DVC#6 - Michael Fossenkemper "RA Boogie" at DVinfo.net

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Old August 23rd, 2006, 07:46 AM   #1
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DVC#6 - Michael Fossenkemper "RA Boogie"

Ok sports fans, here is my short. I just wanted to say thanks to everyone participating, hosting, and sponsoring.

Bare with me. This is probably the hardest single thing I've worked on in video, both mentally and physically. You probably wouldn't know it by looking at it, but it was. When i found out that I lost all my actors and crew to vacations, I almost packed it in right there. But I didn't.

My goal:
I came up with an idea to shoot everything to music like a music video. Timed shots and all. I wanted to do everything in Camera, no special effects and no color correction. I had no actors, no crew, and a bare bones story with 4 main things. Thunder God, Water Goddess, Sun God, and people reacting and dancing.

Ok, first things first. If i'm going to do timed shots, I need the music to be done. Ok, done with about 90% of the music in one day.
Now I need to find a day where there are clouds and sun in the same day, I've got one day to do this. weee weather channel says morning clouds turning to sunshine on Sunday. what more can you ask for.

Yawn, wake up bright and early. pack the camera, tripod, lens's, tapes, batteries, ipod with the music, water, hat, sunglasses. Strap all of this all over my body and begin the hike to a fountain for my water Goddess dancing shot, Over a mile into the park.

mmmmm, Why is the fountain off??? "We're doing maintenance on the fountain and shut it off." Great, Now what! While i'm thinking about that problem, I might as well hike to the open area to get some shots of the dark clouds before they go away. Setup the camera, Hey.... where is my filter for the blood red sky effect??? Left it at home. Ok, Let me do the time lapse clouds while I figure out these issues. I can also do my water/ sun mating shot here. Let me call the couple of people I conned into playing some dancing people and let them know where I am cause i'll be here for awhile. Oooppss, forgot to charge my cellphone last night. No phone, no numbers, no dancers. This is not looking good.

Ok, finished shooting the time-lapse clouds, let me break out the ole' ipod so I can time my camera moves to the music.
(See I had this idea to shoot the whole water/sun interaction all to music in realtime. This involved focus, shutter, and iris all dancing around in time to music with me having to hit specific cues in-time. ) Ok, let me put on my earphones and.... ummm. why isn't my ipod turning on? hello.... bang bang bang... Dead. Now let me asses my situation here. no filter, no fountain, no music, no phone, no dancers. Ok, let me pack it up. As I was packing up my gear, all I could think about was the wall of shame. At that moment, one of my friends found me. She figured something went wrong with my phone so she just walked through the park asking people if they saw a guy lugging around a lot of video gear. finally found me. At that moment I felt that I had to do something. I didn't know what but I WAS going to finish a short.

Ok, I can shoot the dark clouds by putting my sunglasses in front of the lens. holy cow, good enough for rock n roll. Oh my, you know what... I did the music at 120bpm. that's double time of a second. I can get the timing of the music by watching the second hand on my watch. alright!!! tapping foot to my second hand while doing the camera moves, holy camolly,I think this is going to work. After about 10 tries, I hit my marks in one go and got so excited that I lost tempo for the final explosion (that's why you see an edit there). weeeee, off to sheeps meadow to get the timed pan. one mississippi two mississippi pan, stop, pan, stop, 3 mississippi etc... Ok New Yorkers are freaks. they will do anything in front of a camera. Dancers.... No problemo, all you have to do is ask "Hey, i'm shooting a little short video and was wondering" interrupts "yeah i'll be in your video, what do you want me to do?" . I found a spot where they were playing music and skaters were dancing etc... I went over to the DJ and asked if he had any music at 120bpm. He pointed to a crate of records and said "yeah, all of those". "Great!!!! can you play those for awhile?" " Hey you, you wanna dance a little to the music while I video you for my short?" "Sure". I had so many people dancing for me, I couldn't believe it. People were coming up to me to volunteer to dance. "Bunch of freaks, get away from me". Walking home, I found another fountain, wow how this day changed. Timed my pan across the sun. Darn... I think I got everything.
I didn't even want to look to see if it all worked. I just watched some of the shots here and there until I got enough courage to edit it all together. Well what do you know, I think it worked.

