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ROVING CAMERA BLOG • Books / Writing • Travel • Production

New Award & Reviews for SHOWDOWN at SHINAGAWA: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil

My book SHOWDOWN at SHINAGAWA tells true stories from my long career as a director of photography, working on film and digital cinema shoots across the U.S. and all around the world—Japan, India, China, Uganda, the Philippines, New Zealand, France, Singapore, England, Taiwan, Mexico, and Brazil.

The book has recently been honored as a Commended Winner in Non-Fiction in the 2014 Self-Publishing Review Awards. One of the three highest non-fiction awards!

RECENT REVIEWS

  • “Funny, sweet, and wise…deeply moving human interest stories…the doctor in India who doesn’t charge for treating people via telemedicine, the young man in England with cystic fibrosis who has a new lease on life thanks to a portable nebulizer, and the medical student in Uganda who is tirelessly working to help his people.”—Foreword Clarion Reviews
  • “The author recalls his near ‘big break’…as a novice director doing preproduction in the Philippines for a low-budget Japanese sci-fi film…Thumbs up for this filmmaker’s collection of postcards from the edge.”—Kirkus Reviews
  • “’Shanghai Lunch’ is a funny little vignette about Westerners trying Chinese delicacies. ‘The Big Break: Malaise in Manila’ is a great little humor piece for those of you just dying to know how a B-movie gets made.”—IndieReader
  • “The book…really pulls together as a narrative about humanity in general in a very intriguing and heartwarming way, even when . . . CONTINUE READING: New Award & Reviews for SHOWDOWN at SHINAGAWA: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil
  • ROVING CAMERA BLOG • Production

    Dragon’s Cheeseball Rig

    A cheeseball rig is a setup where necessity spawns bizarre offspring, where crewmembers put the gear together in a new and odd way, often because of a missing item, which would have made life much simpler. Like the NASA guys ingeniously kluging together an improved air scrubber on Apollo 13, using only materials on hand … duct tape, baling wire, paper clips. Innovation in the face of adversity.

    Most of all, it has to be funky.

    At least four or five times – and twice in the last year – I’ve had the pleasure of working with a gaffer in China, a lighting professional from Hong Kong with the unlikely name of Dragon Lau. Dragon often works with Andrew Leung of Asia Films . . . CONTINUE READING: Dragon’s Cheeseball Rig

    Production • Tech • APPs

    Production APPtitude: Sun Seeker

    This is the first in a series of posts about useful iPhone apps for film and video production.

    In the past few months, during my shoots overseas, I have been confronted by producers, crew members, drivers, waiters, and ordinary folks on the street, using iPhones for texting, tweeting, gaming, emailing, translating, navigating, Facebooking, computing currencies, listening to music, showing photos, shooting video, sometimes even talking on the phone … and exploring new apps created to help people like us, who work in film and video production.

    Apple products have long been popular with folks in the visual media. In the US, I am used to seeing Macs and iPhones on production crews; sometimes nearly everyone has one! But recently, while traveling in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Brazil, and, to some extent, China, it’s been hard to miss the remarkable proliferation of the iPhone.

    This surge in iPhone sales abroad was not unexpected. Early last year, Apple projected an enormous increase in its iPhone exports. Yet in September, when I found three Swiss cabbies in a row with their personal iPhones mounted on their taxis’ dashboards, I was still taken by surprise.

    I have long admired (and sometimes been involved with) the wild proliferation of previous world-changing, market-defining products from Apple. I shot the video which Steve Jobs used when announcing the first iPod (and the first iMac and the swing-arm iMac and the iTunes Music Store, for that matter). For the iPod project, I shot musicians, artists, . . . CONTINUE READING: Production APPtitude: Sun Seeker

    ROVING CAMERA BLOG • Travel • Production

    Continental Drift

    I’m hunkering down at home right now after a three-week trip through Europe and South America to shoot a global corporate medical film. Our route took four of us – and 13 cases of video and audio gear – drifting through the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, and Brazil. Plus one day shooting here in the San Francisco Bay Area last Monday.

    Tomorrow, Sunday, we go to China to finish shooting the project. It will be the fourth continent on this shoot for DIT Jim Rolin and me. Director David Rathod and producer Anne Sandkuhler joined us for the travel legs in Europe. After shooting at three locations in the US, director Randy Field and producer Lori Wright then joined Jim and me for the long schlep down to Brazil.

    <<See also Eerie Times at USP, Brazil: My First iPhone Video>>

    And what a schlep it was! Nine flights in 19 days: SFO–>Frankfurt–>Amsterdam–>Geneva–>Hamburg–>Geneva–>Washington Dulles–>Sao Paulo–>JFK–>SFO. Nearly 24,000 miles, a real butt-burner. Somewhere over the Atlantic between Switzerland and coastal US, I surpassed 50,000 miles on United this year, qualifying me for coveted Premier Executive status in their mileage program. Only mileage whores like me care about such things. I’m like George Clooney in “Up in the Air,” except without the chicks and without the firings … and the looks …

    We’re shooting this job with a Panasonic 3700 camera and Fujinon 16×6.3mm zoom. For our interviews, we’re using a Zeiss 28mm f1.6 DigiPrime. Our interviewees look directly into the . . . CONTINUE READING: Continental Drift