Monday, November 23, 2009

Yes, another contest! Wonderful Pistachios

Sometimes it's great to have a little fun while doing your trade. So you look up contests, particularly video contests in our case. You call up a couple of friends. You toss around some ideas. And voila! Silliness always wins.:)

Just for those of you that wish to vote and also get a good chuckle, here are some entries (5 of them) into the Wonderful Pistachio contest from me. Voting begins December 2nd, 2009 - Please vote for one of these or all of them. That is if we make it to the top 10. We would really appreciate it. :)

Really cool key-wording info for any stock shooter...

Okay. Usually I don't like to talk about anyone in particular. But this guy has some really great info and experience when it comes to shooting stock. Of course his specialty is photo, not video or moving pictures. But all in all, many of his ideas, concepts and tools work just as well. After all, moving pictures are nothing more than a long series of stills. No? :)

There is one tool in particular that I really recommend checking out if you are in the stock image or footage biz... (Clicking here will open a new window) - Yuri Arcurs Productions

If you are in need of key-wording ideas - this is a kick-butt tool.

Monday, October 5, 2009

And they're off!

Just have to post this.. after all, I need your vote. Actually, it's not so much me that needs your vote, but rather my clients. You see, our favorite powerhouse Google is now getting into the TV commercial syndication game. Imagine being able to bid for TV commercial time just as you bid for keywords, ad placement on the net and all those wonderful services offered by Google on Adsense. - Well, now that is becoming a possibility. Google decided to start this new service with a really cool contest. A video contest.. It is called TV FOR ALL CONTEST (clicking here will open a new window). Of course I used this opportunity on behalf of my clients to get them exposure and a chance to win. Not only could they win a whopping $25K of national TV advertising, but via the contest there will be lots of eyeballs on their stuff. It's a win/win. Of course this also helps me and my company a bit. It helps build credibility to my market place. Ok, this is purely shameless self promotion. Enjoy! So please vote when the time comes. Here is the schedule:

PUBLIC VOTING PERIOD Starts 12:00:01 am ET on October 16 Ends 11:59:59 pm October 27!
(“Video Selection Period”)
Starts 12:00:01 pm ET on October 6 Ends 11:59:59 pm ET on October 8
FINALIST/ALTERNATE NOTIFICATION & CLEARANCE Starts 12:00:01 am ET on October 9 Ends 11:59:59 pm October 15
PUBLIC VOTING PERIOD Starts 12:00:01 am ET on October 16 Ends 11:59:59 pm October 27

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rules? What rules?

Every once in a while I get a challenge from a client. Many times as in this case, it was a fairly new client. Hence, there was not much to work with. So what does one do in such a case? You have to step "out of the box" so to speak and break just about every rule. Of course, I love breaking rules anyway. As a matter of fact, I couldn't even tell you the rules to be followed if my life depended on it. But having spoken to many producers, production houses, directors, actors and, well you get the point... they always seem to talk about rules. Yet, I never get a clear answer about what these rules should be, look like, or even remotely resemble.

Advertising has rules. I think. But again, I am not so sure. Having paid much attention to all walks of advertising, I see quite plainly that there are no rules except for one. No. Make that two. And even these are not always really clearly used or implemented. But, they are probably the best I have been able to come up with.

1. Get the message out of what you are trying to say, and keep it short.
2. Finish up with a "call to action".

Wow. It's really that simple? I suppose so. I would imagine that the difficult part is to squeeze things of this nature into that short little 30 or 60 second thingy you watch on TV, the web, your phone or whatever other Steam Punk device you can think of. So what do you do when you just are getting started and don't really have a lot to work with... you cheat. But heck, if it gets the point across, then do it.

I thought, not bad considering I only used one picture and simply created a finishing logo to help make the point. It's simply "twisted".

The point: Even with very little, very big things can be created. If you see yourself in this predicament, and need a new "flavor" or approach, drop me a line and I will put on my creative cap for you.

Or, if you produce stuff, show me what you have. You know - the comment section here. Who knows, maybe we can even bounce some ideas off of each other.

By the way, the last two paragraphs were an actual "call to action".

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Gone in 30 seconds...

