Thanks for the roses, Trev <3
All photos on the Canon 7D with 60mm f/2.8 lens
Some random pictures from Trevor, Peter and my day in Burbank:
Peter being dramatic as usual
So many nail polishes at Urban Outfitters!
Peter searches around at “Book Castle Movie World,” the most jam packed store I’ve ever entered. It has thousands of old books, movie posters, stills, magazines, newspapers, etc. piled around this tiny store.
Trevor’s favorite find: With This Puzzle I Thee Kill
They had tons of slides of production stills from movies. Pictured above: Jackass The Movie.
I even found some old stills from Indiana Jones
Trevor finds Dune
A goofy tobacco store
Cake pop from Starbucks. Lethally delicious.
Peter pretends he’s Ryan Gosling in Drive
All photos on the Canon 7D with 60mm f/2.8 lens
Hello Friends and Family! I’m in Boston this week visiting old friends and I thought I would post some photos from Peter, Trevor and my Boston Commons walk this afternoon. Check it out…
Trevor and Peter comparing camera settings.
For years I have been a loyal Vistaprint customer– spending hundreds of dollars on business cards, calendars, return address labels, photo mugs, greeting cards, etc. featuring my photography. I have ordered several beautiful sets of photo business cards in the past for both myself and my mother. This fall, I ordered a new set of business cards and I kid you not, it looks like the deranged 5-year-old children that live below me printed the cards at home and cut them out by hand. I tried writing Vistaprint a letter of complaint in attempt to either A) get a new, nice, properly printed set of cards or B) my money back. No response. I said “never again, Vistaprint!” and ignored them for a few months… but was lured back by their Cyber Monday photo calendar sale thinking maybe they’ll get it right this time and that maybe the business cards were a fluke. Last year, I bought photo calendars from Vistaprint (on Cyber Monday, for the same price) and they look beautiful… This year, I eagerly opened my set of calendars and almost threw them across the room. The printing looks ATROCIOUS. They reduced the contrast of every photo to as low as it gets, the color is a far cry from the originals AND to add insult to injury, there are streaky vertical lines in each photo. NEVER AGAIN. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough money to get them reprinted at another company, so instead I will publicly proclaim my utter disgust with Vistaprint’s drastic decline in quality and repost the photos included in my calendar here. Apologies to everyone who was looking forward to my calendar this year; I really wish the printing did my photos justice.
Vistaprint, when you screw up you make ME look bad too. Never again.
Click for a larger version:
2012 PHOTO CALENDAR
Hello Friends and Family!
Veronika Ballerina (a musical I shot for Film 3) is now on Vimeo! Go check it out. It has a slow European old-school start, but make sure and stay til the end for the huge musical number!
Click here for the full short: http://vimeo.com/25200501
No, friends and family, I didn’t secretly get married without telling you. This blog is about my first job as a wedding videographer and what I learned from it.
Ever since I got my first “real” camera, I’ve wanted to photograph weddings. Unlike most girls who look at wedding magazines and think “someday my wedding will be just like this!” I think, “I could shoot that.” After hearing Trevor complain and complain about shooting weddings (sorry hun, can’t sympathize), Peter and I finally got our first wedding videography job! Of course, what I’d really love to do is still wedding photography, but after graduating with a BS in Film Production, shooting a wedding should be cake, right?
Luckily Trevor (who interned for a wedding videography company) gave us tons of tips and advice before the wedding so we were well prepared, but looking back at the footage there are a lot of things I’ll do differently next time.
Here’s a list of things I learned from my first wedding. Hopefully any photographers or videographers who stumble across this blog will learn from my successes and mistakes.
1. Shoot with a partner! Working with another person was TOTALLY invaluable. Sure you make less money with a partner, but you get so much better coverage and are way less stressed. When I went to go shoot prep with the groom, Peter made sure we didn’t miss anything good with the bride. When Peter set up our third camera, I was able to shoot the Bride getting dressed. When Peter ran out of cards, I had an extra one. When my lens wasn’t fast enough, Peter had a better one, etc. etc. I can imagine being a solo wedding photographer, but I would never want to be a solo wedding videographer. More than anything, it’s just more fun to have you friend come along with you!
2. Shoot with a tripod or monopod as much as you can! After the Bride and Groom’s prep and before the ceremony, Peter and I walked around the hotel and got “details” of the wedding– the fountain with the guests in the background, the wedding cake, close-ups of the flowers, the ice sculpture, the food, the champagne, etc. Of course, I made the stupid mistake of foregoing my tripod for the convenience of handheld. Wrong! I should’ve known better, and of course all the footage I shot during and after the wedding (on my tripod) turned out much, much better. Stability is always worth the extra effort when you’re watching the final product. It just looks so much more professional!
