brine flies. Billions of them.

They hatch in the lake, but are blown to the edge of the shore. There are so many of them, they turn the white shore black. They don’t bite, but they do flock around you. With each step you walk they fly off like waves on the ocean. Way cool when walking barefoot.

On the way back we drove past a parked “It’s a truck-It’s a boat-It’s a truck” thing. I’ve seen them in Monterrey, London, and Dublin, but Salt Lake City?!? I mean it, those things move s-l-o-w, what could there possibly be to see?!?

Ireland -> NYC (Sunday)

Today was our last day in Ireland :-(

We dropped off the rental car and boarded our plane at Shannon airport. After a 3-movie flight across the Atlantic we landed at JFK. We took a shuttle to our hotel, dropped off our bags and caught the tram and subway into Manhattan (a 1-hour ride on the “E” train). We exited on the last stop, the World Trade Center station.

It was powerful to see it in person, I only wish I could have seen it before. We headed on foot (East?) toward the water to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. It wasn’t more than a block before I spotted a 9-light and a 12k on a condor. Hmmm… Then a Panavision NYC truck, then a crowd. Turns out they were shooting “Spiderman 3” and setting up for a stunt shot. I talked to a grip who was rigging a process trailer with a frame of truss and a winch to do wire work of a person (Toby?) being pulled off a moped while driving down a Manhattan street. Way cool, but I’m on vacation and this feels a little bit like work.

We passed a hotdog cart and bought a pretzel and a Gatorade (What no crab juice?!?) then took the subway to the pier section and caught a 2hr cruise around the island. We got a nice close view of the Statue of Liberty. The sun set and we watched the lights of the city turn on as we came back to port.

Once we docked, we walked the short distance to Broadway. It was easy to tell, just follow the lights… From there we headed up to 53rd street and caught a glimpse of the famous Ed Sullivan Theatre and the even more famous Hello Deli. Unfortunately they were closed :-(

Our next stop was to be the Empire State Building, but to get there was a bit of a walk, and we were fast approaching a 24hr long day, so we hailed a human powered bicycle rickshaw cab ($20). Riding down Broadway at night under the lights – so cool! Siobhan was a bit nervous with all the weaving in and out of traffic, and the taxis honking at us and all… But I wasn’t nervous, after all I’m sure our driver was experienced and knew what he was doing… right? Turns out he was a new citizen from Azerbaijan, and he had only been in the country for 3 weeks – D’oh!

We arrived safe enough and while the lobby of the Empire State Building was magnificent, we decided not to pay the $16 to go up to the top. It seems the top was in the clouds, and visibility was zero. People coming down said it looked like a big grey wall…

Exhausted, we made it back to the subway for the 1hr return trip. Instead of taking the tram though, we decided to take a taxi to get back to the hotel. It turns out our driver was driving an “unlicensed” cab. It was just a guy and his car, no meter. But oh well, we had a pre-arranged price ($10, same as the tram) and got back to the hotel soon enough. (Bed!!!)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Enniskillen (Saturday)

After a nice Irish breakfast we left our farmhouse B&B and drove south to visit the “Marble Arch” caves. This cave was carved underground by a river. It’s fairly big and has some good formations, but what makes this one special is the length. The tour is about 1km, and part of that was by boat. Totally Cool.

Afterwards we drove south and got to the cliffs of Moher in time for the sunset. For dinner we walked down to the beach and found a pub. I had my last bowl of Irish Stew (damn good!) and we listened to the band for a while before catching the sunset.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

North Ireland (Friday)

Today was our most event filled day. We had a full Irish Breakfast which included Bacon, Eggs, Potatoe Bread, sausage, has browns and something called “black pudding”. I don’t know what it was, and I don’t want to know till I get back. All I know is that it was black with whitish things in it, it was mushy and about the size of a hockey puck, and tasted like liver…

Our B&B had an amazing location, we woke to a panoramic view of the ocean and sea cliffs. At the end of the driveway was a cliff about 300’ above the sea. Attached to the cliff was a small island peninsula, and on top of that were the ruins of an old castle. We explored that for a while then went on the see the “carrick-a-reed” rope bridge. This rope bridge was built by fishermen in the 1600’s to allow access to an island for fishing salmon. The bridge dangles above the crashing waves below. Totally fun.

