The San Diego Studies: Politifest

Politifest 2013 It’s Saturday. I was up around six drinking coffee before today’s shoot. My first thought when I woke up was, “Is it really August?” Normally August in San Diego has a specific warmth you can feel at all hours. It holds you. In the evenings it’s a perfect skin and midday you feel like you’re receiving summer in an idealized way. When I stepped out the door this morning wispy clouds hung all around. Here a cool looking sky is often a mirror for a cold ocean. I'm tuned to every changing degree.

For the first time ever as a filmmaker I’m turning my eyes and my attention to this town and it feels good. The working title of my current project is The San Diego Studies; I’m making composite videos about the city. They are little special effect documentaries about our town in our time. I'm very excited and honored that MOPA San Diego and the San Diego Foundation are supporting the project. For the next year I'll be one of a hand full of regional artists lucky enough to be called a Creative Catalyst Fellow.

Beyond the videos, the message I hope to share with the rest of the community is two fold. First and foremost what I've learned about being a filmmaker and an artist of sorts is that this pursuit is above all about work. That's it. There is no look, no book, no body and nobody that can make you successful creatively. You just punch the clock year after year. Learn - work - learn - work. And a caveat, you also have to fail a lot. Most of what you make is not art. Very little of it can be.

My other message is about San Diego. For me, ours is a secret city and our narrative is bland because much of it was formed in marketing offices to promote tourism. The sooner we get down to it and get real, the better off we'll be. We are not LA's backyard as the SD Film Commission marketed us all through the 90s. We are not America's Finest City nor are we the most modest. We also aren't a sleepy beach town. So what are we? Well that's what we've got to work on and that's what I hope to open up a tiny bit with the video series.

Below are a few images from today’s shoot at the Politifest event put on by Voice of San Diego. Many thanks to Scott, Zack and the rest of their team for getting us in to shoot. This particular set up is to create a moving group portrait/moving mural. I’ll layer these portraits into a new background that is in turn created of motion layers. To see the completed videos in the series just click on the San Diego Studies tab at the top of this page.



For the techies who would like to know about the process, this is shot on a C100 in the standard cinema mode (no CLog) with standard AVCHD color. I can get away with that for this shoot because the subjects aren't moving much and I'm framing them horizontally to double or triple their resolution. This means I can choke the matted image and lose a very small portion of the individual. In the final composition each figure will be fairly small against the background so I have a ton of information to produce a well keyed figure. I wouldn't try this in any other situation though. A set up with more motion will need 4:2:2 color at the very least.

A big thanks to everyone that stopped by and endured the incredible awkwardness of being shot this way but your authenticity will speak for itself.