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What do you shoot (video/film) for fun, if anything?


Michael Hammond
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COVID has kind of forced me to slow down in my professional shooting of corporate and commercial work. Just like a lot of other people. And totally against my will for sure, but I've actually started taking an interest again in filming freight trains here on the East Coast of the US.  Filming trains is something I used to love doing and I actually had a business many years ago of filming them, creating and packaging DVDs for other 'railfans' to watch. Then things got too busy with my 'real' work and I couldn't find time to go out and just sit next to an active line and watch them come and go while reading a book.

It's interesting to me to see the differences in how I approach filming them now (2020) as opposed to the time before I started studying cinematography (2006-2010-ish). For starters, I spend a lot more time figuring out framing and panning, planning each shot rather than just setting up a camera and hitting record, my exposure expertise is so much better now (using a meter or false color instead of winging it), shooting with a cinema camera and Zoom as opposed to a handheld and onboard mic, carrying a slider or dolly in and out of the woods to add some dynamism to shots, no zooming in and out vs. always zooming in and out in the old days.

For others who work professionally, what do you shoot for fun? Vacation videos, family, short films, flowers, sunrises? How do you approach it? With a DP eye or do you just wing it to relax and have some fun?

To make this more fun - no 'photography' answers. Has to be film or video.

Edited by Michael Hammond
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Funny you like filming trains, I do as well. I haven't gotten into the business yet, but I have a train doc I'm going to fund next year about the history of steam. Kind of like "The love of Trains" from National Geographic, only more focused on "steam" in general. 

I've done a multitude of "for fun" documentary series for the sake of having fun. 

The biggest one is called "We Love Motocross" which is a 7 part series about riding/racing motocross from a wide range of age groups. It's really a great series for anyone wanting to ride dirt bikes; https://vimeo.com/channels/736966

I also have a youtube channel full of dirt bike and road racing videos, most of them are part of a continuous series. Two series, one called "Club Racer" which was shot on SD cameras over a decade ago and the other is called "MX The Beginning" which was shot on HD cameras, the last 6 or so episodes on my Blackmagic Pocket cameras. https://www.youtube.com/user/tye1138/featured

The 2nd series, which is not really finished, but it's still entertaining, is a 4 part about some interesting people I've met in my life called  "The Professionals". I've tried to stay away from "entertainment industry" people, so it's been a challenge to find friends who aren't in the industry. I do have a few more interviews shot, but haven't edited them all because I don't quite have enough footage to make them work as entire packages. https://vimeo.com/channels/1661485

My new series (which we've been shooting during the pandemic), is called "On-Film" and it's kind of the same thing as "The Professionals" but wrapped around industry people who shoot on film. We've done two episodes so far and have two more in the works, but it's tricky because I need to get behind the scenes material of them working and nobody is working in 2020! So it's been a bear sadly. However you can see some of the work here: 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Michael Hammond said:

For others who work professionally, what do you shoot for fun? Vacation videos, family, short films, flowers, sunrises? How do you approach it? With a DP eye or do you just wing it to relax and have some fun?

To make this more fun - no 'photography' answers. Has to be film or video.

I don’t shoot for ‘fun’ anymore. I used to take a Super8 or 16mm camera around on walkabouts (or later a 7D and a 5D), looking for interesting light, or trying out different compositions and exposure or filter effects. But after years of this, as my storage space filled up with film rolls and hard drives that I rarely re-visited, I started to wonder what the point was. I learned a lot early on from experimenting this way, but eventually the process became aimless and unrewarding. Personally, I need an assignment before I pull out a camera these days. It could be a spec project or a simple camera test, but it’s no longer for the simple joy of burning a latent image onto a piece of acetate. 

Still photography is something different, hence why (at least for me) it is the most common answer.

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I don't shoot much anything for fun. Usually there is purpose behind most of it. Years ago when I could afford a cheap vacation I'd shoot some beach pictures and fool around. You know, snapshot stuff.

I had many projects going in NYC then the corrosive virus hit and I was shut down completely in March 2020. Now most of what I do involves working with archival material...small gauge film, photos, ephemera, audio and VHS.

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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during the quarantine I did some youtube videos that talk about the history of cinema. they are all terrible so please watch them, LOL

 

I was the clapper of a Netflix series. after it got wrapped. I spent my time translating a lecture of Storaro talking about his color theory and now I'm working a video devoted to anamorphic lenses

 

 

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4 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Funny you like filming trains, I do as well. I haven't gotten into the business yet, but I have a train doc I'm going to fund next year about the history of steam. Kind of like "The love of Trains" from National Geographic, only more focused on "steam" in general. 

I've done a multitude of "for fun" documentary series for the sake of having fun. 

