Sunday, March 23, 2014

Weekends? What are those?

Sunday... just another work day. They forget to mention this part in the self employed business owner pamphlet. No such thing as a day off.  ... Ok, that not entirely true. Technically, i take time off when ever i want to, but when you have bills to pay and goals to meet, (depending on how motivated and disciplined you are) down time is a luxury.

Got a phone call where i had to juggle the ol' schedule a round a little because i was suppose to shoot an internet commercial for a company on the 29th, but there are some scheduling issues with the talent and a couple other details, so we decided to push it back a couple weeks. I'm learning there is a lot of that in this business. I'm ok with it, i've got plenty other things to do and this sort of thing is bound to happen when you have many people involved.

I have to reshoot a portion of a video tour tuesday because to owner/ agent didn't like the way the grass in the front lawn looked and the background music wasn't what they were looking for.  *sigh* Doesn't matter if i list on the website and tell them before i roll cameras to "Make sure the property is ready to show", things still slip between thru the cracks.

Still gotta read thru the latest Black Rabbit web series script revision, a necessary step since i'm the creative lead, before we can start with the table read and putting together our shot list and location planning and blah blah blah.

One highlight i'm looking forward to getting to tonight is laying out the ground work and logistics to purchasing a camera drone.

I'm looking at picking up one of these kits since it has everything i need in one package and it'll save me the time and hassle of building a unit myself. Here's the link:

DSLR Pros Camera Drone

Ya, the idea of working with a unit like this puts a giant smile on my face, but it's not as simple as buy and fly in this case. i gotta make sure i can make the money back and that it becomes a good selling point for Black Rabbit Enterprises.

I've been a RC helicopter and airplane enthusiast for a long time now, to operating this things isn't an issue. It's lining up paying gigs that's got me a little nervous. At this point in the game, a $4k purchase is a pretty big deal to me, tho eventually (especially in the entertainment business) making equipment purchases that can go well into the 6 figures is common practice. I'm simply not there yet.

At any rate, long hours, little down time, hard work... and still loving every minute of it! What more could you ask for?

.... anyone want to be my sugar momma???

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Down to Business!

4 hours of sleep and out the door for a video shoot! Time to mainline caffeine! ... actually, grabbed a can of Monster on my way out. This one is a video tour of a house in Walnut. Actually, I shot the interior last week, but the exterior front wasn't ready yet, so i had to go back today. Was really hoping to got out there a little earlier to catch the better morning light, but it wasn't in the cards.

So, i thought i'd share a little of the equipment i'm running right now. pretty low end, but hey, we all gotta start somewhere right?

When i go on a residential video tour shoot, on of the first things i do is what i call the role up. I slap my go pro to the windshield of my car and get some footage of what the neighborhood looks like right around the house. When i shoot something for a yacht, i don't bother with this step because... we, who cares what the area around the marina looks like. instead, i slap the go pro to the hull of the yacht at various places and get footage with the vessel underway (when it's possible to have the vessel underway that is). Anyway, here's my little buddy Mike (yes, i named my go pro):

So Mike is Gopro Hero3 Silver. In the above shot, he's mounted on a suction cup mount. These things are awesome! rated at being stable and secure at speeds up to 150mph! Check out the specs: GoPro suction mount. I usually have Mike in the fully enclosed waterproof protective body. This body sucks for audio recording, but i normally don't need to do any sound recording what i do stuff like this, so it doesn't matter. If the video requires voice, then i record that later of site with different audio equipment.

My main workhorse right now is my trusty Canon EOS Rebel T3i. Now, in the world of DSLR cameras that are video capable, the T3i is basically on the low end as far as price and in bells & whistles. What i needed was a DSLR camera that could shoot 1080p at 60 FPS (Frames Per Second) and this camera does it the price point i had at the time of purchase. I'm getting ready to upgrade soon now that business is taking off, but my T3i will always be in my standard tool bag.

