How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Living in an expensive city doesn’t mean it’s an excuse to NOT eat healthy. It’s expensive but there are certainly ways to stay fit with your diet while on a budget.

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I want to share a few tips to support you in your health goals while you keep your grocery store budget!

  • Consider a healthier and cheaper diet by limiting the amounts of animal products you consume. Meet, fish, cheese and poultry is not only quite expensive, it raises your cholesterol levels, increases your risk of heart disease by clogging your arteries. Get your protein and calcium from far more nutritious plant based sources instead such as beans, legumes, leafy greens and nuts and seeds! Did I mention it is cheaper for you?
  • Think a little bit further than the very moment or the very hour. Yes, you may be able to fill your stomach quick, easy and cheap by passing through a fast food restaurant. But since the food is so nutrient deprived and raises your blood sugar sky high, you will be hungry in no time, you will want to eat much larger portions and be so tired youre unlikely to get anything productive done. Eating nutrient rich foods, high in fiber will allow you to feel satisfied with much smaller portions for a much longer period of time and will give you the energy you need to be productive and get something done!
  • You can shop organic and cheap in New York! You can find online stores that sell in bulk, for great prices. You can buy in bulk also from Whole foods. You can get pretty nice prices for healthy foods at Trader Joes and you can buy many bags filled with organic fresh fruits and vegetables for a great bargain at Gristedes! Ideally you want to buy all organic and local if possible but we all know that can be a challenge both seasonally and for the wallet. How ever a few items I certainly want to stress on being organic at all times as they have been found to be the fruits and vegetables with highest levels of toxic chemicals.

TOP FOODS to buy ORGANIC:

  • Peaches and Nectarines
  • Apples- Strawberries and blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Spinach and other greens
  • Cherries
  • Sweet potatoes and other potatoes

Make simple dishes. This is very cleansing to your body and specially if you have had a hard time digesting foods or are looking to get in shape, your body will appreciate the simplicity in your meals which allows it to digest better and therefor use more of the nutrients your meal provides.

For instance: Cook one grain such as Quinoa or Brown rice that you bought bulk (add little salt and some olive oil when cooked for flavor), choose two of your favorite vegetables such as sweet potatoes and broccoli and sautee them with onions, garlic and olive oil (in order to use less oil, water sautee the veggies first start with onion, then add the minced garlic, then the cut sweet potatoes and finally the broccoli and only add 1Tbs of oil at the end)! Use sea salt, pepper, umebushi plum vinegar or your favorite dried herbs to add flavor.

A very simple, nutritious, tasty, quick and cheap dinner to make casually instead of the salmon with 4 different sides..

So all you need is a little bit of creativity and you can start eating healthy on the daily and  it will be light in calories and in your pocketbook!

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Make Your Video Look Like A Cinematic Film

As a video production company, it’s necessary we achieve the “Film Look” in every project to impress our clients. If not, we’ll be out of the job because the competition is that fierce in the event videography industry.

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A common dream among independent filmmakers shooting digitally is to deliver a movie that looks like it was shot on 35mm with a huge budget. We want to impress people and there is a certain look that says, ‘you are a real filmmaker!’

The Film Look

The basic look of film can be broken down into technical factors and style factors.

Technically, film is shot in whole frames (progressive frames in the video world), at a frame rate of 24 frames per second, and the sensitivity of film to light tapers off in the highlights and shadows.

Stylistically, there is a well established process of lighting and shooting movies that is distinct from the the way video is generally produced.

There are a number of things you can do to give the illusion that your movie was shot on film.

Creating the ‘Film Look’ with Video

Light it like film. This is the easiest way to distinguish your movie from the typical ‘shot-on-video’ movie. Do not just turn on your camera and start shooting. The lighting on a big budget feature film is carefully planned to create a specific mood and look for the movie. You may not have a giant budget, but there are things you can do to improve the quality of the lighting in your projects. One cheap trick to better lighting – buy a white Chinese paper light and hold it just out of frame when shooting close-ups. The soft glowing light is flattering to your actors.