It probably took longer to read this than it did to watch the short. Sorry. Hope you thought my disaster worked too.
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 08:39 AM   #2
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Michael, amazing job on getting everything to work out. Your story is interesting and I learned some stuff such as tbe 120 BPM and sunglasses trick. That shot turned out beautiful.

Everything done in camera for the colour? That is insane I wouldn't have that kind of patience to get everything right, the colours look great.

I'm glad it turned out for you. You turned what you thought was impossible to creating work arounds to get everything to fit together. Great job.

Justin
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 09:02 AM   #3
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1. Wow.

2) I loved that 70's "wah wah" funk jam! Man was that smokin'! I mean, man did I dig it! Right ON!

3) wow.

4) Great camera work and compressed depth of field. You had the edit cuts timed perfectly to the music.

5) Quality talent. Were they pros?

6) Wow.

7) I danced at my desk. (Trust me on that. No one saw)

I will say this: I've come to expect nothing but high quality from a Fossenkemper production. It's your fault. You have two bullseyes.
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 10:05 AM   #4
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You get some of the most beautiful images, Michael! And to think you did it all in-camera just boggles my mind.

The water shots were good; I loved that transition to what looks like laser beams directed at the water. But what always brings me into a story is the people. And boy, did you find 'em! Central Park! I gasped when you panned the area where all those people were lounging on the grass. It's like I was there. Which brings me to your performers...

I wondered how on earth you got footage of people dancing in time to your music (which was cool, btw!). Thanks for answering that question. That must have been fun having so many willing participants!

Your friend (the only pre-arranged talent). She's beautiful, but right now I'm having a tough time figuring out her role. Is she the water goddess? (Sorry to be so dense, but I can't seem to help it. :)

As Hugh said, your work is always amazing. Beautiful!
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 10:05 AM   #5
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This turned out really good but I have to ask, are you a masochist? There's no way I'd have the patience to shoot colors that well. My hat is off to you. I'm such a 'close enough I'll fix it post' guy. Sorry to hear about your talent, seems like most everyone gets that at one time or another. Nice job on entry.
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 10:52 AM   #6
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Michael, I know a little secret - great use of that streak we all get when we don't want it from our smaller chip cameras. You made good use of it to look like a "paid for" effect. Cool.

The dancers were really good.

I think you have the best compression I have seen so far on the web. You may want to let us all know what you shot with, what compression softeware and settings you used and what the end result file size worked out to be.

Some of that is easy to figure out but I though I would let you explain.

Good timing on the shots. When I saw the timed pans, I figured there was a playback device someplace in your gear. For future ref, my cell phone allows MP3 files. Of course, you have to keep it charged for that to work, as you found out.

Very good work here. Thanks,

Sean
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 12:44 PM   #7
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thanks for all the compliments.

Well, the girl was there for two reasons, well three reasons. 1) I need someone there for the sun coming out effect, which was real by the way. As clouds were passing over, we had about 3 or 4 takes worth of good sun coming out. 2) I needed another face that I could use and direct a little 3) I needed someone to watch my gear while I ran to take a pee.

technical stuff:
Sean, yes you saw it. I found that when I cranked the shutter speed up to 8000, in focus, and hitting the refections in the right way, these freaky looking vertical smears looked like laser beams coming from the reflections. Took me a little while to get it right. The light explosion is from me going from 8000 shutter speed and dropping it to 60 at the same time kicking manual iris to auto iris so the camera would blow out and clamp it back down again. I thought it worked pretty good.

