Projects Update 1/21/17

One year since I started this blog, done so much in this year, couldn’t be happier. looking forward to another year and a half before college. And… its almost film festival season. I have 3 new movies, one that I probably won’t submit to anything, one that I definitely will submit, and one that I will most likely submit depending on how it turns out.

Enrique Project- Ryan still wants to so might keep going doing other projects as well though.

Other film projects- Filmed The Archer! All in one night, took about 3 hours. It didn’t go all smoothly, it was cold and VERY dark. I had to film on 4.5 aperture, 12,600 ISO, and 1/30 speed; basically just trying to get it as bright as possible. I also of course had my portable lighting system (a flashlight on a tripod). They weren’t that bright. Looking over the footage, I needed to lighten almost every clip. Luckily FCPX is good at that. Anyway I’m still working on that project, I’ll see how it turns out, probably will enter it into Eyelight and NCSFF.

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Clip from The Archer

The PSA though turned out awesome! It’s called Ice and it parallels life and melting ice, and how life is fragile and it’s important to have people there that can keep you safe. Filmed with Canon T5i and Eric’s Canon T5. It’s beautiful! There’s some nature shots in it that look professional, and the ice looks amazing too! We turned off all lights and used a flashlight to highlight only the ice. Its so cool! The ice glows. Anyway the script is amazing, written by Eric, and the images are so good too! Probably the best film I’ve made so far, hopefully it will win big! I can’t post it until after the festival though, you won’t see it until like April

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End text from Ice

The EyeFix VR Commercial is done. It’s pretty funny, maybe a bit crude for Vimeo, so I posted it on the homeland of crude videos: Youtube. It’s post is here. It turned out pretty funny, but I don’t think its appropriate to enter into festivals. Well maybe Eyelight lol. But I really like it. It was a fun project and not serious like the others I’ve been doing.

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Logo I created for The eyeFix (I took the picture of the glasses as well)

So The Long Run script is on hold, I want to make it very well, and not rush it. I have another script idea though. It follows 3 people who are similar, but lonely and don’t have a lot of friends and it show how the three of them meet and become friends. It’s more of a heartwarming script that Instanly Involved or The Archer haha. I wanted to do something more sweet like that after I mad the PSA. The PSA turned out so well, and had meaning and emotion to it (emotion other than thrill and action). I wanted to do something more like that.

Equipment- just the portable lighting system.

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Portable “lighting system” (lights taped to tripods)

DMA Work- Wow, big change from last time, Haven’t done any work for DMA yet this year, only went there on Tuesday to pick up a camera, will probably do more work by the next time I post.

Film Camp/Classes- Wow its close, I have hardly prepared (flashback to me saying this over the summer lol). But I’m going to run it the same way, so I’ll be fine. 9 students in session A and 7 in session B. That’s a lot so soon!

Applying for internships and classes- Idk if I’ll do something over the summer. Really wanna apply for a class at Sac City next year though.

Video/Film Jobs- Actually STILL waiting on 80 bucks from the FH coach, I’ll have to email her again, I hate asking for money. I did another bike meeting the other day, this time it was all professional equipment. It was really cool having the Canon XA-25 with shot gun mic and tripod along with my own Canon T5i with shot gun mic and tripod. And I was in charge of all this equipment. I can now do almost any film job for anyone professionally, because I have access to this equipment. I talked to someone who works for the City of Davis, and they said that they might have a project for me! Its actually a cool project. Davis being the giant bike town it is, has lots of law enforcement on bike laws. So if you run a stop sign or don’t wear a helmet, you normally have to pay a fine of 50 bucks. Now they’re changing it so that you have to go online, watch a video, and answer questions about bike laws. And she asked me if I was interested in making the video. I had to resist yelling, “Hell Yeah!” Making a video for the CITY would be amazing!!

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Set up for the bike meeting

PSA for Orchestra- I’m going to ask him about the Wennberg concert coming up.

The DMAC- First meeting of the new year on Tuesday, we’re voting on photos for the Architecture photo contest. I also need to email about renting the IPAB for the DHS DMAC student film festival and Photo of the Year Contest. If not the IPAB, then the Vets Memorial, or maybe Varsity theater.

Film Festivals and Events- Directing Change, NCSFF, and Eyelight. That’s who I want to submit to this year. I made the Ice PSA for directing change, it has potential to actually win something this year. Then NCSFF (Northern California Student Film Festival) is a new film festival I found that’s running for the first time this year. Its open to only northern California and has cash prizes as well as trophies and other medals for winning or just being nominated. It seems like a lot of fun. The festival itself is in South San Francisco, not sure if I’ll attend it, but it looks like fun. Then info about Eyelight still hasn’t been posted, but Larsen told me it’s still going to happen. That was so much fun last year, can’t wait to go again.

Photography and Graphic Design- Did a lot of modeling and portraits with Eric (he does photo and helped me film the PSA). That was fun, I want to do more of my own portraits in the future. I used photoshop for image editing for the first time yesterday. Some of the pics are pretty cool. I posted one already, I learned how to do splash and how to highlight colors.

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Selective color enhancements done on photoshop

Other News- Not much, the semester is over now. 4.0! yeah! finally. Otherwise all is normal. I got back into composing a bit, I arranged a piece for my quintet yesterday. We’re practicing tomorrow. I don’t think I’ll audition for baroque and symphony this year, I want to focus on film and those orchestras are a lot of commitment. Anyway, busy weekends still, lots of stuff with friends… all is gooood

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Cool filming pic of me (pc: Eric)

Alright, monthly works well for posts, I’ll post again in February, right before I submit into Directing Change and NCSFF. I will have started film classes too! So that’s something to write about… next time.

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Projects Update 12/25/16

Yep it’s Christmas day. Got film presents! Shotgun mic! Video tripod! But been hard to post every 3 weeks recently. Considering I posted 2 months ago. I’m going to try and post probs more like once a month; 3-6 weeks. But lots has happened.