The Lens i use the most with Video Tour shoots is a Sigma wide angle. Great lens! Rugged metal construction and smooth controls. I've also got a standard polarized ND (neutral density) filter on the lens for outdoor video shooting, good for 2 f-stop reduction.

The Mic is an Azden Shotgun mic. This puppy works GREAT! excellent sound capture, just remember to adjust your cameras' input to almost all the way down or you'll get over sampled recordings.

The tripod is a discontinued Manfroto fluid head model.  The fluid head is important for smooth and stable panning shots. These types of tripods can be  considerably more expensive then photo tripods.

Last, but not least in my standard Video Tour tool bag is my GlideCam rig.

So, i'm running the Glidecam XR-1000. But i'm starting to push the limits of the weight of camera and gear that this Glidecam model can take, so i'm pretty sure i'm going to have to upgrade soon. A friend turned me on to a full steady cam rig (vest and all) that is actually a good quality rig (despite the fact it's made in china) that's suppose to be around $800... as apposed to $10-15k. Seems a lot of industry pros have been selling their expensive rigs and getting this cheaper model.

There you have it. Those are the basic tools i use on most video tour shoots. I now have access to some good lighting equipment, but it's proving out that using them complicates matters a little since i use Glidecam walk thru shots and lighting any particular part of a house on the fly is too time consuming and impractical for the amount of time i have to do a shoot and the mount of money i charge per video. I also have access to a much nicer Nikon camera, but i haven't had the chance to really get used to using it yet and the last thing i need is to not know what i'm doing with a camera when i'm on sight, or not know what kind of results i'm going to get because i'm unfamiliar with my equipment.

Now its off to editing and that's something for another post.

I need food.

I leave you now with a Video Tour i did not to long ago:

18  March, 2014

            So whats new? Since the last time I made a blog entry, lots. I’ve basically added “filmmaker” to the list of the things I try to do. It’s been an adventure that I wish I had started a loooong time ago. I’m loving every minute of it. Even the tedious and hardest parts of it all. I’m lovin’ it. I still Illustrate and tattoo here and there, whenever the opportunity arrises, but I don’t actively look to work in a tattoo shop anymore. Instead, I find the idea of getting paid to play make believe and tell stories to be the greatest thing ever!

            So, I started an LLC with the goal of making it a web based indie media production company. Seems like the perfect time in the world of entertainment to do that, right? What with Netflix encompassing upwards of 70% (I think) of internet traffic on a daily basis. Web based entertainment is becoming a real contender in the world today. Granted, literally anyone can go out and pick up a camera and start making stuff. The market is pretty flooded, but the good stuff still finds it’s way to the forefront and shine. That’s what I want to do. Tell good stories. With the economy the way it is, and the fact that tax laws and stuff have really been turned upside down, it’s become harder and harder to make your way into the entertainment industry. So I figured, why wait for someone to give me the chance? I’ll just do it myself! …… Pipe dream, right? Maybe. But I know what I want to do with my life now, so I’m just gonna set out and do it. Sure it’s gonna be an uphill climb, and by no means has it been easy, but I never expected it to be. Besides, how many of the great figures in history, really knew what they were doing when they set out to do it?... don’t answer that.

            What’s the name of the LLC I started? It’s called Black Rabbit Enterprises. Why Black Rabbit? Because all this actually started with the web series I created called “Black Rabbit”.  I’ll post the web address for the production later, it’s still under construction, but we’re working on it. but you can check out and "Like" our Facebook fan page here:

            The other venture I’ve started is Video Tours for real estate and yachts. Not sure what that is? Take a look:

            The video tours business is taking off a bit. It’s a lot of work to get out there to promote the business, but it is what it is.

            I’m hoping to add aerial cinematography to my list of tools and services soon. I’ll talk about that in another post.

            What else am I up too?  Working on producing web based commercial for business and products and such. Then after Black Rabbit web series is on its feet, then I plan on starting other web series productions. Not just mine, but others peoples ideas too. And that’s still just the beginning of it. There’s still merchandising and live events. Yes my plans are pretty expansive… but hey, go big or go home, right?