Emily West Music Video

Worked today on the set of a music video for Emily West, an up & coming country music star. That’s right… I spent all day listening to country music. Now that’s sacrificing for your art!

Emily made it easy – she’s full of energy, and her hit song, Rocks in Shoes, isn’t too bad – for a country song… (you can see a pre-shoot version of the video on this MySpace page. The version shot today will look 1000x better.) Jim was operating steadicam, the most excellent Ian Seabrook was first assisting, and I was 2nd assist – which takes on a whole new meaning……

… when you’re shooting with the Red. This was the Red’s first Vancouver music video, and the first rental of our new venture Inspired Cinema. Big things are afoot with the RED in Vancouver, and we can hardly keep on top of the demand. The fantastic imaging quality, slick workflow, and the unbeatable price point – along with the service quality and experience we’ve put together – make our Red cameras a very attractive proposition for a lot of shows.

I’ll post more about what I was doing and the tools I’m using later. Lots going on!

Moving to LA [UPDATE #2]

I can’t say much, but just wanted to post a quick update to say I’m moving to LA, for how long I’m not sure. In a chance combination of who-you-know and timing, I’ve been asked to direct my first feature film for an off-shoot of Lions Gate!

Never in a (pick a big number) years would I have guessed that I would get an opportunity like this.

I can’t say too much about the project, except that it is fully budgeted, includes at least two name stars that you would recognize, and the genre is right up my alley. I can say that it is a sequel… which, if you know me, is not my first choice – but as a director, stepping into an existing franchise leaves out a lot of the guess work. And what am I saying – I get to direct a feature! With a budget!

Assuming my follow-up interview goes well, pre-production begins next week with shooting starting sometime early June in Bangladesh. I’ll try to keep things here updated as much as I’m able.

[UPDATE]
I’ve been informed that I can tell you the working title of the film: Alien vs. Rambo

[UPDATE #2]
Yes, you’ve caught my First of April ruse… it’s not really a romantic comedy. It’s actually a buddy-comedy – Alien and Rambo hit the road together to bust a cap on the bad guy.

One Beer and (4k) Pixels

Last night Digital Film Central hosted the first “Beer & Pixels” night. Jim van Dijk and I presented the RED One camera as part of the launch of our new rental business. We showed some footage shot last week by Jim and local DP Greg Middleton, comparing the RED to various film stocks. I also provided some RED footage from Rwanda. The shots were graded at Central and projected in their 2K Baselight DI suite.

I was blown away by the images. “This is awesome,” and “Central rocks” are soon to be pull-quotes on Central’s website…. Especially seeing what we shot in Rwanda up there looking so great next to film…

The two have a different aesthetic. Film has a nice crunchiness with slight shifts in colour as it goes towards black, and more room to play down in the shadows. RED has less range and highlights don’t clip as cleanly, but the overall image is crisp & clean, with lots of room to push the image towards different parts of the spectrum. Seeing them next to each other is like lifting the veil – we’re so used to film grain in our images… but the RED is super clean.

Initially we were thinking 20-30 people would show… turned into 50-60… and then I lost count. The interest was high, and there were all kinds: Producers, Directors, Production Managers, DPs, Post Supervisors, Camera Operators… any part of the production that touches the imaging workflow was represented, from both high and low budget filmmaking.

Overall the night was a great success. I’m still playing those images back in my head…

Without You

The last few days it has been on my mind that so many people have given up a part of their life to help this film. Even though this trip – and the story of the film – are still in mid-swing, I wanted to give some credit…

First of all, Nicholas and Elsie, our main characters who’ve opened up their lives and their story to us. At times we have searched through painful memories, dredging past distress and anguish. Though it hasn’t all been smooth, they have been gracious and forgiving of the young crew that showed up three years ago wanting to tell their story.

A few others:

I feel so grateful for the sacrifices these people have made. I often fail to publicly say thanks… so, thanks! By your efforts you are now an inextricable character in the making of Rwanda: Hope Rises.

Two Green Lights

Last night the good news arrived that our grant has been approved allowing Lyn, Jesse and I to return to Rwanda in January.

The day before, I received confirmation of a photography assignment to Swaziland. I’ll be using photography to tell the story of Bulembu as part of a promotional campaign for the Teldon Group. I’ll be headed to Swaziland (via South Africa) immediately after wrapping in Rwanda.

Rwanda Resumes

The filming of Rwanda: Hope Rises will resume on or about January 13th. Lyn & Jesse and I met recently to review the rough cut and begin story construction towards our last shoot and, eventually, a final edit.

Rwanda Whiteboard

We are nervously anticipating the arrival of our RED One cameras for this shoot. Both Jesse and I initially expected to receive them around Nov. 1st. Now our delivery is sometime in December. Jesse’s nervously doing the rain-dance in the hope that they arrive sometime before Dec. 31st, our departure date.

If all goes well Jesse, Lyn and I will shoot for two weeks at the end of January, picking up b-roll, extra interviews, and shooting a promotional film for our hosts, The Wellspring Foundation. After Lyn & Jesse head home, I plan to stick around for an extra week shooting stills and additional footage.

Then it’s a race to the finish. With some fine planning and precision editing, I hope to have the film locked for a screening in Rwanda in early April.