See what we're listening to! Enjoy the first ever Practical Playlist.
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
Monday, March 24, 2014
Lately we’ve been experiencing a little more breathing room in our workflow than what had become normal last year. It’s important to be looking forward beyond next week, and the last few months have helped us get a little bit more vision for the future.
Air Services Incorporated is a client which is receiving a full rebrand through Intersection, a marketing agency we share an office with, and getting to create their web and TV ad was a welcome challenge.
Photography shot on Kodak Portra
The office interior shots, into which we later composited the Pittsburgh skyline, were captured at Hagerty Insurance here in Traverse City. A lot of the jet filming was done inside Air Services’ hangars, including the exterior and interior shots of the jets which we lit to look like sunset. We did finally get to fly on the last day of shooting, during which we captured the bulk of the aerial footage.
The black and white color grade really allowed us to think about the footage in new ways both during shooting and editing. In black and white, composition is so important. Subjects which normally stand on their own because of color, such as a sunset, are suddenly put on an even playing field with most other subjects.
One of my favorite shots is the slow approach of Mike Bullard from behind. Space in the jet cabin was limited for setting up the shot, but the composition worked beautifully for the extent of the camera motion.
Shooting product photography, both digital and film, was a huge highlight. Photography is a privilege for us. It’s ’s something both JohnPaul and I do in our free time and less often for work, so we were eager for the opportunity to shoot images for Air Services Inc.'s new website and branding. Some of the film shot from the jet while flying was a specialty aerial film, which turned out really good.
Thank you to Mike Bullard for being our talent and Hagerty Insurance for letting us film their beautiful space downtown!
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Nikon 50mm 1.8, Nikon 35mm 1.4, Rokinon 24mm 1.5
Edited with Final Cut Pro 7
Animation and Compositing done in Motion4
Graded with Adobe Photoshop
Music composed by Grant Floering
Friday, March 14, 2014
It never seems like there's enough time to indulge our ability to get overly excited about doing things we're too old for. But maybe this is the time. As a kid, no matter what the sled hill actually, literally looked like, in my mind it meant soaring through the air at incredible speeds, watching chunks of soft, white debris explode around me in slow motion as I fought for life and glory. Since my family couldn't afford a video camera at that point, there really is no documented proof to reveal this to be based more on fact or fantasy. I remember that large jumps on the sledding hill were to be expected (my older brothers were snowboard ramp architects) and my friends were more in tune with Calvin & Hobbes logic and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater physics to really know any fear. Fear came with age. I'm in my twenties and going sledding with my nieces and nephew showed now has shown me how old and conservative I've really become with my holiday winter-sports. There's nostalgia in that, for sure, but also the feeling of losing something.
The concept for this film developed partially out of that, but was also influenced by a few other things as well, like the old Calvin and Hobbes books that I recently rediscovered, and the knowledge that Michigan is currently experiencing one of the most epic winters of my lifetime.
In addition, there was some incentive to find another excuse to use the FS700, our slow motion camera. And also, I just wanted to prove to myself that I still no how to use the flaps and trim on a toboggan.
The energy and composition was very much inspired by the design work of Jelle Martens, and the look and color for SLEDDING/AGAIN was based around an image I took of my friends Grant and Matthew last winter in the twilight glow.
SLEDDING/AGAIN was filmed on our Sony FS700r slow motion camera, which with our Slog2 upgrade delivers footage equivalent to a RED camera. And while we still film and work with our Canon 5D MarkIII pretty regularly, the FS700r is definitely our go-to for cinema quality output.
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Director of Photography
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Director of Photography
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Traveling along the coast of Washington and Oregon, I collected this footage and assembled this piece as an editing exercise using a few new techniques and ideas. And thanks to the beautiful Cora Hargis for allowing her likeness to be used.
I also shot two rolls of film photography while traveling, some expired Meijer 100 and Kodak Portra. That won't get scanned for another couple weeks, so this will have to do for now. Thanks for scrolling! - JohnPaul Morris
Monday, February 17, 2014
I have never been to the West Coast before, except in the airports on my way to other coasts. I was finally able to change that this week and collect some photos and footage. I really hope to find some time in my schedule now that I'm back and back to work to edit the footage and put together a film. If/when I do, I'll put it up here.
I have to say though, the Seattle was great, but Oregon coast is beautiful. Hopefully we can get a client based growing in Washington/Oregon. That would be ideal, for sure.
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Director of Photography
Friday, February 07, 2014
When the invention of FM radio came to Traverse City, one of the first things broadcast over the air was the weekly sermon from the church that now, about 100 years later, is the church that I am a part of. It's currently going through a name change, which like any change for a church with so much history, doesn't happen lightly.
