So much for getting back in to weekly posts...
As some of you know, I've been very busy the past month or so. Clearly, its been harder than expected to find time to write a weekly blog post, while also juggling multiple projects at work, volunteer projects I committed to at CCCT (sorting out the blank gun for the show and lighting - more on that below), decorating for Halloween, and still leaving time to relax now and then. And yet, so many of these projects are either in various stages of completion or aren't sharable for one reason or another, that I also haven't had all that much to talk about.
Here's a couple recent ones I can share though:
The other day, I edited an updated reel for an actor friend of mine, Jesse Merrill. One of the projects we decided to include in his reel is an episode of Stop the Threat that he was in, "Crime Spree" (one of my favorites) - you can check that out here:
Short post this week, as I just realized that I'd never shared the final versions of the scenes from Titus Andronicus that I edited from the performance recording done at Clear Creek Community Theatre in 2017.
For any new readers, last year Clear Creek Community Theatre selected Titus Andronicus as it's 2017 Summer Shakespeare production. It was directed by my brother Robert Leslie Meek, and I made an awesome teaser trailer for the show (which you can check out here). During the final weekend of the show, we recorded the whole show from beginning to end with three cameras (a Sony Ex3, a Sony F3 - borrowed from TPC - and my Sony A7s recording 4K into my Atomos Shogun Inferno).
Unfortunately the music rights the theatre has for live production don't extend to distributing recordings of the show, so the full production is only available to the cast and crew of that show. However, I was able to pull some really great scenes from the edit and have packaged them up as individual videos on CCCT's YouTube Channel.
I've embedded the ones we've pulled below - please enjoy (if enjoy is the right phrase to use for Titus)
Meant to get this post out last week, but I was sick and work got really busy. So lets jump in - NAB is now long behind us, and as usual I jumped right into something new as soon as I was back in town. This year, it was the teaser trailer for Clear Creek Community Theatre's production of Beauty and the Beast. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out before we go any further:
So I made this teaser entirely in Adobe After Effects using Video Copilot's Element 3D plugin (along with some other plug-ins), lets start by breaking down the pieces at play here:
One more project off the list! I've finally finished my edit of the Titus Andronicus production at Clear Creek Community Theatre from summer 2017.
It took a littler longer than expected, partially because it kept getting put on hold to work on other things, but I finished it the other day, and I'm glad to be moving on to the next project. Unfortunately I can't post the full show here, because of some rights issues with music. (The theatre has different rights/rules for stage than video), but they will be posting a few different scenes in the near future. However, I've got a sneak peak here for you all who follow the blog - check it out:
The Sony FS5 is a camera I've had my eye on since they announced it. For the type of projects I generally gravitate to, its just about perfect (at least on paper), and as I've been saying for a while now - if I had a project that justified it, I'd buy one in a heartbeat. Well, I haven't bought it, but a couple weeks ago we (TPC) rented a couple FS5s for a project we were shooting for Bloomberg. Of course I also took the time to learn the camera a little ahead of time and shot some test footage down in Galveston.
Disclaimer: these are my thoughts after having my hands on the camera for about 3 and a half days of shooting, and then quickly running my test footage through post. While it gave me a good idea of the camera's capabilities, its by no means completely comprehensive. I always tell anyone who asks, never just buy a camera you've never used - find an excuse to rent it for a few days and shoot some tests. LensProToGo has them available to rent at a great price.
That out of the way, here's what I've learned - we'll start with the how it performed in the setting we rented the cameras for, and move on to the fun stuff in a minute, so if you came here for slow-motion and beachfront off-roading, just scroll on down past the news gathering.
Along with the crazy couple weeks I've had at work, I've also had a few fun, but quick projects I did for Clear Creek Community Theatre that I thought I'd talk about a little bit:
First of all, there's the early publicity stills I shot for The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised] last week, which is the next show on the CCCT stage. The director, Steve Sarp, had an idea for publicity to put the Groucho Marx glasses prop on Shakespeare, I then suggested actually photographing the image on the Shakespeare bust that sits on the piano in the lobby at CCCT.
The pictures turned out better than I had hoped:
Okay - the teaser's out now, and since I promised we would, this week we're going to take a look behind the curtain at this one:
It turned out better than I expected. My mother, the director of CCCT's production of Black Coffee, came up with the concept and I shot this with only about half of a plan and no idea of how the pieces were going to come together. Not to say the concept was bad - but while I was shooting it I was having a little trouble seeing the final edit - unlike the Christmas Carol or the Titus teasers where Robert and I had some pretty detailed discussions far in advance (we even storyboarded Titus to the music track we ended up using) or even compared to the last Agatha Christie Trailer I shot, Towards Zero, which I also planned out and scripted in advance, this one was very much "shot from the hip".
Okay, so it’s been a little while - Christmas was crazy and I gave myself a bit of a break where I could, but now we’re into 2018 and it’s time to buckle down again. I've got a lot to cover, so let’s just jump in.
My original plan for this post was to have a new vlog ready to accompany it and talk about some of the newer projects I've got in mind and the new progress on the old ones. However, between helping Robert on Christmas Carol and then helping my mother with her show, Black Coffee, I've had little time to work on my own projects. (Let alone get my office cleaned up enough to be "camera ready")
That said, working promotional for both shows has given me some new little projects to work on - you’ve all seen the Christmas Carol teaser I shot, and now I’ve got a teaser for Black Coffee that I’m editing (and hope to have out in the next couple days) I'll probably go into more detail on the behind-the-scenes for that trailer next week.
A little over a month ago, I wrote a blog post about the simple, yet effective Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde teaser trailer that I threw together completely within After Effects. I needed some video and had nothing to work with - set wasn't ready, there was no footage of actors in costume, and of course, even though the original work is public domain, the version we were performing is not, and video rights are tightly held.
Earlier this week I took another "simple" approach to making a teaser, except this one we have the nearly completed set and costume, so we shot some real video for it - check out the teaser trailer for A Christmas Carol below:
Okay, so I was going to write about my time with the rented Sony 200mm lens for this post, but I didn't have time to get any post out, let alone finish editing the photos so I can really say what I think of the lens.
Thomas Meek is an independent filmmaker living and working in Houston, TX