Wanderings and milestones.

Last week I graduated from Emily Carr University, ending my four-year film studies. I was lucky enough to be introduced to my current employer during the last semester, so I'm working right out of the gate in media creation - putting the end-of-term-job-hunting stress to rest. 

My parents came to Van all the way from Ontario and stayed with Ju and I for a lovely handful of days. We went to the grad films screening and hung out at Joe's, among other things. We also took a drive down the Sea-to-Sky highway to catch some beautiful mountain views and find woodland trails to wander through with Haku.

This weekend Ju and I are going to meet Cassie, a female dog that urgently needs a foster home until she is adopted out. Ju has always wanted to foster dogs that need it, and it will be nice to do what we can to help these poor animals until they find a home. Haku is a super gentle and calm little guy, so he should make quick friends with whomever we have stay in our place. Can't wait to meet her!

Now I'm going to convince my friend Stie to come over and make lasagna...

 

Huge seals and tiny humans.

About a month ago, my cousin Darren and his wife Jenny welcomed their son Otto into the world, and he was the smallest being I've ever had the privilege of holding. And then about three weeks after that, Darren's brother Jared and his wife Servane suddenly had their own baby! Little human Myro, the cutest little man I've ever met. So cool to have all these babies in the 'hood.

I just got back to Vancouver after spending the last few days in San Diego. It was my first ever business trip, and I have to say it was a pretty awesome place to be sent to! I went out there with my boss, Sharad, as my travel companion. His company, Kharé Communications, is always seeking out interviews with the most interesting people working on some of the biggest projects going on in the world, and I'm having fun; Definitely loving this job right now. We shot lots of promo material for a cancer research company, and then got to chill around the city for a bit.

We ran into a smelly pile of seals at one point. That was good. 

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And now life goes on... Ju and I just got sushi!

Choco chimps metamorphosis.

Mixing cereals of varying species is like playing god, resulting in combinations of flavours and textures never experienced before by the human tongue. Breakfast has never been so exhilarating.

Anyway, I made another video. I went around doing some lens tests and then played around with the footage in post for a while. The images produced by mirroring the frame looked really interesting to me so I kept that aesthetic throughout.   

I always grade the hell out of footage, but the images that come straight out of the Digital Bolex always looks so damn great, like it was shot on film. You can see below, with the pictures of the public art pieces, these are just some of the RAW files untouched. That sort of saturated, bloomy look has that nostalgia that comes with 16mm film. I've got to try making a video without doing any grading at all; I think that would look pretty awesome. 

That's it for now. School's coming to a close, some big projects are wrapping up and our backyard is getting an overhaul (can you say BBQ/lounging/hen-occupied paradise?). Lots to do, and that cereal's not gonna mix itself!

Senior Media (FVIM) update #4 - The Character Study

This is an update on the post-production of my grad film, The Character Study.

Now that I have a picture-lock, I've been nailing down the colour-grade. I still keep jumping back and forth between a natural, correct look versus a more surreal, purple tone. This is something I plan on deciding on this weekend, and sticking with it.

I have a completed trailer and poster, and still have to make a director's headshot. 

TCS poster.jpg

The main hurdle is still the sound design; I'm looking forward to our workshop on putting sound in 3D space, which will give the film a much stronger atmosphere. I found a musician on FMA.com whose work I love, and I'm using two of their tracks in the film. The music is ambient and driving, but not distractingly so, and fit the mood of the story well. 

Since I'm making my presentation this week, I'm hoping to screen the film and get any last feedback from people who haven't seen it before/ in a while. Any suggestions on sound design and colour in particular would be helpful. 

 

Rockin' some new glass.

My camera kit has done some expanding lately, and I now have two more vintage lenses to play with on the Digital Bolex. I've only had a fixed prime that I've shot with, a Carl Zeiss 25mm. New to the table is a Bell & Howell - Angenieux 10mm and a Pentax 50mm. I'm looking forward to seeing what this glass looks like on the camera, and I have a good excuse to put them to work since they'll be used on a documentary project that's currently being, well, documented.

Working from home is weird. You're always near the fridge, the cat is always on your lap and the dog is always watching you eat. Intently.

Did you know that if you carry a mason jar around with you on your travels, you can bring it into your favourite food establishments and they'll put anything in there for you? Coffee, lemonade, energy bars, croissants - if it in any way will sit inside, it will be done.

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If you're a fan of Arcade Fire, you might want to check out Will Butler's new solo album, Policy. Been listening to the Anna track on repeat on bike rides.

I'm okay with this.

While Ju and I were out swimming one night at an indoor pool off Cambie, our good friend Stie had dropped in to look after the dogs and cook us lasagna. Just to clarify, we came home to freshly made lasagna. Yeah.

Please enjoy the latest dump of photos from my phone.

