Feb 11

Tarantino – Who Do You Think You’re Fooling?

If you remember recently I posted a video titled “Everything is a Remix” that showed a frame by frame comparison between Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill and some of the movies that inspired it.  Recently an individual by the name of Mike White posted a comment on my blog that read “apparently you guys haven’t seen this.” along with a link to a film he produced called “Who Do You Think You’re Fooling?”  This film was a frame by frame comparison between Tarantino’s breakout film “Reservoir Dog’s” and a film by Ringo Lam titled “City on Fire.” The similarities are amazing and leave little doubt as to where Tarantino found his “inspiration.”  Judge for yourself.

As mentioned in my second “Everything is a Remix” post, taking something and making it yours is nothing new to art. However when the inspiration is obvious, not giving credit or acknowledging where one gets his or her ideas is at best in bad taste, and at worst downright illegal.

After watching “Who Do You Think You’re Fooling?” I checked out another video from Mike, this one an MTV news report on the controversial ban of Mike’s film from the New York Underground Film Festival. The MTV report ends with a Tarantino comment denying the plagiarism accusations and even going as far as saying that he would look forward to watching “City on Fire.”  The MTV clip is followed with another side by side comparison with one of my all-time favorite movie scenes (the “Ezekiel 25:17″ scene), from my all time favorite film Pulp Fiction, which was eerily similar to the title crawl in the 1973 film ‘The Bodyguard’ starring Sonny Chiba.


One IMDB comment summed up this charade the best.

“Who do you think you’re fooling, QT? Yes, the teens who watch MTV News and haven’t seen “Who do you think you’re fooling?”. But anyone who did see Mike White’s short won’t believe you.

Back in olden times before the Internet, it was more difficult to cross reference old films with new ones, so Tarantino took his chances.  It seems that as time has passed and information became more readily available, more people got wise to Tarantino’s game. These days he readily reveals his sources and openly pays homage to genre films, even incorporating some of the stars from the movies that inspired him. However at the very beginning it seems that QT stole what he thought he could get away with.  Well you know what Picasso said, “Good artist borrow, great artist steal.”


Feb 11

Tiny Feature Saturday’s – Shelter

This week on TFS we bring you a Jason Sussberg short profiling author, photographer, and pioneer of the green building and green architecture movements Lloyd Kahn.  Lloyd is also the founding editor-in-chief of Shelter Publications, Inc.

Lloyd has been grappling with the concept of home, physically and psychically, for over five decades. Situated in the financial and housing crisis, this film profiles Lloyd’s ideas on do-it-yourself construction and sustainability.”

This video shot in 16mm actually left me wanting more.




Feb 11

The Videographers Guide to not Falling on Your New Media Face | Chapter 2 – The Not To Do List

Chapter 2: The Videographers Not To Do List.

In the Social Media landscape time should be measured in dog years. Six years ago (Forty-two in dog years) Myspace was all the rage, Youtube was just getting started, and being a videographer meant that you were either shooting corporate instructional videos or weddings. Today most serious brands have their own list of go-to videographers. Video on the web is today’s most powerful medium, and videographers are to social media, what photographers were to publishing. What is most exciting about videography now is that the conventions of old media film-making have been turned on it’s head.  Just five years ago what took hundreds of thousands of dollars and several dozen crew members, can now be achieved for less than $10K and a small band of creatives. The biggest mistake I see in new videographers is taking this change for granted. They mistake low budget for cheap, and replace efficient with lazy. The result is a littered landscape of un-watchable, un-listenable, un-learnable videos that inspire more SMH’s than CTO’s.

In this Chapter I thought I would share a few of the technical and creative mistakes I see every day. Some of these very mistakes I made myself. Fortunately most of mine came at the dawn of the age of Video Blogging when the competition was scarce and second chances abundant.  Make these mistakes today and you will find that your only gigs will be shooting parties for peanuts. Which I assure you will inspire a steady stream of FML’s.


10. Don’t shake your cam

My old photo partners and I use to make fun of the event photographers who wore those multi-pocketed army colored utility vests and lugged around heavy tripods.  We were young, we were the new school, we held our cameras like automatics, sniping shots at unsuspecting partiers, moving in, out and all around our subjects like photo/video ninjas.  There was no room for tripods to slow us down.  The resulting effect was an in your face, light streaked/shaky cam montage of images in which the viewer felt like they were a part of the action.  As unorthodox as it was, it was new, and it was now.  The novelty of that style has worn out a bit. Today’s new media artists exhibit a cleaner aesthetic.  If you want to shake and bake, approach with caution and much restraint.

9. Avoid bad cameras

If the story is King, then the camera is his castle.  Think about how your footage looks.  If you think you can shoot on a 1 chip or One CDD camera as opposed to a Three CDD camera and attract good clients you are mistaken.  I strongly recommend shooting on a camera with a good sized sensor and interchangeable lenses that gives you the shallow depth of field that is all the rage today.  A great site for camera pointers is Phillipbloom.net.

8. Don’t Sleep on Audio

Nothing screams amateur like shoddy sound.  It’s the easiest thing to take for granted, and the hardest thing to fix in post.  If you are using a DSLR camera at the minimum buy an external mic.  Some clients are so picky that you are probably better off budgeting for a sound guy.

7. Don’t flat line

Nothing screams “creatively challenged” like flat line edits.  That is an interview that has no creative edits. A flat-line.  We have all seen them.  They look like long news interviews.  When videographers do this I assume they don’t care or can’t create a compelling edit (and adding a soundtrack does not count).  I understand that the short story format is challenging, but that is why we get paid the big bucks (yeah right).  One trick I use, is to closely mimic the storytelling arc of a song. The bottom line is, if you want to make the cut in this competitive field, than you need to make the cut on the timeline first.

