WINNER! 2012 SA Neighborhood Film Project (Northside)

For the second year in a row, I competed in the San Antonio Neighborhood Film Project sponsored by the Office of Cultural Affairs and the San Antonio Film Commission.  The short film project is meant to “highlight the hidden and not-so-hidden treasures of San Antonio” and had it’s most entries to date, totaling 68 shorts from filmmakers across the city.  My entry last year, “Southtown Pedicab” won in the Southside, and this year we moved to the Northside with our romantic, under-dog, dancing tale, “Believe” starring HollyAnn Ovard and Richard Simkaitis.  For the second year in a row we were fortunate to take 1st place in our category!

Probably the most asked question I get about this film is how the idea came about.   Most of the time a reply jokingly, “watching dancing with the stars of course!”, and although I am laughing when I say it, it fact, it is mostly true.  My family and I have watched the show off and on for some time and I have always been impressed how the producers of the show would mix different styles of music with seemingly opposite styles of dancing.  So I had the idea of using dancers to showcase a neighborhood, but crap, I didn’t know anyone.  So I hoped on Google and started searching for San Antonio dance studios, found a few, but not quite what I was looking for.  With a few more clicks of the mouse I came across Ballroom Dance Academy.  After clicking through their website for a while I found exactly what I was looking for, a competitive dance duo made up of HollyAnn Ovard and Continue reading

Review: Cowboy Studio Shoulder Rig Part 3 w/ Zacuto EVF

Last week I received the awesome Zacuto EVF Flip. This left me to totally redesign my Cowboy Studio/Express35 shoulder rig. At first I thought I would no longer need the Express35.com offset adapter (reviewed here), but after trying different combinations, it is still a vital piece of the configuration.  The camera is no longer directly in front of my left eye, now with the EVF in place, I can now move it back onto the rig itself, inline with the shoulder support.  The EVF is supported to a rod with an articulating arm, which now sits in Continue reading

Behind the Scenes: “Wild Sunday”

Ever wondered what it likes behind the scenes of an ultra low budget film?  Well, thanks to San Antonio photographer and video enthusiast, Richard Jemal, you can now take a quick peek inside.  He was there as we started shooting our entry into the 2010 San Antonio 48hr Film Experience.  Check out his footage below!

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Current Project: Moby “The Day” Music Video

My submission into the Moby, Vimeo and Saatchi & Saatchi music video challenge. This is dedicated to all the fathers, husbands, son and brothers that have lost someone special….

A young mother suffering from a terminal illness finally succumbs to her pain and agony. Leaving behind a heartbroken father that is having difficulty moving on and their young, brave daughter. While reminding him how to live and love again, the young girl teaches her father how to welcome the future after a tragic loss. Continue reading

Ask Rod: Mounting Mics and Recorders

Hi Rod,
I notice in your video, that you have your Zoom H1 mounted in a shock mount on top of the camera. I am on the verge of purchasing the Zoom H4n and hopefully the Rode NTG-2 shotgun microphone. My intension is to mount the NTG-2 on top of the camera and the Zoom H4n (somehow) in a vertical position to one side of the camera so I can easily view the screen while monitoring the audio levels.  I would like to later add an external LCD screen to assist in better focus. My questions are: Continue reading

WINNER! 2011 SA Neighborhood Film Project (Southside)

On Saturday, March 26th, 2011 the screening and awards were held for the San Antonio Neighborhood Film Project at the Guadalupe Theatre.  I was fortunate to win in the “Southside” category and took home a check for $3000 with my short doc, “Southtown Pedicab” starring Michael Urbano.  The short film project, managed by the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and the Office of Cultural Affairs, is meant to “highlight the hidden and not-so-hidden treasures of San Antonio”.  Click here for full competition details and rules.

There were 4 neighborhoods for filmmakers to choose from and after some deliberating I went with the Southside.  Unfortunately, I did not know much about the area, and the extent of my visits to this part of town were visits to C4 Workspace on King William Street.  To get some inspiration Continue reading

Review: Cowboy Studio Shoulder Rig Part 2

**6/23/2011 Update:  Part 3 with Zacuto EVF now posted!

Follow-up to my previous blog post, “Review: Cowboy Studio Shoulder Rig“.  This time showing a new piece to the shoulder rig, the Express.35.com “Rig X“. I am located in San Antonio, TX, if you are in the Central Texas area and would like a demo, just let me know!  Continue reading

Current Project: Arthur Woo “It’s All Good”

Arthur Woos’ “It’s All Good” music video has wrapped in San Francisco and I am now back home in San Antonio for post production.  Shot on (1) Canon T2i/550D, using available lighting, with Canon 50mm f1.4 and Tokina 11-16mm f2.8.  To be edited in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 and colored graded with MBL and Colorista II.  Video to be released early March 2011.

