Friday, August 31, 2007

On to Fall

I've lagged in posting this week. I'm shifting gears as the Fall approaches. New gig, old gigs, and some new projects approaching.

Details soon...

Time Has Not Stopped

Time has not stopped in its tracks -- I've just been slow to post for the last week.

A few reasons: new gig, old gigs, revamping for Fall.

All will be detailed soon.....

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Txt Me L8r Ends Today

Sunday is the last day for the Spin 3: Txt Me L8r exhibition at Houston Center for Photography. (See the Flickr site for images.)

If you attended the party or the show, I'd love to see any snaps.

The Sunny F16 Rule

I have a great light meter. And the meters inside a modern digital SLR are usually spot on, if used correctly. Still, in the same way it's valuable for a musician to have perfect pitch, it's probably good for a photographer to have some sense of light. So, how can you develop that?

Well, it's a bright, sunny day, I've got my trusty Zorki 6 and a Metro card. There's no meter in the Zorki rangefinder -- so I can carry a meter or I can make my best guess as to the right exposure....

Today I'll guess. That's a great way to train your eyes -- but you'll need a good Rule of Thumb to work from: The Sunny F16 Rule. On a typical day, your exposure can be calculated in the following manner:
Shutter Speed:
What film speed or ISO setting are you using? To start the calculation, set that as your shutter speed.

shadows sharp: F16.
soft-edged shadows: F11
barely-there shadows: F8
very overcast: F5.6
Since I have 400 speed film in my Zorki, I'll start with my shutter speed at 1/400th of a second. Then, I'll look at the shadows I see and decide: sharp, soft, or very soft? F16, F11, or F8. If the clouds roll in and I notice it's darker, then F5.6.

So, I might start at 1/400th of a second and F16, but if I see the light level lower a bit switch to F11. If I see the shadows have faded, then F8. Easy, and great training for your eyes.*

*(Of course, while I want to make things simple for this post, in the real world there is a tiny bit more complication: I like to slightly overexpose black and white negative film. Like many, I find a 1/2 stop of overexposure makes a better negative, generally, even though I would avoid overexposure in digital whenever possible. So, to do that I would make a little adjustment to my calculation: my 1/400th shutter speed would change to about 1/250th. That's very convenient, since the Zorki doesn't have a 1/400th setting anyway, so I'll switch to 1/250th at F16 for the bright sun.

Then, since I find 1/250th isn't quite fast enough for walking along street shooting -- Garry Winogrand used 1/1000th when possible on the street -- I would switch to the Zorki's fastest shutter speed of 1/500th and make the corresponding change to my aperture.

So, I would shoot at 1/500th and F11 in sharp shadows, 1/500th and F8 when the light drops a little and I see soft shadows, and 1/500th and F5.6 when the light drops further. If the clouds roll, then I'd be at 1/500th and F4.)

Photography Books for Summer

Today -- a hot and steamy August Saturday -- I pulled down two books from my bookshelf:
Elliott Erwitt: On the Beach

On The Beach: Chance Portraits From Two Shores

Monday, August 20, 2007

Seriously Fun Photography

Starting Thursday, September 13th I will once again be teaching my Seriously Fun Photography class at Hunter College Continuing Education.

Sure, the name could use some work. It's accurate, though. We meet for six sessions. The first half is spent exploring photography technique and ways of working, all with an eye for gaining control over your images. The second half involves creating a portfolio-based project. It's a good time for everyone. Usually we add a field trip to some photo shows, as well.
Build on the basics and master the skills and ideas advanced photographers use in a fun, low-pressure class. Open to anyone able to shoot a photo and import it into a computer (and welcoming advanced students as well), in this class we'll use the digital camera as a fast way to learn the essentials of photography. We'll learn-by-doing, exploring professional techniques while creating a portfolio project (on any topic of your choice) to show your advanced skills. If you've always been interested in photography, but have put off becoming great at it, this is your chance.

