Blog: You Are More Than You Think

When I was in Australia for college, teachers from all over the world would come to do seminars. Most of the time I was day dreaming but once in a while they would share a story that would capture my attention.

One speaker told us about two bricklayers. One was asked what he did for a living, he answered, “I lay bricks down.” When the other was asked the same question he answered, “I build cathedrals.”

All through out college in Australia I was told, “Go after your dreams! Change the world.” When I returned home it seemed like all my college mates were doing just that except for me. For years I felt like I was, “just laying down bricks.”

I follow so many amazing people on twitter, sometimes it makes what I am doing seem small.

I started off in the graphics department at The Rock Church updating their bulletin. A year later, I was asked to help out in the video department for some of their conference videos and was soon promoted to be a video editor. Everyday I was learning and growing but I didn’t feel like I was, “changing the world.”

And that’s when I went on a journey.

During this time I discovered my dream is whatever God dreams of. His plan is better than what I can think of. Second is, I’m not just a video editor but I am a voice. I realized all the work I do behind the scenes, has great purpose.

My vision for myself 10 years ago was to create junk mail. God’s vision for me was to lead a media team of an amazing church. I am now the Tina Fey at my job.

We look at our self and only see our ability but when we look to God, we see His, which has no limits.

This song has a great line that spoke to me.

“I wanted fame cause I thought fame would prove to me that I was great. It never came, I was a failure to myself, its the weight of the world that swallow you alive…Spirit First.”

Now, I know I am building cathedrals.

Blog: Monica Opener

Growing up I always felt different from my friends. When the show Felicity first aired I was a freshman in high school. Hearing her thoughts and watching her journey through college I knew it was her life that I wanted. She was meeting new people, making new friends and discovering a new city. Her admiration for Ben and friendship with Noel made me dream of a time when I too would be a grown up. She was a girl who had deep thoughts, was honest to the world she lived in and desired to grow as a person.

I often look at my own life as a TV show. I the protagonist desire to reach a goal but am faced with conflict, it is up to me to make the right decisions to achieve a happy ending. What I’ve learned over the past few months is that the ending is just the beginning. A good story takes the main character on a journey they never thought of, a story that is full of surprises and twist, we relate to this because its how life works. We think we know where its going but in a few months we ask our self, how did we get here?

February I left my job to discover something new. I set out on my journey with the blessings of those in my world and set off to find the answer to my question: “Where do I belong?”

Felicity followed a boy to New York and found herself instead. I left my job to answer a question and now I have to trust God more than ever before with that answer. I admit I have no idea where He is taking me. I just know the next season of my life is going to be full of surprise and I’m glad I have such good friends to share it with.

This week, I start a new chapter. Its going to be strange to go back to work but I’m excited for the new challenges ahead.

Felicity Season 1 Opener:

 

Blog: Now Boarding

The more I think about the past six months, the honest the answers become to my questions. February I left my job to pursue editing in the industry and to move to Canada. It appears the reason I left wasn’t about my career, my goals, or anyone else but it was about getting on the right road to lead me to my fate.

At one point in all of our lives we stop and have to look at our self in the mirror. We ask our self questions we would commonly ask a stranger: Who are you? Where are you going?

If we are honest, most of the time we don’t know the answer to those questions. I guess we have to decide when we are going to answer them. Search for the truth? Or keep on moving in whatever direction you are moving towards.

After I left my job in February, I could feel myself getting lost – I no longer knew where I was going. I thought I was moving forward because I was going towards a goal I made five years ago but my inner dialogue was haunting me.

As I was living the dream, traveling the world, meeting new people, seeing new sights and drinking the best teas in the world, I was faced with a question every person ask themselves at one point, “Where do I belong?” I felt like I could live anywhere in the world and survive but the real question is, “Where do You want me God?”

From travel to travel, day-to-day, month to month, I asked this question. I received my answer in Paris but it wasn’t until I was in Vancouver did I listen.

“You belong at your post.”

The journey was needed to find the answer.

Those on the outside wont understand, they will think she failed. They will think she couldn’t find a job, they will whisper she tried. But I will say I went, I learned, I saw, I heard, I found peace, I found faith, I discovered the answer, I found where I belong, I found who I am, I know who I am following, I trust where He is leading, stopping was necessary, listening meant doing, and going back means I am ready to move forward.

