Quarterly Roundup: Finance, medicine and more
It’s been quite a while since I updated this section so here is a sampling of some of the assignments I’ve done in the last few months: I shot interviews with a number of the country’s top financial experts/investors for a client who runs an exclusive newsletter, I created a promotional video and a number of testimonials and treatment videos for a TCM doctor, I shot a promotional video for a major sports organization which will remain unnamed due to a confidentiality agreement, I shot two weddings, etc. Variety is part of what keeps this job interesting!
107 minute video of Leonard Cohen tribute concert
The late and great Leonard Cohen is a Canadian treasure so it was fun to be asked to cover a recent tribute concert in his honour in downtown Vancouver. Since the client wanted two shooters I brought on my colleague Danny Rodriguez who covered wide shots while I focused on close-ups and audio. We both also shot the mingling in the lobby to be used as an intro. After that I edited the whole thing into a 107-minute video that will be exclusively shared with the invited audience. It was a big editing job but worked out well and I was pleased to hear that the client was happy with the results.
New Video Camera: Sony PXW-X200
I’m happy to announce that I have now upgraded from my excellent Sony PMW-200 to the even more excellent Sony PXW-X200. The X200 has a better optical zoom, wireless transmission, 60fps slow motion capability and most importantly a much higher bit rate which significantly increases the image quality. It will be exciting to see it in action these coming months.
Footage for short fiction film
The short fiction film The Widow’s Tale is a fictionalized version of a real-life murder mystery and the writer/director asked me to shoot an interview scene and a few exterior shots for it, with the rest of the footage being taken from sources related to the actual case. It was a challenging but interesting shoot with a very good performance by actress Stephanie Florian, so hopefully the film will eventually be completed and find its audience.
Five product videos of massage chairs
It’s always fun to help local businesses so I was happy to be approached by Richmond-based Youneed Massage Chair late last year. They produce and sell high end massage chairs that are really advanced and feature multiple functions, so in order to make it clear and simple to the customers they wanted product demonstration videos of their five latest models. These videos would then be screened on a TV in the store when needed. Since the videos required a professional on-screen presenter I brought in Devon Wong with whom I’ve worked before at Vancouver International Film Festival. She did a great job and all the videos came together on time. If you’re curious to see the result I’ve added one example to the Films section. You’re also welcome to read the client’s testimonial on the About page.
Shooting with Marc from The Marc & Mandy Show
My long-running collaboration with The Marc & Mandy TV show (on City TV, Global, CHEK and more) is still going well and in the late fall of 2016, after having shot segments with a number of different contributors over the course of the year, I was asked to shoot with the show host Marc Atiyolil. He was flown over to Vancouver from Manitoba along with his producer so that I could capture him interviewing various people at the Home and Design expo at Canada Place, and it turned out to be a fun meeting. Marc’s friendliness and professionalism makes him a great person to work with and despite the chaotic environment at the expo we got some good footage that will be edited into multiple segments.
Captured workshop by speaker Himanshu Narang
In November I was contacted by keynote speaker and business skills trainer Himanshu Narang who needed video of his latest workshop at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver. Himanshu was referred to me by his colleague Dustin Hogan for whom I’ve done a number of successful shoots, and it’s always nice to be recommended by happy clients. The workshop shoot went well and I delivered both a full video of the entire session (with pans and zooms to keep it interesting) and a number of testimonials that I shot with participants right after the event. Himanshu was very pleased with the results and immediately inquired about possible future shoots, so it will be interesting to see if this could be the start of a new long-running collaboration.
Surprise Party Highlight Reel
Just before the start of my work for Vancouver International Film Festival I covered a surprise party that a client had arranged for his wife’s 40th birthday. The event took place in a community centre on Granville Island and the wife arrived by limousine and was dressed up in boxing gear before being escorted in with the Rocky theme song playing in the background. Other highlights included a home-made version of The Price Is Right and some crooning by my client. After the film festival ended I finally had time to edit it all into a highlight reel that captured the mood and vibe of the evening. Shooting documentary style is always as fun as it is unpredictable, and the result always has a kind of authenticity that scripted footage normally can’t achieve.
VIFF: It’s a Wrap!