Enrique Project- Looking at the last update, I realize we haven’t filmed since then, which is 2 months ago. So… IDK how this is going to go, but I wanna do shorter projects. This long one is taking too long. Luckily I got 3 project ideas.

Other film projects- Lots of projects! I wanna film the Archer over break. That’s my goal. It will be a quick project that I can do in one night. AND MY VIDEO TRIPOD AND MIC WILL HELP. So planning on filming that in the near future. Then I want to enter Directing Change again and I’m going to work on a film with my friend Eric. We have some good ideas and nice equipment, so hopes are we’ll do good and maybe win something. Then I wrote a new script (half) it’s an action plot and tells a story through a series of flashbacks, that leads you to believe in a different outcome based on how much of the story you see. I want to do it VERY well, so I’m going to make a shot list, carefully cast everyone, and make sure that it’s the best I can do. Oh… and I made a film a few weekends ago. A fake commercial, just like the good old days (making those are how I got into film). Used my DSLR for the first time doing a film project. AMAZING quality, every frame is like a photograph. Of course the commercial has a ridiculous plot, but it’s a beaut… got some pull focus in there and made use of my Green Screen and lights! Still editing: it has a lot of cuts and visual effects. So you will see “The eyeFix VR infomercial” up on youtube very soon. It was a really fun project.

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Scene from the eyeFix

Equipment- Mangus Video Tripod: fluid head and 64″ max height. So excited, it will help a lot with my DSLR video, because DSLRs aren’t very stable. Then I got a Video Micro Røde mic, It’s very fluffy and I think it will be great!

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Magnus 64″ fluid head tripod; Røde Video Micro shotgun mic

DMA Work- Wow haha, last time I posted was the my first time being camera director? So I’ve directed 4 events in the IPAB already and have done 6 gigs for DMA total. so lets get started… I GOT PAID FOR WORKING A WEEKEND! 100 big ones; 9 hrs of work. That’s right, I’m getting paid to do videography for a professional media organization. So I worked Saturday night to record the US Bike Hall of Fame 2016 Honorees. I guess Davis CA where I live is home to the US Bike Hall of Fame. Pretty cool, so they had a VERY fancy banquette to honor those new people admitted to the HOF. I had a simple job, re-align the camera for every new speaker. As media though, I got to enjoy the refreshments they offered. Yes, the dessert buffet and open bar (they had sodas… I’m 17). That was very nice… and I met Barry Bonds. That was actually really cool, I shook his hand. Just being at that event I realized how at 17 I’m experiencing a media job already, and it was amazing. It just made me more excited for my future. Anyway, the next day I had to DIRECT 2 back-to-back choir concerts. It was my first time in the IPAB, but Jeff (supervisor at DMA) gave me the run down… but then had to go, leaving me by myself with one other cameraman. Very frightening at first, but got pretty comfortable at the end… but then the other cameraman left. So I had to record the entire 2nd concert on my own; a 3 camera- live directing shoot. But I managed, I had a long shot on one unmanned camera, a wide shot on the other, and then I controlled the close up one at the same time as directing. It got pretty easy towards the end. So after that 9 hour work weekend, I volunteered for 2 more concerts a few weeks after. I worked with Frank W. I was mainly camera man, but we switched off. He’s a really cool guy, and we got talking and he told me about his non-profit org FDYC “Positive Skill Development and Youth Mentoring”. It seems, cool, with youth programs, I think I might be a little above some of the students’ levels, but I might help out with younger kids classes, and definitely help record events for them. Frank asked me to help out to record a toy drive on Thursday, but with finals, I didn’t have time. Definitely want to help out with events in the future though!

Film Camp/Classes- Yep! It’s coming up! and… I am an official instructor of the Davis Arts Center. I am listed as an instructor on the catalogue. So anyway about the class, I am planning to run it the same way as the camp. I may or may write a new script as well. But it’s going to very similar. I just hope that I’ll get enough interested students that want to take it.

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Listing for my Davis Arts Center Spring Film class. I’m listed under instructor

Applying for internships and classes- not really. I’m going to look for some in studios in LA over the summer, and look into classes at Sacramento City College.

Video/Film Jobs- So Field Hockey is all over. Still waiting on 80 bucks from the coach actually. I only did one highlight video which was disappointing considering there were like 5 parents who contacted me. But I got paid for the one I did make. Pretty long video, only made like 30 bucks, but not bad. Then I did the bike meeting. That was an adventure… well more like 3 hours in the editing booth, But it’s very lively with lots of cuts. Got paid for that as well… thanks dad. But I’ve hit a dry spell, no jobs recently, almost did one for the school district, but they never got back to me. I guess I can just focus on my own films, which will be nice.

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Bike Meeting Edit- look at all those cuts!

PSA for Orchestra- Haven’t done one yet

The DMAC- 2 photo contests later, we still exist. Members are up to about 50… of course only like 10-15 come to meetings, but still not bad. I’ll give you a run down on the progress so far. First meeting went well, good turn out, we were happy. Second meeting was kind of slow with a smaller turn out; Eric did a photography presentation as well. Then we had the club fair; where clubs on campus can have booths and get members for their club. WE. DOMINATED. IT. I brought in my green screen, and had people pretend to fly in front of it, and then I edited in the background. Took less than 5 minutes per person, and was a hit! Everyone was very impressed. We got a ton of members that day as well. Then we started advertising for our photo contest (theme: Fall). The photo teacher put the announcement on the board in the room. 25 admissions. We were overwhelmed. It was A GREAT TURNOUT. Everyone wanted the cash prize I guess. Of course very few of them showed up to the  actual meeting to vote, but still had like 20 people. We had a winner and announced the next contest (black and white portraits). At the meeting before the second Super Tuesday (what we call the day we vote on the photos) we had presentation from me and Kyle (Graphic arts president). Oh, and right before my presentation on the basics of filmmaking, the film teacher walked in to watch. So I had to give my presentation to the professional film teacher. Luckily I nailed it, so that was good. Anyway, Then we had our final meeting of the year with the voting for the Black and White photo contest. Even more submissions this time! Had a good contest, the winner was like professional. It was actually a teacher on campus… whoops. But we’re excited for the new year. I gotta start seriously thinking about the end of the year film festival though. I think I’ll talk to people about it when we start again in January. The pressure right now is to get the school to back us, find a place to do it, and get funding. Planning the actual festival is not as much of a problem.

