Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Midnight Bonkers

I'm back.

The reason I haven't posted anything new is because I was busy with a million and one things to do. Weddings (shoots and edits), a shoot for Two Stops Over, a shoot for Fashion Watch 2011, an edit for a friend's vacation video, and a shoot and edit for YSTYLE's first fashion film, Femme Noir.

I haven't been getting much sleep because of this and have developed a pair of "Rimowas" under my eyes. I've been pretty bonked, way past midnight, which brings me to todays topic: THE MIDNIGHT BONKERS.

Midnight Bonkers is a group composed of premiere fashion photographer Paolo Pineda, photographer / dentist Ejay Leung, and yours truly. We accidentally got together back in 2009 and came up with our first behind-the-scenes vid for Paolo Pineda's "Spotlight" show.

Since then we've produced a number of BTS videos, a wedding film, and fashion films for Preview, Culte Femme, and YStyle. And it's been fun all the way.

Here is the latest film we did for Philippine Star's 25th anniversary, Femme Noir. Inspired by the noir feel of the films from the 40's, we carefully set up each scene to fit the genre of choice.


Friday, February 18, 2011

A Stroke Of GENUS

Scene 1: You are filming a lovely model gazing at the beautiful flowers outside her window. You are manually focusing on her right eye using the 3 inch LCD display of your DSLR and when you think you nailed the focus, you shout "ACTION!" and press the record button. Her emotions come from within, she cannot contain it anymore, and she sheds one tear from her right tear duct...gland (or whatever it's called)...everything is perfect. You shout "CUT! MARK! IT'S A WRAP!" and send everyone home.

Scene 2: As soon as you get to the editing suite, you download that very last scene and bring it up on your LCD monitor. Anxious to see if you were able to catch the sun's highlight on that teardrop, you put the display to full screen mode. GASP!!!!! Your focus is off by the tiniest bit and the eye is noticeably soft (not to mention the teardrop). And guess what? It's your last shooting day because your model flies back to Brazil the next day.

If you've had these moments, worry no more. Aperture Trading has come up with an accessory that will kiss all your soft focus problems goodbye. Introducing the Genus Loupe Finder.
This lightweight camera accessory easily attaches to your 3 inch LCD display. It actually gives a 2.5x magnification to your display which is ideal when you are shooting handheld and on the go. A bracket that has a temporary adhesive that sticks to your LCD screen serves as the attachment of the eyepiece. So you can easily slide the viewfinder in and out when you are moving around. For best results, I usually focus using the Genus Bravo Follow Focus, but that deserves a review in another post.

Best of all, this viewfinder is very affordable. And when not in use, it conveniently hangs around your neck, making you look like a real pro!

Photo courtesy of Tammy David

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Culte Femme 10.10.10

I was called by Hindy Weber-Tantoco late last year because she was celebrating her 10th year in the fashion industry and she wanted to do a special video for the big celebration. When I went to her office for the pre production meeting, I was expecting the concept to be the usual behind-the-scenes shoot with cool elevator music and soft focus shots of the models getting made up. I was wrong. She wanted an upbeat, monochromatic, fast cut edit that required heavy directing because she didn't want a behind-the-scenes vid. She showed me a peg that looked pretty easy to shoot because it required a white background with harsh lighting for good contrast and defined shadows. 

So this is what I came up with. Enjoy the film!

Filmed and Edited by: Dondi Narciso
Assisted by: Ejay Leung
Photography: Doc Marlon Pecjo
Make Up: Xeng Zulueta
Hair: Cats Del Rosario
Models:  Daphne Oseña-Paez, Mai Kaufman, Kyla, Cesca Litton, Rima Ostwani, Bea Tantoco, Stephanie Kienle, Anna Go-Chia, Nikki Luna, and Hindy Weber-Tantoco

Relax, Shoot A Movie

Photo courtesy of Camille Cruz
Unless you are an underchassis car mechanic, there is no other job in the world that will require you to work in a supine position. As a filmmaker, I am very meticulous when it comes to shooting angles. The more angles you have, the more interesting your film becomes. Shooting from a low angle (also known as the strong angle or heroes angle) can make a character look powerful. At the same time it is my only chance to lay on my back, relax, and rest my legs. Of course this works best when filming in a hotel room with wall-to-wall carpet (see photo below).

Photo courtesy of Tammy David
To add more "umph" to shooting from low angles, try panning or tracking. This movement paired with a wide angle lens can make the subject even more heroic. But of course this shooting technique is not limited to people only. You may also try this with trees, buildings, etc. Just make sure that you check the surface you will be laying on. 

And lastly, don't fall in love with this technique too much. Aside from making your film look like it was shot by a midget, this too might happen:

Photo courtesy of Tammy David

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Plural Of "Equipment" Is Still "Equipment"

Now that I have your attention, I would like to let you in on my video gear (not gears, unless you are talking about the one that is controlled by the clutch of your car) I use for my shoots.

I usually work with two DSLR bodies. My primary unit is the Canon EOS 5D Mark II (please click on the link for the full specs of this monster). The Mark II's full frame sensor produces the most beautiful image quality for both stills and video. The latest firmware update of this camera allows shooting videos at 24p / 1920x1080 pixels. This frame rate is responsible for making videos look more film-like, but I will cover this in a later post.

The backup unit I use is the Canon EOS 7D. This camera uses a 1.6 crop sensor (which I will also discuss in a later post), but is also capable of shooting at 24p. The only advantage I think this camera has over the 5D Mark II is that it can also shoot at 60p (which is excellent for achieving slow motion clips that are silky smooth).
The beauty of shooting videos with a DSLR is the fact that you can change lenses to achieve different "looks". I work with four different lenses depending on what is needed in the scene. These are the EF 17-40mm / ƒ4, the EF 50mm / ƒ1.4, the EF 85 mm / ƒ1.8, and the EF 70-200mm / ƒ4 (non IS). Remember that when shooting videos, you do not need an IS (image stabilizer) lens.

So that is the basic equipment I use for shooting my films. Is it enough to to produce professional looking videos? Click here to see the answer.


After one year and four months of DSLR filmmaking, I've finally decided to start a blog about...DSLR FILMMAKING. This will cover almost everything from my equipment, shooting styles, editing, inspirations, adventures, and maybe I'll post some of my work from TV, fashion, and weddings.

So welcome to my blog. ENJOY!