Meanwhile…8 months later

Not that I even have many readers here…I mean, does anyone even read blogs any longer?

In case they do, imma gonna write something.  I’ve been BUSY!!!  OMG!!!

There, that’s the update.  I’ve been busy.  I’d love to write more but I’m too darn sleepy.  So I’ll just post some links to some of the most recent fun stuff I’ve done or am currently working on.

Managing Instagram for the Historic Carr Mill Mall in Carrboro, NC

Managing Instagram for The Fragrance Shop

Managing Instagram and Facebook for Townsend Bertram and Company

Organizing monthly screenings for  the Adventure Film Series for Townsend Bertram and Company (sponsored by Osprey Backpacks)

I screened my film to a nearly full local theatre and screened the film 7 other times besides…and now have it online for anyone to watch.

The Promo Reel for Oh Crappy Day finally went public…

My Your Bottle Means Jobs Campaign Video hit over 29,000 views on Youtube…

And a local TV Station liked it enough to make reedit for their own uses…

Then I crafted this first attempt at a series I am calling “Vital Signs”

I also decided to help out a local Fluoride activist group by making these short and simple vids.

I also finished some bigger private projects.  A wedding video…a short fiction film for entry in to the NASA Cinespace Contest.

I am slowly working on a documentary about the history and consequences of Fluoridation.  I am about to release a new series called PTSD: Mission Recovery.

Finally I just wrapped a second project for the Your Bottle Means Jobs campaign. Mums the word…it’ll be coming out soon!

Jesus…no wonder I am tired.  And video isn’t even my day job…yet.

 

Oh Crappy Day (Feature Film)/Promo Reel

First of all, this is a story about a top-notch guy…Bradley Bethel.   I don’t see him all the time.  We don’t hang out on the regular.  But you know what it’s like to run into someone who is just a fair dealer…no hidden agenda, no guile?  That’s Brad.  When you get into video editing, try to work for people like that.  Brad gave me my start by enlisting me to help out on some projects that were tricky and mind expanding for me at the time.  The first project pretty much had me filming in a medium security prison…that was the deep end for sure.

Next on the list was an assignment to help create a promotional short for some really fantastic guys named Lance Bacon and Steve Neilson.  They live a short drive away and run a company called Dagtype Films.  These guys are film aficionados through and through.  They also created a short film called Oh Crappy Day…a film that I really enjoy.  It has done exceedingly well on the festival circuit.  Steve and Lance are now revealing their plans to get full funding to take their short and expand the ideas and story into a full length feature film.  My task was to help with the interview filming and to help create and edit other existing footage into a promotional short for the overall project.

For this promo Brad and I dropped in for an afternoon on a very hot and muggy summer day to hang out with the Dagtype directors.  I grabbed my camera…we interviewed and did what film people always do…recorded every nuanced thing that we thought might prove valuable later on.  Lance and Steve are a riot to hang out with.  Be prepared to laugh…

Later on, back at home on my desktop a fellow named Ned Phillips dropped in and we worked together on the promo.  Ned is super talented and I got to learn a lot from him.  Especially in how he likes to blend music and audio between scenes to cover the clip change…lovely technique that I wasn’t using yet.

This promo was just a lot of fun to work on…the collaboration was worthwhile and I am just pleased that it is time to unlock it and share it with the world.  Please go and support these hard-working indy filmmakers and actors as they proceed to create Oh Crappy Day.

Press Release for YBMJ Video!

You may have read about this on my blog already…if not, here is the TALE.


But…something extra fun happened too…a super thorough press release.  How cool is that…right?  A crazy long press release about a video I made.  Makes me happy for sure.  Here is the copy below.

NEW VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS JOB CREATION THROUGH PLASIC BOTTLE RECYCLING

Organizations Join Forces to Encourage More Plastics Recycling in Support of Carolina Jobs

December 5, 2016 – The Carolinas Plastics Recycling Council (CPRC) and the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) announced today the release of a jointly produced “Your Bottles Means Jobs (YBMJ)” video. The focused, two-minute video tallies the 3,500 jobs in plastics recycling and related fields in the Carolinas, including plastic bottle sorting, recycled material processing, and manufacturing of recycled-content products such as polyester fiber made from recycled PET bottles.

