Behind the Scenes of My First Music Video – Purity of Heart by Pearson

Posted by ryanjackson on Feb 7, 2011 in photos, portrait, Ryan's Life, video



A heart-broken Robot tries to escape the clutches of his moonshine-making Hillbilly imprisoner.

“Slow, subtle and direct – a mesmerizing Canadian sound”, “stark, calming, and mildly trance inducing lullaby-makers”, “Pearson has carved out a niche as a slow-core band — playing intimate, slow and sparse folk music.”

myspace.com/pearsontunes

Director & Editor: James Scott – federationfilms.net
Director of Photography: Ryan Jackson – punkoryan.com
AE Artist: Youlie Harikiopoulou
Colourist: Darren Mostyn – online-creative.com

This was my first music video and the most fun I have ever had shooting. I actually shot this back in August 2009 and it took over a year to get it edited, coloured and EFx’d.
I was the Director of Photography so I took James’ awesome script and made storyboards and then shot everything. It was really fun to work with a director as I could focus on getting the shots and he could focus on directing and organizing everything. We made a good team.

The entire thing was shot in a day and a half! I drove in to Manitou Beach on Saturday morning. We started filming at noon and did all the scenes with the hillbilly as he could only be there on Saturday. Then we got everything else on Sunday and shot right until sundown. It was a miracle we had the same weather two days in a row and got everything done.

I shot everything with the Canon 5D Mark-II. It was actually my first time using one. My friend Kenny lent me his for the weekend. I read the manual and researched as much as I could before the shoot.
I knew that if I wanted the video to have a “film look” that I would need to:
1. Shoot at 24fps
2. Keep the shutter speed at 1/50th (2x the frame rate. On film cameras you shoot at 1/48th)
3. Shoot wide-open to get a narrow depth of field.
4. Use Neutral Density filters so that I could do #2. and #3. in bright sunlight.

I used my heavy Libec LS-38 tripod and head as much as possible and used a shoulder-mounted stabilizer whenever I needed to move.

For lenses I used a 50mm f1.4, 24mm f1.4, 16mm f2.8, 16-35mm f2.8, 24-105mm f4 IS, 70-200mm f2.8 IS and a 300mm f2.8 IS.
I bought two Cokin Neutral Density filters for a combined light reduction of 8-stops. This let me shoot 1/50, f1.8, ISO100 in bright sunlight.

Here are some fun behind the scenes photos. Enjoy!

The sun setting behind me as a drive from Edmonton to Saskatoon, SK on the Friday night before the weekend shoot.

5:40 a.m. on my drive from Saskatoon to Manitou Beach on Saturday, the first day of the shoot.

You know you are in Saskatchewan when...

Sign

James the director had the final script for me Saturday morning. I quickly drew up story boards and made shot lists. We were going to start shooting at noon.

Early morning. Finishing the robot costumes. The paint was still drying!

Will is putting the finishing touches on his costume.

Arms

Hand

Duct taping antlers on the front of the Hillbilly's truck.

We rented a pontoon boat for the first water scene. The boat was perfect for shooting because it didn't wobble on the water.

I used a Hoodman LCD Loupe and rubber bands so that I could see my LCD screen in the sunlight and focus easier.

I used two Cokin ND filters together to get a total of 8 stops of light reduction. This allowed me to keep my shutter at 1/50th with a wide open f2.8 aperture. One of the secrets to the "film look".

Will had to get into the dingy and then get dressed after.

Our hillbilly was awesome. We only had him for the first day though so we had to be sure to get every shot in.

Will could hardly see while he drove the dingy. Of course our hillbilly had a fan boat!

Looks much cooler with digital explosions.

A family member was our chef for the weekend and prepared lots of yummy vegitarian dishes.

Here is Vera Debevc, the owner of the old abandoned shrimp factory that we used for the hillbilly hideout and robot prison.

Vera Debevc and our hero.

After lunch we filmed the scene where the hillbilly kidnaps the robot in a quarry.

It took forever to get dressed and undressed.

Robot Love

More Robot Love

Oh No! The hillbilly!

You're gonna squeal like a pig

Oh No!

The light was perfect that night.

God I love lens flare!

Perfect drunk

Me wearing hipwaiters.

This is the light we had in the old shrimp factory. A single hole in roof. The Canon 5D Mark-II held up amazing in low light.

