What Should I Shoot My Feature On: An iPhone 7, or an Arri ALEXA?

Camera choice is a touchy, borderline political, topic in the world of multimedia production. For photographers, it’s the eternal “Nikon vs. Canon” debate. For cinematographers, it’s a little less black and white.

If your life even peripherally orbits the film and video world, you’ve probably heard or seen the opinions on either end of the tech spectrum:

Exhibit A: The “Stories Matter More Than the Camera” Angle

From this person, you’ll likely hear “you can shoot on anything, as long as you’ve got a good story!” They’ll point you to Tangerine, a feature-length narrative film shot exclusively on iPhone.

Exhibit B: The “If You’re Not Shooting ALEXA, You’re Fired” Angle

I won’t mince words: the Arri ALEXA is a top-tier camera, producing insane dynamic range, and whipping other camera’s butts when it comes to skin tones. What I WILL say is that no, you don’t need to shoot on it to create something beautiful.

That said, many directors won’t even hire you unless you drop that alliterative camera’s name.

The video above is basically a gross exaggeration of what cinematographers see when comparing cameras, blown out to the biggest visual disparity possible. If you’ve got a video nerd in your life, the iPhone footage and its flaws are as glaring as the ones they see between even higher end cameras.

That said, it’s a pretty cool look at how big of a differential there is in video quality as you step up from the low end to the high end of cameras.

 

United Way Day of Caring

For the last three years, I have been fortunate enough to take part in the United Way of Greater Portland‘s Day of Caring. The UW brings together employees from some of the largest organizations in Southern Maine to provide a day of community service.

In the past, we have served at food pantries, school supply distribution centers, and more, all in the service of creating a stronger community.

Each year, I have put together a video for WEX, one of the companies involved, that highlights the work they do and reaffirms their corporate culture and dedicated to community.

Give it a watch!

Polyline – 3D Lines from Motion Paths

As a motion graphic animator without a background in 3D animation, I need to find every tool I can to successfully blend 2D elements, video, and pseudo-3D effects. After Effects has some built-in functionality, but I have come to rely on plug-ins like Polyline to “cheat” the effects I see in my head but don’t quite have the modeling experience to execute.

One style I’ve been working with heavily is incorporating polygonal “ribbons” that run through still photos. Easy as pie in Photoshop, less so when committed to motion. This has been an absolute god-send since I found it.

Looking to add some stylization to your work? Give Polyline a look!

Adobe MAX Visual Identity Doc

At work and at home, I live in the Adobe Suite. There is hardly a brand I respect more for their product line, their culture, and what they do in the creative community. Today, I stumbled across this video for some of their visual branding around MAX, their annual creative conference. MAX acts as a showcase of future-tech, a demo of product capabilities, and a convention for creatives across the globe.

What stood out to me about this video is how perfectly it encapsulates the reason why practical effects will always be my preferred execution method. Sure, many of these effects could be replicated as 3D renders, but the cost would be substantially greater, and the effect far lesser, that by trying out these fantastic physical demonstrations.

WEX + Priority Bicycles

For the last year, WEX has worked to earn its place as an industry-leading workplace. To achieve that, they have moved forward with some amazing perks, benefits, and changes to the corporate workplace and culture. This has included paid volunteer days, parental time off, and new offices.

Last week, however, was possibly the coolest change in recent memory: a fleet of corporate bicycles. Working with Priority Bicycles of NYC, WEX has added fifteen bikes to help employees commute around our four South Portland buildings.

Watch the video for some interviews with WEXers and Priority Bicycles about the program.

WEX Superhero Suit-Up

Each year, WEX presents at NAFA, the largest fleet and trucking industry event in the country. And, every year, they need to step up their booth to earn the eyes and hearts of potential clients and partners.

This year, they worked with Genuine, an agency out of Boston, to develop their very own custom video game, and I was tasked with coming up with a catchy, interesting way to promote it.

Looking to superhero movies and NFL intros, we put together a challenge from a WEX executive that not many could pass up…

WEX Blockchain Competition

It’s been about four months since I transitioned from Canon to Sony gear, and I couldn’t be much happier. The sharpness of the video, whether shooting in 4K or HD is just off the charts, the color space is every bit as deep and saturated as Canon, and the 42 megapixel sensor turns wasted shots into perfectly salvageable compositions.

The other week, I put together a quick talking head video featuring WEX’s VP of New Business Ventures on the A7Rii, shot on the G-Master 24-70. Take a peek.