“We are pleased to promote recycled plastics processing and manufacturing jobs in South and North Carolina, and to see recent investment by industries that facilitate or use recycled plastic material feedstock to create and sustain jobs,” said Chantal Fryer, Director, Recycling Market Development for the South Carolina Department of Commerce. “The ‘YBMJ’ video shows us how these jobs add up, and is part of an ongoing YBMJ campaign to encourage everyone to recycle just two more bottles each week in support of local jobs. Although our video is Carolinas-focused, our message of local collection supporting local economies, job creation and infrastructure is relevant across the U.S.”

To produce the video, CPRC partnered with NAPCOR, the trade association for the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging industry. “The video walks us through a straightforward explanation of how PET recycling works, and shows where jobs are created in the process,” says NAPCOR Executive Director Rick Moore. “We hope people will share it broadly and spread the word that recycling plastic bottles creates domestic jobs, generates tax revenues, supports ‘green’ manufacturing, and creates other economic benefits.”

The avoidance of other costs can be one of these benefits. “In addition to job creation and strengthening our domestic economy through increasing plastic bottle recycling, local governments and taxpayers also win through reduction in waste disposal costs of those bottles,” said Blair Pollock, Orange County North Carolina Solid Waste Planner.

The Your Bottle Means Jobs campaign is a project of the Carolinas Plastics Recycling Council whose mission includes promoting plastic recycling companies operating within the Carolinas. Recent investments in new or upgraded plastics recycling-related facilities in the Carolinas include plastics recycling technology provider American Starlinger-Sahm’s new headquarters location in Fountain Inn, South Carolina; Sun Fibers’ recycled polyester fiber production facilities in Chester and Chesterfield counties, South Carolina; and Unifi’s PET bottle processing plant in Reidsville, North Carolina.

“Unifi’s new REPREVE Bottle Processing Plant in Reidsville is a major investment in the company’s successful, sustainable product line and it will create more than 80 new jobs here,” said Jan Critz, Director of the Rockingham County Center for Economic Development, Small Business & Tourism. “This is an important project for our community. ‘Green’ products—such as REPREVE, which is made from recycled plastic bottles—will only continue to grow and we are proud that Reidsville and Rockingham County are a part of that.”

The new video is the latest addition to the ongoing CPRC campaign to increase plastic bottle recycling in the two states. “The next time you’re holding that bottle, be sure to throw it in the recycling bin, not the trash,” said Fryer.

View the video at https://vimeo.com/190005789 or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-KCZHAc6lE

———————————————————
Established in 2011, the Carolinas Plastics Recycling Council works to raise awareness around the importance of recycling plastic bottles and to promote plastic recycling companies operating within the two states. In recent years, the CPRC launched the Your Bottle Means Jobs campaign, which aims to get more of the three billion plastic bottles discarded each year in the Carolinas back into the production cycle. Visit http://yourbottlemeansjobs.com

Founded in 1987, the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) is the trade association for the PET plastic packaging industry in the United States, Canada and Mexico. NAPCOR is dedicated to promoting the PET package; to overcoming hurdles to the successful recycling of PET; and to communicating the attributes of the PET container as a sustainable package. More at www.napcor.com

Music Video: Adele’s “Hello” in ASL

I am finally getting into some projects that have been backburning for some time. This video is a collaboration between myself and my daughter’s ASL teacher, Judie Birchfield.  Judie runs a group called Signsations.  They perform for primarily hearing audiences here where we live in the triangle region on NC.  They sign in interpretive ASL to contemporary music.  That way the audience can learn a bit of ASL (by hearing the music and seeing the signs), as well as see the beauty and artistry inherent in ASL.