Freedom!

Oh no you don't!

A shot we never used in the film of the robot getting away.

Vera with the robot again outside of the old shrimp factory. She was so cute!

Final shot of the first day of shooting. We were now done all the shots with the hillbilly.

Day two. We need some more romantic shots of robot and ladybot together. There is James the director on the left.

This is my desktop background. I love this picture. So weird!

Robot sex scene!

Here you see how I filmed the robot sex scene. I mounted a 5D Mark-II with a 16mm fisheye lens above the bed on a monopod.

We used a monitor to frame everything.

Getting some shots of the band. We were going to have the band pop in and out of the video but it didn't make the cut.

Beautiful day.

Getting dressed again for the final shots.

Filming the robot reunited with his long lost love.

We were soooo lucky to have the exact same sunset both nights. The weather was perfect!

Even more robot love.

Sun is setting fast. Running out of time.

Rushing to the junk yard for the final scene.

Only a few minutes left before the sun is down. Need to get those final shots.

The tragic surprise ending.

The final shot.

Group photo of almost everyone involved in making the film.

Heading back to the cabins after a very long perfect day!

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Smack My Friends Up! – Slow Motion Face Slaps at 240fps

Posted by ryanjackson on Jan 3, 2011 in Ryan's Life, video


A fun video project I did over new years. I shot this with the Canon PowerShot SD4000 which shoots 240fps video at 320×240. I used a 144 LED video light and an iPhone 4 for video lights. Video by Ryan Jackson / ryanjackson.ca

I converted the video files from the camera with MPEG Streamclip to Apple Intermediate Codec 640×480. This video was a good chance to brush up on using keyframes and markers to sync the video with audio.

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I’m teaching video to reporters for the next couple months

Posted by ryanjackson on Dec 12, 2010 in Ryan's Life, training

For the next couple months I’m not going to be shooting as much. I’ll be in the office training reporters on shooting video.  I’m also teaching the Documentary Photojournalism course again at MacEwan University this semester.

Postmedia sent a Kodak Zi8 video camera to every reporter in the chain and so I’m repsonsible for taking five Journal reporters at a time under my wing and teaching them video storytelling.

My goal isn’t to flood edmontonjournal.com with hundreds of poorly shot videos but rather to teach reporters (and photographers) how to make proper judgment on what to video and when video is appropriate and when it is not.

Key’s to a Successful Video – It takes a lot of work!

A good Visual Story ———> Story is always #1. As Scott Rensberger says “A good story is EVERYTHING.  If you don’t have a great story, then everything you do to help a bad story is equivalent to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.”

Good Quality —————–> Sound is most important. If the viewer cant stand to watch or listen to a video then they will abandon it. If a video is of poor quality then people won’t share it with their friends.

SEO friendly description and tags —————————–> The text and linking around the video have to be written in a way so that a person could easily Google the video. Some videos do poorly on our website but then get thousands of hits over time on YouTube. Example. Example. Example. Because people outside of our normal audience find and share it.

Social Media —————–> In order for a video to be successful (ie. watched a lot) it needs to be socially shared. It needs to get out on twitter, linked on blogs and shared on Facebook. If a video is of poor quality then people won’t share it with their friends. My World Record Dodgeball video only got 1,000 views on the Journal website but over 600,000 on YouTube because people shared it and blogged it.

Learning from stats ———->  A reporter learns to judge what makes good visual stories after doing several videos and following the stats/metrics. You see what kind of videos are successful and what videos aren’t worth doing.  You need to understand who your audience is and what they want. You also need to find new audiences that you didn’t know where there.

My guiding rules:

-If the video wastes the viewer’s time then it was a waste of your time.

-If the video wastes your time then why would you waste your friend’s time by sharing it?

-If the story isn’t interesting then no one clicks on it.

-If the quality is poor then no one shares it.

-If the words/description are poorly written then no one can google it.

-If the reporter isn’t proud of the video then he/she won’t blog/tweet/promote it and neither will anyone else.

And if you need to pay for a reporter, heat, electricity and bandwidth to keep a business going then you can’t afford to do crappy video when there is soooo much video out there competing for viewership. You have to be smart about it.

