As a DGA member since 1996, Vincent Gonzales has over 20 years of experience in the film industry, producing, supervising and working as a DGA Assistant Director. He has worked on features such as The Sandlot, Gattaca, and The Tooth Fairy. TV shows include the Walking Dead, Charmed and Boston Legal just to name a few.  Click here to learn more about Vincent Gonzales on his IMDB page.

In this episode, we interview Vince about his upcoming class called “PA Certified.”  The PA Certified workshop will be held in the Denver, CO area.  Lighting Services, Inc. is hosting the workshop, which is located in Littleton, CO.

Furious Films, Vince's production company, provided the Denver Media Professionals a special $50 discount for the class if you use this discount code:  DMP2016

Here's the link to register for the class:  https://denvermediapro.com/PA-Certified-Workshop

In this workshop, Vince will share the knowledge he has gained over the years and provide insights that will help you step into your role on the set with confidence.  Enjoy!

 

Check out Vincent's DMP Directory Listing here.

 

Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!

In this podcast, we hear from DK Johnston, a full-time assistant direct, writer, and producer.

D.K. Johnston is a full-time Director and Assistant Director for film & television production with over 12 years of experience. D.K. got his start in the small indie film community of Anchorage, Alaska making low/no budget snow machine and snowboard videos before collaborating on his first feature film in 2005-2006. After gaining his BA in Journalism from the University of Alaska Anchorage he pursued an MFA in Film Production in Los Angeles through the New York Film Academy. After graduating in 2009 he worked for various production and post-production houses before returning to Alaska during the development of the state’s film incentive in 2010. There he was a large advocate for production education and crew development throughout Alaska.

In 2011 D.K. formed the non-profit group, Alaska Filmmakers, to highlight and educate current and up and coming storytellers. He worked as a full-time Assistant Director and Producer for multiple local, national and international commercials, feature projects and short films while also teaching Documentary Film Production at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He was later recognized as one of Alaska’s Top 40 Under 40 by the Alaska Journal of Commerce in 2015.

After the collapse of the Alaska Film Incentive in 2015 he and his wife, Katie, relocated to Denver, Colorado as D.K. continues to pursue production in a large production market as well as projects filming all around the United States. Today D.K. has added Producing to his resume with his company’s first feature film “Army & Coop” shot in Boulder and Louisville, Colorado. He has also been added to the DGA Qualified list for Third Area Assistant Directors.

Here are some links where you can learn more about DK:

Tri Seven Pictures
Army and Coop
The CFVA
Alaska Filmmakers

DMP Directory Page

 

Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!

Summary

Anastasia M. Cummings brings an intense backstory to her filmmaking career. Her love of story began with a tumultuous childhood in Algeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she watched spaghetti westerns dubbed in Arabic. After living in 7 different countries, she found herself working in LA as a script supervisor. Quality of life led her to Colorado, and she now works as both a director and producer. With 7 short films to her name, including the Oscar-qualifier Menschen, Anastasia is currently at work on the feature-length version of her short film CODA. In this episode of the Denver Media Professionals podcast, Cummings talks about the trials and joys of filmmaking, industry insight, surviving cancer, and the importance of positivity.

Anastasia's Interview Show Notes

[02:25] Anastasia’s background and getting into film.

  • Growing up as a 3rd culture kid in North Africa with a Dutch father and French/Moroccan mother.
  • Multiculturalism fueled her love of telling stories for those without voices.
  • As a teenager, she watched spaghetti westerns and Egyptian soap operas in Arabic.
  • Growing up female in a Muslim country was difficult but developed her stamina.
  • Tumultuous times in childhood fleeing civil war.
  • The confluence of appearing white and European, but growing up African.

[22:45] Studying English, German, Arabic, and international trade informed her later work as a producer.

[26:00] Freelancing as a translator for the Vienna Symphony Orchestra included travel that opened her eyes to the diversity of the world.

[33:45] Living around the world created many contacts that would prove helpful for a producer.

[34:05] The difficulties of marrying a celebrity, motherhood, and balancing family life with her own career.

[39:00] Becoming a script supervisor.

  • A script supervisor analyzes the script, maintains continuity, and works on the grammar of film (the language of story).
  • The two types of continuity: matched action and progressive action.
  • The challenges of shooting scenes with huge time gaps in between.

[53:20] Roles for script supervisors in the Colorado market.

  • A lack of incentives hurts the film industry in Colorado.
  • Commercial shoots versus narrative shoots.

[58:15] Balancing Colorado Film School and motherhood.

[1:01:35] Menschen, a challenging, 28-minute World War II film shot on a shoestring budget.

  • Receiving international attention and speaking at the United Nations.
  • Qualifying for the Oscars.
  • A cancer diagnosis during her film’s world premiere.

[1:10:00] Crowdfunding and sponsorships.

  • The difficulties of funding a 65-person crew.
  • The benefits of being fiscally sponsored by a non-profit organization.

[1:21:10] Working on the feature-length version of her short film CODA, and her first time directing a feature film.

  • Building a community around CODA.

[1:43:45] Advantages and disadvantages of being a filmmaker in Denver.

  • Maintaining Colorado as a home base but traveling for film work.

[1:55:30] The importance of making mistakes.

[1:56:00] Biggest lesson of career

[1:58:20] Imperative for success.

[1:58:45] Advice for aspiring filmmakers.

Links to Resources in the Podcast

Anastasia M. Cummings' website

DMP Directory Page

 

Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!

Summary

Olivia Carmel and Demi DeHererra are kindred spirits and collaborators in the Denver film scene. They are currently at work on The New Freedom, a horror film that tackles issues of racism, sexism, and current societal shifts. Both women are passionate about fostering diversity in the film industry, dynamic when it comes to creating an opportunity for themselves and others, and dedicated to the quality of their work.

