Recently CSK Creative/floridavideographer.com was hired to do some videography of the New York Soccer Club to film their games at the elite Disney Showcase tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida.
Having done plenty of sports videography, this was right in our wheelhouse. We’re avid soccer fans and attend plenty of the Orlando City Lions Soccer Club’s home games, but we didn’t expect a terribly high level of play from these high school students. We were wrong. Straight out of the gates these kids played with heart that was inspiring and gratifying to experience. In fact, we had to stay on mostly wide shots because the action was so quick that tight shots would send the ball out of frame in no time.
CSK Creative/floridavideographer.com was referred to the New York Soccer Club by Milton Gooding of Gooding Sports Group, who needed a Florida Videographer who had plenty of sports filming experience. Gooding Sports Group helps student/athletes who show promise make it to their perfect fit at the university level, so naturally having a video of the soccer games at the Disney Showcase made sense both to show scouts and to evaluate level of play.
At this point, plenty of scouts have shown interest in the New York Soccer Club’s players. The combination of Gooding Sports Group’s sage advice and contacts along with CSK Creative/floridavideographer.com’s expert sports filming will show coaches and scouts what these kids are made of and ultimately bring them to their perfect collegiate fit.
CSK Creative/floridavideographer.com has the capability to film any sporting event, whether it’s at ESPN Wide World of Sports or another venue. Here’s a list of sports we’ve filmed over the years:
Fastpitch Softball Videography
Field Hockey Videography
Martial Arts Videography
Track and Field/Cross Country Videography
Cheer and Dance Videography
Slowpitch Softball Videography
Feel free to contact us to talk more about bringing your student/athlete to the next level through sports video, sports videography, and athlete highlight reels.
With the impending Python Challenge, a competition to annihilate as many pythons as possible in the Everglades Wildlife Management Area, I submitted a video to a couple production companies looking to do a one-hour reality show special on the hunt and I think it turned out pretty entertaining.
The competition involves getting as many hunters as possible to get permits to find and euthanize several species of large non-native constrictor snakes that are taking over the Everglades and killing local wildlife. There’s a reward of $1500 offered to the hunter who kills the most pythons in the one month period, and a reward of $1000 offered to the largest python killed in the competition.
While the money is a nice incentive, I’m really just going down to kill pythons. This competition sounds like a true life experience that can’t be matched, so I’m going down with a large group of life-minded friends who want to shoot pythons with rimfire rifles, shotguns and behead them with machetes. Sounds like a blast.
I decided to make a quick Christmas card in video format for my business in 2012. CSK Creative had done quite a bit of work for Golf Digest, so it seemed fitting to make it a golf theme, and since I was heading up to Wisconsin to see my family, everything came together pretty well. The whole video was shot on the iPhone 4s, with post production graphics done in Cinema 4D, Adobe After Effects and Final Cut Pro. I used a pole saw on a cordless drill and a chisel to make the cup.
Okay savvy travelers, here’s a quick travel tip that could save you a ton of money if you’re checking multiple bags. If you travel for video production, you inevitably end up with about as much luggage as Snooky (yeah, I just name-dropped that for SEO purposes).
From lighting bags to audio to cameras, you’re almost guaranteed to go over the two-bag limit most airlines employ. For example, American Airlines lets you check two bags at a price of $30 each, then each additional bag is a margin-shrinking $150. I had four bags, so a $360 bag fee was staring me in the face.
Thankfully, there was a better way, and I got upgraded to first class. When upgrading to first class on most airlines, there are perks that extend to baggage, and American’s policy is to give you three free bags and priority baggage unloading. This applies to your bag fee if you upgrade to first class on any leg of your journey, so I upgraded the first leg of my flight from Vegas for $45 and paid the additional $150 for the last bag and sat up front like a boss.
To recap, I saved $165 on my bags, got free booze, got my bags out quicker and got on and off the plane first. Win/win situation, my friends. So the next time you’re flying somewhere and you know you’ll have multiple bags, check the airline’s policy and see if it’s cheaper to upgrade to first class.