THU 5:30:PM - 7:30:PM, Location: 68th St Cam C100N
09/13 - 10/18 Sessions: 6

This Thursday

I'll be showing in the SPIN 3 Txt Me L8r exhibition August 24 - August 26, 2007 at Houston Center For Photography.
Co-curated by HCP and Aurora Picture Show, Txt Me L8r explores the potential for distributed creativity through the use of cell phone technology. Combining crowdsourcing with networked communication, Txt Me L8r invites artists and the general public alike to adapt new technologies for spontaneous, geographically-dispersed collaboration.

Some Shoutouts

Our friends at Inkaland have returned from their documentary shoot in Peru.

Our friends in Toronto are tracking the Toronto International Film Festival.

Our Poverty Jetset pals are shooting a demolition derby in the Poconos.

And our California friends have made it into the Guinness Book of World Records.


So, where are we on this 168th anniversary of the beginning of photography as a part of our culture? Well, today Canon announced two cameras:

Canon EOS 40D 10.1MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)

Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III 21.1MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)

It's likely there will be Nikon and Sony announcements soon as well. More powerful, more capable cameras than any photographers might have dreamed of a few decades ago.

So are the pictures better?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Stills and Video

My other blog, New York Portraits, turns one today, and I've been thinking about the significant differences between still and moving images.

As with color and black and white photography, there is a tendency for people to think one is a limited form. Technical limitations meant photographers could produce black-and-white imagery before color was possible, so it's easy for us to believe color photography is in some way a more advanced form. The fact, however, is that it simply works differently. Comprehending those differences can require a subtle and complicated visual literacy, but that's fine.

Similar ideas come up when we consider still versus video work, and we're now at the point where the two "compete" in the same arena: the Web. The early Web could support still images, but not video, and now for most people either will work fine. So the question arises: what does each form do well, and why wouldn't I simply want video for everything?

New York Portraits Turns One

I started this blog one year ago on the anniversary of the announcement of the invention of photography. It's been a very interesting year, but as always I prefer to look ahead. What trends are likely to be important in the next 365 days? Here are a few guesses:
1. The move to the Web. It feels like this has already happened, of course, with so much of photography being shown on the Web, but I get the sense we're really only at the end of Phase One. Newspapers and magazines are struggling with the costs of printing on paper and distributing on big trucks -- and as they move toward the point where the primary target is the Web, photographers will be key. Advanced amateurs using online photo services have found easy ways to put up all of their cat photos and vacation pics -- leaving professionals, who have some hesitation since they might sell their images for other uses before giving them away online, to try to figure out ways to bring high quality work to the Web.

2. A rethinking of the value of still imagery. With video now in competition with photography, and with a surfeit of photographs posted each and every day, both photographers and viewers should be asking: why a still image? What's the value of the single image, or the portfolio, when compared to the video clip and the short video? It may be time to reconsider the potential for still images. Painting faced a crisis when Photography came along, and this changed Painting and Art entirely. It may be that online video presents the same challenge, and that the result may be equally as revolutionary.

3. A repositioning of galleries and museums. The last two years have seen a number of shows that brought Flickr photo pools into the white cube of exhibition space, and the majority of photos hung on gallery walls are now made digitally, at least in part. The interest in the vernacular will fade, however, and exhibition spaces will go on with normal business. I think the smartest ones will develop better strategies for creating their own value: it can't be done by hiding the images in the show, and it can't be done by simply making scale the difference between Web and in-person viewing. The best museums and galleries will need to be reminded that the reason for entering the building goes beyond just seeing the images -- there is the potential an experience that can't be duplicated on a laptop. So what are those experiences, and how do you expand the emphasis on those experiences?

Above: Coney Island, 2007.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Made in USSR

This is my 1965 Zorki-6 rangefinder. In response to all the cell phone photographs I've taken lately, I thought it might be time to shoot a few rolls of film....

