Directive Studios Blogs

Directive Studios Blogs

Kata Pro-Light Bumblebee-220 PL Backpack

Kata Pro-Light Bumblebee-220 PL Backpack
I wanted a bag I could use for whenever it doesn't make sense to use my ThinkTank Airport Security 2.0 bag. So basically, if I can't wheel the bag to wherever I'm going, I wanted a comfortable backpack to use instead. The Airport Security bag does have straps so you can use it as a backpack, but it's not comfortable and the bag (at least mine with stuff in it) is really heavy. Sometimes I'll grab the Airport bag, throw it in the van and bring the Bumblebee also and I'll transfer what I need into the backpack for the hike through the woods or whatever. At least I'll have most of my stuff back at the van in the big bag if I need it. I like the construction of the Bumblebee backpack and it's very comfortable. I took the waste strap off, but I would put it back on...
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Heliopan 82mm Circular Polarizer Multi-Coated (SH-PMC) Filter

Heliopan 82mm Circular Polarizer Multi-Coated (SH-PMC) Filter
I'm planning on getting some fall foliage shots on an upcoming trip to California (and in Upstate NY), we'll be hitting up pacific highway 1, yosemite national park, san fran and the mojave desert and a polarizer is a great filter when used properly. I'll be also using it to cut down glare on water and get more saturation with certain shots. If you're looking for one, just remember for a digital DSLR you want a Circular Polarizer. I'm so pleased with my Variable ND Heliopan filter I chose them again.  I haven't even got to shoot with it yet so I will update this if something noteworthy happens. Heliopan website:  http://www.heliopan.de/produkte/polarisationsfilter/ B&H Link:  http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/232513-REG/Heliopan_708246_82mm_Circular_Polarizer_Multi_Coated.html  
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Lee Filter System

Lee Filter System
The Lee Filter System is required to use the 100mm Lee Filters and Graduated Filters. The high quality construction of this product is well known. I love the way it works and the control it gives me when using graduated filters is awesome. I can easily adjust the gradual filter effect to get it right on the horizon of a landscape shot for example. I know you can do it in After Effects but I really like getting it as close as I can in camera. B&H Link:  http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/87108-REG/LEE_Filters_FK_Foundation_Kit_Standard_4x4.html Lee Filters:  http://www.leefilters.com/index.php/camera/system#system-what Below are two photos I took using the graduated filters.      
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Heliopan 82mm Variable Gray ND Filter

Heliopan 82mm Variable Gray ND Filter
This variable ND filter from Heliopan is great for photography and shooting video. I primarily got it to shoot with a greater depth of field in bright sunlight when shooting video.  The markings are very helpful and the quality is amazing. I've only played with a couple other filters, but this one wins hands down so far. I also got a step up ring for my 77mm lenses and it works great. I haven't got to use it a lot yet because somehow I bent the step up ring. Just ordered another today.  B&H Link:  http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/829300-REG/Heliopan_708290_82mm_Variable_Gray_ND.html Heliopan Website:  http://www.heliopan.de/produkte/graufilter/ I read about it the first time from Philip Bloom (He's an awesome Director, DP and Fimmaker in the UK):  http://philipbloom.net/2011/06/04/the-best-variable-nd-filter-i-have-used/
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F&V K4000S LED Studio Panel | 3-Light Kit

F&V K4000S LED Studio Panel | 3-Light Kit
UPDATE : Check out the cheaper battery solution to power these lights.  NP-F Battery to V-Mount Battery Converter Adapter Whenever we go to an event we bring our cameras but our studio lights were just too big and bulky. We always found ourselves struggling to find a bright spot at the venue we're at. We have missed some great opportunities to have more beautiful shots.  We decided to pick up some portable lights we can use on location. After a bunch of research we decided to go with a 3 light kit of the  K4000S Bi-Color LED's from F&V Lighting .   At first I thought they would be perfect for what I wanted, but there are a few drawbacks. I love the milk filter but the way you have to mount it sucks. There are 4 legs with tiny little nuts that I will surely lose. You have to set them...
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New Directive Studios