So that’s that for this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival! It was a whirlwind of activity with very long hours and high intensity work (as the Videography Coordinator I was in charge of all the video production) but I made it through with some significant accomplishments. First of all I vetted the candidates for the volunteer videography team much more carefully than how it’s been done by VIFF in previous years and as a consequence I ended up with a stronger and more experienced team than ever. I also prepped the shooters carefully and even wrote a 12 page videography handbook specifically about the challenges and opportunities of this year’s festival. Finally I kept the communication channels open so that I could ensure that everyone was on the same page and everything got done. In the end I shot 18 interviews, one Q&A, the opening gala and two Creator Talk sessions myself and as a team we produced right around 100 videos. Not too bad for a few weeks work…
Videography Coordinator at VIFF
My collaboration with Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) is now on its third year and this year I was hired for the brand new position of Videography Coordinator. This job means that I will be recruiting and leading a team of around 15 videographers who will cover Q&As, speeches, events, parties, screenings, filmmaker interviews and much more during the festival. At a rapid pace we will deliver everything from highlight reels and full workshop coverage to 30-second sound bytes for social media, all in the name of promoting one of North America’s biggest and best film festivals. The prep work is already under way and it’s an intense, exciting and rewarding process. If you’re interested in attending the festival then make sure to buy your tickets soon because they’re selling fast!
Instructional Footage for Floyd Rose
A few weeks ago I was approached by guitar-part designer Tony Rukavina about doing an instructional video for Floyd Rose, the world’s leading manufacturer of tremolo systems for guitars. After an afternoon of recording voice-over, synch sound, close-ups and medium shots of the 20-step process it takes to replace an old tremolo system with a new one, I delivered several gigabytes of clean, sharp footage which is now in the process of being edited. Those of you who are looking to teach your electric guitar new tricks will do well to keep an eye out for the finished video.
Another Marc & Mandy segment added
As mentioned in a previous news post I have started a collaboration with TV show Marc & Mandy, and another segment I made for them has now been added to the Films section. On this one, which is about a custom kitchen and features Kim Bartley and Arlie Jonathan, I was not only responsible for the directing and the shooting but the editing too.
Photography for Playwrights guild of Canada
Playwrights Guild of Canada is a national arts association that aims to help playwrights with funds, promotion and creative support. Their latest project CASA is dedicated to mentoring South African female playwrights, and for this purpose they needed promotional photos of women of various ethnic backgrounds writing. My contribution “Scribe” has now been published in the Photos section, on PGC’s fundraising page and on their Facebook page.
Multiple segments for TV show Marc & Mandy
Earlier this spring I did my first gig for TV show Marc & Mandy which airs on multiple channels on Bell, Shaw Cable, Telus Optik, Rogers, and more. It’s a light-hearted talk show focused on interior decoration, food, health and lifestyle. Initially I was asked to shoot a segment about a custom made kitchen and since then I have shot four more segments (all of them about furniture and home decoration) that feature various design experts giving tips on how to spice up the look of your house or apartment. More segments are to follow this fall, but one has already aired and can now be viewed in the Films section. For more information about the show, take a look at their website.
Concert footage for Norine Braun
Last weekend acclaimed rock/blues artist Norine Braun released her 10th album “Gone to the Spirits” at Studio Records in Vancouver and I was hired to capture the accompanying concert on video. Thanks to being allowed to plug into the soundboard I was able to get crystal clear audio as the six-piece band rocked the venue with a whole bunch of new songs. The visuals were nice and clear too despite low light on stage, and the artist will edit the footage herself. When it’s ready it will pop up on YouTube.
Promo Video for Cryopeak’s firefighter workshop
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a volatile and potentially dangerous substance, especially if it catches on fire, which is why gas company Cryopeak offers workshops on how to safely handle LNG and fight gas fires if they were to happen. One such workshop is currently held in Marpole BC and it lets the participants get hands-on experience dealing with big flames. Safety procedures, extinguishing methods, worst-case scenario management and much more is addressed during the full day on location and I was there to capture it all on video. The resulting promo reel can now be viewed in the Films section, and a testimonial from the happy client has been published on the About page.