Lifeproof’s iPhone and iPad cases have swept the market in sports-related housings for Apple devices in recent months, and when you see how well the product works, it’s no surprise. Rather than bulky cases that would only be used in specific circumstances where you know your phone is going to be exposed to the elements, LifeProof created a case not much bigger than your regular iDevice, so you can keep it on all the time. This not only protects you from extreme circumstances where you know your device will be exposed, but also from your everyday accidents that probably claim the majority of gadgets, like dropping your phone in a beer stein or spilling vodka on your iPad while reading War and Peace (these are instances taken from personal experiences, but you get the point).
The LifeProof iPhone 4s case comes in two pieces and MUST be water tested before you snap it onto the outside of your phone. The case comes in two parts that snap together with a rubber o-ring in between, and it has a snap-out port at the bottom for chargers and docking as well as a screw-in plug for the headphone jack. The charging port is too small for the old style iPhone chargers, but the charger that comes with the iPhone 4 and above works great. An available dock extender lets you use your iPhone in its protected case to listen to music or charge. These extras sound like a bit of an inconvenience, but it’s crucial to keep your iPhone in its case at all times. Not only is your phone protected much better, but the danger of taking your phone in and out of its case can’t be overstated. It’s really easy to get a hair or some dirt particles in between the case and instantly compromise the case’s waterproof seal. It’s also much easier to damage the case when it doesn’t have the density of the phone to keep it strong. Long story short: take your phone out of its case only if it’s absolutely necessary and your case will last longer with better results.
The headphone jack has a dongle that screws in for a watertight seal that preserves the iPhone’s original sound quality. Again, this is a tradeoff in convenience versus usefulness. It’s less convenient to keep this dongle on you all the time, but being able to swim or wakeboard or surf with music is a huge bonus that’s worth the added hassle.
The Lifeproof Nuud iPad case is newer than its iPhone brother, and has a rubber gasket around the outside of the tablet that fits directly on the glass for a watertight seal that still allows for perfect touch response on the screen. This exposed glass is great for the iPad because a thin screen protector on a surface as big as a tablet would inevitably get air bubbles that would create a less-than-perfect touch interface on the screen, and the case comes with a cover that serves not only to protect the glass but also as a stand to prop the iPad up for better viewing.
The dock port and headphone jack have the same features as the iPhone case.
All in all, LifeProof has really accomplished something with its waterproof cases for the iPhone and iPad. Being first to market with a product that works is no small feat, and you’ll be really happy with your cases as long as you recognize their strengths and limitations, and give them the best shot at protecting your device (in other words, never take the case off). I would hesitate to use either of the cases as a true underwater housing, but when used as a failsafe for the inevitable accidents that happen when electronics mix with real life, the cases are invaluable.
The new JVC Adixxion GC-XA1 POV camera was just released to market, and CSK Creative was chosen to test the camera in one of the most intense environments you can get: Aviation.
Now, it’s one thing to have a POV camera that can survive BMX riding or wakeboarding, but the JVC Adixxion had to withstand huge amounts of G forces on Shawn D Tucker’s biplane or the one and only jet-powered glider. It even took a tail-gunner’s view of a bombing simulation with a B-25!
The results we got from shooting at the EAA Airventure in Oshkosh, WI were amazing. Not only is JVC’s POV camera more streamlined than the GoPro, it’s also far easier to use with a built-in LCD screen and intuitive menus. This was a huge reason I never saw GoPro lasting as a real player in the POV market. GoPro has done a great job with marketing, but as far as usability, the Hero 2 is about equivalent to a VCR in a world of DVDs and on-demand movies.
The Adixxion shoots full, 1920×1080 video at 30p and 1280×720 video at 60p for absolutely stunning slow motion. It’s also shockproof, waterproof (to a depth of six feet), freeze-proof and dustproof, all without a bulky external case. The camera looks naked without the cumbersome plastic housing of its POV competitors, but it’s ready to go straight out of the box. Other features of JVC’s new camera are its built-in Wi-Fi, zoom capabilities, awesome time lapse function (see the video below for a 360-degree time lapse from the wing of Shawn Tucker’s plane as a storm rolled in), image stabilization and HDMI out port for viewing on a TV.
The 1.5-inch LCD screen is more-than-adequate for setting up shots in the field, but there’s also an app that lets you see what the camera is seeing for mounting in hard-to-reach places. Another huge benefit of the Adixxion is that you can mount it to anything with a standard ¼-20 bolt, so instead of limiting you to proprietary mounts like GoPro, the Adixxion can use any other type of camera mount. We used RAM mounts because they’re easy and sturdy enough to withstand aviation.