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Txt Me L8r: Say GoodBye

This is the last assignment in the Spin 3: Txt Me L8r exhibition at Houston Center for Photography. See the Flickr site for all the photos in the show.

Monday All Week

A lot going on this week -- an all-night photo shoot Monday evening included -- and I've fallen behind in posting, so a couple of quick notes. These are just my own opinions. I could be wrong.
If you see an open competition for photographers, that's great. Send in your entry, maybe you'll get in a show. Unless, of course, it says "There is a $60 handling fee for your entry."

If you start out in the morning and notice a photo in front of you but don't shoot it, for whatever reason, the rest of the day will be filled with missed photos. It will continue until you give in and take one. (There were about 15 yesterday, the photo above was taken to end that streak.)

If you hear someone say "Our dog bites" it is probably very true.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Rewatching and Rehearing

In general, if you make video work you get better at it over time. It's a slower improvement than in a field like photography -- where sometimes you go from little understanding to a high level of seeing in just a matter of weeks. Still, over time you get better at understanding why something works or doesn't work, and your ideas on how to cut become more refined.

Well, I recently had to watch a number of older pieces I made (I was assembling them for a portfolio) and went through the experience of re-thinking each cut as I watched them. It's not an easy process.

The biggest surprise was that I've learned a lot about audio continuity in the last year -- and that was the main thing I thought the older pieces lacked. The idea of how sound lets us orient ourselves in an imagined place and how each soundscape can flow into the next is something I had not always been thinking about. I think I still have a lot to learn about it, so I'm looking for ways to practice that set of skills....

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Txt Me L8r: Photograph Something Growing

This is the sixth assignment in the Spin 3: Txt Me L8r exhibition at Houston Center for Photography.

The museum sends text messages to the artists in the show, and then we respond and send in cell phone photographs. These are posted on a Flickr site and will later be projected in the museum.

Previous assignments:
assignment one
assignment two
assignment three
assignment three, part two
assignment four
assignment five

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Three Bad Trends in Photography

I talk to a lot of photographers, especially those who are students (at least in some sense) and I tend to get a sense of which way the wind is blowing. Here are three trends I think are problematic:

The Search for the 2 - 2000mm Zoom Lens
There have been great improvements in zoom lenses in the last two decades, and there are now good lenses that slide from 20mm to 200mm focal lengths. They are very convenient. They are almost a match for the quality of prime lenses (lenses with a single focal length), and very usable. But the photography discussion forums are now filled with 18-200mm evangelists, and they feel that's the answer to every lens question. How can I shoot a landscape? 18-200mm. A portrait? 18-200mm. Mainly it shows a lack of understanding about the possibilities of camera and lens, but more to the point it shows that people are gaining "knowledge" about photography by comparing specifications and reading reviews rather than shooting.

Why do I think that? Imagine you walk out onto the street, hang about a bit, and then after some patience something interesting happens somewhere near you. What are the odds you are positioned in the perfect place for the shot? Very low. But a superzoom shooter is likely to think they are in the right place -- they just have to zoom in or out for the shot. So a superzoom lens is just fine in the hands of someone who is really thinking about the situation, and almost a deficit in the hands of someone expecting the lens to do the work.

Posting the Kitchen Sink
I think it's fabulous that online photo services have allowed photographers to post work online. I also think it's great that one can use these services as a form of "cloud storage" -- a backup of images on a server somewhere out in the world. A bit of confusion has come from this, however -- and more and more photographers send me links to portfolios containing hundreds or even thousands of images. Use those services, put up gigabytes of images, show all the photos from a wedding to the bride and groom, fine -- but make some distinction in what is just available and what serves as portfolio. I think you can convince me about your work in nine images. I think if you expect anyone to look at more than twenty it's a mistake. Post every image if you want, or post one everyday. But don't lose sight of what photographers have known through the entire history of the medium: a collection of twelve great photographs is a portfolio, a post of one hundred almost identical shots is a painful family album.

