16
Sep
09

1st RED ONE commercial

Below is one of our most recent commercials that we filmed just a couple of months ago. This was the first commercial that we shot on our new RED ONE camera. I didn’t upload an HD version as it would have been too slow on many of your systems, however you can still tell the quality of the camera from even these very low res visuals. Slow motion is now TRUE slow motion. This means that we no longer have to simply slow down the footage and end up with cloudy and awkward looking images, but now we can simply speed up the frame rate and see every single detail in what is happening.

I also like this commercial as it is quite artsy and fun. I am getting tired of all the dialogue in our commercials. I think from here on out I will try to do more visually and less preachy. I hope you enjoy!

31
Aug
09

Honduras

Honduras was a pretty exciting place to shoot. I was completely surprised by what we found there when we arrived. For a country that just had a coup, it was surprisingly calm. Yes, our driver constantly fingered his GLOCK and we were always in a deeply tinted windowed SUV, it still didn’t have dangerous feel that I have often felt in Haiti and other places around the world.

While there, we spent most of our time with our Israeli born host, Ydod. The work Ydod and his father are doing in Honduras is simply incredible. Though we were there to film a Tilapia fish film, at no point in Honduras did we focus on Tilapia. “Aquafinca” (AQF), the fish farm that Ydod runs has a slogan that says, “It is not about the Tilapia, it is about the people.” And that is completely true. 8 years ago, when Ydod and his father Israel moved to Honduras to start the farm, their staff had a 98% illiteracy rate. The community where they set up was the poorest of the poor and was plagued by criminals and drunks and in general, people with no real hope for a future.

Today they have 1300 staff from the local community with a 95% literacy rate, and that is just the beginning. They have built 70 schools for the local community for children and adults. The schools are free. They have put up a free medical center on-site for all their staff. They pay their staff well above the national minimum wage. They have set up a “Co-op” bank where all their staff put a minimum of 5% (usually more) into a centeral “bank”. They then match the amount and use the money to give small loans to their people. Banks in Honduras would never let most of these people inside their doors, but now these people have access to home loans and new business loans.

What is ever more impressive is that Aquafinca gives 10% of all profit, (fish and gear included) to the community. This is a gift and AQF gets nothing in return. They have set up a governing board with members of the community as well as a couple of government agents who decide where to spend the money (often in excess of 50K a month). The only parameters put on this money is that is must be used on the community. Over the past few years the money has been spent on more medical centers, schools, police and fireman training as well as security. The side effect is a community that completely looks out for and loves AQF. Another side effect is that 2 years ago there were 181 fires that destoyed much of the landscape and hurt the fisheries. Last year there were only 21 fires. This is because the firemen have been sufficiently trained to stop the fires. By uplifting the community, AQF has helped themselves in ways they never imagined.

Aquafinca is also building beautiful (large) homes for their staff to buy at 1/4th the going Honduras rate. We were able to tour the first two homes, and they were incredible.

Is it possible that they can still make money if they seem to give it all away to to the community you might ask? 8 years ago AQF was 10 million dollars in debt and Honduran’s didn’t know what a Tilapia fish was. Today AQF is worth more than 100 million dollars and Honduras’s main export is Tilapia. This is the purest form of “community transformation” that I have ever witnessed. Below are pics from our time there. I hope you enjoy!

The dam. Helicopter shot.

The dam. Helicopter shot.

The processing plant.

The processing plant.

This is where they make Diesel fuel... out of fish guts.

This is where they make Diesel fuel... out of fish guts.

A swim in the lake.

A swim in the lake.

Shot of one of the "Open Water" farms.

70,000 fish in each "cage". Insane.

The farms, shot from the Helicopter.

The farms, shot from the Helicopter.

27
Aug
09

Costa Rica

We are currently in Costa Rica shooting a WWF video (World Wildlife fund, nothing to do with Costa-rican wrestlers). The film is all about Tilapia fish, and though the actual content might put many of you to sleep, we are overcoming that fact with stunning visuals and great story. In the end, I think this will be a beautiful 5 minute film. While here we have shot tons of fish and fish ponds and fish feeding and sunsets with fish and sun rises with fish…etc. And though this sounds weird, the visuals really have been amazingly beautiful… which isn’t hard to do in Costa Rica where everything is beautiful.

The video also talks about fish farms becoming more and more “green”… so we went up and took some shots of these MASSIVE windmills. Next, the film mentions fish predators so we have gotten some great shots of birds and just this morning, we captured a Crocodile and sat on it… it really wasn’t necessary to sit on, but why not? The “catchers” were insane, they stood neck deep in the water and clapped their hands and slapped the water and scared the crocs into a net that 5 other men were pulling across the pond… insane. Below are a few of the pics we took today.

