Interstellar Graphic

Interstellar is awesome. I felt like making a space helmet graphic so I figured might as well pay tribute at the same time. I made this in Illustrator, which I've only just started using and probably will avoid in the future whenever possible. I'll probably design basic stuff in After Effects from now on. Even if it doesn't have motion. Hope you like it. Now go watch Interstellar again.

Animated Logo

I recently started doing some more motion graphics, so I figure my first project should be an animated logo mark for myself. Something to throw at the end of videos or whatever. It's pretty basic but I'm happy with the result. I think the added grain really helped it feel more organic than it otherwise might have.



This was created in After Effect. The grain and light leaks are from Vision Color. You can download the 2K files for free by liking their Facebook page. Pretty sweet. They're best-known for their extensive collection of LUTs.

Shooting Live Events in Low Lighting

The Handlebar Cycling Studio is an awesome twist on spin classes in Tacoma. My buddy Kryspin spins there. I mean... DJ's there for special night sessions. Kryspin brings his decks, lights, and his speakers to set the tempo, and Becky LeProwse coaches two back to back hour-long sessions. 

This is one of those times as a videographer you just have to show up and film whatever is going on. Kryspin set up his lighting combo strip far side of the room, with three pinspot lights illuminating Becky from the front.

Here are a few suggestions for filming in this sort of environment:

1. Get your establishing shots. Every video is a miniature narrative. Find the shots that tell the story. Signage is a great place to start if you want to avoid putting text all over the video. Look around before you even start filming. Are there any building names, street names, event titles, or logos? Capture them. Get various focal options for each one if you have time. It's hard to predict which one will work the best before you've shot anything else.

2.  Shoot toward the light. This is a big one. This high contrast shooting angle creates a dramatic silhouette effect that is much more dynamic than shooting the weakly illuminated side of the subjects. This silhouette serves a couple purposes; it makes everything look cooler and it keeps the patrons more anonymous. This helps keep the instructor as the main person of interest. Additionally, the room is already very dim, so you'll probably try to boost your ISO, lower your f-stop, and possibly go below your ideal 2:1 shutter speed (shutter speed should usually be twice your frame rate). Shooting toward the light allows you to keep all of these technical aspects in check. By exposing for the bright highlights you can avoid getting an image plagued by low contrast, soft focus, and shadow noise.

3. Use long lenses. This is what they were designed for. Think of it as bird watching. You want to see all the close up details, but you don't want to scare them. I use my 70-200mm to look for the small details that will keep the video interesting, then I switch to a wider lens for group shots that help to establish the space.

4. Parallax is your friend. The power of moving images is motion. Tilts, pans, booms, and dolly motions are your allies. Great photographs bring the viewer's interest into the frame by using compositional elements that create depth. Great video is no different. The goal is to make a 2D image look 3D. Static shot have their place, but movement (along with audio) is one of the biggest advantages video has over photography! Find a way to stabilize your camera and move around your subjects. A little parallax goes a long way.

5. Flashing Lights. A lot of videographers overuse stock footage of light leaks, so why not just record your own? Throw your lens our of focus and just record light. You can cut it into your footage or change the blend mode to 'screen' and lay it on top of your primary clip. Or you can try some good old fashion lens whacking for a really cool dreamy effect. Just don't drop anything.

Good Mistake

This has been one of my go-to songs in the past year for so many occasions. Working out, driving, background music, and intense show sing-a-longs. The music video is just the right mixture of narrative storytelling, performance footage, choreographed dance, lens flares, and weirdness. The director of photography killed it with the constant moving light and blue tones throughout. Bravo Mr. Little Jeans. I can't get enough.

Director Carlos Estrada

These music videos were directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada. His concepts are on-point and the execution makes these videos priceless. High quality aesthetic on moderate budgets. I'm really looking forward to seeing more of his work.