Latest Projects

Dolphin Lover

Critically acclaimed new short doc about a man with a porpoise. 2015 Slamdance Film Festival World Premiere and winner of Best Documentary Short at LA Film Festival.

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Strike: The Greatest Bowling Story Ever Told

Bill Fong’s journey to bowling perfection. Now playing in the Made with Kickstarter series on The New York Times.

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Papa Machete

A character-driven short film exploring the noble, mysterious, and slowly vanishing martial art of Haitian Machete Fencing. Screened at TIFF and Sundance Film Festival.

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Cherry Pop: The Story of the World's Fanciest Cat

The true and quirky story of Cherry Pop, the world’s most pampered cat, and the people who loved her.

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Space Miami

Lost dreams of space travel in the Florida Everglades

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Escaping the Edit Bay and Climbing Mountains

If you told me a year ago that I’d be running, boxing, and doing CrossFit, I’d have thought you were slightly nuts, especially the running part. The only history I have with sports and fitness is the PE class I took online for high school. However I had been feeling low energy, mentally foggy, and when I was on shoots I’d get sharp muscle pain in my arm from holding the camera rig. I was doing a lot more post work than before, so lots of sitting was involved (which is quite hazardous). I knew I needed to get more active, both for health and to be more functional. So I joined the cult of CrossFit (I know, I know). What attracted me to CrossFit was the intensity and variety. In the future I’ll cover some thoughts and lessons learned as I progressed, but what struck me the most was how remarkably quick you see gains. It becomes addicting and effective at getting your mind going, more so than caffeine for me. CrossFit lead to boxing (which was being offered at the gym), though I’ve since paused due to some knuckle issues. All of this is leading up to Mt. Rainier. After getting into shape I was reminded of how much I liked climbing mountains in Boy Scouts and that it was something I wanted to try out again, but on a more technical level. I also wanted to expand my skill set for the type of work I can do and remote areas I can shoot in. So this summer I’ll be taking a mountaineering course that ends with a summit of Rainier. While reading books about mountaineering...

5 Favorite Films I Saw at Sundance

This is just a a quick writeup of some of the films I enjoyed most at Sundance. More importantly, these are out of a very small pool of films I was able to see, because even with a badge, it’s really, really hard to see films at Sundance. To get a ticket for each of the film’s below required waking up at the crack of dawn to walk a mile in the snow to the box office to buy tickets only for that day. Plus you’ve got to wait in line for about an hour before showtime to get a good seat. Buy, watch, repeat. And in some cases like Meru, it took four early morning attempts. But in the end, all these movies were well worth the early rise and cold weather to see, so I encourage you to see them because I’m sure the obstacles in you watching them will be way lower. Meru I’m a sucker for mountaineering docs. Meru is about the journey of three close friends to make a first ascent on a new route up Mount Meru. The obstacles and injuries they overcame is mind boggling. But unlike most mountain docs that involve a lot of re-enactments in controlled environments, Meru was shot by the climbers (two of which are National Geographic photographers) during their multiple attempts. So you’re right there in the action, seeing their struggles and getting their unedited thoughts as they attempt the climb.   Best of Enemies Witness the birth of pundit television. In 1968 ABC staged a series of debates during the political conventions between leading conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. and leftist novelist...

