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Posts Tagged ‘Nikon D90’

“I know everything there is to know about the greatest game ever invented. “
Hoosiers (Dennis Hopper’s character)

Since tonight’s NCAA championship basketball game is an extension of March Madness, I’ve finally posted my March Screenwriting from Iowa video. The game tonight between powerhouse Duke (with several national championship) versus Butler (in their first national title appearance) has been called Hoosiers II. Not only because Butler is the smaller school going up against the well established program, but because part of the movie Hoosiers was actually shot in the Butler gym in Indianapolis, Indiana.

You know the ending part of the movie where little Hickory High School walks into the big gym and the players are in awe. And the coach (played by Gene Hackman) takes a tape measure to show the players that the rim is the same height as their little gym back home. They go on to pull off an upset victory in the closing seconds.

Hoosiers was released in November of  1986 and who knows how many basketball players have watched it for inspiration. Butler forward Gordon Hayward said, “I can’t really tell you how many times I’ve watched that movie. I think everyone growing up in Indiana watches that movie. I’ve lost count.”

And a fitting quote to tie-in screenwriting with basketball comes from Geoffrey Fletcher who reportedly wrote thousands of pages before his work finally made its way to the screen in the movie Precious: Based on a Book by Sapphire.

“I watch, say Michael Jordan play and he makes it look quite easy, but we never see all the hours, and hours, and hours of years of practice beforehand. So when people ask me if writing Precious was difficult (to write), well certainly it was. The subject matter…we have a semi-literate character telling us the story. But a lot of the difficulty was writing all of those pages of original material before I got this opportunity.”
Oscar-Winning screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher
wga.com interview

PS. One of the great things about the new HDSLR cameras is that shooting videos with it opens up new opportunites. I bought the Nikon D90 which was the first HDLS released that shot HD video. I took it with me to the Northern Iowa gym to take some still photos for the above video and ended up thinking, “why not shoot a little video while I’m here.” So other than the greenscreen opening section that was shot on Panasonic HPX 170, I shot all the photos and video with the Nikon D90. It doesn’t take much surfing on the web to see many high quality short narrative films and videos that are being made with this new jump in technology. (Just did some test shooting with the very popular Canon 7D last week and that camera is solid.)I haven’t heard of a feature being made with a HDSLR yet, but I’m sure that’s just around the corner.

Related Posts:
Storytelling from Indiana

The King of Cool’s Roots

Why Do We Love Underdog Stories?

Scott W. Smith


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“The next few years will see photography and filmmaking redefined by technology.   While there is no substitute for exquisite lighting – artists will now be able to explore areas once thought impossible to photograph.”
Vincent Laforet (writing in 2008)

Modern technology, with the Internet leading the charge, has in recent years forever changed the music business, the photography business, the newspaper business and the movie business. This, as I and many other people have written before, has and will cost people jobs—but at the same time it has, and will continue, to offer many creative opportunities for those willing to make the leap.

One of the more recent changes is the advent of HD video being able to be shot on HD-DSLR cameras. (Just think in terms of the old 35mm film camera like the Canon AE-1 on steroids.) These are relatively  inexpensive with the lower end Nikon and Canon cameras coming in between $900.—2,000. without lenses. (Even the high end ones are only in the $5,000-6,000. range, which is in the ballpark of a lot of HDDV cameras out there.) They are still not in a place to replace traditional film and video cameras altogether, but they are producing some pretty high end results as Vincent Laforet and others are showing.

Last year I began to implement select footage from my Nikon D90 into my video productions and I think that will continue to increase in the future. Since this is a blog on screenwriting I won’t get too technical, but a couple things that makes these cameras special is that they are small and portable, have a larger sensor than most sub-$10,000. video cameras, and can record at high ISO speeds. Which basically means they don’t need a large crew and lots of lights to create amazing images. (The RED camera can’t touch these cameras in low-light conditions.)

Below is a short film that was directed by Vincent Laforet, Stu Maschwitz, David Nelson which they shot with a Canon 1D MKIV. Here is what Laforet wrote a couple months ago about the production on a post entitled Lights, Camera, Action:

“Here is the main point that I hope you take into account: the short film you are about to watch was shot in pretty much the very worst light that I could possibly find in an evening urban landscape.  I did not chose ‘pretty lighting’ in a mall or under neon signs.  That would have been cheating in my book.

The short was shot near East 6th and Mateo St. in Los Angeles – in an industrial part of the city.   If you live in the area – go check out the area – you won’t believe the video you see below came from the poor lighting in that area.   Sodium and mercury vapor lights.   That’s it.  Really awful lighting.

Not a single external light source was used / added.  In other words I did not use a single flashlight, LightPanel, flood light – nothing.”

If you’re a writer think of the possibilities. If you’re not interested in picking up a camera, fine–I understand–but at least start aligning yourself with shooters and editors out there who can help bring your words to life in new and exciting ways.

Scott W. Smith

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DSC_0599

While Josh looks in this photo like an American Idol contestant I don’t even know if he can sing. He’s been helping me out at River Run Productions the last couple months doing freelance editing. He’s a student at UNI here in Cedar Falls but heads out to L.A. today to work as an intern for Entertainment Tonight over the summer.

So next week when those of you in Southern California see him driving to or from CBS studios in his Mini Cooper you’ll think he’s just an another L.A. hipster, but it’s really another talented kid from Iowa finding his way to California to work in the biz.

So how does a kid from Iowa end up working on the set of Entertainment Tonight? In part because of another kid from Iowa has paved the way. ET co-anchor  Mark Steines was born and raised in Dubuque, Iowa and attended UNI on a football scholarship and earned a B.A. in radio & TV. He got his start in broadcasting here at KWWL before eventually joining ET in 1995. So he’s opened the door for others to follow in his tracks. 

And speaking of American Idol, I finally sat down last night and watched  my first (almost) entire program of the popular show. I jumped on the bandwagon just in time. It didn’t feel like 2009, but more like 1979 as they featured a who’s who of people I listened to in high school back in the day; Rod Stewart, KISS, Lionel Richie, Queen, Carlos Santana  and even a cameo with Steve Martin on the banjo. 

My favorite quote of the night was when runner-up 27-year old Adam Lambert said he had been working on his singing dream since he was 10. That’s a 17 year journey. I imagine that winner Kris Allen’s story is probably the same. There probably won’t be too many screenwriting blogs talking about American Idol, but I’d like to point out, that like top screenwriters there’s a lot of talent and hard work to make it to that level. Congrats to both Adam and Kris. 

I enjoyed the commercial during American Idol with Iowa-native Ashton Kutcher promoting the Nikon D90. That’s the camera I’m shooting with these days including the above photo. (Along with a couple SB-800s flashes for those of you technically minded.)

And I might as well send out congrats to another Iowa native (and Olympic goldmedist) Shawn Johnson who won the Dancing with the Stars competition on Tuesday night. And I really should mention that The Official Shawn Johnson Website is powered by my buddies at Spin-U-Tech who I share office space with right here in beautiful downtown Cedar Falls, Iowa.

So you see, Iowans are not really out of the entertainment loop. And as I like to say about Iowa itself — “It’s conveniently located between New York and L.A.”

 

photo & text copyright 2009 Scott W. Smith

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