inside WW2 plane

The Last Warbirds

I’m not sure if its because our parents and grandparents lived through WWII or if its something else, but I have always been fascinated with WWII.  IMG_0408

Growing up in Midland, Texas we had the Commemorative Air Force Museum so we had a ton of history at our finger tips and you could walk through the museum, read and view history.  But you couldn’t go inside the planes.

Flash foward to 2014, we received an email from our co-worker Roger Havlak, who told us about this amazing oppourtunity to interview his father, WWII verteran Ludwig Havlak and see the B-24 planes at San Angelo Regional Airport.

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I got there a little late, so I was scrambling to get my equipment together and get to shooting.  Of course the wind was RIDICULOUS, but ended up not being an issue.

This was an an exciting shoot on many fronts.  WWII obviously the main one.  The next was getting to test out a new vintage Nikkor lens I recently purchased.  135mm full manual lens.  I thought what better time to test a vintage lens then with some vintage planes and stories!

Nikkor 135mm

Quickly got a few wide shots, and a some cover footage.  Then came the interview with Mr. Havlak.  We talked with him for probably 10 minutes, learning about his experiences (he is 92 and still works on the farm).  Learned about the “Snooper” and his experience while working on radar.

One thing I did cut which I found was interesting and scary.  He said that if these planes ever crashed rarely were there any survivors.  He spoke about almost running out of fuel, and that the crew was about to dump all equipment to try to lighten the air craft.

I touched on this briefly earlier, but another exciting thing was to actually go inside the b-24.

inside plane2



It was an honor to meet and speak with Mr. Havlak.

I quickly called my Granddad (who served in WWII as well) to talk about what I had learned and we spoke for almost 30 minutes about things.  Loved getting to hear from Mr. Havlak and my Granddad,  the appreciation for them and the men and women that serve our country is all the more amplified when you get to learn about the history of our country.

On a technical side, this was my first project in Adobe Premiere Pro CC (upgraded from CS5.5).  Loved everything about CC, the ease of use, and new functions.

I also used Vision-Color’s OSIRIS Film Emulation LUTs to color and give the video a “vintage film look”.  The interview and all exterior shots were filmed with my Canon Rebel T3i, and Vintage Nikkor 135mm lens.  The inside shots of the plane was filmed with my Canon EOS-M with 22mm STM Canon Lens.

Roller Derby Short.Still001

San Angelo Roller Girls

Very behind on posting to the site.

In March I covered the San Angelo Roller Girls at Foster Communications Coliseum.  This was my second time to cover the roller girls (1st time, was 2 years back).  This time I had in mind what I wanted from the end video, and also wanted to experiment with slow-motion.

I decided I would shoot with the Canon 7D, using a 70-200 L series lens (without IS which is a big downer).  I quickly remembered why I shot with my Sony NX5U (actual video camera) 2 years ago.  Focusing is ridiculous.  You have so many moving parts, and to try to get some good DOF posed a big hurdle.

That being said my end video turned out great so thumbs up there!

So shooting with a DSLR for Slo-mo, means shooting at 720p, 60fps.  I shot the entire first half, which equated to almost an hour.  End video was 1-2 minutes.

First off, man these girls are tough!  Slamming into each other, falling down, doesn’t look fun to me, but was entertaining and did provide for some great footage.

Most of my shots were with a tripod.  They had to be, because the 70-200 didn’t have Image Stabilization so I would have had the “jello” effect had I shot with a rig.  Sometime I would like to go back and shoot from the inside circle to get a little closer, but I was able to get a good variety of shots.

All in all the short turned out good, promoting the City owned facility (Foster Communications Coliseum) and giving people a glimpse inside the San Angelo Roller Girls.


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Extreme Park Adventure with GoPros

Recently I came up with an idea after watching some of “GoPro’s” daily video posts, “Why hasn’t anyone posted a video of a kid going crazy in a park?” So I got my friend to let me use her son, who was awesome and ridiculously fast to try out San Angelo’s best park attraction, Kids Kingdom.

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Kids Kingdom is this amazing park in San Angelo, its like a wooden fortress. If you haven’t been, you should definitely swing by in the future.

After the concept was created, I decided, well lets shoot this 100% with GoPros. Exciting and exhausting at the same time.

I used a GoPro 3+ Black Edition and a GoPro 3 Black Edition. The GoPro really is an amazing camera, and its ridiculous all the things you can do with this little thing. That being said, it isn’t without its issues.

I mounted the GoPro on my talents’ head, a steadicam and a slider.

I went one morning and spent 45 minutes walking around the park trying to find unique shots for the opening of the video, using my GlideGear Slider.   I used my iPhone 5 and GoPro app to view the shot, and practice the shot before recording, because once you press record you lose the capability to view what you are filming.  An issue but workable.  I actually learned to appreciate setting shots up by not being able to see what I was doing, weird I know.  I ended up with 3 really great shots, which I used for the opening.

photo 1

Basically the video is comprised of 3 different sets of shots.  I attached the GoPro to the talent’s head and let him run around for 5 minutes.  Only bad thing about this, was that the footage was too shaky.  I should have filmed at a higher frame rate to try and slow it down.  Even with this issue, half of the video is from his view, which was the goal.  That brings up the same issue as I had before with the slider, couldn’t see what I was doing.  Now looking back I should have walked around and viewed in preview mode what it looked like before we recorded.