Online Anger
At one time being a photographer was a fairly rare gig. Later -- from the Kodak Brownie on -- it developed into a social practice and the sharing and discussion of photographs became a valuable element of the process. Now, everyone has a camera and an opinion. That's great: but since the online forums allow anonymous nicknames and little moderation, the potentially fabulous amount of knowledge we could all gain by productive critique and the sharing of ideas is held back by uninformed and angry idiots. The classy, valuable and helpful posts are always pulled down by those who feel there's only one way to do things and that their poorly-reasoned, poorly-spelled and poorly-considered comments should be presented in all-capital letters....

The Best Books on Editing Theory

I've had a few conversations about editing theory lately, and always I point to the three books by or about Walter Murch as great background material. To me, these are the closest most of us will get to watching over the shoulder of someone like Murch -- an expert practioner and a brilliant theorist.

And all three books are entertaining, as well....
In the Blink of an Eye Revised 2nd Edition

The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film

Behind the Seen: How Walter Murch Edited Cold Mountain Using Apple's Final Cut Pro and What This Means for Cinema, First Edition

Post Number 117

Tomorrow (August 12th) will mark two years since we moved to New York.

Next week (August 19th) is the one-year anniversary of this blog. It will also mark the 168th anniversary of the announcement of the invention of photography.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Late Friday Afternoon Corrections

Previously we announced that our short film Blind Faith: A Film About Seeing would travel to Kosovo in August for Dokufest. Apparently this did not work out and the film is not showing there. Ah well, perhaps next year.

New Posts at Inkaland

Profluence member Maya and CFoA (Certified Friend of Actualities) Chris have continued writing on their documentary trip to Peru at Inkaland.

The National Film Challenge

The National Film Challenge has just announced its competition weekend will be October 19-22, 2007. What is it? It's "a timed filmmaking competition where filmmaking teams have just one weekend to make a short film." Sounds great to me.

I don't think I'll be able to take part, though. First, I'm certain I'd draw the "musical" genre, and second I may have something going that weekend....

I do see, however, that The International Documentary Challenge has been scheduled for March 6-10, 2008. Perhaps I should put that on the calendar....

World's Largest Photograph

My friends in California were just mentioned in Pravda.
"A three-story-tall image that was taken using a special camera made from an old California airplane hangar has qualified with the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest photograph in the world, the photographers who created it said.

The hangar-turned-camera also qualified as the world's largest camera, measuring more than 44 feet (13 meters) tall and 161 feet (49 meters) long, according to The Legacy Project, which created the artwork."
Full story here.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Over on New York Portraits I'm documenting my participation in the Spin 3: Txt Me L8r exhibition at Houston Center for Photography. The short version: the museum sends text messages to the artists in the show, and then we respond and send in cell phone photographs. These are posted on a Flickr site, and then will be projected in the museum.

It's been fun so far:
assignment one
assignment two
assignment three
assignment three, part two
assignment four

Photograph the First Body of Water You See

The fourth assignment for the SPIN 3: Txt Me L8r show.

Photograph Your Next Destination, Part 2

Another take for the SPIN 3: Txt Me L8r show.

What I Did With My Summer Vacation, Part Two

Well, the 12-week run of the Frugal Traveler's trip from New York to Seattle has come to an end. Here are the Frugal Traveler episodes I edited this summer.
Frugal Traveler: American Road Trip
(Week 1: Maryland and North Carolina) 3:07
May 23, 2007

Frugal Traveler: American Road Trip
(Week 2: Armuchee, Georgia) 4:14
May 30, 2007

Frugal Traveler: American Road Trip
(Week 3: Nashville, Tennessee) 4:39
June 6, 2007

Frugal Traveler: American Road Trip
(Week 4: Columbus, Indiana) 4:28
June 13, 2007

Frugal Traveler: American Road Trip
(Week 5: West Lima, Wisconsin) 4:36
June 20, 2007

