Hello friends. As I write this I am happily tucked into my parents cozy home in Anchorage Alaska. I was just up in the Chugiak Mountains near here taking in the lovely views of tiny Downtown Anchorage in the distance and the surrounding Cook Inlet. I hope to have some photos to share with you from this trip soon.
But the reason I’m writing today is about the upcoming free filmmaking and editing course at creativeLIVE. I’ve thrown my hat into the ring for the opportunity to be an in-studio student for the course January 14th, 15th and 16th 2013. The course will be taught by Jeff Medford and Ross Hockrow. Based on there popular CineStories trainings, the focus will be on narrative storytelling for live events and commercials. The course will stream free online. Please view and like my submission video and join me for this exciting course on the 14th.
I’ve enjoyed a number of the courses put on by creativeLIVE in the last several years. In particular the opportunity to be a student of Gale Tattersall, Lesa Snider and Skip Cohen. They provide an amazing service to the community of media content creators. You might enjoy this recent podcast from the folks at This Week in Photography where talk with creativeLIVE co-founder Chase Jarvis about the history and future of creativeLIVE.
I really like this rebuttal to those who have been hating the new Final Cut Pro X. I first found this posted to the Facebook Page of my favorite podcast Film Courege. Be sure to check them out. I haven’t purchased it myself yet. But I feel confident after watching this video that I will be happy with my results. By the way, I have started a Michael Kleven Facebook fan page who those who would like more news about films I am working on, access to my photographs and occasional tidbits about my acting career. I hope everyone has been having a wonderful Summer with at least one good hike, family picnic or amazingly awesome vacation. We here in the Northwest must now prepare ourselves for 8 months of potential gloom. Actually from October to May we usually have at least 10 nice days. I really shouldn’t be so pessimistic! I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did.
From the videos description: “In this special Tekserve event, presented by Evan Schechtman of @radical.media and Outpost Digital, and co-sponsored by Manhattan Edit Workshop, we took a look at the history of digital video editing—with a particular focus on Apple’s Final Cut Pro X, and how this just-released software sets the foundation for the industry’s next big revolution.”
In 2008 Canon released the Canon EOS 5D and shortly after the Canon EOS 7D. Little did they know that these high end photography cameras would shake up the world of indie filmmaking, documentary journalism and television production. The cameras had originally been designed so that photojournalists would have the option of shooting some video while they were on location shooting stills. With sensors as large or larger then 35mm film and a vast array of high quality and low cost lenses available these cameras have quickly become very popular for creative applications. A typically “cinema camera before costs anywhere from to $35,000 and $200,000 or more. These cameras cost anywhere from $800 to $2,500 depending on the make and model. Gale Tattersall the Cinematographer of HOUSE MD and FROM EARTH to the Moon, gave a presentation on the foundation of filmmaking with these cameras at the creativeLIVE studios in Seattle on July 8th, 9th and 10th of 2011. I was fortunate enough to be one 6 students with a “golden ticket”. Please enjoy these behind the scenes and instructional photos. I think Gale can help people like me take our Cinematography to the next level.
Workshop Behind the Scene and Educational Photos Day 1
Some of the topics covered included proper camera settings for filmmaking, camera rigs including proper use of fluid head, sliders, follow focus and the glidecam. Gale described some of the complexity that went into the shooting of the season 6 finale to HOUSE “Help Me” with the 5D. Later we applied our skills with the new gear following some talented swing dancers. Please click on the image to see other photos. A full screen option is available on the lower right side of the frame.
Workshop Behind the Scene and Educational Photos Day 2
On day 2 we got a proper introduction to lighting units and some experience lighting a Psychiatrists office in both night day and nighttime settings. Later we discussed shot selection and creative options using shallow depth of flied and camera movement to capture the complexity of a scene and to enhance it’s dramatic impact. Shooting for the edit was discussed as well. Please click on the image to see other photos from day 1. Full screen option is available in the lower right hand corner.
Gale Tattersall @ creativeLIVE Day 2 – Images by Michael Kleven Workshop Behind the Scene and Educational Photos Day 3
Day 3 was much more hands on for me and my classmates. We discussed a number of interesting low cost lighting options for indie filmmakers. Some of which can be made at home with common materials purchased at a local hardware store. We filmed a good cop, bad cop interrogation scene and discussed ways to maintain a high level of craft and artistic integrity even when budgets are small. Gale entertained everyone with the complexity of lighting a bull ride for House at an indoor rodeo at 1600 frames per second. Gale is a very classy gentleman and a committed educator. He and his assistants Steve and Jason really brought it. The folks at creativeLIVE were super fun to work with and made sure we all had a good time while learning a bunch. They offer live feeds of their classes for free. In these days of rising education prices you can’t beet them apples. I hope to work with them more in the future.