New Directive Studios
We have moved the studio to the Directive building on Pony Farm Road! Had our first shoot and it went really well. There are big plans that have been over a year in the making that will begin to get executed. Including vlogs, training videos, commercials and more.  Here's some pics:    
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Settings and Lighting for a true White Infinite Background for Videos

Settings and Lighting for a true White Infinite Background for Videos
We are shooting a new commercial that needs an infinite white background. I did lots of searching online and did find a couple great videos about it, these sum it up pretty good: Unless I missed it there was a little detail missing, probably because I'm a novice. Our original screen test looked like this:   Definitely not white, I did some color correction, but this is where I ended up without over exposing him too bad. So, following Olivia's instructions worked and the part I had to figure out was to turn the light way down on the talent. I know it's lame but that's the part I was missing. The key light and the fill light are the  9 Bulb Octacool's  so I turned off all but 2 light banks on the key light and left only 1 bank turned on, on the fill light. We turned off 1 bank...
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Impact Five Lamp Fluorescent Cool Light

Impact Five Lamp Fluorescent Cool Light
This was recommended as a hair light, but it's very heavy, we had to buy a massive stand for it and it's still scary. Sand Bags are a must. Good light though.
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Impact Octacool-9 Fluorescent Light with Octabox

Impact Octacool-9 Fluorescent Light with Octabox
I consider these studio only lights. I really wish I just invested in led lights early on . They do work great though, but to me they are not portable at all.  EDIT: I have since purchased more portable LED Lights and I take it back, I am happy I invested in these first and they are great for the studio.  These have 9 Bulbs and create some great light. We have 4 of them, mainly so we can light the background well and two for the subject and we use a smaller 5 bulb version for hair light etc. You can read more about them at Impacts Website: http://www.impactstudiolighting.com/detail?sku=699030
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Kessler ORACLE Motion Control System

Kessler ORACLE Motion Control System
The ORACLE Control System is the core of our elektraDRIVE line of products. Almost two years in development, we set out to make the ultimate multi-function controller for our line of electronic products. The ORACLE Control System is interchangeable between multiple products, like our REVOLUTION Pan / Tilt System, elektraDRIVE motor pods for the CineSlider & Pocket Dolly, and other products to be released in the future.
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Spring trip to the Mojave Desert

Spring trip to the Mojave Desert
Devin and I are going to the Mojave Desert again for the 23rd and 24th of April. We plan on doing a nighttime time-lapse of the milky way (amongst other things). To make up for last year when I FAILED, you can see a frame from last years video above. I'm breaking out some fun stuff like our Kessler Slider and the Kesller Crane Oracle Motion Controller ) to get some interesting shots. We've been planning it for 2 months BUT I found out yesterday that we'll be right in the middle of a meteor shower! I didn't plan this so I think this is one of those times where the "stars aligned" and I got lucky. Now if we just have some clear nights! (knock on wood). You can read more about it here: http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/earthskys-meteor-shower-guide BTW I think we are going to shoot a little video of our adventure, we'll...
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Blackmagic Design; Hurts Me

Blackmagic Design; Hurts Me
  Dear BlackMagic Design, Your stuff is cool and is rocking my little foundation of thinking I had want I want. I just can't keep up with all your coolness. Makes my gut hurt to not play with your toys. I saw today an announcement from NAB that you're releasing two new cameras. I was just looking at getting something small for certain situations (like the sony NEX 7) and NOW I see this: Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera   So... I'll be waiting on finding a smaller solution until at least July, which is good so I can save up. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera will be $995 and shoot in 1080p. I'm not so worried about 4k yet for this application (small).  One of the main reasons I love this camera and it's $3,995 big brother is the 13 stops of dynamic range. That's right the Pocket camera comes with...
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RØDE Boompole

RØDE Boompole
The RØDE Boompole is a precision balanced professional boom pole for location recording, machined from high grade, lightweight aluminium. The Boompole allows you to mount your microphone securely and swivel it in a range of directions that will allow you to easily change positions and follow your sound source. Extends from 0.84m (33") to 3m (10')
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RØDE VideoMic Pro

