Back in November I was contracted to develop the creative idea, direct, shoot and edit a Trailer and a Program Identity for a Vietnamese TV show about the everyday little things we can do to make life, the environment, pollution ect better.
It took me 1 day for shooting and 1 day of editing after I had an idea on what I wanted to do. Nothing fancy, clean, simple and to the point.
I headed out to get daily life scenes of Hanoi which was done with a mix of timelapse and regular footage. I wanted to show that even though we are all busy and hustling around the city it only takes one moment to make where we live that much better, which is basically what the TV program is about.
Everyone was happy with the results and the Trailer and Program Identity started playing on National TV back in December.
It has been just over a week since I got back from the 2011 Eddie Adams Workshop. I must say I had a great time there and made some really good friends. Recently I was contacted by Wonderful Machine owner Bill Cramer, who was a real pleasure to meet at the workshop. He asked me to write a little bit about my time at EAW and it got me thinking once again about exactly all that I experienced there and what I took away from all the sleepless nights.
I know it might sound cheesy but, an EAW acceptance was something I had strived for ever since I first heard of the workshop. Since I didn’t go to photography school, being accepted was for me, a total a validation of my work from the industries best people. It felt really great when I found out the news. During my time there I made some great new friends I hope meet again in future, listened to amazing speakers and began the foundation for lasting relationships with some of the editorial industries best editors.
One of the most memorable moments of the workshop for me happened after it all ended. I was sitting drinking a coffee the day after and thinking about everything when I realized that EAW was like a team building and bonding experience between photographers, editors and the suppliers that work in our industry. For me, this is a very rare experience and I would imagine it is rare in our industry as a whole to connect to people like you do at EAW. I now can see why many of the editors and organizers of EAW use words like “Family” and “Love” to describe how they feel about the participants and the experience in attending EAW.
I thought to myself at that moment, how often do photographers get to just talk to editors you don’t know, one on one, like a normal person where your not selling yourself? Most of the time when I talk to a editor I know they are very busy and are tired of being bombarded with emails and promos of photographers selling themselves. So to be able to have a normal conversation that wasn’t 5 min long and then later show my work for another 30 min was just amazing.
It was also a great opportunity to meet a lot of the industries suppliers like Anthony Pak from Manfrotto who hooked me up with a bunch of missing parts (I know I owe you a photo. I promise it is coming) and hanging out with J.C. from B&H during my whole assignment day talking about life and of course photography. These are good people who work in the industry and want to help photographers do their jobs. Now that we know each other, I’m sure i will be a loyal customer to them and they will be happy to help me out in the future.
EAW gave me the opportunity to meet all these great people from all over the industry and connect with them on a personal level and hopefully make new friends in the business.
It was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and I will never forget it. Thanks to all the sponsors, editors, producers, black team and the Adams family for continuing this tradition in pushing and inspiring new generations of photographers.
For me this made my trip from Vietnam very worth while and something I will remember forever.
The photos above and below were from my assignment, which was to shoot downhill mountain biking. On my assignment, I meet 15 year old Taylor who is a fearless pro downhill biker. Needless to say I love what I do and had a great time shooting the sport even if I’m not a “sports” guy. Thanks again EAW. Love you all.
For over a 2 years i have been lucky enough to befriend a really great guy and talented photographer, Boris Zuliani. He used to live on Truc Bach lake and we would have beers in the evening with other photo buddies talking about our love of photography and film (or until our wives or girlfriends called). Boris’s true love and art in photography is light painting. He uses it with great skill and passion in his personal work and for some commercial work.
When I first saw his work I thought it was just beautiful. I loved how soft the light was and at the same time giving the exposure a different kind of contrast then that of a normal photograph.
As Boris and I talked over beers I started to think about making a video of light painting. I didn’t want to make a “tutorial” video showing the process of light painting, but more about the feeling light painting gives to the subject and showing the gradual exposure of a photograph out of darkness.