Our next stop was the “Giant’s Causeway”, a weird geologic formation of hexagonal columns of rock about 2’ in diameter that vary from about 1’ to 6’ tall and form a jetty that leads out into the ocean. Hard to believe, too weird to describe.

We had lunch in an old 1-room schoolhouse converted into a pub. I had “Steak and Guiness Pie” and Siobhan had her favorite: “Cheese and onion toasty”

That afternoon we went to castle Dunlace. It too was built out on a rock in the ocean, but this one was a massive, and was connected by a bridge to the main land that (back in the cay) was a drawbridge that could be raised to ward off attackers. It also had several large cannons (salvaged from a nearby shipwreck) pointed at the bridge so if any invading army tried to set up their own bridge, it would be blown to bits. This castle was in partial ruin, but it started in the 1700’s when on stormy night part of the rock island gave way and took the backside of the castle with it, including the kitchen and several of the servants.

After that we stopped by the city of Derry to visit the old walled city center. North Ireland in general is more economically depressed than Southern Ireland, but it shows most in the urban areas. There was lots of graffiti, but it was mostly political. I also saw several building sized murals that had political themes. Before leaving Derry, we stopped at a mall and bought some socks and underwear. (I was beginning to run out…)

That evening we drove to Ennikskillen. On the way there we passed a fish and chips place that had a packed parking lot – a good sign. It was to go only, so we took our dinner to the next town and hand an impromptu picnic on a riverbank next to a stone bridge from the 1600’s (common)

When we got to our B&B, the owners let us use their computer to update the blog. When I asked if they knew what a blog was (they were old…) they said yes, they were following their son’s blog as he climbed Mount Everest.

What?!? Yes, he is climbing Everest and they are using sat phones to update their blog to raise funds for cancer research. Whatever ego my blog once had…

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Ireland- Dublin > Newgrange > North Ireland (Thursday)

This morning we got up early (7 AM), had our breakfast and drove down to Trinity College to look at the Book of Kells, an 8th century illuminated manuscript. Nice fonts. The college is also famous for Samuel Beckett, who (if you have ever seem him) looks like he just tripped a 220V circuit.

We then caught an "Its a truck, its a boat, its a truck" tour of Dublin and some of its waterways. Way cool...

We left Dublin and headed an hour north to visit Newgrange, built in 3200 BC, predating the Pyrimads. As cool as this was, I was deeply annoyed at the administration of the tour and the visitors center. It turns out that you can't but admission tickets at Newgrange, you have to drive 15 miles to the visitors center. Then you take a shuttle bus to Newgrange, see the sight, then take the shuttle back to the center. Very annoying. What should've taken an hour, took 3, but then while waiting for your bus you could always get something to eat at the visitor center coffee shop or shop in the gift shop...

We then headed up to Northern Ireland. I was unsure what kind of security check point they would have at the border, but really the only thing that you could tell was a slight change in the pavement quality and the prices for gas changing from Euros to Pounds.

I'd hoped to stop at a pub in Belfast for dinner, but our extended stay at Newgrange prevented that. So instead, we caught some mall food before it got to late. It was kind of wierd being in a shopping mall in Northern Ireland eating mall food listening to 80s classics by Lionnell Richie.

We made it up to the coast just as a storm started. Tomorrow is a big outside day, so we shall see...

Ireland- Dublin (Wednesday)

After breakfast and a bit of a nap, we walked down Oconnell Street and crossing the Liffey river we went to the Christ Church Cathedral to see Dublinia, medieval museum. Plenty of Monty Python material here!

After that we stopped by the Dublin Castle before catching dinner at a pub. The world cup is going on right now and everywhere there is a TV, it's on the game and there is a crowd about.

After dinner we went straight to O'donoghues Pub to listen to some traditional music. On the way back to the hotel, we passed the post office, the home of the 1916 uprising. You can still see the bullet holes in the marble columns outside.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Ireland Cork->Waterford->Dublin (Tuesday)

Today was our longest driving day of the trip. We had our breakfast and left Kilarney about 10am, stopped at a Texaco with a long slopping wall covered with grass and apark on top of where you pump ?!?

