I’m excited to add color correction/grading services to the list of post production solutions we handle at Modlab Multimedia. Below is our first color reel.

I’ve been fortunate to have the time and resources to study color grading as well as other visual effects courses at for the last couple of years and it has more than paid for the cost of enrolment since I’ve been participating in their classes. Last year I was able to complete a cell animation spot for national insurance company, GuideOne, that certainly wouldn’t have been possible without the After Effects training I acquired from FxPhd.

This year I decided to dive into color grading taking the grd201 course taught by Craig Leffel former Senior Colorist, now Director of Production at Optimus in Chicago.

Color grading is fairly application agnostic in that you can color grade in many applications from pro-sumer products like Apple Final Cut X and Adobe Premier to highly specialized products like Autodesk Lustre and Filmlight Baselight. During my time taking this color course I downloaded Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve which is a free download on Blackmagic’s website.

Though I’ve used Final Cut, Premier, and After Effects for color correction in the past, I really feel like there is much more ease of use and specialized features in Resolve that makes the process of correction and grading quicker and more conducive to creativity.

The above reel was all graded in Resolve using footage from projects I’ve worked on as well as footage from FxPhd and the new 4k footage from the Blackmagic Production Camera.

If you’re interested in color training, I highly recommend, but if you’re just looking to get started with DaVinci Resolve, there are some great tutorials on Vimeo and Youtube at the following links:

Color Grading Central on Vimeo

Explaining node based correction in DaVinci

I’m currently working on color grading some footage from one of the nations largest pizza chains. I love the way color can take some well shot footage and make it great looking footage! Its weird how close the color of cheese on a pizza is to the color of skin. I’m using it to my advantage.

What projects are you all working on? What questions do you have about color correction/grading? What software are you using?

Interrobang Film Festival

This weekend, June 28th – 30th, is the 7th annual Interrobang Film Festival, as a part of the Des Moines Arts Festival.

Here are some highlights:

Iowa Filmmakers‘ sneak peak of their upcoming film CODA, a Martial Arts Noir short film
Kristian Day of Modern American Cinema will host an iPhone filmmaking seminar with some sweet give-aways from sponsors
L. K. Hickman will give a Q&A after screenings of her feature film, Flick

For more information visit


I have a hard time finishing.

Paint Frame 1

There, I said it… I don’t have any problem starting something… well, lets put it this way, if I get around to starting something, if I don’t have a deadline, its hard for me to finish.

For instance, a year ago I shot some footage for an advertisement that was supposed to be for a film festival I guest produce. In my contract for the festival I’m supposed to create two videos for promotion leading up to the event. In the past I’d done two completely separate videos… one on the complex side and the other a little easier to complete. I decided last year that I’d go all-out and make two really hard ones; Two styles of video that I had not accomplished before… Or so I thought. Needless to say, I was in over my head. The one I completed you can see here:

To fulfill my contract I realsed a shorter version of the above video first as I finished the details of the final version. Cheating? No, not really. These sort of things happen all the time. Whether you notice it or not, there are often long and short versions of the same commercial aired on T.V. all the time.

So what happened with the footage from the video I didn’t use? Well, thankfully I still have it… I actually got pretty far along with the concept I was trying to accomplish too. So I dug up and dusted off the old After Effects project today and to my amazement, the original footage is still intact, in fact, it fits the theme of this year’s festival even better than it would have last year’s. Its a good thing too, ’cause I had spent some of my own money buying the prop canvas that appears in the spot. I bought it as payment to the artist who was my actor in the add. By the way, his name is Perry Ross. You can check out his art here:

P-Ross and Canvas

The reason why this project has been so hard to complete is not only the fact that its one of the biggest AE projects I’ve ever worked on, but its my own ability to justify not doing something when there’s a seeming lack of need to finish. My dad would say its my ENFP (Extravert, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving) Myers Briggs score… but I think its just a fact of life. Its hard to get things done sometimes.

Ok, so enough about not getting things done. Here are some tips for those of you like me that have a hard time get a project completed (aka get’n ‘er done).