Review: Cowboy Studio Shoulder Rig

A few days ago I tweeted a couple pics of my new Run and Gun DSLR Rig, the Cowboy Studio (CBS) Shoulder Support Pad.  Since then I have received a lot of requests for more information and additional pics, so here we go….

First off thanks to Caleb Pike and Phil Hoyt for turning me on to this idea and saving me hundreds of dollars!  I was looking for an affordable solution and this sure did fit the bill.

For those unfamiliar with the product it’s basically a low cost, lightweight shoulder rig, and retails anywhere from $20.00 to $30.00 online. I have used other DSLR rigs, including the Red Rock Micro eyeSpy Standard, which sells for $826.50. However, I must say I greatly prefer the CBS solution. One of the biggest features I like about the CBS rig is that it can be completely hands free. While using the Red Rock Micro system, I often found myself needing to use both of my hands, which was simply impossible. With the CBS I can do just that.  Ohhh..and did I mention how comfortable it is?  It’s much lighter then anything else I have tried and put’s less strain on my back and shoulders, which allows me to go longer with less fatigue. Continue reading

Recent Project: Tension Speak “Choke”

I was hired by local San Antonio rock band Tension Speak to create a new music video for their upcoming CD release, “This War”. They choose the track “Choke” and after a brief meeting with the band, and listening to the inspiration for the song I came up with a storyline. The song is about the world caving down on you, with so much pressure you feel like you are getting choked out.  I know I can relate to this, and I believed others could as well.  We were to use 4 members of the band to show 4 different vices, including alcoholism, drug addiction, no money, and cheating wife.  The lead singer, Fred Silva was to play the role of the “Angel”, stopping the other person from doing damage to themself or to others.  Sounded great on paper, but could I pull this off??  This would be my second music video, and after the first one, I was confident, but staying humble.  I went home that night, thought about it some more, came up with a shot list and went to bed uneasy. Continue reading

Recent Project – My First Short Film “Unimaginable”

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This project was a first for the majority involved, especially the crew.  I had just come off releasing my first music video and was looking for a new project to work on.  I was browsing casting/crew calls on ShortFilmTexas.com and came across an ad for a short film looking for a Director of Photography in San Antonio.  Continue reading

Recent Project- .com Web Commercial

Final product starring Valerie Garza:

Hired by .com credit agency to create short multimedia intro for website homepage, as well as, create custom voice-over for telephone Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system.  Also responsible for securing shooting location and booking the talent for this project. Continue reading

Review: D|Focus D|Riser

In a previous blog post I raved how much I was enjoying my new D|FOCUS Follow Focus V3.  However, one of the bummers for me was not able to use my new focusing solution on my Canon T2i/550d, with Canon 50mm 1.4 lens and BATTERY GRIP, battery grip being the key word here.  Thankfully, I wasn’t bummed out long, as David Aldrich, the man behind D|FOCUS Systems, noticed the need for a solution and is now producing the D|Riser!

Description for website:

“The D|Riser is a riser and offset block to raise the height of the standard D|Focus V3 gearbox.  The D|Focus V3 has a low profile design for a light weight and space saving configuration but in some cases it may be necessary to raise the height of the D|Focus V3. Continue reading

Ask Rod: Premiere Pro CS5 Export Settings?

via comment:  “What are your settings for premiere pro cs-5 and what do you export as?”  -Randy

Great question Randy!  In fact, I had this very same question when I first started using Premiere Pro CS5.  I was lucky enough to be pointed in the right direction by a fellow HDSLR shooter and Premiere user, Richard Allen Crook.  Below are a couple of screenshots I took of the settings I use to produce a 1080p, 16:9 aspect ratio video and 1080p 2.35:1 cropped cinema version.  Please remember, the export setting’s I use below is what has worked for me and might not necessarily be the right way to do it. Continue reading

TIP: B&H HDSLR Guide

Be sure to check out B&H’s new HDSLR Guide!

