Archive for the ‘Commercial video work’ Category

Editing and The Story Process.

I have been in the freelance video journalism world for about five years now. Prior to entering the VJ (video journalism) world, I co directed El Inmigrante, a documentary about the US/Mexican border crisis, I did some short narrative films, and finally I used to work on film sets doing various jobs. But I eventually, during those years I became a second assistant in the camera department.  I really enjoyed being a 2AC. I loved when I clapped the slate I settled in and then watched the talent and the director do their work.

However, I got into film to make stories, not just be a crew worker. So after being inspired by working on a NYU masters film project in Creede, Colorado I decided that it was time to make my own content. After a few short films El Inmigrante got launched and we were full on in making a feature documentary. For a very limited budget we did pretty good with the film. I am very proud of what we did as a team in creating that documentary. By creating your own films and producing them yourselves, you may not get all the funding that you would love to have, but you get a lot of freedom to make the film you want.

I feel that it is important to teach aspiring VJ’s that once you enter the professional world of creating content for a news agency that you have to being ready to work as a team with your producers. It is nearly impossible that your first cut will be the final cut. Some times there are minor changes, but at some times there are major edits to your original cut.

Here is an example of my first cut of a recent story I did for the BBC. Since this edit is not the final, I went back and did some minor changes to the text slates that are in this version of the story. But for the most part this is my concept of how I wanted to tell the story.


After I got my edit list from the producer, here are the second wave of changes.


Finally, here is the edit that went live on the BBC.

I you have time to watch all three versions of the story, you can see the differences. In short, video and film is a highly collaborative work environment. I love the process of it all, but still to this day I love making our own content. It is in this place that I feel free.


Real Estate Video Rate Sheet

Click on the images to enlarge: 
davis real estate_Page_1 davis real estate_Page_2

Know Your Rights

February 3, 2013 1 comment

Know Your Rights is a PSA (public service announcement) that I helped create way back in 2006. The video was used to help give people an idea of what to expect in a documentary style format when they enter the legal system.

I learned a lot about the system while I made this film. I loaded it up to Vimeo, so that by chance someone will come across Know Your Rights and gain some insight on the legal system.

Motion Picture Cameras to the Ouzel DSLR rig

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When I was back at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington studying documentary film with shot with old super VHS, super 8 film and then finally we got our hands on the 16mm film equipment. We were able to shoot with the schools, Bolex’s and the CP 16. It was a blast, but there also was a lot of trial and error. I loved shooting on 16mm, but I did not like the cost. I finally got better with shooting 16mm when I bought a Krasnogorsk K3. I love that camera, but once again film is expensive. It was not until I moved to Los Angels for a short time that I finally learned how film and film cameras worked. When I was in LA, I was film loader and then trained to be a second assistant camera tech, or as in the industry we called it simply second AC.

I really enjoyed doing second AC work, it took me to San Francisco and then back to Colorado. I did some days training as a first AC, but to be honest I liked being a second AC better. Once I clapped the slate, I loved settling down in a quiet position and watching the director and the actors do their magic, or well not do their magic. I saw a lot of really bad performances as well. Most of those awful performances were when I was working on some really bad Cinemax movies in LA. But the process was the same as making a great film and I had a blast working with the camera crew that I got hooked up with. My favorite second AC job was actually back home in Durango, Colorado when I got the privilege to work on the movie The Claim. Michael Winterbottom, was the director. I really enjoyed the few days that I got to work on that film to see how he approached directing. Winterbottom’s style was very freeing from what I was used to seeing form other US directors. However, that is for another topic.

So finally Panasonic came out with the DVX 100 that shot 24 frames per second, just like film. I was very excited about this when I read that there was a video camera that had a film look and feel to the image. So I called Able Cine in New York and asked a tech if it was true that the DVX 100 had a film look to it’s image. The answer was yes. I was convinced, so I bought one from a place in Portland, Oregon. I got one of the very first units that shipped. I still have that camera and it has served us well. It was the main camera that we used to film our documentary El Inmigrante. While I loved the film look of 24p on our DVX 100 and our HVX 200 HD cam, I still longed for a digital camera that had more control over your ISO, shutter speed and having the opportunity to have a lens kit like 16mm and 35mm cameras have. Then all of a sudden DSLR cameras started to shoot high quality HD video, plus all the benefits of image control like on a film camera. I was sold. I wanted a DSLR badly. I did my research and I finally chose to get a Panasonic GH2. Boy, was I ever happy with my decision. I love my GH2, now with the hack created by Vitality and the Driftwood settings we are able to push the GH2 to some amazing results. I have quickly created a lens kit that I love. This past week, while in AZ I was shooting a lot with an old Sears 55mm 1.4 lens and I just love the results.

The DSLR film making is awesome. In the past few months I have created with my welding friend a DIY cage/fig rig and a slider/dolly system that has augmented my creative abilities to have more range with my shots. I am very excited to see where large chip DSLR, camcorder cameras are going, the future is bright for film making, I love the mix of old school and new technology. But first and foremost, excellent film making can be done with any camera, just as long as the vision is there by the artists who are creating the film. Here is a list of lens and gear in the Ouzel DSLR kit.


Panasonic GH2


Panasonic kit lens 14mm-42mm 3.5-5.6

Sears 55mm 1.4

Konica 55mm 1.7

Vivitar 135 2.8

Vivitar 85mm-205mm zoom 3.5 (3.5 all the way through)

Soligor 180mm 3.5

Soligor 300mm 5.5

Computar C Mount 12.5 mm 1.3

Nikon DX 55mm-200mm 4-5.6

Nikon DX 18mm-55mm 3.5-5.6


Audio Technica AT 897

Audio Technica wireless kit

Tascam DR 40 field recorder


A set of variable ND filters 52mm, 55mm, and 58mm

Zircon Container Promo Videos

Here is a link to the Zircon Container Company videos that I shot and edited.

Categories: Commercial video work

Mild To Wild rafting videos

Doing the video work for Mild To Wild was very fun. It was a ton of work. Here is a show reel that I made just to show off my shooting style and to get people in the mood to river running. I will post the other video’s I did for them here pretty soon.

In the spring and summer of 2010. I embarked on a journey to film promotional material for Mild To Wild Rafting, based out of Durango, Colorado. The rivers are the Upper Animas, Piedra, San Miguel and the Salt River in Arizona.

Camera: Panasonic HVX 200

Hilride and Outdoor Alliance

Here is a PSA produced by Hilride and Outdoor Alliance. This video contains whitewater footage that I did for Mild To Wild Rafting, which is based out of Durango, Colorado. I like how the footage came out. It is interesting to see how another group takes your images and uses  them into their own creation. I feel it is always fun to see what the other directors and editors do with the footage.

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