Jan 26

Top 5 Mistakes Inexperienced Conservative Filmmakers Make

Now technically, this list can extend to anyone who is inexperienced in the field of filmmaking (not just conservative filmmakers), however over the past several years these are the mistakes that I’ve seen many conservatives/libertarians make who are trying very hard to break into video production for all of its culturally persuasive potential. This is not meant to poke fun at conservatives, but rather show them what they need to do to avoid these common mistakes, most of which I made several times myself while first getting into video production.

5. Ridiculously Long Introduction Slates

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The last thing someone watching a video on youtube wants to do is sit through a fancy 14 second introduction slate that serves only to deliver the title of the video. Most people will either skip further ahead into the video or just watch something else. It only takes a couple of seconds for the audience to register the information in a titled shot. As soon as they’ve finished reading the information in the shot, their impatience distracts them from the video’s content.

Some may attribute this to some sort of societal lack-of-concentration problem with the generation raised on social media, and maybe they have a legitimate point, but if you were watching 5 videos under the same channel, with 15 seconds of introduction slates each, wouldn’t you rather save those 75 seconds of your life?

There are exceptions to this. My reel uses my introduction logo for about 10 seconds, but it does so while revealing new, exciting, stylistic content/information every second to keep the audience engaged.

Ultimately, the goal is to figure out how long it takes someone to read the shot, then cut to your next subject matter. ScrewAttack does a fantastic job of this in the first few seconds of their video:

I strongly suggest that you keep your titled introductions at 3 seconds or less. This way your audience doesn’t even have a chance to skip ahead, even if they want to do so as soon as they see a title slate.

 

4. Improper White Balance

During CPAC 2014 I was hired by Tea Party News Network to shoot a series of interviews with Scottie Nell Hughes, Vandon Gene, and Jennifer Burke speaking with various politicians and media pundits. After wrapping up one of the days, I was walking down the hall when I realized a young woman, with no video production experience, from another news organization was by herself trying to figure out how to use a camcorder.

I stopped to give her a basic run through of the camcorder she was using (an AF100), but the biggest issue she had was that all of her shots that day were completely blue! The reason for this was that her white balance was improperly set. She was using lights with a blue color temperature, but had her white balance set to 3200K, which resulted in a very blue picture. She should have had the color temperature set to the color of daylight (roughly 5600k).

When you are white balancing you are basically telling the camera what color you consider white. It then adjusts the color of the image based on what its frame of reference for white is. When you white balance a particular color, it will create an image that has the complete opposite color of what you white balanced. For example…if you white balance the color red, your picture will suddenly look green, because green is the opposite of red. Because white is a culmination of ALL colors, the camera sees the opposite of white as every color in the spectrum, producing an image of proper color.

This improperly white balanced shot below is set to 5600k. The color temperature of tungsten bulbs is about 3200k. Since the white balance is off by 2400k it produces a red image. Notice the area inside the lamp that is supposed to look white actually looks yellow.

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This shot below is properly white balanced, with the white balance set to 3200k, pointing directly at a 3200k tungsten bulb. Notice that the area inside of the lamp is much closer to the color white.

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3. Poorly Lit Greenscreen

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The process of chroma keying (in most cases, greenscreening) is basically just taking a particular color (or range of color/tone) and replacing it with an image. When your greenscreen is not lit sufficiently and/or evenly, it will result in what we call a very bad key, creating a number of undesirable outcomes: parts of your subject disappearing, parts of the greenscreen being seen, the subject being surrounded by mess of cruddy-looking pixels, etc.

Below is an example of a very bad key. Notice the man’s shirt is gone (he was wearing a green shirt) and the edge of the subjects are severely fragmented. This is because the greenscreen was not lit properly and the subjects’ color and tonal range were too similar to the chosen color of the key. The subjects are also out of focus.

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Below is an example of a better lit, but not perfect, greenscreen. Most of the greenscreen is well lit, except for the slightly darker patch in the bottom-left corner, that produced some problems in post, but it was minor enough for me to key out. I also have to exercise caution, as my eye color is green.

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Even after greenscreening, people need to remember to color correct their subjects, otherwise they will carry with them an ugly tint of green. I’ve seen a lot of conservative videos online that show evidence of people forgetting to shift those green midtones/highlights out of their subjects, but I won’t mention any names.

 

2. Terrible Sound

Unfortunately this is all too common in so many politically-related videos I watch online. Most of the time people rely on their built-in camera’s mic to record their sound, which can work if you’re very close to the camera, but it will not if you’re further than 3-4 feet away from the built-in mic. The result of improperly using a built-in camera mic is a terrible echo sound in the audio which sounds hollow and unprofessional. It distracts the audience from the focus of the content in an art that’s supposed to be invisible.

Below is a terribly compressed scene from a series I attempted to produce 11 years ago during my first year of college. The sound is absolutely horrendous, but it provides a perfect example of what using a mic sounds like when it’s far away from the subject. In this case it was a built-in mic.