The differences between me and others is that I want to go where He wants me not where they say I should be. Not even where I think I want to be. “I want my dream to be Your dream, it’s where I am the most happiest Father. You know me better than I will ever know myself, You know eternity.”

If the past few months were a movie, my life would be a Miniplot- opening ending, inner conflict, self discovery…yes, it would be your classic indie movie. The movie will end where it started.. San Bernardino, but the audience will leave the theater with a new discovery about where they are in their own life.

Next month, I will be returning to my old job to do a new job. A place that was created for me. A position with new challenges, responsibility, and possibilities. I will be in charge of the TV department, a boss, a supervisor, a leader. I have only been given a glimpse of where we will be going, but I know it’s somewhere no one thought possible, not even myself.

I finally made it to the correct platform.
Now Boarding a new adventure.

VBlog: Live Healthy

The best place to get advice about a subject is from someone who is living the life style. Christina is a friend of mine from church, her Facebook post have been so motivating to me, I asked her to do a video about health. “Teach me how to live healthy, I have no idea where to start!”

I know if I have this request, others may too. Here is a 10-mintue video on the basics.

@:12- The Start
@:32- Shopping Smarter
@1:11- Breakfast
@2:10- Set goals
@2:28- Working Out
@3:22- Equipment
@5:21- Eating Out
@6:12- Grocery Shopping
@8:30- Resources

Bio: Christina is a stay-a-home mom who is passionate about living healthy.

Credits: Music by Ratatat

VBlog: How to Interview

Some tips on how to interview.

1. Prepare
2. Eye Contact
3. Keep it Fresh
4. Don’t be Shy

Particle
-Audio
-Tape or Card
-Lighting
-Background

One last note: Make sure you know your gear before you show up for the interview, check your bags before you leave to see you have everything you need. And don’t forget your notes! 🙂

 

Photos: Capturing the Everydays

My favorite pictures to take are of my nephews. I love watching them play and interact with each other. They remind me of life’s greatest joy, having each other. When I arrived at my sister’s house I told David I was there to play and visit with him and Jacob (instead of using the babysitting term.) They welcomed me with open arms and allowed me in their world.

Its amazing when I think about the days when my sisters and I use to play together.  Time passes by so fast, if we don’t take the time to stop and notice, soon, the years would have passed by. Good thing for photos and video, they help us remember what we’ll probably forget. They capture the everydays.

VBlog: When Film School Isn’t an Option

I received an email today with a few questions about what to do when you wanna go to film school but can’t afford it. Yes, I know this question too well since I asked myself it a few times. I’m on the journey as well so I answer this question from my personal experience.

Resources:

Hillsong Youtube Channel

Hillsong College – media program

Blink of an Eye & The Art of Editing Film by Walter Murch

Imagine How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

Also check out: Rebel without a Crew by Robert Rodriguez

Video: A Journey Battling Breast Cancer

One of the last projects I worked on at The Rock was Pam’s story about her battle with Breast Cancer. There would be times when I would watch my cut to review it and be taken by her faith and courage. I was excited when I was told it would be played at the weekend services. That meant 13,000 people would also be encouraged by Pam’s bravery.

(7 Minutes)

Thank you Pam for opening up your journey, I know it will help and encourage so many others.

Audio: Editing and Ministry

Audio advice about editing and ministry. This could also apply for working at a company and not just a church.

Here is the 2011 year end video I did at The Rock. I wanted to give more than just number, I wanted to tell the story.

A Video Critique

The best part of having a blog is meeting people. I love getting email from dreamers, editors, visionaries and artist. Mandy emailed me with a few questions about editing. The cool thing is that she took my advice and reworked her video. Her second version looked like a whole different event.

After watching her first version, I emailed her back with a few tips:

The thing to learn is your equipment, the better you know what it does the better your footage will be. Remember focus is important on your shots and try to keep your motion smooth if you are going handheld and moving one place to another.
Know what you want to focus on in your framing.
Also don’t be shy about getting in to people’s faces and asking them to smile. What is happening on stage is just half of what is taking place, the crowd’s reaction will make great cut-aways when you are going to the next shot. You are making your viewer a part of the experiences.
Use the higher number of lens (70-200mm) on a tripod to get some close-ups.
As for sound, if you are filming for a church or venue, see if the sound guy can give you a copy of the mix they are recording, sometimes you can get the clean mix and then sync it up later.
The length of a video is everything. Keep the rhythm and story flowing. Captivate the viewer. You need what is called “a ramp”: For your recap video you can build up to the concert, people saying, “I can’t wait…” “I’m excited…”, then transition to the stage, the crowd going crazy, you can add a clip of someone saying something inspiring, pick up the pace at the end either with the soundtrack or editing to end with a bang. The over all point: People’s lives are being changed, they are connecting with God.
As the editor you are taking the viewer on the same journey that would have happened if they were there in the crowd. The excitement, the experience and the impact.
Your video is full of great footage but now make it in to a story that will change lives!

