Self Portrait

 

Documentary

Nature

Abstract

Portraits

Motion

Landscapes

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When we started work on this piece, Jessica Pierce wanted to tell a story about a comedian who is at the end of his rope. Nothing seems to work out for him, but at the same time somehow he is able to make people laugh. 

What was incredibly challenging for me was shooting this film. The entire piece is shot in a single long take. There were a few points where we could have cheated the effect, but we went over a few options and felt it was best for the film to do it in one take.

As students, we don't have an excessive amount of options to shoot steady long takes. A glidecam might have worked, but the balance can be tricky and they take a long time to learn. The small one I owned would not have worked well for this film. A friend of mine has a Ronin-M, but those are heavy and still not quite the level of control we needed. What we settled on was a Zhiyun Crane meant for mirrorless cameras. Think of a DJI Osmo built for bigger cameras.

One big problem we faced was focus. The rig we were using didn't have room for a follow focus, and none of us had a remote focus puller or cine lenses that would help with several variables. Because of that, we had to rely on higher ISOs and autofocus to pull of the effect, and while it failed sometimes I still think it was worth trying. It helped us learn the limits of what we had, and how far we could go with them.

I just took it as a way to explore the different sides of people, and how we can be one way around certain people but be totally different around others. That’s why I really wanted a one-shot. To follow that transformation in one fluid motion without breaking the momentum of the moment.
— Jessica Pierce, Director
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During my Advanced Editing class at Webster we were provided several projects with footage already shot. This documentary followed the story of Craig and Natalie Sobata, and their son Mason, who was born with down syndrome. No script was provided, so we were instructed to "find a story, and tell it."

That sounds vague, but it's meant to be on purpose. Everyone in the class approached the story differently. All of the pieces that came out of this class were unique in their own way, and it was enlightening how many different ways the same story can be told.

 

On a side note, after finishing the class and this documentary as my final assignment for the semester, I reached out to Mason's mother to show her this edit. I was really proud of this version after getting feedback from the class critiques so I hoped she might like it. Thankfully she loved it, and both of her boys are still doing very well.

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At the end of 2015 the City of Union was hit with a record setting amount of flooding. I wanted to see if I could not only capture the flooding, but see if I could create something moving by only shooting on an iPhone. The result was actually pretty good, and through sharing this video a lot I managed to get it fairly high on the Youtube search results.

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A tradition our church has had for years is taking a look back at the year on our last service. Last year I had the privilege of making the video since I did a fair bit of media work that year. It was a huge amount of fun, and is always great to watch to bring back memories. 

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This was a fun little project to work on. My sister and her friend both wanted to do a Smoothie Challenge (which I would never want to do, but I'm totally ok with filming). So after moving a few lampshades and hiding a Blue Snowball and laptop just off stage, I taped my iPhone to a music stand and used my Galaxy S3 as a second camera when needed.

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shot on iphone - music montage

When I heard Webster would be celebrating their 100th birthday by having different types of dance shown off throughout the entire day at different events, I knew it would be fantastic for video. This was before I owned my own personal equipment, and hadn't shot a lot of videos yet, so my iPhone 6S would just have to do.

Once everything was shot, I went back through the footage to match as best I could the music they were dancing to with tracks I could find online. Obviously this doesn't exactly fair well with copyright laws, but thanks to YouTube's copyright tagging the original creators can run ads or put annotations to the original content in the video so they will still get credit for their work.

Once everything was shot, edited, and ready to go to the internet, that's when spreading this thing by word of mouth really took off. I shared it with the university directly, sent it to the head of the dance department, and any other officials associated with the event so as many people as possible could appreciate it. Looking at the views now compared to the university's own student newspaper and another student who made a video, I'd say the strategy worked out pretty well.

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