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Jeremy Parsons

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Everything posted by Jeremy Parsons

  1. This is not my first reel. It is a semi-annual recut with my latest work folded in. Whenever I’ve cut a reel in the past, I’m generally pretty confident that it reflects my best work at that time. This time, however, I’m feeling a little “Meh”. I need another, more objective, opinion. Maybe there is content that shouldn’t be there anymore. Maybe there are shots that shouldn’t be juxtaposed. What do you think it is? Or do you think its fine? Please ignore anything relating to color. I will finalize that once I have a picture lock. Thanks. https://vimeo.com/239534774 Password = demodemo Jeremy L Parsons, MFA Cinematographer / IATSE Local 600 1st AC Pittsburgh, PA
  2. Contact Contract Services Administrative Trust Fund (CSATF). They will give you the details of how to submit paperwork to get on the experienced roster. Joining the union is useless if you are not on an industry roster. Contracted producers are obligated to hire from the roster before hiring non-roster. That might not make a difference in your region. In summary, you submit proof of employment days in ONE category you are applying for membership: Assistant, OP, DP, etc. So if you worked 60 days of AC and 60 days of OP, you have 60 days of one or the other, not 120 days. I don't know how they will view it if you are field producer. CSATF has strange ways of determining what qualifies as days: I worked an industrial as AC where the DP was 600, the grip and electrics were 728 and 80. We were using two Alexas. But because it was an industrial production, and not for broadcast or distribution, it did NOT qualify. On the other hand, I did a bunch of days as an assistant on a low budget reality show where the most I did was wipe a lens and swap cards/batteries on a couple of 5D's. Those days counted only because it was on TV. Go figure. The other thing to realize is getting into the union does not get you work. If there is not a lot of union work in your area, it might not be worth paying the significant initiation dues Last I checked, it was $7000 for AC, $10,000 for OP
  3. I am less concerned if a film is going to suck and more concerned if my director is going to have us do things like a "quiet scene" outside next to a highway in the pouring rain without any shelter with my own gear. No matter how much the story sucks. I will do my best to make it look visually interesting. When my ability to do so gets hindered because the director or production failed to think ahead is when I start thinking about bowing out.
  4. When I was in school, they highly encouraged us to work as a "hands off" DP on our thesis projects. Most of my classmates did not. I did. It was the best thing in the world. It made working a scattered director a lot easier when I had a crew I could give instructions and they would happen. Finally I had the manpower that could keep up with my brain. I more constantly engaged with the Director and AD as the day progressed and changed. This shoot is not so big of a budget that we can rent a monitor or even have a full crew. I was operating camera and had one grip and one AC...kind of. I missed a lot of details I wouldn't have otherwise missed if I was solely attentive to the image. We finished our first weekend today. As I review the footage, I am happy with...probably only a few shots...but the director is loving everything, so mission accomplished, right? But I am happy with a few shots:
  5. I started out with the rolling Husky. It was fine. I got scoffed at by all the guys who have $250 ARRI bags and carts. Most of the work I do is too small and mobile to require a cart. When I wanted to upgrade, I looked long and hard for something else. I loved the rolling bag, but the Husky pockets really weren't suited for the type of tools I carry. Then I found this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BD5IC2O/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Its a Range bag for carrying your firearm bits and tools. I've had it a little under a year and it suits VERY well. The pockets are all well sized for carrying cable coils, markers, allen wrenches, etc. It was only $100
  6. The "unempowered" director didn't like my reigning her in when she went off track. I had a little more invested in the success of that project because it was one of my final Cine projects. I invited her in on it because I didn't feel like writing-casting-producing-directing-lighitng-shooting on my own again. I did get an A, not that it matters anymore. On the more extreme end. I have talked to other directors who complained of DPs pushing for shots that look pretty, but don't fit with their vision of the story. Or they pushed for fancy, expensive gear that was ultimately unnecessary to telling the story. That is the DP I never want to be. I think this will be the last freebie I shoot for someone else for a while. It seems if I want to be part of a good visual story, I'll have to do it myself.
  7. I've had directors in the past say they didn't feel empowered when working with me. So maybe I'm overcompensating for those experiences by trying to be overly friendly to directors. Then again those directors kept going off track on a very tight schedule. :/
  8. I do like mood boards. I don't do them as often as I like because it tends to override any vision the director might have with my own. Every time I do it, the director says, "Great! lets do that". On this short, for example, I created a rough shot list based on my interpretation of the script and put it in a common spreadsheet shared by the production. The director basically copied the whole shot list adding one or two, if any, shots of his own. So we're shooting my vision, not his.
