Sunday, February 27, 2011

Canon DLR's - My 2 Cents :)

This is in response to the most common question I've been getting recently, "I would like to buy a DSLR camera but I don't know which one choose for a medium budget". Here is my opinion on the matter, from a video and photography standpoint :) I have used EVERYONE of these cameras in my youtube videos (except of the Canon T3i/which isn't out yet), so my opinion is based off of using them several times, and in several different arenas.

First off, these are all great cameras, and you can't go wrong with any of them :) I went to film school and was accustomed to using big heavy super expensive cameras. When these cameras were released with prices much lower than the "professional grade" cameras that were available, I was hesitant and avoided them at all cost. But then, when I started getting hired to shoot commercials for television with these DSLRs, I realized that perhaps they were like a transformer, "more then meets the eye." :)

In every sense, they are allowing us independent filmmakers, with little to no budget,have the chance to compete with Hollywood. At the very least, these DSLRS give us the chance to have our voices heard :) So with that in mind, here's my opinion on the leading Canon DSLRs that do video and still photography.

Canon 5D Mark II. Retail = $2600.00 US
This is my weapon of choice NS the only camera I actually own out of all of them.
There are three main reasons for my preference of this camera.

1. THE HOLLYWOOD LOOK/FULL SENSOR: Part of what makes Hollywood films look so great, is the fact that the background is "blurry", and the subject is in "focus". Out of all the Canon cameras, the ones that can achieve this look the best is this camera, because it has a "FULL SENSOR".

What that means is that if you were to take a picture of someone with each Canon camera, with the exact same lens, the Canon 5D Mark II would be the camera that would make the background the most blurry, making it look "more like a Hollywood movie". There's a lot more we can talk about with this, but I want to keep it simple for now, here's a link of an article where someone talks about the full sensor, if you would like to learn more about it.


2. WIDER SHOTS: For much of the photos and videos I take, the location is crucial. In order to capture as much of the scenery as possible, the full sensor is key. Because the 5D is equipped with a full sensor, it is able to capture a much WIDER shot than if you were to use the Canon 7D or Canon T2i. It allows for nearly twice as wide of a shot. For example, if I were to get a Canon 5D and a Canon 7D, set them on the exact same tripod with the EXACT same lens, the Canon 5D would be able to cover almost twice as wide of an area. The actual difference if you want to get technical is .6 :)
3. SKIN TONES and LOWLIGHT: Because of the full sensor, the 5D Mark II is able to capture a fuller spectrum of colors, which produces a more natural look. Another crucial product of the full sensor is the ability to capture quality footage at low light.

Here's a link to a video I shot entirely on the Canon 5D Mark II. If I were to have used any other Canon Camera I'm talking about, we would have only been able to see half of what was actually captured (with the same lens)

Canon 7D. Retail = $1600.00 US

1. SLOWMOTION: My weapon of choice to shoot in slow motion is the 7D. Technically, it can shoot at 60 fps(frames per second) whereas the 5D Mark II shoots at 30 fps.

The image quality is very similar in both the 7D and the 5D Mark II. A person would have a difficult time to compare images side by side and be able to distinguish one from the other. Below is a link for a video I shot with the 5D Mark II and the 7D. The Slow motion sequence was shot with the 7D.

2. 8 PICTURES PER SECOND: From an action photographer's standpoint, this camera is one of the best choices because of how fast it can take still pictures. The 7D can take them almost twice as fast as the Canon 5D. For taking pictures of moving athletes, surfers, snowboarders, or anything that happens fast that needs to be captured, this feature is definitely an advantage.

3. CROPPED SENSOR/CLOSER SHOTS: Because this camera is not a full sensor, the footage you take from it will be a lot closer than if you were taking it from the 5D Mark II (with the same lens). Of course, if you have a 5D Mark II, you can always get close to the subject as well, but it does mean you will need to buy a more telephoto lens.

Here's a music video I was one of the main cinematographers for. It was directed by Julian Acosta, for the band "Passion Pit". It was shot almost entirely with the 7D.

Canon T2i/T3i/Canon 550D. Retail = $900.00 US

(I'm putting all three of these camera's in the same bracket because they are super similar)
1. The biggest selling factor for this camera is it's price. It does almost everything the 7D does with very similar features, but just not "as good".

Here's a video we made that was shot almost entirely with the Canon T2i at 60 fps.

For the main bike jump video, we used a couple Canon 5D Mark II's, and a bunch of Canon T2i's. I feel that it is a testament to the quality of the T2i that a viewer watching the movie would not be distracted by differing image quality. Here's a link to the video. The opening shot was captured with the Canon 5D Mark II.

The last camera I'm going to mention is not a DSLR. It is the GoPro HD Cameras and i have utilized these with great success for my videos on my youtube channel.

The reason I use this camera is because it's super small, and it can shoot slowmotion/ 60fps. It allows me to put the camera in places I would never have a chance to put it otherwise.

