Black Magic Camera Tests

This was a test to see what results I could get by exposing to the right as many suggest. I also wanted to shoot with no ND filters on a bright day to see how stable the image can be by bringing down the shutter angle.
Shooting in DNG is a dream and I got hooked the moment I got the camera. I was initially disappointed by my first shots of grading ProRes in Final Cut (Resolve isn't working on my setup) so I shot this fully in ProRes HQ with Film Dynamic Range to force myself to learn the process. After working with this footage and grading it, I'm blown away at how much IS recoverable. You can't recover much in terms of blown out highs like in Raw but much of the rest of the image is still highly editable without falling apart.

I was also looking for noise at the various ISO levels 200-800. In bright daylight, 200 ISO is cleaner but only slightly. 800 is the best option for more usable dynamic range.

The time-lapse feature is super easy to use though I didn't mess around with it too much.

This was shot on a 50 1.8 Prime and a 75-300mm.

Music by Tycho

"Pit Bull" Dual Motor Slider System - Test Footage

This is a dual motor system that I built from the instructions by Gus of @ask Thanks for posting your build! I've never made anything that involves electronics so this was a daunting project. I probably made 5-7 trips to local hardware stores to exchange parts that weren't working. I think it's about ready for prime time. I modded it to fit my Cinevate Atlas 10 slider. That was probably the most challenging thing because I snapped 3 screws that was holding the unit up. (Ended up being cheap screws.)

The unit has 2rpm and 60rpm motors installed. One for quick movements (60rpm) and one for slower time lapse shots (2rpm). It also has a USB port for power needs in the field.

In addition to horizontal and angled shots, I'm also able to get panning/rotation shots. Next I'll test how much load the motors can bear on a vertical lift. (Update: I can do a straight vertical lift on the 2rpm motor. The 60rpm motor won't budge. This means that all straight vertical shots can only be shot at slow speeds and then sped up in post. I can do vertically angled shots on the 60rpm motor though so at least there some flexibility there. I guess it depends on the load of your tripod head, camera, and slider base. With less weight, you can probably get a straight vertical lift on the 60 rpm motor.)

Thanks to @ricooo9 ( and @princess_yow ( on Instagram for letting me shoot those amazing bikes.

Music: Spotted by Heralds of Change:

Thoughts on Animation

"Animators are really actors and actresses with pencils. Their stage is a blank piece of paper, and their performance must not only make a character move , but also bring that character to life."

I came across this quote recently and was reminded of why I love animation so much and in particular, the animation that came out of the Disney Animation Studio. It's taken from a general information document on applying to be a Disney animator. If you've ever seen animators sketch or illustrate, you know that they've achieved an acute level of control in their craft. It really is an amazing thing to witness. They are very precise and are able to convey movement, expressions and enough detail with simple line work. As the predominant character motion is locked in, the animations drawings get further refined.

Whenever I think about traditional hand-drawn animation, I marvel at the work involved and the inception of the craft. Walt Disney and his animators were creating something amazing. They were spearheading a new frontier in the world of film which itself was still new. Mickey Mouse was introduced in 1928, just over a decade since the birth of the film industry in California. The films that would follow would set a new benchmark that other companies would never match. They were the masters of animation. I read somewhere that over 300,000 drawings were used for Pinocchio. For every second of film that passes, 24 drawings have elapsed on screen. This includes the drawings and paintings of the characters and the background paintings. When you stop to think about this, it really is astounding.

The great artists, sculptors, and architects from the Gothic, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque traditions had their time in the sun and left the world masterpieces to be revered for thousands of years. With animation though, something new had occurred. For the first time ever, a select group of artists began to develop something the world had never seen; living drawings. Through the guiding hand of Walt Disney and his core animators, the "9 old men," the world witnessed still drawings come to life. This was their craft and they developed it to lofty heights.

Animation was done so skillfully that in real time, you couldn't even see the inner workings that made these moving drawings come to life. On screen, characters convey movement, emotion, comedy, and drama. Because they were only limited to their imagination and the skills attained over the years, they were also able to make these characters defy the laws of physics and used this to deliver comedic gags and give human-like qualities to animals. Remember, 24 drawings for every second. The High Renaissance of the 1500's in Italy might have had the "Masters" but for about 50 years in the 20th century, we had Walt Disney and the 9 old men of Burbank, California.



