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.

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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

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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

Bolin Creek Update: The Flyover

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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.

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Patreon, Timelapse, A New Documentary Project.

I spent some time in a little nook of woods this week near town called Tanyard Branch. Never been there in 13 years of living here.  I found a huge tree that had been cut. In the local forests I have visited here over the years I haven’t seen a tree that large before.  To be fair it had rot all through the top of it…but way up in the crown.  It was still growing but on it’s way out.  But it probably could have stood for another 50-60 years or more with some growth. I don’t understand exactly why foresters and town arborists have a mandate to cut down trees like this instead of letting them stand and be a habitat for all sorts of critters that need that sort of habitat.  This tree was growing there in 1916..I just feel it deserves a better end than a chainsaw.

It’s also along a path of where a proposed paved greenway is to be built.  I am sure that has something to do with why it has been cut.  I could ask someone all the good reasons they have for cutting down a tree and some reasons I might even agree with.  But for me, when I watch this short timelapse—I see a trail, trail runners, and a lovely forest and I am thinking that this patch of woods can’t really be improved upon with pavement or cut trees.  I am also thinking that this tree could have remained there, half growing, half rotting, just like nature intended and no one would have been affected by it.  It’s THE woods…not OUR woods.

On this note I have been made aware of potential projects and other actual projects that threaten a riparian corridor here in the town which I live.  I am going to be creating a series of short documentary style videos sharing how beautiful the area is…as well as trying to inform the public about what the issues are and how they can make a difference vis a vis not having it paved.  I always try to think of how I can (and others) use video to create positive change.  And the areas known as Bolin Creek and Carolina North have given me a lot…now it’s time for me to give back by trying to help preserve it.  This is somewhere that I can try to create some positive change.  One thing is for sure, if more people don’t try to save Bolin Forest, it’s going to get paved.  My stance is that not every forest with a gorgeous creek needs a another damn greenway paved through it.  It’s okay to leave some things alone.

I like to think of how different this video would look if I were leaning against the tree, before it was cut and how much more like a forest this forest would be.

I have many other updates I am scrambling to make…another really exciting documentary is in the works..well…okay, TWO of them are in the works.  I have work coming out of my ears.  But to help fund all the things I love doing I am announcing that I am going to give Patreon a try.  It’s a way that creators have patrons fund their work in the world.  For me it’s clear that I love utilizing cameras and editing software to tell stories and inform…but the kinds of causes I want to cover don’t have bank accounts.  Bolin Creek doesn’t have a bank account.  Instead of the normal cycle of seeking funding for one project at a time I am going to try creating more content weekly and then having those who enjoy it, offer patronage to support it.  So I do hope people consider donating even $1 or more to the cause per month.  My page is still being set up…and it will be interactive once more so…here it is

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New Doc! AT BOTH ENDS OF THE LEASH!

At Both Ends Of The Leash-Abridged from Charles Morris on Vimeo.

My buddy Brad called me up around May 1st, 2016 and said he had a project.  It took me a few meetings to grasp fully that I’d be required to film INSIDE of a medium security prison.  This was also going to be pretty much my first crack at shooting and editing a documentary that mattered to me on such a strong level.  I instantly had a vested interest besides paid work.

I have always wanted to volunteer in prisons.   I have just always wondered what it was like.  What are the lives of inmates really like?  What is it like for them when they are released?  I also wanted to be able to be of service somehow to inmates in terms of breaking down the “us” and “them” construct that most of “us” have.

We all see and watch shows like Oz, Orange is the New Black, or more recently Prison Break.  But what did someone like me really know about a world so different?  Not much.  This project was about to take me closer than I ever thought I would get.

Ears, Eyes, Nose and Paws (EENP) trains service dogs for people with disabilities.  They recently began working in a medium security prison here in NC.  They were training inmates to work with the puppies.  Inmate trainers who commit to the program are paired with a puppy that lives side by side with them for over a year.  They sleep together, go outside together…they are literally together at all times.  During that time the inmate trainers, under the guidance of EENP staff, are bringing along the pups to a very high level of service competence.  I didn’t even know dogs could do what these trainers were having them do.

Anyway…EENP was about the graduate some of the dogs and they were having a ceremony.  The problem was that the public wasn’t allowed to attend a ceremony in prison.  So EENP needed a way to bring the experience to an audience out here…hence the video idea was born.  There was to be a public celebration where the video would be screened.  My task was to create something…somehow…that captured the spirit of what EENP does, along with the graduation ceremony.

I could go on and on and on about how incredible this experience was.  I had so many “I must be dreaming” moments.  My first big project and there I was, filming in a prison.  Was I ever nervous about not getting it right?  Oh hell yes!

But just to keep this brief, I loved every minute of it.  And I did indeed learn an immense amount about prison life.  Us and them ceased to exist for me.  I feel flummoxed about what more to share here, because honestly it would be a book.

I’ll skip to the end then…

Watch it.  Convince your friends to watch it.  It’s about real life prisoners/inmates instead of paid TV actors.  These are real people who are working hard to better their lives and the lives of others.  And…there are tons of cute DOGS in the video…and it doesn’t get better than that.  You get your dose of hard hitting reality and a nice blend of…smiles.  Yes, people in prison smile.

There is an abridged version, which is the one included above.  The EXTENDED version has the full graduation speech, which is worth the watch for sure.

I want to give a huge shout out to Alan Lorden, who composed all original music for this movie.

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Also it never would have come together without the direction, guidance and intuition of Brad Bethel, who also is the Director of the award winning documentary, Unverified.

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But the film, in my mind, is definitely dedicated to EENP and all the hard work that they and the inmates put in to keep At Both Ends Of The Leash afloat.

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Summer Clouds Timelapse and some old pics

When I was primarily a photographer (2008 – 2014) summer clouds were my favorite subjects.  I was always in pursuit of the best formations.  Summer around here in NC is the best time to capture dramatic cloud interactions.  Here are some of my old favorites from the good old days.  Feel free to click to enlarge.

 

 

Now I am pretty excited about seeing what video can do to capture these same moments.  To be able to see up close what the cloud is doing, how it is unfolding or building is something that can’t be captured or seen unless it is timelapsed and accelerated.  I find that it takes about 6 minutes minimum to create anything worth watching…due to how much you must compress the timeline.

On a recent night out, I was hoping to capture a lightning storm with driving rain curtains, but the rain abated, the lightning stopped and what I ended up with was lovely fast stacking and falling clouds right in front of the setting twilight.

One thing that was quite challenging on this night of shooting was that I saw the clouds forming up as I left a restaurant in town.  I raced home to get my camera stuff from inside of my air conditioned house.  The outside humidity was probably around 95% and the air temp was close to the same.  It  took nearly 30 minutes for the cold camera body and mirrors, and lenses – to stop sweating and heat up to match the surrounding temps.  I should have foreseen this.  I used to shoot all the time at the Butterfly House at the Museum of Life and Science and the air in there is set to match weather in the tropics.  The first thing you do when you get into those kinds of places is let your camera breathe and adjust…you just don’t even bother shooting for the first 20-30 minutes.  Everything will be fogged up.  This was the longest I ever had to wait though.  I had to detach everything and let it air out for a solid 30.  I missed what I came to get…but got something I still really like and would have overlooked had my camera been working from the start.

Anyway…here is my latest…and don’t forget when viewing that Vimeo defaults the viewing res to the lowest standard.  To see the HD version click on the HD button and adjust as needed.

 

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.