Monday, November 7, 2011

From Film to Fine Art

For years now I have been shooting lots of time lapse footage for the film and television industries. As the process to acquire such footage yields a ton of super high resolution stills, I always wondered what the heck can I do with these. For example, this piece of footage: 



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sony Vegas Pro 11 has arrived!

Vegas Pro 11 from Sony Creative Software Inc. 


Yes sireeee! Sony Vegas Pro 11 has finally arrived and it's a doozy! I received the upgrade codes this morning and of course, as this is what I primarily use for editing, downloaded it immediately and installed it. Here are some findings: 



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Obnoxious or simply "How quickly one forgets".... yup!

Today (as almost every day) I received a heads up about a new post from our photo friend Guy Atchley. Yes. That Guy. The one on TV locally here in Tucson. What many don't know is that Guy is an avid photographer too. I suppose newscasters need to do human stuff too to feel alive. - FYI - that was a joke. Actually Guy is a very determined photographer and also loves communication with fellow photogs. Anyway, back to today's posted link he put up (and it's a doozy - so profound):

Monday, October 10, 2011

As seen on....

Being in the stock footage industry, one never knows who is buying what and from whom. Sure we get information of sales on our collections. But that is about where it ends. But sometimes, one gets lucky and gets to see one's own footage on national programming.

Monday, July 4, 2011

2011 Monsoons are whipping a punch!

So here we go again. The 2011 monsoon season started a few days ago. Of course this is now the busy season for moi. I chase these storms with vigor to capture nature's deadly beauty - a.k.a. lightning. Of course sometimes I don't have to go far at all to capture my sequences. For example, last night - basically in my front yard. Here are just a few still frames from last nights little cell, or was it?


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Are we in a police state now? - Revisited - Photographer's Rights

Watching this video set quite simply proves that "We the People" are losing our rights more and more due to the lamest excuses. The primary excuse is always "Homeland Security", "9/11", "Terrorists", blah blah blah blah.. Just recently (a few days ago) our president renewed the "Patriot Act" without even thinking twice. Lame! First off, the act contradicts itself in name. What the hell does an act that takes away our freedoms, and we are talking simple stuff, but oooooh soooo important, have to do with being "Patriotic"? Perhaps they should call it the "Parrot Act" instead. As this act simply makes regurgitating false information feasible and lends itself to be the excuse for abuse.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hoodman Saves my Butt at the Long Beach Grand Prix - Easy on the Eyes while Shooting with HDSLR

As I mentioned in the prior post, there is a company by the name of Hoodman. And they have a kit. A kit named Cinema Kit Pro.



Hoodman makes all kinds of really neat stuff that allows us cinematographers to see even in the worst of bright sunlight conditions. As you all know, looking at the LCD screen of any camera in bright light is an exercise of futility.

Friday, April 29, 2011

NAB 2011 - Meet Pond5's CMO - Dana Tower

I am not one for hyping products or services, unless it is a superb deal!

I have now been a stock footage artist with Pond5.com for several years. I have to say, these guys have pulled off what was most likely the most challenging feat in the industry, ever. They have now surpassed all stock footage agencies in volume and size bar none! They are the largest!

As recently as a few weeks ago, Pond5 introduced stock photos to their arsenal. Prior to that, After Effects projects. Before that, music and sound FX. And this all started simply as a stock footage agency. They now have the complete realm of goods needed for just about any production you can think of. They are now the "World's Media Marketplace". Did I mention, they are the largest?

They are the proof that if as a business you treat your vendors, in this case artists, fairly, and you take care of the customer - you can't lose! Such a simple concept that so many companies tend to overlook once they grow. These guys however stay humble. They don't care about ego or anything else that could be detrimental to the company. All they care about is delivering the largest selection of multimedia goods to the world. Oh, and they also like beer.

So why would I bring up the beer. You see over many many years I have seen just about every marketing gimmick at a variety of trade shows. From magicians to "booth babes" - they all try to get your attention. The reality of any trade show, as an attendee is two things that you care or even think about: Your feet are killing you, and you are always dying of thirst. Well the Pond5 boys got it half way right. They supplied the beer in their booth every afternoon when people were really ready for one. Maybe, just maybe, next year they will have a bunch of chaise lounge chairs handy so the we can come over and take a nap after that beer. You know, so that we can rest our feet. :)

So without further delay, and for those of you that don't know, or have never heard of Pond5, here is a little message from Dana Tower of Pond5.com:

 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A sampling reel of footage from the 2011 Long Beach Grand Prix

I spent a good 12 hours shooting a variety of goodies at the time trials on Friday the 15th of April at the Long Beach Grand Prix. This has now become its own collection of stock at pond5.com.


Check it out:



And here is a little promo vid:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Avenue picks up the "Best of Arizona Award" - a film by Tucson local Alan Williams

So the 20th Annual Arizona International Film Festival ended last night with a bang! One of our own, a Tucson local, gets the award for "Best of Arizona" and was the final screening at the screening room.

