Here’s a quick video I made with local Kalamazoo band, Please Promise.
Please Promise talks about their newest single “Making Me New”.
Sonlight Christian Camp has come a long way from showing photo slide shows on hand cranked projectors to showing high definition highlight films. While being a videographer at Sonlight you not only experience one side of camp as a counselor or as a support staff member, but you experience the entire camp as a whole. Not only are you capturing memories, but you’re doing work in every part of camp from washing dishes to being upfront with the campers telling them about God. You’re the one that’s staying up the latest, waking up earliest, stressing a lot, and also the one that feels like you’re the most involved at camp knowing what happens from every aspect.
Of course the people, the food, the relationships, and the overall experience of being at Sonlight is amazing, but the best part about being a videographer specifically and exclusively is experiencing the feelings of when an audience views your work. When the campers, and their parents laugh, and tell each other about how amazing their weeks were while watching your highlight film gives you the most amazing feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. After the applause when your video is finished and you’re packing up, everyone from parents, to campers, to staff members always tell you how great your work is. Finally, the last part in this trip of feelings is knowing when parents and campers purchased your videos and that when they watch your videos again at home memories can spark a conversation and God could come alive at home through the highlight videos. It feels like you have butterflies in your stomach mixed in with warmth of endless happiness. It puts a huge smile on your face and puts you in the best mood ever.
Rom 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Being a videographer at camp is not about the money, it’s about the amazing experience of capturing the experiences and memories at camp and being able to share them with everybody so that those memories can live on forever.
It’s been a while since I updated my video list tab, so I updated it with all the films and visual effect videos that I made in the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013. Lots of gems both good and bad, and a lot of stuff that has been unlisted on my youtube channel. I also uploaded and posted a demo reel from 2012 to 2013 that I made for a class at the bottom of this blog post.
I also would like to apologize that I haven’t been true to my audience. I know that many of you have subscribed to my channel and website thinking that you were going to be seeing a load of amazing visual effects and be able to learn how to do them. I’m greatly sorry for my YouTube leave of absence. A new school year is upon me and I have been granted a very special opportunity again to reignite the flame and blow the minds that have watched my videos. Stay tuned because there’s some good stuff in store.
About 4 months ago, I made this video to present to someone interested in changing the color of a campfire. It’s been sort of a family tradition and because there isn’t any videos similar to this already on Youtube, I decided to publicly uploaded so any can change the color of their campfire.
Things you’ll need:
-3/16ths sized drill bit
-a copper pipe about an inch wide and a foot long.
-some gardening hose about a foot long.
-a metal coat hanger
-a vice to hold your pipe( optional)
-a pair of pliers to help bend the metal (optional)
-Mark alongside your pipe every 2 inches.
-Rotate your pipe 90 degrees and mark every other inch.
-Drill holes all the way through the pipe from where each of the marks are at.
-Use a drill bit to scrap out the sharp edges.
-Bend the coat hanger and put it through the top holes of the pipe, create a small handle.
-(Optional) Shrink the end of the pipe down with some pliers so that the garden hose doesn’t fall out.
-Insert the garden hose and place inside the fire.
I apologize for the camera shake. The 50mm f/1.4 lens would be great if it had IS. More regularly reoccurring videos to come of visual effects, tutorials and more.
I took an evening and updated the entire blog, minus the header, and the demo reel. When I return to Michigan, I will have the demo reel replaced with a 2012-2013 version. Everything else, information wise, has been reviewed and updated.
If you see any spelling mistakes or anything please tell me so I can fix it. I’m not an error free human, I do make mistakes.
There’s a saying out there that goes, ” You are only be as good as your equipment is.” I highly disagree with this statement but it brings up a good topic, when as an artist do I upgrade my equipment? My answer is, the best time to upgrade is when either society demands you to upgrade or when you need to upgrade to make artistic change. I guess the only way I can explain this is by giving examples of when I actually upgraded my equipment.
I first made videos on my parents’ Sony Cybershot camera that recorded in like a 360×280 setting which I uploaded and edited everything on an old desktop computer on Windows movie maker. A majority of these crappy videos that I made are private now on Youtube but all the equipment was perfect for the time being. I was solely making videos for fun and didn’t need anything special. You first have to determine what you need as oppose to what works for you. If everything runs perfect why would you ever upgrade?