6. Lazy Montages

Even the most talented amongst us (present company included) have fallen into this trap door probably more than once.  That is the lazy montage.  It is so easy to find a dope music track and chop together a compelling montage around this.  The problem is that it is a short term solution to what is a long term challenge.  The truth is that montages are really easy to create. It’s an in the moment edit that leans heavily on a music track. If you’re lucky enough to slip this past a client, or avoid repeating yourself quickly, chances are that you will be competing with the Trust Fund, Too cool for school, Party Videographer kids mentioned in Chapter 1.

Next Friday I will list the top 5 things on the “Not To Do List”


Trevor “Trevz” Bayack is a Brooklyn-born filmmaker who approaches his web pieces as mini documentaries. Recognized as a member of the 2008 URB magazine Next 100 for pioneering the “video blog” Trevz continually makes his pieces shorter, sharper and ever more shareable”   Follow our twitter feed for more.

Feb 11

CK one SS11 – Pretentiously Good

As I move up in my years, my tolerance for pretentious pointless eye candy has grown thin.  However every now and then I see something that despite its obvious attempt at appealing to my desire to stay hip, over-rides my too easy to trigger cynical meter, and finds its way onto this blog. This Calvin Klein teaser video by Steven Miesel, for what is described as their biggest-ever digital initiative to date, has put the New back into my Pop! Log onto their Facebook link for more info.





Feb 11

Running a Design Business

This video by the Design Council of the UK discusses what type of skills and experience one needs to operate a design business.  I found that most of what is discussed in this video also applies to Videography.


Feb 11

Lost & Found | The High Line

Here is a video piece courtesy of Lost & Found Films and commissioned by the folks at Wallpaper Magazine about everyone’s favorite new public space, The High Line Park.


Feb 11

Artist Wanted | In Focus – Surabhi Saraf (Lo-Speed)

Here is another video from Christian Schneider and the folks at ArtistsWanted.  It documents Surabhi Saraf who is an audio/video artist working out of San Francisco California. Her work combines complexly layered sound and video expositions that play out on a grand scale.


Feb 11

Tiny Feature Saturday’s – The Rise and Fall of the Boombox

Check out this really cool piece titled “The Rise and Fall of the Boombox” written and edited by Roy Hurst for NPR.


Feb 11

The Videographers Guide to Not Falling on your New Media Face! | Chapter 1

I thought I would share some of my experiences navigating the New Media landscape.

Chapter 1: Don’t Shoot Parties!

When I first started shooting for the web I did it because I had a passion for documenting New York culture. Very quickly I found that documenting events was a way to gain access to, and increase my status in the downtown scene. I got to hang out with musicians, go to cool events, get free drinks, build a little fan base, travel and even get paid!  In the five years that I have been shooting, I have seen the landscape change drastically.  Five years ago I could go a year or two before I ran into another videographer at an event. Today I can’t walk to the bathroom without running into some kid doing it for free. At first I tried to tell myself that they can’t possibly keep it up.  Sooner or later they are going to have to make a living, right?  The sad and unfortunate truth is that for every kid that gets burned out, three more jump in.

My advice to those of you interested in video blogging is “Don’t Shoot Parties!?  Not if you want do this for a living. Yes a large part of TheNewPop brand was built on shooting parties, but as I mentioned five years ago the landscape was very different.  These days there are a dozen trust fund kids waiting outside every cool event offering free coverage for drinks and access. Good luck competing with them if you have rent to pay. The way I see it there are two roads one can travel. Shoot parties, or don’t shoot parties. One will have you competing with these kids for bad clients who pay very little if anything at all.  The other will reward you with a slow but steady increase in wages, professional clients and mostly great gigs.  And trust me, in the end these better gigs will be allot more fun than the low hanging fruit that is the party scene.

The “Parties can build my fan base” argument:

Even if you have somehow managed to build a loyal fan base that brings you thousands of video views a week, you may still find yourself on the outside looking in when it comes to getting the good gigs.  Depending on the client unless you consistently and without co-signs bring in between 1 – 5K on a video, you will find that clients won’t care about your numbers.  Artistic vision, professionalism, and good production is the one thing you can give them that they can’t get cheaply.  More often than not they will already have an established audience that can match or supersede yours.  The following Desigual video I shot got almost 60k views during it’s first week due to a brilliant marketing plan that appealed to their already established fan base.  My job was simply to deliver a solid video.  Unless you are specifically skilled in Social Media Marketing and have the numbers to support this you should focus on your production.  Next Friday I will give some tips on avoiding bad video.

Trevor “Trevz” Bayack is a Brooklyn-born filmmaker who approaches his web pieces as mini documentaries. Recognized as a member of the 2008 URB magazine Next 100 for pioneering the “video blog” trevz continually makes his pieces shorter, sharper and ever more shareable”   Follow thenewpop twitter feed for more.

Feb 11

There’s No Place Like Here: Hindsvik

This video by Pascal Perich for the website Etsy.com, documents the humble and majestic home of Daniel and Valeria, also known as Hindsvik. Located a few minutes from Lake Erie in Port Colborne, Canada, it is just the kind of place I hope to purchase one day to get away from the grind that is NYC. Hopefully I can find one not to far from my roots, somewhere Upstate (NY).  I love the pacing of this piece, it is the video equivalent of one of my favorite sites The Selby is in Your Place.