Saturday, October 7, 2017

Film Screenings in Ottawa, Canada

The eighth of October was the birthday of our good friend and associate, the late Colin Cameron. His sister, Mary Martel-Cantelon, lives in Ottawa, Canada where Colin was known to many. In celebration of Colin's life, Mary arranged a mini film festival this weekend to be held at the Mayfair Theatre. The program will feature excerpts and shorts from a few of the many (more than 100) movies in which Colin had worked on. And we are here in Ottawa to be a part of the event.

Photo courtesy of Mary Martel-Cantelon.

Included in the lineup is Don Circles the Drain, as well as excerpts from Mad City Chickens and others films in which Tarazod was connected to in some way. Plus we're showing a few clips from the three yet-to-be completed projects that Colin was the Executive Producer on: Benjamin's Ride, No Sleep for Ronni, and Strindberg's Assistant.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

More Audio Work on NGSS Bat Project

Today we recorded narration with Susan Cohen, the junior high classroom teacher on the Next Generation Science Standards project we are working on. The final edit will include four separate videos that follow the four scripts written by curriculum author, Emily Miller.

Friday, August 18, 2017

NGSS Bat Project Continues

In September of 2016, Tarazod was hired to shoot video of a Next Generation Science Standards curriculum in an eighth grade classroom. The unit focus was bats, and the project was sponsored by the National Science Teachers Association.

Earlier today, we continued our work by shooting an interview with long-time classroom teacher Susan Cohen. Four final videos are planned. Once the scripts are written by curriculum author Emily Miller, we'll edit them together from the footage and wrap up this project .

Thursday, July 20, 2017

More Strindberg Scenes With Nicholas Wootton

On Wednesday, we shot what was--hopefully--the final scenes for actor Nicholas Wootton in Strindberg's Assistant. We needed a number of green screen pickups. Michael Holly again ran camera.


Partway through the shoot, a thunderstorm passed through Madison causing a transformer to blow down the street. Electricity was out along the entire block for more than a hour and half. Though, we still managed to wrap up by midnight.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

"Strindberg's Assistant" Still Lives!

Last Sunday, we started up again shooting scenes and recording voice-over dialog for our film, Strindberg's Assistant. The movie--which is now six years in the making--is inching ever closer to completion. The project has had many detours and delays along the way--not the least of which was the sad and unexpected passing of Colin Cameron. Colin had the initial idea for the film. He was also its Executive Producer, as well as a supporting actor with the role of Strindberg himself. Yet life continues to move forward, and we know he would have wanted us to complete the movie in which he had been so intricately involved.



Cinematographer Michael Holly was back in town from Brazil to run camera. And actor Nicholas Wootton recorded some of his final scenes before he heads out of the country for the next year and a half. We also introduced a new character played by Ivy Suryana. Plus we brought back the star of the film, Joyce Aasen, to shoot the movie's concluding scene.



One of the benefits from so many delays over the years has been time. We've had time to reevaluate the script, to develop certain characters more, and to simply make the story stronger and more succinct (many thanks to Michael Holly's input).

There is still more to do--an introduction of one addition new character, dialog to be written, and more scenes to be shot. Plus Strindberg's assistant, Bjorn, has now become the film's villain! Patrick Garvey, who last played this character nearly six years ago, has recently agreed to come back to reprise the role. Strindberg's Assistant still lives!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

2017 Mad City Vegan Fest Completed

Tarazod was hired to shoot and edit the 2017 Mad City Vegan Fest which occurred Saturday June 17th at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. A four-camera set-up, the all-day event included six different presentations including a panel discussion and cooking demo. We recently finished the edit  and uploaded the finished videos to the Mad City Vegan Fest channel.

Here's a clip of a last minute sound check before presenter Neal Barnard M.D. spoke to the audience.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Craigslist Equipment

Quality video and filmmaking equipment is scandalously expensive. Period! Except when it isn't. Enter Craigslist. The online classifieds site has its fair share of scammers and just plain weirdos. Yet, if you learn to weed through these lowlifes, you can on occasion land some real good deals.