Trying to pretend we are hardcore.

Trying to pretend we are hardcore.

IMG_6876

Big Croc

Big Boy

When we touched, I knew he loved me.

Clouds were amazing

Doomsday sky

Insanely large turbines

I'm pretending to film... for the picture.

Insane people

This is how they catch the croc. Insane!

Lookin Sexy

Lookin Sexy

IMG_6857

Ride em cowboy!

21
Aug
09

June/July shoots

Nick and I have had a busy June and July. We shot quite a lot, and the clip below is some of the “beauty shots” that we came away with. August is turning into quite a huge month as well so I will be sure to post a new vid when we process the film! 

02
Aug
09

The Ants Go Marching

In the old days, on a regular basis I would film all kinds of stuff just for the fun of it. I really can’t explain why, but this was one of my favorite videos for a long time. I saw some ants and thought I would film them… and then I thought I would give them a voice. I think that may be one of my “callings”, to give a voice to those who don’t have one, to stand up for the right of the oppressed, to… OK, you get the picture.

31
Jul
09

Failure

If you look above all these blog posts you will see actual pages with clips of products I am either currently working on or have released in the past. There is one up there that is called “The Penguin Chronicles”. This was something I wrote at the beginning of Switchvert and I still actually like. Nick and I made it together and though you can tell we didn’t really know what we were doing, we did have a lot of fun. The message is a little everywhere and a lot more angsty then I would ever make now, but when I watch it there are definitely some powerful moments.

I would never show “Penguin” to anyone to impress them with our film-making skills, but it is a fun watch and was a huge learning experience for us. This product is actually what initially connected us with Don Miller. I had loosely based the script on his book Blue Like Jazz and called him to see if he minded us “stealing” a little from the book. Don loved the clips I showed him and we met a few times over the next few years. Eventually I flew out to Colorado Springs to spend a few days writing with him (though, if I remember correctly we did very little writing and a lot of watching the complete season 2 of Arrested Development).

It was during that time that we conceived a project which we eventually shot and is currently out in stores, “The Open Table” (OT) through Thomas Nelson Publishers.  After OT was released, “The Open Table 2” (currently in production and also with Don Miller) was commissioned.

Through doing these projects we were were able to meet lots of great people and make some amazing connections. Years passed and we eventually created our very own “Surrendered & Untamed” (also above) which is without a doubt one of the most exciting projects with the largest amount of potential that we have ever worked on!

So why the long story? I only brought this up to say that many people have looked at “The Penguin Chronicles” and asked why we would spend many moths making it. They ask why we spent our own money developing it and flying it around the world trying to sell it if it was never commissioned in the first place. They look at it and see failure.  And to simply look at “Penguin” is to look at failure. But if you step back and see the whole story you gain a perspective that can only come with a lot of time. What is so amazing is that it is many little “failures” over many years that eventually turned into a great blessing.

All that was a very long introduction to a clip that never actually made it into “The Penguin Chronicles”. It was cut out to save time. The clip is about hypocracy. It was actually concieved by my brother Jason who saw it in his head and called me to tell me about it. Sadly, I can’t actually remember the name of the actress in it. She is the same woman from the “Conman” promo as well. Regardless, I hope you enjoy, “Not an Actor”

29
Jul
09

The Desert Shoot

We were recently able to shoot in Nevada’s Death Valley with author Mark Batterson (In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day). We were filming the polishing touches for “Surrendered & Untamed – Volume 1”. Though the content of the shoot was more “talking head” then I usually like, the location was so visually stunning that it made it all come together nicely! We shot on the RED ONE camera, which basically means the visuals are as stunning as anything in Hollywood. The depth of field on the camera is incredible, you can shift focus with just an inch to play with. Nick Costaras (my business partner) is the DOP for everything we do and he had a lot of fun playing around with the camera. Below are a few pictures of the shoot. Just click on the Surrendered & Untamed link above to see some of the footage we shot. The desert part of the product is at the end. You will have to wade through some incredibly dull Antarcting adventure stuff to get to the part I am talking about now.

It was insanely HOT on the first day of the shoot.

It was insanely HOT on the first day of the shoot... and so was I

Nick thinks he is a cowboy.

Nick thinks he is a cowboy.

Nick tries to teach me how to make a "Sand Angel"

Nick trying to teach me how to make a "Sand Angel"

Sunset, Day 1

Sunset, Day 1

Marks famous "foot shot"

Marks famous "foot shot"

Sunset Day 2

Sunset Day 2

Mark is happy to be done with the shoot.

Mark is happy to be done with the shoot.




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