You begin to upgrade when you know modern technology is beyond you. The age of high definition cameras were coming out and I finally had some birthday money saved up for an HD camcorder. I had a desire to make my videos higher quality and to make them better and more enjoyable. I watched thousands of videos on YouTube studying what camcorder I wanted and finally purchased a Canon HF20 over a Canon HF10. I still use the HF20 today whenever I’m on the go and don’t feel like using a dslr. Switching from a camcorder to a dslr wasn’t really a hard upgrade thanks to many resources such as Dave Dugdale that help you understand dslrs. I knew the benefits that dslrs had over camcorders but the reason I got a Canon Rebel T3i was because my HF20 was acting up and I needed a camera for a job. A need.
The issue I’m finding now is when do I upgrade my lenses? I got a perfectly good Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens off ebay for $160, the kit 18-55mm lens and a 55-250mm lens. When I upgrade lenses will I go full frame and get a 5Dmark III? I probably will once the raw video gets figured out completely with magic lantern because that quality rivals the Black Magic Cinema Camera . I do think that will be my breaking point where I’ll upgrade again and start to buy L lenses. Once all my lenses from my wish list are purchased I’ll probably go for a red epic or scarlet with a Leica Noctilux 50mm f/0.95. Who knows…
I think that it’s important to realize that once you’ve maxed out your potential with your equipment then I think you’ll be ready to upgrade to make a better artistic change to better yourself. My T3i and I have a long way to go still but below is my wishlist for the future when I get more money.
-A Canon 5D Mark III for quality boost, low light performance boost, and full frame. I’ve played with one and they are nice.
-A White Canon EOS M w/ 22mm lens for convenience with EF Mount. I fell in love with the white version of this camera. It’s so cute for a nice date camera. A T3i or 5D Mark III would be crossing the line a little bit on a date.
-GoPro Hero 3, I’ve played around with a GoPro Hero 1 and now with the Hero 3, I’m excited for the boost in quality and everything.
-A Tamrom SP 24-70mm f/2.8 DI VC USD Lens for walk around. All purpose travel lens. The image stabilization/ vibration control makes it worthy.
-A Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens. For sports, nature, and animal photography. One of the best on the market.
-A Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens to replace my f/1.4 lens.
-A Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM Lens. Known as one as Canon’s sharpest lenses. Could get into portraits or just about anything.
-A Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM Macro Lens. For Macro Photography.
-A Canon EF 8-15mm f/4 Fisheye USM Lens. Fisheye, a toy lens for fun.
-A Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L Lens for landscapes and nature.
I’m working again at Sonlight Christian Camp this summer in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. There are tons of new faces working this time around whom I’m positive I’ll be making lifelong friendships with. We just finished up our staff training and I thought I’d share with you a little story about my adventures in the mountains this past weekend. I could have died so it’s pretty interesting I guess.
A group of about 12 staff members planned on going up a mountain ridge about 12,000ft above sea level where they would camp in a meadow near a lake, summit Pagosa Peak, roughly over 12,500ft, and then hike back down the next afternoon. I heard some news that it would be below freezing that night in Pagosa Springs, roughly 7,000ft, and I couldn’t imagine sleeping in a place where temperatures could be even colder. I told my friend Grant that I wouldn’t go but as staff members began packing up their items, I fell into a slight bit of peer-pressure and I ended up going up the mountain.
As we packed our backpacking bags, I knew my little 30 degree temperature sleeping bag wouldn’t be enough so I rented out a mummy bag from one of our camp buildings. I had roughly 25 pounds in my backpack as we began our accession up the mountain. Not very much camera stuff but clothes, lots of warm layers and some food that we purchased before we made it to the trail head. Around 8:30pm, the sun was setting and our group was just getting over the ridge. Our front leader said there was only ten minutes until we reached our destination but she didn’t factor in snow. If a path isn’t cleared, walking on snow and ice can lead to your death if you slip and slide right off the mountain. I was using my monopod as a walking stick when I walked over the snow so even if I slipped my monopod would still be caught in the ice. With the snow it would have taken us another 30 minutes to reach our destination if we continued our hike but we didn’t. At this point in time I couldn’t see our leader in front of us. It was pitch black, and windy I immediately began putting on warmer layers. It was so numbingly cold I couldn’t feel my fingertips.