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Photo Story- Fort Chipewyan Water and Health Concerns

Posted by ryanjackson on Sep 7, 2010 in photos, portrait, Ryan's Life, video

I spent August 23-27th in Fort Chipewyan with Edmonton Journal environment reporter Hanneke Brooymans.  You can read her stories and see my photos and videos at edmontonjournal.com/fortchip

If you don’t know about the issues surrounding Fort Chipewyan I suggest you check out CBC’s special section and also their timeline which is about a year old now but will get you up to speed.

You back now? Great :)

Basically cancer rates in Fort Chip are higher than they “should” be and there is a lot of controversy and confusion over why that is. Many attribute health problems to the fact that Fort Chipewyan is downstream from Fort McMurray and thus the oilsands development. Dozens of news agencies have reported on Fort Chip and about half a dozen documentaries have been done about the issue as well.   It’s a big story and an important issue and I was lucky enough to spend a week up there and capture how the residents of the town feel.

Watch my short documentary of Fort Chipewyan resident’s concerns.

Fort Chipewyan residents have for years suspected that industrial activity upstream of them was connected to cancers and rare illnesses in their community. See Fort Chipewyan for yourself, and hear what residents have to say about the health problems. Video by Ryan Jackson/Edmonton Journal

Another issue is water quantity. In the late 1960’s a large dam was built in B.C. which dropped water levels in the Athabasca.

Go out on Lake Athabasca with Metis elder Raymond Ladouceur and see the changes he attributes to industrial development. Video by Ryan Jackson/Edmonton Journal. Read more about water issues with Fort Chipewyan at edmontonjournal.com/fortchip

Now here is what my still camera saw. A couple pictures were taken in Fort McMurray when we had a layover.

University of Alberta scientist Dr. David Schindler poses for a photo at the Journal office in Edmonton on September 1, 2010. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

This is the living room where Hanneke and I slept in during the week we were up in Fort Chip. We didn't find a place to stay until the last minute and were prepared to camp there if need be.

Moose meat smokes over a fire near in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. during a cultural gathering on August 25, 2010. Many residents still eat traditional meals from the land such as moose and fish despite possibly elevated levels of pollution. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

Elder Cookie Simpson during an interview in her home in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on August 25, 2010. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

Allan Adam, Chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation looks out over lake Athabasca in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on August 26, 2010. Adam remembers diving off of the dock when he was a young boy and the water levels were much higher. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

Elder Steve Courtoreille poses for a photo in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on August 26, 2010. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

Elder Steve Courtoreille poses for a photo in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on August 26, 2010. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

The sun rises over Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on August 26, 2010. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA.: AUGUST 26, 2010 -- The sun rises over small islands surrounding Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on August 26, 2010. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

The receded shoreline of Fort Chipewyan, Alta. along lake Athabasca on August 26, 2010. Residents recall once being able to sail their boats right up to the main steet. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

A view of Syncrude's base mine which is now a tailings pond near Fort McMurray, Alta. (Ryan Jackson/Edmonton Journal)

The sun rises on Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on August 26, 2010. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

Dr. John O'Connor poses for a photo above Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on August 25, 2010. O'Connor first voiced his concerns in 2006 of elevated levels of rare cancers and diseases with the residents of Fort Chipewyan which is downstream on the Athabasca river from oilsands industry in Fort McMurray. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

Dr. John O'Connor poses for a photo with his wife Charlene above Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on August 25, 2010. O'Connor first voiced his concerns in 2006 of elevated levels of rare cancers and diseases with the residents of Fort Chipewyan which is downstream on the Athabasca river from oilsands industry in Fort McMurray. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

Dr. John O'Connor in poses for a photo at the Fort Chipewyan Nursing Station in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on August 25, 2010. O'Connor first voiced his concerns in 2006 of elevated levels of rare cancers and diseases with the residents of Fort Chipewyan which is downstream on the Athabasca river from oilsands industry in Fort McMurray. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

Melody Lepine, Director of Government and Industry relations for Mikisew Cree First Nation poses for a photo in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on August 25, 2010. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal). [Note: image was shot with a tilt-shft lens]

Elder Gracie Thacker poses for a photo in front of her home in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on August 24, 2010. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

Exposed rock along shore lines show how much water has dropped along Lake Athabasca near in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on August 24, 2010. Raymond Ladouceur says water levels have dropped significantly over the years due to the Bennett dam and industrial water consumption around Fort McMurray. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