RØDE VideoMic Pro
The RØDE VideoMic Pro is a true shotgun microphone designed for use with camcorders, DSLR cameras and portable audio recorders as a source of primary and reference audio. At the heart of the VideoMic Pro is a high resolution 1/2" condenser capsule that provides broadcast quality audio via a 3.5mm minijack connector (outputting the mono signal to both left and right channels). A super-cardioid polar pattern ensures that surrounding audio is minimised, and your recording is focused on the subject in front of the camera. An innovative suspension system separates the VideoMic Pro capsule and electronics from its mount, providing isolation from external physical factors that may cause unwanted rumble and vibrations in the microphone. A lightweight and flexible yet robust multi-strand cable provides significantly lower noise transference than traditional audio cable while ensuring a high definition signal. Easily accessible on the rear face of the microphone are the power,...
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Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder

Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder
The H4N 4 track recorder is great. We use this for just about everything. Check out this review:  http://www.kenrockwell.com/audio/zoom/h4n.htm Manufacturer site: http://www.zoom.co.jp/products/h4n    
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Nik Collection (by Google)

Nik Collection (by Google)
Nik Software has been purchased by Google. I'm sure they will be integrating the software throughout Google's tool set for Picasa, Google+ and more. But they didn't destroy Nik Software apps. You can still access the tools and they have now bundled them all together for $150. I already owned HDR Efex Pro 2. Because I already owned HDR Efex 2, Google sent me the full suite after the acquisition. This is great because to get all of the Nik Software apps before would of cost over $400. So Google brought the price down. Awesome! Visit the site at:  http://www.niksoftware.com/nikcollection/usa/index.php?view=intro%2Fmain.shtml Image I shot and used HDR Efex Pro in post.
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Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud
I've been using adobe products for over 15 years. I'm an expert with Photoshop and varying skills with other apps from Adobe. I will be talking about individual applications from the Creative Cloud Suite that we use and how we use them in other blog posts. I love Adobe products, I can't imagine life without them. If you don't have Creative Cloud, just get it. It's so cheap as a subscription model. I was overjoyed when Adobe offered subscriptions. $49 per month! You get the main tools I was worried about and more that I've started using. My work horses are: Photoshop Illustrator Premiere After Effects Audition Lightroom Story And much more, here's a link to the tools included: http://www.adobe.com/products/creativecloud/tools.html    
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New Studio??

I know, another studio move? Well I found out today that we may be getting some additional space in the Directive building on Pony Farm Road. Which means we may be leaving the space on Main Street. This will give us a large studio space on the property and room to add more staff. Which is good because we are at capacity. Having the studio in the building is most ideal. I hope it works out. It will be so much easier to work and get staff involved rather than everyone meeting at the existing studio. Who knows, I may even move my office into the same space as the studio.  We might also move IT down to the first floor location to make it easier for techs and clients to bring PC's and equipment. Not to be like a store front, but I suppose it would be kinda like that....
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Zacuto Scorpion Rig

Zacuto Scorpion Rig
The Scorpion is Zacuto's most versatile DSLR shoulder mounted rig. This system includes Zacuto's height-adjustable DSLR Baseplate, Zgrips V3 with 4.5″ Rods, an EVF Scorpion Mount, a Z-Lite Double plus the Scorpion Shoulder Assembly. The Scorpion's new form-fitting shoulder pad is what sets it apart from other Zacuto DSLR shoulder mount rigs. The new Zacuto shoulder pad uses a cutting-edge permeable gel padding that conforms to any user's body providing maximum comfort for long shooting days. This unique design lets the user articulate the shoulder pad in multiple directions allowing the rig to fit any shooter's body type. The Scorpion's collapsible handle is another modernized feature. This handle can be used for lifting the rig onto your shoulder or for capturing low sweeping shots. When not using the handle, simply fold it up and tuck it away for a more compact camera stabilization system. Learn more here: http://store.zacuto.com/Scorpion.html
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Kessler Stealth Slider 40.5"

Kessler Stealth Slider 40.5"
The Kessler Stealth is a hybrid camera slider that combines the lightweight portable rail & carriage system of our standard Pocket Dolly™ with the drag control of our CineSlider™. Features include drag control, measuring tape, smooth rolling precision stainless steel ball bearing wheels and multiple mounting options. Learn more at the Kessler Website: http://www.kesslercrane.com/product-p/stealth_standard.htm
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