Frugal Traveler: American Road Trip
(Week 6: South Dakota & Nebraska) 5:04
June 27, 2007

Frugal Traveler: American Road Trip
(Week 7: Greensburg, Kansas) 5:26
July 4, 2007

Frugal Traveler: American Road Trip
(Week 8: Austin, Texas) 5:05
July 11, 2007

Frugal Traveler: American Road Trip
(Week 9: Columbus, New Mexico) 4:29
July 18, 2007

Frugal Traveler: American Road Trip
(Week 10: Fort Collins, Colorado) 4:57
July 25, 2007

Frugal Traveler: American Road Trip
(Week 11: Wyoming & Montana) 5:05
August 1, 2007

Frugal Traveler: American Road Trip
(Week 12: Newport, Oregon) 5:28
August 8, 2007

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Why is Audio So Hard? Five Audio Tips

In low-budget video production -- sometimes even in medium-budget work -- the biggest problems usually come from audio issues. Here are a couple of quick ideas on how to avoid an audio crisis in small-crew video production:

1. Proximity Problems
No on-camera mic is great at a distance from your subject. While you can often get a better visual by backing up, keep in mind that a great visual of an interview without clear audio is not usable. If there's doubt about what you are getting, get closer with the camera and get the microphone in close.

2. Background Noise
Keep in mind that even background sounds which don't overwhelm or distract from your subject's voice can cause problems. If you are cutting together a few short phrases from a longer statement -- common practice in short video -- the background sounds can make this very difficult. Wear headphones that cover your ears and you'll hear these background problems before you record them.

3. Directionality problems
A shotgun microphone -- either on a camcorder or on a boom pole -- is a great solution for this kind of work. But it introduces a new problem: directionality. If we have two people speaking, it is very easy to have the microphone pointed at one and not the other, and we end up with one subject sounding great and the other weak. Or, if a shotgun is on camera, you may have audio levels go up and down as the camera changes where it is pointed. If you are going to use a microphone on a boom, practice with it -- wear some headphones and try it on a few live conversations.

4. The Two-Level Trick
In documentary-style production, situations often change very quickly. You might set a level and then realize the everything has gotten quieter or louder. Or the sounds you want might vary greatly. One excellent trick is to record onto to channels or two separate sources and set the levels differently. For example, say we had a boom microphone going into the camcorder and had set that level to our best guess. You could also record into another source -- another camera or a field recorder or anything you can get your hands on -- taking the same signal but setting a higher or lower level. So, if we imagine a situation where most of the audio is fine but our subject screamed a few times and became too loud and distorted --we could be saved by a second recorder set at a lower level. We'd just find and drop in the lower-level audio in that section.

5. Would You Repeat That?
There are a lot of ethical choices involved in documentary filmmaking. One that most people get past quickly is leaving the subject alone entirely. So, if after three days of following a subject around, they finally say something central to the story and a car horn honks in the background, consider asking them to repeat it.

Txt Me L8R: Photograph Your Next Destination

The third assignment for the SPIN 3: Txt Me L8r show is posted.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

You Walk to the Big Park, Then Turn Left

On Friday evening, we went to the Met.

I really enjoyed Poiret: King of Fashion, but didn't get much out of Hidden in Plain Sight: Contemporary Photographs from the Collection.

Why didn't I like the photography exhibition? Well, after some thought, I believe it's because it consisted of completely literal work presented as conceptual art. The museum makes this claim for the show:
"Often deliberately understated in style, these photographs are filled with everyday epiphanies. They capture the unexpected beauty of found still lifes and modest interventions in the landscape, inviting us to look more closely at the world around us."
A while back, a friend taught me about titles and captions: if they are the least bit redundant, they're wrong. That is, if the caption says the same thing as the photograph, you don't need it. If it gives new information, or better yet deepens the meaning of the work, then it's fine. And that's the problem with this show: "Sand on Table" is a photograph of sand, on a table.

