Thursday, October 29, 2009

Doritos Filming Finished

Just a quick update to let you know the filming for Doritos commercial went great, thanks to Diana, Scott, Eric, Kurt, Pablo, Yuki, and Angela.

It was a fun time and now it's on to editing . . .

Stay tuned for more updates and the finished video within the next week.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Doritos Video Still Shot

I like to keep you guys up to date on what I'm doing and below is a still shot from the Doritos commercial I'm working on for the 'Crash the Super Bowl' contest.

This contest is huge, you may have heard last year that the Herbert Brothers who entered this contest with their video, was played during the Super Bowl, and was rated the best commercial so Doritos gave them a million dollars! Same deal this year, except if you come in 2nd or 3rd on the USA Today Ad meter you get $600,000 and $400,000 respectively (last year you only got money for 1st on the Ad meter).

I am using Magic Bullet Looks to color grade the footage taken, I did a little split screen on the image below of before (right) and after (left) color grading. You can see it gives a little more professional look and feel to it (it's hard to tell by looking at this small image, click on it to see it bigger).

I also just wanted to add for the techie people that I'm using a trial version of Cineform NeoScene to transcode my video before I start editing. I heard it would make previews in the software run smoother and export easier while maintaining quality - and that's exactly what it does, it is going to change the way I edit! Now I can actually see a preview of what I'm editing instead of jerky still frames! I was a little concerned at first because playing the transcoded file by itself it made any motion in the footage seem interlaced and had these pink lines where motion was, but once in editing it's not there and I export to WMV files from the editing software and it works great

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ridge Soaring Fun

Took the 7D on a little ridge soaring flight today. I had given my Joby gorillapod mount to Tip for letting me make a film on him so I just taped the camera down around the keel wires.

Friday, October 23, 2009

7D First Impressions

It came!

I've had the camera only a few hours, the most of which the battery was charging. But I am really excited about this camera!

I'm happy with my lens choice of the 15-85mm, it seems like that is going to be a good range for me to use for an all-purpose lens. Luckily, I have a nikon to canon lens adapter so my Nikon 50mm f/1.8 will work on it, but I have to be dead on for the focus. The Canon lens' zoom and focus rings were a little stiffer than I was expecting, but I think its just something to get used to.

It isn't a light camera, and trying to use the zoom or focus ring while filming video is near impossible to prevent camera shake. I may invest in some rods and a focus puller. All those accessories add up quick though. Zacuto looks like they make some great products, but buying a kit would be way more expensive than the camera itself! We'll see.

I need to get used to the setup of the manual features but I like the two dials, one for the thumb and one for the pointy finger. You basically press a button for say ISO, shutter speed, or aperture and then use the dials to adjust.

Now on to trying to get the Doritos commercial together and get this camera dialed in so I can film maybe this coming Wednesday. I also got the Zoom H4n to supplement the poor audio quality that is on the dslr's these days, but I haven't had a chance to play with it yet much.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lost Contest

My new brainstorming team - I might fire them though, I think I caught one of them eating their own poop during a break-time.

Well I made it as an 'honorable mention' but did not place in the top 3 (for money prizes) on the EPA Video Contest. HERE was my entry.

I just received my copy of Action Essentials 2 today, so I should be blowing stuff up in no time.

Get ready for a slew of photographs on this blog from my Canon 7D arriving in the mail tomorrow.

Lastly, I have come up with an idea for the Doritos Super Bowl Commercial contest and will be filming it using the Canon 7D, so watch out other video contesters! My brainstorming team was speechless when I told them my idea, so that's a good sign, but I'm still trying to think of more since you can submit up to 10 entries.

Stay tuned!

Edit: I just received an email from the LG contest saying they won't be posting any new videos (including my "A Leg to Fly On") for a "while" while they process the entries. So hopefully it won't be too much longer before you can watch that one.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Camera in the mail!

This isn't from the new camera, that's coming Friday, just a shot from this morning.

(Warning: This could be a very boring post to people who don't care.)