Interviews with Cancer Survivors for Non-Profit
HSYB is an American non-profit organization that aims to create a community for young cancer survivors where they can support each other and exchange knowledge and experiences. Part of the project is a website, and part of it is an upcoming book that will be distributed to the members and others. I was hired to shoot interviews with two cancer survivors and their families in the greater Vancouver area, and then provided the client with raw footage that will be edited into videos. These brave people told their stories with both emotion and clarity and it’s amazing how they managed to get through their ordeal without losing their positive outlook on life. For more information on this project, please visit the HSYB website.
Product Video for clothing brand Glory Athletics
“Gym clothing is really expensive!” thought Vancouver entrepreneur Jeremy Gillespie who decided to start his own business to design, produce and sell more affordable but still good quality athletic wear. The result was Glory Athletics, and I was asked to create a short promotional video to showcase their line of t-shirts, tops, shorts and more. The setting was a local gym and a group of high-powered athletes got together to lift weights, box, run, and even engage in a classic tug of war to demonstrate the usefulness of the clothes. The finished two-minute video can be viewed in the Films section and a testimonial written by the client can be found here.
Full coverage of Comedy Roast
The “comedy roast” is still a relatively rare phenomenon but its popularity is on the rise, as evidenced by a slew of low and high profile roasts popping up lately. Basically it’s a stand-up comedy event where a bunch of comedians take turns to taunt and ridicule a specific person in a funny way in front of an audience. The butt of the joke at Khanna Banquet Hall in April was Ravi Khanna, and his comedian friends certainly didn’t pull any punches. I was asked to capture full continuous video coverage of the event and it turned into a four hour marathon of funny insults. If it’s ever put on DVD it might have to be a double disc pack!
Gala Event coverage at the Chan Centre
Last week it was time for another video shoot of a stage performance. I was hired by BC/Alberta based production company Night Owl Recording to provide general coverage of a gala event at the Chan Centre. It was the UBC medical students who showcased their creative talents, which made for a real variety show with everything from martial arts and comedy to classical piano and first nations dancing. The shoot offered a few challenges in the form of house lights continuously changing in intensity and plenty of unpredictable movement across the stage, but I was able to keep up with the iris setting and the focus and captured a good mix of wide, medium and close-up shots as well as zooms and pans.
Interviews for the TV News in Ottawa
Last Friday was dedicated to a series of shoots for Ottawa/Gatineau-based TV station TVA. Their news crew was doing a story on controversial skyscraper projects in Vancouver and asked me to shoot interviews with city councillor Geoff Meggs, urban expert Jillian Glover and activist Garth Mullins. The interviews were so-called “double-enders” where the interviewees look off camera and answer questions delivered over speaker phone from Ottawa. It’s a common way to get it done, and more cost-efficient than sending a reporter across the country. I was also asked to capture a bunch of location shots in various parts of the city. In the end the client was very happy with the results, which after editing will be broadcast on TVA.
Inspirational speeches captured on video
In the last couple of weeks I have been working with inspirational speaker Dustin Hogan, a dynamic performer who seamlessly blends motivational speech with entrepreneurial insights and even music and dance – all in the name of creating a unique and powerful experience for the audience. The first shoot was at the Seaquam Secondary School in Surrey where Dustin spoke to the students at an entrepreneurial seminar. The second shoot was at the International Village in central Vancouver, again with a focus on how to be a successful entrepreneur. These and other videos will be edited into a promotional highlight reel and published on Dustin’s website at a later date. Feel free to read his testimonial about my services on the About page.
Music video for solo artist Lucas Edem
When you make a music video it is always both labour-intensive and rewarding at the same time, and my latest effort was no different. After an intense few days of shooting in five different locations I started wading through the footage in search of the best moments to be stitched together in an as fluid and seamless way as possible. It took a while, but I’m quite pleased with the end result (which can be found in Films section). Even more important though was the fact that the artist himself, Togolese singer/composer Lucas Edem, was happy and excited about it. For more information on Lucas, check out his Facebook page
Seven product videos in three different languages
Added to the Films section is a sample from a series of seven product videos I’ve made for the distributor of the multi-purpose kitchen appliance Instant Pot. This impressive pot can pressure cook, slow cook, sauté, boil, steam, warm and even make yogurt. The client wanted each function to get its own short promo video and also wanted each video to get English (American and Australian), Chinese and Spanish voice-over narration. So in the end I made and delivered 28 videos, each one resulting in a nicely cooked dish. Take a look.
