Gold Teeth – Rock Bottom

Music vid I shot and directed last Nov is finally released… produced by Cole Kidd, check it out!

Music vid I shot for London Swagger is also up on YouTube:

Queen of Clubs Now Online

QUEEN OF CLUBS

Last week was another busy week as I attended both the Female Eye Film Festival, and Breakthroughs Film Festival. Both events were huge successes… on Friday night, my short film Queen of Clubs played to a sold out crowd before the feature film Beat Down by director Deanne Foley. Beat Down drew a crowd and rightfully so – it’s a hilarious film about an eighteen year old girl who only wants to wrestle like her dad once did – but he’s doing everything he can to stop her from getting sucked into that world. It was an honor to screen before this film and alongside two other really great short films – Bill, Please! and Lady Bare Knuckles. It was a solid program overall.

On Saturday night I was at the inaugural Breakthroughs Film Festival, hosted by Octavia Films. They are a new not-for-profit in Toronto and focus on fostering female filmmakers under age 30. 12 short films, including my film BODYMAX screened that night, and they were all very strong. It was also great to see such a variety of genres and styles.

So, because it’s now done it’s festival run, I’m officially releasing Queen of Clubs online. We made this film in spring 2011 as part of the 24-hour Toronto Film Challenge.
I apologize for the long wait, but finally I can share it with you, an online audience!

If you haven’t already seen it, also check out BODYMAX which recently won first place at the 48-hour Toronto Film Challenge just recently.

Finally, a big thank you to both festivals for screening my films! Hosting a film festival of any size is no small feat, and it’s great to know there is so much support out there. I hope to do it again next year!

BODYMAX

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BodyMax: First shoot with the Canon C300

It’s that time of year again…this past weekend, me and 9 teammates participated in the Toronto Film Challenge yet again. A few of us are now veterans of this challenge, but the majority of our team were new people, and I must say I’m pretty impressed with how well our team worked together. After running into so many problems that derailed us with Harvest, our 48-hour horror film last fall, we really learned from our mistakes, and planned much, much more effectively to minimize problems and make sure everything ran smoothly. We worked like clockwork and looking back, I feel like we pulled off a superhuman feat on Saturday by shooting at 5 locations (and lots of sub-locations within those), doing something like 100 setups, on an 18 hour long shoot, on a next-to-nothing budget. I’ve been on a variety of productions from large to small and I can definitely say I’ve never seen this many shot setups and locations within the space of one day.

Something else was new this time around, which was that it was my first ever shoot with the new Canon C300. Some of you who have been following this blog will know that I’ve had my eye on this camera for a while now, and have been dying to do a test shoot with it. Well, through the generosity of Canon Canada and Cinequip White, I was able to borrow the camera for the entire weekend to shoot this, and get a sense of what it’s actually like to shoot with. It’s one thing to read about a camera, or look at specs online, or pick it up and play with it for a few minutes at a show, but it’s another thing entirely to actually do a shoot with a camera and put it through it’s paces.

I had originally thought about doing a more planned shoot or test with the camera, but there is something very real life about a 48-hour Film Challenge – the fact that no matter how prepared you are, you always have to be ready for the unexpected; the fact that you have such limited resources; the fact that you have to just embrace your idea and go for it; the fact that you have to be able to work quickly and efficiently and make changes with no notice. Again, I’ve worked on a variety of shoots from extremely planned to totally haphazard, but in all of these experiences it’s important to be able to adapt quickly, and have a camera that can do the same. For these reasons, I felt pairing the C300 test shoot with the 48-hour film challenge would be a great “real world” test.

And the verdict is… I was incredibly happy with the camera and fell in love with how it operates. At first, it felt a bit foreign and I really need to familiarize myself with its controls and settings – but did this last Wednesday during a camera test. Once I figured out my essentials, I decided to customize some of the buttons (there are 15 customizable buttons – a great feature) to make some of the key shooting functions more accessible. One thing I love about this camera is the fact that you can pare it down to its simplest, or build it up to a full blown studio rig to suit your needs. I love that kind of versatility in a camera. I was pleased to see that I could set it up with my existing Redrock Micro parts and could see having a lot of configuration bliss with this thing. I did plan to use my Redrock Micro shoulder rig and follow focus, but found that with the number of setups we were doing, and need to work quickly and efficiently, it was actually easier to just operate it with only the handgrip and monitor/XLR and top handle attached. I left the focus gears on my lenses and did all my own focus pulling. Doing handheld with the camera isn’t a “traditional” way of doing things ergonomically (by putting the camera over your shoulder) but I was still able to have a nice comfortable grip and keep it steady, operating it more like a medium-format Hasselblad. Coming from a photography background, this felt very natural and comfortable to me. I do strongly believe that this is the direction cameras are going (smaller, lighter, and more versatile, but packed with the essential quality and features) so I see this new handheld operating as a sign of things to come. We also only had two batteries for the full shoot – but this was plenty as the battery life was quite long.

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News Update + AEYIOU Shoot

I’m way overdue for a blog update – I think I need to hire a monkey to read my thoughts and write them down! Lots has been going on since my last post, and while I’ve had a few things I want to write about, sometimes when you get slammed it’s hard to find the time to post!

So, let’s start with a quick news update:

-Took a trip to Costa Rica for two weeks end of Feb/beginning of March. Mostly vacation, but of course took my camera along and shot a tonne of photos and had a tonne of fun! Had my first crack at wildlife photography, and lots of beautiful landscape opportunities as well. Rather than post a few photos here, you can check out my gallery of faves HERE
(Note: for those curious, prints and digital copies of these photos are available for sale)
Got me curious about bird photography as it’s tricky, and researched what kind of lenses are used by serious bird photographers!

-Got to check out the performance of Campbell House put on by my lovely friends at Single Thread Theatre Company – it was fantastic and a beautiful production and location as usual. Never before has Canadian History been so entertaining!

-Shot day 4 of 5 on a new music video I’ve been DPing, for a song called AEYIOU by the band INTF. It’s a remake of the original 80′s song, AEIOU (which is pretty hilarious by the way). We turned the basement of a house into a Club Scene with extras and the like. My job was to take this space and light it to give it that club feel – with limited equipment. I’m very proud of the results and very excited for the finished product – this video is shaping up to be a great one. Also made use of the Steadicam again. See behind the scenes pics below!

-Have been prepping for the upcoming Toronto Film Challenge this weekend – in which me and 9 other teammates will write, shoot, edit and deliver a short film, all within 48 hours. It will be an intense but fun weekend and I will of course do a separate post on that as soon as it’s done!

-And…. to go along with that last bit of news, I will be doing my first ever test shoot on the Canon C300 this weekend! I am very, very excited to finally use the camera I have been drooling over for months now… and get a chance to really see how it works in a pressured situation. So of course I will also share my impressions and reactions on working with this camera.

So this time… expect another update soon … see you out the other side!

Canon C300 test for our shoot this weekend

Canon C300 Test for our shoot this weekend!

Campbell House – Steadicam

Last week I got to do another steadicam-focused shoot at historic Campbell House Museum in Toronto. The shoot was practice for me and also meant as a promo for Single Thread Theatre Company and their upcoming production, The Campbell House Story.

Just like with Much Ado About Nothing at Spadina House last fall, they will be using the entire house as their set and the audience will walk through and follow the actors as the scenes play out. Only this time, the story is based on Canadian historical figures like Judge Campbell and his wife Hannah, and William Lyon Mackenzie. The play is actually a fictional comedy but it’s all based around real events. I attended a reading of the script last fall and it’s pretty hilarious – so be sure to check it out if you can!

Here are two promo videos from the shoot – one short and one long.