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Old January 31st, 2004, 06:46 AM   #121
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Deep South, U.S.
Posts: 1,317
I have been a park ranger for the past 25 years. This have given me a great opportunity to work on my photography and video skills. I have done some freelance 35 mm work but mostly educational A/V stuff for our visitor center. Mainly natural resource projects (birds, plants and environmental topics). My last project was a 10 minute photo show using ProShow on CD describing the construction of the dam that forms the lake that I work at. This is being distributed to the local schools and libraries for kids to use on their school projects. It was a neat assignment as it involved scanning in over 1,000 photos from the 1950s. As time permits I will probably remake the whole thing on DV using some type historic character to narrate the project with a time travel theme. Maybe even use green screen.

Anyway this forum has been a great resource. It is one of the few places where a fair amount of civility is displayed. On other forums it seems many just want to argue and put each other down.

Best Regards,

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Old February 9th, 2004, 10:33 AM   #122
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Location: Canada
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Hi, if you are interested there is a group I belong to called "The Film Collective". Most of the members live in East Vancouver. All of the members are either taking film courses or have graduated and want to keep active doing film related work. Most have regular jobs that are not necessarily related to film. If you are interested email me and I will arrange to give you the details. Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner but I was out of the country. One of the Collective members can help you with your camera selection. I just went a bought an Xl1s and he gave me various options before I bought it and actually came with me to purschase it.
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Old February 11th, 2004, 12:22 PM   #123
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Location: Ridgewood, NJ
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This is my first post on this forum. I've been a television Director for CNBC for almost 8 years. I direct live and live-to-tape programming as well as some special projects. I directed "Rivera Live" for 4 of those 8 years. Don't hate me for that. :-)

Before that, I directed local news in markets like, Boston, Providence, and Binghamton, NY.

I just bought a Panasonic AG-DVC80 so that I can work on some of my own documentary stuff on the side.

Looking forward to participating in this great forum.
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Old February 11th, 2004, 01:42 PM   #124
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I have a friend who left MSNBC a year or two ago; good thing CNBC is doing so well!

My Final Cut Pro X blog
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Old February 12th, 2004, 01:04 PM   #125
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Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 574
Born into the Biz.

I was very fortunate. My Grandfather was a Cinematographer as was my Dad.

My dad was a camera operator / DP on hundreds of commercials and movies. Two of his operating credits were, The French Connection and The Exorcist.

I made my bones cleaning filters, schlepping cases and making burger runs for the camera crew while they played poker on the camera truck during lunch. Of course, all of this was un-paid but worth it when you can work for DPs such as Owen Roizman and Conrad Hall. It was a priviledge.

I worked in the camera department of CineVideoTech, the best film rental house in Miami until I applied to the IATSE Local 666 as a Second Assistant Cameraman. After passing my entrance test and a brief stint as a "second", I became a full-fledged "First". I have worked on literally hundreds of commercials and many feature films and TV shows, the longest of which was "Miami Vice" on which I was the "A" Camera focus puller for the first two years of its five year run.

I also have had the honor to work, and Charles, you can probably appreciate this, with Garett Brown and Ted Churchill on many occasions. The first time I ever wore a SteadiCam it was Garett's. We were working on a movie in Chicago called "Four Friends" and he took the time on more than one ocassion to set me up in his rig and give me the "condensed" SteadiCam course!. He was and continues to be a true gentleman.


After some life altering experiences such as having children and losing my Dad to cancer, I re-evaluated my life and took a drastic career step. I left what folks in my curent job call "The Real World" and went into civil service.

I had not even touched a video camera until 1986 when I began working for the Miami-Dade Police Department as an un-paid volunteer for six years and shot for COPS for a while. I did all of this when I had time between gigs.

Although it was never my intention to do so at the begining, a postition became available, was offered to me and in light of the experiences I cited above, I accepted. Best and smartest decision I have ever made. Except for marrying my high school sweetheart!

Today, I run the department's Video Services Unit and couldn't be happier! Unlimited opportunity for shooting some of the wildest, most exciting things you can think of, AND they pay for ALL of the toys!

I continue to work on outside productions such as shooting film and video for companies such as Discovery, A&E andTLC, as well as being one of the game cameramen for the Miami HEAT and the Florida Panthers.

Life is good!

"The future ain't what it used to be." Yogi Berra.
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Old February 12th, 2004, 01:52 PM   #126
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Well I'll be darned. I recently watched a documentary in which I ~believe~ William Friedkin mentioned working with your father. (I assume that his name was also Bravo?)
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Old February 12th, 2004, 02:03 PM   #127
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If your dad operated for Friedkin more than once, he must have been a strong character! I've heard many stories...