Metis fisherman and trapper Raymond Ladouceur points to the exposed rock along shore lines to show how much water has dropped along Lake Athabasca near in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on August 24, 2010. Ladouceur says water levels have dropped significantly over the years due to the Bennett dam and industrial water consumption around Fort McMurray. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

Metis fisherman and trapper Raymond Ladouceur looks at the low water levels on Lake Athabasca near in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on August 24, 2010. Ladouceur says water levels have dropped significantly over the years due to the Bennett dam and industrial water consumption around Fort McMurray. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

Dr. John O'Connor and his wife Charlene walk along monument hill in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on August 23, 2010. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

A view of Syncrude's base mine which is now a tailings pond near Fort McMurray, Alta. (Ryan Jackson/Edmonton Journal)

A scenic view of Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on August 23, 2010. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

Signs left over from a 2008 rally at the Alberta Legislature sit against the wall in a community multi-complex in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on August 23, 2010. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

A pole at the Fort Chipewyan airport shows the distance to cities across Canada in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on August 23, 2010. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

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A Taste of Some Projects I’m Working On in March…

Posted by ryanjackson on Mar 11, 2010 in Ryan's Life

I haven’t been updating as much lately because I’m working on a few projects and they won’t be published for a while.

Here is a taste of some photos I’ve taken lately though…

I spent an afternoon on the Boyle Street warm-up van but the story isn’t running for a while so here is just one photo. I’ll post more when the story runs.

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Darryl Schwitz has been living on the streets of Edmonton for  years. He uses the Boyle Street Community Service Co-op warmup van frequently. Schwitz picks bottles every day to fuel is alcohol addiction and resides mainly in the west end of town.  February 24, 2010. Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal

I’ve spent the last week doing a story on the Edmonton Paralympic Sports Association. I’ve shot Paralympic Tae Kwon Doe, Soccer, Swimming, Floor Hockey and Sledge Hockey. The full photo story will run next weekend (I hope!). Here is a teaser from the series.

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Left to right. Cassius Swampy, Emily Johnson who has cerebral palsy and Teresa Looy, swim instructor with the Paralympic Sports Association swim program at MacEwan University pool in Edmonton on March 6, 2010. Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal

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Yes! That is a remote camera mounted on a sledge!  More pictures to come when the story runs.

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The Shrine Circus is coming and I’m doing a time lapse from the end of a hockey game until the end of opening night of the circus. That should run on Saturday or Sunday.  See you soon!

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MacEwan Photography Students and Basketball

Posted by ryanjackson on Feb 1, 2010 in photos, Ryan's Life

Friday night was an opportunity for me and Greg Southam’s MacEwan University photography students to shoot some basketball for their sports action assignment.

I was surprised to see that almost all of the students shot Nikon. When I went to Loyalist it was the other way around. Nikon has really come a long way since then in quality and price.

Here are some of my favorite photos from Friday night. Enjoy!

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Brandon University Bobcats’  Melanie Thompson makes a shot on the University of Alberta Pandas’ net during their match at the U of A Main Gym in Edmonton, Alta. on January 29, 2009. Pandas won 87-39. Photo by Ryan Jackson / ryanjackson.ca

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Brandon University Bobcats’ Chantel Gaslard, left, and University of Alberta Pandas’ Josephine Peacock fight for the ball during their match at the U of A Main Gym in Edmonton, Alta. on January 29, 2009. Pandas won 87-39. Photo by Ryan Jackson / ryanjackson.ca

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University of Alberta Pandas’ Caitlin Stiksma, left, and Brandon University Bobcats’ Jayla Bousquet fight for the ball during their match at the U of A Main Gym in Edmonton, Alta. on January 29, 2009. Pandas won 87-39. Photo by Ryan Jackson / ryanjackson.ca

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University of Alberta Golden Bears’ Harvey Bradford goes for the net during a match against the Brandon University Bobcats at the U of A Main Gym in Edmonton, Alta. on January 29, 2009. The Bobcats won 88-85.  Photo by Ryan Jackson / ryanjackson.ca

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University of Alberta Golden Bears’ Harvey Bradford tries to get through Brandon University Bobcats’ Dany Charlery, left, and Martin Lawrence during their match at the U of A Main Gym in Edmonton, Alta. on January 29, 2009. The Bobcats won 88-85.  Photo by Ryan Jackson / ryanjackson.ca

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Ryan Jackson Speaks at CUP 2010. Jack of All Trades: Becoming a Well-Rounded Visual Journalist

Posted by ryanjackson on Jan 19, 2010 in Ryan's Life, training, video

Ryan Jackson speaks at CUP 2010 from Ryan Jackson on Vimeo.