In Production

On Friday we shot Episode Two of the Photo Chick project.

Note that this is very straightforward, ultra-low-budget production, since that is all that's really needed: borrow an office, move the desks out, set up and shoot.

Big soft boxes? Nope -- point some hot lights through a diffuser. Fancy set? Nope -- some black board. Boom mic? Nope, Lavalier Microphone.
Crew? Nope: point the camera and tape.

Basic Photography Notes: The Horizon Line

One of the first things that comes up in a basic photography class is the placement of a horizon line in landscape photographs.

There seems to be a basic human impulse to place the horizon line in the center of the frame, dividing the image into a top and bottom half. That sort of division, however, is usually less dynamic than a 1/3 to 2/3 split, so one of the first lessons for landscape photographers is to divide the frame into three parts and place the horizon line 1/3 from the bottom or 1/3 from the top of the frame. After a while that sort of composition becomes second nature, and becomes a basic tool for most photographers.

There are always exceptions of course. Above is a snapshot I made of the Central Park Reservoir. I've purposefully placed the horizon in the center of the frame, but the stronger element of the railing is placed 1/3 from the bottom of the frame -- making the image read as divided into that traditional 1/3 vs 2/3 split.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

This Just In

Some news on the proposed new rules on photography (and videography, and cinematography) in New York:
"August 3, 2007 - Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting (MOFTB) Commissioner Katherine Oliver today announced that MOFTB will redraft proposed Charter-mandated rules for issuing permits to film or photograph on public property. The revision of the rules will take into account feedback MOFTB has received over the past two months. Public comment, which is scheduled to end today, will be re-opened for another 30-day period after the redrafted rules are published."
As before, my advice is that online petitions, videos protesting the rules, etc. all have their place. Your best bet, however, if you are concerned about the issue, is to write:
The Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting 1697 Broadway Suite 602, New York, New York 10019

Friday, August 03, 2007

What Does the Weather Look Like?

My second assignment in the SPIN 3: Txt Me L8r exhibition is posted.The Flickr group for the show has images by all the participants. (Remember, these are made with cell phones.)

The image above was made on Friday after rain swept through Manhattan, revealing the Chrysler Building reflected in a puddle at Lexington and 43rd.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

On my Other Blog

Over on New York Portraits:
The Quest for Shirley begins, as does the Txt Me L8r exhibition in Houston.

New Episode of Photo Chick

I've been helping with the new "Photo Chick" series. Episode One is posted, and we're shooting Episode Two today. The idea is that it will be a series of 3-minute videoblogs, usually containing photography tips but perhaps also addressing other aspects of the field. I expect the show will also go outside the studio once in a while for more of a documentary approach.

This first episode was a sort of "shake down cruise" -- finding out what works and what doesn't. We've learned a few things we'll apply to future episodes. For example, I think the idea of cutting from wide shot to closer shot is fine, but both cameras should use direct eye contact. As well, the process we used ended up a touch darker than I'd like by the time it made it though the encoding to YouTube, so we'll light the next one for more separation from the background.

We'll see how it progresses....

A Nine on the Shirl-ometer

This? This is Shirley. She's been photographed by thousands.

She's recently gone into retirement (though most say she's kept her looks after all these years) and I'm considering doing a short documentary on her career.

If you've worked with Shirley, send me an email. If you've dated Shirley, send me an anonymous email. Or just post a comment.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Editing Notes on the Latest Frugal Traveler

When I was a kid, there was a craze for obstacle courses.

No, really, that's not totally made up -- there was. In 1973 ABC started broadcasting a show called "The Superstars," which had athletes from different fields compete in a series of athletic events, ending in an obstacle course. That show then spawned "Battle of the Network Stars" in 1976, also ending in an obstacle course.