My daughter first met Judie at a Christmas parade that was passing through downtown Chapel Hill.  Judie was on a Christmas Parade float with about 8 kids and they were all signing Christmas Carols.  At the time Zoe was only 6 but she was really captured by what she saw…and 8 years later she is still a part of Judie’s group.

Recently Judie, Zoe and I have been knocking around the notion of creating some ASL style videos.  This was my first crack at making a “music” video.  And I can attest that making a music video is a whole lot different that making any other kind.  Trying to synchronize the movement and cuts with the music is tough!

Anyway…I hope you enjoy it.  Oh..BTW…when you hover over the HD logo choose 1080 for the best viewing resolution as Vimeo defaults to a lower res setting.

Bolin Creek Update: The Flyover

06

To catch up on what the Bolin Creek Project is read HERE.

I have been into Bolin Creek Forest more times than I can count.  It’s how I know it should be preserved from even a single square foot of pavement.  Yep…been in there a lot.  But something I never thought I would do is to see it from above.  One day, a few weeks ago though, I was sitting there wishing I could show people how special it is from a whole new perspective.  Just how small is it, or large, when seen from above?  Just how green is this oasis?  How closely is the city already encroaching? How gorgeous IS Bolin Creek Forest as seen from above?

Last week I got to find out.  A very cool local pilot took me up so I could find out.  I will save the best parts of that experience for a video episode of the project.  But I do want to share some images of his absolutely beautiful aircraft.  It’s a 1946 Piper Cub.  An original WWII Navy Trainer.  Going up in this small craft was something that changed me in a lot of ways.  Seeing Bolin Creek treetops whisk by did indeed change my perspective on how fortunate we are to have this place so close at hand. And flying in a plane that unique and rare, with such a fascinating pilot with local knowledge was a game changer as well.  I don’t know how I keep getting so lucky when it comes to finding great projects to be a part of….but the trend continues.

If you haven’t been in a plane as small as a Piper Cub, I’ll tell ya that it’s about as small as it gets.  It is more like having a jacket on as you fly through the air, than being in an airplane that keeps you from feeling that essential closeness.  I had no idea flying could feel that way.  As the pilot said, “bigger planes slice through the air…but in this plane you are a part of sky.”  I couldn’t agree more.  Anyway, after the flight I grabbed my trusty Nikon and fixed 50mm f/1.8 and had some fun.  Enjoy the pics and remember that you can click to make any pic larger.

 

 

If you like what I am up to and want to support me so I can just do more good things like this then look for me on Patreon.

6a00d83451b36c69e201b7c809dc46970b-600wi

 

 

 

Summer Storm

I don’t get the chance often to create from a totally creative perspective.  You know…just something to mess around with for fun.  When you are paying bills with video work you do end up surrendering a lot to what makes the client happy, it’s inevitable.  Also, after you start doing paid work it’s hard to find the time and motivation to work on something purely for enjoyment.  Also there is the risk of creating something that isn’t shiny, perfected and may seem amateurish to others.

But tonight I FINALLY put aside some time and put together some fun footage that I had on hand.

Here it is…then more story to follow below after the video.

Summer Storm from Charles Morris on Vimeo.

I first recorded the lighting night shots perhaps…last summer?  I was at home, and already a fan of night photography so thought I could capture some lightning if I just set up my camera for an extended period of time…and then slowed down the footage to grab stills of lightning in action.  Instead though I have been at work scrubbing through the 30 minutes of footage for nearly a year…pulling out blackness to only leave the lightning portions remaining.  Right away I realized that if I just pulled out all the blackness, there would be no lightning.  If it was all light, there would be no way to tell when the flashes were, it would just be like some sort of crazy daylight.  I ended up trying to balance it out with equal dark and light…then I time compressed it.

Focus was also an issue.  It’s hard to focus when there is only lightning flashing. So, it’s a bit off.