Okay, so this is not about that movie, but rather something else that may be important for all actors/actresses to know. It has to do with so called "demo reels". I have immersed myself into the industry somewhat by doing lots of reading. Particularly when it comes to opinions of certain job titles. The focus of a particular job title that has the word "casting" in it. Whether it be a casting director, agent, company, agency etc, etc... they all want the same thing. TIME! They never have enough of it.

So here is how it goes. You are an actor or actress and want to be cast for the next big block buster. So you send in your head shot (that's yet another topic), your resume and hopefully a demo reel. Do you even have one of those? If you don't, you might want to really consider getting one. But don't cut corners here! This will either make you or break you.

I have seen many demo reels and I must tell you, the time spent on those is time I will never ever get back. Sounds harsh, but it is a fact. And I am not even a "casting" type of guy. So imagine what a real "casting" type of person would think.

The message being sent with this entry is that your demo reel needs to sell you in the first 20 to 30 seconds. If it does not, then you will most likely not be cast. Hmmm... I know, I know - many of you are thinking; "But I have so much cool stuff on my reel..." Yeah, you might. It may all be true... but where is it? At the end? In the middle? At minute 5? At minute 9? If your reel is that long, you really need a new reel!

The fact is, when casting happens, the people involved don't have a lot or won't spend a lot of time on any reel. That is, unless you "hook" them in the first 20 to 30 seconds. Even then, they might not look further. Or simply put, they already made a decision at that point. You are either potential, or you are not. It's that simple.

Casting is a quick elimination process. When casting happens, many reels, resumes, head shots, flowers, fruits - okay, the last two are bogus, but many actors submit their goods. So think about this, just how much time do you think a casting director will actually spend on any given submission? Hint: it's less than a minute and a bit more than no time.

I did this reel recently - just like a movie, it needs to tell a story about you:

Demo Reel of Bobbi Jeen Olson 2009 - 3rd Quarter from VaderVideo on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Going into production... FosterUP!

So it finally came to be... a real production for TV. And yes, yours' truly is the executive producer. So what exactly does that mean? Executive Producer? In this case it means chief bottle washer, camera guy, format designer, show designer and maybe even the host once in a while - but that is all besides the point.

I have set out to do this show for local public access TV. Now that may not mean much to many, but it is a great testing ground. I recommend to anyone that wants to get into the biz, to try this first if you can. Check with your local cable company to see if you also have a public access facility.

In any case, I needed a topic for a show. This in itself was already a dilemma. I didn't want to do a show for the sake of a show, but rather a show that could deliver something of value. As my wife and I are in process of getting licensed as foster parents, if became more than obvious just how problematic the whole situation is regarding the foster kids in this country. This is after all our future generation at stake.

Hence, a show concept was born - I call it "FosterUP!". Amazingly enough, even the domain name was available for this. Was this a sign perhaps?

In any case, this show is now in pre-production and the work is cut out for us.

So why am I writing about this? What does this have to do with Camera Imagery and Imagination? Well. Where do I start? Where do I end? It has everything to do with all these things. Producing a show is quite a task. Particularly if you want to exceed the production quality of typical public access TV. So the challenge here is to bring the quality up to par, to meet commercialized TV standards. In other words - real syndicated TV! - Why bother? Well, this topic is important enough that who knows? Maybe some day it could get syndicated, or get picked up by a major network or channel. So why not take the time and do it right. Now.

I suppose that should be the way one should approach any project. But most don't. Yes, it is work. It takes time. It can be frustrating. But the potential is great!

Drop on in and check it out at (opens a new window) and feel free to let me know what you think. (Hey, you could also become a sponsor - we certainly would appreciate that!)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Photographer vs. Cinematographer or Videographer

First off, let me point out - the word "Videographer" isn't real according to any spell check system. Weird. This term is more and more common and yet none of the spell check systems recognize it. Yet if you visit - it states that it is a real word. I digress.

Okay. So the real topic of this insatiable bit is really about something else. It has to do with that little hidden line that many think or believe exists between photographers (photogs) and videographers (maybe I should use cinematographers?). Really there is no line, gray, black or white... it is a myth. But most don't realize this to be true. You see, I have heard this so many times from photographers that it makes the hair stand up on my cats. What am I talking about specifically? The phrase; "Oh, you don't do still photography." (I actually do, I just don't admit it.) - They don't pose it as a question, but rather as a subliminal (almost) insult. Almost as if still photography is the bomb, the only bomb, nothing but the bomb and videography, well that is for the weak, the un-knowledgeable, the lazy, the "oh, you can't hold the camera still so you need the moving picture aspect anyway." Whatever!

