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Koyaanisqatsi: A Documentary Film to Blow Your Mind

  • June 6, 2018
Koyaanisqatsi Documentary Film

Wow, 35 years! That’s how long it’s been since Godfrey Reggio’s seminal film, Koyaanisqatsi came out, challenging our beliefs about what a documentary could be. I watched it again last week while gearing up to make a new documentary here in LA. The story I’m trying to tell is more of an essay film, which demands more of viewers than a traditional narrative documentary with a conventional plot. That’s why I turned to Koyaanisqatsi for a little inspiration. How did it manage to blow our minds without a word of dialogue? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5aIPEcBtfA   Time-lapse, how I love you so During the first half of the film, I could only assume that the time-lapse shot was a true innovation back in 1982, because the long takes…

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Aerial Drone Video for Story (Part 3/3): 13 Shots Toward More Artistry in Aerial Cinematography

  • May 31, 2018
Drone Videography

If you haven’t read them yet, check out part 1 and part 2 of this series. I left you at sunset in Haiti, maneuvering toward the mountainside shanties of the Petionville neighbhorhood. My trusty cheat sheet is taped to my Phantom 4 controller to help me optimize: (1) initial settings, (2) big-picture creative approaches; and (3) specific shot techniques. This post covers part 3: the 13 shots that have helped me try to be more artistic with my aerial cinematography. 1. Neverending Crane. This shot helps link an object or a location to a wider context. Check out this Bjork video, directed by Spike Jonze. The final crane shot is surprising, majestic, and visually conclusive. You can do similar things with your drone shots. Check…

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Aerial Drone Video for Story (Part 2/3): Where’s WALLDO?

  • May 23, 2018
Drone Videography

So, I’m at my hotel in the Petionville neighbhorhood in Haiti, with the Phantom 4 in the air and the controller in my hands. [If you haven’t read part 1, you can check it out here.] My trusty cheat sheet is taped to my Phantom 4 controller. It’s been a lifesaver to help me keep my shots story-oriented and diverse. After all, my brain is fairly occupied just operating the drone, so it’s awesome to have a checklist for: (1) initial settings, (2) big-picture creative approaches to shooting; and (3) specific shot techniques. This post concerns part 2: WALLDO, which stands for Wide, Angled, Low, Linking, Depth, and Opposite. It’s a Cliff’s Notes for video production in the field, but I use it for aerials as…

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