I'm thinking of that now because Tuesday night's editing process for the Frugal Traveler was a bit of an obstacle course: no one element was insurmountable, but each element was a significant challenge -- and I was exhausted by the end. Usually the way these edits go is that the overall video has several sections that cut easily, but one or two that have some real challenge to them -- editing problems. These might be based on any number of issues, and you generally either delve into the logic of a particular section deep enough to understand how it can work well, or you make some compromise and get it to at least function and not derail the piece altogether.

The latest video, however, was nothing but editing problems. It's surprising, because the material was good, shot well, and there was a lot of coverage of angles and events. On the surface it seemed like it would be simple to put together. It's a fairly straightforward piece. There's some driving at the beginning, then some hiking, then some cooking and resting, then more hiking, and eventually a parody of a "showdown" sequence in the style of a Western. The surprise was that each section really required a lot of delving and some sort of a fix -- nothing cut easily.

So I spent a long night with a lot of editing questions. Here are a few issues for consideration....

1. One that was easily solved: you want to show hikers moving along through the wilds. You have a series of shots, all set up well with the camera on a tripod, and these include time before the hikers enter, then the hikers entrance, and the long progression through the space and eventually exiting the frame. How do cut these together? Well, if one was making a 6-hour video, you would start each shot before the hikers enter the frame, watch them go all the way through and exit the frame. That's way too long, of course, so the question becomes: how do you cut the short version? How can you compress the time but make it feel continuous? What I liked best: each shot starts before the hikers' entrance, they get into the frame (usually to the middle) and you cut to the next shot -- just before the hikers' entrance in that shot. Simple. Audio helps determine exactly what frame to cut on, as we realize it isn't realtime continuity but continuity of action. Audio that seems "live" from shot to shot also helps with the feel of that continuity.

2. Another, a bit harder to solve: compressing the time of a cooking segment with limited shots. If one had a long shot or shots of someone going through a cooking process, you could easily compress them if cutaways existed. That is, now I break the egg in the pan, cut to audience reaction, back to cooking egg in pan, reaction, etc. That way a process can be greatly accelerated without too much confusion. But, without much in the way of cutaways, the key for this piece was to look for shots that were significantly different from the previous shot -- that is, don't cut from boiling broth to stirring eggs, as the shots are somewhat similar, but do cut from adding an ingredient to a wide shot of the cooking location back to the next step in the cooking process...

3. A pretty typical strategy in videos with music is to bring in music at full volume, then ramp it down over 1 - 3 seconds, just as or just before someone is going to speak, then ramp it back up after they speak. Fade out at the end. But sometimes, for one reason or another, you have to get out of a musical segment quickly. You can't just cut music abruptly -- it sounds very unnatural to our ears, since we hear music in a physical space and even if you clicked a radio off there would still be some reverberation of the sound. So the trick in this piece was to emphasize that further. I needed to get from the Western-style music to a shot with live sound / sound FX and a fade out of the music would not have made sense. An abrupt cut of it couldn't work. So, the answer was to find where I would "click the radio off" and then take that clip -- cut on that frame -- into an audio editing program and add a ton of reverb to it. Then, export the clip that has the sound of the reverberation and add it to the edit. The effect is as if you turned the radio off abruptly but the live space you were in let it reverberate. It makes sense in the piece and lets us transition to the "drama" of the blowing wind as the two characters face off....
Frugal Traveler: American Road Trip
(Week 11: Wyoming & Montana) 5:05
August 1, 2007

The Feed for Txt Me L8r Photos

The Txt Me L8r exhibition RSS Feed is available.

Txt Me L8r Exhibition

I'll be participating in the upcoming SPIN 3: Txt Me L8r exhibition at Houston Center for Photography.

There is, of course, a Flickr group for you to check out. Above, my first image in response to "Take a picture now- don't think about it!" Made with a cell phone.

New Episode of Frugal Traveler

Frugal Traveler: American Road Trip
(Week 11: Wyoming & Montana) 5:05
August 1, 2007