Here are a few questions she asked me:

1. Do you create a timeline/storyboard for every project you do..or is it more experimenting with clips and seeing what comes of it?

I create a timeline for videos that require me to hit certain points. It keeps the video on track. I create scripts when important information has to be given and a story board for animation. If you are the only one working on the video then its your job to be very strategic. Know the purpose of the project. Close your eyes and play the video in your mind.

2. Do you choose the song first and work around it, or do you work out some footage, then choose a song?

Sometimes a song inspires a video and you know exactly what you want. Most of the time finding the right soundtrack can take time. Music is powerful. It carries emotions and feelings, knowing what vibe you want to give will help bring out your vision.
Before I start editing I like to find the type of song I want, if I am getting a song created then I show the composer what I am looking for. When the track is finished I swap the soundtrack and re-edit the sequence to match better.

3. Is there such a thing as recording too much footage? or the more the better?

Yes and no. Too much footage can waste time looking through it, but not having enough can leave the editor in need of more. The key is quality. You can have hours of footage but if there isn’t one single shot that could be used then its useless. As an editor I prefer to shoot my footage only because I know what I want. But if someone else is shooting then I have a conversation with them and tell them what I want. I also remind them to hold their shots three seconds before and after. Having a shot list is handy. Sometimes the hype of shooting can cause a person to forget what they need to get. I like to mark things off as I go. Then once I have everything, I shot random stuff or give the footage to the editor or capture it.

4. If you don’t have footage you need, how do you work around it?

If I don’t have footage that I need then I look for stock footage, photos, film something abstract or plan to create some motion graphics.

5. I saw in an interview where you said that when you worked with Hillsong Australia…if there was one uninteresting shot, you had to start all over again. Is that a good rule of thumb?..to start over from scratch if the video’s not working?

When I was at Hillsong they taught me the value of a frame. Each frame matters, each frame is with full intent, nothing is random. If a video isn’t working then starting over helps but it probably just needs to be re-worked. There are some videos where I have different version. The great thing about editing digital is that you can try out many things but beware of wasting time or over working a project.

Well that was a video critique. Know that more than anything be yourself, edit, have fun, learn, ask questions, if you make mistakes, learn from them, and stay humble. One thing I do know is that I don’t know everything. 🙂

When You’re Out of Times and Ideas

When creating in After Effects its easy to get frustrated. For one, there is the blank canvas. The beginning stage of, “not knowing what you want to do”, can in itself waste time. Deadlines can be your worst enemy or best friend. They help you make up your mind and get on with your life.

You might begin with a few ideas and find that trying those ideas are costing you hours. What you need is a solid idea.

Search around and find some art work of colors you like and see if it fits the project. Next look through your files and see if there is anything you’ve created before that you can re-use in your new project. Then close your eyes and image movement taking place. Now animate your design and bring it to life. Don’t feel bad for trying something out and deleting it after. The earlier you admit to yourself its not working, the less time you will waste. Chances are the next attempt will be, “the one”..if not, go back and get a new idea.

Creativity begins with an idea.. if you are at a wall and have no ideas, then don’t feel bad if you have to copy another person’s ideas but the key is to make it our own. When I was interning at Warner Brothers, they did this all the time. They research other designs and copied ideas. After seeing this I no longer felt guilty for getting inspiration from other places. Notice I didn’t say “copy” someone’s video.” The internet is a small world.

For this countdown, I was low on time. I opened up a past conferences title opener,  adjusted the colors, and camera view. It took me sometime to animate it but it was the design that took the longest to come up with.

Audio: Advice to a New Editor

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Duration 20 minutes (Audio doesn’t work on mobiles)

Audio Notes:

After Effects – Motion Graphics & Effects – Free Basic Training

Final Cut Pro – Video Editing software – Paid Basic Training

Ask yourself: What is your goal?

Learning software and try out what you want to do.

Be honest with yourself on what you really want to do.