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Posters I designed for both DMAC photo contests

Film Festivals and Events- The season is upon us… almost. Directing Change is the first one to do. I’ll be working with Eric over break to get that video done, Then theres another festival the NCSFF: Northern California Student Film Festival. It’s a new festival that judged by region, and has cash prize, looks like my chances might be pretty good, looking forward to enter the archer or the new script “The Long Run”. Then of course Eyelight, I gotta enter that as well.

Photography and Graphic Design- Lots and lots of photography, my 32 gig SD card is almost full. It’s a lot of fun, I got some good pics. They’re all on my VSCO. I got a photography book for Christmas, and  I’m learning a lot about manual photography. It’s a lot of fun, nothing like film though. For Graphic design, I make all the posters and digital designs for the DMAC. This is the posters for the photo contests, fliers, and all the designs for the website and Instagram. So lots of Graphic design work for me as well. Also looks like I’ll have to whip up a design for the DMAC t-shirt, but that won  ‘t be bad.

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One of my favorite photos I took (feat. Hillel)

Social Media Videos- nothin’ really

Other News- Over Thanksgiving I went down to LA to see family. I visited my first college! Loyola Marymount: one of the top film schools in the country, private school, in the center of LA. Its really nice, we got a tour, they use really good equipment, and you have rights to your own films. Definitely a school I want to apply to. Also I got some good pics in Venice. Otherwise, just lots of homework and lots of stuff with my friends. Finals were last week, but now its all over. Orchestra isn’t bad, quintet is fun, also just fun to play music with friends. Hoping the second semester will be easier at school, give me more free time.

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Sunset pic on of the Venice Canals

Alright, next post I’ll have filmed the Archer and finished the eyeFix… hopefully. And hopefully post within in about a month

 

Canon T5i

I now own a profession DSLR camera. The canon EOS Rebel T5i. With this camera I can optimize my video quality and professionalism. I also can take on photography. This camera will open up so many opportunities for film making and my future media career.

For photography pics; Check out my VSCO

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Canon bundle I purchased: Canon EOS Rebel T5i DSLR Camera

18-55mm IS STM Lens: standard lens; zoom isn’t very far, but the depth of field is amazing, and that’s what’s important. Auto focus is accurate and manual focus is easy to adjust. Live zoom is trash, but I can work around that.

58mm HD Wide Angle Lens: Just been experimenting with this, it’s actually pretty good, the standard lens has a pretty wide angle anyway

2.2x Telephoto Lens: Helps with the zoom, I can definitely zoom farther than with the standard lens

2 Pcs 32GB Commander Card: That is a lot of storage! 7 hours of HD video! I won’t have any storage problems

Battery Grip: This will be good for long shoots and stabilization! that is important

Extra Battery: really important, I don’t have to charge after every shoot, and the battery lasts really long too

Backpack Case: Great! I can carry everything… on my back. Better than the duffel cases I was looking at before

Specs and Review:

Video Mode: A whole mode designated to video. There’s “on” “off” and “video” It’s going to be great to start doing some video. The video so far is amazing quality. Movement is very difficult though in order to not get it stable. I haven’t checked out audio quality yet.

Other Modes: Auto modes like sports, landscape, and portrait. Landscape is a good auto mode for nature shots, and portraits is good for people. I’m forcing myself to use Manual mode though. I’m new, so I’m just starting to learn about shutter speed and aperture. I’m actually doing pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Shutter speed: 30″ to 1/4000 any speed I want… I got. For long exposure though, I only have 30 seconds.

Aperture: 4.5 to 29; 4.5 could be a bit of a limit in the future, but for now it works great.

Image quality: 18mp and 1080p video 24/26/30fps

9 point autofocus: I NEED THIS. When recording video, it is always in focus. It’s impossible to always to be in focus during video while on MF. But MF is good for pull focus, that’s what’s important to me haha.

Mic Jack: I NEED THIS. once I get a shotgun mic, my audio quality will be a ton better

Tilt Swivel Screen: useful to get hard angles and during filming and photo. I can also see the screen better, because I can move it to fix glare.

Touch Screen: Just like my iPhone. I can adjust the focus by touching the screen, it’s a really easy way to do it- I can do it live in video too! On auto, I can tap to auto adjust the aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and WB. When I can touch the screen it is easier to manually adjust them too with sliders.

Photo Tests and Examples

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Testing how close I can get the focus

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Checking out the levels of focus

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Seeing how it reacts to light

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Checking out the saturation and color

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messing with shutter speed and aperture to get darker pictures

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Depth. Of. Field. :0

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Gotta do some long exposure

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Portraits

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For more pics: Check out my VSCO

Projects Update 10/27/16

Been like 6 weeks since the last one, but been really busy recently. Over the weekend I don’t have time like I used too. Except for today

Enrique Project- Took a few gap weeks, but we did film yesterday! Went pretty well, did one scene, but I still have to edit. Going to keep working, and Baseball for Lev ends soon so we’re going to keep going strong. Gotta write more scripts.

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Scene from Enrique Project

Orion/City of Dreams- Not looking good. Probs not doing City of Dreams and it looks like no Orion either unless we find actors. Maybe a new music vid tho

Other film projects- I wanna do The Archer soon, and I’m considering doing a documentary about village homes (green community I live in). My dad said it as a joke, but  I think it might be fun. I’m going to think about doing that.

