Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

3 Essential Must Have Camera Accessories

Posted: March 12, 2014

1. Batteries and Storage


I know that these are essentially two different accessories but they are the two accessories you don’t want to be stuck without. Running out of these two is like running out of gas in a car, you have no where to turn. Always have extra batteries and memory cards for storage (or DV tapes if that is what you are into).

2. Camera Monitor

If you plan on taking this profession seriously, one vital accessory in any videographer’s camera bag is a quality monitor. There are a variety of cameras out there, all of which have some form of screen to view your picture with. But most times these LCD’s are not quite good enough to get the job done. The main reason for this of course is size. Most onboard monitors offer only about 2 to 3 inches worth of screen estate, which can affect the quality of your picture by making you adjust the settings incorrectly i.e the white balance. A bigger monitor allows you to see more detail in what you are about to shoot enabling you to get a better shot. As the good videographer that you are, you want the best possible picture you can get.

3. Tripod

Third on this list is a tripod. Now, I’m going to come at this from another angle because as a videographer, having a tripod is a must have. Some amateur filmmakers think they can settle using cheap knock offs, but I couldn’t disagree more. There are a number of reasons why you should use a tripod, the most important one being quality. Here are three things you want to look for when buying a tripod:
1. A quality tripod head is the single most important part of your tripod. A good starting point is getting yourself a decent fluid head. They offer smooth, steady motion, and depending on sophistication can be quite affordable.
2. Maximum Load Capacity is something you want to definitely take into account. This of course depends on what is getting mounted on to the camera. So make sure you weigh your camera with your heaviest accessories attached and then make your purchase.
3. Build Quality (material, leg locks) is also important and is what most times makes the difference in price. Tripods typically come in magnesium, aluminum, and carbon fiber with this last one being the lightest in weight. But don’t just buy the lightest tripod because it is the easiest to carry around. The strength of it is more essential. These three different materials vary in strength, especially when it comes to the legs, so make sure to find the best tripod for you and your camera at the right price.

Presidents Day

Posted: February 20, 2014

Earlier this year, we had the opportunity to complete a wonderful project with Moseley Road Inc., and Hinkler Books: “Path to the Presidency.” The video featured every president, a short history of their rise, and a quote that expressed their philosophy and how they felt about this special honor.

To commemorate our past and current leaders for this year’s President’s day, we have assembled several versions of that project in a shorter form. You can view them here:

 

 

 

We would like to once again thank Moseley Road Inc. and Hinkler Books for the opportunity to work on a project that not only gave us material that is truly fascinating, but one that helped us to better understand who our founding fathers were and the incredibly high standards that we should hold every future leader to.

Happy New Year!!! Simba 2013 in Review

Posted: January 15, 2014

2013 for Simba Productions was busy and exciting! It was one heck of a ride and we are looking forward to 2014 being even better.

Over the past year, we have produced a plethora of videos. We shot from here in our studio in the heart of NYC to the tropics down in Ecuador.

Take a gander at what Simba was up to in 2013!

Local 802 invited Simba back for 2 more sessions of filming local musicians.

1607063_631966263529932_339407137_n 1601288_631966256863266_764134499_n

1546107_631966396863252_1442481617_n 1525327_631966300196595_450416083_n

We also produced a number of music videos. Josh Lewis brought us his song, Tomorrow, a benefit song for the Josh Lewis Animal Cancer Foundation (JLACF).

1528528_631965940196631_655564990_n

Nigerian up and comer Lil Kem stopped by and had us all humming his song, Juju, while we were on location in NYC filming and back in the studio during the edit.

1526193_631965850196640_501177201_n

José Polo blew us away with his song, Huracán. it was shot on the golden shores of Oyster Bay, Long Island. Check out the amazing footage.

1013713_631965790196646_1710932783_n

We also had Cyrus Von Hochstetter in the studio. After filming an orchestral session, Cyrus and one of our editors worked to fine tune his video.

1511160_631965546863337_1386123280_n

We put Armorz screen protectors to the test and show you how tough they really are.

1538672_631965643529994_1916413482_n

Thinklogical had us come to film their production facility and demonstrated some of their cutting edge fiber optic technology, which is in use by the United States Military and Hollywood production houses.

1545100_631966053529953_834707654_n1517701_631966120196613_316244238_n

Thinking about seeing the beauty of South America? Lan Airlines hosted a contest to win free roundtrip flights to Chile and Simba was on hand to cover the event.