 

 

Interview Show Notes

[01:25] An inclusion rider is added to a contract to ensure that production will have a certain level of diversity to include women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community.

[02:25] Demi, a Colorado native, started in commercial photography before moving into film.

[02:58] Olivia was a writing major who began writing screenplays and then making them into films. Her professors took notice and hired her after she graduated to produce their own films.

  • Olivia was looking for a creative community and moved to Denver in 2013.
  • The influx of people into Colorado enriches the creative community.

[05:55] They met first on social media, followed each other’s work, connected on issues of diversity, and then met in person

[07:25] The New Freedom writer and co-producer Sterling Cook met with Olivia and asked if she wanted to direct the film

[08:30] Olivia brought Demi onto the project, where the two built a strong team and work well together.

[09:30] The New Freedom is a horror film in which kids come home from college to see their community has changed with frightening instances of racism, sexism, and shifting environments.

[10:40] Seed and Spark is a crowdfunding platform for filmmakers which includes the ability for people to donate goods and services.

  • They are currently involved in a pitch rally called Communal Nightmares, a 30-day campaign with the chance to win $25,000 of seed financing plus a guaranteed distribution deal.
  • Other rewards for hitting milestones include equipment, counseling with industry professionals, and film festival admissions.
  • Their campaign is on track but needs a final push to gain funding and followers.
  • If they get 1,000 followers, they get $1,000 for camera gear. It takes less than 30 seconds to follow the project at Seed and Spark.

[16:30] Gaining followers is more difficult than getting donations.

[19:00] Getting the word out involves a variety of efforts to connect with people, everything from sending emails to chatting up your Uber driver.

[21:02] Demi is passionate about working but doesn’t want to do a project unless it’s right, and this one feels right. She’s passionate about creating content in the local community.

  • 99% of business is showing up. Make connections and build your community, create your own opportunities.

[24:00] Olivia: Working hard for free can make contacts and give you valuable experiences. It’s all worth it because it’s fun and enjoyable. Pro bono projects are important too.

[26:30] Demi: No one will hire you unless they see your work. Show your work ethic on low-budget and no budget projects to later get hired on bigger projects.

  • Trade pays off. Working for free leads to paid work. That’s how you build relationships and community. Pay it forward.
  • You have to demonstrate your value first before being hired, then people will take a chance on you.

[31:50] Olivia comes from a long line of educators. She enjoys giving back, helping others, and wants to build up the Denver industry.

  • The #MeToo movement and being passionate about equality for all.
  • The importance of providing an opportunity for marginalized people.
  • Dealing with sexism, racism, and denigration on set.
  • Destroying the myth that diversity compromises quality.

[45:00] Diversity starts at the beginning of the process with scripts that don’t reinforce stereotypes. Open your mind, choose the right stories, and learn about other cultures.

[51:15] Demi on mentors: A rough time in film school included being bullied by a group of men. Professors, deans, and administrators pushed her to continue. Those educators made a difference and fostered her resilience.

[53:15] Olivia on mentors: Her parents gave her space to foster creativity. A number of professors have supported and continue to support her, including taking her to Sundance during her senior year.

[59:55] The importance of vulnerability and asking for help.

[1:01:40] Advice from Demi: If you want to shoot it, shoot it. If you want something, you have to show people that you can do it. You can’t wait for people to give it to.

[1:02:55] Advice from Olivia: The struggles to reach success are hidden on social media. Understand that others have struggled. You just have to keep going, regardless of how hard it is or the sacrifice you have to make or the time needed. It’s all about the long game.

[1:06:00] If you need 10,000 hours of experience to master something, you are probably going to have to work for free and create your own projects to reach a level of mastery. No one will hand you the knowledge you want.

[1:09:05] Don’t let fear keep you from opportunity. Ask for help and learn along the way. There are more people who will help you than not, especially if you’re passionate.

[1:11:55] Do what you want to do, not to try to prove yourself to other people. You’ll never make everyone happy.

[1:13:00] You can’t please anyone but yourself. We are our own biggest critics. You grow with every project. Embrace and love the journey. Always look to improve.

[1:14:55] The people who believe in you will gravitate toward you. Your tribe will reveal itself.

[1:16:00] Evolving includes letting go of connections that don’t allow you to grow.

[1:17:25] Demi’s advice for aspiring DPs

[1:19:45] Olivia’s advice

Links to Resources in the Podcast

The New Freedom on Seed and Spark

Demi DeHererra on Instagram

Demi DeHererra on Facebook

Olivia Carmel on Instagram

Olivia Carmel on Facebook

 

Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!

Summary

Eileen O’Brien’s vast career in the film industry is a testament to luck, hard work, and the value of kindness. Eileen’s credentials span from holding cue cards for Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live to working for David Letterman, also known as the best boss she ever had, to taking on the role of production secretary for Dick Cavett. After transitioning to film festivals, including Cannes and Sundance, she settled in Denver where she continues to foster support and connections for the local film industry.

 

 

Interview Show Notes

[00:30] While teaching in the 1970s, Eileen was introduced to a control room.

[02:30] The impact of a child learning from a 30-second commercial convinced her that she wanted to teach through television.

[04:00] Knowing nothing, but talking her way into a camerawoman position.

  • Working as a production assistant, producer, and director.
  • Non-union in New York and out of work.

[06:20] A chance meeting at a party led to an offer to do teleprompting.

[08:00] A referral leads to a job doing cue cards for SNL.

  • Holding cue cards for Eddie Murphy and turmoil at SNL.
  • Cue cards versus teleprompter.
  • Working with Al Siegel as a cue card mentor.