The biggest one is called "We Love Motocross" which is a 7 part series about riding/racing motocross from a wide range of age groups. It's really a great series for anyone wanting to ride dirt bikes; https://vimeo.com/channels/736966

I also have a youtube channel full of dirt bike and road racing videos, most of them are part of a continuous series. Two series, one called "Club Racer" which was shot on SD cameras over a decade ago and the other is called "MX The Beginning" which was shot on HD cameras, the last 6 or so episodes on my Blackmagic Pocket cameras. https://www.youtube.com/user/tye1138/featured

The 2nd series, which is not really finished, but it's still entertaining, is a 4 part about some interesting people I've met in my life called  "The Professionals". I've tried to stay away from "entertainment industry" people, so it's been a challenge to find friends who aren't in the industry. I do have a few more interviews shot, but haven't edited them all because I don't quite have enough footage to make them work as entire packages. https://vimeo.com/channels/1661485

My new series (which we've been shooting during the pandemic), is called "On-Film" and it's kind of the same thing as "The Professionals" but wrapped around industry people who shoot on film. We've done two episodes so far and have two more in the works, but it's tricky because I need to get behind the scenes material of them working and nobody is working in 2020! So it's been a bear sadly. However you can see some of the work here: 

 

 

 

 

Nice video...Thanks!

I don't like fighting anymore. He is welcome to fight all he wants to. I guess when you are young and low on $$ or even if you have money, some may like the chase and fight. But I'm too old. I want to make things as easy for me as I can. 

Back in the 70's we used to buy oddball rolls of 35mm repackaged movie film at Freestyle in Hollywood for $1.50  per 100 feet. (Was that even a deal for movie film back then?) It was probably expired as well. Freestyle specialized in old military surplus film back in the day. This was 1972 or so. It was always a crapshoot with their repackaged stuff. But if you were broke Freestyle was your friend.

I bought some 1952 expired military surplus 4x5 glass plates from them. They worked good! I'm sorry I didn't document their old shop. It was a warehouse type of set up with old metal shelves that you wandered around in. 

Freestyle Ad July 1962 : Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

 

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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3 hours ago, Abdul Rahman Jamous said:

 

 

last video I did during the shutdown... I feel that my comparison is a clever one 

 

Yes, very clever comparison.

I do lots of testing , but it is not for fun. Sometimes it is for my own education, other times it just follows the direction I am headed in with my work and am glad I'd done with it. It is a chore.

My water tests are never ending it seems. I have  maybe 25 - 30 water test photos that need to be PP'd and put on the water website. 

NSFW

Distilling water is a quick acid test you can do to find out what residue is in your water. – Daniel D. Teoli Jr. (wordpress.com)

A while back I did some test with JPEG to see how much degradation there was with importing and exporting the same JPEG file multiple times. Surprisingly, nothing really changed that much from 31 import / export cycles in Lightroom.

31 Generations of JPEG’s compared – Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection (wordpress.com)

Speaking of JPEG, that is what I usually use now since I have nothing that important to shoot. If I get back to shooting seriously then will go back to RAW. Just depends on the virus. With my archival work it is 99% JPEG scans. If I got something that may need future PP or is important I will scan in TIFF.  If it is chromes or negs then it is all TIFF scans. 

 

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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1 hour ago, Satsuki Murashige said:I used to take a Super8 or 16mm camera around on walkabouts (or later a 7D and a 5D), looking for interesting light, or trying out different compositions and exposure or filter effects. But after years of this, as my storage space filled up with film rolls and hard drives that I rarely re-visited, I started to wonder what the point was. I learned a lot early on from experimenting this way, but eventually the process became aimless and unrewarding. 

I hear you. After the experimentation phase it does feel like you’re just shooting more of the same. I feel like if I take a (video)camera out of the house it needs to be for something ‘real’ whether it’s a passion project or a job. That being said, with COVID slowing things down I can start getting a little stir crazy. Trains give me something enjoyable to film. Gets me out of the house to somewhere quiet and/or private, and there’s even the thrill of getting it right in one shot since I can’t call “reset” and back a freight train up to a mark. Then there’s hoping to nail it before a cloud comes along. And trying to make each train scene unique in framing and movement. 

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53 minutes ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:Years ago when I could afford a cheap vacation I'd shoot some beach pictures and fool around. You know, snapshot stuff.

My wife is always asking me to film our trips - photos, video, gimbal, drone stuff. Just seems like work when all I want to do is relax, not what I do the rest of the year as a job. 

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Other than finishing up editing on a couple of projects me and my girlfriend shot during the summer, I'm trying to learn how to do nice shots with a drone and then teach this to my girlfriend. 

We were lucky enough to be able to shoot two pilot episodes for two different tv shows and a couple of music videos. Now we have to finish those off and get them to producers.