After having been hijacked by hackers for a long time, my website is now finally back under my control (thanks to web wizard Jerry Wang). I apologize for not having been able to post any updates but now I’m back in business!
Exclusive Interview with Atom Egoyan
During Vancouver International Film Festival 2015 many of the filmmakers are staying at the upscale Sutton Place Hotel, and on Monday we had a long list of directors and producers stop by the Chambertain Lounge for quick three-minute interviews where I was the camera operator. Right after that I set up camera, lights and mics in a suite to do a one-on-one interview with acclaimed director Atom Egoyan. We chatted about his latest film “Remember”, his love for British Columbia and more. The result can be viewed in the Films section as well as on VIFF’s Facebook page and via their other social media channels.
Lead Videographer at the VIFF 2015 Opening Gala
The 2015 Vancouver International Film Festival has started and I was selected as lead videographer for the opening gala. It was my job to organize the shoot, collect footage from the other videographers, shoot the speakers at the podium and to edit all the footage into a 3-minute highlight reel to be posted on social media outlets. It all went smoothly and the video can now be found on VIFF’s Vimeo page and through many other channels.
Interview for Queen’s University
Last week I was hired by Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario to shoot a brief interview with one of their alumni. The interview will be part of a promotional video to attract more students to the university’s programs. Lights, tripod, lav and camera were quickly set up in a conference room in downtown Vancouver where the alumnus currently works, and the whole interview was done in about an hour and transferred over to the client in Ontario the same afternoon. Thank you WeTransfer!
Event Video for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is a nationwide organization focused on finding a cure for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, two gastrointestinal diseases that cause a lot of pain. One of the events that the organization puts on is the annual Gutsy Walk where people whose lives are affected by the diseases gather to walk a few kilometres together, raise money, increase awareness and have fun. This year was the 20th anniversary of the Surrey Gutsy Walk and I was asked to cover the event. The finished video, which features brief interviews with the participants and footage of the celebration as well as the walk itself, has now been posted in the Films section and also on the Gutsy Walk’s local and national Facebook pages.
50+ Video Lessons in Accent Reduction
Many non-native speakers of English want to minimize their accent, and this ambition was recognized by Desh and MC – two professional speech therapists who decided to start their own accent reduction business. They had already written a book on the subject, but since accent is all about sound and how you create it, they realized that video lessons would make excellent companion pieces. I shot enough material for over 50 lessons in one long and intense day, and after plenty of editing it was all done and ready to be uploaded.
General coverage of one-year-old’s birthday
In the Indo-Canadian community it is common to throw a big party for your kid’s first birthday, and the party I was supposed to cover on my latest assignment was no exception. Over 150 guests were invited to a rented banquet hall, a huge buffet was set up, a DJ with full disco lighting brought in, and fun was had by all. I got tons of footage of mingling, cake cutting, dancing, eating and much more. The client requested raw footage delivery so it’s hard to say how long the finished video will be, but there’s enough material to make it epic!
Audience shots at Translink AGM
Last week it was time for transportation giant Translink’s annual general meeting and I was hired to capture the questions from the audience as well as wide shots of the speakers at the podium. To get clean footage of Q&As is always tricky since you never know who will speak next or where they will be located. Reframing, focusing and iris adjustment have to be done in a split second as not to miss anything. Thankfully I’m quick on the draw and was able to finish lining up the shots right before or at the start of each answer. The finished video, which features the Translink board, MLA George Heyman and others – will be posted by Translink.
Kickstarter Video: Whytes Watches
Crowd funding is definitely a growing source of capital for both small and big businesses and I often get requests to do videos for various campaign pages on Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Added to the Films section is a brand new Kickstarter video I made for luxury watch company Whytes Watches. The idea was not only to show the product in a real-life context but also to give potential funders an idea of the target demographic and what type of lifestyle they might have. The campaign is not yet online but keep an eye on Kickstarter in the next few weeks and you’ll be able to catch the big launch.
Two testimonials added
When I hear from happy clients it always brings me great joy, and two of the most recent kind messages (from Tiffany Toulze, director of Surviving Woodlands and Catherine Scanlan, co-founder of Whytes Watches) have now been added to the Testimonials section on the About page. Simply scroll down to view them.
