After weeks of non-stop working, I finally “took a day off.” The last few months have been crazy hectic. Between schoolwork, work-work, a new puppy, personal projects, and blogs, I haven’t had a solid day to just relax. Yesterday and today I took time to clean my apartment and cook a decent meal, but my “day off” is in quotes because the work never ends. I have one more production (shooting this week) to get through before I can really take a breather. And, with NAB next week, it couldn’t come at a better time.
My work area is in constantly in the shambles of books and papers being strewn about and my gear rack is in need of a serious reorganization. But, instead of doing that, I’m writing to all you fine folks. (And for all you that are going to crucify me for the state of my gear, please let it be known that everything is clean and operational; I have taken time to care for my livelihood). The pictures below only begin to show you how much of a mess it all is.
After weeks of eating out WAY too much and making quick meals for Loretta and I, I decided it was time to make something decent. What better way than to make a pressure cooker pulled pork. (pictures below) It’s not the healthiest, but damn it’s delicious.
At about an hour and twenty minutes to prep and cook, it was well worth it. I doctored up pre-made bbq sauce, so it wasn’t completely home-made, but it sure tasted good. I feel fat and sassy.
Like I said, I’ve got one more big production hitting production this Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. There’s still a lot of work to be done on it, so even on my “days off” I’ve been doing the prep work on it.
Luckily I leave next Sunday for the 2013 NAB Show in Vegas. It’ll be a blast meeting new people, seeing new gear, and bolstering the connections I made at last year’s show. What’s even better is that I’m dragging some classmates along. I’m sure I won’t do another post (though I will try) until after the show, but stay tuned for some dandy coverage of the expo.
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Tags: chicago, film, filmmaking, jeremy widen, NAB, NAB Show, pressure cooker, pulled pork, update, widen media, work
I know it’s been a while since I posted, but to make up for it, I’m coming back with a comparison between the DFocus System (dfocussystem.com) follow focus Version 3 and Version 4.
I got a hold of the v4 back in February; and by “got a hold of,” I mean I won it. I actually won a giveaway, so I was stoked to get it. (because I like hearing my name, the video is at the bottom of this post)
The v3 is an awesome follow focus. It’s smooth, and works with my universal lens gear. I love my v3, but they put a ton of new features into the v4 that make it a really awesome tool.
The most obvious change is moving from a dual rod unit to a single rod. The v4 is easier to maneuver around on a rig because it only need one 15mm rod to clamp to. It’s also lighter, which helps with making the whole rig better.
The v4 clamps down using a single, ratcheting lock knob. Ratcheting knobs have become really popular with gear manufacturers, and I love it. They just make tightening down a breeze. The v3 uses a twist lock that tightens the unit down onto the two 15mm rods.
The new unit also comes equipped with an additional knob that adjusts the angle of the gearbox. This makes getting the unit in the right spot simple and quick. With the v3, if you needed to adjust the gearbox, you had to use risers to space the unit out.
Then there’s the gearbox itself. The v3 gearbox was made of mostly plastic gears, that while smooth, didn’t offer the stability of other follow focuses. The v4 uses “plastic teeth molded over an aluminum hub gives the same smooth, damped, near zero backlash feel of the previous D|Focus with the durability of metal gears” (taken from the DFocus site). And, while I ripped the description off, the v4 really does feel sturdy and is a big competitor of other makes.
Both the v3 and v4’s marking disks offer plenty of room for marking and are angled for easier viewing. But the v4 also features a removable marking disk. Making it easier to clean the disk between setups.
Both the v3 and v4 are solid follow focuses. But, in the few months that I’ve been using the v4, I’ve grown more and more fond of it. Having it clamp down to a single 15mm rod, and still having a great build quality, makes this one piece of my kit that I will always use. You can pick up the DFocus v4, and all DFocus products, over at Jag35 (jag35.com); combining the Jag rail system and DFocus products will give you a solid kit for minimal price.
Here’s the video of me winning. So, go me!