  9. I did: "I just liked it" :blink: Overall, he liked the look of Sicario. I had trouble getting out of him specifically what. He also liked True Detective (S1) which is thematically closer to our thriller. So I'm going with the soft lighting of Deakins' Sicario combined with the composition and movement of True Detective.
  10. I mainly use storyboards to get thoughts out of the head so everyone can be on the same page. Not everyone can communicate images verbally. The other thing I find helpful - which this guy still hasn't done despite my asking - is providing stills from other films the director likes or would like to emulate for their project. All he's explained to me he really liked was the sunset shot from Sicario where the ops were walking into the desert...Except there are no sunset or desert scenes in this film.
  11. Thanks so much for your replies. I have trouble wrapping my head around why anyone would spend all this time, money and energy into something only to throw it to the wind by “winging it”. I've not yet been DP on a project that could afford a full truck to pull from when the director wants to get creative. I find planning to be instrumental in getting good material out of low/no budget stuff. I spec gear for the shot list of that day (or weekend) and not much else. I would hope the AD would be my ally in keeping the director on target for that we planned. This director is very green. I think he’s directed one short not counting a 48hour festival or two. I am also locally unproven so I have to take what I can get to build the reel and reputation. Right now, we're on our 3rd AD on the project. The first two had to bow out for their own reasons. I do wonder if there is a more common reason. :unsure:
  12. I'm a planner by nature. When I was in school, I meticulously planned my cinematography assignments with storyboards, shot list, schedule, and lighting plans. When we got to set, they ran like clockwork. It was great. When I had to collaborate with a student director, I often had to force them to sit down and make a shot list, storyboard (what they described was not often what they drew). Sometimes we had a 1st AD, but they were also a student and were more of a clock-watcher than involved in the planning process. I still had a heavy hand in the scheduling. Most of my paid professional work is as a 1st AC. As such, I'm not really part of the planning process. If I'm DP on a local commercial, the agency has already dictated the storyboard & shots, those run like clockwork. *** I'm starting to do more narrative work as DP again. I know this planning process isn't my lead but rather the Director and AD. But how is this supposed to work? I mean....I would much rather NOT do someone else's work and focus on my own. How do you usually coordinate with a capable AD?
  13. I witnessed a lot very unprofessional behavior on sets when I was in LA. It seemed like the bigger the job (more money), the more volatile it got. Not everyone in this business came up from a professional training or background. So they might not learn what is appropriate...or might learn the opposite: If they watch their superior get angry and scream, then they may think thats the way it is or what you have to do to get what you want.
  14. I recently moved back to Pittsburgh after living (not sure if thats the right word for what I was doing) in California for a number of years. For starters, definitely go to events scheduled by these two groups: Steeltown.org - Incubator for pittsburgh indie film. They host mostly youth-centric events, but every quarter they schedule a crew connect event. PaFIA.org - Pennsylvania Film Industry Association. Is busiest in Pittsburgh and Philly....but we get all the work. ;) Also try Pittsburgh Filmmakers. Its the Photography and motion picture arm of Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. They have classes (I teach there) and also host industry events, but infrequently. Do you have a particular focus of interest? Always curious for more crew on personal projects.
  15. I'm so glad to have seen this discussion for no other reason than to hear another DP also having trouble with a director (or wannabes director in some cases). I'm on a short film (freebie for my reel) where the director has been rewriting the story every time he sees a new location. Now he wants a dolly shot in littered woods this weekend and we've not pre-arranged the proper gear for such a shot. It's a shame because the story has potential (written by the director), but the captain of the ship is really green. Sorry to vent. Sometimes I want to go be a director just so I can be the kind of director a DP wants to work with. *headdesk*
  16. I second what Phil said about the DP being a manager position. I work as a union AC on big jobs that come to town, and then as DP on smaller, local shoots. When I AC, I can tell what kind of DP I'm working with by their communication - or lack therof - with me as his AC when I'm trying to know more about the job and to make sure. Many "creative" DPs are only focusing on the image and don't communicate about the shoot to their crew. As such, we ACs often have to fly by the seat of our pants trying to foresee problems and fix them before they happen for a complete stranger. DP's that have at least some experience AC-ing understand that their crews work better if they know what's going on. They work more efficiently, get set up faster, have less downtime, get more done in a day, and cost less overtime. Sadly, managerial prowess is rarely considered hiring DPs instead of reel or camera ownership status.
