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“5/8ths” Interview Lighting

I was debating whether to post this one…I can’t decide if I like the way I lit it. If I have a room giving me beautiful natural light, I sometimes get into that mentality of “What would Deakins do?”, but then get carried away with the “all natural” mindset.  I used no lights or lighting modifiers here, just varied the shades on the wall of windows.  I realized too late that my lighting on his face had landed right smack in the middle between 3-quarters (3/4) and 1-half (1/2).  To get the full 3/4, I could have either added a small bounce to the shadow side of Ezra’s face (or had him turn slightly toward the interviewee, but I liked his shoulders more straight-to-camera). As I was behind the camera, I’d cringe slightly whenever Ezra turned away from the light and his right half would go into shadow. But the Dragon sensor renders all the shadows and dynamic range so beautifully, so I decided to go with it and keep rolling. But I’m liking this interview more now, and I’m thinking the “5/8ths” lighting on his face added more visual interest, maybe even intrigue, to his face as he turned back and forth. The point of interview lighting is to draw close attention to the subject’s face after all, right? Any thoughts?

#red #redcamera #redscarlet-w #cinematography #interviewlighting #setlife #dcfilm #baltimorefilm #naturallight

  • Leonardo DaVinci Was a Loser

    Filmmaker IQ has created a great 2-part video series on what it really takes to be successful.  They use Leonard DaVinci as a great example of an artist who went through many years of failures before finally becoming a great painter.  When he painted “The Last Supper”, he was viewed as an newly discovered genius.  In reality, DaVinci developed his skills over many unrecognized years of hard work.  This video is a great reminder that success is not a short game; it’s a long game.  And to be successful at anything, you must often put in years of hard work and have the tenacity to overcome obstacles and failures along the way.



  • How AT&T made those awesome Talkative-Tyke Ads

    Great article from Ad Age about how the filmmakers got such natural and funny comments from the kids in those new AT&T commercials.

  • Behind the scenes at a McDonald’s photo shoot

    This is a great example of how PR firms can use video to engage with the public. McDonald’s Canada has set up a website entitled “Our Food. Your Questions” to answer questions about McDonald’s food. They have several videos in the series, and this video alone has 8.1 million views since being posted on Youtube in June 2012.

  • TNT’s “We Know Drama” Viral Videos

    These are the best hidden-camera pranks ever, and they completely fit in with the brand message too.

    The first online commercial, to launch TNT in Belgium

    The second online commercial, to launch TNT in the Netherlands

  • Justin Bieber music video filmed on a Go Pro

    I don’t care what anybody else says, this is an awesome music video. Despite only being filmed on a Go Pro, the camera work and choreography are extremely dynamic and create some highly energetic visuals. The only thing I don’t like is that Bieber takes credit for the writing and directing of it. It was actually directed by Jon M. Chu, who’s a pretty accomplished director in his own right (Step up 2, Step up 3D, GI Joe: Retaliation).

  • Another Comedy Gem from Skittles

  • How to Film Interviews on a White Background

    Filming interviews on a white background is very easy to do.

    Step 1: Find and Setup the Backdrop
    I own a roll of white background paper that I bought for $79 at a local photographer store. I set this up on two backdrop stands with a pole running across the top from one to the other to hang the paper roll on.

    Step 2: Setup the camera
    Typically, I’ll position my subject as far from the paper as I can, while still being able to fill the screen with white. This is so I can have room for my hair light.

    Step 3: Light the Backdrop
    The key to creating a pure white background is really to over-expose it as much as you can, so any detail and color is lost. To get a white background, I’ll typically throw two 500-watt tungsten lights on the backdrop, each covered with 1/2 CTB gel. Then I’ll use a warmer source for my key light, which tends to add more color and saturation to my subjects. The tricky part to lighting the backdrop is to make sure you’re able to over-expose the entire viewable area. If you don’t have enough wattage to do this, you can sacrifice the edges of the frame and mask them out with white in post-production.