  • Move the camera like a film. A film camera loaded with 35mm film is heavy. You can not just grab it with one hand and start shooting. Because of this, Hollywood has created a huge variety of devices to hold and move cameras – dollys, cranes, SteadiCams, and more. Move your camera the same way that big budget films do and viewers will subconciously identify the look as ‘film like.’ Nothing says ‘video’ like handheld cameras bouncing around.
  • Do Not Zoom!!!! Feature films rarely zoom-in during a shot. If the camera needs to get closer to something, they move it. In the 70’s zooms were often used as cheap dolly-shot substitutes on TV shows and that is what people will be reminded of if they see a zoom in your movie.
  • Put your camera on manual. Learn how to control the focus and exposure of your camera manually. Auto-focus and auto-exposure are great features for grandparents videotaping a kid’s soccer game. But, they scream amatuer in a movie. When the focus shifts or the exposure changes in a shot it should be because you planned it that way and not because the camera was guessing at the best settings.
  • Shoot in 24p mode. If you have a newer camera and it is capable of shooting in 24 frames-per-second progressive mode, use it. Film frames are captured one whole frame at a time at 24 frames per second. If you use the same frame rate and capture whole frames (progressive), your movie will have a more film-like quality. This makes a huge difference. One caution, fast camera moves will cause a strobing effect in progressive mode that does not happen when shooting interlaced video. Be prepared to slow down a little.
  • Deinterlace your footage. If your camera does not support progressive mode and you have to shoot interlaced video, de-interlacing in post production will create a similar effect to shooting in progressive mode. The downsides are that you will have to process every frame which will lead to some degradation of the image and, because you are basically throwing out half of the vertical resolution of the video, you will lose detail and sharpness. There are some software plugins, like DVFilm Maker, that will do an ‘intelligent’ de-interlacing that preserves much of the detail. This software will also convert 30 frame-per-second video to 24 fps.
  • Adjust your curves. The sensitivity of film to light has not even. Video chips record brightness in even increments from pure black to pure white. Film’s sensitivity gradually eases in from pure black and gradually eases out to pure white. This creates a characteristic look in the shadows and highlights. In post production you can apply a curves adjustment to your video and introduce a slight ‘S’ shape in the curve. The effect will be immediately appearant. The dark areas will get more dense and the highlights will spread out a little. A little goes a long way. DVInfo.net has an excellent tutorial demonstrating this effect.

Conclusion

These techniques may not fool the trained eye, but they will go a long way toward convincing everyone else. They will certainly make your finished movie appear more like it was shot on film. Have fun experimenting with the techniques and do not be afraid to try a few tricks of your own.

Budget Wedding Ideas for the Rustic Bridal Couple

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Weddings are all about various styles, based on the tastes of the wedding couple. There are some who like wrestling themes and Star Wars themes. Other people prefer a traditional wedding that can be remembered for a long time so they stay the traditional route (i.e. white wedding dress, a church and a well dressed hunk of a man!).

There there’s a rustic wedding. What exactly is a rustic wedding? It’s a wedding that emphasizes nature and anything organic (trees and bark). One could say it’s a David Thoreau type of wedding. You could even say it’s a tree hugger wedding. However, you define it – rustic weddings are a niche of its own and deserves attention from professional wedding videographers and couples looking for a unique style.

The most important part of a wedding is the ceremony because it is the time that the couple will be able to share their love for one another and make a vow to stick together through thick and thin. Some couples may opt to spend a small amount on their wedding in order to have savings for life after the “I dos”. This is where budget wedding ideas come in handy. We will go over some great decorative ideas for the rustic bridal couple that will make a bang without hurting the budget.

Look at these interesting budget wedding ideas to be used for the ceremony or reception area:

  • Glass jars. The ideas that you can come up to utilize these glass jars is endless. If you want a centerpiece, you can gather different sizes and shapes together. Insert sand into the jars and place a candle in the middle.
  • Corks. Gather corks together and intertwine wire into it. This is easily made into table card holders. It is simple yet elegant.
  • Barrels. There are a lot of things you can do with these too. You can use different sized barrels for a side of your reception area. This definitely speaks of a rustic feel. You can also fill up the barrels with ice and use them as coolers for your drinks.
  • Candles. You cannot go wrong with candles to create a romantic ambiance. Place some small candles along the lawn in the shape of a heart. This is not only captivating to the eye, but it makes a great picture too.

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  • Herbs. Get some cute little herbs that you can very well plant yourself and place them at the centre of the table. Not only will it make a table centrepiece but it can also be used as a wedding favour that guests can pick up on the way home.
  • Rustic Wedding Cards. You can use classic white white or be adventurous and go with peach, highlighted by light brown to match the nature setting of your wedding. If in doubt, think of the type of design that would catch the eye of a David Thoreau type of person.
  • Vintage books. These can actually be rented in specialty shops. These are also quite popular for rustic weddings. It adds a distinct color and classical style to the wedding. You can adorn the tables with them. You can put the wedding cards on them. They are a versatile piece that would work well in rustic weddings.

