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
It can seem like an obvious question sometimes, but do you think about the motivation behind camera motion? As the modern day filmmaker, never before has it been so accessible to make beautiful looking images. From large sensor cameras down to 3-axis stabilizers, we’re literally spoilt for choice when making small-no budget films look big budget. But is a moving camera, always the better camera? As a filmmaker are you providing motivation to your camera motion, or merely keen to use new kit and show off the bag of tricks you carry with you? As accessible as it is to all this amazing camera gear, it’s equally easy to over do camera motion by moving-it-for-the-sake-of-it. Here’s an interesting video from Cinevate’s blog that got me thinking on the subject. Eduardo Angel discusses the importance and thought process behind the camera track; a camera move perhaps consider the most overused (purely on just how accessible it now is with the abundance of camera sliders). It’s no secret that multi-axis stabilizers are starting to make a huge presence in filmmaking; it’s only a matter of time before these are equally as accessible to the camera slider. Will these become over used? Or will their incredible versatility unlock a new door for filmmakers, enabling them to put the camera exactly where and when they want, in more unique ways? In reverse, it’s great to see a film put together that wouldn’t be possible/have the same effect without the use of camera technology, here are two good examples from Joe Simon and Philip Bloom: I picked these two as they both heavily rely on camera technology to tell their story, but both in different ways. Without a flying camera like the DJI Phantom, Philip Bloom’s Koh Yao Noi wouldn’t have been possible. He would never have achieved the desired aerial angles; the video would have looked completely different shot with a set of sticks. Joe Simon’s Gerry is slightly different, there’s less of a reliance on a sole bit of camera kit, but as a whole the piece utilizes many different pieces of gear which without, again wouldn’t have been the same film. Filmmaking in normal practice works in reverse in the fact that story comes first, you should then select gear and camera in accordance to this. The key is, and I’ll revisit the question – Do you think about the motivation behind camera motion? As well as the above two films, I’d like to include an example of a great short utilizing entirely static shots. I must admit, none immediately spring to mind (potential sign of just how integrated camera motion has now become with filmmaking) so please comment below with any examples you feel relevant here!Read more
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