Equipment- GUESS WHO JUST BOUGHT A CANON T5i. Dats right, c’est moi! Canon EOS Rebel T5i DSLR Camera with 18-55mm IS STM Lens + Kit Includes, 58mm HD Wide Angle Lens + 2.2x Telephoto Lens + 2Pcs 32GB Commander Card + Battery Grip + Extra Battery + Backpack Case. And I got a really bright flashlight to use in a portable lighting system. I’m going to buy a film tripod with a smooth head and a shotgun mic as well.

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Canon T5i Bundle I purchased

DMA Work- Not much recently, well I’ve been editing there almost daily, but I haven’t actually done much work for them. Its been so long since I posted and It looks like I didn’t mention that I was CAMERA DIRECTOR for the las event! It was so much fun and really easy, I got to be creative about what angle when. A little stressful at first, but I got the hang of it. I had no bad cuts! yay!

Film Camp/Classes- Class got passed!!! we going; 2 sessions; 1.5hr weekly; 5 weeks a session. Its structured the same way as the film camp, but for a little bit more money!

Applying for internships and classes- Not applying for any classes

Video/Film Jobs- Wow… so right after I did my last update… I got a job! A friend of mine on the DHS Girls Field Hockey team said that their coach was looking for someone to record all the games. Dats me. Every home game I go out and record it. 20 bucks a game 7 games this season… not bad. I’m just recording it with my camcorder, nothing fancy… and then I use my tripod as a monopod so I get smoother movement. At first it was hard. The camera was shaky, and it was hard to track the ball (its small and I’ve never watched field hockey before). I have to edit the videos too. 2 hours of HD footage is a lot for a 2009 mac book pro… but nothing for the computers at DMA. But that means I have to schlep over to DMA almost everyday after school and edit. The other annoying thing is the file size. It is very large. First off the HD footage is about 5 gb raw. And then FCPX exports everything like 10 times bigger than I should be. I was dealing with files up to 50 gb. And at first I was supposed to but it on the teammates flashdrive. The girls brought flash drives so small that they were in the megabytes. Even if I reduced the size like 4 times, I could only get it down to like 6gb. So I ended up opting to youtube. Another problem. 45 mins is the length for youtube videos. So I had to post them all on the DMA youtube channel… which is cool, because then its more professional. Anyway… I started exporting the videos through compressor to get the size down to like 8gb and then I export them to youtube, I can leave DMA while the vids are uploading/exporting, so it works out well. I got one more video to record and edit and post, otherwise all the others are done! And then like last week, I was asked by the coach if I was interested in making highlight videos for the girls. This is really easy and the coach said I could get paid like 50 bucks per video. Just waiting for parents to contact me. Then I also recorded a bike meeting for my dad on wednesday. It was just like a DMA production, except I worked both cameras. And now I gotta edit 2 hours of multicamera footage! YAY!

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A DHS Girls Field Hockey game I recorded

PSA for Orchestra- Haven’t done one yet

The DMAC- Its official, first meeting on Tuesday! I can’t believe this is happening, we’re meeting tomorrow to plan. we advertised with posters all around around campus and we’re in the announcements and we’re going to make this happen. check out our website (designed by me btw). for the film group this year, I want to do monthly student presentations where a student brings in their film(s)

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The Poster for the DMAC that I designed

Film Festivals and Events- None really

Photography and Graphic Design-  I designed the DMA poster! That was cool! Its really cool and stands out on the blue advertising walls. Kyle, the GA/Design president was sick so I stepped in. I think they’re pretty good and so does my dad the designer.

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Cool Pic I took

Social Media Videos- nothin’ really

Other News- well been really busy lately with friends and girlfriend and soccer and filming stuff. Soccer is good, we got our last game next week, and Quintet is going well, I’m first violin, so I’m basically the leader. Life is gooooood.

So I’m going to try and actually post every 3 weeks, maybe just monthly if it comes to it, but basically I really want to post as often as possible… even if no one reads this lol.

Europe 2016 Videos

I should’ve posted this a while ago, but here I am now.

About: Amsterdam was the first place I visited. Normally I go strait to England, but this time I flew strait into Amsterdam. Really interesting city,  full of boats, bongs, and bikes! Basically sums it up. that’s what’s in this video. All the scenic views that you can see at every turn of this city.

Contribution: All filmed by me! Using my iPhone 6 and the application “Manual Camera” which allowed me to manually change the focus. Then I edited it all on FCPX.

Publication: Vimeo and Youtube. Parts on Instagram

About: Second time I’ve been to Paris, and I actually remember this one. I only stayed 2 nights and left very early the second morning. Ended up staying there for about un jour et demi (a day and a half). I still went to a lot of the tourist spots and of course ate street food! This video is just some more shots of iconic and unique places throughout the city.

Contribution: All filmed by me! Using my iPhone 6 and the application “Manual Camera” which allowed me to manually change the focus. Then I edited it all on FCPX.

Publication: Vimeo and Youtube. Parts on Instagram

 

Projects Update 9/3/16

Well its been a while… an entire summer actually. With work and travel, I just didn’t have a lot of time to post. Anyway with the school year starting once more, I’m starting up again with tri-weekly posts.

Enrique Project- Literally no progress over the summer, but as soon as school started, we started again. Twice within a week actually. Started up slow, with just a scene in my house, no dialogue, but last Friday we got a lot done actually. We shot a scene we did before and then did one after that. It looks like this film will actually make some progress! Any way I’m excited to actually continue working on this.

Orion/City of Dreams- So me and Eric put off Orion and to do a music video with his friends first. It’s not bad, the song is good, but the plot is a bit couple-y for me. Its not entirely scripted and is really just cinematic shots of the couple. Of course its a film project, so I like doing it no matter what, but I’d rather do Orion. So we’re thinking of starting Orion sooner or writing a new script.

