Long-time readers of mine know that before I started a little website called 1P5 that eats up all my time and immerses me in a constant bath of pure negativity, I used to do some photography. It’s a long-neglected hobby of mine, despite me picking up a Nikon D7200 back in 2015 in the hopes of doing some shoots for articles.
Before photos, and before professional writing, I actually went to school for radio and television production. When I was a kid, I made radio shows and movies, using a busted-up boombox I got from a neighbor or borrowing whatever camera I could get my hands on. (My parents never owned a video camera, so I had to find people who did.) My movies were terrible, but they were a start. My radio shows weren’t much better.
Fast forward to 2019. I’ve spent a good chunk of the past year playing with video again. The Nikon, as it turns out, while stellar for photos, is pretty much garbage as a hybrid shooter — adding video to the mix. Constant problems with autofocus and white balance have made it impossible to move around with the thing, making narrative storytelling impossible. I could work with stock footage, like I did in this Memorial Day video, and I can do in studio shoots, like this one for my wife Jamie or my 1P5 Minute videos like this one.
For Christmas of 2017, I picked up a DJI Spark, which has allowed me to do some drone work. It’s been fun, but I start playing with it before learning anything about Premiere Pro, or color grading, or…anything I needed to make my videos look the way I actually want. Results aren’t bad, but they’re not stellar, either:
Which brings me to the reason for this post. There are some guys out there making absolutely brilliant looking films, and they’re putting a lot of what they know on YouTube so you can learn from them. I really enjoy the work and tutorials from guys like the guys at Moment (a lensmaker for phone cameras), Parker Walbeck, Matti Haapoja, and especially Peter McKinnon. Peter is just one of those really likable guys — he reminds me a lot of my best friend in high school — and his talent is off the charts. He recently made a short documentary about getting the “bucket shot” — the one photo he wanted more than any other. The photo he dreamed about. The one that he could see in his mind but had never seen with his eyes.
It’s a fantastic bit of filmmaking and storytelling, and I found it quite inspiring. I wanted to share that with you, too: