Archive for May, 2014

Published by Hue on 23 May 2014

Video Check

So Ed, our resident master DP has been working on  editing the first six minutes of the DVD.   We are using Nikon  P520DSLR cameras to record the footage in HD for the Documentary.   I love the camera overall , however it does “on the fly”  MPG compression of the footage, something I am not really happy with.  I prefer to work with uncompressed footage until the final burn.

However, we just did a test burn of a DVD of the first six minutes and previewed it on the 70 inch HD Panasonic screen we  have and the the footage worked excellently.  My fears of bad HD footage  with lots of image compression are put to rest.         Onward!


Published by Hue on 21 May 2014

Mobile Film Rig

We have a fair amount of equipment around here and I have been playing with this setup for the last few days and am loving.

We  have a bunch of old XP Toshiba tablets PC’s.   I LOVE these computers.  They are a full laptop, that with a swivel of the screen , becomes a pen input tablet.   I do lots of photoshoping on it since it has direct pressure sensitive pen input, its like directly drawing on paper.    Since they are a full laptop, they will run any windows software easy enough.   Unfortunately, these units are getting harder and harder to find.  They were semi big about ten years ago.     Since then, nothing else has come close to offering the  same functionality.  They were also not the most powerful of computers even back then, usually having a celeron P4 processor.

This unit is setup with Adobe Premier 6.5 (an older version, but hey it works)   and I can hook up the Sony Vx-2000 camera directly via firewire and record digital footage directly onto the laptops hard drive bypassing the tape all together..   Since it’s running premier as the video editor, i can also edit directly int he field and see exactly what we just recorded.

I can also do audio checks using any number of audio programs and again, can record audio directly into the  digital production workflow with this setup.

However, the word is out today that Microsoft is releasing the surface Pro 3.  That has pen input and can run just about any win programs.   We’re upgrading all the cameras to DSLRs  currently and getting away from dedicated video camreas and I’m thinking of getting a surface Pro to replace the aging Toshibas since the functionality will be about the same, with a vast increase of processing power, but damb, I hate that win 8 interface!

Here’s a  Picture of the setup!










Published by Hue on 19 May 2014

Getting the High Shot. The Camera Jib

We’re knee deep in production for the Priest lake Documentary this last week.   Throughout the pre-production we’ve kicked various ideas around about the format of the program and the idea shook out (like these things have a tendency to do) that a mix of traditional history documentary, coupled with a mix of natural information about the local flora and fauna, would be a good way for the overall story telling of the priest lake area.

Both Ed and I are inspired by nature docs like the BBC’s Big Planet, or really anything the BBC puts out frankly, and want to showcase some of the natural beauty that the Priest lake area has to offer.   We decided to shoot full 1080 HD for the nature scenes, to really capture the detail of it all, and have been traveling about the area getting good “B roll shots of interesting nature shots.

Yesterday we went up past Nordman about seven miles and got some great video shots of Granite Creek raging with spring run off with the telescoping camera jib positioned out over the crick.

Ed put together a real simple camera jib made from an aluminum ladder and the damb thing works perfectly for getting interesting and smooth tracked camera shots.

jib1 jib2

The unit it’s self is made up of just one side of a telescoping aluminum ladder, hooked into a smooth pan head tripod via a standard camera lug mount.

It’s counter balanced with a 10 lb weight perfectly for the two different camera mounts we use (a static pan head mount and a free floating stedi-cam mount) and the Nikon DSLR camera we’re using.

Once the unit is all setup it take just two fingers to guide the camera through the arc of the shot.   All total I think we’re into it for about 100 bucks for parts and we have gotten lots of use out of it.     We’re looking to upgrade the unit a bit more by adding some simple powered gyroscopes to the stedicam mount so we can get perfectly angled and auto leveled motion shots.   We should have the parts to build the gyro stabilizers in a week or two and that will make this piece of kit work almost perfect!


Published by Hue on 16 May 2014

Priest Lake: The People, The places, The History. A Documentary Now in Production


First Working Poster I’m not real happy with this one. it didn’t turn out well but it’s a start)

So we’re knee deep in production on the definitive Priest Lake documentary. This project started a month or two back after Ed (our resident DP and general photog genius) did a interesting documentary on his life. He worked in ProShow ( a video editng program for the PC) and created a very interesting and compelling documentary based on old photos.

This got us thinking about doing one for the Priest Lake area. Originally the idea was we were just going to do one based on old photos and oral histories (AKA Ken Burns style) but as per-production went on the idea developed into more of a mix of the BBC natural planet series and a timeline of history of the area. A format that both Ed and I felt would work really well and one we haven’t seen before in any of the half dozen docs that have already been produced. (many of which seem to be nothing more then big travelogue commercials for the area and are very thin on history in general)

So we put together a prelim script and started working the content issues and shot plans. So far we’ve managed to go out and record some very compelling footage of the nature of the area and thanks to the great folks over at the Priest lake museum (big shout out to Tom Weitz, president and senior researcher for the PL museum) we got access to the entire historical picture archive, that we will use to thread the historical narrative with.

We have just started going around and getting the “talking head” shots from local old timers and historians and we will continue to film nature and historical scenic areas throughout the summer.

So far everything is going along swimmingly. So much so that I think we will be doing a second documentary entitled: Strange Facts and Interesting Stories of the Priest lake. We’ve come across some pretty infesting lore and some old stories on PL that wouldn’t necessarily fit into a standard doc that I think will make a great appendium to the main doc.

Right now I am doing major research into various topics while Ed works on prepping the photos. Many of the old photos are of low resolution so we have to do some major work on photoshop to get the images prepared and looking good for HD 1080P resolution.

Anyway. Its fun to have some video going through the production line after a long winter of digital programming and App building. More to come!

Published by Hue on 16 May 2014

The Cobblers Shoes.

We’ll it’s been a while since I have updated the production blogs. So much has gone on. But we’ve been working on so many projects that the blogs and this website has fallen into a woeful state. Something that I’m going to correct.

So what has been going on? We’ll we have the new studio up and running. A full production studio with top o the line editing bays, a green screen room for digital compositing and a big 12000 foot workshop/ space for setting up sets and a digital theater system for watching dailies and such.

On top of all that we have a summer full of projects slates including; doing 16 episodes of a cooking show, a feature a couple VR apps and some more animation shots.

So more to come on each and all!