    Step 4: White-Balance to your Backdrop
    The most important step, of course, is to set the white balance in your camera so the background shows up as pure white.

  • 26 Great Tools for Copywriters

    26 Great Tools for Copywriters

    By Glenn Murray | Advertising Copywriter, Website Copywriter, Article PR Specialist *

    After more than 12 years as a professional writer, I have more effective copywriting and SEO copywriting tools at my disposal than I could poke a stick at. I’ve already shared this list at the Divine Write Copywriting Forums, but thought I’d distribute a little wider.

    Hope it helps…

    (Note: If you run a copywriting business from home, you may also be interested in reading my three-article series on home business technologies.

    1. Microsoft Word (EXPENSIVE!) – No real need to describe, but some features that warrant a mention as particularly useful to copywriters include:
      • Macros (Tools | Macro | Record New Macro) – particularly useful for automating those tasks that copywriters perform over and over each day. TIP: If you plan to delete a macro that’s assigned to a button in a toolbar, delete the button first. Some versions of Word won’t let you delete the button after you delete the macro. If you do happen to get caught by this gem, you have to re-add the macro – without assigning dragging it to a toolbar – then delete the button, then delete the macro again.)
      • Track Changes (Tools | Track Changes) – Previously called revisions. Great for clients who like to make changes in the document. Just make sure you turn it on before you send the doc for review, because many people don’t know how to turn it on themselves, or won’t bother.
      • Templates (File | Save As and set the file type to .dot) – Define all your styles and page setup in a template, then double-click on the template to create a new document based on that template – your new doc will inherit all of the styles, page setup, macros, etc., from the template.
      • Dictionaries for multiple languages (select all, then click Tools | Set Language and choose your language – when you do your spell check, it will default to the correct dictionary)
      • Word count toolbar (select View | Toolbars | Word Count)
    2. Macromedia Contribute trial version (FREE) – I don’t actually use Macromedia, but by installing the demo, you get a great PDF creator. It’s been a while since I downloaded my trial version, but I suspect you still get the PDF creator.
    3. Notepad (Start | Programs | Accessories | Notepad) – Great for those times when you need something written in pure text from the outset. Notepad comes as part of Microsoft’s operating system.
    4. Puretext (FREE) – A fast way of pasting as pure text. Great for use with Microsoft Word. Instead of having to select Edit | Paste Special | Unformatted Text or copy and paste via Notepad, you simply paste as text using user-defined short-cut keys (e.g. Ctrl | T). (And let’s face it; as copywriters, we do a LOT of copy-pasting…)
    5. Mozilla Firefox Internet Browser (FREE) – Allows you to supplement its native functionality with lots of add-ons that let you do cool stuff. One of the most useful is the word count calculator. Simply select the text you want to count, right-click and select Word Count (excellent for copywriters who need to quote for the rewrite of an existing site and the client wants approx the same word count). Apparently Firefox is also more secure than IE ‘cos it’s not integrated with the operating system. This is what I’ve read, anyway; don’t know if it’s true.
    6. Google Desktop (FREE) – A great way to search your computer for stuff. Especially useful when you’re having trouble finding an email or Word document that you know you’ve written, but you can only remember a phrase or a few words. (What copywriter hasn’t experienced this dilemma?) I find it HEAPS better than the Find function in ‘My Computer’.
    7. Google Adwords Editor (FREE) – If you’re a copywriter who manages / works on lots of Google Adwords projects, this tool is great as you can do everything locally, and only upload on completion. Makes things a lot safer and faster as you’re not working over the Internet the whole time.
    8. MessageSave & EzyDetach (approx USD $30 each but you can get a FREE trial version) – Excellent for managing and filing emails and their attachments to hard disk. You save the email / attachment as a file and the product automatically names it with the sender’s name and the date of receipt. This makes these products excellent for keeping track of client reviews of your copy and recording correspondence regarding your copy. Also significantly reduces the size of your PST file.