For example, we used the GoPros for some of the footage in the iSoccer youtube video. For two of the shots, we duck taped the GoPro camera to the soccer ball itself to give the viewer the perspective of the soccer ball. That could have never been achieved through the Canon cameras. Here's the video where we hooked the GoPro to the soccer ball.

So, my closing comments are these...... In the end, all these cameras work great, but depending on what you plan on doing with the camera, certain ones are better for certain things, just like tools in a tool box :) And yes, often time our budgets are a big factor in the decision we make with the camera we get, but we all start somewhere, for me I started with the lowest of DSLR's, back in the day when the Canon Rebel came out, the original one, and i've slowly worked my way up :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Tarp Surfing Xtreme - Creating a Youtube viral video

This coming Tuesday(February 8th) I'll be releasing my tarp surfing video. It's the second video I've made thus far for Youtube where the sole purpose of creating it was with the idea that it would go viral. The first video I did this with was the bike video,.. which just reached 1 million hits not that long ago :) in less then four months :)

When I say that it was made to go viral.. what I mean is this... I looked up videos on youtube that were doing extremely well, and thought of ways to take that idea, make it my own, and show it in a new way that has not been done before. That's what was done with the bike video, and I know it will have the same effect with the tarp video.

There's also a certain formula that I followed to "guarantee" that the video would go viral. This is a formula I have learned over time, and through studying other viral media. I guess we will find out in a month from now if I was right, haha, but without a doubt I have full confidence in the formula :) (And I will discuss this formula that has worked for me in an upcoming blog for those interested)

Also, with this video, out of all the youtube movies I have made thus far, it's the one I have without question invested the most time and energy into. Just to give an idea of what it takes to make a video like this...

1. It took 6 different half days of filming tarp surfing with riders.
2. It took 1 evening/sunset to film the intro.
3. It took 3 different FULL days of filming surfers and waves, 1 of those was with me in the water filming.
4. It took 120 hours easy of endless nights of editing. (most of which I did during Christmas break).
5. It took two more separate days (not full days), to film people just having fun, dancing, etc. This footage was used to make the video more fast pace with variety.

On top of all that, the music composers for this, "Wentworth & Mordemere", also created the song specifically for the tarp surfing video. They wrote the lyrics and beat with the mindset of the video.

Also, my friend had just started his own long boarding company called Jase Boards. When I moved to Hawaii I met him, saw the quality of his boards, and thought it would be awesome to see what happened if we were to team up together, use his product, and for me to make the video. He also was a huge help in getting people to come to the events that we held.

So, if you could, once you see the video, if you really do like it, please feel free to post it on your facebook wall, and your friends as well that are into that kind of stuff, the more people that share it, the better chance it has to be seen by the world. I want the video to have a huge release, and that's a team effort :) And sadly I'm not going to be around to help that happen, so I'm curious how it all goes down.

Thanks SO MUCH EVERYONE for the support!!!

I'm just updating this blog. The tarp surfing video went live yesterday night, here it is, make sure to watch it off my youtube channel in HD if you can :)

Youtube and my Future Goals.

Lately I've been getting a great deal of emails in regards to what's my future plans with youtube... well... Here's my response... :)

My ultimate end goal with my work is to direct/dp feature films and commercials. HOWEVER, I am stoked about viral media and want to continue to explore that world as well as direct more traditional commercials and films.

I'm using youtube as a means to break in, instead of using the conventional Hollywood system, and so far it has been great.

I'm also using youtube as a way to brand myself, to build credibility, to show I know how to connect with a massive audience, and meet the demands that go with it. I know that's not a traditional way for people to end up doing feature films/commercials, but I really believe it will work due to what has already been happening with the offers that have come through.

So yes, feature films is the end goal, but also, I always plan on sticking with youtube, I have loved the experience so far, every minute of it :)

iSoccer - The foreign market

While I was at film school one of the greatest lessons I learned was this...

The foreign market on movies is CRUCIAL often to the films success.
Even if the film bombed in America, it can often, if done right, make it's money back and much more.

For example the film "Saints and Soilders", directed by Ryan Little, when he spoke to us he said that it's when the film went foreign that it was able to make its money, not state side.

So with this idea in mind, I feel it transfers straight across even to the internet, and how youtube movies can be made, in a way not to just connect with people that speak English, but to every other language.

I feel that's one of the greatest advantages I have on my youtube channel, it's the fact that the people watching don't need to speak English to understand what is going on.

With all the big youtube celebrities out there, they hit it huge with the people that speak there language, however,.. and I don't know the exact statistics on this... but there's a HUGE potential audience that they could hit, if every language could understand them.

That's where my youtube channel steps in, and that's where I think there is a huge potential demand :) (Or at least that's the hope/plan).

Since I've been releasing youtube videos these last couple months, I have been receiving about 5-10 messages a day, from people who write to me in a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT LANGUAGE. Haha. So what do I do? I had no idea at first, but then I found out that google has a website called What this website does is it lets you copy and paste what someone has said to you, it then not only detects what language it is, but then it translates it to your current language.

