Tag Archives: Quote

Innovating with the iPad

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” ~Steve Jobs

A beautiful merging of design aesthetic & technologic advancement

The world of production is an ever-changing environment.

In a constant state of flux, the period between an “industry standard” practice and a “revolutionary” one is diminishing. As in the medical field, technological innovations rapidly shift the way we work.

The incredibly useful Movie Slate App

Ethan Borden, Cinematographer & VP of Gradient, has found his workflow radically altered using the iPad:

“With the Movie Slate App, it makes us probably ten times faster in post-production. It does a shot log which I can send out with an HTML or as a Final Cut XML document, and saves time and keeps us more organized because we’re switching from paper to digital.

We also have a Wireless Monitor App which allows us to connect to a computer that has the camera plugged in. It lets us control the camera and look at what’s being seen through the lense with a live view. We’re also able to walk around wherever on set and look at what’s being shot on camera. We see whats being seen through the DSLR.

I use the iPad 2 for a lot of workflow stuff on other projects as well: websites, Facebook, uploading photos that I’ve just taken on set.”

“In Post we use it a lot for labeling footage. It’s easy to make notes on set and then have our editor be able to refer to those while he’s working. It keeps everything centralized so that there aren’t 5 pieces of paper flying around with separate notes.”

Nathanael Sams has found his workflow in Post-Production streamlined as well:

“The Slate makes all the difference because we work with separate cameras and separate audio (Zoom H4N). What can be a daunting task of syncing up video and audio is a lot more feasible and automatic when you have a slate that beeps, because the program automatically syncs it up for you. That saves hours of time of manually going in and making sure it’s synced up.”

We aren’t shy in expressing our love of Apple products, and the iPad is no exception. It has quickly become invaluable on set, off set, and within our workflow.

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Avoiding Predictability

“We have a duty towards music, namely, to invent it.” ~Igor Stravinsky

I recently sat down with Gradient’s Musical Composer, Sound Designer, & Editor Nathanael Sams to talk about how he approaches writing music for promotional videos.

“I’m actually really intimidated every time I have to start a new project. I’ll sit down at my piano and have ProTools open and just try to find the right melody. And once I find it, I begin building a chord progression around it.”

“I typically use ProTools, Logic, and Garage Band. It’s all Mac based. When I started using a Mac, I discovered MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface). So everything I do pretty much revolves around MIDI instrumentation.

“In the movie What Women Want they do this ad campaign for Nike I think, and it’s really emotional and piano based and I remember that really inspiring me. I’m a big fan of piano based commercials because I think they’re the hardest to pull off.

“There’s this delay effect that people will put on the audio that makes it sound like they’re playing more notes than they are-”

(David) “It seems like it’s a lot easier to try to be really complex and overdue it, and then the most successful things are the most simple. Is that true?”

(Nathanael) “Yeah actually when I’m composing, I really try to be unpredictable. The hard thing is that your ears are accustomed to hearing a 1-4-5 chord progression which sounds really happy and pleasant. And a lot of people will try to mix in chords that don’t work well together. I’ll use Garage Band on my iPhone and basically be able to enter a chord that I’m starting with, and it will show me chords that work together with that.”

“You can always do a really powerful song using just a few notes on the piano. Like in Jaws, there’s this really beautiful, haunting melody through out the entire film.”

“Basically what I’m trying to say is that the greatest music comes from simplicity. You don’t always have to, or want to, be predictable with the music.”


Make It Happen

“I was directing before I knew it was called that.” -Guillermo Del Toro

Rebecca Noles:

      “I’ve been directing & producing since I was 10 years old and putting on Christmas pageants in the living room for my parents. I’ve learned a few things along the way and am offering them as advice to anyone interested or pursuing either field. I do, however, reserve the right to change this advice at any time in future blogs.

Directing

Directing is about need: What the script needs, what the crew needs, what the audience needs.

As a director, your only job is to acknowledge all the different needs within each department and guide them toward a finished product. Sometimes all the Director of Photography needs is to feel like he has permission to try something new. There are times an actor needs the director to take his/her eyes off the monitor and simply have a conversation with them. Sometimes an editor just needs you to get out of their way.

Acknowledge the need and work to fulfill it.

Producing

Being a producer at a small production company can be categorized into three main jobs:

  1. Make sure people have what they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability.
  2. Make sure everyone knows where & when to show up.
  3. Make sure the cast & crew members eat, sleep, are groomed, and stay caffeinated.
Being a producer is about serving the people who make the project happen.”