1546209_631965543530004_1549255256_n

Be Magnifico! Magnifico Giornata offers infused wines that are low in calories. Simba helped to produced a collection of videos about the company and the wine of course.

1496599_631965740196651_2022600865_n

Speaking of calories, thinking about eating healthier? Check out this video we produced for Layne Lieberman and her book Beyond the Mediterranean Diet.

 1483369_631966476863244_1061614109_n1013235_631966483529910_864909549_n

The Simba team went above and beyond on a project about the Presidents of the United States. You can see their wonderful 3D image work from the project here.

1504056_631965513530007_1339344023_n

The team also filmed CFO researcher Matt Surka, as he sat down with Jonathan Rochelle from Google, to discuss the benefits of cloud computing.

1505134_631966050196620_995081108_n

Albert, the owner of Simba Productions, went out and filmed an Out of the Darkness Community Walk to help support Suicide awareness. you can learn more about the organization by visiting their website at www.outofthedarkness.org

1488211_631965760196649_40225661_n

The Simba team also got to help bring Albert’s vision to light by shooting 3 scenes from his movie Extra Innings. you can check out The scenes here

579097_355194611257900_1763392182_n

Here is to another great year from Simba Productions!!

 

 

Working with Moseley Road and Hinkler Books

Posted: December 18, 2013

Simba Productions has been working with Moseley Road Inc. on some fantastic projects. The company, based out of Westchester, NY, produces specialized non-fiction books, calendars, and stationery for all different subject matters.

We produced a number of instructional health videos for them, in collaboration with Hinkler Books, an internationally renowned publisher based out of Australia. The DVDs incorporated different workout routines from around the world, including yoga, tai-chi, and pilates.

We are excited to announce two of our most recent projects- a workout sequence based on the intensive training regimen of the Navy SEALs and a history of the Presidents of the United States!

“Paths to the Presidency,”

This documentary highlights the history of all the Presidents of the United States and the struggles they encountered during the rise to the Oval Office.

“Anatomy of Elite Fitness: Navy SEALs Workout”

This workout video encompasses exercises that will push even the most savvy fitness practitioners to their limits. Working in tandem with the Steve Earl’s book, the video offers a dynamic view of all the exercises with accompanying motion graphics.

We would like to thank Moseley Road Inc. and Hinkler Books for their continued support, and we look forward to more exciting projects to come!

 

An International Affair!

Posted: November 21, 2013

Simba Productions would like to congratulate Criteo on their exciting new milestone! On Oct. 30th, 2013, the global technology company officially went public.

To capture the momentous occasion, Criteo reached out to Simba Productions to film the celebrations and to record interviews with Criteo personnel. Of course, going public for a company like Criteo could not be a local affair- it would be international! From New York to Japan, Criteo’s reach was worldwide!

Simba set out to simultaneously coordinate and cover the celebrations for three different Criteo offices throughout the United States. We at Simba weren’t going to let three thousand miles stop us! We were ready. We had cameras, lights, and microphones up and running in Boston, Palo Alto, and New York City.

Energy within the offices was palpable, to say the least. When founders Jean-Baptiste Rudelle, Franck le Ouay, and Romain Niccoli got on stage to ring the Nasdaq closing bell, the office walls were literally shaking with cheers and applause.

Interviews with the Criteo staff were enlightening and inspiring. They poured their hearts out with anecdotes from their first days at Criteo and with stories about what the company means to them. The day ended with champagne and cheers. For Criteo, it meant moving onto a higher plane as a company. For the Simba team, it meant another job well done.

See you next time!

~ Simba Productions

 

Don’t forget to visit our portfolio page where you’ll find music videos, promos and other exciting projects we’ve produced.

 

Happy Halloween

Posted: October 31, 2013

10.31.2013

Hello Trick or Treaters!

Me wants to invite ya’s to the dark, the dreary, the absolutely scary Simba castle, where the feeble and the meek will find certain DOOM… Never mind our casual urban address located in Midtown Manhattan. The Simba castle, where sinister videos of all kinds are being made in our dark, desolate basement, is the least desired destination for the weak of heart.

The malevolent crew of Simba, because we love cinema so much, owe our existence to the gods of film. For that reason we would like to pay tribute to the film gods by sharing with you our list of fiendishly frightening films for your Halloween viewing pleasure this year.

 

Pick your Poison:

-1-

The first movie on the list is poltergeist. Chosen most likely to let you know that we understand, even in the safest and most protected homes, evil can lure you… to your television screen if you are not careful.