Footage for news segment about earthquake survivor
In april this year a young woman went hiking in Nepal and was soon struck with severe altitude sickness. A friend of hers managed to get her down to a hospital in Katmandu where she was given medication for her condition. Unfortunately the medication had a rare side effect and caused brain bleed that nearly killed the young woman. Then, as she was finally starting to recover, the massive 7.8 magnitude Gorkha earthquake hit the area, and she just barely got out alive again… Peter Freed, a journalist who’s worked for New York Times, NBC and others, picked up the story and asked me to shoot the reunion between the young woman and her friend for inclusion in a human interest segment. It was an emotional and happy encounter that was great to witness and capture. When the piece gets broadcast I’ll post a link here.
Cameraman for one hour documentary
Not long ago I was approached by filmmaker Tiffany Toulze who was coming up to Vancouver from L.A. to shoot a documentary about abuse that had taken place at the Woodlands school in New Westminster. She wanted to interview several of the survivors (now in their sixties, seventies and eighties), an activist and a lawyer as well as shoot some b-roll, and she wanted me to be the camera operator. After having captured several horrific stories the shoot ended today, and the footage is now travelling back to L.A. where it – along with reenactments, stills and other material – will eventually be edited into a one hour documentary. The sights are set on the film festival circuit, so fingers crossed.
Capturing workshop speeches
One-off gigs are always interesting and fun but ongoing collaborations offer more opportunities to refine the outcome over time, which is part of the reason why I’m excited about my latest video commitment: capturing speeches delivered by the participants of a recurring business workshop. The workshop is led by Roy Prevost, an experienced retail consultant and business coach who helps professional speakers customize their skills for specific contexts. The set-up is a stage with a small audience, three-point-light, camera on a tripod at the back, and the speaker hooked up with a lav mic. The result is crisp and clear, both in terms of video and audio.
Video of English classes for Korean students
A few weeks ago I was contacted by an English grammar teacher from Korea who used to offer his lessons online and on DVD to students back in his home country. He had now relocated to Vancouver and wanted to keep teaching to those same students. All that was needed to replicate the set-up he was used to was a chalkboard and a projector, which of course was well within the realm of possibility. So far we’ve shot a test lesson and more are likely to follow. It’s pretty amazing what technology can do these days. A teacher in Canada and a student in the Korean countryside? No problem; online video knows no borders.
New equipment: Lav and lights
Even though I already had a very solid and high end set of filmmaking equipment, I was missing one very useful item: a good wireless lavalier microphone. A lavalier, or “lav” for short, is the kind of tiny miniature mic you attach to a person’s clothing, so no matter how much they walk around or in which direction they are facing, you still get clear audio at a consistent distance and volume. The Sennheiser G3 Wireless lav is top of the line with crystal clear sound and reliable quality, and that’s the one I have now purchased. I’ve also added two extra lights on stands with diffuser filters to the two I already had, so I now have a full three-point-light set-up with an extra one to spare.
New Feature: Photo Captions
Brand new to the Photos section is a feature that allows you to read captions for each and every one of the pictures. Simply click on the thumbnail of the picture you’re interested in and then once the picture has opened place the cursor on it without clicking, and a text box will appear. Enjoy!
Editing for Shaw TV
Today I was called in with short notice to trim two minutes off a half-hour TV show on Shaw TV called The Ledge. The footage that needed a shave featured two high-profile interviews, one with financial tycoon Jim Pattison and the other with acclaimed director Oliver Stone. The show’s creator Lola and I decided to cut a few seconds here and there where the speakers got long-winded, but a couple of questions and answers also had to go in their entirety. It’s always tough to have to make such dramatic sacrifices, but the end result did end up more streamlined and the total running time now fit within the producer’s strict guidelines. We made it in time too!
Speech Video for Vancouver Post Alliance
VPA is an organization for post production professionals working in the film industry in Vancouver. One way in which they help grow and connect this community is by hosting events, and the topic of their latest one was “Exploring the 6K Workflow on David Fincher’s Gone Girl”. Invited as speakers were the movie’s two main creative forces in the post production process, Jeff Brue and Billy Peake, and I was hired to shoot the speech as well as the mingling afterwards. It was a privilege to collaborate with industry professionals like Tracy Hillman and Rick Cederlund and as soon as the video gets posted on the VPA website I will let you know.