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  • Mismatching chairs. Having a rustic wedding is being different. A great way to accentuate the uniqueness of this style is to forego matching chairs. Add white long chairs. Add brown chairs. Have fun in designing your set.
  • Old suitcases and carts. Another option to create that rustic look is to throw in old, ragged luggage as part of the decor. You can easily get crates from old warehouses in your neighborhood, or find an antique shop willing to rent or sell you several on the cheap. If that doesn’t work, there’s always eBay and other online stores to get what you need. This is the advantage of being in the Internet Age.

Hopefully, these ideas will help you get started on planning for a rustic wedding. It’s definitely a unique style of wedding. If you can get all the items above, then great! However, most likely you’ll have to pick and choose what to bring to the wedding. Any combination above will ensure that you’ll have an amazing rustic wedding.

10 Valuable lessons on “Making It”

I just got an epiphany today. After having my java bean, mocha iced coffee (during the ice storm!) I realized that making movies and wedding videography is all about telling compelling stories. If you know how to tell good stories, then you can make videos that can have an emotional impact on your customers.

I thought it’d be cool to share what I learned from my mentor in college, who was a prominent Hollywood producer. Here are ten valuable lessons on storytelling in movies:

  1. Take classes on storytelling. Whether it is for screenplays or writing novels, it’s good to actually have the technical know-how on how to construct a cohesive story. Learn how to construct a great opening, a compelling middle and a kick-in-the behind ending that will make the viewer remember your video for a long time.
  2. Be prepared for failure and rejection. Trying to make it into Hollywood or for any entertainment niche, it’s hard. It’s probably the hardest thing anyone can try to attempt. There are many competitors and there are many obstacles in the way. It’s good to know before you begin that it’s going to be a long, hard process and to never give up on your hopes and dreams!
  3. Give yourself an hour of self-pity. Building upon point #2, we’re not man (or girl) of steel. We are human. We must take time to cry it out or as Julia Roberts say in “Pretty Woman” veg it out in front of a TV. It’s a form of letting your frustrations and fear out of you. Get your mind straight so you’re ready to get back in the game.
  4. Experiment with different things. We all get stuck on page 45 every now and then. Instead of plowing through with mediocre writing, put the screenplay down. Try something else like painting or joining a Meetup group on screenwriting. Heck, make Youtube videos about screenwriting or making films. Do something different. This broadens your perspective in life and exposes you to different things that you can write about in your screenplay.
  5. Network and develop relationships. In Hollywood and life in general, it’s about who you know and not what you know in most cases. Especially in Hollywood, even if you write the next “War and Peace”, no one will care if no one is willing to fund your movie or documentary. You need powerful friends in Hollywood because as I stated before it’s a competitive industry and everyone’s building a network of contacts to get their ideas funded and backed. So you should too.
  6. Learn to laugh and have a good sense of humor. This will help you deal with #2. You will have many rejections and naysayers. It will be easy to give up and put the keyboard down (or smash it through a window), but it’s important to keep going. Having a good sense of humor will help you deal with hard times.
  7. Key to cinematography is to have fun. We’re all into making videos or making art because we love it. Don’t forget the number one rule is to always have fun doing what you’re doing. If you’re not enjoying it, then why bother continuing. Life is too short.
  8. Don’t neglect life over business. Yes, it’s tempting to take that writing job to write about “Porn Stars and Aliens from Neptune” but really is it worth it? Unless you love porn and have a weird affinity with A.L.F. from Neptune, it’s not worth degrading yourself to write or make videos about stuff you care nothing about. Think about what inspired you to write in the first place. Is it because of a lost loved one? Is it because you have cool friends and think you can create the next great sitcom? Remember the things in life that inspired you and let that be the main driver for your art. Never let your choices be dictated by how much money you can make by writing “Porn Stars and Aliens from Neptune.”
  9. Spend money on film festivals. This goes with #5 very well. Again, the filmmaking business is all about who you know. Getting into festivals or even just starting a Youtube channel is worth your time. It’s important to get your stuff out there. Get it critique. Build a following. Gain followers. In time, people will come seeking for you because they will love the stuff you are writing and producing.
  10. Always have passion. This goes again with many points in this David Letterman-esque Top 10 list. Don’t ever succumb to the lure of money in Hollywood. Do it because you love it. If you do this, you will succeed in making movies, writing screenplays or making a living off cinematography.

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It’s been frustrating trying to make it as a cinematographer in New York. This is what inspired me to remember and record what my college mentor taught me. I thought this would be useful for all my fellow NYC videographers, filmmakers, screenwriters and artists out there.