We recently added to our gear for commercial projects. Purchased another Sony NX5U camera and a Monfrotto 290 xtra carbon fiber tripod. Both are in nice condition...the tripod looks near new. And both were gotten at half the price of their current value. Very pleased with these additions.



As a bonus, the Sony came with a detachable HXR-FMU128 128GB flash memory unit, a $300-400 value used.



Having matching cameras on a multi-camera shoot makes the footage so much easier to work with in post.






A few years ago, we'd purchased a used small Manfrotto fluid head. Now we finally have a tripod to go with it. A lightweight combo that should work well on gigs that require air travel .

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Anatomy of Story

Whether our video ventures are fiction, documentary, or commercial, our passion lies in their cinematic storytelling. Our goal has always been to entertain and evoke. This is true even for the educational and non-profit projects we do. If an audience enjoys what they are seeing, they keep watching.

At the behest of friend and fellow filmmaker, Michael Holly of Exchange Productions, we started studying the work of story consultant John Truby. His book, The Anatomy of Story, and his online video content is concise and almost mathematical in its clarity. Highly recommended.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Deciphering Movie Posters

Imgur user, LamerisiremaL, recently posted a fascinating look at Hollywood posters and what they can tell us at just a glance. We found this interesting and so we're re-posting it here in its entirety.

Movie poster cliches and what they tell...

  • Back to Back. Do the main roles have a love/hate relationship, and are they forced to work together to get the job done? Show them off with backs against each other.


  • One Eye. One eye looking eerily to the public. Probably a horror movie, but human nature will be a theme.


  • Yellow All Over. A bright yellow poster is probably an independent movie but with a mainstream enough script so it is accessible for the main public. Floating Heads. Big heads over small people, the beach or a desert, silhouette at the ocean and pastel colors--bring your tissues because tears will flow with this emotional drama.


  • Backshot of a Loner. Feel the drama while looking over the shoulder of our hero, he/she is most likely holding a weapon. In Bed. Main characters in a bed (often frowning to each other) indicates that the problems are just there, in the bedroom.


  • Blue. Movies revolving around animals are most likely with blue posters and white letters, add a big moon for drama. Black & White. Black and white face and background with colored flames, this will be a action-packed movie.


  • Skewed and Running. He's running! But where? A thriller. The blue adds to the suspense as the main lead is unwillingly pulled into a drama in which he needs to discover something. Red Dress. A woman in a red dress, it's a romcom!


More at distractify. Special thanks to Michael Holly for sharing the link.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

George Lucas Foundation Project Completed

Back in December, Tarazod flew to Oregon to shoot interviews with Nature Conservancy fire-control burn bosses from around the US. The footage has now been edited and the project completed.


A total of 88 short videos were produced which will be used with new technology in a fourth grade test program sponsored by the George Lucas Foundation.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

NGSS Red-Winged Blackbird Project Near Completion

The Next Generation Science Standards video project that we started last year on the red-winged blackbird is nearly finished. We have been working with the National Science Teachers Association to create five educational videos meant to inform other teachers on the use of NGSS in the classroom. A number of individuals were involved in the planning, shooting, scripting, narration, and final edits. It's been a good collaborative undertaking.

The videos are now completed and awaiting final review. A few tweaks may still be necessary, yet the work for the most part has come to a conclusion. Next up is the NGSS bat project we shot in the fall of 2016.



MARCH 28, 2017 UPDATE: It's done! The last of the red-winged blackbird videos has been delivered.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

More NGSS Narration Recording Sessions

Earlier today, we continued our recording of narration for the Next Generation Science Standards video series that we are working. Nicholas Wootton has come into his own as the voice for these short films, originally filling in for our dear friend, the late Colin Cameron who was the narrator of the first series back in 2015.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

"Don" to Screen at Critical Edge Film Fest

Last month, our short film, Don Circles the Drain, was part of a preview screening for the Critical Edge Film Fest in Madison. The actual festival is now upon us and Don will again play on the big screen.



Date: Saturday January 28, 2017
Time: 2-5 pm
Venue: The Marquee Cinema, 1308 West Dayton St., Madison, Wisconsin