[19:50] Robin Williams and George Carlin.

[22:40] Christopher Guest, Billy Crystal, Martin Short, Spinal Tap and Don Rickles.

[31:00] Discretion, the #MeToo movement, and industry bullying.

[33:55] David Letterman and Dick Cavett

[38:40] Do the best job at whatever you’re given the chance to do. Building trust is key.

  • Your performance reflects on you and those who have recommended you.

[41:00] Leaving New York for Atlanta and following her husband’s job to the south of France.

  • A chance reconnection leads to the Cannes Film Festival.
  • Working Cannes from 1995 to 1999.
  • As Artistic Director at the Savannah Film Festival, Eileen prepped students for Cannes by teaching them that every person you meet could be the most important person in your career.

[52:40] Respect people with less power than you and the story of Bob the Wine Guy.

[1:01:30] Falling in love with film festivals.

  • Pretending to be a festival programmer to gain expertise.
  • How producing a pamphlet at Cannes opened the door to Sundance.
  • Working in the Filmmaker Services department at Sundance.
  • The joy of telling a filmmaker that their film got into Sundance.

[1:09:20] In the late 90s, she moved to Denver and produced the Denver Film Festival.

  • After living around the world, choosing Denver as a landing place in 2006.
  • Working for, and retiring from, the Denver Film Society.
  • Having a scholarship named after her.

[1:18:15] Film Fatale and teaching film festival etiquette.

[1:20:45] Progression of the independent film movement.

  • Helping young filmmakers and honoring their courage.

[1:24:00] Upcoming work screening and consulting for the Santa Fe Film Festival.

[1:28:15] Analyzing the Denver film industry.

  • Denver’s current film scene looks like Atlanta’s in the early 90s.
  • How Utah’s Film Commission came to be.
  • The film industry will always follow the money.
  • Show business is more about business than it is about the show.
  • The devastation of the Denver Film Commission and rebuilding support for the Denver Film Society.
  • Integrating film society with the production community.
  • The politics involved and filmmaking as a clean industry.
  • You cannot rely on incentives to make a film community, but incentives would magnify the activity.
  • An artist practices their art and won’t let anything stop them.

[1:40:15] Connections between associations keeps the industry strong.

  • It’s a community product, so the community is essential.

[1:43:15] Eileen’s big takeaways.

  • Lessons learned from Orson Welles’s The Magnificent Ambersons.
  • Give yourself credit for everything you’ve done.
  • Only you know the history of who you are.

 

Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!

Summary

Diane Bell is a screenwriter and director of several indie films. Her first feature, Obselidia, premiered in Dramatic Competition at Sundance in 2010 and won two awards. One award was the Alfred P. Sloan Prize. Her second film, Bleeding Heart, is a drama starring Jessica Biel and Zosia Mamet, which premiered in 2015. Her third feature, Of Dust and Bones, which tackles the aftermath of violence is currently playing the festival circuit. In addition to writing and directing films, Diane teaches workshops on how to make a standout indie film. Her step-by-step guide to successful indie filmmaking, SHOOT FROM THE HEART, will be avail in bookstores from Oct 1, and online course is coming soon. The most valuable thing she has learned and that she likes to pass on in her instruction is to always trust your heart and to never back down from what you love. You can contact Diane through her website, https://www.dianebell.com/.

 

 

Interview Show Notes

[01:43] Getting started

  • Becoming a cinefile in school.
  • Teaching yoga in Barcelona.
  • When you’re told you have a great writing sample, but that it will never be made.

[04:00] She decided to find Mickey Rourke to give him her script.

  • Carrying around copies of her script, trying to make connections, and meeting a producer who loved the idea.
  • Connections through the producer brought the script to Mickey Rourke.

[08:10] Going to Wyoming to read and discuss new scripts.

  • One of the best creative experiences of her life.

[14:40] Making the decision to become a filmmaker.

[15:21] Overnight three films to be produced completely collapsed.

  • Losing these films almost felt like having a miscarriage.

[17:01] Writing Obselidia on her own.

  • Maintaining humble and low aims for this film.
  • Frustration at screenplays not getting made initiated her directing career.
  • Her movie wasn’t finished when it was submitted to Sundance.

[22:52] Feeling like Obselidia was a disaster.

  • Sundance accepted the film the next day.
  • Programmers told her Obsolidia was “just pure love,” making it stand out.

[27:55] The experience of Sundance.

  • On getting thrown into the deep end.
  • Her first film review was brutal.

[35:27] Mark Ruffalo’s advice…

[36:10] Critics don’t respect filmmaking in a certain way.

  • You have no right to hate on the work of others until you’ve made your own.
  • Good reviewers help you learn a lot and provide intelligent criticism.
  • She was told that she needed to do something bigger.

[44:44] Making her second film, Bleeding Heart.

  • Having to give up a lot of creative freedom.
  • The most important thing she has learned…
  • Feeling fear that if she didn’t sign for Bleeding Heart, her career would be over.
  • The energy behind an action is more important than the action.

[54:21] Teaching the filmmaking process to others because of this experience.

  • She realized that she chose herself to do what she wanted and that no one could stop her.

[59:30] Of Dust and Bones came out of her creative depression.

  • Questioning if it’s possible to change the world by telling a story.
  • Wanting to jump into intuition and go with her instincts.
  • Of Dust and Bones requires some work from the audience because…
  • Respect for films that give you space to wander and think.
  • No significant dialogue until 40 minutes into the movie.
  • The aim of her new film is to get it across digital streaming and let it find its audience.

[1:16:36] To make a film that has any chance of standing out and making an impact, you do need a certain budget.

[1:20:07] The best way to fundraise…

[1:23:34] Her book, Shoot for the Heart, is available for pre-order on Amazon and will be out in October.