To avoid this, spend the money to purchase a lavalier microphone, which you can clip to your subject (so that the mic is pointing toward the subject’s face, unless it’s omni-directional, in which case pointing it to the side can work) and plug directly into your camcorder. This is probably the easiest and cheapest solution to the problem. You could also purchase a shotgun microphone, which is usually higher in quality, but because they are uni-directional with a very thin pick-up pattern, it requires following your subject’s movements precisely.

This clip below is a segment from a tribute video I made for my late friend, Ken Stafford. The sound is so much better simply because I’m using a lavalier microphone clipped to the shirt of the subject.

 

1. Too Much Time Spent to Make One Point

We’re all guilty of this. It’s an easy enough mistake to make in videos, particularly with politically-related videos, when holding the attention of the viewer is crucial to having the positive impact you want to have on the audience. The problem is that if you spend too much time making one point, the audience will abandon your video.

One helpful method is to state your intended claim in one sentence, then follow up with supporting statements for the point, but keep it very short and succinct. As soon as you make your point with as few words as possible, immediately move on to the next point. Your audience will thank you for it. It’s better to leave the audience wanting more rather than wanting less.

Bill Whittle of PJ Media/Truth Revolt is a true master of stating his claim, explaining the supporting facts, summarizing his point and moving on to the next subject. Watch him in action:

 

Filmmaking is hard, because it requires both technical and artistic ability. We will often fail when attempting to make a great video with viral potential, but if we can learn from those mistakes, failure becomes a stepping stone rather than a discouragement.

 

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Jan 13

Production Reel Updated

Check out the new production reel featuring clips from Six Trillion Dollar Man, Romans XIII, Perdie Across America, Smart Girl Politics, Tea Party News Network, Convention of States, and more.

Production Reel

If you would like to utilize the services of Perdie Productions, send inquiries to Perdiefilms@gmail.com. A list of the video production services Perdie Productions offers can be found here.

Nov 16

Romans XIII Lumbersexual vs Metrosexual

In this video clip from the upcoming webseries Romans XIII, Maximus, the infamous Lumbersexual, has an encounter with the Metrosexual named Walter Edwin Black.

Nov 11

Webseries Mentioning Alinsky Tactics Releases First Clip

This clip features a character inspired by a character in real life.

Story of Romans XIII:

Virtus Coolidge (Kaiser Johnson) is a hardened, skeptical journalist brought into Novo Media by the network’s jovial, larger-than-life founder Andrew Romans (Michael Golden). During the week of Novo Media’s annual convention, the social justice organization One Body is hosting a “Demand Unity!” rally nearby. Andrew and Virtus follow a pseudonymous tipper’s lead and stealthily acquire a peculiar cross-shaped flash drive from a laptop at the rally. When a Novo Media colleague suddenly dies a few days later, the flash drive’s contents lead Virtus into an unlikely alliance with Novo Media’s soft-spoken, glamorous Biblical scholar Sincerity Newton (Stacey Bradshaw).

 

For more information, visit www.RomansXIIISeries.com

Jul 18

Jim Thorpe Time Lapse Cinematography

I’ve been testing out my new GH4 (thanks Michael Golden) with some time lapse cinematography of downtown Jim Thorpe. These are just a couple of the shots I put together recently. Be sure to watch them in 1080p HD.

Sep 15

Auditions for Romans XIII – The 13-Part Webseries

ROMANS XIII (13) is a fictional drama/comedy web series that follows the unlikely camaraderie of an agnostic investigative journalist and a Christian historian as they navigate the obstacles of new media politics, apathetic and psychotic friends, and forbidden love to expose a group of radicals that is advancing a dangerous agenda with a very unusual type of hit list.

Story: Investigative blogger Virtus Coolidge thinks little of the flash drive given to him by new media mogul Andrew Romans until Romans’ sudden death. Virtus discovers he has inherited a mysterious list that intertwines the fate of his friends and possibly his country.

Where: Longleaf Studios in Jacksonville, AL (1 O’Connell Ave, Jacksonville, AL)

When:
Thursday, Oct. 10th  – 10am to 5pm
Friday, Oct. 11th       – 10am to 5pm
Sunday, Oct. 13th     – 12pm to 5pm
Friday, Oct. 18th       – 10am to 5pm
Saturday, Oct. 19th   – 10am to 5pm

Seeking men and women of various ages, ethnicities to fill the roles of:

Virtus Coolidge – Quiet, no-nonsense type man in his mid-late 20s
Sincerity Newton – Elegant academic, vintage style belle in her early-mid 20s
Finnegan – Lazy beach bum type in his mid 20s
Meryl Godivan – Bombshell lawyer, broadcaster type in her mid-late 20s
Max Stalwart – Gaston-type theatrical man in his early 30s, perhaps with beard and/or ponytail
Jason Fillmore – Cool modern dude type in his mid 20s
Bob MacIntosh – Grumpy old school journalist type in his 50s
Ariana Smith – Shy Einsteinette type in her early 20s
Richie Friedman – Dapper, soft-spoken Southern gentleman in his early 30s
Peter Douglas – Pensive African American political candidate in his late 30s-40s
Gray Stoyle – Reverend and professor, slightly British accented, in his 50s-60s
Alexander Sarkov – Grouchy organizer with some semblance of a 1920s gangster in his 40s-50s
Karl Wayward – Frustrated lobbyist type in his 20s-30s
Walter Black – Artsy, metro barista type in his late 20s
Andrew Romans – Husky, jovial new media mogul in his 40s
Jeannie Lou – Sincerity’s chatty Cajun aunt, in her early 50s

To schedule online auditions, to forward us a recorded audition, or to find out more information, please send us an email at romansxiiiseries@gmail.com.

(RSVP for auditions at Longleaf Studios is appreciated, but not necessary)

Please follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RomansXIII
and Like our Facebook page: http://facebook.com/RomansXIII

Filming will begin in November. The location will be within a 100 mile radius of Jacksonville, Alabama but mostly in/around Jacksonville itself. The length of filming for the first two episodes will likely be about 14 shooting days, give or take. It has not yet been determined how close all of those days will be together, but if you get a lead role, each episode will require 3 to 8 shooting days. Much of the schedule will be determined based on the availability of cast and crew.

 

Jul 01

Episode 5.3 – Driving Force

Fighting the pain, Perdie persists through North Carolina and searches for the thing that drives his will.

Jun 26

Episode 5.2 is up!

Episode 5.2 – The Limits of Perdie

Apr 22

Compositional Analysis of Scenes from The Hunger Games

Click on the pictures below to view the compositional analysis scene by scene.


 

Jan 15

How to Fix The Conservative Culture Crisis

When did we become so out of touch that we blame the Republican loss of a presidential election on the party’s ability to appeal to hispanics more? Isn’t that as true with the black community? With females? With anyone?! What’s the point in even trying to snidely plot a talking point intended to affect someone based on such superficial things as the color of their skin? Are we the party of free thinkers, or has our leadership, as well as much of our out-of-touch right-leaning media, completely given up on trying to separate themselves ideologically from the Democratic party, who routinely caters to varying ethnicities with extreme, tribalistic prejudice?

There seems to be this common misconception that the Democrat Party’s victories should result in the Republican adaptation of their corrupt, prejudice strategies, but then who does the right become but just another collective group of wannabes and cowards afraid to speak and govern by the principles they ran their campaigns on?

While compromising the values of the right is out of the question, there is one thing we can learn from the Democrats: their ability to insert their message into various forms of entertainment.

Bunny gives Perdie some advice on how to reach out to pop-culture, in Times Square.
Perdie moves to NYC in search of answers necessary to preserve the culture of American Independence.

You see, most people do not seek to become informed, but rather entertained. Entertainment gives us emotions that are desirable for achieving instant gratification. Sadly, this is why youtube videos of cats speaking “I love you” (while I’m certain the intent of the feline is far more malicious) go viral almost instantly while a clip of Milton Freedman speaking about zero-sum gain philosophy can easily go ignored by all but a handful of people, in comparison to the talking cat.

So how do we inform those who would rather desire to be entertained? It’s simple. Have the talking cat speak about zero-sum gain philosophy!

We need to insert our provocative ideas into various forms of entertainment. Entertainment has a direct impact on our culture in that the people watching often seek to emulate the actors, characters (the route that Amanda Read and I are pursuing with our narrative film efforts), and singers whom they personally identify with. A popular dance/song like Gangnam Style comes to mind, (as distasteful as some of the artist’s other songs are) and serves as the perfect example of a piece of entertainment that creates an immeasurable wave of imitation by those who find the song to be exceedingly gratifying.

Another more personal experience comes to mind when thinking about the cult classic, The Matrix. I cannot even begin to express how many times I heard friend of mine speculate on the possibility that we all could TECHNICALLY be a part of some expansive computer program without truly realizing it. Would these friends of mine have given this idea so much thought without the epic fight scenes, special effects, iconic dialogue, and most importantly, strong characters who create the desire for endless amounts of teenagers to imitate Neo by wearing black trench coats?

We must create the desire for people to imitate characters who carry thought-provoking limited-government themes. If the right is to succeed in this endeavor, it must first free itself from the stereotypical chains the far left seeks to identify them by, and thus become unpredictable.

Amanda Read and I have decided that our method of using entertainment to reach individuals will be to produce narrative film content. This is why I’m moved to New York City. I’m getting ready to produce the content with like-minded actors, and filmmakers (which NYC has many of) and Amanda is in Ohatchee, Alabama (check out my visit with Amanda and the Read family and friends)  working on the screenplays. We will be working with many talented individuals (such as Amanda’s own family) to bring truth to those who are subjected unfairly to propaganda on a consistent basis.

If those who are politically apathetic aren’t interested enough to listen to the truth when asked to, then we shall entertain them with truth!

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