We drove to Blarney Castle just ourside of Cork in Southern Ireland. After a quick lunch we went to the castle. The castle was big, taller than bunratty, but rough and unrestored. It's a well organized tourist spot with Space Mountain sized lines, but instead of a roller coaster, you get to kiss a rock. I did. So did Siobhan. So did thousands of other people that day. Yuck. I'm just glad it was raining. The castle was cool, but even cooler was the walled garden. This place was magic, with sets straight out of of the Lord of the Rings, The Brothers Grimm, and the Princess Bride. Trees that seem alive, secret stairway tunnels carved thru solid rock, mysterious stone circles. Totally cool.

Afterwards we drove along the coast to the port town of Waterford. We visited the crystal factory before heading north to Dublin. This part of the country looked suprising similar to Norcal's Central Valley in the spring time. Lots of cows, oak trees, and gentle rolling hills covered in grain.

We arrived in dublin at 10pm.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ireland - Killarney and the "Ring of Kerry" (Monday)

Please forgive any spelling or punctuation errors, as we are trying to type these in on the fly at internet cafes along the way, that plus the european keyboard is slightly different, causing \ when I should shift and # when I try to hit return...

The next morning we got up for breakfast, I had a hearty Irish breakfast of hash brown potatoes (everything comes with potatoes, it's mandatory), beans and a grilled tomatoe. We then went back to sleep and woke up at 2pm for a total of 16 hrs sleep! It made a world of difference to feel rested though...

We headed out to drive the "Ring of Kerry", a circular drive around a peninsula. The first village we came to was Killorglin. There we strolled through the town and had lunch.

We continued the drive, which ofcourse is amazing. What the 17mile drive is to Monterrey, the Ring of Kerry is to Ireland. Most of the Ring is comprised of about 7-10 major sights with and amazing drive inbetween each. However, along the route are numerous side-trips that can be even more amazing.

The next stop was Caheriveen. This was a side trip we took to see a pre-historic stone fort built about 900AD. It was a couple of miles off our main route, and along the way we took a wrong turn and found an abandon castle, not in the guide books or on the map. It looks to have been built about 1500AD, but it was half collapsed, and half covered with ivy. It was totaly out of "Highlander".

The rest of the day went like that, discovering hidden fishing coves, ancinet monuments, and quainter than you can imagine villages. Literally every kilometer is something to make you say "OMG" and get out of the car and explore. It got dark about 9:45 and we were able to catch a fish and chips place in a seaside village before they closed. We got back to the B&B about midnight.

Ireland- Shannon Airport to Killarney (Sunday)

After an overnight flight with about two hours sleep, we landed at Shannon Airport in southwest Ireland. It is better for jetlag ans scheduling to fly overnight, but it is always a jolt to stumble groggily out of the airplane, over to the Avis desk, pick up the car, then find yourself driving down a high speed freeway is some foreign country. I still can't believe that they let you rent a car, without giving some kind of driving test. On our first honeymoon, we drove all over England and Scotland, so you would think that I would have it down, but how far did I make it before driving down the wrong side of the road? Less than 1 km! The car coming at us just kind of stopped and looked.

We rented one of those micro cars, literally a nissan "micra". Its a four-door that is smaller than any US two-door. Although, I'd love to have my Discovery here, this car makes it a lot easier to park and take super tight turns.

The weather here is overcast with occassional rain, with highs in the low 60s, as opposed to Sacramento which is in the high 90s.

Our first stop in Ireland was Bunratty castle, a refurbished castle and a recreated village. I thought that it might be cheesy in a 6th grade field trip kind of way, but it was totally cool imagining life here before the industrial revolution. We ate lunch on site and got back to the car when jet lag caught up. Siobhan and I took an unplanned 45 minute nap in the parking lot. Something about a warm car...

We stopped at a grocery store to buy snacks. Its interesting to note that not only are you expected to bag your own groceries, but you also have to pay for the bags.

After about an hours drive, we made it to our B & B. It was quite cute and clean. We unloaded and headed into the town of Killarney, where we found a pub and grabed dinner. I had Irish Stew and Siobhan had a baked potato stuffed with chicken and mushroom. After that hardy and delicious meal, we made it back to the hotel and crashed for the night.

Flight to Ireland

We left early this morning and took a combination trip that layovers in Salt Lake and NYC. JFK airport is HUGE. Our connecting flight was on the opposite end from our arrival, and as we took the moving sidewalk of the future, you could discern what era each section of the airports were built. It was a rainbow cascade of 60's-70's-80's-90's-2k architecture.