The film, "the avenue" does an absolutely fantastic and humorous job at showing how our own 4th Avenue here in Tucson has been able to survive that nasty corporate America thing that happens not only to historical districts all over the US, but even in the smallest urban areas. What I am talking about is when corporate steps in and ruins a place where people used to love hanging out because it was pure "Americana" and easy going. I saw this happen in Huntington Beach, CA on main street by the beach back in the late 80's. It really sucked. The whole character of the "old Beach Boys atmosphere" died and became overly commercialized.

Of course if you were to ask our Mayor, well, that's another story and well depicted in the film. In a nutshell, some people really are out of touch with reality. But I digress. Thanks to all the wonderful owners, vendors and people - it seems as though 4th Avenue will survive this type of takeover. At least for now. And after all, there is one corporate "friend" that has also stood by the 4th Avenue cause - Dairy Queen. :) Now I want some ice cream dang it!

Exciting film project about to happen - really!

So there I was shooting for 12 hours at the Long Beach Grand Prix in California last Friday when I got a unique phone call. A friend of mine out of the blue called and asked if I wanted to be DP for a potential new show. At first I thought, he is pulling my leg as a birthday joke. But this was not the case. It actually is turning and moving very quickly into something pretty darn real. How do I know this? Well, assuming all goes well, I will once again be hitting the road next Tuesday to start this new project. So I ended up filming a race car driver a.k.a. the "Steering Wheel Guy" on Saturday in the OC of CA, drove back Sunday early, shot some stuff on the way too.. got back to Tucson about 2:30pm, took a quick power nap and then off into the editing bay. Here is the preview of what's to come and what we will be doing for the next couple of weeks.. Talk about "run and gun".




If all goes well, we will be putting up "dailies" and blogging about the whole event as we go. So stay tuned. :)

Update 04/22/11 - 6:00pm: It' ain't happening! At least my part. The sponsor decided to NOT go ahead with the project. I wish I would have known that sooner, then I would have enjoyed shooting stock at the beach instead of wasting time on this. I suppose the upside is I did make a pretty cool friendship with Ed Dellis. So it wasn't all a loss. :)
Update 04/25/11 - 8:00am: It may yet still happen. Sports marketing - go figure. :)
Update 04/25/11 - 2:00pm: It isn't going to happen. This leads to what will be a whole new blog entry about sports marketing, or should I say marketing in general.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Flying my camera with a bicycle wheel... really.

Quite a while ago I posted about my DIY rig to "fly" my camera as well as stabilize while flying. A good friend of mine snapped some shots of me while doing the "flying" at the April Fools Fest at the Sculpture Resource Center in Tucson, AZ. I was "flying" my Canon T2i along with a Audio Technica shotgun mic covered with a nice "dead cat". Someone once asked me how difficult it was to get that "dead cat". I told them; "I don't really know. I never killed a cat."

So here are a few shots of yours truly shooting with my modified aluminum rim, or simply a bicycle wheel extremely modified for my purpose. But hey it works...

Photos by Ron McCoy - Ron McCoy Photography - Tucson, AZ






Some sample shots from this event while using my recycled bicycle wheel rig.

Monday, April 4, 2011

the 20th Annual Arizona International Film Festival is now playing, and here is just one review....

UPDATE: You can see this movie again as it is being screened for a second time on Sunday, April 10, 6:30pm at The Screening Room in Tucson, AZ - woohoo!


So this last Saturday I went to go have a look at a film that was made right here in Tucson, by a resident native of Tucson , Jon Proudstar, that featured several of my friends as everything from cast to crew. In simple words: It was a real delight! Now I could sit here and talk about the film itself, but that is not the point of this writing. I will not review the film, but more the idea that such a film can be made, by an independent and for less than 3K, as in 3 grand as in bucks! This should really be encouraging for many of you independent filmmakers out there.

The point is quite simple. I was more entertained by this indie than I have been by many multi-million dollar flicks. It's that simple!

It just goes to show that there are plenty of opportunities for anyone that is serious about creating a masterpiece. You just need to make use of the some of the resources available. The resources are not always about money, but even more so about people. This may sound a bit biased as I am now a board member of this organization, but IFASA (Independent Film Association of Southern Arizona) (clicking on the link will open a new window for you.) offers up just about anything and everything you could be looking for when it comes to productions. From people with various knowledge and expertise, to ideas and collaborators on your next project.

And if you work hard, stay tuned, be diligent, be persistent and most of all be creative, even you could end up have an entry in a film fest such as the 20th Annual Arizona International Film Festival. (clicking on the link will open a new window for you.) But don't take my word for it, take it from someone like Jon that has now done it:


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Some cute new tools on YouTube with one that is pretty slick actually - a quick review

So today as I was uploading some new video for one of my clients I noticed a new promo link bar above the "uploaded videos" page on YouTube. It says; "New! Animate your own story or create a video slide-show. Try it now." (opens a new window)

Yes the link is live and should take you there. It comes up with three apps (clicking on any one of these will open a new window and also requires you to have a YouTube account):

Stupeflix Video Maker

Xtranormal Movie Maker

GoAnimate

I was particularly intrigued by the last one, GoAnimate. Not because it's another one of those "wizbang flasherized super duper gee look at this cool app thing", but rather because it might actually be a very useful tool for the some filmmakers. Particularly ones that can not draw. As in sketch. As in draw a figure of a person or persons for a specific purpose. Why would I even care if someone could draw or sketch or even conceive the like? Well. When one creates a movie, a short, a commercial or any other possible production that will end up on film, YouTube, the "big screen" or on television, it is advisable to create a STORY BOARD! This is where the sketch, drawing or stick figures come in. 