Here is the link to the course from Gale on HDDSLR on the creativeLIVE website. They list more about the course their and information about gear used and other resources. If you have a chance check out the rest of my website. I make my living with wedding, event and portrait photography, wedding and event films. I produce commercials for small business‘ and non profits. On the creative side I am available to filmmakers as a Cinematographer, Director, Producer, AD, Production Manager or Boom Pole/Sound Recordist. Keep me busy. I love to stay busy! I am currently helping complete a short film called Reminisce. Future projects include a documentary film about an Eskimo Artist Neva Rivers and a family drama called GI Joseph and Mary.
Link to HDDSLR course information at creativeLIVE
This is Michael Kleven’s 1st music video. Ending to Dhoom is now available for viewing on both Youtube and Vimeo. The project was a collaboration between me and James Whetzel the lead singer of Seattle indie rock band Das Dhoom. James also appears in the video as “the boyfriend” and again singing and playing the traditional Indian instrument the sarod. Deepayin Archarjya appears in the video playsing the dhol and Sebastian Lange is seen in the video performing on the violin.
This work would not have been possible if not for the creative contribution of members of Seattle’s indie film, fashion, dance and photography communities. The video was shot primarily on the Canon EOS 7D. Leave it to say that I love that camera. My editor Sanjeev Tandle provided some interesting effects to the footage and some interesting creative choices, influenced no doubt by his experience working on Bollywood features. Lead actress Ronee Collins is a veteran of Northwest stages and Indie films including my award winning film MARCELL. The “other man” was played by Bjorn Whitney. Local model and actress Stephanie Raven was “the new girl”. My AD Patricia Bennet helps manage her husbands photography business when she isn’t working on film projects. Her husband Patrick helped out, with shooting on the fire sequence. Additional cameras for this sequence were provided by Mike Gurley of Canon Camera. Amalia Cuthbert was our principle dancer. Will Carson was our stunt coordinator and primary fire breather. Jennalee Evavold, (I know, quite the name), was our animator. For the scene where James enters the water this was necessary lest we forfeit our PG 13 rating.
The two versions differ slightly. The Youtube version can be viewed at full 1080 and has 10 seconds of additional credits. For the Vimeo version we cut the credits back a bit and did some extra effects work on the footage where James enters the fantasy with the dancer, (Amalia). The scene with James and Deepayin was filmed in the water tower at Volunteer Park. The scenes with Ronee and Bjorn were filmed on the monorail, outside of McCaw Hall at Seattle Center and in the conservatory at Volunteer Park. The silhouette scene with Sebastian on violin and Amalia belly dancing was filmed near Marshall Park on Seattle’s Queen Ann Hill.
In Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People, we are introduced to the power on unconditional positive regard, the golden rule or basic human civility on our public relationships. In retrospect it is odd somehow, that we must be educated into thinking that treating our peers with respect and decency is the way to go.
To our modern eyes that book might at first seem childlike and simplistic. It is divided into four parts. Part One: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People describes key social behaviors we can employ in getting others to help us while seeming to be helping themselves. In fact the key here is to develop a strategy by which both efforts are synonymous.
Part Two, Six Ways to Make People Like You, describes techniques that will improve how people respond to you and how to improve the impression you make. In part Three: How to Win People to Your Way of Seeing Things, we learn techniques we can employ to get others to do what we need them to do while helping them to complete meet their personal agenda.
Part Four, Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment describes ways in which empathy and compassion can be used to guide and support others in meeting a mutual end. This is so important in business as we hope to influence clients, employees and associates to match their behavior to the needs of a mutual enterprise.
My company, Aesthetica, Film, Photography and Video, deals with three or four offerings which together require a sophisticated approach to a potentially diverse client base. I’ll go through these areas one by one in order to describe the ways in which Dale Carnegie’s ideas may best be put to use in this context.