 

-2-

What is more frightening than bringing your dead pets to life through an ancient native American burial ground? How about bringing your whole family back to life! “Pet Sematary” reminds us that  perhaps the most evil thing in the world is “LOVE.”

-3-

Who can deny the “Voorhees” his victims? Not even in space can one contain the macabre that Jason can unleash. If you believe no one can hear you scream in space, you’d be wrong, DEAD wrong.

-4-

Our next movie monster needs no introduction. He is a favorite here in the Simba viewing room. Armed with nothing but a knife and a pure black heart, the Shape or as many call him, Michael Myers have been tearing through the nightmares of young trick or treaters for over three decades, much like Simba Productions.

-5-

The next film on our list is the other scary film starring our boy Jack! That movie is none other than “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Nothing is scarier or more bone chillingly cold in the world of cinema than looking into the darting eyes of NURSE RATCHED.

 

-6-

Last but certainly not least is one for the kiddies. This bone chilling tale of three of the most vile, detestable, and disturbingly evil witches is a great way to introduce your little trick or treaters to the world of frightening cinema. Nothing is scarier or excruciating painful than to see poor little broomsticks carry Bette Midler and her sisters.

That is it for our sinister inventory of scary films for this year.  Check back next time for more from the Simba Team. Perhaps we’ll bring you into our ominous office for more behind the scenes view of very powerful video production, if you dare.

Happy Halloween!

Navy SEAL Tough!

Posted: October 18, 2013

At Simba we’re tough, Navy SEALs tough. Simba Productions ventured to “Bravo Cross Fitness” yesterday in Dobbs Ferry for an intense, challenging, and enduring video shoot.

Fitness Video Production

- The Mission: Navy SEALs exercise training video for DVD & Blu-ray.

- The Talent: One Navy Seal, Five Simba Crew Members.

- The Goal: Over 40 workout exercises.

 

The shoot had many challenges, but Simba Productions rose and tackled the obstacles head on. One of the greatest difficulties in any film production is when the equipment becomes… temperamental. The reasons why it happens vary and can be hard to determine; it can be anything from electrical failure, weather, software glitches, or a thousand other causes.

Fitness Video Production

On this production, the Simba Productions team was armed with:

 

1x Canon 5D Mark II

1x Canon 7D

2x KINOFLOs

1x Lowell Light Kit

2x Flag Kits

And misc.: C-stands, monitors, slider, tripods, cables, gels, ect…

 

When a monitor went down, we changed our tactics, moving and shifting cameras and changing operators. When a light bulb blew out, we quickly replaced it with a new one. When the sun went glaring through the background windows high above us, we found a way to flag them. Weights were moved, giant boxes were shifted, heavy floor mats were replaced. If it needed to be done, we did it.

Fitness Video Production Kino-flo lights

The shoot was long and arduous, but like our Navy SEAL talent and the DVD producers, Simba Productions did not and will not let anything compromise our commitment to excellent production values.

See you next blog!

Creating Opportunities for Freelance Musicians through Film and Video

Posted: October 16, 2013

Music, FIlm and Video

Simba Productions once again collaborated with the 802afm (American Ferderation of Musicians) to produce a video to help promote the many freelance musical artists here in New York City. How was this outing? In a word- exhilarating! The shoot was led by Simba Productions senior producer Aaron Thomas at the 802afm headquarters on 48th street in the heart of the city.

The 802afm has been involved with fantastic musicians for over ninety years, catering to musical talents from classic to contemporary. For today’s project, the group of tremendous artists played a variety of songs from Pachelbel’s “Canon” to Ennio Morricone’s “Cinema Paradiso.”

Today’s shoot featured Bowie Alexander and Christopher Bye on cameras, Tom Chaves and Brian McCann as Gaffers, and Matthew Polashek on sound.  The talented Joel Campbell, Justin Maiure, and Chinh Le rounded up the shoot on post-production.

Technically, it was interesting to see how the different cameras paired together. Everything was shot with DSLR cameras including a 2x Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon T2i. There was only one complication to an otherwise smooth day of filming.  Most of the sets were shot with the 5Ds in 3000k, but because of the T2i’s limited control of color temperature, the T2i’s settings had to be realigned and adjusted to shoot in 3200k (Tungsten).

The light kit consisted of 1x ARRI 1Kw for the key, 3x Arri 650w for the fill and rim, and 1x spotlight for additional fill.

Otherwise, the shoot went seamlessly and on schedule with the breakdown ending at six o’clock. Congratulations to all the musicians involved in the project… play on!

Check back soon for more updates from Simba Productions!