Didn't put much effort into the editing and grading since I was just trying to learn how to make nice movements which is hard to do with the Mavic Mini. 

 

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On 12/15/2020 at 12:53 AM, Satsuki Murashige said:

I don’t shoot for ‘fun’ anymore. I used to take a Super8 or 16mm camera around on walkabouts (or later a 7D and a 5D), looking for interesting light, or trying out different compositions and exposure or filter effects. But after years of this, as my storage space filled up with film rolls and hard drives that I rarely re-visited, I started to wonder what the point was. I learned a lot early on from experimenting this way, but eventually the process became aimless and unrewarding. Personally, I need an assignment before I pull out a camera these days. It could be a spec project or a simple camera test, but it’s no longer for the simple joy of burning a latent image onto a piece of acetate. 

Still photography is something different, hence why (at least for me) it is the most common answer.

I’m in a similar place : first took an interest in photography early in high school , joined the camera club , learned from others . Sometime in my early teens my dad trusted me with his 8mm Bolex and I shot family holidays , air displays , and trains .

After school , late 70’s , I started working part time in a hifi shop , just as early video equipment started to come in , and also got my first 35mm SLR .

Later , I worked as a school audio visual technician , shooting still images and video , before moving into the conference/hire industry , where again there was some video production, as well as sound, lighting , projection and other stuff . One employer also had a wedding photography business , and I started doing commercial photography ( everything but weddings ) and video production there .

Later , I moved to the fire service AV unit where the work is a mixture of scene photography/videography , PR photography and video production for training / PR . Have been doing that for 20 years now .

Away from work , at some point I got a Minolta Super 8 camera and shot footage around the steam railway in my hometown , also a lot of still images . Down the years I’ve also worked my way through a variety of video formats , shooting things like trains , aircraft , motorsport , historic places , holidays etc .

As I worked more with photography and video over the last 30 years or so , I did less as a hobby ; just this year , having time on my hands , I’ve been doing digital still photography: local places , and started a project tracing my family tree and photographing the graves of my ancestors as I find them .

Having just been given two 16mm Bolexes , I plan to get some film to try them out. Alas the steam railway has been closed this year , but when it reopens it should be a good subject - especially to shoot in monochrome .

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/16/2020 at 2:52 PM, Mei Lewis said:

Making a while video is too involved a process to be ‘fun’ for me. Photos are 

On 12/16/2020 at 6:25 AM, Phil Rhodes said:

Macro. It's easy and looks great, and you can do it on the desktop, without having to suffer the presence of other humans.

 

Sounds like you are not a people person!

Personally I like social documentary work, but dont like dealing with people.  

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On 12/15/2020 at 11:32 AM, Vital Butinar said:

Other than finishing up editing on a couple of projects me and my girlfriend shot during the summer, I'm trying to learn how to do nice shots with a drone and then teach this to my girlfriend. 

We were lucky enough to be able to shoot two pilot episodes for two different tv shows and a couple of music videos. Now we have to finish those off and get them to producers.

Didn't put much effort into the editing and grading since I was just trying to learn how to make nice movements which is hard to do with the Mavic Mini. 

 

Nice!

I wanted to learn drone video / still photo, but $$ got in the way. It is very easy for me to want to do this or that. So much to do nowadays. Really what I need to do is try and finish a little of the work in progress.

 

On 12/16/2020 at 5:17 AM, Derek Heeps said:

I’m in a similar place : first took an interest in photography early in high school , joined the camera club , learned from others . Sometime in my early teens my dad trusted me with his 8mm Bolex and I shot family holidays , air displays , and trains .

After school , late 70’s , I started working part time in a hifi shop , just as early video equipment started to come in , and also got my first 35mm SLR .

Later , I worked as a school audio visual technician , shooting still images and video , before moving into the conference/hire industry , where again there was some video production, as well as sound, lighting , projection and other stuff . One employer also had a wedding photography business , and I started doing commercial photography ( everything but weddings ) and video production there .

Later , I moved to the fire service AV unit where the work is a mixture of scene photography/videography , PR photography and video production for training / PR . Have been doing that for 20 years now .

Away from work , at some point I got a Minolta Super 8 camera and shot footage around the steam railway in my hometown , also a lot of still images . Down the years I’ve also worked my way through a variety of video formats , shooting things like trains , aircraft , motorsport , historic places , holidays etc .

As I worked more with photography and video over the last 30 years or so , I did less as a hobby ; just this year , having time on my hands , I’ve been doing digital still photography: local places , and started a project tracing my family tree and photographing the graves of my ancestors as I find them .

Having just been given two 16mm Bolexes , I plan to get some film to try them out. Alas the steam railway has been closed this year , but when it reopens it should be a good subject - especially to shoot in monochrome .

I wish I could go back in time to the steam train era. Love them.

 

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