It’s a rare thing to have your movie screened and to be able to host a Q&A about it at an Alamo Drafthouse, so I decided to use my iPhone XS Max to try to capture my recent experience in Virginia. I wanted to see how the new smartphone held up to as a vlogging camera, especially without any of the other accoutrements I’d typically need to shoot something like this (e.g. external recorder, gimbal, etc.).
In making this, I developed a much greater appreciation of what it takes to shoot a good vlog (iJustine makes it look totally effortless). In particular, I don’t think I shoot enough b-roll to transition from location to location. I also just generally didn’t have enough coverage — I tried to make this as a one-man band, but there are definitely a few moments that could’ve benefited from alternate angles. Overall, I optimized for enjoying the evening rather than shooting as much as possible, and unfortunately I think that definitely shows in the final product.
That said, how did the iPhone XS Max fare? Not too bad. I think when you have a decent amount of light (e.g. outdoor), it’s a fantastic vlogging camera. The image is solid and it gives you decent normalized stereo audio. But in low light conditions and in most indoor situations, the phone’s camera jacks up the ISO and provides some pretty aggressive noise reduction. There’s lots of detail loss and the colors and skin tones don’t look great (See: how this camera is really different than the old one). Without a camera app that gives you manual control of the settings, it can even be difficult to use with a decent light — just compare the first and last shot of the above video.
For this specific situation, the XS Max worked out great. I could travel light and shoot quickly. But if I wanted something more professional looking and sounding, I’d definitely go with something with a larger sensor like an Sony RX100, Sony A6000-series, or a Fuji X-T-series, coupled with an external recorder. It makes a difference, particularly if you’re viewing the video on anything bigger than a mobile device.
Patrick Willems has put together another insightful video essay, this time on the storytelling language of Star Wars. This essay eschews any talk of storytelling decisions, focusing only on how the craft informs the audience’s experience of the film.
One thing this essay made me realize is that each of the post-Return-of-The-Sith films (i.e. the ones made by Disney) has a vastly different style, yet a couple of them (Rogue One and Solo) have had a really troubled production history, requiring new directors to be brought in. It’s a small reflection of how Lucasfilm was willing to take chances on new directions for the series, but then discovered during the execution that maybe it didn’t want to do that after all.
For the past six years, I’ve recorded one second of video for every day of my life, then combined them all to create a 5-6 minute video that summarizes that year.
As usual, the process of going through the seconds is an emotional one. I fondly remember details and moments that I’ve forgotten, and get nostalgic for all the things in life that I miss.
Ultimately, this has been one of the more intense, eventful years of my life and I’m glad to be living through interesting times.
I chatted with Aaron White from the Feelin Film podcast about Solo: A Star Wars Story. Interestingly, I don’t think we actually disagreed about the content of the film! But we did diverge in how much we enjoyed it.
For a 2-hour long dissection of Solo, listen to the /Filmcast review.
I had a fun time chatting with Erik Samdahl from FilmJabber about Deadpool 2. In our spoiler-filled discussion, we chat about our famous cameos, and whether the sequel lives up to the insanity and zaniness of the first film.
You can check out Erik’s review of Deadpool 2 here and follow him on Twitter.
I had a chance to chat with legendary character actor Stephen Tobolowsky about the new HBO original series Barry. Stephen and I talk about the show’s themes and how realistic its depiction of acting class is. Also: Stephen gives advice to anyone interested in taking acting classes for themselves.
Check out Stephen’s new book, My Adventures with God, on Amazon or wherever books are sold.
Avengers: Infinity War is a hugely ambitious, audacious superhero film that made for an amazing theater-going experience. In this spoiler discussion, we discuss what made the film work and what we thought could’ve been improved.