[1:26:55] Loving LA but moving to Denver to raise her son.

  • Feeling like she didn’t know any “real” people because everyone was making films.

[1:32:17] You don’t need incentives to make movies.

[1:35:10] Working with Alex Ferrari of Indie Film Hustle on Obselidia

[1:39:30] The biggest lie we tell ourselves about making films is that…

[1:43:09] Throwing money at everything does not make for good creativity.

[1:45:53] The potential for people to monetize their work is incredible with today’s technology.

[1:47:25] As an artist, you’ve got to hustle and diversify.

  • Find a job that pays your rent until you reach a certain level that makes you money from the creative things you do.

[1:51:45] Colorado needs to make great indie films for the industry to boom.

  • The need to nurture the talent and support each other to make great work.
  • Diane would love to make a TV mini-series.

[1:56:28] Her best advice…

Links and Resources

 

Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!

Summary

Freelance director Adam Patch graduated ten years ago from San Francisco’s Academy of Art with meaningful connections in the industry and an impressive demo reel which launched his career. Since moving to Denver in 2013 and starting a family, Adam found steady freelance gigs which allow him to work remotely, traveling only for the days of the shoot. Some of Adam's recent clients include tech giants Apple, Square, Google, and LinkedIn.

Show Notes

[00:28] Adam Patch began his film career as a motion graphics artist and editor but became increasingly interested in directing so that he could interact with other people.

  • Some of his clients include Apple, Google, Honda, Square, and LinkedIn.

[02:38] During his first semester at art school, he began shooting on 8mm film (this was before professional video cameras were a thing). The school did require some prerequisite classes, but most of them were “somewhat related to art.”

  • The Academy of Art required significant hands-on experience but focused little on art theory.

[06:52] Going to school and getting a foot in the door to the industry

[09:28] Adam's thoughts on school

  • He used his time at film school to build a demo-reel that inspired post-graduation projects.
  • “Be super into it and if you’re not super into it, then maybe that’s not the thing for you to be doing right now.”

[11:06] “So many relationships have either started at school and just continued since then or just have led to meeting other people…”

  • Going to art school is not about getting a degree; it’s about showing people what you can do.
  • Having a degree felt like a good back-up plan.

[16:15] Moving to Denver

  • Traveling from Denver for projects has been easier than traveling for work from Boston.
  • Adam typically only works one local job a year, but he tries to do most of his work (besides the actual shoots) remotely.

[17:42] Can you make a living off of film and video work in Colorado alone?

[19:00] Work and family life

  • No matter where you live, you still have to travel in this industry.
  • Adam typically travels once or twice a month, but as a director, there’s a lot of work that is done before the shoot which he’s able to do remotely such as casting, finding locations, and storyboarding.

[22:30] “How many days am I working or looking for work?

[24:38] What does a commercial director do?

[29:29] During his time at film school, he freelanced on the side as a visual effects artist and animator to pay the bills. 

[36:00] By working on commercials in post-production early in his career, Adam was able to network and learn from directors and clients.

[39:00] A lot of money is being spent on social media-related projects.

[39:40] Adam's typical budget

[40:43] His first projects involved him putting his own money into the job and borrowing equipment.

[43:19] Adam is represented by a production company that has a traditional model of matching clients to directors, but he also does direct-to-client work.

[45:49] Collaboration and trust make for a great client.

[48:05] For the most part, he’s stayed really busy for the last ten years. In large part, he credits this to the diverse skill sets he offers. For example, when things are slower on the directing side, he can find gigs using his post-production skills.

  • Living off of directing work alone would be tough.

[53:43] Supportive parents

[57:57] It’s critical to take the time to develop your own point-of-view instead of always emulating someone else’s.

[59:49] In the last year, he’s made an effort to keep pushing himself creatively and to be more aware of when he’s merely coasting along.

[01:02:09] One of the main lessons he’s learned in his career has been …

Links and Resources

 

Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!

Summary

About Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Design was founded in 2002 with its release of the DeckLink capture card. The company originally specialized in capture and playback cards, but today encompasses all aspects of the film, post-production, and television broadcast industries. The product line underwent a huge transformation in 2009 when they acquired DaVinci Systems. Bob Caniglia, who was working for DaVinci at the time, came over to Blackmagic Design with the acquisition. Bob tells us that one day he was the youngest guy at DaVinci, and the next found himself as the oldest guy at Blackmagic Design. He sat down with us to talk shop and deliver the inside scoop on all of Blackmagic Designs' most exciting innovations.

About Bob Caniglia

Bob Caniglia - Blackmagic DesignBob Caniglia has been working in the film and television industry since 1985 when he was a part-time camera operator and editor for industrial videos. He went on to finish school at night while working full time as a commercial producer and director at a local CVS affiliate. Eventually, Bob found himself in Los Angeles, working as an editor for the Disney Channel and 525 Post Productions. He later worked on music videos for the likes of Prince, Madonna and Michael Jackson.  Bob eventually transitioned his career into production and post-production, working with major manufacturers including Panasonic, Snow, DaVinci Systems and Blackmagic Design where he is currently Director of Sales Operations. When he’s not telling the world about the latest and greatest Blackmagic Design projects, Bob is a professional comedian performing under the stage name Bobby Z.

Show Notes

 [01:16] Bob’s role at Blackmagic Design.

[02:36] A little Blackmagic Design history.

[03:02] Blackmagic Design's CEO, Grant Petty came from the TV business. He originally worked at a post house but wanted to see if he could create a capture card.

[03:26] Blackmagic Design's strength comes from its ecosystem

[03:57] Some history on the DaVinci acquisition

[06:10] Blackmagic Design product overview

[09:13] What Blackmagic Design products are applicable for filmmakers?