I am a little nuts I know, for going for all in camera, especially in a time crunch. Here is my reasoning: I feel I shoot completely different depending on what i'm seeing in the camera. If the shadows or colour is this or that, my eye gravitates to this or that. So I really wanted to get it there and shoot like that. Also looks a lot better because this is all done pre DV compression. I also like to just plug my camera in and watch some stuff that I shot and not have to colour correct in my mind while i'm watching it.

As for my compression settings. final cut pro export via quicktime conversion. sorenson 3 320x240, medium high quality, auto frame, auto data. wish it was more complex than that, but that's it.
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 01:03 PM   #8
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Hi Michael. Okay, i don't really get the story, but it doesn't matter. I enjoyed the music and the images. You used a 35mm adapter, right? What's your adapter/lens setup? I really wish to have more control over depth-of-field, but I can't justify the expense of an adapter right now.

Also enjoyed reading the write-up of your shooting day. Way to persevere!
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 02:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Fossenkemper
Well, the girl was there for two reasons, well three reasons. 1) I need someone there for the sun coming out effect, which was real by the way. As clouds were passing over, we had about 3 or 4 takes worth of good sun coming out. 2) I needed another face that I could use and direct a little 3) I needed someone to watch my gear while I ran to take a pee.
LOL! I made it too difficult and thought maybe she had become the water goddess in human form. I'm like...three for three on stupid comments today. Think I'll give it a rest... (wild applause from the forum crowd) :)
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 03:56 PM   #10
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Ahh, forgot to mention the equipment I used.

Camera: Panasonic DVC30
Tripod: Piece of junk celestron(don't ask), with a fluid head that leaks.
Mic: Rode NTG-2
Letus35a 35mm adapter, canon 50mm 1.4, canon 100mm 2.0
software: finalcut pro, quicktime pro, soundtrack (the whole score done with this).
Filters: sunglass's (hahaha)

I would have used my homemade dolly but I couldn't carry it with all my other stuff.
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 04:35 PM   #11
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Woo! I'm a dancin' machine! Rockin' work, Michael, I'm impressed. Couldn't figure out how you got people to dance to the music, but realized I know nothing about music. Beats per minute, is it? I'll keep that in mind, might come in handy. As for people offering to dance for you...well, if you're shooting a video about people dancing, that's a good problem to have, I'd say.

Another excellent film, and all the more reason for me to bug you about helping out on your next project. I want my name attached to something this good, dangit!
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 06:23 PM   #12
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I'm with Linda on being a little dense. I thought the woman was the water goddess. I also didn't get what the green streaks were supposed to be and so thought they might have been a mistake except that then you wouldn't have included it so I just didn't get it.

Here's my favorite part: watching it I thought 'wow, impressive that he's got everyone dancing to the same beat without noticeable speeding up or slowing down in post.' But then reading your whole story I'm even more impressed that the solution that was so simple and elegant.
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 07:01 PM   #13
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The more I watch it, the more the segment with the "laser beams" is my favorite part! (from an emotional standpoint) It's like the water dance right before that is working!

(I know, I said I'd give it a rest...) :)
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Last edited by Lorinda Norton; August 23rd, 2006 at 07:45 PM. Reason: realized I was contradicting my early morning review!
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 08:26 PM   #14
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Yes!!!!. the water dance before is working and the "Laser Beams (cracks me up when I say it)" are Ra breaking through the dark clouds and then BAM. They are together again.

I don't blame you Kris, as I was shooting it I thought to myself "I don't think anyone is going to get this, I'm not sure I get this." hahaha. Then when I lost tempo and had to cut to something else, I noticed that several people got confused at this point. My mistake. That's why it's good to get feedback like this. What i get and what others get are usually two different things. But then again, I know the story. And it didn't help that everything is kind of symbolism for the story.
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 09:08 PM   #15
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Man, what a great job. The dancers, the music, your friend, all really good. That was a real pleasure to watch. You really demonstrated your skill and understanding of your camera. And what an experience it sounds like you had putting this all together. I am glad you stuck with it. Definitely the "feel good" video of the day.
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