Out With The Old and In With The..............Old

You could take a Coca Cola sign from today, put it in a time machine and send it back to 1887, mount it on a store, and no one would notice. It would work the other way around too. That's impressive. That's how you connect a brand over multiple generations of people.

There's nothing more impressive in the world of business then when a company picks a logo, brands the hell out of it, then leaves it to stand virtually unchanged for over 100 years. That kind of commitment to a mark is virtually unseen these days as companies are constantly rebranding themselves. Do it too often and you'll quickly be forgotten.

Working on "Meet Me In The Fields"

Some years back, I got to meet up with a Socal band called Millbrook to film their music video. It was filmed in 2 days in Arcadia, Ca at Platt College in a small room that was made for small film projects. I think we were the first ones that had used it because the walls still smelled of Chroma Key green paint! Going in, I don't think any of us had any preconceived notions of what the video would be like so we just came up with ideas as we went along. For props, we only had that cool 50's style microphone and a few odds and ends of other things. It was a very fun and creative approach. When you're filming with green screen, the sky's the limit. All of the forest scenes were created with photoshop & after effects. The challenge was to film this video in such a small amount of space and endure those hot, hot lights! The end result was thoroughly satisfying. View the funny "making of" video by clicking here.

I had the priviledge of directing & filming this video. Daniel Jacob Horine, the lead singer in the video, is also the editor of the film. He's an up and coming film producer and has some amazing projects lined up such as a 1920's piece called "The Death of The Matinee Idol." His company is called The Bashful Tenor Motion Picture Company. You can view a fun silent short he made called Stairway to Paradise by clicking here.



"Brand" New

What does that phrase mean anyway? People toss about that phrase often referring to a new product, vehicle or house. When you drive that shiny new car off the lot, your often the envy of friends. It's fun to show off that "brand new" car. After several years, not so much. When people buy classic old cars, they go through a process of restoration that includes cleaning, sanding, fixing dents, changing out parts, and ultimately, giving it a fresh paint job. Go to any of your local car shows, and those old beaters once again look "brand new."  

What about your business? How is the image of your business fairing? When people look at print, design, web, or videos that represent you, do they come away with a solid sense of what your company represents, offers, or sells? Are they inspired, motivated, repelled?

Brand Identity 

Often companies don't spend sufficient time in their startup phase to really plan out their brand identity; the public face of your company as witnessed through the various forms of content, media, or design on your website, store or place of business and social sites. All of these aspects combined form the identity of your brand. Your public image is a tale that tells much about the value of your services and products. Get it right and it will invariably leverage the opinion people have about your company in your favor. Get it wrong and it can serve as a detractor and keep people from taking 2 steps closer to what it is you offer.

Whether you never took the time to give your business the branding it deserves or find that your company branding needs a facelift, now is a great time to tell the public that you mean business. Let's put a fresh coat of paint on your business. Be prepared to unveil a new brand image that communicates effectively and motivates your potential customers.

Be prepared to turn people on to your business in "brand new" ways. Contact us today!

8mm Home Film | Disneyland 1966

I found this film last year in a box of old family films. We grew up watching old 8mm and Super 8 films but for some reason we never saw this one. Maybe it's because of the bad quality or maybe, it was just lost for 43 years. Whatever the case, upon watching it I immediately knew the people in the film. My mother was a little kid all over again. My Aunts weren't a day over 5 and my Uncle was taking his first steps this day. Grandma and grandpa were young again. When I watch this, I wish for simpler times in my own life. I see how far life can come. Youth and innocence is a beautiful thing. Appreciate your kids when they're still young. Life races by fast but sometimes we can sit down and look into the distant past.

10 Cents a Day

Ok so this isn't a real ad but sometimes you've just got to get out there and let out you inner-madness. This video features my brother Israel Morales. This is some of my Canon 60d footage from my initial test. I'm a traditional video camera type of guy and am switching over to DSLR video production. This is my first short. It was shot with a Canon 60d and a Canon 50mm | f1.8 lens. This was shot in sunny & beautiful Southern California.


One of the curses/joys of producing multimedia is that it's hard to put the camera down. I find myself snapping photos and capturing video at just about every meaningful event that comes up; Halloween was no exception. This was my son's (Mickey Mouse) 2nd Halloween and he totally "gets" candy. Last year, he mesmerized the neighborhood with his force powers.

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