Why I Travel

I often get asked why I travel so often. Mostly by family and friends making small comments like, "your traveling again?" or "Your going where?" "How are you doing this?"

Most of the time my answer is why not? Thinking to myself "what the hell is wrong with you, don't you want to travel to?" Or its because I found some amazing deal online and I can't afford not to. But I asked myself this question while I sit here and write this in Reykjavik, Iceland. Why do I travel? For me traveling is so much more than just seeing cool sights and taking photos for some social media account. 

Not to sound cheesy and spiritual here but traveling is healing, therapeutic and life changing. There is something about jumping on a plane to a country or state that you have never seen or been to and just being. Walking around the streets of a foreign country can shape you and allow you to grow in ways I can't fully put into words. For a creative person like myself I get to experience art, food and people in ways I have never experienced before. It takes me out of the norm of my city work life, with the constant rush of commuting, drinking at the same coffee shop every day and eating the same thing for lunch because it's easy. 

That's why I travel, it's not easy. I sure as hell don't always have the money for it and often times have to work extra jobs just to pay for these trips. Sometimes I travel at terrible times of the year where I am slammed with work and have often stayed awake in hotels working on projects while fighting jet lag.  

Traveling is not easy and it's not for everyone. But for me I would not trade anything for he life experiences I have gained through traveling. 

Single Mic Series : BTS

A few weeks ago my good friend John Schimpf introduced me to his friend John Cuniberti, an amazingly talented engineer who has worked in the industry for many years with some great artists.  He explained his idea of recording artists for a series with only using one mic.  A few weeks later we are in the studio at 25th Recordings tracking the first group of artists. 

This may seem like an easy task.  Set up a single mic, place the band around the mic and start recording.  Although this is how they used to record some amazing records this is no easy process.  It took the engineers hours to get the band into the right position and levels to make everything sound great.  At the same time there is a great amount of collaboration involved to make sure Iā€™m still able to get great looking images without hurting the sound.  

Im excited to be releasing some of these films soon and even more excited about the possibilities of tracking more of these with as many artists as we can.  I love working with musicians in this environment and challenging each other to create a great sound and beautiful images.  

Lighting A Car Interior

While DP'ing a new short with my good friend and director Nick Chavez we faced a few challenges of shooting car interior scenes in the middle of the night and in the rain.  First off shooting anything in the rain complicates things a bit and makes lighting much more difficult.  

DISCLAIMER.

My thoughts and ideas on lighting are just my opinion and what I think looks good.  There is always room to explore new lighting practices and I don't ever believe there is one right way to light any scene. With that being said, I don't have any formal schooling so most of my lighting practices come from trial and error and watching many other talented DP's closely, which I highly suggest everyone do.  


When approaching any scene I always try and use motivated light.  I never really feel the need to add light to a scene that would not naturally already be there.  When lighting this car interior scene the first thought was to park the car under a streetlamp to use as the key, and find a street that was well lit with practicals lights the from homes.  By the time we got to filming this scene it was pouring rain in the middle of the night with most of the practical home lights being out and not enough light from the street lights.  

We were finishing up at one of the home locations and decided to pull the car into the driveway and light the interior of the car by bouncing light from inside the garage.  The house had a few practicals which gave us the look of a car parked in the street with light from a streetlamp. 

THE BTS.

From inside the garage we used an ARRI T1 with a plus green & 1/4 ctb gel, bounced off a 4x4 white bounce.  Practical lights were left on inside the house and we placed some ND on the porch light to bring it down a bit.  

I like to keep my lighting set ups simple allowing for a good amount of contrast from light to dark in my shots.  For this film we were going for a cold dark feel to create a feeling of loneliness during the dialog scenes. 

STILLS.

Doublewood Denim : BTS

I meet Jeffrey and the Doublewood Denim team a few years ago over a few beers in downtown Oakland.  We had a vision for filming a mini doc telling the story of Doublewood Denim's journey. After many months of finding the right time to produce this film it came time to start working on the pre production.  

I'm a huge fan of using evernote on all my projects so that is where I started.  I start by gathering stills and frames from movies or films I like.  I collect all this together along with any notes into an evernote project. 

I always lay out all my shot-list & lighting diagram's a few days before the shoot.  Starting early in the morning we lit the room for the interview.  I wanted to stay simple and use our locations natural light as much as possible.  

I planned on using only one 650 par as a kicker and ended up with just using the natural light in the room.  Our camera setup was simple as well, single camera interview with a C100 and mostly shot on 35mm & 50mm lenses.  

I've learned that keep your lighting and camera set up simple really lets the story craft itself.  Its the little things that enhance your images.  I'm really happy with how these shots came out and I'm excited to finish the edit on this film.

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