Making Money as NYC Cinematographer

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I was at my favorite coffee shop the other day, and I came across this other guy who wanted to become a full-time cinematographer like me. We’re both recent film grads and really hit it off because we both agreed how hard it is to make money as a filmmaker in NYC. What he did tell me was try to make money off weddings. Check out their awesome content here:

2Bridges Productions

Here’s a recent wedding they shot at the Botanical Gardens in Bronx, New York City:

I think I’m going to give this wedding thing a shot. I do have fancy cameras just sitting around in my living room. Although Daddy was nice enough to buy all this stuff for me, I still gotta learn how to use it and make cinematic videos:

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So for anyone looking to hire a wedding cinematographer – think of me! So that was my disclosure of who I am, and now I’m going to give free advice to my potential customers.

How to Make a Cinematic Wedding Video

Conversing with your wedding videographer is extremely important to get the video recording that you would like. Discuss the theme of your wedding and what occasions are important for you. If you’re buying a cinematic or movie like effect, make sure to avoid any talk about plain camera placement – you will need those cameras in real time for shooting your entire day as it naturally unfolds. Ensure that your wedding videographer can attend your rehearsal or at least he knows its location, and the positioning of your reception, well beforehand – it’s essential for planning the shooting of event. Here in this article you will find valuable information about How to Make a Cinematic Wedding Video.

It is not just the video but the Movie

Typically, the most popular kind of wedding videography is the cinematic wedding video, which eventually ends up looking similar to a brief film or movie. It is sometimes taken with only 1 camera but often with two or more. While one cameraman targets filming the marriage from start till end, the other wedding videographer is capturing different footage including interviews and other shots that are later found in the production for making of a far more artistic finished product. They are more costly and could involve many editing to be able to create the required effects of a far more cinematic or movie style creation.

The wedding industry has evolved completely. Several trends have been introduced in the marriage video industry during the last ten years. It has witnessed Great deal of changes and advancements. From many documentary videos of long duration to a brief cinematic film. I believe the DSLR trend  has played a significant role in for this revolution.

What you should think about to make your video stand out:

  • Content is king: Videographers must work on the content of wedding videos. What content should be there in the finished product becomes important. If it’s a candid picture taking, we can continue capturing it during special occasions. However when it comes to film, you must have an outline prior to wedding starts.
  • Strategy:  This is one of the most important stages for Cinematic Wedding Video as well as wedding itself. Whether you just need photographs or regular videos or creative wedding film – we have to plan beforehand about how we are going to shoot and what exactly are the events that will be covered. It certainly is better to talk to the wedding organizers or you can talk to your friends about the most important events directly, including their timings and just how they carry out.
  • Tools: This determines how your cinematic wedding video is going to appear. We didn’t want to skip the content we wanted for the film. You’re gonna want cool cameras like this.
  • Post edit magic: This is when you’ll need Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro or other high end editing tools. You can have amazing footage but it’s in the edit where the magic happens. This is where you can turn ordinary home videos into cinematic films that people pay top dollars for.

Shots that should be included in a wedding video:

Shot 1: Bride-to-be and Bridesmaids getting ready

What’s the feeling of the dressing room? Is everyone tense? Anxious? What they are wearing? So how exactly does it have an impact on the ambiance of the area?

Shot 2: Bridegroom and Groomsmen getting ready

Is the style of location is Stoic? Funny? What’s the feeling between son and his parents? It will be an enjoyable experience to catch an alternative side of Father. Check out what my friendly cinematographer shot:

Shot 3: Excitement about Pre-Ceremony 

Many times this occurs whilst getting ready, it comes right before the wedding ceremony, but there’s always a point where in fact the day truly becomes crucial to the groom and bride, and you may feel it in the air. You cannot predict what will happen any time, but it’s much easier to capture if you are keeping an eye out for the right moment. Talk about it to your wedding videographer.

Shot 4: Marriage ceremony and the Reception

These brief occasions are the most unique to you and your wedding. This is an enjoyable experience to go over particular events, personal touches, and the theme of your wedding.

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Here’s a comprehensive list of must shots for a wedding:

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That’s a lot of shots, but then again that’s why you pay top dollar for your wedding guy (or gal!) to shoot your wedding.

Why Choose Me as Your Wedding Videographer!

First, its important to have open communication with your camera person. That person has to be truthful and have full disclosure about their services. I’ve shown you above that I do care about your wedding and I am always available to chat!

I charge a base $800 for just the raw footage and the other cool cinematic stuff we can negotiate. No wedding is too big or too small. Even if you have 1,000 guests I can get others to help me out, like my buddies here.

I’m still working on my website, but I do have a blog (follow me!). I’m not just anyone with a camera. I’m actually someone who wants to shoot a kick-ass cinematic wedding video that you can cherish for a lifetime.