The JVC Adixxion GC-XA1 camera has everything you get on a GoPro Hero 2 plus a whole lot more. Straight out of the box, it blows the competition away at $349.99. Check out JVC.com for more information.
Today as I was searching for cheap airline flights from Orlando to Des Moines, I was shocked when Kayak.com (my normal mainstay for low-cost flights) threw back a whopping $500 fare on this seemingly easy route that I was booking well in advance. I’ll be honest, I immediately panicked. There was no playing it cool. I had to get to Des Moines on these specific days from these specific locations, but I really didn’t want to pay that much for a simple flight. It turned out I didn’t have to. After some searching, I came up with a few quick tips on how to easily get cheap airfare.
After checking Kayak.com, priceline.com and all the major carriers, I decided that was fruitless, and that the majority of the time those sites considered their patrons to be something like the lame gazelles in a herd. In other words, you’re the economic equivalent of low-hanging fruit if you book directly through these guys without checking other sources.
Instead, go on the website of one of the airports you’re flying to or from and figure out what other airlines are flying out of that airport, then check their sites directly. I ended up going with an often-overlooked airline called Allegiantair.com because they were literally a quarter as expensive on a one-way trip as the major carriers. They fly out of a smaller airport that’s equidistant from my house. From there, I went back to Kayak.com and searched for a one-way back from Des Moines to Orlando and the major carriers ended up being cheap again. So, I booked directly through Delta.com and my two one-ways were less than half my original fare quote.
Another easy tip? Book on Tuesdays. I don’t know if the stars are more perfectly aligned or there’s a complex algorithm involving Pluto’s counter-gravtitational (I know that’s not a word) pull on Tuesdays, but apparently it’s cheaper to book that day than any other day of the week. Try it. People study these sort of things.
(Click the image above to enlarge.)
Yes, it was a bit of a slow day. I didn’t have a lot of other work to do, so I decided it was time to make a bit of a marketing piece for CSK Creative and show that I work so hard that I’m like nine people (or something more clever to make up for my doing nothing on a slow Friday).
Anyway, here’s how it’s done. You can basically do this little trick wherever you have reasonable control over the circumstances (your frame can’t move much), consistent lighting and a bunch of narcissism (you’re putting up a bunch of pictures of yourself, after all). Set up a tripod with the EXACT framing you want, then lock it off and connect a timer. You can do this with a physical shutter click, but the post production gets exponentially more difficult with every little bit you move the camera, so I suggest using something like the Vello Shutterboss timer I used.
Next, take a bunch of photos of yourself doing jackassy stuff (it’s a word, don’t think about it). Make sure you’re within the frame.
After you’ve got a suitable amount of frames, bring them into adobe photoshop and pick one as your base photo. This photo will be the background that everything else will be on, so keep it locked. Next, copy each one of your frames and paste them into the background as a new layer and start erasing everything that’s not the thing you want to clone in the photo. Keep doing this until you have a fair forgery, then color correct each layer and flatten and you’re done!
This was sort of a fast tutorial, so if you need more info, contact me and I’ll walk you through it more step-by-step like.
The other day a friend of mine from Winter Park, FL and I went to the historic Winter Park Country Club after work to get in a quick round of nine holes. This course is perfect because it’s about a half mile from my office and in summer it’s about $8 to play nine holes of golf. Whenever you can golf on a course that’s well-maintained and it’s just over $1 a hole, you know you’re getting a crazy deal.
Jason kept trying trick shots ala Bubba Watson at the 2012 Masters, but missing horribly. “Craig, you see that little slice of life in the middle of the clump of trees? I’m going straight through it with a light fade so I can get on the left side of the green and miss those four bunkers.” Whack! The ball slices off the toe of the club and hits the crook of a tree, almost killing an old lady and giving Jason the lie you see in the photo below. God bless him for trying.
Also, it’s important to note that there were fire ants at the base of the tree. No joke. I barely got the photo because Jason had to run in and swing as quick as possible so he didn’t die at the teeth of these giant rhino ants. Because I’m a golf videographer, I really should have had my camera; it would have been way easier and more entertaining to grab the video instead of the photo.
This tree is a Winter Park icon and every golfer lucky enough to get out after work sees it bathed in beautiful sunset light. I take a picture of it every round.