My company approaches Film in two distinct ways. One is as a company offering individuals to fill crew positions we need to emphasis client/contractor relations in contract negotiations, honoring of contracts and in supporting the overall health of productions within the roles we are contracted to perform. This means that we must achieve a relationship of mutual respect and support. Techniques for doing this include providing a supportive and attentive regard to details, while maintaining proper professional conduct and business professionalism.
Our other involvement in Film is in the development of feature narrative and documentary projects. This is where Mr Carnegie ideas become most important. Knowing how to create a positive mutual environment is crucial in every stage of the project, from planning meetings, to investor relations to cast and crew camaraderie production efficiency post production planning and follow through, to marketing and distribution. All these steps require a positive, trusting environment be nourish and maintained.
Photography can be very personal for people. We are all concerned about our image is perceived and how we ourselves perceive it. In retail photography we are often dealing as much with how we make people feel about how they look as with how they look. On the commercial side making clients feel that their wishes are being met, even while we express our vision. Along the same lines as in film is maintaining a professional relationship which allows for proper professional etiquette, payment and respect.
Video production can be complex. From preproduction planning, to production and then final delivery the clients needs intermingle with the professional and personal needs of the production company. Creativity and the creation of a commercial product lead to a complex relationship wherein artistic and commercial elements are intermingled inexorably.
From the creation of proposals, to script and storyboard approval, to the negotiation of contracts, to the recruitment of crew and the casting of talent the video producer must act as both the representative of the clients needs and the commercial and artistic needs of the professional staff. The bottom line remains customer satisfaction and professional relations. The production company must always guard against individuals and entities which will seek to defraud it of it’s real intellectual property. Dale Carnegie would argue that it is the astute business person that works in turning the potential enemy and adversary into an Allie and partner in business and creativity.
So new things are happening in the wedding world. Partly these “films” are made possible by the new HDSLR technology. But another thing is the young couples who have found a new way to express their love. This would have seemed unreal to me just 5 years ago. These two videos are wonderful examples of what creative filmmakers are doing to bring help create a whole new experience for couples who want to do something uniquely original and creative with their wedding. Taking nothing away from these talents, in fact I am truly impressed. See what Aesthetica can do to make you wedding an amazing and an experience you’ll remember forever?
Joya and Emre’s Wedding
Joya and Emre’s Wedding was made by David Robin Films. Flawless was made by Pacific Pictures. Both show amazing creativity and technique in filmmaking. In addition the couples involved showed amazing moxie and spunk to step outside the box so to speak in creating a remembrance of their special day. I think this shows a quality in them that will serve them quite well in the years to come. And what fun it must have been!
Check out indie producer Mike Ryan’s guest post on the Hope for Film blog on indieWIRE. In his view indie producers who used to be like Rock Stars are now more like Jazz Artists. This is somewhat disheartening for me as I continue in my efforts to develop several feature documentary and narrative features. On the other hand he points out that this may lead to a return to a focus on artistry and integrity in indie films. That’s a refreshing view point and I hope my films can attain the highest level of legitimacy once developed and released.
During the recent Meetup of Seattle’s DocuTalk@911 indie producer Nadeem Uddin shared his own experience producing Bhopal: The Search for Justice amongst his other films. I was so impressed with his own commitment to difficult topics that I began to recommit myself in my efforts to produce The Stanley Mute Project. This is the film about an Yup’ik artist incarcerated under unbelievable circumstances by our Western standerds and his odyssey and that of his people.
In my perspective earning a living wage with some creature comforts is acceptable. If I wanted the Hollywood lifestyle I would have gone Hollywood years ago anyway! During another recent Meetup of King County wedding vendors I began to feel more confident in my own abilities in making a living at my day job as a photographer, videographer and production crew. Creative work in this area will support my efforts as an indie producer/director. Please look around my site and let me know if I can help you out in any way. Then give Mike’s post a good read!.
YouTube – Christian Nation: a Folk Music Parody. I’m the producer and cinematographer for this musical parody by local pianist Fred Kronacher. Please share with friends. Let’s take this video viral! If you are an actor or musician who would like to see your work online please get in touch. Contact Mike Kleven: firstname.lastname@example.org
4 Innovative Ways to Use Web Video for Small Business.
In this interesting post from social media maven’s “Mashable” several highly successful though low tech videos are reviewed as marketing tools for small business. As a video producer I can create an awesome looking video for you at a reasonable cost. Contact Michael Kleven at email@example.com for detailed information and quotes. Give my videos in the portfolio section of this site for examples of my technical and narrative proficiency~