[14:42] For filmmakers, Blackmagic Design makes things like viewfinders, shoulder mounts and it's Video Assist (HD, 4K) 5 and 7-inch recorders and monitors.

[17:20] The company partnered with Apple to launch the Blackmagic eGPU in July.

  • These enclosures are paired with a Thunderbolt 3 MacBook Pro, iMac or iMac Pro.
  • It has a graphics card, but also connectivity for HDMI output, USB ports and even charges a laptop.
  • Blackmagic Design also recently announced the Blackmagic eGPU Pro, which is shipping at the end of November.
  • Requires Thunderbolt 3.
  • Powerful but still portable.

[20:50] Let's talk about the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K.

  • 5″ touch screen.
  • Can record CinemaDNG RAW and Apple ProRes.
  • It has the ability to shoot stills (8 megapixels).
  • Versatile to get into small spaces.
  • High frame rates
  • The full-size HDMI output can act as a clean feed, or you can put the camera metadata out.

[29:53] What's special about the URSA Mini Pro 4.6K?

[33:23] Let's talk about DaVinci Resolve

  • The current version of DaVinci Resolve is 15.2.
  • Version 15 added Fusion visual effects to the software.
  • Also added to the editing side, with more title options that include the popular 3D titles that are subsets of Fusion.
  • The Fairlight audio continues to improve.

[36:17] Blackmagic Design continues to acquire companies and brings its robust manufacturing expertise to the table

  • International, award-winning design team.
  • Able to bring the cost down because of manufacturing abilities
  • Every piece of the process is run by specialists in their specific field.
  • Blackmagic Design is the largest consumer of SDI component parts in the world.

[42:55] DaVinci Resolve has a free version in addition to the paid “pro” version.

[45:19] Discussion of order fulfillment of Pocket Cinema Camera 4K.

[47:39] URSA Mini Pro 4.6K.

  • People asking for more on the shoulder features.
  • Wanted to be able to get to menus without having to take the camera off their shoulder.
  • Added ND filters and interchangeable mounts.
  • It can be used as a studio camera.
  • You can use it to shoot a movie or as an E&G camera.
  • Have an SDK (software developer kit) so people can create their own apps
  • The URSA Minis all come with a copy of DaVinci Resolve Studio.

[52:44] Common Workflows using Blackmagic Design cameras.

[53:47] Weezer Music Video shot on URSA Mini Pro and the team ended up editing and color editing all in DaVinci Resolve Studio.

[55:19] Blackmagic Design shows up in every category of the submission requirements for Netflix – cameras, color, editing, and coding.

  • Ready to bring the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K for Netflix certification.
  • The Three Billboards DP used the camera to shoot establishing shots on his own.

[57:58] Blackmagic RAW optimized for DaVinci Resolve.

  • The company also put out an SDK (software developer kit) so that other non-linear editing companies can adopt it.
  • Free codec – no license necessary.
  • Commitment from major companies to adopt through SDK.

[01:01:05] Post-production workflow for the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and URSA Mini 4.6k.

  • Blackmagic Design got into the camera side of things because they wanted to make it possible to record into a codec that you could just use right away without any ‘special sauce' and processing.
  • CinemaDNG RAW plays in an NLE but they are big files.  People typically make proxies for editing and then relink for color.
  • Blackmagic RAW is different.  Makes playback efficient.
  • Blackmagic RAW is already available for URSA Mini 4.6k but not the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K yet.

[01:04:26] Does DaVinci Resolve require a certain computer?

  • Works on three platforms, Linux, Windows, and Mac.
  • You can go to the website support section for DaVinci Resolve and check out the user configuration guide which makes it easy to see if your computer is compatible and optimized for specific equipment.
  • Made DaVinci Resolve ten times faster last year.

[01:09:13] Blackmagic Design is actively working with Mac to ensure integration.

[01:09:33] Upcoming Blackmagic Design Conference in Denver on December 5th

  • One of the classes is “Getting to know the Pocket Cinema Camera 4k”

Links and Resources

 

Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!

Summary

Meryem Ersoz is one of Colorado’s top film producers and has worked on projects ranging from the $200,000 to $3,000,000.  Her local production company, Red Pine Studios provides local Colorado production services and supported the major motion picture Dear Eleanor, directed by Kevin Connolly.

Meryem has worked as a cinematographer and digital imaging technician for the Discovery Channel, Nova, Nat GEO, CNN, Vice and more.  Her latest venture, Blackwing Air Sea Land Cinematography is set to be a game changer in high-speed productions.

Meryem’s background as a Ph.D. academic and professor give her a unique and cerebral take on the business of filmmaking. Meryem talked with us about her unique insights into everything from understanding and distilling film, to her favorite adrenaline-inducing moments with her latest venture.

Show Notes

[0:53] Meryem is one of the only high-end producers who has her own cinematography reel.

[1:11] These days, Meryem is largely focused on running productions for Blackwing Air Sea Land Cinematography and being the occasional driver of “The Porsche.”

  • Blackwing Air Sea Land Cinematography is a specialty camera company that focuses on getting the difficult shots.
  • The Motocrane is a crane that can do 360 degree turns around a car from high to low

[2:36] Partners are John Firestone and Chris Delagarza.

  • Chris is the DP for the Discovery Channel show, “Shifting Gears with Aaron Kaufman.”
  • The team launched the product with a guaranteed set of uses on the Discovery Channel show.
  • “Shifting Gears” shoots in Dallas, but the team was able to shoot in Pikes Peak Speedway for the first use of the car.

[5:20] The high-end industry standard for markets outside of Colorado is to run these on a high-performance Audi or high-performance Porsche.