Best experiences: Volunteering & Interning

After Effect example video

Movie Scene Project Blog

Learn by doing.

School is good if you can, if not put yourself in your own school.

READ AND DO. Book list blog & After Effects

Give yourself projects; You’ll learn the language of video, pace, time management, learn from mistakes.

Learn from failure. It will happen, learn how to grow from it.

Challenge yourself, “Have I improved?”

Have a platform where you can share your work.

Success comes by working hard.

When your working hard on something you love, it doesn’t feel like work at all.

Blog: My vintage baby (my nephew)

Video of my nephew visiting my grandpa.

Don’t get caught up making stuff for money, money will come, if you love doing what you do people will see that and hire you to do it.

A paid shoots

The important part is knowing what you’re doing.

Using what you have.

Learn the fundamentals on how to tell a story. Book: Blink of an Eye by Walter Murch

Free Mpeg Stream clip download

Freelance: ask, “Do you have a budget for this?” ask yourself, “What is my time worth?”

Volunteering and interning: your pay is the experiences.

Create projects that you want to get hired to do.

People will pay you to do what they already know you can do, they don’t want to pay for your experiment they want to pay for a guaranteed product.

Put yourself in your own school, read books, give yourself projects and deadlines.

Learn how to manage others: communication is key, don’t be afraid to ask for help, to correct, to critique.

Do it all in love for the greatness of the team. The goal is to get things done, by the deadline.

PC: After Effects & Premiere.

Mac: After Effects & Final Cut Pro. (Editing for Film: Avid)

You need the experiences, you need to prove what you can do.

Editing is a lot like life, you’re putting it together.

Get a journal: write projects and creative ideas.

Use your creative muscle.

Creatlive.com – Photography class on line

**share your work with me**

Life is beautiful and I desire to share that with everyone… awwww 🙂

Hope this helped. Feel free to ask any questions that you might have.

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Project Movie Scene

I notice my photography gets better every time I do a shoot. Its mainly because I keep on shooting, even when no one hires me out, I still pick up my camera and shot. Why? Because I love it.

What I really love is to edit. I want to edit films one day and even make them. How and when? Who knows. To be honest, I want to make movies now.  I want to learn the art of storytelling, editing, directing and everything that goes in to capturing a scene. The best way to learn this is to do it. I am apart of a very lucky generation. I own a great camera, editing software and have a massive audiences called the internet. The only thing stopping me from making a movie is me.

I came up with the idea to film a scene that would be in a movie every month, more often if possible. I will gather a few actors, give them the storyline and have them act it out. By doing this I will learn how to communicate, how to shoot, and edit a scene. Here I will make mistakes and learn from them.

I filmed the first of Project Movie Scene this evening. I can’t tell you how much fun I had doing it. It seemed to re-fuel my passion for filming.

Its called, “I am a Kid.”

7 Questions with an Assistant Film Editor

I’ve been looking to connect with a female film editor for years. After all its my dream job to edit a film.
Kim is an Assistant Film Editor and on her newest project she is an Apprentice Editor.
When she sent me back the answers, I was blown away at her insight. She gave me  a lot to think about.

-Thank you so much Kim for taking the time to answer my seven questions.

Here we go:

Kim Huston, Assistant Film Editor

1. What responsibilities does an Assistant Film Editor have?

In my experience the Assistant Editor on a feature film is very much the Editor’s right-hand-man. The Editor relies on the Assistant to keep them up to date and prepared for the work ahead.When you give them the dailies for that day, the Editor assumes everything is accounted for and error free because it isn’t their responsibility to check. Check for errors or inconsistencies, or sync issues in dailies, then organize in the most sensible fashion, and keep everything consistent in your method. Your main goal as an Assistant Editor is to make life easier for the Editor.
The AE is also the one in contact with production for receiving footage, and paperwork, and whatever else they need to send. So keeping up to date with them is important. They get caught up in their busy day and sometimes forget to send things and it’s easy to lose track of what came in and what didn’t. The paperwork upkeep is necessary for the Editor to properly work as well. It will slow them down if new footage has come in, but the current line pages and facing pages aren’t there to accompany.
DVDs and digital files get requested all the time by the Director, Producers, distributors and marketing, Mixers and VFX houses, etc etc.  So the Assistant Editor makes all of those happen as well.
It’s a lot of providing and appeasing, while always having your Editor’s back and working as a team to make things work. It’s an interesting, but fun relationship to have with someone. It’s like being on a capture the flag team of 2! Strategize and work together!