3. Shoot the ceremony video true multicam style. Peter and I kind of shot the ceremony multicam (like they do in sitcoms). We set up one wide static shot on the Panasonic HMC 150 and each had a roaming DSLR to cover the bride and the groom (pretty standard video “coverage”). Unfortunately, DSLRs can only shoot 12 minutes of video at a time, so we couldn’t do true multicam, where all 3 cameras run the duration of the show and are synced together by a slate. What I wish we’d done in retrospect (not that we had the resources) was use three cameras capable of shooting for long periods of time (HMC 150s for instance) and slated our footage at the beginning. That way, in post-production, we could have synced all three clips together in Avid (the best editing program for multicam) and then easily cut back and forth between different angles for the duration of the ceremony. This would make our lives MUCH easier and result in a much better ceremony video. The only downside to this plan is that you need enough money and resources to rent three cameras.
4. Get a better microphone! One thing that I’m really glad I did was walk around after the ceremony and ask guests for video messages to the bride and groom. I was afraid that my internal DSLR mic wasn’t sufficient enough and it did the job, but I would’ve been MUCH better off with a mounted shotgun mic. For the most part you can hear the cute messages they left for the bride and groom, but sometimes the background noise from the hotel is overwhelming and you lose what they’re saying.
For the ceremony, we miced the groom so that we could hear everything he, the bride and the officiant were saying without dealing with the trouble of micing the bride in her beautiful dress. It is much easier to mic a suit jacket!
5. Make conversation with the guests. As I walked around the champagne reception and got video messages from guests, I usually introduced myself by saying “Hi, my name is Helena and I’m the wedding videographer. Is there anything you would like to say to the bride and groom?” This worked very well and most people were excited and wanted me to record their message. However, in retrospect, what I wish I found out who the guests were (and wrote it down) so that I could’ve included that information in the edited video. Also, it would’ve been nice to know which people were more important than others. That’s not to say I would’ve skipped “less important” guests, but it would’ve been nice to know, for instance, when you’re about to shoot a message from the groom’s sister or the bride’s grandmother. If I had known who they were before they said “Hey Kristen it’s your Grammy!” I could have situated them in better light, gotten a better angle or made sure the location was better for the sound recording. I realized this immediately after I started shooting one of my last video messages, a charming old woman who turned out to be the Bride’s grandmother. I introduced myself and she nodded that she wanted to leave a message, but immediately after I hit record and she started talking, her teeth were totally covered in lipstick! In retrospect, I wish I would’ve stopped her and politely told her she had lipstick on her teeth, so the Bride’s grandmother wouldn’t be immortalized (in close up) with pink teeth, but I was inexperienced and shy enough not to know what to do. If I had a better conversation with her beforehand, the problem would have arisen before I clicked record.
6. White balance is gonna be a bitch! So make sure and bring something to help you white balance on the fly! The first room we were in– the Bride’s room– was a mess of many different light sources with many different Kelvin ratings (wah wah). I tried all the presets on my camera and nothing looked right but I couldn’t miss any of the good action, so I rolled with it. Still photographers have the luxury of A) Shooting in RAW, which makes it easy to adjust white balance in post and B) Flash, a controlled source of light. Unfortunately us videographers get screwed by low lighting and gross color temperature so we have to be prepared to compensate. I’m sure all of the Bride’s prep footage will turn out well with a hefty amount of color correction, but it would’ve been much easier if I got the right color temperature to start with!
7. Bring fast lenses! Of course, to bring fast lenses, you must be able to afford fast lenses (my problem). By the end of the night, the hotel was very dark and my f/2.8 lenses wouldn’t cut it anymore Luckily Peter had his f/1.8 lens for the last hour of the wedding. Of course, if we were still photographers this wouldn’t be a problem because of flash and the ability to drastically change shutter speed without affecting picture quality.
That’s all I can think of for now! Now that I’ve shot a wedding, I’m hoping it will be easier to get more wedding jobs. My next camera-related investment will probably be a f/1.8 lens or a flash, so that I can start getting stills jobs. That would be awesome!
Now that I’m back on the blogging train, I might as well post some pictures from last weekend’s trip to New York City. Trevor and I decided to go down to New York to celebrate his 23rd birthday, to say goodbye to some old friends before leaving the East Coast and, as it turns out, eat more than is humanly possible.
On Friday, we had the extreme displeasure of taking the notorious Fung Wah train to New York. Six hours later, a well rested Helena and a very un-rested Trevor showed up in Chinatown. I have the wonderful ability to sleep pretty much anywhere, anytime, and Trevor has the not-so-desirable qualities of not sleeping on buses and easily getting car sick. Luckily, the second never came to fruition thanks to his William Gibson Neuromancer audiotape.
Trevor’s priority-numero-uno was to go to Saint Alp’s Teahouse near Union Square. Little did I know or realize how strong Trevor’s love for bubble tea was, until we repeated our trip to Saint Alp’s multiple times throughout the weekend. For those of you non-trend-oriented likely-Colorado-folk, Bubble Tea is an Asian favorite that consists of tea, milk, sugar and Boba (“Bubbles”), aka little black pearls of tapioca that are pretty disgusting and not at all what you expect when you first try them but that eventually grow on you and you start to appreciate their clam / muscle-like texture and flavorlessness. Here is a picture of some bubble tea at Saint Alp’s, which yes, Trevor was right, is the best bubble tea I’ve ever had in my life.