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Shooting the music video

Other film projects- Well there’s the Europe videos from the summer, that I still haven’t made a blog post about them yet. They weren’t anything special, just for fun. I don’t really think the cinematic videos are my thing, I like working with a story and actors. That’s what I plan on focusing on now. I really want to do this Bus Stop: the Archer thing. I’m planning to start once it gets dark earlier. Shoot it all in one night. And then I also want to do some stuff with the Enrique Project team. Like a fake commercial or fake documentary.

DMA Work- Internship is over, I got my certificate the other day actually. I’m still checking out equipment and I’m planning on volunteering. I just emailed Jeff yesterday about volunteering actually. I’m planning on working for them often and hopefully doing more events in the IPAB theater and maybe some sporting events too. Also I asked him about directing the cameras in the IPAB as well.

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Picture of me doing a gig for DMA, found it on their Facebook page

Film Camp/Classes- Done with the camp. read my my other post, Because I’m definitely not writing that again. Anyway I entered an application for a spring class. I hope it goes through, because I need cash! And I love film of course…

Applying for internships and classes- I’m looking for summer internships in LA that I’d really like to do. They’re all like 3,000 dollars though. I’ll look for a studio internship. Otherwise for my High school classes. First I got Chamber Orchestra, the same orchestra as last year, but I’m auditioning for Concert master this time. Then I have American Literature Honors, Strength and Conditioning, and Peer Tutor 4th. Now I did peer tutor so that I could help out in Video/Film, but there is no class that period. So now I’m stuck with French which is ok, because I get practical art credits and its pretty fun. Then 5th I have French 4 honors, then Pre-calculus and end with Race and Social Justice. RSJ is an alternative to American History, all my friends took it idk.

Photography and Graphic Design- Film is closely related to both these medias, so naturally I do some of both. I did some long exposure pictures with my friend over the summer, she got an app for it and it turned out really cool. Nothing really for graphic design except for the DMAC logo.

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Steel wool in a whisk long exposure

PSA for Orchestra- I’ll talk to Moreno. Nothing yet, because school just started, but we’re required to have twice as many “you choose  points” (outside orchestra volunteer work) as last year, so I’ll make lots of videos.

The DMAC- The Davis Senior High School Digital Media Arts Club. Yep, we’re doing this. I was planning on starting a film club, but my friend Eric and some others wanted to start a photo club. So we combined them, and threw in graphic design as well. We got a team of like 5 members to get it started. We’re meeting to plan it and were talking over what we’re doing each meeting and leadership positions etc. I’m in charge of the Film branch and I’m treasurer. The club is going to be a place where people interested in the media arts can get constructive criticism, meet others that share those interests, and stay involved with the arts at the school. we’re going to have photo contests and hopefully a film festival as well later. Of course the club is not official yet, but we’re all excited to submit the application soon.

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Rough Draft of a possible logo

Film Festivals and Events- None coming up. Hopefully a screening with the DMAC

Social Media Videos- Some on my personal IG, but they’re still not very good.

Europe 2016 events- Just an over view of film related things I did in Europe. Starting in Amsterdam, I went to the eye film institute, that was pretty cool, it had the history of film and some interactive film activities. The building was really cool as well. Paris I didn’t really do anything film related. Then I went to England; Falmouth and York at first. In York, my dad’s friend came by; Paul Laugier. He is an art director that has worked on such films as Inception, Malicifent, Pan and Jason Bourne. He talked for hours about all the things that he’s worked on and all about the industry, it was really cool meeting someone who is actually successful in the industry. Then I went to Scotland and stayed in a house with like 12 family members, and had a film screening the last night. Then I went to London and to the BBC. That was cool, my dad knew someone who worked in weather there and we got the full tour. I saw the newsroom and studio (from a far) and also went to one of the weather studios, which was really fun. The BBC is actually a really cool building. That was It really.

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TL: EYE Film Institute BL: My films projected on a wall in Scotland R: BBC weather studio

Other News- Probably one of the best summers of my life. With Europe, camp, and hanging out with friends each day, it was really great. Anyway, soccer started which is pretty fun, and Orchestra is really great with all my friends, we kinda dominate the orchestra. Anyway everything is going pretty well now.

Good to get back to writing these, will write again in 3 weeks!

Movie and Filmmaking Camp Full Review

Well I’m in England right now, so obviously I’m done with my camps. Wow. That’s the first thing. Those two weeks were the most fun and most stressful weeks of my life. It was an experience like no other and I learned so much and feel so accomplished now that it’s done. I don’t even know where to start talking about it. I’ll just start typing…

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Sign for the door

About

“Movie and Filmmaking Camp” is an official summer camp of the Davis Arts Center. Instructed by Courtney McNeil (legal reasons; instructor needed to be over 18) this camp ran 2 sessions; 5 days per session; 2 hours per day. Students need to be between 8-14 years of age. Prices were 89.00$ without a membership to the Davis Arts Center and 79.00$ with a membership. Max class size is 12. Materials fee is 5.00$ included in the camp price. More details can be found on davisartscenter.com or on the Davis Arts Center summer course catalogue. Ewan McNeil Prepared the camp (writing scripts, working out itenary), taught the camp (I had the most film background) and edited all films. Courtney McNeil and Ryan McNeil helped with supervising students and activities.