This place is so huge, there are colonies (exageration) of birds flying about. There was one large pidgeon that would fly about 1' over people's heads. It looked like it was having fun. I certainly was having fun watching it. There were also 2 finches stealing moss from the pot of a large fake ficus plant. They were taking turns picking long strands and flying off to some unseen nest within the building. Imagine getting trapped and lost inside JFK airport (Tom Hanks), then finding someone else (of your same species) and hooking up to start a family...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Lanphier and Associates

This spot was for a bankruptcy attorney center. The client provided a script that… well, read like a lawyer wrote it. It hit as many bullet points as possible that the :60 and :30 second versions would allow. I took their main points and wrote a script with a more emotional appeal. Instead of featuring a spokesman, it featured a young mother who got herself into financial trouble. The idea being that any potential clients would identify with the more “human” character.
Here are some storyboards from the livingroom scene:

Now on to the 35 adapter… I’ve been working on a 35mm lens adapter (static design based on Edwierdo and Marleen’s designs) for the DVX for a couple of months now and I finally have a working prototype, although it has a few flaws. I only used 5 micron aluminum oxide to grind the ground glass. 3 micron is preferred, but at the time I ordered parts I couldn’t find any online. I was worried about the grain, but after checking the footage on a hi-res monitor, I’m very happy. The problem I have is with vignetting. Part of the problem may be caused by the lack of a condenser lens, but the main problem is due to the +10 diopter. It’s an achromat which is nice, but it’s not strong enough, and only 42mm wide, as a result, I get some hard edge vignetting around the corners. I have plans to use a 50mm +16 or +20 achromat, but that will be a little while before I can make that modification. Once I get a decent working unit, I will post about it. The lens is a 50mm f1.7 minolta, and tests show that the frame matches the 35mm sill frame closely. I really wanted to use the adapter for some of the shots in this spot, the “dark moments” as the main character is faced with financial problems. Fortunately the vignetting plays into that feeling, the dark corners make it feel like her world is closing in. Also, the spot will be letter boxed, so most of the hard vignetting will be blocked out. Here are a couple of screen grabs from the living room scene, one is a slow dolly in, and the other is a rack focus (love that shallow DOF!) from the actor to the phone. Both of these were lit only with shiny boards from outside the windows.

Here is the lighting diagram for this scene:

This next still is from the lawyers office. It’s shot clean, without the lens adapter. Lighting was natural light from the windows and modeling with 2 500watt PAR64s with full CTO, and a back light with a 75watt reflector bulb in a Lowell light with full CTO and on a dimmer to dial it in. Also below is a behind the scenes still that shows the parcan set up. We were on a second story location, so shinyboards were not an option.

This set still shows the ambient light and one of the PAR64s with full blue.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Top of the World Update


Here is some of the time-lapse footage, it is ~1 meg and 5 seconds long. The image size in the camera was set for ~1000x700 pixels, so the option exists for a slow push in or push out as well as a pan, but here is the footage with no color correction or movement in post:

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Top of the World

The other night I had the opportunity to shoot some footage from the top of the largest office building in Sacramento. I shot some shots of the Capitol and other local landmarks.

I also set up a digital camera and did some intervalometer shots of the capitol as the sun set, and some time-lapse of the freeways. The camera was a Cannon powershot G5. It’s a point and shoot 5mp camera, but it has some nice features and the ability to be controlled by a laptop which is nice.

The intervalometer shots were taken with auto exposure settings, as a test to see how smooth the transition would be. The time-lapse shots were taken with a 4 second exposure at 4 second intervals. I will post some motion shots once they are compiled in After Effects.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Emmys

This last weekend my wife and I had opportunity to attend the Northern California Emmy Awards. I was nominated in a category, and although I didn't win, it was quite an honor none the less. The event was held in the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, with a dinner reception afterwards at the exploratorium. After dinner, most of the attendees danced the night away to a collection of the most annoying wedding dance music, but went exploring instead. It was fun to play in the Exploratorium in a tuxedo and evening gown without any of the usual 4th graders hogging the exhibits! Well I hope we are able to attend next year...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Fidelity Monitor

We just wrapped shooting on a spot for "Fidelity Monitor"
Sort of an investment advisory newsletter for the Fidelity Mutual Funds.