High school Christmas Show documented
On Thursday last week it was time for Windermere High School’s annual Christmas show where students and staff sing, play instruments and perform dance numbers for the rest of the school. It’s an epic nearly 3 hour event with enthusiastic cheering from the audience, raffles, silent auctions and more. I was asked to get video coverage so I squeezed in my tripod behind the soundboard at the back and despite a ton of technical challenges due to the auditorium’s set-up I was able to get some good continuous footage. An edited version of the video will likely appear on Vimeo and/or YouTube early next year.
New Section: Testimonials
It always makes me really excited and proud to hear how happy my clients are with my performance at the end of each project, especially since I always work hard to maintain a high quality standard. I’m not always great at asking to get the praise in writing though, so it wasn’t until recently that I finally decided to request a few testimonials from some former clients. Even though it in some cases had been many months since the end of the project, they were quick and enthusiastic to respond which was very flattering. The testimonials I have received so far can now be found on the About page (scroll down on that page). More will be added as new projects get completed.
Promo Photo for Spanish Magazine
In conjunction with the release of his Slug Comparison debut album, artist Doug Harrison will be interviewed by the well-established Spanish magazine This Is Rock. They will dedicate two full pages to the article, one of which will feature a large promotional photo of Doug. Since he was happy with the music video I made for him (Bringer of Doom, viewable in the Films section) he asked if I could take a few promo pics to send to Spain. The session, which took place in a dingy basement full of dead bugs, went well and our favourite shot (titled Guitar Hero) has now been uploaded to the Photos section.
VIFF X 3
The Films section has just received three new additions that I shot for Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF). The first one is a Q&A session with Director Matsubayashi Yoju that followed the screening of his latest documentary. Over the course of the festival I shot eight Q&As but I think this one is the most representative example as it so clearly showcases the low light situations (my little onboard camera light got a big task) but also the good soundboard audio. The second shoot was mostly improvised as I – mere minutes before they started – was asked to cover the opening gala red carpet interviews, but the video still turned out quite well. The third video is a highlight reel from the pre-festival press conference. If you attended VIFF this year you might catch a few glimpses of faces you recognize.
Concert shoot for Robyn McCorquodale
I was recently brought on as a second cameraman by a colleague of mine who was shooting a concert for artist Robyn McCorquodale at the Orpheum Annex in Vancouver. For the first half of the concert I was asked to do general continuous coverage (which is how you do it when you want a full concert video) and for the second half I was assigned to do specific clips from multiple angles (which is useful for “highlight reel”-style videos). It has not yet been decided exactly what the footage will be used for, but eventually it will turn up in a concert video, a music video, a promo video, or perhaps all three.
Archival Video of stageplay Dirty Old Woman
The award-winning stageplay Dirty Old Woman, written and produced by Loretta Seto, was the most popular show at the Vancouver Fringe Festival. I was asked to capture the whole performance on video for archival purposes (unfortunately none of it can be published online due to rules set by the actors’ union), so I ended up shooting the show on three different nights from three different angles and then editing it all together. Since there were unavoidable variations in movement, gestures and intonation between each performance it was sometimes tricky to find moments where good edits could be made, but after working hard on it I eventually managed to create a natural flow. The play has been picked up by The Cultch and an expanded version will be playing there in the fall of 2015, so make sure not to miss it!
Bombay Bliss: My second DJ video
It’s always nice to have returning customers, so I was glad to get my second assignment for DJ collective Xclusive DJs. This time they wanted me to shoot a huge party aboard a yacht. There were three big dance floors, two bars, an Indian buffet and tons of enthusiastic dancers. The main purpose of the video (which has been added to the Films section) was to highlight the debut by the collective’s latest addition: DJ Gem.
Interview shoot for corporate partnership video
I was recently hired by Toronto-based production company Digital 7 to do a shoot for a video that will be screened for top representatives from financial giants AGF Investments and Primerica. The two companies have an ongoing partnership, and this morning I shot an interview with an AGF wholesaler at their offices in downtown Vancouver. If the completed video eventually goes online, I will post a link to it here.
