All posts tagged iPhone

  • Moto Euro 2012

    I spent last October zipping around Europe with my significantly lovely other on a pair of motorcycles. We did the Europe sampler: Germany, Switzerland, a corner of France, Northern Italy, and Austria. It was my first time in Europe and I was thrilled to do it on two wheels.

    I wanted to create something different with this video (in addition to not spending too much time shooting on vacation). My goal was to combine the inherent nostalgia of photographs with the storytelling power of motion and sound. The result is a unique look at our trip that might induce seizures.

    Technical details are boring. Nevertheless, this video is a little unique and probably deserves a little deconstruction.

    I took three cameras with me on this trip: GoPro Hero2, Fuji x100, and, as always, the iPhone. The motion sections of this vid where shot with the GoPro in 0.5 time lapse mode. That’s one picture every half second. Most of the B&W snaps where from the other two cams.

    Not every shot worked at 2fps. I had to take special care to move slow and smooth, always leaving something consistent in frame for the eye to follow. I think the jumpiness worked stylistically and I tried to match that feel with the way I edited the piece. There were a few shots that I really liked but were just too jittery so I stabilized them with the old-school motion tracker in After Effects. Warp Stabilizer didn’t work. It had seizures.

    Speaking of post, the nice thing about shooting 11mp stills (I opted for 5mp to save space) is that my footage was essentially 4k. Not a bad output from such a little camera. I used After Effects to assemble the stills into 12fps video clips. I left the assembled video clips at their native resolution and aspect ratio of 4:3. This gave me the flexibility to zoom and reframe shots as necessary.

    I think that about covers it? Hit me in the comments (or on Twitter) if you have more questions.

  • Busy, busy, busy.

    No rest for the weary. I was in Cleveland last week working on a campaign video for a US Senate race. Had one night in my own bed and then was off again. Spent last weekend in Santa Rosa filming pro cyclist Levi Leipheimer during his Gran Fondo ride. Lyn and I enjoyed a thrilling day wrestling the Red and a tripod on the back of a couple of motorcycles. Thumbs up to Bill and Chad our excellent moto drivers. Thumbs down to the angry rancher who used his truck as a weapon, driving over my tripod bag and stopping literally inches away from a *very* expensive camera. I’ll tell you the story over drinks sometime.

    I’m home for a week now, long enough to catch up on some last minute editing before I fly off to Colorado to shoot a wedding. Can’t wait to see the fall colors in that part of the country. I leave you with a few iPhone shots from the last few weeks of whirlwinding.

  • Hitchcock Mobile Storyboard App


    Storyboards are a valuable production tool, but creating them is such a pain. Why is it so hard? Well, filmmaking is hard, and when you storyboard you are essentially “writing” the visuals of your film. Many creative decisions come into play. You’re acting as director, director of photography, and editor all at once.  You’re deciding what shots, with what lens, and in what order tell your story best. No easy task. And when you can’t draw your way out of a paper bag (like me), spontaneity and creativity gets stifled. Wondering what that shot might look like from a bird’s eye view? Sure, just give me…20, 30 minutes or so. And I’m going to need a couple more erasers. Enter Hitchcock (frame left).

    Hitchcock is a mobile storyboarding application for the iPhone. Instead of tediously drawing each panel, you use photos. This is a no-brainer for me. I’m already using my iPhone camera for location scouting. Now I can have a working storyboard before even leaving the location. The process is simple. Launch the app and import photos via your photo library or shoot photos straight from the camera. Each picture becomes a “panel” in your finished board. You can rearrange panels, set their duration, add characters (silhouettes), add markup arrows and text, record audio, keyframe pans and zooms. Wow. But by far the best feature of this app is that it gives you an animatic of your board. At any point you can hit play and see how your shots cut together, complete with recorded audio and camera moves. This is an invaluable feature for anyone storyboarding with time constraints (like a :30 commercial spot for example). When you’re finished, you can export the whole thing to a PDF and email it to the client or crew.

    Reasons to buy Hitchcock:

    1. It’s Mobile. You never know when and where inspiration will strike.
    2. It’s intuitive. If you know how to work your iPhone, you can work this app. I love the tactile feel of positioning characters and rearranging panels.
    3. It’s cheap. If $20 is too much to spend on a tool that will likely enhance your creative process, well then maybe filmmaking isn’t your thing. Twenty bucks is how much I used to spend at Starbucks scribbling with a pencil for three hours trying to finish the shading on that upper lip.

    A few things I’d love to see in the next version. An export-to-video feature so I can email myself the animatic. I don’t know how the guts of the iPhone work but I’m guessing this might be an OS limitation. Also, the ability to add a music bed would be sweet. 

    Here’s an example of a Hitchcock storyboard being turned into an actual spot. Check it:


    This app is a valuable tool that every filmmaker should have. Do yourself, your productions, and your clients a favor and check it out.

    Visit for more juicy info on Hitchcock.