The next shot I mounted the GoPro to my Opteka SteadiVID Pro and I ran behind him through the playground.  Geez am I out of shape!  I filmed at 60fps and slowed it down to 24fps in the video, alternated between those two frame rates.  

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Overall it was the most fun I have had on a shoot in a long time, did injure myself trying to dive down a slide behind him, as my boss pointed out, its KIDS kingdom not ADULT kingdom.  It really gave me an appreciation for videoing by using these cameras and having to trust my instinct (and hope for the best).  Hoping to do a few more episodes in this series.

Music was from  


Capital Improvement Plan Video

After taking almost 2 weeks off from doing anything video related, so we could work on and finish the new city website, we finished a new video on the CIP.

I have wanted to do a video on the CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) for years now. The wealth of projects, visuals and information in the CIP has always interested in me when it comes to a video project.

Basically the CIP is a plan of high value projects for the city, listing the scope of the project and how much the project would cost, but lacking a funding source to complete the project. So basically a wish list of items to help improve the lives of the citizens of San Angelo. Whether that be a sewer line or river improvements or renovating the pool or replacing equipment at SATV.

It really would easier to just show you the video, so here it is:

The nice thing about our office now is that we haven quite an archive of quality HD footage (taken over the past few years), so once a script was done I began compiling all of the footage needed to fill the script and after finding everything I needed I only needed to film a few new shots (Police Station, Fire Station, Coliseum roof, city hall auditorium). Everything we do is a team effort, and the script written by my Supervisor and co-worker Anthony Wilson, was great. Writing is something that I am not very good at, which I admit, and I am thankful to have a co-worker who is so talented when it comes to writing. Also as usual he serves as a producer, a second pair of eyes and ears, which is vital to any production. Something else that was very valuable, was the trust my colleagues in the Budget and Finance office put in us and allowing us to craft something useful for them.

Something I was very pleased with was the footage from the Feb. 18th City Council meeting. Filmed with the Canon 7D using the 70-200 L series lens, the video I was able to achieve with this was beautiful.

One of the eye openers for this project was the coliseum roof. Wow I had heard it needed full repair, but man was it in bad shape. And I’ll just leave it at that. The 50+ year old roof is about to get a full renovation and it is much needed!

I did all of the CG and info screens in Adobe After Effects CS5.5.

My next big goal (no time table) after completing the CIP would be to do a video on what the half-cent sales tax is and what the projects are, hopefully in the near future. But for now I am very pleased with how this turned out and hopefully it helps educate people on how valuable the CIP is for San Angelo.


City Employee Spotlight: Jesse Murphy

One of my favorite things to do at the city Is to highlight the awesome people who work for the City. Recently we got to interview Jesse Murphy, Traffic Support Technician, I.e the guy that makes all of the street signs for the city.

Not only was Jesse a great interview but it was extremely insightful. We never knew what the process was or what it would take to make the signs for the city.

I hope the citizens and whoever watches this video learns about this amazing individual and also gets a peek behind the curtain into a very intricate and meticulous profession.

Filmed on the Canon EOS 7D, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/2.8


Canon EOS-M Test

For Christmas I got a new camera for a secondary camera to my Canon Rebel T3i. Canon’s first mirrorless camera, the Canon EOS-M. The camera itself is extremely small, and with an adapter it can use my other EF lenses as well. It will make for a great secondary camera (thanks to DSLR Video Shooter for the suggestion).

One thing I really love about this camera, is how small it is. I can carry this thing around and it doesn’t take up a lot of space and can have it one me all the time for whatever may come up.

Small and light weight
Easy to use
Nice solid build
STM auto focusing lens
Adapter available for use of all EF and S lenses
Cool feature that allows you to touch focus and once the focus is achieved the camera takes the picture automatically (AF Servo mode)
Interface is similar to other canon dslr’s
Audio meters

Screen hard to see in day light
The touch screen at times takes some time to get used to.
No on camera flash or viewfinder (no biggie)
One of the biggest complaints with the camera is the slow focusing system, and yes that is def present here. While it’s nice to have the touch focus , sometimes it takes FOREVER to focus. Also when shooting in video, and you use the touch focus, then try to begin videoing and move, then the focus tried to be smart and focus on new objects. So I’ve started to turn the focus assist off once I get my desired focus.

Bottom line: yes the focusing is slow, and you will need to be patient, but the quality of the image and the ease of use out ways the negatives. Most professional users won’t use this as their primary camera, and it personally don’t think you should be. But this makes for a great secondary camera and a fantastic run-n-gun camera. Not having to lug a huge bag and lenses etc everywhere is huge. This is def worth getting if you need a secondary camera or a camera to carry around with you for anything that might come your way.

Here is the first video I shot with it, a test from Sunrise to Sunset, and a few photos I have taken with it:

Great review from SLR Lounge: “The EOS M: Canon’s Loss Is your Gain”



Lake Nasworthy Dec 2013 Sunset


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