Then some time later……. I met a randy young lady named Gillian. Boris had done a couple of light painting portraits of her and she said that the experience was so different from any other portraits she had posed for in the past. She explained it to me, but this was some time ago and my brain has been punished by Hanoi’s cheap beer so i don’t remember word for word. Though, I do remember her saying how much she enjoyed it and that the experience was something special.
Then some more time passed…….. Boris called me up and pushed me to make the video. Then Gillian called me up and pushed me to do it as well.
Time to put my thinking cap on. I had to figure out a way to show a light painting photo slowly exposed in video format using the extra variable of time. Hmmmm…. then i figured it out (oh that engineering degree served me well).
I would use a very slow shutter speed and do a kind of time-lapse while Boris did his painting. Then i would layer the photos to be gradually exposed over time and make all the layers add the new exposure to the old one (yeah i’m a nerd for this stuff).
So me and my gun-hoe /semi intoxicated team went out one night by West Lake (Ho Tay for the natives) and shot this video in 40 min.
Post production took an incredible 24 hours of rendering in CS5 Premier Pro with my i7 core iMac (thing was burnin’ up!!!). I guess that is what you get when you have 150 layers in a video editor.
No grading, special effects or effect editors (After Effects or Motion) were used to make this (except for my logo). The video and photos were shot on a 5D Mark II and the video was all shot hand held at 50mm.
Now making sure that the subject was fully exposed is tricky because when we did the light painting in this way you can’t see what you have exposed, which is why some of Gillian’s leg is not exposed. Also you have to remember that each exposure adds to the next exposure so i also had to be careful not to make my image too bright or too dark other wise the final image would be over or under exposed. I think the exposure was perfect for the layering, we just missed a part of the leg. I’m putting blame squarely on the intoxicated aspect of the project.
All and all, I am happy I was able to do this and thanks to my buddies for helping do so. It was something fun, different and somewhat challenging.
It could be interesting to make a clothing designer commercial like this. If your keen for that please drop me a line.
And now the final video. Thanks for watching.
Light Painter: Boris Zuliani
Model: Gillian Sturtevant
Photography & Video: Ehrin Macksey
*** UPDATE ***
If your looking for Vietnam wedding photography or videography services please visit my new wedding business : MWeddings | Destination Photography & Film | Vietnam & Southeast Asia
Back in 2010 Kim, the bride to be, and i started to talk to her about making a video of her wedding day. I asked her a lot of questions about music and what will be some of the activities at the wedding. Since she was overwhelmed with organizing the wedding she didn’t have much time to respond to me. So i kind of went into this job half blind, which always makes me nervous.
About 2 weeks passed by and i found out that the wedding would be held at the Six Senses Resort. Six Senses is a private secluded island that you can only get to it by boat. Not such a bad place to work if i do say so myself.
Since there were 2 photographers already going to be at the wedding taking photos Kim didn’t want 2 guys filming as well. She felt that it would have made it a circus having that many people documenting the event. I agree with her and don’t. Weddings happen fast and no one waits for the photographer or the video guy to prepare something. You have to think fast and work even faster to get good images. In my opinion, if i had another guy shooting video i could have covered sooooo much more of the actual event and of the preparation. With two shooters one person would cover the groom getting prepared and the other would cover the bride.
Since i was working on my own, i had to run back and forth between the two which means i lost time filming since the groom and bride were staying 15min away from each other. If i was to do another wedding video again i would also suggest getting a full Steadicam system which has a vest and a stabilizing arm. It would have been nice to have gotten some good movement shots of the wedding.
I did shoot almost 99% of this video handheld using a custom built RedRock system I designed. To me hand held gives you an almost a POV of what you would have seen if you attended the wedding. I like that.