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Tags: chicago, dfocus, dfocussystem, film, filmmaking, follow focus, gear, gear manufacturers, HDSLR, Jag35, jeremy widen, review, widen media
Let me just say that time flies extremely quickly.
The first week of the semester still feels like it was last week, but alas, it wasn’t. I know I said I was going to try to stay up to date with these, but it’s been 6 weeks since the last update. I promise you that wasn’t because of design. But, this is grad school, and if I wasn’t slammed with work, I think I would be angry with the program.
It’s hard to think that I’m half way through the semester already. And it’s even harder to think that at the end of the semester I’ll be half way through the program. There’s been a lot of work, and there’s a lot more ahead of me. But, I honestly can’t wait for it.
Without further ado, here’s my summary of life in Columbia College Chicago’s Creative Producing MFA program, Semester 2: Weeks 2-7, or Weeks 20-25 Overall.
We’ve been working this semester a lot of developing projects. We’ve been paired up with students from the directing program, and are in the process of generating ideas to be turned into scripts that might be our thesis projects. I’d like to say that I’m happy about this, but the pairings that the school has given us (at least in my case) are NOT working. My partner and I want to tell completely different stories and have a hard time communicating; not for a lack of trying though. It just makes the process harder, and not very enjoyable. But, it is what it is, and I’ll manage. I’ll revisit the subject as the semester comes to an end.
As one of the students from the MFA programs that has more production experience, I get asked to be on a lot of sets. And as we all start shooting our major projects for the semester, I get booked up fast. Outside my own project, this semester (just on student projects) I’ve been, or will be, on set as script supervisor, AC, line producer, and boom op. That’s 4 productions. In the span of about two months. Not including other projects… It keeps me busy.
Then there’s my project! I’ve been working with CJ Richter, on of the directing students, on pulling together all the elements we need for our short, For Pete’s Sake. We’re both really excited about it, because it’s going to be a pretty large project (lots of characters, and a LOT of production design). We still have a lot of work to do to prep, but we don’t shoot until after spring break, so we’ve got a little bit of time.
This is grad school. I couldn’t expect to get by without doing some critical writing. And this semester is no different. Beyond the creative writing I’ve been doing for development, I’ve got two analysis classes this semester: Critical Analysis of Contemporary Film and Media, and Cinema Studies II. They’re basically the same class, and they both require that we watch assigned films, peruse the readings, and write a paper every week. Plus a final paper at the end of the semester. Honestly, most of my time is spent writing papers for these classes and doing budgets for my Line Producing class. While I’m not necessarily learning anything new from the classes, I’m still getting a lot out of them from the conversations we’re having about the aesthetics and cultural impact of the films.
School keeps me really busy, but there’s a lot going on outside of Columbia. I’m still working on finding the right balance between everything. I’ve worked on some projects outside of class, and I’m still working at Magnanimous Media. But Loretta and I just got a new puppy, Zero. And he’s a handful. Just check out his blog (zerothecorgi.com); yes, he has a blog, deal with it! Also, there’s a video of him below. My life just doesn’t stop. I’m not complaining, I love it. It’s just exhausting trying to keep up with it all. Stay tuned for more info later on.
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Tags: chicago, columbia college chicago, film, filmmaking, grad school, jeremy widen, widen media, zero the corgi
I know I’ve been somewhat absent the last few weeks. I haven’t forgotten you. So don’t fret, there is new content coming soon. It’s been a doozy of a semester. Slam packed with projects and work and school.
But, here’s whats coming soon:
1) Gear posts! I have some great new pieces of gear to get out there. And some comparison reviews to boot.
2) BOOKS! I’m compiling a list of books and reviewing them for your perusal. (Not just books, but film books, books about film, books that make you go “wow, camera pron!”)
3) Monthly Inspiration! It’s coming. Hopefully tonight. Just for you fine folks.
4) Grad School! I promise I’ll get y’all (that’s right, I went full-Texan on you) caught up on how life at Columbia is going.
Til then, keep the comments and messages coming, and fear not, for new posts are among us!
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