Wave of Buzz for Dolphin Lover

I’d say it’s been a hell of a week, but the week isn’t over yet. Last Thursday was the second and last screening of Dolphin Lover at Slamdance. Shortly after that we received an honorable mention for short documentary from the jury, which was awesome. Our lovely juror @JoshLeake announces the Sparky award for the Doc. Short "Dolphin Lover" #slamdancemotel #room21 pic.twitter.com/VmRgrWjMw8 — Slamdance (@Slamdance) January 30, 2015 At Slamdance we had created a bit of buzz, mostly from our provocative poster, a great article by Arielle Castillo at Fusion, and an interview with The Miami New Times. A new documentary tells the romantic story of a man who had sex with a dolphin: http://t.co/0bp4Aw0ljb pic.twitter.com/K6KdeXKrrC — Fusion (@ThisIsFusion) January 26, 2015 Meet the men behind the provocative short film #DolphinLover. http://t.co/B1SAfzKjhr #Sundance #Slamdance pic.twitter.com/70EtsfBUH5 — Miami New Times (@MiamiNewTimes) January 29, 2015 Nothing crazy. We flew back on Friday. When we landed, Kareem and I saw that WTFark had done a 4 minute sketch about the film. New Documentary Tells Story Of Man Who Had Sex With Dolphin. On Porpoise. (*rimshot*) WATCH: http://t.co/1hTPTfr8gJ pic.twitter.com/JUaVHLrTxE — WTFark (@WTFark) January 30, 2015 Clearly this thing is getting some traction that a 4 minute parody video would be produced about it. It started snowballing from there. Over the weekend all the major British tabloids picked up the story (because how could they not). Now this wasn’t original reporting – it was just a mesh from the few original sources and interviews, plus oddly some of my videos pulled from Instagram merged into an ‘exclusive’ clip. Sometimes they didn’t even cite sources (*cough* Mirror). Quotes...

Getting all those Kickstarter rewards out with Shyp

Though we live in a digital world, for anyone that’s run a Kickstarter campaign, the reality of manufacturing and shipping is a frustrating, hair pulling event. Obviously if your campaign is for a product this is to be expected, but I’m specifically focusing on films because, you know, that’s what I do. DVDs, posters, t-shirts: most Kickstarter film campaigns have physical goods involved which need to be made and eventually shipped. As a one man band this can get costly and time-consuming. For Strike, one of the rewards included a bowling pin. But I only had to ship 5. Thinking about buying the boxes and packing material for such a low quantity, I knew it would either be pretty costly, eating up about 15%-20% of the cost of the reward, or I’d have a shit ton of boxes and packing material lying around from buying bulk. So once I finally got the bowling pins and DVDs and posters together, it sat for a good month or two as I delayed trying to figure out how to ship them. Then came the magic of the internet. I had been seeing ads for Shyp for a few weeks, mainly since they launched in Miami. For $5 they come to your house, pick up what you need to ship, and take care of the rest. You just pay the carrier fee (they price shop based on the weight and go with the lowest) on top of the $5 service charge. I gave it a shot with something else I had been meaning to ship. Now I assumed that it was a $5...

Heading to Park City

Exciting news to kick off 2015. Papa Machete, the film I co-produced in Haiti, will be having its US Premiere at Sundance. Dolphin Lover, a short doc I produced, shot, and edited, will be having its World Premiere at Slamdance. Excited to finally head out to Park City for the festivals with two projects. Though coming from an 80 degree beachy winter in Miami I’ve got a lot of cold weather gear to buy. Papa Machete trailer below. Dolphin Lover to come soon, but let’s just leave it with the Slamdance logline. The true story of a man with a...

GH4’s Faux Pre-Roll Recording Mode

A month or so ago Panasonic released a firmware update to the GH4. The biggest feature that got a lot of buzz was a 1:1 shooting ratio, enabling better use of anamorphic lenses. But there was another interesting feature listed that caught my eye. Way down at the bottom of the new features list was this final note: Loop Recording function is added, with which the camera keeps on recording video while deleting the old footage automatically. After some research and talking to a Panasonic engineer, it is indeed like a pre-recording feature, though a little clunkier. If you turn the mode on and hit record, the camera will roll. Then once the clip hits the 10 minute mark, it will go delete the first 2 minutes of the clip while still recording. So say you’re filming Planet Earth, trying to get a shark breaching the water. You’d start the camera and just let it record while you wait for the action. It will keep deleting the beginning of the clip while it records, adding the new footage to the end and just cycling through. Then when you get the action, you stop recording. So now you’ve got a 10 minute clip, of which the part you’re interested in is in the last minute or so. Not as streamlined as a simple 30 second pre-roll buffer, but it can get the job done if you’re waiting for a quick action shot. Apparently there’s no plans right now to add an actual pre-roll...

