Every shoot, every wedding is a learning experience: I try something new, I discover whether it works. It’s a difficult process, but I learn best trying and observing things for myself. When I was a college student, I was in a great position because I had the chance to go on shoots with a great mentor, who taught me bucket-loads. I developed my handheld techniques, my tripod skills, and much more from watching and imitating him. Since then, every bit of practice hones and develops those skills – but it is hard to conjure up new techniques or improvements through practice alone.

I learned a lot of what I know about technical things by reading, and watching videos online, and sometimes about technique too. I learned everything I know about using a Glidecam from online videos and tutorials. Here’s links to two of the most helpful:

Glidecam Tutorial with Cristina Valdivieso

Glidecam Tips & Tricks with Joe Simon

But I would love to have the chance to shadow someone who is a Glidecam pro for a day. Without a doubt, I would learn so much. It would probably revolutionize my technique, and streamline the whole way I do Glidecam shooting. So imagine my happiness when I got the chance to shadow and assist Phillip Palacios on a full day shoot of interviews and B-roll. It was a chance to see a DSLR shooter pro first hand doing the kind of shooting I do all time. This was two days ago, and it was a blast. Did I learn a ton? Heck yes I did. I learned new lighting setups for interview, I learned about old-school black diffusion filters, the value of high-quality filters, and the real value of matte-boxes (They really aren’t just for show). A huge thing for me is something that’s going to change the way I shoot every interview from here on out. Phillip does this thing that, as soon as I saw it, I realized I had been seeing everywhere. He adds a slight, unpredictable, motion to the shot when his camera’s on the tripod – so its not locked-down, but its not the full shake of handheld. The effect is a living, breathing frame that hold the attention and draws the eye around more effectively. Fascinating, and something I want to learn to do.

It’s always good to build relationships with other filmmakers, especially ones with more experience than yourself – there’s a world of technique out there, a milllion ways to do everything, and its only by seeing it for yourself, hearing it from those who live it, that you can learn most effectively the craft of filmmaking.

So get out there and find mentors and friends, bosses and colleagues that have something to teach you, and learn from them. Don’t have an ego – an ego is a cage that prevents you from learning and growing. Finally, when you learn and discover new things, get out there and practice! Without practicing what you learn, it will just fade away!

Oh, and don’t forget to check out my new website: http://www.paragonvideography.com

One response to “Learning

  1. Cool 🙂 As with professional development in every field, modeling the experts is key. Of course, once you model them, add your own voice, experience, and methods to the mix.

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