Stark Insider on location shooting in Napa Valley
Explore. Create. Live. With Stark Insider. Oh: every now and then also smash a guitar.

We’re out and about today, once again, on the streets of San Francisco.

“Team Stark” is shooting more video segments for Stark Insider including one about an interesting new film, a Broadway legend, and possibly even some magic.

Soon we’ll be making the move to Super 35 — Sony FS7 or Blackmagic Ursa Mini or Canon C100 Mk II — and we’ll be aiming for more cinematic results, if my skills are up to it, of course. That is a big question mark. While I love the Canon EOS 70D (especially the dual-pixel AF which comes in mighty handy for interviews) I’m looking forward to footage with more dynamic range, and that can be played around with graded more easily in post without falling completely apart. Not that a lot of this matters, to be sure. We’re run-and-gun around these parts so not looking to shoot the next Lawrence of Arabia anytime soon.

The biggest concern I have about a cinema camera, aside from the larger size, is the operation.

I’m fluent in Canon DSLR. I started shooting videos in earnest here on SI in 2009. And have moved from a Vixia camcorder (which I eventually jury rigged to accept EF lenses!), to a Rebel T2i, to a EOS 60D, and, in 2013, to the sweetness known as the EOS 70D.

Over the years I’ve become so familiar with the placement of all the controls — ISO, shutter speed, aperture, etc. — that my hands can operate almost intuitively. No doubt I still make plenty of mistakes. Over and over. Sigh. That’s just the name of the game. Ultimately I feel very comfortable operating a Canon DSLR. So I wonder: how long (if ever) it will take to reach that level of ease with a Sony or a Blackmagic camera?

A West Coast Adventure. A Lifetime in the Making.

In the end these are just tools. I see people say that all the time. And it’s a good reminder.

I’ve learned that editing is essential — often, that’s where a video either comes to life or falls apart, irrespective of footage. Writers confront a white sheet of paper, or a blank screen with a blinking cursor. In a dark edit bay, we face the dreaded empty timeline. With a bin of a few hours of footage, and the challenge of cutting that into a cohesive 5 minutes long segment the prospects can be daunting… and require plenty of reserves of espresso, Diet Coke, and (California!) Chardonnay.

We’ve got some longer term projects cooking too, and I can’t wait to share them with you — for better or worse. In 2016 we’ll celebrate Stark Insider’s 10th anniversary. Here’s a teaser of what we’ve been up to over the years, “Thinkin’ About the Years” — a mash-up of film, music, food and wine events, various interviews:

And if you’re new to Stark Insider here’s an example of one of our travel videos. In this episode Loni experiments with Glamping in stunning Big Sur:

As we like to say, this is a West Coast adventure, a lifetime in the making.

Where it will end up, we’re not quite sure, or maybe we are?

To the streets of San Francisco we go; along with Napa, one of my favorite places to haul my Canon gear.

Time moves fast my friends.

Hope to see you out there!