GoPro’s 4K HERO4 and $129 Crash Cam

GoPro Introduces HERO4: The Most Powerful GoPro Lineup, Ever | GoPro News GoPro announced their anticipated HERO4 camera that now shoots 4K (did they plan their model numbering system years ago to coincide with the rise of 4K?). 4K for $500, not bad. How good is the quality? The release trailer with action shots from the camera says pretty frickin good. I’d say the improvement in quality is not just the resolution but the new Protune feature, letting you manually control the camera’s color, sharpness, ISO limit, and exposure. The Silver edition is $100 less. While it doesn’t shoot 4K it does have a built in touch screen monitor. Hopefully it has a decent battery system to keep the camera going on a charge. What I found just as cool as the HERO4 is the new price for the base HERO model – $129. Not that anyone wants to lose a camera, but this is a great price for a crash cam or some precarious angles. Also for the price of one HERO4 you could get 3 HEROs and stock up on different...

NASA Developing Automated Air Traffic Control System for Drones – But How to Know Where to Go?

At NASA’s Moffett Field, about four miles from Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., the agency has been developing a drone traffic management program that would in effect be a separate air traffic control system for things that fly low to the ground — around 400 to 500 feet for most drones. Much like the air traffic control system for conventional aircraft, the program would monitor the skies for weather and traffic. Wind is a particular hazard, because drones weigh so little compared with regular planes. The system would also make sure the drones do not run into buildings, news helicopters or other lower-flying objects — a more challenging task than for an airplane flying at 30,000 feet. There would also be no-fly zones, such as anywhere near a major airport… Unlike the typical image of an air traffic control center — a dark room full of people wearing headphones and staring at radar screens — NASA’s system, like the drones themselves, would dispense with the people and use computers and algorithms to figure out where they can and cannot fly. via Drone Developers Consider Obstacles That Cannot Be Flown Around – NYTimes.com. NY Times reporting today on more drone announcements from Google and what’s being done to manage the influx of drones – both the commercial potential and current open skies for hobbyists. There definitely needs to be some sort of air traffic system in place but what isn’t clear from this bit about NASA is how does Joe Consumer who bought a DJI Phantom drone to get some cool GoPro shots know where the lanes are? Are...

1-Hour Photo App Brings Analog Patience to iPhone

I’m a big fan of apps that bring back some of the restraints of analog technology that we’ve  completely forgotten with digital. Now I’m not giving up my digital cameras or editing programs any time soon, but the restraints are fun exercises in creativity and patience. 1-Hour Photo is a new app that’s pretty self explanatory from the title. Take a photo, wait 60 minutes, see your photo. Just like the old days, except you don’t have to drive down to the photo lab. Will this be my new go to photo app? No. But when you have to wait an hour to see your photo, you think about that picture a lot more. Would be interesting to see if they add a 36 exposure cap and a ‘reload’ delay. Good exercise to get some action shots with those constraints. If you’re into other analog apps, I’ve got a text editor from an old project that mimics a Typewriter (no...

Experimenting with Natural Looking HDR in Zion

When NAB wrapped in April I wanted to take a few days to explore some of the great national parks in the area. So I rented a car and did a small camping road trip through Zion and Bryce Canyon. The south of Utah is an insanely beautiful assortment of one national park after another, buffered by state parks and national forests. There’s a state park named Kodachrome, after the film stock used to capture its vibrant colors in National Geographic’s first photo series of the location. Plus there’s Arches and Canyonlands, which I had to save for another trip. While at NAB I caught a bit of a photography workshop that went into HDR. I had written HDR off a while ago as a very specific, over-processed ‘look.’ But the workshop went in to other uses, including more natural looks to get a wider dynamic range but not look over-processed. So since I was going on my mini-camping road trip to take pictures (something I hadn’t been doing much of in a while), I figured I’d take a lot of bracketed shots to see if I could use HDR to make more dynamic, natural looking pictures. Using Photomatix, I definitely was not disappointed. It had a variety of ways to blend the images and finely tune the details. It comes with a solid assortment of presets. Plus there even ways to correct for handheld bracketing and ‘ghosting,’ to correct for leaves or other objects naturally moving around during longer exposures. It also has a great Lightroom workflow that let’s your roundtrip the images you want to merge and bring the final image...