  • “We have ours on a Porsche Cayenne Turbo. It can carry all that weight and all that gear and still keep up with anything you could throw at it.”

[7:11] The team’s gimbal operator is John Firestone who has been a dedicated gimbal operator around Colorado ever since the Movi Pro came out.

[8:48] They want to be able to work with everybody in Colorado.

[10:15] “The way this car rig works…it’s camera ready, it’s meant to be driven.” The car can travel 30-40 miles fully rigged, which is value added for the industry.

[12:20] “We call ourselves Blackwing Air Sea Land because that’s our intention. For our demo reel, we’re going to rig up one of our jib systems to a boat, because we can do that.”

[12:35] The company has “three flavors of crane.”

[14:46] Meryem is excited about the flexibility the systems offer. “We can do high-end productions and smaller budgets as well. We’ve got choices.”

[17:19] Contact Meryem directly on www.blackwingasl.com to talk about pricing and services.

[21:00] Meryem has an unusual pathway into the business

  • Meryem has a Ph.D. and taught Film History and Theory at the University of Oregon and the University of Denver until her daughter was born in 2000.

[23:43] Meryem took a leave of absence in 2000 to raise her daughter Lucy, but quickly started looking for a creative outlet.

  • Made a documentary after Lucy was born.
  • In 2000, she started a women's film group.
  • “I was very compelled by shooting…I basically caught production fever.”
  • Two years later Meryem started doing it as a business in Boulder.

[26:23] Started making web videos.

  • Within a year, we had managed to land a gig shooting and producing for Television—The Boulder Peak Triathlon
  • In way over our heads, but we worked with a couple of mentors to make sure we succeeded

[27:41] That business partnership eventually dissolved, but both partners took away from it a vast amount of experience in a short period of time.

[28:06] Today there are so many great models and so many great reels.

  • If there would be one thing Meryem would tell aspiring filmmakers, it would be “look at the models, look at the reels.”
  • All the great masters studied under other great masters. They are all constantly learning from each other.
  • Fincher and Deakins didn’t work in a vacuum.

[32:34] Meryem's new business.

  • Services are run under Red Pine Studios.
  • Meryem owns a lot of gear and can bundle services and be flexible for clients.

[33:43] In 2006, Meryem connected with Jim Jannard (Red Digital Cinema Camera Company) on DVinfo.net and began having a conversation about frustrations about camera manufacturing.

  • Jim was collecting info to build this disruptive camera technology, which became the Red One with 4K resolution, raw recording, red code.
  • “These cameras just had a film-like quality. So I put down my down payment.”
  • Getting the RED camera was a defining moment in what she describes as leveling up.

[38:22] “My interest in film as an academic was turn-of-the-century film between 1895 and 1920.” Being involved with this new shift in filmmaking felt like living through a huge revolution in film.

[40:00] Making features was another leveling up process because it was a whole new way of seeing….”seeing actors turn themselves into someone else on camera…I was taken with that transformation.”

  • She asked herself again, “what can I do to level up?” Which led to her decision to produce a film called Minds Eye, also known as Quantum Voyage for DVD.
  • Meryem loves Donnie Darko and David Lynch movies. Anything that's cerebral and mind-bending.

[42:40] She admits that there are things that turned out well in the film and some that didn't. The cinematography was great, while a lesson learned was ensuring that the script is impeccable before the film is shot.

[43:26] A big problem in independent filmmaking is too few people wearing too many hats.

  • She tried to not do too many things on the film and primarily shot the secondary cameras.

[46:36] Working in a smaller market, everyone does some ‘one man band' work.

  • Meryem points out that the higher up the food chain you get, the more focused you get and the more dedicated operators you get.

[48:52] The film Dear Eleanor was yet another leveling up for Meryem.

[49:16] Mind's Eye was produced under the old tax incentives that existed before Donald Zuckerman came into town.

  • Meryem had applied for and received those incentives.
  • Mind's Eye was the first film in four years in Colorado (in 2010) to qualify for the film incentives.
  • The reason qualifying for the incentive was significant is because it shows how dead feature filmmaking in Colorado was. No one was making films that qualified for the incentives ($100,000+).
  • Denver Post article about Mind's Eye.
  • Today, the Colorado scene is very different….the state now has Robert Redford and Quentin Tarantino…and other films like Dear Eleanor.
  • Meryem says that now as Denver has grown significantly there is a lot more demand for commercials and other film content.

[53:39] Dear Eleanor really needed to be coast to coast and the team felt that Colorado could accommodate the production of it.

  • She got the script for Dear Eleanor and started the process of validating whether it would work by personally taking photos of potential sites for the films.
  • She says that doing the front end leg work is what likely cemented the decision to film in Colorado.
  • Dear Eleanor was filmed all over the state, with the crew stationed at a local Best Western.

[01:00:18] Meryem recognizes that making a living in Colorado as a film professional is a scramble.

  • You have to take every job you can until you get to the point that you don't have to take every job you have.
  • “You gotta love it. You've got to have production fever.”

[01:04:37] Colorado has a number of unions including SAG, Local 600, Local 7, and the Teamsters.

  • Colorado is a right to work state, which Meryem says has its upside but it also has its downside. It can be advantageous in bringing money in, but there is a disadvantage because big productions can't get the right crew.

[01:12:37] Meryem's number one piece of advice for people aspiring to make movies is: “You can't skip the steps.”

[01:13:44] Meryem's favorite projects include shooting at the Snowmass Fossil Excavation.

  • Snowmass ended up being one of the largest boneyards ever found.
  • “They were digging up bones so fast, they were having to devise whole new techniques on how to dig.”
  • “We were seeing all kinds of stuff… Ancient leopards, ancient buffalo, gigantic sloth teeth, teeth from mastodons and whole skeletons from whole mastodons….that was an experience of a lifetime.”

