San Francisco. Denizen of Core77. Former Lomographer. Googler. Bike person. Hails from Melbourne, Australia.
Sydney, Australia. Master of AVFoundation and AVMutableComposition. Powered by Krispy Kreme and Anzac biscuits.
Princeton. Licensed Keyboard and Mouse Operator. Hiker. Golfer.
Austin, Texas. Loves making software that solves real problems. Road biking.
Paris, France. Video game-making. Bengal Tigers fan.
I studied film production and cinema history at NYU, have directed a short starring Vince Vaughn, music videos, commercials, one feature film, tv series, some news, and lots of documentary interview-based projects. I’ve always liked to get casual with interviews when possible, so that people don’t become stiff or feel forced. Like when I interviewed J-Zay as he played chess on break in the recording studio for the Blueprint 2 album — he pauses mind-sentence to chide his posse-member opponent about making a bad move. Very authentic and observational. Moving toward verité if you consciously step back a bit and shoot it that way. I beleive that for both documentary interviews as well as directing performers, you strive to get the technology out of the way. So that you can establish a personal bond and therefore deliver something the viewer will have an emotional reaction to.
Starting in 2006 I did environmental vlogging for the start-up Treehugger.com (later acquired by Discovery Communications) experimenting with emerging web video production. Coordinating getting a camera person and lugging a camcorder rig for these quickie, do-gooder web videos was pretty unappealing and not cost-effective. I happened to get an $800 Nokia N95 phone for free in a Webby Awards party swag bag. I decided to try the Nokia with an LED light strapped on with gaffers tape to interview Mark Wahlberg at a charity event — he eyed me with some suspicion since this was in early 2008 before the iPhone could shoot video, and meanwhile everyone else there had these giant cameras.Nonetheless he gave me a great interview to spread word on the internet about the charity. Around that time I also used the Nokia N95 for an interview over a leisurely lunch with the peripatetic Gary Vaynerchuk. We veered off topic to touch on the undeniable fact that mobile was the future for these types of production.
But I knew the camera alone wasn’t good enough. Shooting single clips and then off-loading to a computer would defeat the purpose. Wouldn’t unleash the potential of mobile devices. The 360 degree production cycle beginning with shooting through multi-shot, auto-editing was needed. The solution had to be a mash-up of camera and editing into one, simplified, fluid experience that just feels seamless to use. Given the emerging Apple App Store, by 2010 I began to think if I built this thing, we could make it available for everyone. And this new way of doing things would speed the inevitable march of videomaking becoming transfored into digital filmmaking. I also recognized that over time having to use multiple paired-down apps to accomplish making films on a small phone would become annoying and counterproductive. I decided we had to make the killer videomaking app. And to cram all the required functionally into a single app without sucombing to the bloatware, Swiss Army Knife pitfall, the user experience had to be off the hook. We would have to start from scratch and rexamine every element of the workflow, never assume the current way was the best way for mobile, certainly we weren’t going to simplly port-over and transpose a desktop paradigm to a little iPhone touch screen.
We sought to make the UI as clean as possible. For instance, we took great pains to keep the main camera screen free of clutter such as the data and various options that obscure professional video camera monitors as well as other video apps. You’ll notice our “UI on demand” when you tap record as any unneeded buttons are hidden while you compose your shooting. Similarly, the Filmstrip Screen doesn’t overwhelm you with options creating anxiety that you should do any more work on your film than absolutely necessary.
Creating videos are can be a lot of un-fun work, so our philosophy is that your film is done the moment you stop shooting since our fun Instagram-like Presets have put much of the polish on your film even before you begin, and your clips are auto-stitched to make your film rich and complex without any editing. However, when you do need to tweak, just double-tap a clip and all the tools you need appear when you need them and only when you need them. Also, video takes up a lot of space on your device, so we wanted to make managing you projects as simple as possible with auto-sync to Dropbox and one touch delete for all clips in a film. The bottom line is no one wants to have to use multiple apps to create videos, so we designed the best camera and editor that work seamlessly without having to import footage.
One of the things that makes Filmakr so special as an application is the interconnectedness of its functionality. You had better believe there were challenges to creating such a robust, multi-featured app. As many developers will tell you, much of what makes an iOS app tick, especially a video app, is left undocumented by Apple. Heck, we found a mistake in Apple’s documentation along the way. But it couldn’t be more rewarding to see people using and making the most of Filmakr now that it’s out in the wild.
SOME MAGICAL TIDBITS YOU MIGHT NOT NOTICE ABOUT FILMAKR DESIGN & ENGINEERING SO THAT WE CAN BRING YOU A SEAMLESS, DELIGHTFUL AND USER-FRIENDLY EXPERIENCE
— When I first launch Filmakr, I don’t have to go through slide after slide of tutorial and set-up screens?
Nope. You can get started shooting right away. No need to manually create a new project like those other apps.
— And Filmakr does not force me to waste time having to type in a title for my film?
Nah, we wouldn’t dream of getting in the way of your creative flow.
— Wait a minute… you’re telling me whenever I create a New Film I’m don’t need to stop, think something up, and type a title for my film either?
Filmakr automatically creates a default name for any New Film. You can change it at your convenience any time you have a spare moment. Smooth sailing.
— But I have to finish this Film before I can create and start working on another one, right?
No way, José. You go right ahead, create and work on as many Films at you want at the same time. Filmakr is unlimited. Make your Films as long or as short as you like.
— After I’ve saved a finished film to my Camera Roll, then delete it from my Camera Roll and tap to play that missing finished film in my Films List?
Filmakr will automatically re-render your missing finished film so you can watch it right away without having to relink any video clips from your Camera Roll. Rock on, Filmakr!
— Hold on, this screen is super clean and uncluttered. What the heck?
We believe in UI-On-Demand: we only display the stuff you need when you need it because we’ve anticipated your intent based on how you’re navigating and tap-tap-tapping your way through the app.
– When using the manual focus slider, all the other UI elements on the screen go bye-bye so that you can see what you want to literally focus on, not on Filmakr UI chrome. When you release your finger, it all comes back in a flash.
– On the Main Camera View, upon tap record, the Top Nav buttons go away as well as the Gear button and Toggle to Filmstrip button in the lower left. Why would you need them?
1) If you want to go to your Filmstrip while shooting, just double-tap the screen.
2) If you need to change a Camera Setting while shooting there are a bunch of gestures and taps that allow you to bypass drilling through the gear. i.e. Tap a white balance preset to return to auto, swipe-left / right to lock & unlock auto white balance. Tap the Custom Exposure indicator to bring up the sliders for skoshing on-the-fly.
– The Filmstrip View has that stuff you don’t want cluttering up your Main Camera View: Total Runtime Counter, UI Meters and of course your Filmstrip itself.
– All that UI for tweaking your clips isn’t on your Filmstrip Screen, but available in-line once you double-tap into a clip.
— What happens when a nil URL clip gets written to CoreData?
Does it cause the a crash upon composition? Heck no! Filmakr has a fail-safe mechanism, a clean-up routine on app launch which looks for all media with a nil URL reference and removes their reference from CoreData. Presto!
— Hey, how come I don’t get any black frames at the start of my Quicktime files even though iOS and Apple hardware capture sessions by default record these black frames?
We’ve implemented a method that chops ’em off so you get nice smooth playback in you filmstrip.