For the daylight video, it was just taken 4 days ago, when there was a HUGE storm here in my area.  My daughter and I were out at this perfect sunset watching/stormcloud watching spot…a local secret spot for photographers (and I am still not going to name it!)  Sadly I didn’t have my camera with me that day…as we had no idea such a wild storm was brewing.  I have to say that when we got there it was just in time to witness the most intense real life cloud movements I have ever seen.  Even though the footage you saw in the video was time compressed…about 8 minutes down to 40 seconds or so…the video feels the way it felt in real life.  The clouds were moving so fast and the colors were so intense. I have never seen anything like it.

Back to cameras…all we had on us was my daughters’s iPhone 5.  I set it down propped up against my sandals on the side of the road, from two different angles.

About 5 minutes after the footage ends, the daylight stuff, it was storming so hard that people had to stay inside the building nearby for nearly 45 minutes due to lightning and rain.  It was awesome.

It only occurred to me later to tack on my beloved night lightning footage to the piece.

When the editing was done I wondered about music.  Add in someone else’s audio from storms?  Wind sounds?  U2’s Bullet the Blue Sky?  I am very careful about copyright stuff though so searched for something else.  My son mentions these guys who make Youtube videos/musical compositions named Derek and Brandon Fiechter.  So I looked them up and found this video.

I liked it…dropped it in and that magical thing happened where, with no editing at all…it somehow appeared synched to my footage.  I emailed Brandon and Derek to ask them their permission to use the song and within 10 minutes they graciously agreed.

Anywhoo…that’s the story.

Rad Vets To Premiere at DocUtah!

If you follow my blog you are probably sorta tired of hearing about Radioactive Veteran.  I SWEAR to you that I am working on lots of other fun projects as well.  But just too tired to write about them…because I am working on them instead of writing about them.

I just posted yesterday that Radioactive Veteran got fully funded…right?  I mean, that’s good news.

Well tonight the producer, Bradley Bethel, group messaged us that our doc got accepted into DocUtah.  Is that fricking off the charts cool…or what?

Hint..the answer isn’t “or what”.

DocUtah is an international film festival.  That’s classy.  But you know what is even better?  It is in St. George, Utah.  St. George Utah is one of the primary towns affected by the very kinds of tests that Radioactive Veteran highlights.

As one local resident put it back in the 1950’s…

“I remember thinking that it was normal to see piles of dead lambs …”

Claudia Peterson

stgeorge

What could be a more fitting location to kick off  this film’s public entree?  I can’t think of one.

We hope you’ll come out and see it.  More details to follow once we know them on precisely what time of day the film will premiere.

Radioactive Veterans Gets Fully Funded

1466095427-IMG_20160607_185607
Bradley Bethel (Producer) and Mark Wampler (Director)

I have been very fortunate in my short life so far working in video.  My first professional foray into the field resulted in being an Associate Producer of Radioactive Veteran, a movie about…well…just read my previous posts.  In short, it’s fricking awesome. It also just got fully funded to the tune of 10K on Seed & Spark.

The two guys above were part of the team that it wouldn’t have happened without.  I first met Brad in the video biz when he screened his movie Unverified here in Chapel Hill.  I was really impressed with it.  I had worked with him in another capacity outside of the video realm for a while…and was always hampering with notions that perhaps someday we could work together.  Now we have and it was great.

I met Mark when I heard he was looking for help with turning a whole lot of great information and footage into a full fledged documentary.

We met for coffee and…well…now it is fully funded.  It’s been a great process for me to watch unfold and I learned a lot.  Mainly what I learned is that it takes a team.  Also I learned that though there are many times when you are up against a deadline…the fact is that nothing really happens quickly.  There will be so many revisions and so many late nights and “last minute changes” and “it’s good…but how about we change this…?”

I am hoping to be able to attend some of the film festivals where this movie will ideally (fingers crossed) be showing.  If it comes to a town near you, check it out.  Especially if you know of any vets from the WWII era…it’s really a riveting look into their lives.

13521864_1213405992033183_2394658763752717304_n

Mission: Recycling Matters

Recycling isn’t what you think it is.  It runs deep.  It is saving our planet.  And it is on the ropes.  Economically and politically we are in a losing battle with our excessive lifestyle.

