Archive for August 28, 2015

Seven Easy Tips for Shooting PHENOMENAL Video Footage!

Before my introduction into photography, shooting video was my favorite thing to do for fun. As a kid, I would run around with the family camcorder and burn through cassettes like there was no tomorrow. (Yes… cassettes. Wow, I feel old saying that.)

Nonetheless, this little hobby of mine followed me all throughout my childhood, into high school and now into my adulthood. With all that said, I’m no Christopher Nolan, but I have picked up a thing or two about shooting video. The latest video I shot was a drum cover video to the original cover by Luke Holland called Dirty Vibe. Check it out, with my tips below:

1. Have a vision of what you want to make.

Before I even pick up my camera, I typically go through some sort of brainstorming process where I plan out the type of video I want to make. Whether it be through storyboarding, or coming up with a feel I want the video to convey, I rarely just pick up my camera and shoot video hoping it all works out.

The Dirty Vibe drum cover was inspired by the original cover video by Luke Holland in which the entire thing is shot in one take. Taking that idea, I added a little bit of my creativity and added brief introduction with many cuts, then two much longer shots for the remaining two minutes of the video. In addition to that we wanted the video to escalate as it progressed – something that was achieved by adding earthquake effects throughout the video.

2. Shoot lots of footage!

Having extra footage can sometimes come in handy when you least expect it – and save the day. Although the majority of the video should be planned ahead of time, you shouldn’t limit yourself to just shoot what was originally planned. Shooting more video than is needed in my experience has become an essential part of my filming simply because it has given me so much extra footage to play with when it comes time to edit. There’s nothing worse than sitting down to edit a video and realizing you don’t have enough footage, so shoot shoot shoot!

For example, in Dirty Vibe, there’s a GoPro that was attached to the drumset that can clearly be seen in many parts of the video. At the time we set it up for the sake of setting it up, but when it came time to edit, none of the footage made it to the final video.

3. Camera movement is good

One of the most common mistakes I see when people shoot video is trying to hold the camera completely still (that or moving the camera like crazy). Balance is the key with this tip! Sometimes your video will call for stationary shots and sometimes it won’t. When it doesn’t, knowing how to pan, tilt, and even run with your camera will give you shots that will add to the overall video.

4. Frame your shots

Just like in photography (click here to read my blog on photo tips), framing your shots is incredibly important. Make sure your video has a subject and that subject is clearly in the shot. Now, the word clearly is relatively broad. Sometimes framing a shot from a couple hundred feet away will work out just fine, but in other cases being up close is a much better way to frame a shot. Nonetheless each clip should contribute something to the overall video, so avoid framing clips in a way that leave the viewer wondering what in the world is going on.

Take for example the first 13 seconds of Dirty Vibe, unlike the rest of the video the introduction cuts from close up to close up which worked out perfect for the video. Imagine if the first 13 seconds would have been shot head-on with a wider perspective where everything from the drums to the drummer are in the frame – suddenly the introduction doesn’t seem so interesting.  

5. Anticipate shots

More than any other tip on this list, this one will require a lot of practice and attention to your surroundings. We’ve all been there: we’re shooting video and we turn around for 2 seconds and just like that you missed the shot. Many times you can anticipate action right before it happens so when it does be ready.

I know what you’re thinking: “I can just have the person do what they did all over again.” Sure you can (sometimes), but there will be certain times when that was the shot.

Take for example going to a High School graduation, you’ve been patiently waiting for your loved one’s name to be called for what seems to be hours. After hearing about 100 names, you start a conversation with the person sitting next to you and before you know it, you hear your graduate’s name. As you frantically fumble to get your camera together and look to see where they are at, I hate to break it to you, but they are already off the stage walking back to their seat. A little anticipation is all it would have taken to avoid this, and unfortunately moments like this happen more frequently than you might think.

6. Make the most of what you have

This ranges from camera gear to the place you are filming. You don’t need to have the best gear in the world to shoot awesome video – in fact, sometimes you can shoot videos with no budget on a point and shoot camera (I did this all throughout high school). Make the most of what you have at your disposal and don’t sweat the small things.