Itinerary

Monday (intro and basic green screen)- Started with introductions where the kids went around in a circle and said their name and favorite movie. Then we talked about what we were going to do all week… Kinda like I’m doing now. After that I introduced the equipment and passed it around for them to mess with (equipment list in later section). Then if I had time, I went over basic movie terms, just so that the kids would know what I was talking about. After that I split them in two groups: one out to the green screen and the other to stay in and get roles for the movie. At the green screen, I split them into 3 groups: swimming, flying, and floating. When one one group was up, the others would wait in line for the camera. And after the actor was done, he/she would do the clapboard. I would teach the kids how to act in front of the green screen. And the rules about the green screen and how it works. Then the clapper would say action and the camera operator started the camera and it worked smoothly…ish. Inside, the other half of the class were talking about parts for the movie. They got to say which roles they wanted, and were assigned roles to that the best as possible. When the class was back together at the end, everyone got their role and script/costume list. After they were settled with their character and papers, we started preparing for stop motion Tuesday. Depending on class size, we split into 2 or 3 groups, each with a movie franchise them based on Lego characters. We did Harry Potter, Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean. We then went over a basic plot line of the movie we wanted to make the next day. We asked what Lego characters they had in each theme and they were to bring characters the next day to film. And that was the end of day 1.

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front of the classroom on the first day

Tuesday (stop motion)- The students waked in with their Legos to a room set up like an animation studio. Tables against the wall with a blue board on the wall and green on the bottom, lighting fixtures over each stage and and cameras set up on tripods. We then got in our groups and started storyboarding. I thought them what the hell storyboarding was, and they ended up really doing it by themselves. After that, I gave them roles. We had a director (that I picked based off ability) then 2 movers and a camera operator. After going over moving techniques and how to operate the camera, I let them go by themselves and just intervened to keep them on track. It took the whole time because you know… It’s animation. They got really creative with stories and moving characters and ended up having a really good time. And they had great Lego sets that they brought in, we had hogwarts, the millennium falcon and an ewok village. It was fun

Wednesday (special effects/vfx)- We did all kinds of special effects this day. Now, both sessions we went about it differently, but I’ll talk about the second session (because it worked a lot better). We split into 3 groups: green screen, outdoor pre keyed magic and then a group stayed in and practiced lines. We split up according to who was in each scene. The green screen did more things like teleporting, that was what everyone seemed to want to do. They’d stand looking bored them clap and get all excited because they were in Paris or wherever they wanted to be. We actually had a kid go to McDonalds. Never the less it was fun. And then outside, they did magic. We started with pre keyed footage to over lay on the video: Lightning, fire, plasma ball, energy beam. One would pretend to shoot it and the other would pretend to get hit and fall down. Another one that we did was disappearing, where we’d shoot, freeze, then start up again without moving the camera. At the end of the day, we went In and started the full movie on the green screen. And the other kids practiced their lines. I kept a couple as crew to do scripts and camera. And that was Wednesday.

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Messing around on the green screen (session 1)

Thursday (full film)- everyone came into class, we grabbed all cameras and scripts and costumes and went straight out to film. The actors knew their lines pretty well from the week and the rest of the group were crew, or inside doing costume/makeup. We filmed with 2 cameras, so the crew roles were: assistant director, camera 1, camera 2, script supervisor, and clapper. The scenes for the most part went pretty quick, some took a couple takes, but all were split up enough for everyone to remember all their lines. I was director, because we were short on time and needed to move quickly. I did let the assistant director direct the establishing shots though. Just like walking and stuff. Towards the end of the day people got tired and forgot lines, which meant more takes which meant people getting more tired and frustrated: the progressive cycle, but we always finished with time to spare.

Friday (finish film and festival)- Started out same as Tuesday, but we had mostly actors, because it was the final fight scene. This was the hardest with the weather in the high 90s and filming for 2 hours in the sun, people got tired. It went fine at first, but after a while when I said cut, people would run straight back into the shade. And we took a lot of breaks, which meant filming even longer than needed which meant people getting more and more tired: another progressive cycle. When we got to the final scene, I handed the camera to the assistant director and he did the rest. After that everyone ran inside and hung out while I prepared the festival. I rearranged the seats, copied all the files to a flash drive to run on the projector and then started the festival, introducing each film along the way. The turn out was amazing. Each kid brought family and friends, we broke the fire code in the last camp, because there were too many people. The festival went pretty much seamlessly the both times, not too many technical errors. But we made it through and everyone had a great time in the end.

Editing– my never ending day

We filmed up to an hour of footage a, five days a week. Who edits all that footage, the kids can’t because they don’t have computers… So that leaves me. Every night I’d come home and edit for hours. On Thursdays (before the festival) I’d get home at 5 then sit at my computer until 1. Because I got behind a lot, it’s hard not being able to do anything but edit for a week. And I still missed out quite a lot hanging out with my friends which is hard for a 16 year old. These were hard films to edit too. Starting with special effects (which I now realize were actually visual effects). So visual effects, as you know, are all done in post. That means me. It took a lot of prep to get all the green screen and pre keyed footage online (talked about in “prep”). Then I had to go through each of the kids’ two recorded scenes and add the pre keyed footage and green screen background. And of course trim and cut all of them as well. Throwing on title effects and music was the easy part at least. After special effects came stop motion. I forgot how long these take! Not just to film, but also to edit. Luckily FCPX made it easy to reduce the length of pictures, but that was the least of it. First off, all the stories requires visual fx like wand magic and Star Wars blasters. Which are hard to find a vector of online… So I made one. Luckily I’m good at photo manipulations, so it was easy to make my own. After I put on the special effects, audio was my next job. Of course it doesn’t have any audio already, so I had to find and add it ALL in. Which took forever. And in the first camp, they wanted green screen too, so that was another hour. Then came the final movie. Because of time restrictions, we had to do half the filming on the last day, so guess what. I couldn’t edit the final film the night before. But guess what again… That meant I had to edit all weekend and post videos online. Editing for this was kinda annoying. So for most scenes, we used two cameras. That meant finding the twin clips and then linking up the audio and cutting in between. Otherwise it was pretty strait forward. I did have to do a trailer for the festival though. Which was not bad, but I still had to find music and stuff (I won and award for my last trailer actually). All in all editing took for ever, but was just manageable for the time I had.

