Practice. Learning this drone stuff is hard. I just have to keep at it, keep flying it and shooting random things to get better at controlling it, the camera, and getting the shots. I have been busy, but not busy. My mind is both blank and occupied. What an odd stasis for my life to be in at the moment.
So I got my own DJI Phantom 3 4K quadcopter drone. I love it. The images are amazing. This thing is easy to control, has some great features, and has will enter me into the zone of drone pilots and shooters. This kind of thing will become quite the tool for filmmaking too. I am always just floored at the perspective, the view that we normally cannot see or even consider.
I listen to music constantly, in the car, when I work out, when I edit, when I read, when I do anything. It has been many a year since I listened to any of my own music though. I started as a musician, from the time I was 5 years old. I wanted to be a film composer. At some point I made a sound track for someone which lead to me making movies and I abandoned my musical inclinations. I have since long forgotten most if not everything I knew then. I decided since I was going to migrate my compositions and recordings to Soundcloud and Youtube, I wanted to clean up the analog multitrack cassette songs and I stumbled upon an “album” I recorded in 1997.
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Things change. Sometimes like molasses, others like a flash of lightning. Already two weeks in on teaching at the new university. I like it there. Very good students, a really upscale facility. The students took pen to paper when I told them something was important. I had only experienced that maybe twice in almost 5 years at the old school. Aside from that, even more big changes are headed my way.
Got offered a job teaching last night at a Columbus College and I started at 9:00AM this morning with a 3 hour lecture I pulled out of nowhere. Eh, not really nowhere, as I did teach the exact same thing for nearly 5 years somewhere else. I love teaching and these students took notes. Pen on paper, typing on laptops, they actually wrote things down. At my previous school that happened maybe twice.
Started testing the new animations for Uncle Pete’s Play Time and having a blast. I came up with some other practical applications for this new tool as well. Again, never in my life did I want to be a 2D animator, but this is just too delicious to pass up. I never want to stop learning all new things.
Finished the first of three Uncle Pete’s Play Time bits. One of the new clips is going to be animation heavy, as in the entire middle needs character animation and I was looking to farm that out. Since I upgraded to Adobe Creative Cloud, I got every single one of their software applications and I accidently double clicked on one called “Character Animator” which is now a part of After Effects.
And then I lost over 4 hours in a bottomless well of tutorials and videos on this software….
Got back from the INDIE GATHERING and had a great time. Kristina and Ray always put together an amazing festival and convention. Marie’s Pizza was consumed and enjoyed. Back to the grind and I eased back into work on Monday, to a full work day on Tuesday, and now I am hammering away at a few things. On breaks from the paid work, I am animating something for the long gestating Uncle Pete’s Play Time project.
Two years. I have officially been living in Rossland for two years, owning my own home for the first time in my life. Much like 2014 in August, I am about to do the Indie Gathering International Film Festival and Convention. I will be moderating a few panels, selling my wares, and hanging out with show folk. All I have to do is get my work done in time to head north this weekend.
The upgrade to Adobe Creative Cloud (2015.3 - June 2016 edition) went okay. Had a few bumps, but now that it’s installed, I will say I am seeing way significant speed increases thanks to the new graphics card. Being on the official CUDA list for Adobe means I am seeing drastic performance enhancement. And it immediately put me to work.
The strangest thing happened to me at the gym today. I was swimming in the outdoor pool, which I have been doing a lot this summer. I’m extremely pale, so this is the most sun I’ve had since my family lived in El Paso, Texas in the 1980’s. I’m still very pale, just a slightly warmer shade of white. All that history aside, I had an epiphany while swimming. I started to count my strokes which bored me and I tried to make my mind stop focusing on that. In an instant, everything disappeared and a new short film came to me fully formed.
I’ve been asked to speak at FilmDayton later this month. I’m prepping a presentation with powerpoint and videos. I did something similar in Cleveland a couple months ago, specifically on directing. I’m going to come up with something different, but hopefully interesting. I like these speaking engagements, although I haven’t been doing them that often lately.
This is unusual. I have more paid projects than I have time for. Directing live shows, shooting a webvideo for a client, and producing more greenscreen for pay. Sleep is not exactly in abundance for a bit until I can get caught up. Still finding time for the gym though. Swimming and getting a little bit of sun has to be a priority. I honestly need the vitamin D from the UV rays and the physical activity of doing laps will keep me healthy, which I am not.
Since last I updated, I have been both busy and bored. Shooting all over the state, editing for a few different companies, and when not doing any of that, working on my own stuff. Still no narrative filmmaking on the immediate horizon, just things that occupy my mind and easy to do, like the latest Sonnyboo Podcast, and redoing more greenscreen of the past year or so. Aside from that, I have been enjoying some movie time, chilling with the cats, and swimming like a shark.
Got four more greenscreen items shot in 4K. Using the Blackmagic Ursa Mini for a bit. Two places I freelance for now use this camera. The Ursa Mini does some pretty nice images. It requires a decent amount of color grading to get any kind of look out of it. There isn’t really a great “out of the box” image. Many people prefer this control in post. I have no strong feeling either way.
In my last blog, I made mention that I was tinkering a little with a new greenscreen keying technique. Since that time, I have re-rerendered and remastered over 20 videos from the past 2-3 years. I voraciously attacked these old edits, mostly because I meticulously keep all my raw footage on external drives, drives in the plural because I have at least one offsite backup.
I had a vendor table and did some panels at last weekend’s HORROR HOTEL convention/film festival. Worked right up until I left, and went right back to work as soon as I got back home. Today was supposed to be my first day of relaxation and it turned into another work day. I like working. I also like to chill every now and then.
These Framelines Interactive Tutorial started as a fluke. I had raw footage and just threw it out there. Now we’re doing several more for the next year. The original project started from raw footage of what became the basis of FRAMELINES, shot in 2007. I went and shot a new GREENSCREEN intro for this to make it all official and formal.
So I had a near panic. On one of my sidelined projects, the Movie Cliché series, I had outlined and shot the greenscreen portion for over 30 of these and only produced around 10 of them. The greenscreen host segments were mostly edited, but the hard part, the examples, were not even shot yet for the rest. I put it aside because I did not feel I was getting the examples right. So the lackluster response unmotivated me. Still, the Movie Cliché project still might come to life later if I could lick the problem I had as both a writer and director.