Jack of all Trades: Becoming a Well Rounded Visual Journalist.
Follow along with the Google Doc Presentation tinyurl.com/y9uaefv
Edmonton Journal staff multimedia producer speaks at the 72’nd Canadian University Press Conference in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
He goes through his still portfolio and gives advice to students for getting a job in this new media landscape.
Video by Ryan Jackson. ryanjackson.ca



Here is the video and Google Doc Presentation that I gave on Sunday at CUP. You can also CLICK HERE and scroll down to the bottom of the page, RIGHT CLICK on the “Download this video” link and download the .mp4 file which should play on any video iPod, nano or iPhone. Enjoy!

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Speaking at The 72nd Annual Canadian University Press Conference

Posted by ryanjackson on Jan 15, 2010 in Ryan's Life

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I’m speaking at the CUP conference again this year. I spoke last year in Saskatoon and this year it’s convieniently in Edmonton.  I speak on Sunday and my good friend Anne-Marie Jackson from the Globe is speaking as well on Saturday. I’ll post video/notes of what we say after it’s done.

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We bought a house!

Posted by ryanjackson on Jan 7, 2010 in photos, Ryan's Life

our home IMG_0462

Ashe and I bought a house!  Good times!

Our Realtor Steve Kanizaj was fantastic and helped us find the perfect house for less than asking price.  The cool thing about Realtors when you are buying a house is that they don’t cost the buyer anything as the Realtor simply gets a portion of the commission on the sale. Your Realtor’s job is to find homes, arrange for viewings, make the offer and get you the lowest price possible.

Since Ashe and I were first time home buyers we had no idea what we were doing so he really helped with the paperwork and organizing everything.

Steve was very professional and fun to work for and Ashe and I highly recommend him if you are looking to buy or sell a home.    You can contact him at stevek@realtyexecutives.com or call 780-709-8400

For our mortgage we used Jamie Coulter in Calgary who found us the best mortgage rate and bank for us and really made the mortgage process more personal and less “dealing with a bank” ‘ish.  Again, he finds you the best rate and doesn’t cost you a thing so you can only benefit. His website is jamiecoulter.ca and you can call him at 403-835-1535.  He’s in Calgary and we live in Edmonton but that didn’t matter since everything was done through e-mail/fax.

They can also refer you to good home inspectors, movers, lawyers, etc.
Referral is everything which is why I’m writing this.

As a thanks to Steve for his great work , I did head shots for his new website that he is building.  Enjoy!

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Stephen Kanizaj with Realty Executives Progressive poses for a photo in his home on December 20, 2009. Photo by Ryan Jackson / ryanjackson.ca

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Six-month long time lapse of the Edmonton River Valley

Posted by ryanjackson on Nov 24, 2009 in photos, Ryan's Life

It’s pretty amazing what can happen in six months. I put a camera on the roof of the Coast Edmonton House Hotel back in April and let it take one picture every hour for over six months. Here are some of the most interesting images. You can view a whole gallery with dozens more and also view an interactive time lapse of the whole transition from winter to spring to summer to fall.

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A beautiful view of the river valley in Edmonton on October 2, 2009. Edmonton Journal photographer Ryan Jackson placed a time lapse camera on the roof of the Coast Edmonton Hotel in early April of this year. The camera snapped one photo every hour for over six months and produced over 4,400 images. Here are some of the most beautiful, odd and interesting images captured. To see an interactive time lapse of the river valley transforming from winter to spring to fall go to edmontonjournal.com/photos.   Photo by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal

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I was also very happy that the Journal gave me the ENTIRE FRONT PAGE on Saturday to show off my image. Pretty damn cool!

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You can view a whole gallery with dozens more and also view an interactive time lapse of the whole transition from winter to spring to summer to fall.  The photo gallery also has some pictures of the camera that I used and how I mounted it.  Enjoy!

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