I'm certainly jealous of the "on-set" upbringing, those must be great memories. I'm good friends with Garrett Brown's son Jonathon, and he tells me of visiting the set of "The Shining" as a child and playing in the hallways of the Overlook Hotel (on stage in England)...didn't see any ghostly twin girls, luckily!

Ted Churchill was my mentor, I cold-called him from my NYU dorm and I did many days of visiting and case-shlepping for him. His willingness to answer questions and have me around is the one of the reasons I am compelled to do the same for "newbies" today (such as my participation in this forum). He was a fascinating man, no longer with us sadly.

That's great that Garrett set you up in the rig! You absolutely called it, he is a true gentleman and one of my favorite people.

Thanks for the sharing the bio.
Charles Papert
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Old February 12th, 2004, 11:44 PM   #128
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Location: Miami, FL
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Ken and Charles,

Ken, yes, the documentary you are talking about is "A Decade Under the Influence" about the 70's filmaking styles and the way those films set a new mark for movies.

Although my Father has always been known in the industry as Ricky, his given name was Enrique, as is mine. I changed to Rick so that when someone wanted him or me, we would know the difference. On Miami Vice, he was the "A" camera operator and I was his first assistant, we were known as "R1" and "R2"!

I still go by Rick because, in my heart, there could only be one, Ricky Bravo!

It was a wonderful tribute to my father that Friedkin mentioned him by name, although the part about shooting at Castro's side came from Billy's imagination. My Dad moved to New York City in 1955 and was completely against Castro.

I found out about the doc when no fewer than six people from around the country called me to see if I had seen it. I had not, but, after hearing about it, I placed an order for the DVD about three months before it was released and now have it proudly in my collection.


My Dad was a STRONG character and all of the stories you've heard about Friedkin, are most probaly true. More than anything else, my Father was a master of shooting handheld and working the "wheels" on a Worral head! This and the absolute trust that Friedkin placed in him as his operator, (before the days of video assist where everyone including the PAs have a say as to how a shot turned out), made him one of his favorite "A Team" operators. I'll never forget Friedkin asking, "Ricky, how was it for you?" and my Dad would answer, "ees beeutifull". CHECK THE GATE!

My Dad's first picture with Friedkin was the "French Connection", there are many pictures of him on the DVD release, the most famous one is where he is shooting handheld with an ARRI IIC in the trunk of the Lincoln while Gene Hackman searches for the drugs. This was immediately followed by "The Exorcist". He also operated for him on "Sorcerer", "Cruising", and "The Brinks Job". I have some wonderful, personal stories about those films and Friedkin, as I participated in all of them in one way or the other, regardless of my age or experience at the time. (Owen Roizman paid me $50 to be a lighting stand-in for Linda Blair the first time I showed up on the set of "The Exorcist", scared the crap out of me when she showed up in full "possesed" makeup and I had no idea it was going to happen!)

Ted Churchill was amazing! I will never forget his showing up on the set looking like the consumate geek and then transforming himself into "Steadi Teddy", with his fingerless driving gloves, bandana wrapped around his forehead, wrist bands, knee pads, and especially, let us not forget his ever-present pipe! The man had the most incredible and amazing sense of humor. His death was a tremendous loss to us all.

I have pulled focus for SC Operators like Steve Constantino, Randy Nolan, Bob Ulland, Neal Norton, and Rick Tiedemann.

Ted, Garret and Randy were the most down to earth, giving people you could ever want to meet. This industry needs more people like them instead of some of the "new breed" that is out there for nothing more than the almighty paycheck, and Charles, although we have never met, just the fact that you participate in a forum like this and are willing to help anyone, regardless of their spot in the pecking order, speaks volumes about your character. It is an honor to have made your acquaintance.

Warm regards to all, RB.
"The future ain't what it used to be." Yogi Berra.
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Old March 8th, 2004, 07:52 PM   #129
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Suwanee, GA
Posts: 1,241
I will chime in and make it a little long winded if you are bored. ;)

I am a systems engineer doing OS integration with hardware including test and evalution for a big transportation company, that does not use brown as its corporate color, in Atlanta.

I did still photography as a diversion for awhile (started about 30 years ago - I am 43). The photographers will understand... I could shoot 20 36exp rolls on a two week vacation without trying ;) I did not need that video stuff (sniff, sniff, looking down my nose).