“The guide is an educational tool meant to provide critical information to independent filmmakers, photographers and cinematographers that want to create compelling content but would like to know more about the new form of filmmaking. In the guide, also find different categories of products that may be useful on a film set such as the latest lens controls, viewfinders, cameras, audio accessories, etc.”

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Review: LCDVF 3:2

After reading Nino Leitner’s Epic DSLR Viewfinder Review, I knew what had to be purchased next, an LCD viewfinder.  There are quite a few viewfinders out on the market, however I had narrowed it down to the LCDVF 3:2 and the Zacuto Z-Finder Pro 2.5.  It did’nt take me long to decide which unit to get and there were three reasons why I went with the LCDVF:

1)  LCDVF has introduced a viewfinder made specifically for the Canon T2i/550D and it’s 3:2 screen.  So when I got it home, I knew it would fit my platform perfectly.  This was my most deciding factor.

2)  Cost.  The LCDVF clocks in at $119.00, and the Zacuto 2.5 at $395.00.  Not a huge concern, but after hearing that Zacuto has something that could be “game changing” in the works, I did’nt want to drop money on a Zacuto product that could be obsolete in a few months.  More on this, see #3. Continue reading

Review: D|Focus Follow Focus V3 w/ Canon T2i/550d

I got back from lunch this afternoon, and to my great surprise, a box from Jag35.com was waiting for me on my desk.  Inside was David Aldrich’s latest version of his D|Focus, follow focus system.

I currently do not use rods or a cage, so I also ordered the D|Mount, which will allow me to attach directly to my CanonT2i/550D.  I quickly unboxed both items and placed on my camera.  Looks like there are several different ways to configure, in the pictures below is one way I have found, (please let me know if you come up with something better).

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Recent Project: Josh Glenn “Vulnerable Minds” Music Video


 

Aug. 21, 2010 – Officially released!  Thank you for watching the debut music video for unsigned, San Antonio musician, Josh Glenn and first time director/editor, Rod Guajardo.

Update Nov. 16th, 2010 – Josh Glenn’s video “Vulnerable Minds” takes the best video award at the TMC Video Music Awards. Click here for the story with pics.

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Ask Rod – “Focus Ring?”

via email – Hi Rod,I’m new to DSLR photography and video.  I bought the 550D/T2i for its great capabilities for the price — and for its video capability.

I learned quickly that, while you can get amazing depth of view, it also requires a lot of manual focusing (something I’m still getting used to).  I’ve found it quite cumbersome to stay focused on subjects that are moving (like my 1 year old son). I noticed in some of your shots in your monopod/tripod post that you have some sort of extended ring around your lens.  What is that thing called?  Do you have any recommendations?  (I was looking at http://www.indisystem.com/products/snap_gears) Do you have to get one specifically for each lens?  Are they expensive?  Does it make a big difference? Best Regards! -Jeff 

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Timelapse- Hong Kong Intervalometer w/ Canon T2i

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at creating a timelapse for a while now.  Last week I finally took the leap and ordered a knockoff intervalometer from ebay seller ADPLO.  Shipping from Hong Kong took 7 days to reach Texas, and last night I was able to give it a test run. Continue reading

Ask Rod: How do you enhance your footage in post?

via youtube.com – Rod, Okay, so this is stunningly beautiful. Do you mind if I ask you some advice?
I just got my hands on a T2i, primarily for the video capability (though I am more of a still photographer). What I am dying to know is, what did you do to get such stunning color, contrast, clarity etc? I see you used the stock lens, that is mind boggling to me… What software did you use to enhance the video, and how can I get started learning these techniques?
Thanks in advance. – TheOriginalPol

ANSWER:  Congratulations on your new T2i!  You already have a head start with being a still photographer and familiar with Adobe products.  I’ll try to answer your questions the best I can, however, remember these are just my opinions and what works for me. :)

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Ask Rod: Monopod or Tripod?

 

via email – Rod, I was on YouTube and found a couple of your videos, while my search for the best dSLR for HD recording.  I enjoyed both very much as I am a new Dad and want to capture as much of my kids on video as I can.   Your shorts have made me realize that the T2i is the right choice for me but if I could ask, how do you keep the camera so study while panning or sweeping?  I was thinking about getting a monopod but  any suggestions would  be very much appreciated. -Doug

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