Blog, business, post production for film and video

Great day learning about the 5d

Yesterday I attended a half-day session arranged by The Association on the Canon DSLR cameras. Snehal Patel led the workshop of twelve people. I think I was the only one who wasn’t working in Hollywood, and we had quite a few veteran members of the ASC there as well. The industry is changing significantly. From the tech and post side of it, I think I have an incredible grasp on the realities of shooting with these new DSLRs. Now I want to get better on the production side as well.

One interesting thing about the day was a discussion by the DPs in the room concerning the disappointing performance of the RED One camera in real-world situations. Specifically, the cost of the camera, with all of the bells and whistles, is much higher than everyone expects (still much lower than traditional cameras, but the hype doesn’t match with reality). Secondly, the processor is just not robust enough to handle low light well; in fact, during shoots, the RED consistently requires more lighting (which equals more time and more money spent) than traditional cameras — DPs were complaining that you had to stick light everywhere, even in shadows, to make sure something showed up in the footage. So I’m leaning much less towards the RED right now, and seriously getting closer to either the 5D or the 7D, which excels in low-light situations. (I’m interested to see how the new RED cameras fare, but I’m not interested in purchasing any of them, either.)

Another illuminating conversation was how the major studios are attempting to cut down on technical staff (DITs, digital managers) in an attempt to save money on set. It’s going to backfire, but I’ll talk about that in a later post.

Blog, business, post production for film and video

Canon DSLRs get a channel to Final Cut Pro

Canon has taken the pain (or most of it, anyways) out of bringing footage into Final Cut Pro from their DSLR cameras with a new FCP plugin. The new plugin allows us to ingest footage directly into Apple’s ProRes 422 code, and adds timecode based on the camera’s date and time stamp (a workaround to actually having real timecode, but it’ll work for now).

This, along with the firmware update that was released recently, brings us closer to truly being able to use the Canon DSLRs in a professional environment, which is what I want to do. I’m considering skipping the 7D entirely and simply saving up for a 5D — which will fit my business much better than the 7D anyways.

Blog, business, graphic design, portfolio

New iStockphoto images, developments

It’s been a really long time since I’ve posted here, so this will cover a few things.

First, posting images to iStockphoto has been going well. Now, I just need to start making more money from them. Here are a few recent uploads:

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So is the economy up or down? I don’t think anyone can decide. Even Wall Street was bipolar this past week — way up one day and way down the next. We are considering ways to drastically cut expenses for the company, like moving to a smaller office and using fewer computers, or even temporarily closing the post-production side of the business (entertainment industry has been hit hard). But, on the other hand, I added more job numbers to my jobs list this week than I have in recent memory, and completed several large projects as well. So I’m feeling cautiously hopeful, at least in the short term.

While we’re talking about the business, I found an elegant little program called TimeTagger for tracking my time spent on projects throughout the workday. It’s going to help me track profitability much better than I have been able to previously.


And, in the “covet” department, I’m really wanting a Canon 7D. Great photography and HD filmmaking at multiple frame rates, with lots of upsides. Expensive, but possibly worth it. We’re not ready financially to make a big purchase like this, but if the right project comes along, this is the one that I would purchase right now. If you want to buy it for me, the link is here…thanks!

Blog, business, graphic design, portfolio

Another bonus portfolio piece

This newsletter was produced quarterly for almost a decade. The Banning Residence Museum (I didn’t do the website!) has a fabulous collection of early California art, artifacts, and household items. We created this newsletter to highlight both the collection and the important educational work the Museum was doing.

— Details: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

We had a lot of fun with this account. Professional photography was shot of individual pieces, as well as photos taken at Museum events. The extra-large tabloid format of the newsletter made for a great read and good presence when it showed up in the mail.

Blog, Uncategorized

Watch what photos you post on Facebook…

Have you read the Terms and Conditions for Facebook? Before you start posting all of your photos, know that within the T&Cs, Facebook makes it clear that they reserve the right to use anything uploaded to Facebook on their pages, in their advertising, or anywhere else they think would be fun to use it. Carolyn Wright, an attorney who works with photographers, flagged this issue one on her blog.

Just be careful, people. I don’t post any personal photos to any service, because I want some amount of ownership and privacy.

Blog, graphic design, portfolio, Uncategorized

Awesome new project complete

Wildwood School in West Los Angeles asked us to come up with some cool spirit merchandise for the parents to 1) use as a fundraiser, and 2) make everybody look cool. The fundraiser was such a great success that they had to re-order the apparel within a month of taking delivery of the first batch. Here are some photos:

Wildwood School apparel by Hearken Creative Services, all three pieces

Wildwood School apparel by Hearken Creative Services, slate t-shirt 2

Wildwood School apparel by Hearken Creative Services, hoodie 2

Wildwood School apparel by Hearken Creative Services, hoodie 1

Wildwood School apparel by Hearken Creative Services, gray shirt 1

We’re really proud of our collaboration with Jennifer Rowland and the entire team at Wildwood School. And we can’t wait to get these new photos up on the website!