New Music Video Shoot: We Are The Winners
Today was supposed to be the big shooting day for the new music video I’m making for up and coming artist Shako Birori. The song – We are the Winners – is very catchy, upbeat and genuinely “summery”, which led me to write a weather-dependent video concept. That’s always a risky undertaking in a rainy city like Vancouver, but luckily we got plenty of sunshine. Instead it was something else that every filmmaker dreads that threw a huge spanner in the works: key people being severely delayed before arriving. As a result half the shot list remained undone at the end of the day. The good news is that I got all the band footage which means that the video has its backbone. All it needs now is some proper flesh, which will be added at a later time.
FAB IT – A Short Promotional Video
Sometimes promo videos are best when they’re short and sweet, like the new one and a half minute piece I just added to the Films section. It features the skilled hands at FAB IT – a company that custom makes various metal parts such as brackets, signs, panels, frames, etc. Classic rock music accompaniment seemed appropriate and was once again made possible thanks to free music site audionautix.com, which I owe a great deal of gratitude. Many thanks also go out to the kind folks on the production floor who put up with my nosy camera.
Voice-Over Script for Instructional Video
It’s been a while since anything was added to the Texts section but now you will find a new entry there. It’s a voice-over script commissioned by crown moulding company Nova Crown. The intended use is in an instructional video that will describe how to install crown moulding in your own home with the help of common household tools. In other words the text/voice will not stand alone but rather be accompanied by relevant images. Still, I’ve made a proper effort to simplify and clarify the description of what might otherwise have been perceived as a relatively complex process.
Consulting for Learning Centre
Over the past few weeks I have provided advice on how to write, set up, shoot and edit a promo video to the folks at Symbols Learning Centre (where the focus is on kids with learning disabilities). I’ve also offered thoughts on photography since they wanted to learn how to take their own staff photos. A promo video production was planned but later cancelled largely due to lack of time. Nevertheless it feels good to have helped a small business with a noble cause on their way to achieving their visual media goals.
Premiere for Writing with Grace
A few years ago author Judy McFarlane was asked to help Grace Chen – who has Down Syndrome – get started on writing her own book. This was the beginning of an emotional journey for both of them which eventually resulted in McFarlane’s book Writing with Grace. The official book launch takes place on May 14 and in time for that I have made a book trailer which is now available in the Films section. It’s basically a mix of sit-down interview and observational documentary, and I think it’s worth a look.
Close-ups of Vancouver Welsh Men’s Choir
Tonight I operated the second camera on my friend and colleague Nima Mohseni’s latest shoot. We covered the Vancouver Welsh Men’s Choir’s performance in a church in White Rock. I was responsible for the close-ups and had a prime spot on the center pew closest to the stage. The singing was fantastic and enjoyable even to those of us who were preoccupied with pans and tilts and zooms.
Obviously Chic added
Early April saw the opening of new pop-up fashion boutique Obviously Chic in Gastown, Vancouver. Jess Cote and friends decided to throw a party for bloggers, fashionistas and the general public to show off a range of new clothes, jewelry, pillows and other items for the trend-conscious. This presented a good opportunity to shoot a promo video for the store, and the result has now been added to the Films section.
Documentary clip for conference speech
Today I finished editing a little documentary-style video I shot for author Judy McFarlane. She will be promoting her new book Writing with Grace by speaking at a writers’ conference in Calgary and needed the video to give the audience a glimpse of her relationship with fellow author Grace Chen who has Down’s Syndrom. Their collaboration is the subject of Judy’s book, and the conversation I shot was natural, happy and at times very emotional. A book trailer for Writing with Grace is up next and will be published here when it’s done.
DJ dance party now in the Films section
My promo video for Surrey-based DJ collective Xclusive DJs has now been added to the Films section. It’s five minutes packed with energy and excitement from their Hyper Paradise event in March so go and check it out.
TV Reporter Shoot
Yesterday I shot video for a Shaw TV reporter from Calgary. The intense three-hour schedule included various spots in the Vancouver Aquarium as well as the luxurious Wedgewood Hotel. Three models were hired for a sequence in the hotel restaurant and I also got footage in a suite and the spa where the helpful staff provided service and set up flower arrangements. I only wish I’d been allowed time to set up proper lighting, but these days that’s a rare luxury.