The GH4 RAW Enigma & 4K Footage of an Owl Eating a Fish

GH4 arrived on Friday. I took it out to Big Cypress National Preserve to give it a spin and play with the Panasonic 100-300mm 4-5.6 lens I rented. This isn’t a camera review post but overall the camera was great. I shot a lot of stills and some 4K video. Below you can see an owl chowing down on a fish. The stabilization is amazing – this was all handheld at 100mm or 300mm (that’d be 200mm to 600mm in 35mm). Out in the field I connected the SD card to the iPad to see what would happen. The pictures popped up along with the 4K video, which surprised me. I imported a clip and it would play fine if I kept the playback controls up. But if I touched the screen to clear them out of the way the video went black. Instagram didn’t know what to do with the video file, even if I trimmed it and had the iPad export a new clip. So when I get home I pull up the card, click import in Lightroom, and then…nothing. The only stuff that would import was the 4K video files. Lightroom or Photoshop wouldn’t read the RAW files and neither would Preview. This isn’t unusual with new cameras – they each have their own flavor of RAW and updates catch up the software. So it’s just an annoying waiting game. But then I remembered the iPad. The images appeared but I never imported them to see if they would load. So I bring them back up, import a few, and they totally showed up and imported fine. Lightroom...

Some Things I Saw at NAB

I was fortunate enough to be covering new gear at NAB for Filmmaker Magazine. It was my first time there and overall a great experience.  There was a lot of cool updates and little gear solutions like clever light stands or inflatable softboxes, but no one item that totally blew me away. Here are some of my overall observations of the festival as a whole: 4 Observations from a First Time NAB Experience. In no particular order, here’s a rundown of what I wrote about. DJI is releasing their own gyro stabilizing rig like the MoVI called Ronin. It’ll be $5k. I got to play with the GH4 before it came out and learned a few things. I adjusted my order to drop the YAGH Interface. The upcoming Atomos Shogun looks like a better solution. Edelkrone has a whole series of pocket rigs, ranging from sliders to handles to rails. Handy grip gear from Manfrotto and Matthews. iOpgraher is a handy iPhone / iPad rig. Airbox softens LED lights. Tenba has a camera bag just for GoPros. The two big camera announcements were Blackmagic’s URSA and AJA’s CION (lots of caps). I was more impressed with URSA. Lowel is coming out with a small LED fresnel light. It’s adapted from a handheld rig they have which really only has a use for event videographers. But now it’ll be stand mountable with a battery accessory. Decent option on the low end of LED glass lights....

Shot on iPhone (Additional Equipment Used)

At the beginning of last month Apple came out with another great commercial featuring day in the life activities of people around the world using Apple products seamlessly in their life. The kicker at the end of the video is that the commercial itself was all shot on an iPhone. Everything in the video was shot on the same day (January 24, their 30th anniversary) and they released this BTS video showing how it was made with this futuristic video control center with FaceTime feeds of camera crews around the globe. While the filmmaking mission control center of the future was cool, what struck me was the amount of rigs and gear used in the production. I knew there would be some extra behind the scenes magic used, especially with the disclaimer at the end “Additional apps and equipment used.” But I didn’t realize it was this heavy duty. Swap out the iPhone with an Alexa or RED camera and it would look like the production of any other Apple commercial. While that does say a lot about the iPhone 5s’ image sensor, I think it says even more for the importance of camera rigs and professional crew and operators to get fantastic images. Here’s a mashup of my favorite rigs: iPhone on a MoVI? iPhone on a boom iPhone on a crane  ...

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