All posts in Personal Projects

  • Stella’s Adventure

    Presenting the continuing adventures of our wee beastie, Stella.

    We shot this about 6 months ago for Sunset Magazine and have been keeping it on the down low while they used it internally. Excited to finally share.

    Quick backstory: through the power of the Internets, Sunset Magazine (West Coast Lifestyle Magazine) found last year’s day-in-the-life flick of Stella and wanted something similar. The goal was to showcase a particular pet-friendly road trip in Northern California and Stella was just the dog for the job.

    Since Stella responds best to her owners, I decided it would be most effective for Lyn and I to be out in front of the camera for this project. It was an interesting experience directing from the business end of the camera. Thankfully, I had the brotastic Tyler Faires lensing this one.

    One of the unique challenges with this project was that all of the scenes needed to be in chronological and geographical order of the road trip (although I’ve deviated a little in the above “director’s cut”). It was a fun challenge to create something that is half narrative, half documentary, two-quarters music video, and seven-eigths social commentary on the proletariat exploitation of industrial unionism by the neo-Marxist class of socialist objectors. K, maybe not that last part. Just seeing if you were still reading.

    I threw together a few behind the scenes clips since that’s what the kids do these days. Thanks for watching!

    This was a relatively low budget project and I have many volunteers to thank for helping make this project happen.
    Crew: Tyler Faires, Ryan Hutchinson, Foster Lovelace, and Daniel & Michelle Gallagher for helping shoot the last scene which was cut. Sorry guys, at least we got to hang out. Additional Thanks: Greg Dean from The Fly Shop, Sports LTD, Chester Chamber of Commerce, Treats Dog Company, Hat Creek RV and Resort,
    Mt. Shasta Farmers Market, and Gawayne & Shelly, Chloe.

  • iPad Photoshoot

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A restless mind… or maybe too much late night pizza has you laying awake in bed. You decide that if you can’t sleep you might as well do something productive, so you fumble in the darkness for your iPad for one more round of Angry Birds. You power up and are instantly struck blind by a beam of light so bright that it burns “slide to unlock” into your retinas. You squint, roaches scatter, wife stirs, “Damn, that’s bright.”

    Sound familiar? This happens to me too often. Eventually, it dawned on me that, given the right context, the iPad screen is actually pretty bright. I know that for a fact because I measured it with my light meter (1/60, f1.4 at ISO800 from about 1.5 feet). You know once the light meter has come out of the bag, there’s no going back. Naturally, we needed to do a photoshoot using iPads as the light source.

    Luckily, I have friends who are very generous with their time and electronics and was able to scrounge up nine iPads. I mounted them onto plywood using some cheap hardware store brackets. This gave me three lights consisting of three iPads each. The light from an iPad is quite soft and diffuse. This makes the light fall-off steep. Adding more iPads didn’t translate to more brightness, but did mean we could light a larger area. Since the ‘Pads would need to be used somewhat close to the subject to get enough exposure, a simple, portrait style shoot seemed like the best option.

    Now before the haters start commenting let me first agree with you, yes, this is totally impractical (sidenote: most of my best ideas are often also my worst ideas). Nine iPads will set you back around $4,500. That amount of money can buy you a LOT of lumens in the form of a generic monobloc. This is not intended to be an exercise in excess, but rather a self-imposed limitation to help flex the creative muscles, and to make a point.

    Think about it. One 60 watt bulb can put out more light that a truckload of iPads. And you don’t have to spend truckloads of cash to find a 60 watt. This whole making art thing is all about what you do with what you have. We just happened to have a bunch of iPads laying around so we went with that. Today’s dSLR sensors are sensitive enough that you could easily do this with some flashlights, headlights, headlamps, real lamps, or even – heaven forbid – real strobes! Now go forth and do!

    Props:
    Model – Miranda Hull
    Make up – Michelle Gallagher
    Hair – Joanna Montemayor
    iPad Propagator – Josh Markle
    iPad Wranglers – Derek Sine, Corey Jindra
    Videographer – Tyler Faires
    Miracle Worker – Lyn Rosten

  • iPad + Velcro

    Two of mankind’s greatest inventions, together at last. Note: this is an exploration of what is possible, not necessarily what is practical. Tweet from the street at your own risk!
    iPad Version Here

  • iPad Shopping

    I wish I could say I was writing this post on an iPad. Alas, the Apple Fairy has yet to bequeath unto me the “ultimate mobile multimedia device” (Job’s words, not mine). But instead of sitting around pining over my iPadlessness, I’ve decided to mock up another iPad “experience.” I’m not going to say much about this one since it’s pretty self explanatory. Combine the convenience of shopping online with the familiartiy of a print layout. Sprinkle in a dash of novelty in the form of “living portraits” and wrap the whole thing up in a sleek, hand held device. I think this could be an interesting way to shop.