Well, my soon-to-be wife at the time wanted a new video camera. While we were buying it, the clerk mentioned that you could buy this Pinnacle software to edit the video. That peaked my interest. That was always my issue with people's home movies. You know, the 15 minutes of feet in the middle of the tape. I never pictured myself as some video artist. I just wanted to clean it up.

So, I started playing with the editing. We then started filming the kids at cheerleading. I made a VHS tape from the footage. The next year, I recorded the band as one daughter was in the band. Another cheerleading tape for the other daughter. The band video went to VHS and the band sold it as a fund raiser. I was now also doing DVDs of the same projects.

Over the summer, one of the band helper's video guy dropped out of their wedding a week before the wedding. Presto, emergency wedding guy. That was a cram course trying to figure out how to cover it. It was not what I wanted because of the equipment, but it passed muster. Now I knew where some of my weaknesses were. I made up for some of it though with the Glidecam and I used a friend's borrowed Hi8 for a second camera.

This last fall, a new cheerleading video. I did find out, since I did this as a favor, that if you make it too cheap, people will not pickup their copies. We made copies at $5. I have about 10 copies still sitting in a box that have been paid for, but not picked up. Jeez.

This year's band video? I shot 20 hours of D8 tape with lots of Glidecam mounted shots in the band. I even did shots on the field during some practices. Rough cut ended up at 2 1/2 hours with me dropping footage that I thought still would work. I kept saying, "Cut hard," over and over to keep focused. Final cut was 1 1/2 hours! I could not go any longer because I use pass-through to write to my VHS deck (lp on D8 is 1 1/2 hrs.) Since this is more of a momento-mentary, you don't want to cut as you fear you will drop footage of one of the kids in the band (219 this year). We made 125 VHS tapes and I think they are down to the last dozen. The directors all got a DVD.

The issues I uncovered this year to go forward? I was still using consumer equipment. There were now also request to start doing other stuff for people. The D8 camera has good audio and fair video, but does not produce color well in a stadium at night. I had outgrown my hobby. Because of the requests, my wife suggested that I should move forward. I started looking around and found this place.

I now have a Sony VX2100 and used it for the first time this weekend. My wish list at BH has a A-T 897 (I might be able to swing to 835ST), a Beachtek DXA-6, a Sampson Micro 32 UHF Wireless, and a B/M 501 (I have a 3063 already) in it thanks to help and discussions here. I have found that stereo for band footage is important, so still trying to work that into my now diminishing budget. :) The other step-up this year include forming an LLC and a new editing station (waiting for the Nacona Xeon release and the ICH6 chipsets with PCI-e ATI R4xx boards - I am a Pinnacle Liquid Edition kind of guy, so that matters). I may add Animation Master to my tools along with SonicFire 3.0 this year. I still don't plan on doing 'film', but the LadyX Films project does sound interesting. I think I like doing event work. But, I still plan to keep my day job. I get to play with too many toys to want to quit :)
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Old March 25th, 2004, 09:14 AM   #130
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Location: Chantilly, VA
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Having reached the age where I am essentially unemployable in a real job, my part time diversion is operating a video services business out of my home.

My background is electrical engineering followed much later by an MBA. (I once read that an engineer with an MBA was the most boring possible seat mate to be stuck with on a three hour flight.)

Most of my at-home business is transferring and editing home movie film to digital video. I also do some shooting, usually for fund raisers, and I occasionally work as a second camera for a friend who is entering the wedding video business.

As a lot of the fund raisers still get ordered on VHS, I have a three recorder setup which I can drive off the timeline or from a high quality DVD using A/V distribution amps. Equipment also includes two VX2000s, and a Pioneer 7000 set-top burner, along with several 8 and 16mm film transfer units, some of which I've modified for the purpose. Need to upgrade my sound as the VX's are a little hissy.

Future plans are to take a course on film/video composition to learn to shoot better material. Nicely edited boring video is still boring video.
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Old April 2nd, 2004, 11:59 AM   #131
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: SLC, UT
Posts: 16
Cutting my teeth