2. What have you found to be the best training in becoming a film editor?

The best training I’ve found for becoming a Film Editor is to do TONS of projects on your own, so you learn the craft and aren’t bogged down by technology. Watch a lot of movies! You should know your craft and what other people are doing. And read theory books, especially by Walter Murch. He has such a smart and eye opening (haha, Walter Murch book reference joke) way of explaining his choices and methods of editing.
I’d say film school doesn’t help a whole lot, but that’s probably not true of the top schools on the two coasts as compared to mine in the midwest. Going to school with teachers who are actively working in the business, who have connections and offer you jobs is SUCH an advantage. The other part about doing, watching and reading ensures you’re good enough to accept the job offers from your great school connections.

3. Have you ever had to work on a project you were uncomfortable with?

No, I haven’t worked on anything that I was uncomfortable with. Some things I wouldn’t personally watch or enjoy, yes. Nothing offensive.

4. What makes a good editor?

I think a good Editor can define a project, but knows they’re working on someone else’s baby and doesn’t overshadow. A good Editor will know what “style” the project calls for and it’s not about showing off. A good Editor can drive the story, and should. A good Editor adds to the story instead of takes away, covers up, or pulls back the curtain to reveal every cut.

5. What are film makers and directors looking for when choosing an editor?

In a perfect and professional scenario, Directors will look for a person who 1, they can get along with and is a team player and  2, will successfully pull off their vision. I think they look for a creative partner in crime.

6. Sometimes on credits next to the editor I see A.C.E. What does it stand for? 

The A.C.E. stands for American Cinema Editors. It’s not a union, but more of an honorary cool kids table.
(There is a different union) I call it the “cool kids table” not to be flippant, but because it’s where you want to be, and you have to prove yourself to get there, and then you get to show off your fancy new suffix. It seems a bit coveted. The rules of admittance sound a little like those of an ivy league school. But I fully admit to aspiring to be able to join one day! It’s all about getting to sit with the awesome people at lunch.

7. What advice would you give to a FCP video editor who would like to transition in to film? (me haha)

Well there are plenty of films cut on Final Cut. I’d say learn Avid too. You wouldn’t want to NOT get work because of the program you use, so know them all! Otherwise, my advice is meet people specifically working in features. I’ve learned… very slowly… that it’s ALL about who you know and just a piece of paper with your qualifications gets you nearly nowhere.

— so good, Kim you are awesome… 🙂

Connect with Kim:
Website
Twitter

Video: Sony Footage

Here is a promo video I made for work. It shows off footage I captured with our new camera, Sony XDCAM EX. There are a few clips in the video that were shot with our older Panasonic DVCPRO HD camera. The Panasonic footage looks like I scaled it up but in fact its just not as clear as the Sony.

I found that it did great in low light without adding a lot of grain. The room I filmed in is always very dark. (Thanks lighting guys.) Also the footage was great to color grade in After Effects. Its a great camera to use when you have to make a video fast. I shot and created this in four hours.

Even though I own the Canon 7D HDSLR, I don’t use it sometimes because of deadline purposes. The Canon HDSLR series are still the best cameras to shoot video with (in my opinion). But its not the pick up and shoot kinda camera.

The evolution of the video camera is getting better and better. Can’t wait to pick one up that looks as good as a HDSLR.

Video: The Story of a Fallen Hero

The past few months I have been working on a special project for a family from my church. They asked me to create a video about the life of their son.

I don’t do very many side video projects because the time it takes but when the father asked me, I could see it in his eyes that this project was very important. We then began to work together on a script and arrange interviews.

As I came to the end of editing the video, I realized that the men and women who sign up for the military enter into a whole different reality. They sacrifice their lives to fight for freedom and for the safety of Americans.  Raymond’s life displayed passion for the service and love for his friends and family.

Now when I hear of soldiers dying overseas, I think of Raymond and what their family have been though. It was an honor to tell Raymond’s story.

The video is 20 minutes. Feel free to share your thoughts.
This video was created for the Murphy Family.

Credits:

Interviews, filming, video editing, audio recording:  Monica Briano
Script: Monica Briano & Paul Murphy
Voice over: Jamaal Brown
War details and family footage provided by : Paul Murphy
Various War and News clips: Youtube sources
Soundtrack: Halo 3 & Clint Mansell