    The footage for this demo came from a stock footage fashion shoot we did a couple weeks ago. Here’s a little bit of randomness from the day:

    And just because the ladies did such a great job, here’s a few more clips of them posing.

  • Stella’s Day

  • Levi Leipheimer’s Gran Fondo

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    Last month Lyn and I jumped down to Santa Rosa to film Levi Leipheimer’s Gran Fondo. I know what you’re thinking, “What the heck is a gran fondo?” Well, according to levisgranfondo.com, it is a “long distance, mass-participation cycling event – not a race.” There, now you know. I must say it was a grand gran fondo. The course wound its way through deep, dark forests and across golden hillsides.

    The standard practice for covering cycling events is from the back of a motorcycle, or from a helicopter. Luckily, we had both. Carl Burchfiel, our fearless leader, wrestled a fully-kitted Red inside a tiny chopper while Lyn and I took the motos. I rode behind Bill and Lyn rode behind Val Kilmer Chad on his BMW 1200GS (For the record, I can neither confirm or deny the possibility of me being obsessed with this particular motorcycle).

    As I was building out my camera the night before, I discovered I was missing the top handle – probably left it in the rental car in Cleavland. Operating a Red One without a top handle is like trying to cut a steak without thumbs. It’s awkward, and makes you look stupid. Hanging onto the back of a speeding motorcycle made it all the more challenging. I still managed to get some decent moving shots from the back of the bike. The rest of the time we’d try to leapfrog Levi, pull over, and film as he passed. Lyn carried the tripod on her back and our motos rode together. We were a motorcycle gang of two.

    It was great meeting Levi. He’s a really nice guy and put together this ride as a fundraiser for the city of Santa Rosa and Forget Me Not Farm.

    What I learned on this shoot:
    * Size matters – can’t wait until Red comes out with some smaller cameras for this type of work. I hear the Scarlet should be out by 2015 [sarcasm].
    * Story, story, story – I was reminded that gorgeous vistas and cycling celebrities do not an interesting video make. It always has, and always will be about the story. Even though we had rough audio and limited time with The Levi, I think I managed to eek out a subtle story line here. Enjoy.

  • Portland Cyclocross

  • Cart – A Short Film

    Ever wonder how abandoned shopping carts end up where they do?  Me too.

    Cart
    Written & Directed by Jesse Rosten
    Music by Peter Lance

    The idea for this film was hatched a few years ago.  Lyn and I were driving through town and had Radiohead’s OK Computer on the CD player.  As we drove by an empty parking lot, we happened to notice a shopping cart looking rather lost and disheveled.  This visual, combined with Yorke’s longing melodies, had us both feeling like we were experiencing something dramatic and cinematic.  So, naturally, we started laughing.  The next few minutes were spent joking about “the little cart that could.”   “Wouldn’t that be funny if…” “He’s got the heart of a champion.”  Fast forward a few years and we hadn’t forgotten about the cart.  When I learned that my hometown was hosting a film festival to showcase local talent, the idea of the shopping cart resurfaced. Can’t get shown up on your home court, right?  A few beers with friends and many script revisions later and we had a story.

    The film was shot with no budget, over a few weeks.  The question I get asked the most is, “how did you get the cart to move?”  Simple.  String.  Ugly Braid 40lbs test fishing line to be exact.  We went through several brands before we found one that didn’t show too much on screen.  Even so, when shooting at 4k it’s hard to hide anything and I ended up having to comp the string out of a few of the shots.  Big thanks to Derek and Lyn for all their hard work on the production.  Also, this film wouldn’t be what it is without the beautiful music composed by Peter Lance.

    Please enjoy the film and don’t hesitate to ask (in the comments section) if you have any questions.  For the tech-heads, this was shot on a Red One with Canon EOS lenses via the Birger lens mount.