[01:19:47] The weirdest thing she ever shot was in Steamboat Springs.

  • She explored a series of connected caverns with an experienced caver known as ‘Caver Dave'.
  • Meryem had the opportunity to explore one cave, in particular, that was filled entirely with Sulfuric acid.
  • Caver Dave had discovered a life form–a sort of worm–that was able to live in the cave.

[01:27:00] Meryem says that the industry has a lot of ups and downs and that there are times when she is waiting for the phone to ring.

  • She now feels like she has done the work to trust that the phone will ring eventually.

[01:28:57] Meryem is an introvert in an extroverted industry.

  • She concedes that it's been hard for her to push herself and says that working with partner Chris on Blackwing has shown her how important it is to put yourself out there.
  • Meryem says that branding can be a lot like learning film. Look at people who are doing it well and accept the fact that you are, in fact, a brand. The sooner creatives can learn that lesson, the better.
  • “[Your brand] is as important to focus on as your craft.”

[01:36:01] Meryem’s biggest learning lessons are compounded into two sayings:

  • “You can't skip the steps.” Skipping the steps, rushing the thing that you want to do vs. doing what you need to do doesn't work. There are reason and logic to the order.
  • The other is: ”It's never about what the other guy is doing. It's always about how you are going about your business.”

[01:39:12] “Filmmaking is a vast expansive universe.” There are always people that are going to be accomplishing more than you. If there are people doing better than you…they are working hard to do better.

Links and Resources

 

Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!

Summary

David Baud - Colorist and Finishing EditorDavid Baud is the owner and founder of Kosmos Productions, based in Denver, Colorado. Hailing from France originally, David currently lives with his wife in Colorado but continues to work extensively in Europe. David has over 20 years of experience in broadcast television, film, and video, and has directed, edited, and color graded numerous national and international productions.

David's passions for film was first nurtured by his childhood love for making stop motion movies with his older brother. Using a variety of different animation techniques, he learned his craft literally frame by frame. After studying computer-generated imagery and computer languages in Paris, David first became an assistant to a television director, then a freelance cameraman. He learned all the aspects of production—from working on 16mm film to a weekly broadcast video television show. Since the advent of nonlinear editing systems in 1993, David has applied his expertise to digital post-production, editing, and visual effects, with color grading being his special focus.

Show Notes

[01:54] Passion for film and cinema started as a child. He credits his older brother because they made stop motion film together with their super 8 camera.

  • Stop motion encompasses much more than Disney, which is what most people are familiar with.
  • The brothers used claymation and real people using pixelation technique to move between frames.
  • Interested in the technique of illusion. When you are working frame by frame, you really understand what it means to move an object on a few inches a day.

[05:58] Wanted to explore more computer techniques in the 80s after finishing high school.

  • Studied computer science – received a degree in 3D computer graphics.

[07:18] David landed a job on the main French television network…the equivalent of PBS.

  • It was here that David learned the craft from people who had been making film for years.
  • Started as assistant director and worked as a producer.
  • At that time in France (late 80s – early 90s) most French networks were still using 16mm film and moving that film to video.
  • There was a period of time in which you could use film, not tape. You had to figure a way to edit things that weren't live. You had to recall it on film and when it was ready to air you had to convert it.
  • David was lucky enough to witness the transition and so learned film and tape recording and then again to digital.

[11:00] David is heavily influenced by watching movies and understanding that language. He says that filmmaking is just another way of expressing ideas.

  • “Film is a language – people think it's obvious today because we are bombarded by images so that we sometimes don't realize what it is. This is why I'm talking about this idea of illusion.”
  • It took a full year to shoot a 5-minute film using stop motion. David points out that they were in school and busy with other things, but says that they still worked on the film a couple of days a week.

[14:26] David grew up in the Rhone Valley in the South of France in a small town in the countryside.

  • He moved to Paris in order to study.
  • The beautiful thing about living in Paris in regards to filmmaking is that there is so much history there and David says, there are many many cinemas that allowed him to watch a huge variety of films.
  • David's passion for learning more about other cultures and countries led him to work on a farm in Germany and England. Eventually, he really wanted to explore the United States.

[17:50] In 1988 David found a job on a ranch in New Mexico. He felt the experience was like living in the Western Films that he had enjoyed as a child.

  • David met his wife in New Mexico. She is from Colorado where the couple eventually settled.
  • David says he loves the light and the beauty of the Rockies.
  • David considers himself a citizen of the world and humankind and splits his time between France and the United States.

[20:10] David worked as a cameraman next. He wanted to understand all the jobs necessary to make a film.

  • He hoped that by understanding every job he would be able to make better films.
  • In the early 90s, David began getting involved in post-production along with the wave of the digital revolution.

[25:12] The advent of nonlinear editing, which is software-based editing.

  • One of the first software programs was Avid.
  • He says the process was long and complex but the software was already getting better when he started.
  • Today he focuses mostly on color grading and finishing.

[27:28] Post-production includes the editing of the image and the audio. Depending on the type of production it might also include graphics, titles and computer animations.

  • Editing is the stage where you bring everything together to make the story you want to tell.
  • After editing, the sound is added to enhance the story.
  • Once these are finished, color grading and finishing come in. Most of the time it includes working on the exposures, color balance, white balance, saturation and all the colors on different parts of the film.
  • Depending on the film, there might have been different cameras used. In the end, you have to mix these cameras which don't typically match and so you have to do color correction.
  • Even if you used the same camera, if you filmed in different places, different times of the day or any condition that alters the colors, correction can help make the story feel unified and complete.

[31:07] Color correction brings continuity.

