Regarding my ten month time-lapse project; principal photography is complete. Post production is under way. What began as an email inquiry from a representative of The Huntington May 2011, ended with a flourish as dignitaries and donors visited the Japanese Garden for the dedication ceremony and reception April 12th. Over 103,000 photographs, video clips and sound effects were generated during the course of this 10 month assignment. What a gas!
As I begin the post-production process in earnest, (I’ve already spent about a hundred hours designing, practicing and refining the workflow) I took stock of all the applications I was unfamiliar with at the beginning of this project and the ones I use now as a result of this project.
The list above is in order of familiarity: Photoshop, Quicktime and Keynote were all applications I’ve been working with for years. Garage Band, Lightroom, Premiere, Soundbooth and Media Encoder are the applications I’ve had to learn in order to produce the contract deliverables.
It’s not that I don’t particularly want help from other specialists (I’m currently looking for a composer) it’s just that in order to know what I wanted I had to be able to create variations so I could finalize the look. Additionally today’s technological breakthroughs have allowed us SECP types to flourish in ways we never could before. The potential contained in the last sentence is awesome.
After going through many, many iterations, I finally have the look I want.
Some of the conclusions I’ve come to during this learning curve: editing is crucial to the success of any motion picture project. Jump cuts, dissolves, playback rate and cropping help drive audience reaction the visual elements. Volume, cross fades and wild sounds are just as important to the audio content. This is by no means an exhaustive list but you get the idea. There is A LOT that goes into a time-lapse, especially one with a strong narrative.
As part of my post-production protocol, I’ve been partaking in webinars, reading blogs, talking to experts and experimenting based on my new knowledge and skill sets. This IMHO is what is required to deliver new and innovative content for a fast-evolving marketplace and client expectations.
Good luck and let me know if I can help you.
Thanks for reading and comments welcome.
Here is the sequence I shot last night. I rendered the frames out at a much higher rate than I thought I would (10 frames per second vs. 2 frames per second) and I like it. The challenge was finding the right tempo music. Garage Band had what I needed. Enjoy.
This post is in response to a request by Jane Smith and the Copyright Alliance. All of us professional, commercial, fine and part-time creatives must endure to protect our creations. Not only is it a money issue but it is our sworn duty to look out for ourselves and others of our ilk. At the very least inform your supporters, clients and patrons the lay of the land when it comes to ownership, copyrights and licensing of creative work. You say you don’t know a thing about these topics? Shame on you! Get your fingers a’ typin’ and RESEARCH SO YOU ARE INFORMED! There is no excuse for not becoming familiar with these topics. If you don’t want to know about them then get a job and have someone else “take care” of you and yours. If you want to live on the outside, then protect your work and inform others! It’s our collective call to arms!
Many years ago I negotiated a licensing agreement with the Walt Disney Company. In 1998, Roy E. Disney commissioned me to create a portrait of him for the book “Fantasia/2000: Visions of Hope”. It appears on page seven and along with my customary and usual photo credit, the © also appears. That’s the power we own if we know how to wield it correctly. Many years later as I was writing my book, it wasn’t a problem using this photo in my discussion about my portrait work. All I needed was a model release from Roy, which he willingly signed in 2005.
All of my proposals and contract spell out the usage and ownership issues. My metadata also spells this out. And when I send my images to the Library of Congress for © registrations, it’s spelled out there too.
What are you all doing about this?
The other night my friend and fellow artist Raul Pacheco (of Ozomatli fame) played tonight at a local venue here in Pasadena. I appreciate his energy, enthusiasm, artistry and charisma. And oh yeah the music is great too. I’ve been to several of his performances and they always feel right.
We got to talking and I told him about my time-lapse work and he told me about the new album Ozomatli is recording.
Being a SECP I felt compelled to talk about my time-lapse work and how Ozomatli’s recording session may be appropriate subject matter for my technique. He liked the idea and asked me to get in touch so I can meet the group and get this shot. I’m also going to shoot a group portrait using my single-light source multiple-exposure method. This will be a first, there are a few technical bugs to work out but I’m sure I can pull it off to the level I expect.
As I’ve transitioned to the education, public speaking, writing and consulting side of the photographic industry, I’m surprised at the lack of basic professional business skills (common sense skills) that early-career (and often mid-career) artists frequently lack. Actually this phenomenon is not exclusively an artist issue but since that’s my big thing, for purposes of this post, it is. Following is my very short list of professional business practices you must master and adhere too if you want to be taken seriously and have leverage when negotiating.
1) Always do what you promise to do, without excuses or procrastination, in a high-quality way and always as promised. It’s OK to exceed a promise but never under-deliver. The bad rap (of being unreliable) is very hard to separate from, once attached.
2) Always communicate in a professional way. Be fanatical about typos and grammatical errors in all correspondence sent out. You want your audience to consume only the best from you. This devotion to excellence directs a positive light onto all that is you. Think of it as the foundation of your marketing and branding regimen.
3) Education is a daily process, be in a constant state of learning. I learn something everyday from parenting, gardening, being healthy, being mindful, minding my business, etc. It’s almost impossible not to be able to extract some kernal of knowledge from your daily existence. Don’t discard any experience without first vetting it for that hidden kernal.
4) Take care of your emotional state. This is perhaps the most difficult for me to manage on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try. Getting quality rest, eating healthful food, play time and someone to talk to are a few of my techniques.
5) Learn financial management. Spend less than you earn. Tough to master, but the long-term payoffs are sweet. Define what you want and what you need. If you can’t pay cash can you really buy it? I don’t make a purchase until I have the funds already available. I look for no-interest financing options and then make sure I pay it off within the allotted time. I can always pay it off if need be. I appreciate the power that comes with this knowledge. Get in the habit of saving, anywhere and everywhere you can. Don’t be concerned with what your friends make, be concerned with how frequently you pay into your future by spending less today.
This very short list is intended to get you thinking about the topics. If you don’t begin mastering these basic habits, it’s my opinion that you’ll struggle to develop and maintain long-term life and career success.
Be well and good luck in your pursuits!
I participated in my first ever art sale at Mcginty’s last weekend. Called the Art Bender Weekend, forty artists prepared work, paid a modest space fee and sold work during the four days of the bender. About 800 people (who were for the most part adoring and interested in the event) showed up. Most of the attendees were regular visitors but some (like the ones I brought) had not been there before. Thursday night was the more traditional opening (family and friends), Friday night was the BIG party, ($5 cover) Saturday was an all day potluck BBQ and Sunday was brunch. Many folks made repeated visits throughout the weekend just to hang out in this community setting with constant food, drink, art, people and conversation. Very much like a salon of old, even the torrential rains didn’t much matter, people came, they saw art and ate. Ben and his colleagues have created something special (four times a year) and I will be participating again.
If the only metric I choose to measure this event by is sales, then I failed because I didn’t make a single sale. But, if you look at these other metrics: I chose a new frame for this event and it supports my work in the way I had imagined the proper frame would, I put together a tasteful display, I met a lot of good people, talked a lot about the work, got a solid lead on another venue, invited an individual who will be giving me a show later this year, got great feedback on the work and made important decisions about how to work with new pieces and the new frames…..the show was an incredible success.
I look forward to doing this again, I like being successful.
© Michael e. Stern. All rights reserved. Please respect the rights of professional artists the world over. Thank you. Licensing questions? Please call Michael at: 1-818-422-0696