So when I get these messages from people who don't speak English, I am now given the opportunity to respond back to them, and answer there questions, etc. And now for the first time ever, I can communicate with someone across the world in a language I know nothing about. It's awesome, and one of the most gratifying things yet :)

What does this proves then, it shows the importance this foreign audience really does have. That there is an audience out there where two different people of different cultures can connect. As my channel has been expanding, a great deal of my viewership is actually outside of America.

Even the guy who created my youtube homepage, Tim Czarnetzki, he is based in Schwäbisch Gmünd, on the other side of the world. We have never met in person, and it's youtube that brought us together to network. Once again, it's the foreign market that did this.

I want my youtube channel to connect with every audience in the world, that will cause me to grow much faster then just hitting the "English audience", in order for me to catch up to the top, I must hit every audience out there, ESPECIALLY the audiences no one else can hit. One way I'm trying to do that is by trying to hit new audiences every time.

With this last youtube video I released, iSoccer, this was one of the goals, to connect with the world outside of the English speaking people. Because soccer is the most popular sport in the world, it was the perfect opportunity. I have read several blogs within the last couple days online from Argentina, Brazil, and that whole area, where they have posted the soccer video on there blog, and of coarse it isn't posted in English, but I know exactly what they are saying, thanks to :) And I'm able to post my own comments back in there native language.

So going back to where we all started, just like the film industry works, they use the forign market to there advantage by taking the time to translate all there movies into every language they can that is profitable, I to want to apply that idea and make sure most of my videos hit the mass audience, and through that, I will rise to the top much faster then focusing on just an American audience, that is really just a very SMALL percentage of where my video hit counts come from.

So we will see what happens with this all this year, but it is something I feel very strong about, catering to the masses :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bike Video Reaches 1 MILLION HITS TODAY!

So less then 4 months ago from the original release date, the bike video hits 1 million hits today :) It's the first video on my channel to reach such a feat :)

So, things have been going CRAZY on youtube for me these last couple of days! It all started with the slip and slide video I did getting featured on several huge websites,,,,,,, front page of and even entertainment weekly :)

With all of these major websites posting my video, it has had a crazy impact on my youtube channel in general, not just the slip and slide video.

As a direct result of the success of the video I have been contacted by two ad agencies in LA, been hired by two different people who offered to buy the slip and slide video from me (I said no though because I want it to be exclusive to my youtube channel), and I've been contacted by a major record label in regards to my cinematograhy and shooting projects for them. And I've been hired as a cinematographer here in Hawaii for a project that will play on TV. So yeah.. All this is a direct result of youtube, and the effect that viral media exposes people to the world, and gives them a chance to compete with Hollywood/the big dogs.

With all this publicity, it's also sky rocketed my subscribers on my youtube channel.. before I was averaging around 75-100 a day, it has now gone up to 550 subscribers for the last two days consistently :) Of coarse I know it wont stay like that, but it's a good reminder that it can be done :)

Here's a graph of a website that keeps track of my youtube stats to show how things are growing on my channel.

Also with other good news of what happened this week...

Yesterday I reached 10,000 subscribers on my youtube channel :)
And also reached 100,000 views just on my youtube channel homepage.
Just looking at yesterday alone, I gained 10,000 views just on my homepage.

Great things are happening! And I'm so excited for next Tuesday when I release our tarp surfing video! I have great plans with what that video will do on the "viral circuit". Time will tell :)

Thanks again so much everyone for helping me have the chance to live my dreams! I have loved every minute of it.... well.. almost every minute of it... minus the endles nights of editing, ha ;)

Also, just in case you haven't seen the bike video yet, you can check it out right below :)

Also, Entertainment Weekly did a cool article on the slip and slide/bike video, and they mention me as a director, which I thought was really sweet, you can check that out in the link below.

Entertainment Weekly Link

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

DevinSuperTramp - If the name fits, use it :)

A lot of people have been asking where my youtube name comes from! Well, here's my answer! :)

The name comes from one of my favorite books of ALL TIME. "Into The Wild". They also made a movie on it as well. It's a true story of a guy named Christopher Mccandless, who decides to leave everything he was stuck in, to live, to pursue his dreams. Even though his story didn't have a happy ending, everything leading up to it did. When Christopher decides to pursuse this new life of pursuing his passion, he even changes his name, to Alexander Supertramp.

And that's where I got my Supertramp name from :)

With that in mind I want the same thing, to live my dreams, to go out, and achieve all these dreams. To live the dream :)

I've ran into so many people, even friends who talk about what they really want to do with there lives... but they never take that step... I think so many people have the potential to do what they want in life.. however they for whatever reason, never use that power within them.

With my youtube channel, I try to make the same kind of connections, the idea of being free, doing what you love, exploring the world, using your talents to inspire, and perhaps even change the world for a better place, to show the world in a way no one has ever seen before.

For those who haven't read the book, or watched the movie, check out the movie trailer right below.

I want my youtube channel to be the place people can go "to live", and to be reminded that they to can pursue and live there dreams :)

"If you want something in life, reach out and grab it".