Of course, I can't draw. Even stick figures are challenging to me and basically look like that game, "Pick up Sticks" after I get done. But this app really gave me an idea. Why not use it to story board? So I tested it just for fun. Just to get a handle on how it works. Just to see what it could do. And it did. It did some pretty cool stuff, and all in a matter of minutes. It let me control the look, the characters, the script, and even finer control of what the character motion is supposed to be doing. More than good enough for a story board. But the cool thing is it let me create a video out of it all. Have a look at my silly experiment:  




Keep in mind - this was just an experiment. Don't throw stuff at me for doing this. That's not cool. So be cool and understand the reason for me even doing this little test. By the way, this snippet is from a new comedy series coming to your local TV soon. Okay - that's not true, but you gotta admit.. I had you for a moment.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Girl Walks Into a Bar - this is the future of the film world and it's exciting!

Today I checked out a tweet about a full length feature of a motion picture that was literally created not for the theater, not for Blue Ray and certainly not for rental houses. On the contrary, this film was by design created for the Internet. From what I read, one can watch it in chunks on YouTube as a playlist or as one continuous movie. I watched the whole thing and I must say, it is fantastic. It has a bit of a Pulp Fiction feel to it, but a bit lighter or friendlier in language. A very cool project for sure.Okay, simply put, I liked it. A fun story line, fantastic acting and great cinematography.

Now here is where things changed in regards to production, funding and sponsorship. First off, it cost around a mill to make, private investor(s)/producer(s) fronted that. Then sponsorship was sold to Lexus. Hence, they streamed it with 6 or so commercials throughout as one long motion picture:



And I highly recommend you watch it at full screen. So pop this out and enjoy!

But all that being said, is this the future? Is this a new way for the indie world to go and get their stuff out? I think so! Just sayin'.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Promoting your company in today's world of multimedia. Some thougths and ideas to think about.

One of the questions I am asked quite frequently is; "How do I promote my company today on the internet?" or "What is the latest craze for marketing my company on the net?"

Well, these questions have about half a gazillion answers. And no matter who you ask - no two answers are quite the same. One hears about everything from Social Network Marketing (perhaps the acronym for this is SNM?) to SEO or Search Engine Optimization and then there is SEM or Search Engine Marketing, and you need to do this all while eating M&M's. Okay, the last part just sounded funny, hence, why I wrote it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

DIY - Camera rig for "flying" shots and image stabilizer.

I like to build things. I like the DIY concept if at all possible. I have several reasons for this.
1. When I build stuff, I get exactly what I want and how I want it.
2. It usually, and I emphasize "usually" costs a lot less than purchasing a finished product.
3. It solves a problem that I needed to solve.
4. It can be fun to build stuff. Sometimes.

Now this is not say, go out and build everything. Somethings are just not worth building. But some things really are. This just so happens to be one of those things. I looked at the prospect of purchasing a "FigRig" (a trademarked name by the way, as well as a patented product.) But for me at the time, it just seemed too cost prohibitive. It is a great tool. It is diverse. It is functional. It is a very slick piece of equipment.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Copyright protection and you! - Finally a concise explanation and how to.

Over the last several years I have had so many artists, writers, cinematographers, web designers and people just in general ask me about copyright. I don't really know why they ask me specifically. Maybe I look like an attorney or something? Maybe I sound smart? Maybe I know a lot about such things? Or maybe I am just another one of those people on a list that people ask for advice from? I don't know.
I have fortunately had much access to attorneys over the years as many of them were and still are clients of mine. And no, I don't give them advice on the law. But I have been known to make all of their computers stay up and running, as well as some websites. But when all is said and done, they are not all copyright specialists. Actually very few are. The one thing I did learn from all these attorneys - never give legal advice if you are not an attorney!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tucson 2011 stock footage for charitable causes.

It all started a week ago today when I first was called to go out and start filming in regards to the Tucson tragedy. This was the Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords incident involving several victims as well as fatalities. A week later, our beloved Congresswoman seems to be do extremely well considering the circumstances.

It seems our town has a heart. People have set up vigils, they have rallied, they have marched and they all have one thing in common - peace. You see, Tucson was inadvertently put on the map through this incident. It has been the center of the news frenzy for a solid week now. I have heard throughout the week, particularly at the beginning that people literally stated; "It's embarrassing to say one is form Tucson anymore." - But things change.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Observing with a neutral eye can end up with a positive experience.

Here in Tucson we have experienced a recent tragedy involving our beloved Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. I suppose I could delve into the back stories and all the things surrounding this tragic event, but I won't. There is no need to as the media has already done quite a job on that. Sounds pretty negative towards the media doesn't it? That was my first impression when I was called to get some "pick up shots" for a network. So with camera in hand, I started venturing out on Sunday,


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