We were about halfway through the snow when someone suggested that we head back, away from the wind and sleeping on the trail. Everyone agreed and began rushing over the snowy paths to find a spot to warm up at. Everyone moved so fast we didn’t realized half of our group was missing when we made it back to the trail. I gave a walky-talky to someone in the group that was split up from us but the communications were jammed. We didn’t hear from them for about 30 minutes. During this time, one of our staff members from the other group was sliding down the snow but was caught by another staff member. People were freaking out but others were confident that they would return to the group. I was with the group that made it back to the trail and I was in my mummy bag with my legs sweating. Mummy bags are surprisingly very warm and you’re even encouraged to sleep naked so that you can be warmer in your bag. If I wouldn’t had grabbed that bag however I may have gotten hypothermia.
Everyone cuddled together between two logs while I laid on the trail with two other guys. The trail was not flat and it was not soft. I slept for maybe 2 hours on and off but a majority of the group had the same if not less sleep. One amazing thing that I took away from this experience was the view of the night sky. Not once in my life have I looked up at the sky to see so many stars. I didn’t take any photos of it because my fingers were numb but it was definitely a sight I won’t forget. Below is a picture of the mountain range that my group of 13 people slept on. I left with a bunch of bruised shoulders, hip bones, and another crazy backpacking story to add to my memories.
There’s probably a ton more unreleased John Mayer songs out there on the internet. If you find any let me know:
Alrighty so let me bring you guys up to speed on what I’m doing. I heavily apologize if I don’t upload very many videos this semester. I’m taking 16 credits worth of classes, and I’m working part-time at WGVU, the local PBS station, doing shows and whatever else they tell me to record such as sporting events.
One other big thing that I’m doing right now is that I’m working on a documentary with some real professionals that could potentially reach platforms outside of PBS such as ESPN. Details can be found here http://charliepryor.net/donate-cuba/, but the general idea of this documentary is the story of the second baseball team in American history that was given the opportunity to go over to Cuba to play against Cuba’s baseball team. This documentary is counting as an Independent Study so I will receive 3 credits when all is said and done.
I’m not saying that this schedule is hard or impossible for me but it really limits the time I have to make videos for the YouTubes. Again I’m sorry but what I’m doing is for the best interests of my future career. I’d love to just make videos on YouTube and do that full-time but while I’m at college I must take advantage over the resources and opportunities that are available.
Merry Christmas Everyone and Happy New Year from your filmmaker pal Ryan Rakowski. Lots of stuff is in plan for these next couple of months. My work schedule and class schedule are a little more flexible so more videos will be uploaded. The New Years resolution is a video a week. I hope I can keep to this resolution, here are a few videos that I have lined up for 2k13.
-Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens Disassembly and Reassembly- I made a half hour long video on how to disassemble and reassemble the lens however I need to re-edit and re-record audio for it to make it less than 10 minutes. A half hour is a bit too much. I also believe that being able to take apart an EF lens is good to know so you don’t ever have to go to Canon if you ever have a problem with your lens. Fix it yourself!
-HDR VIDEO + FREE LENSING VIDEO
-Visual Effect tests for work- I’ve been doing some VFX tests for work and I’ve been needing to upload my work.
-How To Change Multiple Video File Extensions Quick Without Converters- This is a remake from a video I made on my other channel. Something that I think every film and video person should know how to do.
-Super 8 Lens Flare Project- This is a project I started last year but stopped after Janurary, the link is to my old blog so you can see my post about it: http://ryanrakowskiblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/new-task-recreating-super-8-lens-flares.html
-FumeFX Tutorials: I have 3dmax and Fumefx now I just have to start some tutorials and post my results.
I leave you with one last video that I did for Please Promise, a local Christian Punk Rock band from Kalamazoo, Michigan that I did a video for. It’s a music video that puts you into the life of the band on a typical holiday day: