Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Short film "Untied" finished and website live


Untied, a short film for which I was the Director of Photography has been finished by Director/Editor Adam Woodworth and the Untied website is now live.

Untied still
DJ Hazard as "retired" mobster Sal Antonelli

The film revisits a similar underworld milieu as his award winning Bourbon short, but is not a sequel, as such. As the logline states:

"Untied" is the story of an old, retired mob hit-man, Sal Antonelli, who comes face to face with his own hit-man. In an attempt to extend his life, Sal stalls the hit-man by telling his life story."

Starring: DJ Hazard, Nat Sylva, Amber Daniels, Bianca Cipolla
Original screenplay by Keith Hedger


The film was shot this summer in Boston, Worcester and Waltham in HD using 35mm prime lenses adapted for my Panasonic HVX200. Hopefully, I'll do a blog post about the technical aspects of the shoot in the near future. In the meantime, there are a bunch of video stills and behind the scenes production photos on the Untied website.

One nice thing about working with Adam; he has the work ethic and drive to complete his projects, so you know your work will see the light of day. Too often, small indie projects have a tendency to get stalled along the way from raw footage to finished film.

Adam checks out a setup

Expect a local screening, probably at the Brattle Theatre later this winter, followed by the film hitting the festival circuit in 2010.

DJ Hazard as Sal

DJ as DJ
DJ Hazard as DJ Hazard

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Flower Power! Another Photo of the Day at Bostonist.com

People Flower, Boston, MA
Flowerpomorphic People

I was pleased to see my recent photo, People Flower, picked as Photo of the Day for November 18, 2009 by Bostonist.com. It captures a somewhat surreal sight in the lobby of the Hynes Convention Center in Boston's Back Bay.

This is the second time I've had the honor from Bostonist. And, though it's not like they're handing out cash awards, it is gratifying. And the image they picked last time ended up being licensed by Newsweek, so they do have a lucky eye. Fingers crossed on this one...but I'm not holding my breath that I'll be hearing from any multi-million circulation publications this time around.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Imagine Magazine August Coverboy

"Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and
some have greatness thrust upon 'em."
-Shakespeare Twelfth Night (II, v, 156-159)

Imagine my surprise, while on a shoot last week, when I received a call from my actor friend Amanda asking me if I had seen the August issue of Imagine Magazine and did I know I was on the cover? No, I did not know this! I said, juggling a tripod, camera and a perilously thin iPhone between my ear and shoulder.

Yes, I do receive Imagine Magazine: It's a regional industry tabloid covering the film/TV and media production industry in the Northeast. Amanda and I had both signed up (somewhat unwittingly) for home delivery subscriptions at the "Imaginnaire" Awards Gala at the Regattabar over the winter -- though it's available for free at newsstands and movie theaters around New England. Yet, August was one of those months, that between traveling and working, I hadn't taken the magazine from it's mailing envelope. I resolved to unwrap it as soon as I got home, like a child on Christmas morning.

And still, I couldn't figure out how I got on the cover. For all my mucking around in film/tv/media in these parts I didn't think precisely now was the time I would be granted the coveted cover shot (an honor more regularly reserved for the much more lovely Christy Scott Cashman). No editor had contacted me, no interview scheduled, no portrait session shoot showing me gloriously in situ in my ramshackle edit suite or peering confidently from behind my HD camera.

I deduced it must have been a candid shot at an industry event of some sort. In this digital age there is usually a gaggle of vaguely credentialed photographers (myself included) prowling around snapping pictures at any "industry" event.

At any rate, I wasn't about to argue with the recognition, but I still saw a potential pitfall. Amanda, I said, that's amazing, thanks for telling me, but I'm in the field and can't look now, just tell me the one important thing, do I look good!?

There was a pause. A longer pause than I was expecting, but I was also distracted by the work at hand so it only vaguely registered. You're drinking coffee! Amanda said with a heightened cheerfulness that should have been a warning sign, but in the heat of the moment only served to distract me from the fact she had avoided answering the question entirely. Wow! Drinking coffee? Amazing! I wonder where it was taken?
I could feel the phone shifting perilously in gravity's pull. Well thanks for the info, Amanda, but I really can't talk right now. I've got to go. Talk to you later! I hung up and pocketed the iPhone before it could slip to the ground or worse into the yawning sewer grate that always seems to be nearby every time I try to use it without hands.
I finished my shoot buoyed by the idea that these folks had hired the August 2009 Imagine Magazine cover subject and didn't even know it (yet!). And, that that little something extra that I bring to each shoot was now being recognized and quantified in some tangible and public way.

Even if it was just: Me, drinking coffee, on the cover!
I reasoned I must have been captured sampling the espresso at some recent confab looking sufficiently debonair to represent the whole of the New England creative class (at least for the month of August, an admittedly slow month). Things were looking up!
When I got home from the late shoot, I made a beeline for the pile of unopened mail and ripped open the mailer to reveal my career-making cover shot!

This is what I saw:

Get this man an attitude adjustment...or a better cup of coffee!

I looked like someone had put a giant dose of vinegar in my coffee. Or at the very least, like I had swallowed a bug; a perhaps nutritious, but not particularly tasty bug, in the previous gulp.
(Regardless, I swear I was enjoying myself that day!)

Imagine Magazine, August 2009, in the wild

So my moment of glory was anything but... Still, after the few moments it took for the anti-climax to soak in, I actually burst out laughing at the absurdity of it; by myself, alone, at 1 am -- laughing out loud, remembering Amanda's diplomatic evasiveness and the near perfect reversal of my own minor visions of grandeur!

Fortunately, I'm the least noticeable person in the shot and everybody else on the cover looks great, including cinematographer Brian Heller, who's explaining camera mounts for cars during one of Rule Boston Camera's excellent Learning Labs, which was the true (and worthy!) subject of the cover.

And, while I enjoyed my momentary illusions of grandeur, I'm not going to lose sleep over the sad reality of it, because, to take another tip from the Bard:

"What's gone and what's past help
Should be past grief."
The Winter's Tale (III, ii, 223-224 )

(Photo: Chris Maggio/Imagine Magazine)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Event Video Production

Behind the Screens

This isn't your father's convention video, with a few slide projectors, and a couple big TV screens.

It's massive, wall sized screens, sometimes five or more of them, displaying images from a half-dozen broadcast quality cameras, multimedia elements and perhaps a few live satellite downlinks. And it's big business.

Grand Ballroom

A/V porn

With a small army of technicians and miles of power and video cables and sophisticated lights and projectors (with bulbs that cost as much as a new car), today's event multimedia productions deliver an immersive experience for the attendees.

Command and control

Setting up the projection screens

Operating camera for these events is a kick. It's really a live TV show, more akin to something CNN or Oprah would do, but only ever to be seen by the select couple thousand in attendance.

We Lead

Rehearsal 2

A recent production featured a satellite link to an operating room where the doctors performing heart surgery were in live consultation with doctors in the audience via audio and video links. Amazing, indeed.

Wide eyes B&W

(all photos via iPhone) ©Brad Kelly 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Umbrella Photo a Winner in RAW Boston.com Contest

Umbrella Couple

One of my photos was recently chosen as one of ten winners in the "April Showers" themed contest sponsored by RAW, a photo community run by The Boston Globe. It's an honor to be picked out of hundreds of submissions, even if "honorable mention" doesn't come with any cash.

My photo was snapped from the hip one rainy evening outside the Coolidge Corner Theater, as a couple waited to cross the street, the streetlight casting silhouettes on the wet translucent fabric of the umbrella they shared. It's one of those fleeting images that often catch your eye when you don't have a camera with you to record it.

You can view my photo and the others in the Winners Gallery. I have to give props to the Globe and the judges for going with a more abstract collection of photos than one might have expected. Good to see it wasn't full of the usual stock suspects.

Pat Glennon's evocative winning image (scintillatingly titled "21/365 v2.0") is positively minimalist; a blurred glob of tail lights through a wiper-streaked windshield.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I Am a Camera: "Eyeborg" filmmaker to implant camera in his eye

EYEBORG-- The Two Week Trial from eyeborg on Vimeo.

From Reuters:

Anti-surveillance filmmaker plans eye-socket camera

BRUSSELS, March 5 (Reuters) - A Canadian filmmaker plans to have a mini camera installed in his prosthetic eye to make documentaries and raise awareness about surveillance in society.
Rob Spence, 36, who lost an eye in an accident as a teenager, said his so-called Project Eyeborg is to have the camera, a battery and a wireless transmitter mounted on a tiny circuit board.
"Originally the whole idea was to do a documentary about surveillance. I thought I would become a sort of super hero ... fighting for justice against surveillance," Spence said.
"In Toronto there are 12,000 cameras. But the strange thing I discovered was that people don't care about the surveillance cameras, they were more concerned about me and my secret camera eye because they feel that is a worse invasion of their privacy."
Spence, in Brussels to appear at a media conference, said no part of the camera would be connected to his nerves or brain.
He does not intend to create a reality TV show and the camera will be switched off when not needed, he said.
"I don't want to go into a locker room. I don't want to show the world me going to the bathroom either ... I'm not a life-caster and I don't plan to be one," he said.
(Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Louise Ireland)
© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sinusoidal Depleneration and You

Gotta love those niche market corporate videos.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Floating Pool Photos on UrbanOmnibus

Moon and sky through roof
Moon and sky view through the roof of the Floating Pool 

I had the pleasure of shooting for an HD documentary a couple years ago, produced by Doug Cabot, about a unique project, the Floating Pool.

The documentary follows the conversion of an old barge in Louisiana into a floating pool to serve the residents of the New York City area during the summer months.  

Imagine being able to swim "in" the East River with the skyline of Manhattan as a backdrop.  Well now you can!  Find out where the Floating Pool Lady will be docked next summer and plan a visit. (PS-it's free!)

Aerial view
The Floating Pool under construction in Louisiana

In the course of spending time with the project, in Louisiana and New York, I also took some still photos.  Some of these and others are being featured as part of a slideshow and article on the Floating Pool on the just-launched website, UrbanOmnibus.  

UrbanOmnibus is a project of the Architectural League of New York and hopes to highlight interesting projects and create conversation about design and the future of sustainable architecture in New York City.

The Urban Omnibus interview with Pool architect Jonathan Kirschenfeld features a slideshow with images of the pool at various stages of planning and construction.  I've also added more of my photos to a set on my Flickr, if you're interested.

Believe it or not, the floating pool is not really a new idea.  New York city once had 15 of them a hundred or so years ago.  The Omnibus interview with Ann Buttenwieser, the person most responsible for the floating pool project, explains some of the history of the floating "baths" (as they were then called) as well as the torturous path the project took from when Ann first proposed it in 1980.

You can also listen to a WNYC produced conversation between Ann and Leonard Lopate below:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Look Around You!

The highly amusing British send up of 1970's classroom instructional videos, Look Around You, has been my own personal best argument for the usefulness of YouTube, being that Yanks like me couldn't have basked in its gentle genius without it.

Now, the BBC produced parody series has been picked up by the Cartoon Network to air beginning January 18th as part of its Adult Swim block.

The series is Moog synthesizer-note perfect--as anyone who went to school in the 70's or 80's can attest, with little scientific absurdities building upon themselves throughout the instructional "modules" while the spirit of Monty Python hangs over the proceedings like a benevolent ectoplasmic fog.