Also, I just uploaded the trailer for The Character Study that's on track for the grad show in May. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out! Crime and swish-pans abound.

Senior Media (FVIM) update #3 - The Character Study

*This is the third seminar update on the post-production work of my grad film, The Character Study.

Still from original footage shot for the trailer.

Still from original footage shot for the trailer.

The main challenge I've been working on is the trailer for the film, which I believe I have now completed. I went through several versions before coming to a version that I feel good about. I showed the work-in-progress trailers to a few different people, including Kris Nielsen, the lead in the film. He suggested we shoot some new footage for the trailer to avoid showing too much of the film, while allowing us to be more creative in our approach to "marketing" the film. 

I found it very freeing to create a trailer in this way, as you can take shots that specifically function to give the mood of the film without having to worry about spoiling the entire plot of the film. 

Kris and I spent a night driving around the city, getting footage as though on a police patrol.

Kris and I spent a night driving around the city, getting footage as though on a police patrol.

Presently, I'm working on finishing up my current production binder and poster design, which is nearing completion as well. I'm looking forward to the demonstration on sound design, specifically on creating a soundscape in surround. Sound design is what needs to be worked on the most, and is my main focus in the editing room right now.

Searching for sirens.

The other night I spent a few hours riding around with Kris Nielsen - the lead in The Character Study short film - to get some footy for the trailer. There's something to be said about the cinematic feel of dark roads and neon signs. We were specifically on the lookout for police lights or flashing ambulances, and the city did not disappoint.  

Ju has been swimming with her girlfriend at least twice a week at various indoor pools around the city, and I'm jealous! I want to get back into the water and splash around like a wet Haku on a dry rug. Good metaphor, right?

I've been on a steady run of editing gigs and film work lately, and I hope it continues like this. It's gradually becoming my full-time job, and I'm loving it. There's lots to do, but most can be done from home which means my breaks involve walking the dog or petting the cat; sometimes both!

Going to keep this post short, lots to do! 

*goes to scratch the cat*

 

Blog toast.

It's kind of unreal that in a few months time, I'll be finished with university. I'm going to miss the routine of biking to Granville Island every week to chat about films all class, though I suppose that will continue long after graduation. Graduation means grad films are due, and I still have plenty of post-production work to do on mine. 

Recently I've been collaborating with the prolific Sharad Khare on a documentary about the impact and practice of public art, specifically in the neighbouring city of Richmond. This is the first feature-length project I've been a part of, and it's proving to be a great experience. This connection is starting to yield various side editing jobs as well, and the more work the better!

I'm applying for a new passport since mine expired. I always feel like a criminal using this photo anyway, since I look a little different now.

I'm applying for a new passport since mine expired. I always feel like a criminal using this photo anyway, since I look a little different now.

Oh, and there's also this via The Hollywood Reporter: Slamdance winners announced! It would have been cool to have gone to the festival personally to have gotten some feedback on my film, but I suppose "honourable mention" will have to do. I hope I'm able see the other Digital Bolex films online sometime, a lot of them looked pretty sweet.

Ju and I went and checked out Birdman last night, and we loved it. The direction and performances were so good! That's filmmaking you don't see every day; So inspiring.  

Now I should really get back to lazing in bed.

Senior Media (FVIM) update # 2 - The Character Study

*This is the second update on the post-production work of my grad film.

Since our last group meeting, I have gone back to our interior location to reshoot the climatic robbery scene. I was able to get the CUs and coverage I felt were lacking in the original cut, and I'm very happy with how this scene now plays out (I will have a new cut to screen in the meeting).

version 1 of grad poster

version 1 of grad poster

Apart from editing in the new footage, I've been playing with some new music tracks throughout that begin and end based on different character cues, such as the cop answering his cell phone. I've worked on the sound design a lot more since my first cut, but I have to start putting the tracks into surround. 

There was also a seam that ran down the middle of some of the frames in the exterior scenes, a known glitch in the camera I used. I figured out that is I placed two of the same movie files on top of one another in FCP, and cropped out half of the top video, I could colour correct the seam out. It took a lot of trial and error, but I've all but erased the seam, though it still needs tweaking. 

An early cut of the film, complete with the new footage, was screened last night at Slamdance in LA as part of the Digital Bolex Fearless Filmmaking showcase. Hopefully I'll have some feedback on how it was received by the audience there. 

Scream all you want, it's cool.

I've worked with the actor Andrew Tkach twice now, and on both film sets he's had roles that require a lot of yelling. Haku has been present for each of these instances, and the first time he was pretty upset by it. It's amusing that now, the second time around, Andrew can yell as intensely as he does and Haku is totally used to it now. "Yell about who you're gonna kill, it's cool." - Haku

I'm fresh off getting the new footage from our Tisol location, which went very smoothly - thank you Ju. We got it just a few days before the final Slamdance submission was due, so it was down to the wire editing-wise but it's in! In classic fashion - as in, this how we roll - as soon as we came home after filming, Ju and I finished installing some shelves we made earlier for the living room. She also designed some nice new shelves for the kitchen, which I happily put together (anything to get the millions of plants we've somehow accumulated in there). 

