As part of our aim to strengthen the connection between us and our readers, we decided to give our talented audience out there a stage to express themselves and share their success stories in our new weekly TALENT FEATURE. We hope that with time, these guest posts will become a source of inspiration to our colleagues wherever they are. If you are interested in participating, please upload your video to our VIDEOLOG and follow the rest of the submission process by reading the information here. (Intro by Johnnie Behiri) Hello, I’m Joe Simon, a filmmaker based in Austin, TX. Together with my production company, The Delivery Men, we’re creating brand narrative and documentary style work that offers our clients a way to break the mold and re-ignite creativity when it comes to their brand story. We also work in some personal projects, giving ourselves a creative hiatus from client requests and expectations in order to make something fully our own. In July of this year, we released our first narrative short film LOW TIDE and are excited to broaden our TDM original work in the future, in between making amazing content for our clients, of course. Photo by: Bill Weir Name: Joe Simon Age: 38 Currently based in: Austin, Texas. USA. Language(s) spoken: English, somewhat proficient. Occupation: Owner, Director & DP at The Delivery Men How did you get started in our industry: Filmmaking was initially something I got into to promote my career in BMX. I rode professionally for 5 years and needed a camera to document my adventures for my sponsors. I quickly fell in love with making films and started teaching myself everything I could. That was the beginning of 1998, and since then I’ve started two production companies, Joe Simon Productions in 1999 and The Delivery Men in 2012. Since 2007, I’ve been collaborating with Director, Editor & Writer, Hussain Pirani. In 2012 we transitioned focus to The Delivery Men, creating lifestyle, brand, narrative, and documentary films. Current assignments: This career has taken me all over the world. After we wrapped up LOW TIDE in June, the summer has been a whirlwind. I’ve been working as the DP on CNN’s The Wonder List with Bill Weir. That has taken me to Alaska and Madagascar over the last few months, and we’re New Zealand bound next. In between that, we filmed for two weeks on the east coast of the US for a series of videos we’re creating for large financial company. What types of productions do you mostly shoot: We generally create a lot of web-based commercials. We’re always striving to challenge ourselves to create astounding visuals in any project that we’re working on. One of my favorite things to do is try to streamline my camera rig so I can make transitions when we’re on set running & gunning. I’ve most recently outfitted the EasyRig with a FlowCine Serene arm to support the Alexa Mini on the Freefly MoVI M10. It’s a game changer and will allow us to be more nimble on those long production days. What is your dream assignment or job in our industry, and what are you really passionate about: Definitely being a DP for Game of Thrones. More specifically the finale, where we all know Daenerys, Jon Snow & Tyrion scorch what’s left of Westeros from the backs of dragons. But for real, I’d love to DP a few features and episodics. In the work that you’ve presented to us, now that it is done, what would you have done differently throughout the production: Overall, LOW TIDE was a pretty smooth project. We took an initial scouting trip up to Seaside, Oregon to craft our story and then returned a little over a month later to film. We were able to dedicate the time we really needed to pre-production on the project in between our client work, and for that reason were in a really good organized place when we got on set. It would always be great to have a bigger budget of course, but we were able to spend money where it was most needed and are really stoked with how the final film turned out. What current camera, lenses and sound equipment do you use: Alexa Mini Kowa Anamorphics (for LOW TIDE) I try to choose lenses specific to each project that fit with the look and feel we want to achieve. For our two weeks shoot in July, we rented a Fujinon 19-90 which is a lens I love and was awesome to work with, and was a perfect fit for our project. As far as sound gear, if I don’t have a dedicated sound person on set I use the RODE NTG3 shotgun mic for most of our projects, along with the RODELINK wireless kit. What’s is your favorite lighting equipment, and why did you choose that kit over other solutions: Lighting, when needed, is something we also consider on a project by project basis and most of the time get a grip truck and gaffer. In house, we’ve got a Westcott 1’x1’ Flex light kit which is a great lighting set to have on hand along with a bunch of Westcott lighting modifiers. Do you use drones or gimbals in your productions? If so, what is the most effective way you’ve found to deploy them? We do use drones where it fits into the projects we’re working on. I’ve been flying for over 7 years, and we’ve got a giant old T-REX700 that hangs out in the office just for show. We’re currently flying the DJI Inspire 1 Pro. Gimbal-wise we use the