In any case, I wanted to show that in all actuality a still "photog" can also play in the moving picture world with a little creativity and a small step requiring one to delve into other worlds of applications. I am talking about many apps on a computer. But even that is a lie. They don't even need to leave one of their commonly used apps - it's called Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop actually has some really powerful video generating features. It is just that most don't even realize just how powerful this stuff really is. If you own Photoshop (CS3 and up), you can actually do a cartoon like flick very easily. Of course you could go out and buy special effects software for several hundreds of dollars instead. I prefer the latter - it's easier on my wallet. But interestingly enough, not many know how to do this to movies - only to individual shots or images.. just do a search on Google for "toon photoshop" - What is missing? The simple fact that most of the filters talked about can be applied to a sequence of images - a movie - in Photoshop as well. Wow.

But back to the other apps - the ones more commonly used. These are known as NLE's or Non-Linear Editors. They are known by their names commonly heard on the street as Vegas (no, not Las Vegas, but Sony Vegas), Premiere, Final Cut and so on. Most of these have a little feature called import an "image sequence". What? Wouldn't that be like --- a movie or something? Yes, an image sequence is also known to be a "movie". That word.. movie - would it possibly have something to do with moving? Movie -ing picture? Sequence of images? Film strip? Many frames in sequence...? What a concept! I digress again.

In any case - a fun experiment I did to prove to some of you still photogs that from a simple photo shoot - you can make some interesting movies... enjoy:

Moving stills - a demo. from VaderVideo on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Flying High - A dedication.

Every once in a while one gets really lucky. This happened to me a week ago. I saw the planes buzzing over my house and was thinking to myself "Self, wouldn't it be cool if you could get a bit closer to these?"

As was my luck, a neighbor called and asked if I would like to go onto base with him for a couple of hours to see the landings and takeoffs. We had access to pretty much anything we wanted regarding visual access to the "birds". We sat atop his company's container and watched. Fortunately the location was next to the runway. Cool.

Moral of the story: If you do something such as shoot stock footage - let everyone know! Sometimes they just might remember and invite you to something not just anyone can go to. This was one of those moments. Many thanks to my friendly neighbor for giving me the opportunity of what may be a lifetime when it comes to getting unique footage.


Flying High - A dedication. from VaderVideo on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sometimes one finds a true golden nugget.

Producing, generating, filming, taping, shooting and creating stock footage does not always include a camera of any kind.

Sometimes, one can create a nice clip using the simplest of things, or things you may have easy access to in respect to not hurting your wallet. Over the next several blog entries, I am going to talk about some of these things, tools, apps or whatever they may be. Sure some may be a little more expensive than the others, but rest assured, some are true little golden nuggets. The cool thing is these do not require a camera. Instead, they require your brain and a little creativity. So let's begin with a real gem...

I ran across this tool a couple of years ago. I am still amazed at how powerful it can be. That is if you let it. This tool will let you generate all kinds of neat and fun things at just about any resolution. Hey, it will even generate stills! When you first look at it, it looks pretty mundane and one might think "Yeah, it does some nice titling." - WRONG!!!! This little product does more than just titles... a lot more.

Example 1: Just the right thing for today - look at the date of this post!(clicking on any of these clips may be exciting!):

Example 2 - a dire situation:

Example 3 - ending a year:

Example 4- what this product won't let happen - an out of control BUDGET!:

The last example even touts an alpha channel! (For those that don't understand what that means; don't worry, you will soon enough if you get enthralled in this business sector.) Seen enough? Want more? - Well here is where you can get this little gem, and believe me, I think the price is more than fair. Actually I think they could ask for a lot more. However as it seems that they are from another planet. They have technology that makes it easy to exist without our monetary greed. (Well, they do call themselves Outer Space Software!):

You can order this sweet little nugget right here for a whopping $49.00 (O.K., so I lied, it's $49.95 at the time of this publish):

Visit a special bin of just CG goodies (not all came from BluffTitler DX9 - but a lot did.):

Adobe - 2 Years (and a Half) Later - Great Stuff!

So here we are a few years later and Adobe didn't implode! On the contrary! Adobe is doing just fine and dandy. As a matter of fact,...