Filming the American Federation of Musicians

Posted: February 8, 2013

The start of the new year at Simba Productions was highlighted by the completion of an incredibly successful collaboration with Local 802, the American Federation of Musicians located in New York. The Local 802 Associated Musicians of Greater New York group is one of the largest local unions of professional music in the world. Dedicated to the promotion of live musical performance and music education, Local 802 hired Simba Productions to highlight select bands and capture live, on-stage performances to promote their services on the Union’s website.

Kat Gang

The shoot took place on Friday, December 14, 2012 and featured five separate musical acts: The Alva Nelson Soul Band, Kat Gang, Mixtape Rock, Rebecca Cherry, and Big Band Gerard Carelli. Artists performed covers of classic and contemporary songs ranging from Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On” to Violent Femmes’ “Blister In The Sun” to a string quartet instrumental of Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World.” During the marathon afternoon shoot, recorded the five bands performing five songs each with all individual performers having their own unique lighting and sound setups.

Mixtape-Forget You

We ultimately produced twelve short videos for Local 802, each a highlight from the event, focusing on a particular song and artist. Editor Mike Cucinotta cut each piece together, emphasizing the moving camera footage shot by Brian McCann and Matt Firpo and lit by Tom Chaves and his crew. Each video is an example of how our talented production and post-production crew can not only capture an event effectively but also allow each of the subjects we’re capturing to shine.

Rebecca Cherry

Please feel free to check out our individual videos for Alva Nelson, Kat Gang, Mixtape, and Rebecca Cherry on our Video gallery to see the great work completed by our team at Simba Productions.

The Alva Nelson Band

Stay tuned to upcoming emails and blog posts for more info on Extra Innings, the feature film that we are producing, written by Albert Dabah. And, please visit our Facebook page and Like us at https://www.facebook.com/ExtraInningsMovie

Making a Training Video: Disaster Logistics for Leaders

Posted: November 9, 2012

Recently we produced a series of training videos for The Regional Logistics Program designed to prepare both logistics professionals and local/community leadership on how best to prepare for a disaster. This work gave many of us at Simba a unique perspective on the aftermath and emergency response during Hurricane Sandy. It’s easy for us as production professionals to watch a television show or movie and have an idea how it was made. However, to be home while a natural disaster unfolds, having an understanding of what was going on “behind the scenes” by our local first responders and emergency management departments, was both a humbling and at the same time reassuring, experience. Working on the Disaster Logistics gave us an insider look how local government prepares for and executes a response to a natural disaster.[vsw id="50793494" source="vimeo" width="425" height="344" autoplay="no"][vsw id="50793493" source="vimeo" width="425" height="344" autoplay="no"]

We began pre-production on these two videos in late spring. Working with a team of logistics and disaster response experts who helped guide us in making sure our script was technically accurate. The next step was finding locations – and we knew that if these videos were to accurately portray a full-scale disaster response then authenticity was critical. We scouted several local and city Emergency Operations Centers, and decided to mount our production at Nassau County’s EOC. This provided us with access to a fully operational Command Center, situation room, press briefing facility, large scale storage warehouse as well as the surrounding grounds which we utilized to stage “field work”.

Preview

Shooting with 2 Canon DSLR cameras, our lightning fast crew that got us from set-up to set-up smoothly, and a team of outstanding professional actors we were able to complete principal photography of both videos over the course of a single weekend. Of course, the weekend wasn’t without a minor bump in the road – during our Saturday shoot the Emergency Operations Center went into partial activation because of an off-shore squall that was approaching! We took advantage of this to get some real, live authentic b-roll. Following that weekend on set, we also sought out interviews with notable disaster response experts, landing interviews with New York City’s Emergency Management Commissioner Joe Bruno, FEMA’s Craig Fugate, and Texas’s Judge Edward Emmett.

After principal photography finished we began the post-production process. Our expert editors were able to turn around a rough cut within several days. Following the initial cut we brought in graphic designers and an animation specialist to create the titles and additional motion graphics work that the video need. We then worked a lot one-on-one with our client, the logistics team, as refined the cut so that each of the videos was an efficient, accurate but exciting to watch training tool.

The Disaster Logistics for Leaders/Professional Logistician videos will be exhibited at conventions, and distributed by The Regional Logistics Program in an effort to better prepare your local leaders and logisticians in your area in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. The recent events here in NY and NJ really brought home the importance of that, and we at Simba Productions are very proud of our work on these two videos, and we truly hope they will help make a difference in preparing our region and yours in the future.