7. Behind The Scenes of Dirty Vibe

Believe it or not, the Dirty Vibe video was shot in a backyard shed that we emptied and moved the drums into. To create the backgrounds, we covered all the windows and walls with black fabric we got at Joann’s Fabric for about $30. For lights, we used construction lights we found in the shed to light the room from the ground up. To not completely pass out because of the heat, we set up a fan in back.

Ear plugs were used throughout the entire filming process and no music with lyrics was actually being played during filming, it was just drumming. The video was shot on a Canon 70D, 17-40mm f4/L, 24-105mm f4/L IS and a Glidecam HD-2000. No mics were used, which made syncing up the original audio to the drums incredibly difficult. Shooting the footage took about about 5 hours and editing another 4 hours. All the editing was done on Final Cut X.

If you have the patience for this process, you could be on your way to shooting your own great film projects!

Jose Romero wanders the lowlands of Northern California with his camera in tow. Follow his latest adventures on Twitter @TeamTRI_Jose.

Buon Viaggio! Why YOU Should Explore The World

Traveling- it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller” – Ibn Battuta

A recent Business Insider Article indicated that people who spend more money on travel and less money on technology and tangibles are happier overall. The author points out that an iPad or other tangible goods are comparable. After time, you simply want the newer version or something grander than the Jones family next door. On the other hand, spending your hard-earned funds on travel yields lasting dividends. Not the kind you’ll find on an Excel spreadsheet, but the most important type of income: happiness.

Did you know that people who plan trips far in advance are also happier? Just having something to look forward to reduces stress and increases happiness. You know what I am talking about. You have a looming deadline and a lot of stress on your shoulders, but you take a deep breath and remember your upcoming vacation and dig in to get the job done.

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For some, the planning of the vacation ends up being more fulfilling and brings more happiness than the trip itself. Some experts even say to plan a vacation you never actually plan on taking can increase happiness…but I say pack those bags!

In the last 14 months I have visited San Francisco, London, Amsterdam, Geneva, Bern, Interlaken, Budapest, Paris, Rome, Milan, Naples, the Amalfi Coast, Florence, Pisa, Bologna, Salzburg, Munich, Lake Como, Dublin, Belfast, Innsbruck, and countless small cities and villages in between. Each new city has a different feel, culture, and energy. There is something beautiful about diving into the local scene and doing your best to blend in and immerse yourself in a new language, city, and culture. So get out there and see the world!

Buon Viaggio! La Vita Bella!

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Becky Trimble is TeamTRI’s Logistics Director, which makes a lot of sense given her penchant for globe-hopping and sightseeing.

When Life Throws You A Curve: Dealing with the Unexpected

In life, sometimes we get caught up in how the “plan” we make for our lives should work.

I know since I was in elementary school, I was the student that was already mapping my stepping-stones to the goals I wanted to accomplish next. I had the plan to continue my education after high school with Bachelors and Masters Degrees.

Last week, I finally accomplished that huge “plan” that I set at such a young age. Looking back over my educational journey, I find myself in awe of how my “plan” changed so drastically. Growing up, if anyone asked me about my future career, the immediate response would be a broadcast journalist, maybe even a sports journalist so that I could be on the sidelines at my favorite sport in the world: football.

However, as I sit here typing this blog, I am not a journalist, sports or otherwise. Instead, I took a different journey where I got passionate about selling chicken and training students in leadership. Yes, you read that sentence correctly. But, I would not change it for anything.

When I was in college, I had the wonderful opportunity to work for Chick-fil-A. Once I even got to meet the now-late Chick-fil-A founder, Truett Cathy. I remember sitting down with him in his office in Atlanta, Georgia and he said “Hayley, I have some advice that you must never forget: always embrace unexpected opportunities.”

I really did not understand how that ever could be good advice. Remember, I am a planner. I wake up and have my same routines every morning, I have my life goals all planned out, and I knew where I was going to be in five years. Why in the world would I want to embrace “unexpected” opportunities that were not part of my plan?

Despite the fact that your ego hates unpredictability, the truth is that you have benefited from it again and again. Think for a moment about the unexpected opportunities that have come your way: offers of help you never anticipated, sudden brainstorms and inspirations, and impulsive decisions to move or talk to a stranger that opened new horizons. This is the natural way to live.