For years I have wondered precisely what happens to a water bottle when it is recycled.  Where does it go?  Who takes it?  What is it turned into?

A few months ago I made a great connection with a local who, it turns out, is a high level expert on recycling of plastics…and waste management in general.  He mentioned that he is part of a group that is working hard to try to reinvigorate PET recycling here in the Carolinas.

 

I have teamed up with him and other associations to undertake capturing, in my own way, the story of plastics recycling.  The focus is here in the Carolinas but if one extrapolates the challenges happening here, as well as the successes, it is accurate to extend those conclusions nationwide, worldwide.

This kind of story is exactly why I got into video work.  I know that I say that about every project.  What can I say?  I love what I do.

Yesterday was spent travelling to South Carolina to film in three different facilities.  I am sort of at a loss for words to say what it was like.  The recycling industry, when taken as a whole is overwhelming.  The amount of good that it can do, is palpable, but the amount of work it takes is staggering really…commendable.

Only 30% of goods that can be recycled here in the Carolinas are currently being recycled.  Yep…7 of your 10 pals are throwing away perfectly recyclable plastic.  This project is an attempt to turn that number up a bit.  Why not have everyone recycle?

The first thing to know about recycling is that it is an incredibly dirty business.  It’s also filled with fantastic technologies, progressive thinkers, and a lot of really hard workers on the sorting floors.

Anyways…my trip to SC was fruitful.  I have one more day this upcoming week.  I can’t wait to put together the footage into a shiny new video…and down the road would love to see it spun into a documentary.  This trip was especially fun because my daughter went with me as an assistant.  I gave her my Nikon D300o to play with and my 1.8/50mm lens.  She put it in manual mode and never looked back, manually focused everything.  Over the years I have taught her a bit about composition.  I hope you like the shots she took here…there are some really lovely ones.

DSC_0169mwDSC_0157DSC_0138DSC_0131DSC_0067DSC_0045DSC_0015

50th Wedding Anniversary “Slide” Show

I recently had a married couple (full disclosure: MY parents) approach me with the idea of creating a video for their 50th Wedding Anniversary using old printed photos that they have had in memory books for decades…5 decades!  They wanted a short retrospective of sorts.  And there were a lot of photos to go through.

It was a lot of fun walking down memory lane while perusing through so  many images.  How to cover the last 50 years in pictures?  They have traveled widely, had two children, have two grandchildren…it’s been a full 50 years.

So we came up with the idea of starting the video at the beginning and an image of my mother’s parents, then starting on my parent’s actual wedding day.

My main concern in creating what ended up being an 8 minute long video was how to not get stuck in what most slideshow style retrospectives suffer from…they are boring as dirt to view.  Sure the images themselves can conjure up memories and those are enjoyable, but whenever I think of slideshows I have seen at weddings or memorials they all really look the same in terms of photo orientation and so forth.

I feel like there is life in the photo that gets flattened.  What is it like to hold a photo in your hands, vs looking at a flat 2D image on a screen?

With motion graphics we have created a way to give a sense of motion to a still image…so I first thought of just scanning in the images in a scanner and then working with them that way.  Then I began comparing clarity of scans vs. camera capturing the images (taking pictures of the old pictures with a high quality camera).  As I began to snap pictures, foregoing the lengthy and mixed results that can come with scanning, I bemoaned how un-alive the photos were going to look.  They just looked better while held in a real person’s hand…like someone was just about to hand you the pic…like we used to before the digital age!

So, I turned my Nikon’s video mode on and just started filming as I went through the sequence of photos.  I realized quickly that I was essentially doing what motion graphics are designed to do, but with actual motion instead of pretend motion.  I like the feeling of seeing that a photo was and can be a handheld and intimate piece of time.  And as always, there is a quality to printed photos that digital imagery will never be able to replicate.  There is a warmth and precision there that feels alive.

I would LOVE to do more retrospectives from actual printed stills if anyone ever has a need for it.  Anywhoo…here is the quick sample below.