  • Going a step further, you might want to give a certain look. A certain mood or color… and you need to make sure you are matching the narrative story.
  • The color grading is the process of emphasizing the emotion, the depth of the story.
  • The finishing typically ensures that the film you provide meets the standards that are applicable for how it's being released…ie: in the theater, on television, etc.

[33:39] Rec. 709 is the number given to a standard in television since the advent of HD television.

  • If you follow the 709 standard, you should be able to show it anywhere in the world. Rec. 709 also specifies a color space, meaning all the colors you use in the film correspond to a specific standard. If you follow the standard, the piece will look standardized no matter what player it's being shown on.
  • “We need some kind of reference. What we see as a human and what we are able to record and what we are able to display…there are quite some differences.”
  • The industry is moving to Rec. 2020. That's the HDR standard. Things are evolving for the better. 2020 is able to show more color, more dynamic range.

[41:21] How can a filmmaker set themselves up for success to work with a colorist?

  • It's important to record your images the best possible way in the first place. The quality of the camera, the codex makes a big difference.
  • A general recommendation is that if you don't have great equipment, it's important to make what you are filming right when you first film it in terms of light, color, etc. You want to make sure you aren't overexposing or underexposing. You don't want too much noise. When you are shooting at night, you need to make sure you have enough light. You don't want to stress the camera.
  • More expensive cameras give you much more room to make corrections because you have a lot of information with a lot of subtlety that you'll be able to massage in terms of color.
  • David loves working with RED cameras but points out that those cameras can't shoot cameras in precarious situations, like extreme sports filming where GoPros are much more common.
  • At the end of the day, you need a good crew to make a great film. People who understand their equipment and their craft can carry the process with a range of equipment.

[49:39] David says that human vision can adjust white balance, but a camera needs to be taught how to see it correctly. Ultimately he says that exposure is more important to get right.

[53:05] The new generation of camera that can record raw, you can change the white balance in post-production. It's better to get it right when you shoot, but there is some room to alter the file later.

[58:17] Differences between France and the United States.

  • There are different approaches to how to make a film. In the United States, the producer has quite a bit of importance in making a film. In France, the director is the one who owns a project. There is a big difference between the people who are putting the money down and the people who are making the film.
  • France has a lot of laws that protect the ownership and rights of the director.
  • There are differences in how we perceive color and emotions from country to country. If you look at Asian culture or African culture, they perceive visuals and how a film is cut differently than western cultures.

[01:03:51] Working on film restoration. Color grading can bring back life to an old film.

[01:07:00] David has been working on some extreme sports films that used up to 15 different types of cameras.

[01:08:26] Color grading is a mix of technical understanding and artistic understanding. Telling a story from a color point of view is very rewarding. David's ultimate goal is to have viewers completely forget the technical aspect and just get wrapped up in the story.

[01:11:35] Main tool for color correcting is Davinci Resolve. The Davinci Resolve system was upwards of a million dollars in the early days. Today, you can download a copy of Resolve for free. That is a huge evolution in the industry.

[01:13:38] Working in the Denver market.

  • David has never worked in Los Angeles, but he says Paris is similar to the Los Angeles market. The Denver market is smaller which makes it difficult to focus specifically on color grading.
  • Video editing in the 90s was like writing in the Middle Ages, you had to seek out someone who knew how to write and had the tools. Today editing software is so easy to access, it's made it more difficult to freelance. Having multiple skills is necessary to survive in the Denver market.

[01:22:03] Watching HDR film on the reference monitor has been an “aha” moment for David. HDR brings you all the subtlety and details in the black as much as emphasizing the highlights.

[01:27:25] David’s best advice for aspiring filmmakers is to be prepared. If you are trying to create a narrative, make sure you have a great script before you take it to production. Even with a small amount of money, you can make a great film. Not being afraid to ask questions is key. There are so many aspects of filmmaking – it's important to ask people who are specialists.

  • Once you answer all the nuanced questions about your film, you can begin to build a workflow – from where you want to film all the way through post-production.
  • The better workflow you have, the more efficient the whole process will be and the less expensive the project will be.
  • Different types of projects have different workflows. Films are different than documentaries for instance.
  • Test as much as possible. The great pros test before they start a project. From recording a shot to processing the files to getting it through post-production, if you test the whole process your project will benefit.

[01:34:00] What is a log?

  • Raw and log recording means you can record much more information than a traditional camera. When you work with RGB or Rec. 709, the colors you record are very close to what you are working within post.
  • In raw and log, the cameras aren't capable of showing you what you'll end up with in post-production.

[01:35:12] A LUT (Look Up Table) is a mathematical transformation that will translate in real time, the log information into your finish format like Rec. 709. It gives you an idea of what the film will look like.

  • David doesn't personally use a LUT because he doesn't get the kind of flexibility he likes. He says that it can be useful however in bigger productions when people need to communicate certain visual intentions.
  • Normalizing footage before running it through a LUT can be helpful if you are working across platforms.

[01:41:39] Academy Color Encoding System – ACES can be used from the beginning of a shoot or from the post-production point depending on your camera and your workflow.

  • Will help resolve issues between having different cameras responding differently to different color spaces.
  • Color space established in 1931 – all the colors that are seen by human vision. Equipment, from cameras to display, aren't all capable of seeing that. ACES encompasses the whole human vision system.
  • ACES is future proof because it encompasses all the colors we are able to see.
  • Some people can see more color than others. There is an amazing complexity to human vision.
  • ACES is being used on most Hollywood productions
  • Archiving will be easier in the future because it has all the information you'll need to retrieve color.

Links and Resources

Be sure to check out podcasts with other great guests in the film and media industry on our DMP Podcast Page!