The concept is an investor is wandering thru the road of life (a white cyc) and is plagued with options for investments by print and TV advertisements (flying CG elements)

He stumbles across a mailbox with the newsletter inside.

As he reads it, the confusion is removed.

Now enlightened, he then ascends the growth chart (stepstool) of success. Note Post production supervisor Rey Jaraba supervising the stepstool of success...

We shot the principal photography in 3 1/2 hours, but spent a day and a half lighting the set. I paid more attention to lighting the floor this time and I am much happier with the results. Uncorrected right out of the camera looks great! We also shot some blue screen material of talking head TV investment advisors that will be turned into CG elements flying around him.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Music Video: "Cognito"

I shot a music video over the weekend.

The artist was “Cognito” and the song was “Shift Kits”

It was a crazy production with crowds and motorcycle stunts and lots of off speed shooting. I volunteered to cut the video as I did a lot of in-camera stuff that needs to be treated a certain way, and I would be nervous about turning it over to an editor I was not in close contact with, so we shall see how it turns out. I’ve got just under 2 weeks to get a finished cut as the new album is out now and they want the video to go out with the promo kits. Below are some raw, uncorrected screen grabs from the first location. I will post a production journal in the “projects” section of my website soon.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Emmy Nominations

The :30 promo "busy people" got nominated for an Emmy! It's up against 2 other nominations from Bay Area stations, so wish me luck... The awards are in SF on May 20, it should be a gala evening and great chance to dress up and have a night on the town. Should be fun no matter who wins, but wouldn't it be a gas...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Skateboard Dolly

Just finished my DIY skateboard dolly. It measures 29.5" x 36".

It rides on 12 skateboard wheels that are built to run on standard 24.4" wide track.The frame is two 3/4" plywood sheets screwed together to make a robust 1.5" base. It's stained with IKEA black stain.

I originally used walmart skateboard wheels (4 for $5, cheap!) but they were just too bumpy. Even on the track it was just unusable. These things are so sensitive, that a blade of grass on the track can ruin a shot...Real skateboard wheels are expensive, so I saved my favor for a secret santa who just happens to own a skateboard shop in Louisville. (woohoo!) Real wheels and bearings make *such* a difference! I had to add like 60 spacers to make the newer, bigger wheels fit, but now it's smooth as glass.

It's also much lighter than the MSE Doorway dolly I have access to. (try lugging that thing up a hillside or getting it on a roof top!)
Since these photos were taken I have added black handles inline with the wheels, it makes carrying much easier.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Space Shuttle

Elaine Dickinson: "There's no reason to become alarmed, and we hope you'll enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?"

This past weekend I had a rare opportunity to pilot the space shuttle simulator in the NASA vertical motion simulator at the Ames Research facility at Moffett Field

I was expecting to pilot one of those motion simulators that you see on TV, but what they had was way cooler… It was one of those simulators mounted on track 40’ wide and on a pistons 75’ tall. This thing was designed to MOVE! Picture something the size of your living room that can pitch and yaw, and move 40’ side to side and six stories up and down…

The simulator was designed to have interchangeable cabs, so while one is simulating a B2, another can be prepped for and SR71.

This time it was set up in the Space Shuttle configuration. I got to try out landing the thing 7 different landing sites, form SoCal, to Florida, to Madrid, and France. They could also change the landing conditions to include fog, wind and night landings.

How did I do? Well the first landing the computer kicked me out of the simulation. Not good. Luckily this wasn’t real life. I was able to land every other time except one – they gave me a strong side wind, and the first time I attempted it I couldn’t get used to the plane “Crabbing” in- coming in straight in approach, but pointed in another direction. I felt like I was skidding on highway ice. I also had a couple of blown tires, but managed to stay on the runway.

All in all – Totally fun! And thanks Tom, I know I married into the right family!
This is a scale model of the VMS. Imagine the red and white box in the center is the size of yoru living room.

Here's me and my co-pilot Duke, without whom I would have *never* made it down alive...

...I hear next time they are rigging the simulator in lunar lander configuration for mission in 2017 – I’d love to try that one out!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Addy Awards

Congratulations to Erik Espera for winning a gold Addy award for directing the Echopheen music video! Way to go Erik, recognition well deserved.
At the awrds dinner: Erik Espera, my wife and I and Chris Stone, post production supervisor at Pacsat, where the video was posted in HD.