After much deliberation between me, myself, and I, I've decided and bought a Digital SLR: the Canon EOS 7D with the new 15-85mm lens (or really like 24 to 138mm on a 35mm camera, so a wide tele photo lens). It should get here Friday.

It was either that ($1,700 for the body only) or a prosumer camcorder (like a Sony HDR FX100 at like $3,100), and I felt a DSLR would better suit my needs between crossing over between hang gliding things and video contests as opposed to something more expensive and heavy.

The disadvantages of course is that it is a bit big for a DSLR, and it is not a 'full-frame', but it's sensor is still large for doing video (this sensor is multiple times larger than the one in my dedicated HD camcorder, the Canon HF100, which is smaller than the smallest square in this picture compared to the APS-C sized sensor that's in the 7D). It can only shoot in 4GB increments of video (or about 12 minute clips). So no hour long interviews with this one, unless I just start and stop it a bunch.

With all the negative stuff out of the way, I'm really excited about this. It shoots 8 frames per second (fps) photographs and most importantly for me - HD video. I won't go into all the specifics, but a couple things I'm excited about is getting away from my depth of field adapter on my normal camcorder which makes the footage have a pretty bad vignette and very noisy bokeh (the unfocused portion of an image) because of the ground glass in it.

With this 15-85mm lens I think I'm going to be able to get some great pics at comps next year and of some Fall foliage while flying this year. Kraig Coombar is sending me an extra nose cone for my glider so I can make a nose camera mount and use this new camera!

The HD video has the option to shoot 60 fps (double what cameras normally do) in the 720p mode, which translates into doing some super sweet slow motions, like foot launches and landings (or whacks).

Yesterday I took a sled run with about 10 other people, felt good. Then I replaced part of the vg cord in my glider and put in a short hang strap because I removed a spacer in my Matrix Race harness in Arizona, and with the hang strap I had, my chest was on the basetube when heads down.
This shows the difference between the frayed cord and the one I was replacing it with. (Don't worry mom, I don't hang by that part).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My first 3D animation

After only a few days of watching tutorials, I came up with the few second video below. This opens up so many possibilities. I'm really looking forward to playing with this a lot more, but it is very time consuming.

I used Boujou 4 for the motion matching, and Cinema 4D for the 3D orb - notice the reflections in the orb, and it's shadow, really happy with how it turned out. That orb could be replaced by any number of things from 3d logos or text or any type of 3d animation.

This is something I am really interested in for visual effects and am inspired by the work Neill Blomkamp did in the movie District 9.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Learning 3D software

Today is the first day I've begun learning 3D software and here's a still image of what I've done so far. It's a pretty slow process, but very fun and it opens up a lot of possibilities. I am using Cinema 4D.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Fat Check Came Today

I wish they sent me a check that big, below is the real thing.

I pretty much went straight to the bank as soon as FedEx dropped this off. Again a huge 'thank you' to everyone for their votes.

Just another update: My short film was received by the LG people in Canada and I'm assuming that they'll post my video up on their youtube channel in the near future, but I will repost the video here, so check back.

Right now there are only 37 videos uploaded and only a handful of them are in the 'sports' category, which is who I would be exclusively competing against in this competition. This means my odds are pretty decent so far, but I'm sure there was plenty of last minute submissions like mine. (Grand prize for this contest is $100,000 canadian dollars and there is no public voting.)

A month and a half after Stella was supposed to announce a winner for their contest and still no word. I just know I did not win (they sent me an email a few weeks ago telling me, but I still want to know who did win.)

I am wracking my brain this weekend for an idea for a Doritos Super Bowl commercial - if anyone has any great ideas but can't produce it yourself, send me a shout. It is due on 11/9 so only 3 weeks away . . . (this one has millions of dollars at stake too)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Update | New Computer

Well, I thought I was being on top of things with the 'A Leg to Fly On' video, but everything has slowed down big time and I am mailing it off today and it's due Friday in Canada - it will have to be overnighted.