- Set a Deadline
Setting a deadline is the #1 way I accomplish a task. Set a reasonable goal based on previous experience and don’t be afraid if you need to change that deadline. However, the second and vital part of this equation comes in tip #2.

- Find Someone or Something to Keep You Accountable
Setting a deadline is crucial, but its never going to materialize unless you have someone or something making sure you hit that deadline. My accountability often comes from my need to finish work in order to get paid, but when I do things pro-bono or for personal use I try to find someone invested in the outcome of the project. For instance I’m working with a friend of mine on his debut EP. We’re having a blast working on it even though neither of us are getting paid. What keeps us going is each other. If either one of us lost interest or if he didn’t bug me every week about it or I him, we simply wouldn’t get anywhere.

- Another great way to make sure a job gets finished is to have it be something you’re somewhat familiar with, but something that also stretches your abilities.
For me at least, there has to be a happy medium between comprehension and difficulty. If I know exactly how I’m going to accomplish something or if I’ve done it before… if there’s no other motivation like money, what’s the point? I need to feel like I’ve grown through the process; learned something new, or…

- Perfect the result
This is one that my wife particularly likes. She’s a baker. She makes this amazing sourdough that she’s spent years (at least the 4 1/2 years we’ve been married) cultivating her starter, testing recipes, and sourcing better ingredients for. She makes 2-12 loaves a week and what motivates her is the drive to make her product better with every batch.

So, what do you guys do to get projects done? Do you use any of the above methods, or do you have very different approaches?

Either way, I look forward to completing the promo for the film festival. I’m hoping you all will keep me accountable too, so I can delight in presenting it to you in the near future.

Until then. Thank you for reading.


Paint Frame 2

Take Risks!

I’m going to do my best to keep updating this blog through the next couple weeks though it might be hard with my wife less than a month away from giving birth to our second child. We had an ultrasound today and the baby is currently breach so we’re praying the little one flips over in time for us to have a natural birth.

Enough about that for now. Here’s a quick tip for this week: Take risks!

I’m excited to say that at the age of 31 I’m supporting my beautiful growing family on one income and that income comes from work I love to do. I took a risk this year leaving my salaried church audio gig to pursue my freelance business and it is going very well. I can’t tell you how nervous I was starting out, but I decided that it was time to strike out on my own (with the help of many friends and colleagues) and take the plunge. Let me tell you, it’s been one of the biggest and best choices I’ve made since my wife and I decided to have kids.

What risks can you take in your life?

Don’t go jumping off a cliff or anything, but don’t be afraid to learn a new skill or volunteer to do something you’ve never done before. Approach opportunity with a great attitude and a willingness to fail and if you succeed take on the next level, if you fail, make sure you learn something from that failure.

I’ve been doing freelance work for roughly 15 years. Its taken me a while to make this decision. In fact I tried going 100% freelance back in 2009 after getting laid off and failed. Thankfully, I got a part-time job to supplement my income and came away from the situation knowing it wasn’t yet the right time. I learned from that situation that I needed more experience and a deeper pool of contacts and skills before I could try again.

Don’t get stuck in a rut! This doesn’t only apply to your job (though it should if you want it to). It applies to your hobbies as well. With a little confidence and faith you’ll be doing something you’d only dreamed about doing previously.

If you’re a multimedia producer like me (or any other type of freelancer for that matter) check out the following resources that will greatly help your portfolio:

Craigslist: Craigslist has a wealth of job opportunities if you’re diligent and know how to filter through the junk. I’ve gotten short and long term clients by checking a couple times a week and sending a couple emails to promising help-wanted adds. Clients scored through craigslist include: AOL and

Elance: Elance is full of work for getting your feet wet with freelance gigs. Whether your a freelance writer, programmer, animator, or graphic designer there is plenty of work to bid on and its free except for the cut Elance takes out of finished work.

Freelance Switch: Freelance Switch is full of useful articles on taking risks. From lessons in social network marketing to tips on how to price your goods/services, Freelance Switch is a must read for anyone either looking to freelance or is already doing so.

Well, thanks again for reading everyone. I hope to be able to post again next week.

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