  17. I'm putting together a class session on Film Aesthetics and Style. I don't want to just cite GOOD examples. We're so used to seeing it done right, its hard to explain WHY it works. In contrast to all the invisibly good work, I would like to cite examples of movies with BAD Cinematography, Set design, etc. Where students can actually see where things don't work and discuss why. I don't want cite cult films because the earnest attempts that fail become an endearing aesthetic of itself. I also don't want to use student films (I may have to). My instinct is to go to successful filmmakers' early works that aren't quite up to their current standard. Most of what I know of are pretty good (Reservoir Dogs, Croupier, The Duel, El Mariachi) Can anyone suggest examples that just don't quite work?
  18. I think you'll find home-processing more trouble than its worth unless you already have access to a lab and experience processing motion picture film. Processing 100' of images that will be seen together is way different than just 3' of stills that will be seen individually. If you're still committed to trying home-processing, shoot a test roll first. That way, if you screw up you didn't botch all your hard work and planning put into your short. The additional benefit of Pro8mm is they can do a scan of your film to a movie file. It makes for much easier editing.
  19. Just because you can download it doesn't mean you can WATCH it in 4K. My retina display is still only 2880 x 1800 and resolves way better than my corrected vision can at 3'. My parents still watch on a CRT. Consumer manufacturers need to push new gear to stay in business. It doesn't matter if it's something the consumer doesn't even need.
  20. Sometimes the one in charge isn't really qualified to be there. But I'm not usually in any position to make that judgement. I was on a commercial shoot once where the Producer asked us to turn off the eye-light on a talent. The talent had deep-dark brown eyes that were empty holes when not lit. I explained to him the significance of that eye-twinkle and why the light was important, but he insisted he liked it dark. Sometimes its someone who just has bad taste in aesthetics, sometimes its just someone who needs to flex their muscles. In situations like this, or at least the ones I care to make a stand, I offer the compromise to get one good take their way and a one my way. They can sort it out later and I've given them an option should they come to their senses. Hopefully the editor got better luck than I had.
  21. Thanks! I'll have to try those. Funny. A lifetime ago, I used to be a Landscape Architect. Robert Hahn was one of my boss's clients!
  22. A CSATF roster specialist can email you a form letter. Make sure you include ALL the requested information or they will have you resubmit the days that letter represent. The letter is mainly used for jobs in which you were paid directly by the production company as a "contractor". I use the "" because you're technically not a contractor, but that is a different discussion. You will also need you to demonstrate a proof of payment for "contract" jobs with either a copy of a deposited check through your bank, or a 1099 form from the production company. If they used a payroll company things will be much easier for you. There is a form - I forget who has it, CSATF or Payroll company - an authorization form you fill out and fax to the payroll company and they will verify your employment to CSATF on your behalf. I hope that helps.
  23. Technically, an uncorrected film negative is something of a log image. It still has a slight contrast curve to it, but its still flatter than rec709 or if you made a projecting print. You'll never get a flat curve from film like that of a digital camera. You don't need to. Film generally has a higher dynamic range than digital to begin with and still preserves highlights better than most of todays digital cameras. If you still really wanted it, the only way you're going to get a LOG looking image is if you use a DI film. Thanks for reminding me about this stock. I have a roll of it in 35mm staring at me every time I open the fridge. I never thought to consider it for super-8. The grain holds up extremely well!. That is one sharp piece of glass!
  24. Hey Greg, I just saw it last night followed by a Q&A with Geoffrey Haley. After hearing what you had to work with, I thought you did an outstanding job. I frequently work with a company that insists on using a RED mounted with an old set of manual Nikon still lenses. They're a real pain in the arse! I think doing any kind of film with ONLY one kind of camera movement has a… monokinetic feel to it. After listening to the Q&A, its seemed like the choice of 100% steadicam was as much a choice of fast camera setups rather than a specific look. I still couldn't stop gawking at the costume and sets. The production design was AMAZING!
  25. Save your money and skip the webinar. You already have the camera and the camera you have is great for learning on. You don't need anything fancy or expensive right now. Like Phil and Josh said, the camera has its limitations despite still being able to capture a great image for that you paid for. You'll grow to understand the limitations of the DSLRs. As a learning tool they are really great. I highly recommend experimenting with lenses and filters you can check out from school or any Calumet. Download Magic lantern. It's a free third-party firmware overlay that gives you some added functionality to the camera. I use on my 60D for two things: Focus Peaking - tells you what is sharp focus - which is crucial for shooting a 35mm-ish format. Frame rate override lets you dial any frame rate from <1fps - 60fps instead of only 24-30-60 (if T4i even does 60). If you want anything over 30, you'll need to drop to 720p. Also, download DaVinci Resolve Lite. It's free and VERY powerful color correction software. You'll learn how much you can grade DSLR footage in post, which isn't much compared to other cameras.
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