Over the course of the weekend, I had butterscotch bubble tea once (so-so) and coconut bubble tea twice (delish). Trevor stuck with old-fashioned black bubble tea.
At Saint Alp’s, we met up with two of Trevor’s friends, Joe and Italo, who then accompanied us to The Strand, aka the best bookstore in the world, whose only possible rival is the Tattered Cover in Denver on 16th Street. If you’re ever in New York, go to The Strand, and if you’re ever in Denver, go to the Tattered Cover. Especially now with National Bookchain numero dos collapsing, it’s more important than ever that we support local bookstores (cough cough parents).
Then, our weekend of extreme eating really began. Italo mentioned that he knew of a delicious all-you-can-eat Sushi restaurant nearby (called Funayama) and we decided that was the perfect option for Trevor’s birthday dinner. We were even more excited when our boat (yes, really) of sushi arrived and the feast began. Mmm sushi.
The night ended with cards and sangria in Italo’s Times Square apartment.
Day 2: The Best Laid Plans…
And so, day two of NYC food fest began with pastries at a Greek Bakery on 9th… and then cheeseburgers and fries at Five Guys in Brooklyn Heights… and then more sangria at our friend Andrea’s house in Brooklyn. Andrea has a great apartment in Crown Heights with an amazing roof top view. All of us got excited by the sight of the Crown Heights Armory, one of many old WWII-era armory’s across NYC, and we decided to go there and check it out. Luckily, someone had the foresight to investigate on their phone (me) and found out that the armory is now, unfortunately, a homeless shelter that houses many dangerous sexual predators. Plan ruined.
Instead we opted for cheesecake at Maxie’s in Times Square. Maxie’s has always been my g0-to cheesecake place in New York after its fortuitous discovery on my 11th grade Carnegie Hall trip. Maxie’s has the best cheesecake EVER. And, like 20 different flavors, all for $7.95. Much to my despair, we showed up at “Maxie’s” and surprise, it had a different name and although the unique architecture of the building was instantly recognizable, the interior decor was different. As it turns out, Maxie’s has recently been replaced by a new restaurant. We paid $10 a slice for shitty cheesecake… with only 3 flavor options. Boo, new restaurant.
Day 3: A Celebration of American Obesity
Italo and Trevor spent Sunday morning investigating the best plans for the day, and of course all of them revolved around food. Upon the suggestion of our friend Dmitriy, we hunted down the famous Wafels and Dinges food truck at Columbus Circle and started our day with hot Belgian waffles with spekuloos spread. I wasn’t sure I could eat anything ever again, but Trevor and Italo’s 2nd part of the plan was a Food Truck rally at Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Luckily, I had a few hours to walk off the waffles before getting delicious Greek food and frozen yogurt. Here are several pictures of Trevor and Italo resting off the Greek food at Prospect Park.
We met up with filmmaking co-conspirator Kathy and decided to walk around Greenpoint. Little did we know that it would take us nearly 2.5 hours to get to Greenpoint (thank you, MTA, for all your subway closures) and that we would end up taking a cab out of frustration and exhaustion.
We discovered that near Greenpoint there is a Saint Alp’s Teahouse in Williamsburg. Lucky Trevor! So we went there, again, for bubble tea and met up with Dmitriy.
Just when I thought I could never eat every again in my entire life, our friends Maya and Lynn got out of work and decided we should go to a hipstery restaurant near their house. Trevor and I split some macaroni and cheese, and although it was very good, my poor stomach had a hard time appreciating it. We spent the rest of the evening in a nearby park:
Believe it or not, we got pizza after going to the park. Sorry, Michelle Obama.
Day 4: Walking Off Day 3
After Day 3′s craziness, Trevor and I took it easy on Day 4 and dedicated most of the day to sightseeing. We started off with The High Line, NYC’s renovated train tracks park. It was way more enjoyable to walk 20 blocks above the city streets in a beautiful park than on the hot, urine-stained sidewalks below, stopping every block for traffic lights. Here are some pictures of the High Line:
Then we proceeded to Ground Zero to see the in-progress Freedom Tower at One World Trade Center. The Freedom Tower is one of many construction projects going on at Ground Zero to commemorate September 11th.
We grabbed some pizza and went to (you guessed it) Saint Alp’s Teahouse one last time before boarding our much more comfortable Bolt Bus back to Boston. Trev and I slept for an hour before having an EPIC Fruit Ninja battle for the remaining 3.5 hours. Trevor always beats me, but that’s because the iPhone scoring system is more lenient than the Android scoring system (and also because he’s better at it).
Well, that is all for our epic NYC weekend. If you actually made it all the way through this super-long post, congratulations and thanks for reading.
A few days ago in Boston, there was a Rainpocalypse… It was nuts. My street was literally a river.