Well been here and posted a few things, so I might as well explain what I am doing now.
I happened to be in the right place at the right time, and thankfully am out making my first feature length documentary about the positive environmental effects of cattle ranching. An emotionally and politically charged subject to be sure.
I went to undergraduate film school at UC San Diego, and had a few projects outside of school that were great learning experiences.
Summer after my senior year I luckily worked on a documentary show, "Crime and Punishment." Here I learned from the old cameramen like Bob Elfstrom, Allan Palmer, Buddy Squires, and Greg Andracke... (to name a few) that documentary wasn't just a type of film, but a lifestyle for a filmmaker.
Since then I did some odd jobs trying to find the right project. Thankfully i met a wonderful girl and funny enough things fell into place in all aspects of my life from there on out.
So here I sit in the middle of Wyoming on a cattle ranch, it's April 2nd, and in an hour I'm going to go ride a horse through the snow to video the cowboys weighing and tagging the new born calves out in a place they call Rock Crick Pasture.
It's been a great adventure so far, and I am nothing but excited about things to come.
if anyone ever has questions... advice... please e-mail.... bowman3ccd@yahoo.com
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Old April 7th, 2004, 09:32 AM   #132
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I'm a contractor for a Army medical unit that investigates biological outbreaks. My position is jack-of-all-trades really cause I run audiovisual support for their conference hall, do graphics, scan and edit hundreds of photos, create presentations, schedule training courses they offer. . . blah, blah, blah. In some aspects it's really interesting due to what you learn although some of the images can be rather grisly.
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Old April 29th, 2004, 01:12 PM   #133
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Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
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wow - these are great stories.

i live in new mexico, which is at once a wasteland and also the most magical place there is.
for money, i help manage the warehouse of a company that sells chinese herbs and acupuncture supplies wholesale to doctors of oriental medicine. it's a crazy business that's growing so fast, we have trouble keeping it together! we sell some weird stuff.... one pound bags of cockroaches or scorpions, anyone? i work with five other guys who are either semi-pro musicians (like me), or bedroom rocker types. so all day we listen to records and talk about music and movies. someone once commented that you don't get a job there to learn about chinese herbs, you get a job there to study pop culture!
but that's just for money.....

mostly i've been immersed in making music for about 13 years now. i've played lots and lots of guitar in bands, and then i got into recording and album production, which i still do a lot of. somewhere in there i started writing and singing my own material and fronting bands instead of just playing guitar. in the past 8 years i've written and recorded 4 albums of my own material and two albums of covers.

right now i work part time as the head audio engineer at a simple little studio called "by hand productions". it's so old-fashioned! i still record music on ADATS and mix on an anologue mixing console!

i have absolutely no experience in DV production. about a year and a half ago, i decided one day that i just had to make a feature length film. it kind of hit me out of nowhere. i had thought it might be fun on a number of occasions before that, but i never actually entertained the idea of being part of filmmaking. i have been taking music production to seriously, that i feel sometimes that i am in my own way. but making movies is something that i could take or leave, and in my mind that makes it very attractive. i have no attachment to it, and no expectations about it, which puts me in a very cool position to try it, i think!

i became filled with the intent to make a film, and that's when i started reading this forum, and discovered that there is this huge DV filmmaking revolution. i had no idea!
i'm also discovering that new mexico is becoming a little mecca for filmmaking.
that's something else i had no idea about until i started looking into filmmaking. pleasant surprise...

it's been a year and a half since i decided to make a movie, and me and a good friend have been writing our film this whole time! we meet once a week and hash it out, and in the meantime i just read as much as i can about the process and the gear, etc. it's really fun to take our time and get the story just right. i'm not in a hurry at all. i guess i'd rather spend years on it and make it good. i've never done it before, but i just know i can figure it out and hopefully have fun doing it...

i must say how much i appreciate this forum. i can't really contribute too much, since i have yet to shoot very much video. (still feeling out my GL1)
hopefully i can offer more in the future. it's a great place to hang out and read. thanks everyone for writing your crazy stories -

ryan martino
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Old May 2nd, 2004, 08:55 AM   #134
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It's great hearing your story. Many great films start out as an itch in someone's belly. Who knew that New Mexico is the new Hollywood. Can't wait to see your movie, I bet it'll have a killer score, too.


Your story is amazing, but the most inspiring part of it is the fact that you tell it so matter-of-factly. You don't lord it over anyone, you're so down to earth. Your dad did a great job passing his skills on to you, you do him honor.

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Old May 15th, 2004, 09:33 PM   #135
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Location: Pittsburgh, Pa
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Very interesting to read everyone's bio/stories. I am a 34 y.o. project manager for an environmental company in Pittsburgh, PA. Most of my DV work has been volunteering for local churches and non-profits. I have shot a few events to try and help defer the cost of new equipment and media. Just bought a new GL2 so am looking to ratchet things up a notch..possibly do a documentary. One of my missions is to spread the good news of Jesus Christ as he has saved me from a life of sin and suffering and believe that he can do that for others also. This forum is great! I've learned tons...with a long way to go. Finishing up an Information Technology degree at University of Phoenix in August. Can't wait!
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