    9. (FREE) – Contains a good thesaurus. Biggest limitation is that it’s in US English. (Well, that’s a limitation for copywriters who write in Australian or UK English!)
    10. DomainsBot (FREE) – Neat tool for turning ideas into names. Excellent for copywriters who work in the conceptual field or short copy copywriters.
    11. Ezemail Email / eNewsletter Distribution (Approx 5 cents per email) – Very useful for sending HTML e-newsletters. You can personalise your mailouts by including the recipient’s name in the Subject line and in the email body. Also tracks all sorts of useful recipient data (who read what, what they clicked on, etc.). Template based so you can re-use your email designs.
    12. Stock Photography (royalty-free photos from $1) – Excellent if you need to include photos in your copy or proposals, or if you have to manage a design project (both things most copywriters will do, at one time or another).
    13. Rhyme Zone (FREE) – Type in a word and find rhyming words. Something for jingle copywriters?
    14. Google Alerts (FREE) – Have Google notify you whenever it finds a page that contains a particular word or phrase. Particularly useful for identifying sites that have plagiarized your copy. (You’d be amazed at how many alleged copywriting sites have plagiarized the copy from my website!) Also useful for SEO. You can use it to find out when your URL or a client’s URL is published on page. (This generally indicates that a link to your site / your client’s site has been added.)
    15. Copyscape plagiarism detection (USD $0.05 per search for Premium, USD $4.95 per month for Copysentry) – Identifies sites that have plagiarized the copy on your site or a client’s site.
    16. Adeeze (AUD $20) – An ebook containing hundreds (maybe thousands) of headlines and slogans ready for royalty-free use. Great for all sorts of industries. I haven’t read them all, but the ones I have seem pretty good. Written by a professional copywriter with quite a bit of experience in headlines and slogans.
    17. Text to HTML converter (FREE) – I’m sure you’ll find a use for it!
    18. My SEO eBook (FREE) – Great for learning the ins and outs of search engine optimisation (SEO) and SEO copy.
    19. (FREE) – My list of article submission sites (aka article banks) to which you can submit your articles in order for them to be syndicated on other websites.
    20. Backlink checker (FREE) – A fairly accurate way of counting the number of unique backlinks to a site.
    21. Matt Cutts’ BLOG (FREE) – A handy resource for learning about all things SEO and SEO copywriting. (Matt Cutts’ is also known as the ‘Google Insider’.)
    22. Google Toolbar (FREE) – Great for getting a quick, high level picture of the search presence of your copywriting website or a client’s website. (Also very useful for establishing the credibility of online stores before you buy…)
    23. WordTracker keyword analysis (Approx $12/day -) – The best keyword analysis tool I’ve found. Type in a word, and it lists a whole heap of related words, tells you how many times they’ve been searched for in the last couple of months, and rates them all according to how hard they’ll be to target for SEO.
    24. Keyword density calculator (FREE -) – Copy and paste your SEO copy, define your target keywords, and it calculates the density of each for you.
    25. Search engine spider simulator (FREE -) – Great tool for seeing what your site (or your client’s site) looks like in the eyes of a search engine. It’s only an indication, but it’s helpful, nonetheless.

    I hope you find these tools useful as you go about your day-to-day copywriting tasks. I’ve come to rely on them very heavily. Obviously, they’re a only a sub-set of all the really cool stuff out there, so if you have any other suggestions, please feel free to reply to the thread on my forum that hosts this list, at

    * Glenn Murray is an advertising copywriter, website copywriter, SEO copywriter, and article submission and article PR specialist. He heads copywriting studio, Divine Write, and is a director of article PR company, Article PR. He can be contacted on Sydney +612 4334 6222 or at Visit or for further details, a FREE SEO eBook, or more FREE reprint articles.

  • Filming in Baltimore

    Yesterday, I had a great shoot with an artist out of Baltimore named Maya Asante. I was DPing a bio video on her for the promotion of an arts-based website launching in September. I’m really happy with how the shoot went, especially the beautiful footage we shot in the Bromo Seltzer Tower, pictured below. If you’re looking for an awesome surrealist location to film in Baltimore, I definitely recommend it.