Freefly MOVI M10, which I sometimes like to pair with my electric skateboard for faster moving shots. What editing systems do you use: Adobe Premiere, DaVinci Resolve. How much of your work do you shoot in Log, and what is your preferred way of colour correcting? We shoot in Log as much as we can unless a client requests another format. All of our color correction is done in DaVinci Resolve How frequently do you travel and do you have any tips when it comes to packing your gear: Sometimes it feels like I’m always traveling. About 70-80% of our work is outside of Texas, so we use a mixture of Pelican cases, ThinkTank roller cases and suitcases. Bubble wrap is your friend…… lots and lots of bubble wrap. I find you can fit a lot more into a light hardshell suitcase w/ bubble wrap than using only pelican cases. Photo by: Bill Weir If you want to learn more about Joe’s creative’s work, head over to his home page. Participate in our initiative: share your talent and creative work by following these steps.Read more
by Jared Abrams | 18th July 2010
I am lucky enough to have my C5D office at Birns and Sawyer, Hollywood and recently grabbed the follow focus units that they had for this little side-by-side comparison video. I must warn you that this is by no means a “Review” of any kind. They happened to be there so we thought that we would show them to you next to each other. There may be some features that we have not described here. I would suggest doing your own research before purchasing any of this equipment. C5D Top Man Chris Collins shot and edited the video. We nabbed the music from our pal Tidwell. A follow focus is absolutely a great tool for HDSLR work. Still lenses are not designed to “follow focus”, they are designed to quickly capture focus. In most cases this means a very short focus throw from infinity to close focus. This makes pulling focus very difficult. A geared follow focus will increase the focus throw and give you a fighting chance to keep the subject in focus throughout the scene. I would like to also point out that most camera accessories are very subjective. Whatever works for you, is the best tool for the job. In the shop there were five follow focus units to be had for this comparison. I wanted to show the Arri FF-5 HD to illustrate a common professional style follow focus that has been used for years in the motion picture industry. The Arri FF-5 HD is quite expensive at around $3500 complete. It is almost twice the price of the Arri MFF-1 shown here at around $1700. The Arri MFF-1 is one of the best follow focuses you can get for HDSLR work. The adjustable rotation of the follow focus is a great feature when using Canon lenses. The entire gearbox flips over to reverse the rotation of the gear, which works well for Nikon lenses. It is the most expensive at around $1700 US. The Chrosziel DV Studio Rig follow focus is very sturdy and the gear can be positioned in either the front or back of the gear drive. This is helpful when you must get close to the camera body with smaller prime lenses. The knob is large which will add more rotation to a short throw lens, like a Canon Zoom. They also make a “Varilock” knob with adjustable rotation. (See Link) The Chrosziel DV Studio Rig shown here costs around $1500. Zacuto’s mid level Z-Focus follow focus was very smooth right out of the box. Most follow focus units are fairly stiff new and will loosen up a bit over time. The gear can also be positioned in the front or rear of the drive. The gear was a little small on the unit we had but that is an easy fix. The Z-Focus is $1350 US. They also make a “Flippable Reversible” version for $1675 US. The Red Rock Micro Follow Focus V2 was the least expensive of the bunch at less than half the price of some of the other units. The prime gear cannot be flipped from front to back and the indicator marker is flimsy, but this is a great follow focus for the price. I have used one for over a year without problem. The Red Rock Micro V2 costs $545 US. There are many other types of follow focus units on the market ranging from the $150 D-Focus, to well over 1K by companies like Vocas, Cinevate, and Genus. The five shown were just some of the popular follow focus units on the market readily available to us at the time. I spent many years as a First A.C. and have used a lot of different types of follow focus units. I have even used cloth tape and pulled focus off the barrel in a pinch. It really does not matter how you get to the party as long as you get there.Read more
by Jared Abrams | 15th July 2010
Zacuto Z-Finder Junior Arri MFF-1 Follow Focus Here are a couple “Quick Takes” on the Arri MFF-1 Mini Follow Focus and The Zacuto Z-Finder Junior. The Arri MFF-1 is one of the best follow focus units money can buy. It has adjustable rotation, great for Canon glass. The gear can be reversed, great for Nikon glass. The Z-Finder junior is is also a great tool for HDSLR shooters. We shot these with the new iPhone 4 and cut it with the iMovie App on the iPhone 4. I plan on doing a few more of these this week. Let me know if there is any gear that you would like to see in a “Quick Take” in the comments section.Read more
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