Basically, I was ready to mail it on Monday, but it was Columbus Day so the post office was closed. Then I had a little time to analyze the video further and there were some scenes I wanted to re-render out, and here we are two days later waiting on the last render, and I'm still not totally happy with it, the image quality, but I think as far as putting everything together it went okay.

I just customized two fairly comparable computers on Mac (MacPro Desktop) and HP's (e9180t series) website. And here is the price difference I found:
Mac = $6,280.00
HP = $1,939.98

I could buy three HP computers for the price of one Mac and they are both of similar configurations and components. I'm probably going to go with a new HP computer once I have time to sit down and look at it a little further.

Check out this video on the photographer who worked with Jonny on the Morning Glory cloud in Australia HERE.

Monday, October 12, 2009

First Video Blog (Vlog) Post

I'm not sure if I'll keep doing these, but I just wanted an excuse to play around and reenact a scene from Twilight that I think is funny (when it's not supposed to be).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Documentary Update

Above is a photo from yesterday created using Photomatix to combine three separate images together.

I just finished waiting an hour for a 16-second clip to render after I slowed it down and added some color. More and more this entire process seems to be like pointillism painting in that I can't see the big picture of what I'm doing most times since my computer is so slow and just to render 16 seconds takes an hour, and then oops, I needed to tweak that 16 second clip again since I couldn't play it full speed I didn't see changes that needed to be made, then there's another hour.

I should be finishing up in the next day or two.

I'm having a hard time deciding on a new computer. HP is a great buy, not expensive and good components, but Dell has better motherboard options and liquid cooling and is more expensive. Then Mac is the most expensive and I could finally get to use Final Cut Pro, but it doesn't have the option for a bluray burner or use the newest i7 processor, and did I mention it's the most expensive? Any advice? Make comments to this post and please help me decide.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Random Pics

Ever been cardboard surfing? Chattanooga has a couple good spots. This was at Renaissance Park. It's exactly how it sounds, you basically go sledding with some cardboard on a grassy slope, very fun!

Seriously? Has anyone else ever seen a sink like this? I could barely get my hands in the water the faucet was so close to the edge of the sink, but the sink is huge . . .

Hensons launch from last week

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Documentary Still

Here's just a quick still shot from the short documentary I'm currently working on.

It will probably be about 4 minutes long, and I have a friend working on some music for it. It's just really slow going right now with the computer. It drops out the audio randomly during editing (I guess because of memory issues) so I have to render out a full clip (that takes waiting an hour or so) then listen to it, tweak it, and repeat.

Still no check from HP yet. I sent in a W9 last week, and they said it would take a little while since this was an international contest they have to send laptops and other prizes all around the world so it might take a little while. Until then I'm stuck with this computer, that does the job, but slowly.

Monday, October 5, 2009


This phrase changed my life today (is that sad?):

run a command prompt as Administrator and enter the following:
bcdedit /set IncreaseUserVa 3072

Basically I added RAM to my computer a while back but my computer and software was not taking advantage of it until I did the above. Basically I was having to render things out at 2 seconds at a time and then combine them later - that is pretty time consuming for a 5 minute long short film.

I'm still reading reviews of the Canon 7D that just came out, but am pretty sure that is going to be my next equipment purchase.

I'll be working on Tip's documentary short all this week . . .

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Team Challenge

Whitwell launching today

The church steeple was off of the church that lets us land in its back yard at Whitwell

I launched maybe 3rd (the two in front of me were both free flyers), right before the launch opening for everyone that was in the meet. Flew for about an hour and a half before landing, many people had sled runs, it wasn't easy to get up today, but I think some competitors made their goals for the day.

Team Challenge is awesome, just two years ago was my first one and I remember what a blast it was doing my first xc flight and having so many people to talk and share that experience with.

I really hope the USHPA sees the value of these events and promotes them with other clubs throughout the country, but keeps them separate from sanctioned competitions so that Team Challenges are clearly learning-centered events and not competitions.

Landing sequence

(Click it to see it larger)
Thanks to Jamie, here are pics put together from one day I made goal in Arizona and landed on the driving range next to the resort.