"Exaggeration is a vital ingredient of art"
Over the years I've shot many videos in Central Park mostly in the spring and summer but this year I decided to shoot during the Autumn at the peak of fall foliage around different location in Central Park like the Mall, the Ramble and the Boat Pond. For this film I used a voice over poetry reading by Claire Luce with three lovely poems by Heinrich Heine. The audio sounded a little scratchy so I touched it up as best as I could with Adobe Audition. The music is from one of my favorite 80's film "Children of a Lesser God " composed by Michael Convertino. I felt that this music would blend well with the mood of the piece.
Time Square it's incredibly crowded with tourists, police, workers, vendors and cartoon characters in costumes. Tourists have their photo taken with Iron man, Mickey and the nude cowgirl, sorry to disappoint but she's nowhere near nude. Anyway Time Square is one of the world's busiest pedestrian intersections. It's really risky to shoot with a tripod especially on weekends it's too chaotic. The best way to shoot there is hand-held or with a shoulder rig which will allow you to move nimbly which is what I did.
Gear: Sony FS700
Music of Dave Brubeck "Take Five.
For this particular piece I didn't have a blueprint or anything in mind just a mood inspired by Brigitte Bardot version of "La Madrague." Whenever I get an idea for a film project I like to start working on it right away cause if I spend too much time thinking about a thing I never get it done. I put pen to paper for creation and in the end everything just gelled. Working with Michelle Bobe was a pleasure. I would just tell her what I had in mind for a shot and she would just get into it right away. I had a lot of scripted shots in mind for this shoot but because we were short on time I had to make changes. When filming any project it's always important to be flexible and adaptable and stay open to change if needed and not be quick to marry any idea.
Towards the end of the shoot I ran into a big problem. My Metabone Speedbooster adapter rolled over and went dead. I was able to see an image on my camera but I couldn't adjust the iris the adapter stopped communicating with the camera. My guess is the Cinevate mount adapter short the electronic contacts of the Speed Booster. What a bummer! I couldn't use either the Canon 24mm or my 100mm Macro lens. The only usable lens was the Zeiss ZF 50mm because of the manual iris control. This is one of my favorite prime lenses but I wanted to indulge on my macro fetish and do some extreme close ups of Michelle face, the light was perfect it was early evening the golden hour but unfortunately it didn't happen. The following day I came back to Central Park alone for some B-roll with my Canon 100-300m using the Metabones Smart adapter and got some nice shots of people lazily rowing across the lake. Overall I'm very pleased with the outcome.
Canon 100-300mm f/4-f5.6, Canon 24mm f/1.4, Zeiss 50m ZF F/1.4
Metabones Speedbooster, Smart adapter
Zacuto EVF Z-finder
Manfrotto 561B monopod, Sachtler fsb-4 fluid head Gitzo tripod
Edited in Premiere Pro 6 graded with Magic bullet looks and Colorista 2.
On The Waterfront Reprise
I've been filming around the NYC East side waterfront for some time with different cameras. Last year I shot from the Brooklyn side at the Dumbo neighborhood section with my Sony FS700 and in 2009 I shot with the JVC GY-HM100 on the Manhattan side of the river with the same music "Moon and Sand" by jazz trumpeter Chet Baker but left out the piano solo, for this film I included the music in its entirety. I think the sound of West Coast school of cool jazz played by Chet Baker sits well with this piece and creates the mood.
In three days I filmed in different areas starting at the FDR drive near Chinatown working my way over to the South Street Seaport and then finally wrapping it up at Battery Park. The weather changed dramatically over those three days. On the first two days of shooting it was sunny and warm on the last day at Battery Park there was a passing thunderstorm which lasted for about an hour. Matching the visual quality of all my shots to make them look like if they were under the same weather condition and lighting was a difficult task and I am not an experienced Colorista but I took my time to carefully tweak each scene in post.
Venice City Of Dreams
I've been looking at postcards, photos and films of Venice since I can remember but nothing beats the real thing. Seeing the gondola the symbol of the city gliding through the picturistic canals and the famous landmarks like the Piazza San Marco, Basilica di San Marco and the Rialto bridge for the first time was very exciting. I was so impressed and inspired by what I saw that Avani and I agreed that we had to come back at some point again because a week in Venice just wasn't enough.
On arrival to Venice we crossed a bridge on foot since no cars are allowed on the island and walked a short distance to our hotel. We stayed at the Caprera Hotel which is about a 10 minute walk from the train station Stazione Ferroviaria di Lucia. At the hotel we were greeted with a warm welcome from our host Alberto who speaks English very well. We exchanged buongiorno and then Alberto gave us a map of the island and explained how to get around. He also gave us the name of an inexpensive local bar that he and other Venetians go to called 'Timon" located near the Jewish ghetto which didn't look like a ghetto at all. There was a nice kosher pizzeria and pastry shop but we decided to explore that area another day. So we headed towards Timon and enjoyed some Venetian bite size snacks called cicheti and treated ourselves to a nice glass of regional wine. After walking all day Avani and I sat by the canal in the early evening to relax and savor this great moment. Venice is a wonderful place to experience beauty, people and even life itself there is no place like it on the planet.
A gondola ride even though touristy is a must if you are visiting for the first time. We found a gondolier named Luca with a great personality who spoke English and French. He took us and a French couple on a ride in the early evening which is a good time to go for a ride since most of the crowd is gone by then. He gave us a great tour of the canal and showed us some of the historic royal palaces and the people who lived there. The gondola we were riding in was itself a work of art. Some of the other gondolas looked kind of ordinary but ours had character. I found out later that Luka's gondola was handed down to him by his grandfather. Half way through our ride it started to rain but Luca had an umbrella ready for us. Avani kept me and my camera covered while I filmed. To our surprise he started to sing a beautiful song and his soft voice echoed through the acoustics of the canal. The gondola ride was magical and surreal. Truly Venice is the most romantic city in the world.
It's impossible to film all the tourist attractions and squeeze it into a five minute video I wouldn't even try. When I wander around a new city I search for things that move me and that I care about. When filming I don't try to record "I was here and saw this" instead I try to film on "I was at this place and saw it like this." Although I film events and hordes of people together I am not drawn to this type of filming I find it too chaotic. I like to take my time and organize the elements within the frame.