Later on when I was documenting the preparation of everyone in the wedding I found out that Kim’s sisters and brothers were pretty famous musicians in Australia. They had written a song for the occasion and were going to perform it on stage at the wedding dinner. So with not much preparation or an idea on how i would edit it, I shot as much as I could of their rehearsal so that I could maybe cut together a nice music video of the wedding and the song they wrote.
I really like how this video turned out, but it would have been nice to be able to shoot some more or have another shooter with some more angles ect. Also I really wish I could have had time to record the song separately from their performance as the only audio i had was recorded through the PA speaker system they used. This is defiantly not the best for recording sound and at times the recording has some distortion because of this.
All in all, it was a great experience and it was an honor to be able to document Kim & Scott’s wedding day.
Here are the two video. I hope you enjoy them.
In September, the agency that represents me, Noi Pictures, contacted me about a new contract they got from Bhaya Cruise. The contract was to produce a TVC type film in 5 languages to promote their cruises.
When i first thought about this project I instantly thought that i should use my 5D Mark II to make it. I had used the camera to make a short video for Blue Dragon and i really liked the results and image quality. Now, keep in mind, there are many issues with using this camera, but i found (after a lot of research) a lot if not all the solutions to fixing these. With those issues in mind, me and Francois (my super agent) set out to shoot the most beautiful TVC we could do in 3 days.
I did have some great talent, Ruth and Issak who made my life so easy as i didn’t have to direct them too much. Surprisingly enough they had read the script (like actors are supposed to do) and knew what i was looking for. Thank god for them and for them being professional at their job.
A lot of people have asked me what equipment did i use to shoot this? Well i did not use much. I used my dolly and boom that i bought as well as a trusty tripod. Besides that, i used the motion of the boat to my advantage to get some nice shots and stuck to my storyboard.
Also, if you look carefully the sunset it is a time-lapse i shot with the camera. These are all still photos connected together to create a time-lapse shot. I think there were 1000 something photos to make this. I don’t recommend this to everyone as it reduces the life of your shutter, but for me it is worth it.
If anyone has any other questions about this shoot i am happy to answer them.
I have been following the blog of Brent Foster for about a year now. He works similar to me, that being that he works in photography and film as well.
Lately, there has been a new breakthrough in DSLR technology. We can now do video with the same DSLR body and lenses we use for photography. For people like Brent and myself this is amazing!
Yesterday Canon announced that it will be updating it’s firmware for video on the 5D Mark II so that users can use manual control instead of the hindering automatic functions it now has. This new firmware will allow users to control the aperture, shutter speed and gain (ISO) and we hope that it offers 1080 24p as well.
This is a major breakthrough for people who are working in photography and film. I couldn’t be more excited to have these options available to me.
I have always been interested in multimedia photography ever since i was first introduced to in by my friend Justin in late 2006. I started reading blogs like Multimedia Shooter and studying classes from Mindy McAdams at the University of Florida.
For me, i think multimedia is not just the use of sound and photography. Sometimes i see people who add music to some images and they say they have made a multimedia.
I apologize to those people. I’m sure they worked very hard on what they did, but to me, it is not really giving justice to the tools available to them.
Multimedia is the use of photography, film and sound (interviews, ambient sound, music) so that they are all being harnessed to take advantage of the power each media form gives. This lets the viewer become closer to the story and understand more.
Photography Vs. Multimedia. One is not better than the other. They are just tools like in a construction workers tool belt. They each serves a different purpose.
We can now start see we have more demand from clients and newspapers to do video. There is new technology to do this from DSLR manufactures and we have this new way to present our stories and photography. So, my question to photographers is this:
Why are you waiting for?!
Other people are catching on and not just in the photojournalism area. You can see fashion photographers (Steven Klein, NYC & Esquire Magazine June Cover) starting to do both photography and film using The RED system and the 5D Mark II.
Almost every newspaper in America and Europe ask their photographers to do video as well as photography.
This is not a fad. This is the direction our industry is going. So come… on jump on…. it is only bumpy in the beginning.