Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Julia's Reveal for CinemaCake Filmmakers

I not only acted as second camera on these shoots, but I also edited this piece including the compositing. I was especially pleased with the work on the iPad during the slider shot.

Julia's Reveal from CinemaCake Filmmakers on Vimeo.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Amish Country

I finally made it out to Amish country with my folks and brother who just came for a visit with my wife and I.

A Day in Amish Country from Jonathan Sutton on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Same Sex Weddings.

This week, I am working on my second same sex wedding film. Below is a link to the first same sex couple I had the opportunity of editing for. I was extremely happy with how their film turned out. They had an exceptionally intimate beach wedding in New Jersey, and a small reception at a friends home. At first I was prepared to be overwhelmed by the dynamic of two brides, but it took one day of looking at footage that this would not be a problem. Amy and Paula had great personalities and I have to say the film practically cut itself. Due to the intimate nature of the day, I relied on lots of natural sound and cut their film like a cinema verite documentary. This has been one of my personal favorite films I have made in recent months.

Adventures in Rotoscoping!

I have been working in Adobe After Effects ever since I took a course in college that focused primarily on motion graphics.  I was hooked immediately. At that point, I had only been editing for three years, and After Effects was a welcome challenge.  Up to that point I had only worked with Final Cut Pro and  the only graphics I had used were the basic text generator.  I never concerned myself with anything too flashy since my aesthetic at the time was very French New Wave.  In fact I still don't prefer movies with insane graphics, but upon discovering what you can do in After Effects, I was smitten with the ability to create more complex effects that you usually only see in big budget films.  I was always aware of the limitless possibilities of AE, but I never ventures farther that 2D animation, Green Screen, compositing, and motion graphics.  However, in the last two years, the clients I work for have become more demanding.  People want to see what they saw at the cinema replicated in their projects.  This means drawing less from Godard and more from Marvel Studios.  This brings me to the video below.  Cole just had his Bar Mitzvah, and like many Jewish kids, he wanted to be brought into his party in style.  His family hired our company to create a Matrix themed short that would be played before his gran entrance into his party.  Simple enough right? I have edited several projects of this nature.  I have made a kid fly and turned an ordinary girl into a pop star, but Cole wanted to something slightly more complex: He wanted to recreate the "Neo jumping off a building" scene from the first Matrix film.

While this can usually be faked in camera with some clever angles or on a green screen, our client wanted us to shoot on a roof and composite their child leaping off the side of the building.  I knew from the moment I read the script that this effect would fall on my shoulders.  Anytime there is tricky compositing in our studio, I get the call. I also knew that it was going to require me venture into rotoscoping.  This was one of the more complex comps I have ever worked on. The shot was simple enough.  We used a 30 foot jib, programmed the move, filmed the kid jumping from a ledge in the center of the building, and repeating the move off the side of the building.  You can see some behind the scenes shots over at the CinemaCake blog.  I was traveling at the time of the shoot, and our Media manager uploaded the footage to me via Dropbox.  I immediatly called my good friend and fellow editor, Cortney, over at Swagger Media.  She does loads of rotoscoping, and I knew I could gain a lot from her experiance.  Cortney filled me in on common protocol and tools that could be used to make this shot happen.  The actual concept is simple enough.  Separate the kid from the rest of the shot and composite him over our second shot of the ground.  I ended up using the roto brush to separate the subject from the background.  His hair ended up proving difficult.  The background was muddled with shadows and did not offer a lot of separation so the roto brush had a hard time tracing around his head.  I ended up making another layer where I manually masked his head.  I thne used a mask to remove the ground he jumped over and replace it with the 13 story drop.

Finally, the shots of hime falling where filmed in a green screen studio.  As always, there was more I wanted to do on this, but being my first roto job, I took it as a learning experiance.  The film premiered at Cole's party on June 7th.  Aside from the jumping scene, I was please with how the rest of the turned out.  We ended up doing three video for the same child.  You can view all three films at CinemaCake's gallery.

Friday, March 8, 2013

New Slider

Our new slider, fresh out of the box.

I had heard of the DP Slider, but I have never really gotten to use it myself. One of my favorite DP's to work with, Paul Sholly), used one very similar to the one I have pictured in this blog. My boss, after returning from L.A., announced his purchase of two new DP sliders that would replace the enormous monstrosity we had been using. The video below features my first shots with our companies new toy. The event was called Love is on the Air and was held at the Philadelphia Horticulture Center. It was hosted by Uncommon Events.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Luca's Effects and Fashion video

Over the last 6 months, I have been heavily using Premier Pro CS 6. My time in FCP 7 has been greatly diminished, and I have mixed feelings about leaving such a solid NLE in the dust. Regardless, technology does not allow you to be sentimental, and I must move on. Recently, however, I was handed a project to finish ( from the talented Craig Hinkle, who had already assembled a fine first cut) and it was a chance to go back to my old stomping grounds. He started the project in FCP 7, so rather than exporting an XML and working in Premier, I chose to sit down with my old faithful NLE. The video below are the fruits of that labor. The video is a highlight of the 19th Annual, Philadelphia Phashion Phest. While working I realized I needed to snap out of my wedding film headspace I have been in for the last several months and into a more energetic/flashy style to compliment the footage. I recalled a series of cool and free effects from Luca Visual. Along with some grading in Red Giant's Magic Bullet Suite, I was able to achieve a look that helped capture the energy of that evening.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

T4i 18-135 mm STM lens auto-focus test

I bought the Canon T4i with the 18-135 mm STM lens. I unboxed it last night tried a quick test with the STM lens AF feature and the new touchscreen. I uploaded this and plan on posting a more detailed video shot with the camera in a few days. I was pretty impressed with cameras ability to rack focus on its on. Its not perfect, but under the right lighting and with the right gear, I experienced some success without touching the focus ring.

Jenny + Ky's Wedding Film

I really enjoyed working on Jenny and Ky's film. Not only were they a fun couple, but the cinematographers at our studio (CinemaCake Filmmakers) knocked it out of the park. I also enjoyed learning about the traditional Chinese tea ceremony as it pertains to getting married.

First Same Day Film on Premier

This was the last Same Day Film I Edited at One Atlantic in Atlantic City, NJ. It was my first same day film on CS6 Premier Pro.