Monday, May 19, 2014

Back to Video & My First Documentary

George here again!

   Lately I've been doing a lot of photo related things. Be it macro photography, wide angles, composites etc. And that's great! I love doing that stuff, but it felt like I was doing the same thing over & over. I thought of a short term sea change, and it hit me. VIDEO! Why not? I used to do a lot of it. Albeit I might not have a camera that shoots very good video, but why would I let that stop me?

This is my most recent piece that I shot, edited, and directed:

   My first documentary! Not only was it nerve wracking, but it was my real taste at making an actual piece of actual professional video content. Let me take you through the process I took to see this from beginning to end.

   This was tricky. I had never shot anything of this sort before. I may have done some "demo-reel" style videos for others, but never a story piece with a beginning, middle, and end. I had to plan this out completely different.

   What helped me get the story out was to physically write out the structure for the Hero's Journey. For those of you who don't know, the Hero's Journey is the basic structure for storytelling. For more information on it, watch this highly educational video:

And after that I saw this video:

   After watching these videos, I figured out what & how I was going to ask the questions. Below are the questions I asked:
 1)  What was your first exposure to Spanish?
 2)  Of the many Languages to learn, why Spanish?
 3)  What were some of the challenges you faced in learning Spanish?
 4)  How did you overcome those challenges?
 5)  Why did you want to become a Spanish teacher?
 6)  Any advice for those wanting to learn a foreign language?

And with that done, I rolled into Principal Photography.

Principal Photography:
   The easiest/hardest part of the interview, actually conducting it. We had to figure out when/where to meet. Once we got that settled, it was time to go to the location. What happened after that... funny story. I was driving to the location we were planning on shooting, then out of the corner of my eye I saw him driving past me. In an instant, I parked, got out, and chased him for a good block and a half (and keeping up with the car to boot). Realizing that I wasn't going to catch him, I stopped and gave him a call. His response, "Were you the guy chasing me?" Once we had that fiasco settled out. We met at a new location and proceeded with the interview. For video I just used the T1i in 720p. The lens was my Canon FD 50mm f/1.4. For audio I used my iPhone with the RĂ˜DE Rec app. And for sticks I used the my trusty Manfrotto 294 Aluminum Tripod with 804RC2 3-Way Head. And the whole interview took only 20 minutes.

   Now comes the real work, Post-Production. As many of you know, I use FCPX and love it. Now with the new update to 10.1, things fly faster than Premiere CC. Editing took only four hours... from start to finish. It was really flying. The sound, color grade, everything! But after that came the hardest part of the entire process... Subtitling. It took me about 12 hours to get a basic subtitle out. THEN I had to go back and refine it. For more information about this process, check out Philip Bloom's post here. Here's a screenshot of the early subtitling phase:

   Once that was done... I was ready to upload it to Vimeo & YouTube. Personally I prefer Vimeo because of the compression, but everyone uses YouTube.

   I want to give a shoutout to my cousin Ernest Koury. He runs a media company out in El Paso Texas and he helped me with the editing process. Check out his website here:

That's it! From start to finish about this film. I hope you guys enjoy it and I hope to see you soon.
   George out!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Unfortunate News

**This is an update to the previous post, read it by Clicking Here**

   As murphy's law says, "anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." This morning I saw clouds just over the horizon. Normally they just stay where they originate from. But, with the winds picking up lately, they started moving. Fast forward 14 hours to now... We have overcast thicker than pea soup.

   But that's how the ball bounces. The meteor shower will be going on for another week, so I'll try again.

In the immortal words of Ryan Connolly,
   Write, shoot, edit, repeat and I'll see you next week.

A Bloody Brilliant Moon and the Aquarid Meteor Shower

Good morning everyone!

   Our cameras are amazing. They help us record rare and beautiful objects. And that is why the night sky is an amazing thing to photograph. If you leave the camera on a long enough exposure, you see the stars trailing. If you wake up early enough, you hit the early morning Golden Hour. And if you're fortunate, you could be photographing a rare celestial event.

   Take for example the Blood Moon that happened a few weeks ago. This type of Lunar Eclipse hasn't happened for over 300 years. So you know people everywhere are going to shoot it. For me, I pulled out my old Canon FD 300mm f/4 and put it on my Crop-Sensored T1i. Giving me the equivalent of a 480mm lens on a Full-Frame. I set the Aperture to f/8, ISO 400, and the Shutter Speed to 1 second. And I got this:
Bloody Brilliant Moon

This is my favorite shot I took. Quoting one of my favorite films, b-e-a-utiful.

   Now, on to more current news. This Monday night/Tuesday (night of May 5-6) morning there will be a meteor shower in the general area of the constellation Aquarius. The meteor shower will last from roughly Moonset up until Sunrise for all those living in the continental USA. You can check out the links below for more information. I will be posting on Instagram @gwphotographe that night. So I hope to see you then!

Links for information about the Meteor Shower:

Monday, March 31, 2014

Creative Challenge

Before I start this post I have to say that the colored mountain and the black & white for Cassie won. (Click here to see what I'm talking about)

George back once again!

   Every now and then when I want to clear my head I take the camera and go for a walk. Sometimes 20 minutes, sometimes 3 hours. And usually I just take two of my primes, if not then just a zoom. But this time it was different, I wanted to challenge myself to produce images with limited gear (besides the challenge, I got tired of lugging around a lot of gear). I thought about it, and I decided to pull out my 24mm and head out. Take a look at the results:

Pinecone "Macro"

Stand Out Lily

   I have to admit this was an interesting challenge. I had to keep in mind what I had & what I could do. I didn't have a long lens, so I wasn't shooting birds. I didn't have a very fast lens, so I didn't shoot in the deep shadows. I didn't have a very wide lens, so I wasn't shooting landscapes. I knew what I was going to shoot and brought only what I needed.

   My question for you is this. Do any of you do anything to spring your creative juices back into gear every once in a while? What is it? Leave your comments below.

   Until next time, this is George saying... Adios.