Memorial shoot for documentary feature
Today I shot a memorial service in the basement of a Baptist Church for another director’s feature-length documentary about a social housing project in Vancouver. Most likely only a few brief moments from the footage will be used in the finished film but nevertheless it was an interesting shoot.
DJ party and more crown moulding
Last Friday I was hired to shoot video of a big dance party in Surrey by the DJ collective Xclusive DJs. The event was well attended, the intense music kept the dance floor crowded the entire night and there were surprises in the form of pyrotechnics, a cash drop and two giant cakes. Then a few days later I was rehired by the folks at Nova Crown who were happy with my last video gig and wanted stills and video of more crown moulding, this time in a couple of private homes. Two very different gigs and two very different challenges. Variety is the spice of life!
Live Rust and Nova Crown added
The live music video for Neil Young cover band Live Rust and the product video for crown moulding company Nova Crown mentioned earlier have now been added to the Films section.
Old and semi-old photos rediscovered
When I was looking through my photo folders the other day I came across a bunch of pictures I had taken almost twenty years ago. Since I remember them fondly, I figured I’d add a few (Messenger, Oxygen, Dragon Wings, Golden Peak and Ridge Walker) to the Photos section. I also took the opportunity to add a couple of not-quite-as-old ones (Cloudscape and Fish Market) that were taken in France and Tanzania respectively. Hope you like them.
Those of you who have visited this website before may have noticed a few recent changes. The “Screenplays” and “Other Texts” sections have been replaced by a single “Texts” section for simplicity’s sake and new sub categories facilitate your search. A few visual symmetry problems have been fixed, the background and borders have been improved and the red colour has been reinforced for increased visibility on bright days. The design of the News page has also been changed to reflect the design on the About and Contact pages for better consistency. If you notice any functionality problems or have suggestions for future improvements, please send me a message. Thanks!
Three new shoots completed
In the last week or so I’ve wrapped up three new video shoots. First I captured a live show by Neil Young cover band Live Rust, then I created product footage for crown moulding company Nova Crown, and finally I helped a jump rope athlete with coverage of her performance. It’s always fun and interesting to meet new talented people and give their business or personal pursuits a boost through video!
Bringer of Doom Released
Today is the release date for my new music video Bringer of Doom! The song is the first release from Slug Comparison, the new solo project by Fen’s vocalist Doug Harrison. We shot the video back in the late summer / early fall of 2013 and since then I’ve done the editing and waited for the song to be remastered. Huge thanks to Doug, the cast and the band for all their great performances! If you have any questions or feedback or if you’re curious about the process of making this video, feel free to send me a message on the Contact page.
Trollet och Prinsessan Gets Subtitles
After more than ten years, my Swedish short film Trollet och Prinsessan (in the Films section) has finally been given English subtitles thanks to free subtitling website Amara. To activate the subtitles, please click “Watch Now”. Then click “CC” to the right of the progress bar at the bottom of the screen. Then choose “English”. Now you can start the film. If for some reason the subtitles don’t work properly on your browser, please let me know.
MyGradeBooster Video Now Online
The promotional video for MyGradeBooster that was previously mentioned in this section is now online and can be viewed at mygradebooster.com. It has also been added to the Films section if you would like to view it right here.
Daughters of the Equinox Added
My second documentary Daughters of the Equinox, about a witch preparing for a healing ritual, has now been added to the Films section. It was completed in the spring of 2013 and is a rare look into the practices of an ancient faith.
Late Shift Added
I have now added my 8-minute portrait documentary Late Shift (shot in the fall/winter of 2012) to the Films section. It was made possible thanks to the kind cooperation of all the custodians at Capilano University. Check it out, and feel free to send me feedback!
Promotional Video for MyGradeBooster Completed
I recently finished editing a promotional video that I made for the website of Vancouver-based tutoring company MyGradeBooster. The video is just under three minutes long and features tutors and students, as well as testimonials by students’ parents. As soon as the video is online on mygradebooster.com, I will let you know!
Last Day of Shooting for “Bringer of Doom”
Tonight we’re wrapping up a three-day shoot of Douglas Harrison’s new music video “Bringer of Doom” for which I am the writer, director, cinematographer and editor. It’s been a fun process with a talented artist and backing band, strong acting and great volunteer help! Stay tuned for more news about this upcoming release.