I expect the amount of plants shown here to double in the next few months. 

I expect the amount of plants shown here to double in the next few months. 

If you're in Van and looking for high quality sushi on a budget, check out Iki on broadway. My god. Probably the most delicious rolls I've had, period. So good! 

I checked out Inherent Vice the other night with some friends, P.T. Anderson's latest film. It had some pretty funny moments, but coming off The Master I was a little disappointed. I found it to be pretty forgettable story-wise, and a lot of the characters seemed thinly written with the hope that the well-known actors in them would do the heavy-lifting. It's interesting that Wes Anderson can make a movie like The Grand Budapest Hotel work under similar circumstances, with a huge ensemble cast of famous actors, and still have each character resonate in some way.

Hm. Now I just want to watch TGBH again.

Senior Media (FVIM) update #1 - The Character Study

*This is an update on the post-production work of my grad film, The Character Study.

The film was shot in November last year, and was intended to be presented as a single, unedited take. This was the main challenge for us, and through several rehearsals and feedback from the cast and crew, we were able to complete eight takes in total. After reviewing the footage, it became apparent that although the one-shot was intriguing, it lost some of the actor's performances during the film's second act. To get around this, a portion of the second act is going to be re-shot (Jan 17) using multiple camera angles, keeping the one-shot format to the film's opening act.

Kristopher Nielsen stars as the protagonist in The Character Study short film

Kristopher Nielsen stars as the protagonist in The Character Study short film

The one-shot opening act of the film is, in my mind at least, a huge success, and I'm very grateful to everyone who helped make it possible. We had a sizable crew of talented individuals that put their best efforts forward, and I'm proud of what we've done so far. It was a big learning experience, figuring out how to manage a larger-scale production. We were short of time due to our limited time with the police being on-site, but we made the most of the three hours we had available.

Currently, I'm colour-correcting and grading the footage in DaVinci Resolve. I have a sample edit complete that gives a good idea of what the final film will be like, but I'm still experimenting with the darkness of the shadows, as well as the purple-grey look I initially pictured this short to have. I'm also editing the soundscape, mixing our location sound with some post-effects and background tracks.

One of my commitments of shooting the exterior scenes was to use studio lighting as minimally as possible. I wanted the film to look as though it was lit only by available light sources, which in the end, it mostly was.

One of my commitments of shooting the exterior scenes was to use studio lighting as minimally as possible. I wanted the film to look as though it was lit only by available light sources, which in the end, it mostly was.

So that's where the project is right now. We have one more shoot day planned to get the rest of the footage I want, and then the bulk of the editing can really begin. I'm also co-ordinating with an animator to get the title design prepared, which I think is going to be pretty rad. 

2015 - Year of the Cock!

Now let's not get too excited; That's just a lesser-known expression. It is the new year though, and that means new and exciting things for this popular, mainstream blog: dog pictures and ramblings!

I'm still in ecstasy after spending the night on Main street sippin' down milkshakes and eating pub grub with my favourite humans. If life was fair, I would be 300 pounds by now, so thank god it's not.

I've been crossing out a lot of names off my list of films to finally get around to seeing. So far I've seen Blue Ruin (excellent film, gripping, well-acted and beautiful cinematography), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (a Coen Brothers film that was just okay until it got great half-way through) and Magnolia (P.T. Anderson's sprawling, annoyingly predictable and taxing epic). I am looking forward to P.T. Anderson's latest film, Inherent Vice, however; I loved The Master, and this looks like its more in that vein. 

I'm back to school this week, and the focus is definitely on everything grad film. I'm going to be shooting some more scenes for The Character Study this month. After editing an early cut for the Slamdance festival, I feel like I'm losing focus on some of the great performances from the cast towards the end by limiting the film to the one-shot format. To get around this, I'm using the one-shot as the opener, and getting back to my style of scene-coverage when the film gets inside the convenience store. Looking forward to getting that footy.

Home improvement planz for the week.

Home improvement planz for the week.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go eat a pound of cashews. 

Pandatastic.

We did it! I'm happy to extend a big congratulations to everyone who was involved in the creation of the short film Growing Cold. The film was nominated for Best Screenplay in the Golden Panda Film Festival this year, and I'm honoured to have received that award at the ceremony Saturday night! The whole event was pretty incredible; the organizers really did a tremendous job making the evening exciting and a blast to be a part of. The most insane thing is that along with the award, we also get a week-long trip to China sometime next year. This is so dope!

I threw some pics up here from the event, along with the other random things on my phone (note: All hail Julie, Queen of The Naam). There was a ton of press photos being taken, so hopefully I can show some of those soon, too. 