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The edit of the entire final movie (session 1)

Some problems– 

the main reoccurring problem was to get everyone doing something. When the kids get bored they start messing around and misbehaving. And in film there is a lot of waiting around. It started on the first day. When we went to the green screen only 3 people were actually doing something (actor, clapboard, and camera). The others would just line up and wait   In he second session people went inside to do lines, so that was one solution. But the problem continued. When we did SPFX and the movie there were still people waiting around a lot. This lead to interference in the scene, kids wandering off, etc. I created many solutions to this problem. The first was the clapboard. Completely unnecessary at this level of filming, but occupied a lot of students. The other solutions were to just simply add more crew. In the second session we added an assistant director, another script supervisor and a costume/make up team. This way there wasn’t as much wandering around. Splitting into smaller groups proved useful as well. We did that on SPFX day. The first 3 days went pretty smooth with not many problems with the kids except the usual stuff like not paying attention. The problems came with the movie filming days. That’s when not everyone was doing something and the pressure hit with learning lines. U get the snowball effect with lines. If u mess up once, then u lose your confidence and are more likely to mess up again. The other worry I had was making sure everyone was happy doing what there doing. I tried my best to let everyone have a creative part they brought to the film. I let the camera operators pick the camera locations, and I let the assistant director direct some scenes and it worked out well. But it was very difficult to find everyone a part. All the problems got fixed in the end in that area. Most of the big problems came in technology. Let’s start with my editing computer. It’s a mid 2009s model Mac book pro that my dad used for years for design work. It came with lots of programs (including photoshop/inDesign) but lots of space 350gb. Turns out that wasn’t enough. All my dads files were backed up on the hard drive. This meant my 350gb were reduced to less than 10gb of free space. With FCPX and hours of film footage 10gb didn’t last long. I got the first message saying my hard drive was full a couple days into camp. I started by cleaning up desktop files; that got me through the first week of camp. But that message did not go away. It came up quickly again at the start of the first camp editing weekend. With no more desktop files to erase I had to look online and found out if u click on your hard drive and go to “all my files” you can see all your files in one place. There I found 10s of thousands of files of my dads dating back to 2006. Mostly videos and pics of me and my brother actually. He thought that he had deleted all the files before giving me the computer, but turns out they were still on the hard drive. I started by deleting the big files and continued editing (don’t worry my dad backed up everything). Throughout the entire week I kept getting the notifications. I went through the files deleting thousands at a time. And I had to leaf through them to make sure they weren’t important. This took a lot of time: a lot of editing time. Many hours of my session two editing time was deleting files in order to edit. I’m still deleting files 6 weeks later. That was the big problem. YouTube was another. I don’t like YouTube. It always has problems and is full of crap videos. It took forever to upload all the videos and some wouldn’t be recognized. Session 1 was fine, it was 2 that had the technical problems. This one was with gmail. In one night I posted all the videos to YouTube, and I sent them all to parents. Well… Almost. Worked fine in session 1, but when I tried to send an email to 12 recipients with 10 links in it… Google didn’t like that. It detected it as spam and would not let me send it. Even to one recipient at a time. I was up till 2am trying to solve the problem and my mom was up even later. Finally we sent it off a private yahoo account. That seemed to work. Those were all the big problems, no missing footage (thought I did, but not in the end), no absent actors (really worried this would happen), no loss of editing (actually a bit after a FCPX crash, but nothing too big; only like half an hour of editing), no broken equipment (almost with the camcorder focus, but I reset it and it was fine), only one lost flash drive (idk how this happened, but we bought them an even better one), it really went pretty smooth.

Equipment-

Cameras

  • Sony HDR CX 190 handy cam
  • Cannon  PowerShot S5 IS
  • Nikon Coolpix L18
  • Nikon Coolpix L20
  • Cannon Powershot Elph 115 IS

Tripods

  • Octopus Go Pro brand
  • 50” lightweight Portable

Tech

  •  MacBook Pro OS X Yosemite v.10.10.5 (15-inch, Mid 2009)
  • Photoshop CS 6
  • Final Cut Pro X

Other

  • clapboard wooden (universal studios)
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Cameras (left to right) Nikon Coolpix, Sony Handycam, Canon Powershot, Nikon Coolpix 

Prep– the camp started for me 3 months early

It was winter 2015 when my mom first approached me with an idea of a film camp. She said I could always do it next year, and I thought that might be better, but when camp applications for DAC were almost due, she asked me again and I changed my mind. She thought I should and was really supportive about definitely doing it as soon as possible. One weekend morning I woke up and started thinking about it. When I start thinking of something big, I never stop. Must have been hours hours of thinking and writing and at the end I had written the catalogue description and planned out each day with short ideas of each plot for the different kind of films we were making. I ended up doing a lot of what I planned on that day when I actually started the camp. I showed the catalogue memo to my mom and she loved it, so in it went. I stopped prepping after this, because it was like January, I figured I had a lot of time. I did some posters, but that’s it. Read my PUs around then. I never moved forward. It made it through in like March, that when I knew I was teaching a film camp. With the end of the school year coming up, I continued putting it off. And when the bell rang on June 9th, everyone was celebrating and I was thinking… I got a camp in a week (actually I was celebrating too, don’t feel bad for me).  I had one week. One week to finalize plans. First I had to plan out what to do each day. I figured Monday I would just talk, because that was the only day I didn’t have to do anything. My mom suggested I do some green screen to get the kids interested, and I thought that was a good idea. But most of the time I did just talk… I needed something to talk about. So the prep I had to do was to find videos about before/after green screens, and I actually made a green screen video with friends as well. My other job was making a slide show presentation of movie terms for the students. That was actually the first bit of prep I did. Then Tuesday I had always planned to do animation, so unfortunately I didn’t do a lot of prep in that area. I was planning to script the stories for the students, but the day before I decided they should do it themselves. This actually came about on Monday when we finished everything planned, we decided to to start planning stories for the next day and it worked out so well I continued it the next week. So with the stories done, not much other prep was necessary. Then came SPFX or visual I guess. Obviously all of this was done in post, so I had to find pre keyed footage from footagecrate.com I believe and I downloaded green screen backed VFX as well from YouTube. I had to find backgrounds of course which took hours scavenging the Internet, these weren’t pictures either. All video. Even the Eiffel Tower had people walking in the background. It was all unscripted, so that made it a lot easier. Then came the full movie, which was DEFINITELY scripted and guess who wrote the 4 page script? All in one morning actually, quite a feat really. Turned out pretty good as well. I gave the kids scripts to learn they’re lines and also a list of costume ideas. Again when I couldn’t/didn’t want to do something I made them do it as part of the creative process. They came with great costumes too actually. The script was the most prep though. Really it wasn’t too much but I did need Everyday that week.