So when it came to announcing and explaining the proposition for the new name, I was asked to make a film that would do just that. Matthew and I had about a week to put it together, all without slowing the work on our other projects, so we had to develop a concept that wasn't overly labor intensive.
We put extra time into the finer parts of sound design and visual intricacies, so, if you have the means, make it FULL SCREEN and LOUD.
We're all really happy with how it came together, and I developed some new techniques that I hope I get to share. We may be starting a tutorial series soon, so there's a lot of potential to be able to share so many of the new methods we're employing. But until that happens, just enjoy the results.
Thanks for reading!
Director of Photography
Tuesday, February 04, 2014
JohnPaul led the creative charge on Jetty Rae's films for Climbing Clouds and FALLIN, so as the writer and director of her third music video, Kerosene, I feel responsible for the pain I put our faithful cast and crew through in what became one of the more labor-intensive projects I’ve been a part of. I persuaded Jetty to walk through a field full of bull elk, hike hundreds of feet up a dune in a dress, and bounce back from 16-hours of filming the day before to run all day through the woods. Crewmembers Paul Genzink, Grant Floering, and Katie Fox went above and beyond. All three worked impossibly hard and rolled with the sometimes-hectic nature of the Kerosene music video project, packed into a long and daunting schedule that the proverbial “union” would never approve of. We’ll also be forever thankful to all of the volunteers mentioned in the credits, as well as the always cheerful and accommodating Jason Stewart, husband of Jetty Rae. Many thanks.
I won’t elaborate on the meaning of the project. I think it’s shown by the events of the story itself and by the very authentic performance of Jetty. It’s not a happy or comfortable film, and so we feel privileged to be invited into such a vulnerable part of Jetty’s and Jason’s lives.
During the process of production and editing, Kerosene evolved into something beyond what I had pictured. Shots that I had only liked before became favorites shots, and shots that I thought worked brilliantly in storyboarding ended up finding different, stronger homes in the actual edited sequence. One of my favorite shots is of Jetty sitting on the wood floor with her back against the off-white wall. I was inspired to put the shot in by a different music video I'd seen that was starkly simplistic, but after storyboarding the shot, I concentrated most of my attention on worrying about larger, more difficult sequences. In the end all turned out well, but I find I'm being completely surprised by beauty of the little things.
During our time on Crystal Lake filming the underwater sequences for Kerosene, we also filmed //WATER//, a small experiment in underwater filming techniques.
So between the the underwater work, filming with elk, flying dollhouse furniture, floating dresses, fire, smoke, and super slow motion, this project was pretty well rounded.
Kerosene was our second piece to be filmed primarily on the Sony FS-700 (Fallin being the first), which, if you’re in the market, is a whole lot of camera (500fps slow motion, high bitrate 4K cinema raw with 14+ stops of dynamic range). This film was also my first go on minor special effects and titles, which is something JohnPaul usually and rightfully keeps for himself. So it was a stretching time. But a very good time.
The footage from the Fs700 grades for color very well, as seen below in JohnPaul's color passes for this project.
CHEERS, and thanks for reading!
Friday, November 15, 2013
In September we filmed another music video for Roo Panes, our British Folk artist friend from London. Working with Roo is always interesting, both because his ideas are always great and unique, but also because every meeting and brainstorm session we have has to be conducted over Skype or e-mail. I blame the Atlantic Ocean.
We've been EXCEPTIONALLY busy the past few months, and Home from Home was a last minute production that almost didn't happen, just because of time. This shoot was day nine, ten, and eleven of eleven consecutive shooting days that I had between six different projects, so the original concept had to to morph a bit to accommodate the limited time resource. But miracles happened, like finding a motorcycle with a sidecar and finding great actors and extras, and ultimately the fact that everything went smoothly is a miracle. I'm not being dramatic when I say that this was one of the few projects we've taken on that actually could have failed, and we were prepared for that to happen, but it didn't! Here is a teaser we released right after we released it wasn't going to fail and that we might actually have something.
We've been shooting with the FS700 for a few projects now, so it's been fun to shoot with a bigger camera that has a crisper image as well as the super slow motion options as well, but the biggest change we made for this project was with our color. After editing, I worked with the footage to give it a fuller, smoother, "milky" look that's often seen in west coast lifestyle footage. Smooth is probably the best way to describe it, but I've been getting into heavier grades recently for color, taking it farther and farther from the look the camera gives and closer to what I'm personally starting to favor. The smooth, milky look is a bit different than the rich film look I traditionally try to achieve, but I'm all about trying new things and I really like the effect, so it's something that I'm continuing to experiment with as we work on our many current projects. Take a look at the finished music video below and some before and after examples of the color grade.
written and posted by JohnPaul Morris, Eleven35 Productions