We can always have a plan in our minds, but the idea of flexibility and embracing change can take us to places we would have never dreamed. I may not be a journalist, but I truly have a career that is using my strengths for the greater good. I get to wake up everyday and know that I have the opportunity to bring about change.

The key factor that allows us to deal with the unexpected is the attitude that we choose to have. For instance, you might have the perfect team to win the state championship, but what happens when someone gets hurt, sick, or misses a few practices? Do you try to become a better team player, or do you choose to already feel defeated?  Sometimes unexpected changes may not be positive. The loss of a job, the death of a loved one, natural disaster, lost friendship – these unexpected changes have a way of bringing us some very dark times in our lives. That being said, how do we deal with it?

Unexpected change has a way of bringing people closer together more than anything else. The people who have been there in similar situations before are the best ones for help simply because they can relate to what you’re going through. They’ve already taken the journey and they know a lot about your experience right now and what will help you get through it all.

When your life gets back on track, unexpected change is bound to happen again, but when you start getting more and more experience in dealing with unexpected change in general, you’ll find yourself more and more in control of yourself and your life.

And, that is the key. This is your life. Live it to the fullest and know that dealing with the unexpected can make you a stronger leader, friend, and a more confident person.

Hayley Henderson is a full-time Leadership Program Manager with TeamTRI and just graduated with her Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership and Human Resource Management from Columbus State University in EEEEEE. Follow Hayley on Twitter @TeamTRI_Hayley!

Five Shocking Lessons from the Tough Mudder Race!

Once a year, the Northstar Resort in Lake Tahoe lets its guests ditch the skis and snowboards in exchange for mud, running shoes, mud, obstacles and more mud.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about the Tough Mudder is a 10-12+ mile obstacle course that tests physical endurance and mental grit. It’s a challenge to say the least, so when my buddy and I signed up during a flash sale months in advance we knew we were in for good ol’ time.

If you think I’m crazy I don’t blame you I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and running a half marathon is not something that’s easily done overnight. Regardless, race day rolled around and I was ready (to take a nap). Much to my surprise the Tough Mudder taught me and reinforced many lessons that transcend the race and can be applied to everyday life. Here are the 5 lessons I took away from running the Tough Mudder.

To check out Jose’s short video from the race, click on the video below!

 

1. You need to get out of your comfort zone.

When I first signed up for the race and found out what obstacles were going to be on the course, I almost immediately freaked out about two in particular: Shock Therapy and Cry Baby.

Almost every other obstacle on the course can be trained for in advance. These two did not fall into that category unless I voluntarily shocked myself with 10,000 volts and put myself in a situation where I would be tear-gassed.

You can probably guess I wasn’t exactly looking forward to being shocked or tear gassed. I mean, who would be? Looking back at it, I can definitely say I was far outside my comfort zone when it came time to conquer the obstacles, but in hindsight it was not that bad.

You learn a lot about yourself when you’re not in your comfort zone simply because you’re more likely to fail at doing something you’ve never done before. Many times when we succeed we attribute that to our awesomeness and don’t learn anything from the experience. When we fail or are outside of our comfort zone suddenly all that awesomeness can’t be attributed the thing we just did and we really have to evaluate ourselves and the outcome of the situation.

2. Know your breaking point.

Getting out of your comfort zone is one thing, reaching your breaking point is another. It’s important to be able to differentiate the two and not push yourself past that point. Too many times on the course I saw people reach their breaking point and push past dehydration, an injury, or attempt an obstacle that was not within their physical capacity. Similarly to what happened to many people on the course when you push past your breaking point, you burn out and your performance suffers. In the Tough Mudder’s case, people got injured and had to be carried off the trail.  In life we will be faced with situations that require us to go above and beyond, push ourselves, and get out of our comfort zone. Whatever the case may be, know your breaking point and respect that fact that you can’t do it all even if you’d like to.

