Archive for December, 2008

Contract Killers Trailer

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

My good friend Lyle was the first person to introduce me to filmmaking. I remember when he first showed me one of his backyard kung-fu videos, I was totally blown away! Seeing my own friend starring in his own movie, complete with martial arts, sound effects, and music excited me to learn all about production. Here is one of his classic vids that motivated me to eventually shoot and edit my own stuff.

Directed and Edited by Lyle Style.

(Lyle continues his artistic pursuits as an illustrator, graphic designer, and choreographer. Please support him and see his work at:

Budding Postman: Mike, a.k.a. “BlznAzn”

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

These videos were edited together by my cousin Mike. His interest in editing has grown through his involvement in my many video projects through the years. He’s always been one of the few who get to see my edits just before they are finalized when I need a “fresh pair of eyes” to critique.

When he said he wanted to get into editing, I knew he would be able to pick up the process fairly quickly. After all, I don’t know anyone who can beat video games as fast as he can!

First up is his 300 DBZ trailer which he created last year. He actually edited this on iMovie, an entry-level editing program that comes included with a Macbook, I believe all in one long night (in the “zone”). He used the audio from the 300 trailer as his base, and then he assembled various video clips from Dragonball Z to fit it.

Next up is his Marvel Alliance Fan Trailer. With so many superhero movies out, we thought this would be a fun project for him to tackle as his first Final Cut Pro project. He had to build the trailer from scratch, including choosing and assembling the music and dialogue aside from selecting specific video clips from an entire library of superhero movies.

Those are his first two editing projects so far. Hopefully there will be many more to come. I’d like to see him continue to develop his skills in post. Most of all, I find satisfaction in knowing that someone else can understand the amount of hard work that goes into editing as well as the amount of patience needed to keep sane!

Legaci – “Mad”

Monday, December 8th, 2008

So, my good friend Micah asked if I could shoot a little something for Legaci’s cover of Ne-Yo’s “Mad.”

Legaci has a growing YouTube audience and so far have only used their consumer cameras and even isight to record their vids. They’ve also only recently upgraded to using Micah’s professional studio mics to record their performances, which undoubtedly resulted in outstanding audio, but strangely paired with, well, YouTube quality footage. In comes Neshe.

The Shoot:
So we set up one saturday at the Ejanda residence in their infamous living room. I arrived an hour earlier than expected and saw that they had made a nice setup themselves. Three studio mics, monitors, keyboard, MPC, and laptops to record the session through ProTools.

I did a basic lighting setup, using two of my 1000w lights with diffusers and full blue correction. There wasn’t much space and the light coming through the windows would steadily change, so that was a bit of a pain to deal with.

We had three cameras set up, two of my GL1s and a center camera using Abad’s Canon HD camcorder as the wide shot. I had Claire on the tripod cam and me on the handheld. I basically had all cameras rolling then gave them the go. Before each take, Chris begins with a clap for slate and syncing in post. I believe it took four takes for LGC to finish their rendition of “Mad” with satisfaction.

The Edit:
I captured the HD footage that night, having never worked with HD before. What a PAIN. Final Cut does not recognize the .MTS file that the Canon HD camera records in. I had to go through iMovie, import the huge HD file, then export out of iMovie into a .mov. Now, it was a recognizable movie file, but still in widescreen dimensions. I used MPEGStreamclip to convert it to SD so it will match my SD footage.

One thought occurred to turn my SD into HD but quickly diffused that idea once i realized the amount of HD space that would take. Not only that, but it would have a “thickening” effect on my footage because it would be pushing it down to match the widescreen format.

The HD footage looked different of course from mine. Color was different. This stems from the fact that my GL1s have 3-chips but the HD camera that was used only has 1-chip. But I tried to match them as best I could. I used a 3-way color corrector on my footage to kill the reds and reduce the highlights and saturation (if you think it looks reddish now, you should’ve seen it before i ‘corrected’ it; they were bleeding love!).

Jenn and I spent all of one friday night going through the entire song to select what angle was good for each part of the song. In my first cut, I was angle-changing crazy. And even though the dissolves help, it was just too much going on. I made another edit with minimal edits, but after watching that and then watching the first edit again, I saw I was missing out on some good angles.

So, it was a time-consuming process of watching each angle of the vid as it played and not making any cuts until i knew exactly where and when i wanted to cut it. When I found a spot i liked, I would playback a few seconds before and time my cut to my planning. I did this for the whole song, watched it, and thought it was good. Then as I became more critical, I started changing/adding/deleting edits, which when doing this to a multiclip that is already edited, is a bit of a process, because the previous cuts will stay. So, I would have to delete a series of cuts ahead of the area i was fixing, so I have some room to ease back into the rest of the edit.

We finished late that night and I sent the cut to Micah. I felt pretty confident in it. When I watch it now, I am not distracted by the cuts; I am more focused on their performance, which is what matters most. The guys liked the video but were being overly critical of themselves, in my opinion. There were talks of a re-shoot (ahhh!!!) or maybe ADR (which would be quite difficult too) but after Micah played around with the mixdown, everybody was happy.

The video has only been live for 1/2 a week and it has reached over 10,000 views! It is being very well received. I’m really excited for them to get increased exposure and build their fanbase so more and more people (the “right” people) can discover them.

NOTES for future shoots:
– give Claire better angle
– have someone do very smooth pans for the wide shot so it’s not completely still
– practice the song so you know who will be singing solos
– have a fourth camera? to get a few more instrumental CUs
– maybe use their consumer Canon camera instead of Abad’s HD camera so the footage is shot natively in SD