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week plan (one of many), letter to parents, and final script

Session 1

This session was a much smaller session. There were only about 6 students in the end. They were a lot younger too. That means quieter and more shy, but also not as easy to teach/work with. First day was good, everyone seemed happy. We had some smart, experienced students. When we went through favorite movies, two said Inception. Anyway, GS (green screen) went well and we spontaneously started planning for Lego SM (stop motion) day which got everyone excited. The surprise came that night: 2 students dropped the camp. I still don’t know why, they seemed like they liked the first day. Maybe the kids were too young, my mom thought they were scared at the thought of acting, or maybe they thought it wasn’t advanced enough for them (they were the two that said inception was their favorite movie btw). Anyway I learned not to get disappointed about it and not to take it personally. Day 2 went good with SM. Really cool plots and a lot of pictures. Everyone seemed interested. Day 3 with SPFX was more hectic. Need more planning. Lots of waiting around. A few girls couldn’t get off their phones. It was because we didn’t split up the groups. So only like 3 were doing something at a time. It all worked out in the end and went pretty smoothly, but was really worrisome at some points. Then day 4 on filming was great. The kids knew their lines and we split up and ran lines and had good camera operators. Acting was not very enthusiastic or well delivered, but good enough. At least they knew their lines. I tried to let one student do some scenes, because I saw potential in her. She did a few establishing shots, but wasn’t there the last day to do more. One regret. Final day was pretty good. More droppers though. The two girls who were always on their phones didn’t show. I knew they wouldn’t, because they just weren’t interested enough, but it was a little annoying. It made it easier to film with less people around though. 2 dropped day 1, 2 had other commitments day 5 and the 2 didn’t show day 5. The final day was hot and the kids kept moving after scenes and it took a while for them to get back in place. Acting improved from earlier in the week. Choreographing the fight scene was difficult with the little kids though. Otherwise we finished with time to spare. Then came the festival. I quickly went in to rearrange the room while the kids played outside. Set up the mini projector and transferred all the videos onto my moms laptop (it had an hdmi) and I was ready. Parents started pouring in and students sat up front. Went through the festival well, good turnout. lots of questions and “thank you”s from parents.

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Final fight scene on the last day of camp for the full film

Session 2– 

This was a bigger session with more kids and older kids. We had 13 kids in this camp. With older kids came more trust, better acting and more previous experience, but also harder to teach and they mess around more. Day one went good, had a lot of interested kids, more talkative. They got a little bored when waiting for the green screen, but not too bored. Picking Characters for the film went well, and we had one student who just wanted to be the assistant director. At the end of day 1, we split into 3 groups to do animations this time, but prepping it was more organized. Day 2 was a little more hectic. The animations got complicated with lots of characters and it was hard to do it all in the time we had. We ended up rushing and not even getting many pictures. This is when I thought I lost footage (turns out it was just a bad camera). But I still managed to make long enough videos with the footage we had. Day 3 was a lot more organized, but still a bit hectic. We had 3 groups this time. One on green screen with Ryan (My brother; assistant in the class), one with me doing vsfx base footage and the last one with my mom in the classroom running lines. The groups got excited and looked like they were having a lot of fun. But they were distracted and hard to control at times. When filming started on day 4, everyone was much more prepared than last time, because we ran lines in class all week. They got through the entire first part without the cut in the middle like the script indicated. Crew for the first half of filming was good and small. the Witches for the next scene were on makeup, so they were occupied inside doing that. They were really good in the second part though. we had more crew as well which worked in both ways, mostly bad. That wasn’t the big problem though. On the last scene of the day, it took 7 takes. Seven! I know that like nothing for pros, but thats a lot for kids. Their confidence drops so quickly and the acting gets sloppy. That was the hard part. The last day went well. This is when there were a lot of people waiting around in the heat. We took a ton of breaks (to my dismay). It was too hard to control all of them for more than like 15 minutes, especially toward the end. It started out hard. It took 3 takes for the first scene. It was only 3 lines. the fight scene was easier this time and the end scene I even let the assistant director film it. All worked out in the end. Then came the festival. I set up the room and people started coming in. More people and more people and more people. So many people that we broke the fire code and had to move to a bigger room. The one minor problem was that I forgot to transfer the final video files onto the flash drive. And I also forgot that I needed to run them through my other application to reduce the file size. So… they took about ten minutes to transfer. That meant a lot of stalling, which was easy, I readjusted the projector a couple times, switched out the screen, stalled the start of the festival, and just talked a lot to the parents. Anyway, the festival from then on went really well. Parents said their thanks and kids left inspired to make more of their own films.

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Well that’s it. All 4,000 words of it. This camp was an amazing experience and I’m planning to continue teaching it for the years to come. With experience behind me, I plan to improve it further get it more well known. This is probably the biggest achievement of my film career… so far.

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Turnout for the festival (session 2)