3. Encourage others to be successful.

Very early in the race, I spotted a person completely stopped at the top of the hill that was our first mile marker. At first I thought to myself “Man, I can’t wait to get up there and take a break like that guy”, but as I got closer I saw that this guy had stopped not to take a break but to high five and encourage others that were struggling to get up the hill. Believe it or not, this person was doing the course alone and encouraging complete strangers he had never seen before in his life. After walking by and giving this guy a high five, I looked back and saw that many people that had been struggling before they got to the top of the hill had smiles on their faces because of this single person’s kindness and encouragement. Whether you’re with co-workers, strangers or friends encouraging others leaves a huge impact on those around you and is something that is incredibly easy to do. Sometimes all it takes is a high five as I saw on that trail the day of the race.

4. Teamwork is key.

One of the things I learned shortly after completing my first obstacle was that I was not going to get through the course without the help of others. Many obstacles required a helping hand and even if they didn’t, sometimes they were easier if you had one. Sure there were plenty of people who had no problem doing the course by themselves, but for the large majority of people having a solid group of people backing them up was key to their success in the course. In many situations, teamwork is fostered and comes naturally, but even when it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to ask for a hand and work as a team.

5. Have fun!

When it’s all said and done, it really didn’t matter how much time it took to finish the course, if an obstacle was skipped or even if what place we were in. People run Tough Mudders to have fun, test their bodies and minds and meet great people along the way. Was getting shocked fun? Not really, but at the end of the day you need to experience things that aren’t fun to know what fun truly is. It’s not about the medals, trophies, bragging rights or anything like that. At the end of the day it came down to having experienced all the things the Tough Mudder had to offer and embracing the fun parts and the not so fun parts. What’s important is that the not so fun parts don’t define your view on the entire experience. Take it all in and make the most of every situation you’re put in.

Jose Romero is a former CTSO State Officer and currently spends his days shooting awesome videos, taking great photos, and apparently getting tear-gassed. Give him a shout on Twitter at @JoseIRomero93

Expand Your Horizons! Three Awesome Lessons From A Summer Abroad In China

Made in China. We have all come to embrace those three words as part of the norm in in our status quo. We see those words on the bottom of the ceramic dinnerware at home, on the tag of your favorite J. Crew joggers, and probably under the laptop or tablet you are using right now. Brimming with vitality, China has emerged into one of the most powerful economies in the world, with Hong Kong serving as its financial center and gateway into the market. It is there where I made my home for five weeks this past summer, studying Supply Chain Management with the University of Texas in partnership with Target and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Among the many experiences gained and the lessons learned, the following three thoughts in particular opened my eyes most about the world we live in:

1. The world is not your factory. It’s your marketplace.

One of the fundamental misconceptions growing up in a developed country is that we believe the rest of the world is merely a sourcing ground, or a place that saves you X amount of dollars by the end of each quarter. However, not only is this notion fading, but quite simply, there is more in this world to discover – from business strategies to educational opportunities – that will help you accelerate to prosperity, be it mental, physical, or financial.

 

2. Understand the culture of your surroundings, always.

In China, business cards are both given and received with both hands, often with a slight bow. Textbooks don’t teach you that. The next time you pack your bags and travel, take the chance to observe your surroundings and take in the local customs and behaviors. Not only will this help you in a business context, but it will also allow you to grasp how diverse this world truly is.

 

3. Everybody in the world is connected, and that is absolutely beautiful.

As a native Texan, I take pride in our culture of southern hospitality. It provides a sense of warmth and welcoming that I will always know and love. However, thousands of miles away in Hong Kong, I felt a different kind of warmth. I felt it when connecting with locals over a game of basketball in the streets. I felt it when a Chinese student taught me how to properly use chopsticks for the first time. I breathed in a sense of connection every single day. I didn’t have to know Mandarin or Cantonese. I didn’t have to look the same or dress the same as everybody around me. I just had to be me, and the world appreciates that. The world will make you grow, laugh, prosper, and feel for one another. Never take that for granted, and always be ready to give the world the best version of you.

Ziyaad Khayrattee is a student (and huge Houston Rockets fan) studying at the University of Texas-Austin, as well as a State Officer Coach with TeamTRI. Follow him on Twitter @Ziyaad_Khay and be sure to watch the video of his adventures above!