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Recent Project: 2011 SA48hr Film Experience entry

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This past weekend we participated in the annual San Antonio 48hr Film Experience. For those unfamiliar with the event, basically you are given a genre and a location, then granted 48 hours to write, shoot and edit a film which must be under 8 minutes in length. This was my second 48hr challenge I have been involved with, the first being last year, with “Wild Sunday”.    I was lucky enough to talk producer-extraordinaire Ralph Lopez, “Katrina’s Son” and “Lilia” fame, into working on our team.  His wealth of experience, knowledge and can do attitude were a god send.  He was able to take care of everything from catering, to additional gear, to getting me power into the cave with a generator and 500′ of cable.  Thanks again Ralph!  Over 20 teams participated and all entries were Continue reading

Review: Express35.com Event In-Line Shoulder Rig

Coming Soon!  A video review of one of the latest pieces of gear from our friend Chris at Express35.com.  The all new Event Shoulder Rig was customer inspired and is marketed for those looking for something compact, ergonomic and balanced (comes with counterweight, yay!).  There are (2) versions available, an offset version for those who would like to use their non-electronic viewfinders, like the LCDVF or Zacuto Z-Finder.  This is perfect solution to get the eyepiece positioned directly in front of your eye.  I will be reviewing the second option, the inline version which will allow me the option to utilize my Zacuto EVF Snap and perfect for newer cameras with the flip-out screens like the T3i, 60D, etc..  I have been putting it through it’s paces and almost ready to share my thoughts.  Express35 is known for their high quality products, extremely reasonable prices and helpful customer service..  Their website is a must stop for all filmmakers on a limited budget.

If you would like to know when the video review is available for viewing, please leave a comment below to be notified.
Thanks!
Rod

PORSCHE “My Daily Magic” Film Contest Entry

**update 9/13/2011 – My finalist video has been completed and voting has started, CLICK HERE to check it out!

**update 8/12/2011 – I was notified on August 5th, 2011 that I am 1 of 10 finalists!  Phase 2 of the contest kicks off this week, first with a trip to Birmingham, Alabama to attend Porsche Sport Driving School, then come home to shoot my finalist video with a provided Porsche.  Excited!

“Oasis” – A man and his camera step out of the hustle and bustle of the city and find peace and beauty in the outdoors.

The Challenge: Create a 60 second video, under 50MB, focused on expressing the central idea of “everyday magic”.  Click here for more details and rules.

My family and I spend a lot of time in the outdoors and find it very magical, so it seemed only fitting to shoot at our favorite camping spot.  Shot entirely at Guadalupe River State Park, just minutes outside San Antonio, TX.

Contest sponsored by Porsche Cars North America and ReelzChannel.

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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

Ask Rod: Tools, camera settings, and more…

Hi Rod,

My name is Jose, I live in Fort Worth, Texas. I recently bought the Canon T2I (Christmas present). I was so amazed and happy to see that you were using the same camera to produce some awesome results. I really wish I could get the same results….lol. So you just started videography last year or DSLR videography? Either way, your work inspires me to learn more!!

I just bought the LCDVF because of your recommendation. Seems to be a great alternative to the Zacuto. I wish I would have bought this sooner because focusing is such a challenge with just the LCD screen.  Also, what ND filter do you recommend for the 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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Review: Calumet BP1500 Backpack

Click here to visit the Calumet website to view more details. I do not work for Calumet, I am just a happy BP1500 owner. :)

For additional information on the messenger bag, please visit Coyote Tactical’s website located HERE. Dave, the owner is an awesome guy and makes quality custom gear for Special Forces and Law Enforcement Agencies.

White background created with the help of a queen sized white bed flat sheet and (2) ePhoto 1650 watt 6 bank fluorescent video light panels as reviewed on Cheesycam.com, click here. This was my first attempt and I learned a few things.

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: Workflow?

via vimeo – “Hi Rod, what was the work flow like editing with CS5? curious, because I just picked up a T2i, and wondering if its going to give me any problems.” -Christopher

Great question!  You made a great move by picking up the T2i, however you may have made an even better choice by thinking of using CS5 to edit your footage.   I am a avid PC user, and unfortunetly Final Cut Pro is not available for us.  Pre-CS5, if you wanted to edit HD footage you have to convert it first with another program like MPEG Streamclip.  That is no longer the case, you can edit natively!  That means you can take the files directly off your camera, drag them into Premiere Pro and you are rolling!  Check out this youtube video from Adobe Ambassador, Jon Barrie, who goes over some of the new great features. -Rod