Still can't believe that happened. I'm also going to be submitting an early cut of The Character Study (my grad film) to Slamdance, a short film festival going on next year. The festival is accepting shorts that were shot on the Digital Bolex, so it seems right up my alley. 

slamdancefestival

Anyways, it's Christmas this week!! I cant wait to give Ju her gifties, and watch the Year in Review together. It's been a good one. 

 

 

 

Set, action, cut.

The Character Study has officially wrapped as of Sunday night, and it's a mixture of exhaustion and relief. The shoot went relatively smooth, and it was a good experience for me as an amateur director trying to coordinate a large group of people to create a single project. It was great working again with some familiar faces, as well as meeting some of these people for the first time right on set. We had just over three hours to prepare and get as many takes in as we could manage while the police were on-site.  

I am very grateful to everyone who donated their time and energy to helping create this film, and I hope that in the end it can be something we're proud of. It won't be shown - or ready - until sometime in April when graduation comes around, but that means there's plenty of time for editing and making the necessary tweaks in post. I'm looking forward to seeing what this film becomes in the end. 

Set photography courtesy of Patrick Deato Photography.

Now that the shoot is out of the way, I can relax a bit more and focus on the important task of lazing about the house, scratching Haku's belly when it calls for it, and filling Ju's hot water bag on the daily. There's also that fireplace that is constantly in need of being set alight and fed firelog after firelog, so that'll keep me occupied this month. 

Looming in the horizon is also this year's Year in Review - a collection of footage randomly taken from anytime this year compiled into a single 5-minute video - that needs to be put together in time for Christmas! You might think I would get a bit tired of editing, but going through a year's worth of home videos is so much fun, and always brings a smile to my face. Reliving so many silly memories and picking out the best ones to keep as a document of our lives is a cool way to hold onto these memories. 

So whether it's the cat trying to meow with a mouth full of margarine, or Aflie sounding like a goblin from hell, it's gonna be just fantastic.

 

Pre-Production crunch time.

With the plan to shoot The Character Study at the end of the month still on track, preparations are under way. I've made more phone calls to the police this week than normal, which I guess isn't that surprising. Ju and I checked out the Vancouver police museum to check out some uniforms they've agreed to rent to us for our actors. They have a very cool collection, and not just from Canada; They even had an old German military-looking uniform. I'll keep that in mind for next time.

I feel very fortunate to have a talented production crew that is so generously donating their time and energy to the project. All this work is sure to pay off, and I can't wait to see what we can do.

I was pretty happy to learn that I won the Vimeo Weekend Challenge from a few weeks ago. The theme was to create a short centered around the concept of pause consisting of 5 five-second clips with in-camera audio. Now I have another year of Vimeo Plus for free! Sweet.

This project is what got me inspired to build on it and create the short I posted last time, Things I Hope Remain.

Ju is cooking up a delicious Tofurkey roast dinner and the smell of mushroom gravy keeps wafting into the bedroom. Must. Control. Hunger.

Ah, fuck it. Goodbye.

A collection of vignettes.

A lot has happened to us since Ju and I moved to BC some odd years ago. We added two furry members into our small family, got new jobs, got several more new jobs, lived on one side of the water and then another, and on one particularly fine October night, got engaged. There's a lot of things I love about our current situation, but they're not always big life-changing occurrences; Instead it's a bunch of little things that I've come to appreciate as being things that make my life awesome.

I made this short collection of vignettes to capture some of those things.

My fundraising campaign is finally over, and we were able to raise a decent amount; It's enough to get the project off the ground, and that's all I really care about. This month is going to be pretty much dedicated to this thing's production, so wish me luck. 

To help get us through this challenging time, here are some cute pictures (of mostly dogs), as always:

I also made this poster recently for my short film from earlier this year, Growing Cold. The concept was designed by Ju, as most of my artistic ideas do. I'm looking forward to working with some of these talented guys again next month, who will be starring in The Character Study.

growingcold.jpg

That's it for now.

Figgety riggety.

Scrap wood, check. Jigsaw, check. Power sander, check. Let's make some cool shit! Ju decided that since we need furniture but aren't rich yuppies (yet) we should try our hand at making our own; I couldn't agree more. So far we've made a ladder, two respectable plant stands, and some gallery shelves for next to the fireplace. On a side note, I need to start stockpiling my absurdly massive pile of firewood. It's going to be a long and toasty winter.

In film news, I just put up the first of a possible few camera stabilizer tests. I'm experimenting with what contraption I'm going to put my camera in for The Character Study. I started out with the fig rig, which I just rented from school. I sort of knew going in what the footage would look like, but it was fun to get some footage of Haku running around nonetheless. 

It's not quite what I'm looking for this film though, so I'll move on to a more effective steady-cam next.

Obligatory corgi puppy pictures, among others: