9 Cameras. 6 Filmmakers. 5 Musicians. 1 Audio Mixer. Lots of Training Ground. #9CamJam

What happens when you combine 9 cameras, 6 filmmakers, 3 jazz musicians, a rock guitarist, a freestyle rapper and an 8-channel audio mixer? You get fertile ground for a training blog series you won’t want to miss!

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This past Tuesday we shot what is perhaps one of the most technically complicated, creatively challenging and fulfilling creative endeavors I’ve had the pleasure to produce in my 12+ years as a professional video producer. It was #ImprovJam, episode 2 of the original films series I’m producing SoundandSEA.TV: Voices & Visions of Seattle. We had the tenner sax, drums and double bass players from the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra jam with Seattle rock guitarist Ayron Jones of AJ and the Way; all while rapper Turtle T rapped freestyle. (The first improv set was 26 minutes long!) Man oh man oh man! It was so freaking awesome to see these cats do their thing. I swear at one point I was nearly brought to tears (I’m not kidding).

The genesis of the project came as an idea I had to help out SRJO connect with a younger audience. I’m doing pro bono work for them as they enter their 20th anniversary season. I wanted to do something different. Something that would be more than just a traditional 20th anniversary video (Note: the video currently on their site was shot a couple of years ago by another amazing Seattle filmmaker John Edwards. It was re-edited and reposted for their 20th anniversary). So this is what I dreamt up. The experience was won I will never forget. (More details on the conception of this series in a future blog post).

We all know that filmmaking is a collaborative experience. But many of you reading this are like me. You own a small studio and many (if not most) of your shoots are 1- to maybe 3-man crews. But every now and they I get the opportunity to lead a project that brings together a disparate group of artists.  A few that come to mind are: my 48 Hour Film Project; the short film documentary based on a Creative Mornings lecture video I produced; and who can forget The Longest Day, the first ever online reality TV show starring 24 of the top wedding and portrait photographers in the country. Each one of these projects (and others like them I’ve had the honor to direct and produce over the years) brought to the table a wide variety of challenges, each challenge an opportunity to learn and grow; and by extension, an opportunity to teach.

#9CamJam – A Teaching Blog Series

It’s going to be a number of months before post production on the final film is complete. Along the way there will be lots and lots of teaching and sharing opportunities as we release short documentaries, BTS snippets, and teasers. In order to make access to the series easy, I’ve created a separate tag under Creative Arts > Film & Video: #9CamJam (on Twitter and Facebook, look for the hashtag #9CamJam). Just a few of the topics the series will cover include:

  • Creative Concepting
  • Building a team
  • Directing a multicam shoot
  • Camera and microphone placement
  • Social media marketing
  • Multicam editing
  • Protools mixing
  • A variety of inspirational tidbits and revelations

Be sure to stay tuned so you can always be notified when a new post is up.

Sponsors (Don’t Skip This. Trust me.😉 )

A project like this could never happen without the many dedicated professionals and a few amazing companies who believe in what we’re doing.

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LensProToGo has been my go-to rental site for years now. They are an amazing company to work with. Their employees are real, working photographers and filmmakers, so not only do they offer great customer service, but they can actually help you make the right gear choices for your shoot. (They’ve hooked up my readers with a special discount. Use the code 9camjam and save 10% on your rental.) I always say this, but I love how 1) shipping is included in the rental price of just about all of the items (so no shipping price sticker shock when you get to the check out page), and 2) all of their rentals come in Pelican Cases. With new cameras coming out about every six months now, unless you have just oodles of cash lying around, there’s almost no good reason for many (if not most) of you to sink 4, 5, or 10 thousand dollars or more into equipment. Rent as you need it and build your cost into your fee.

Sliders, Stabilizers & Rigs for DSLR Filmmakers

Rhino Camera Gear is a local gear manufacturer here in the Seattle area who has been able to have not one, not two, not three, but FOUR successful Kickstarter campaigns, all ranging from 230% to over 1300% funded. Their 1300% funded campaign was for their signature product, the Rhino Slider (video). I’ve used a number of sliders over they years, and I can honestly say this is one of the silkiest, smoothest sliders I’ve ever used; and at under $500, you can’t beat the price for that level of quality. We used their Rhino Carbon Core for this shoot.

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FxFactory – Visual Effects Plugins for Final Cut Pro, After Effects & Premiere

The best way to describe FxFactory from Noise Industries is “The App Store for NLEs”. The FxFactory application is free, and once installed, it gives you access to a whole host of plugins for all popular NLEs and motion graphics programs including Final Cut Pro 7 and X, Adobe Premiere, After Effects and Motion. No matter what computer you’re on, if FxFactory is installed, you have access to all the plugins you’ve purchased. They have plugins ranging from color correction and grading to title effects to mo-graph effects. The one I personally use the most is Nattress Levels & Curves. Ripple Training has a few FxFactory plugins also you should check out. Their plugins are affordable, easy to use, and all come with full functioning trial versions (with watermarks).

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The Crew

Last and certainly not least, I have to give props and thanks to my film crew. Without them, this couldn’t have happened. And I owe a special thank you to my co-producer on this shoot and set audio mixer Brian Russell of Willow Craft Media for hooking up and handling all the audio. He made us legit!🙂

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