Blog

As a freelancer, I’m not just behind a camera all day. I’m my own sales and marketing departments, too. Here’s my top five ways to make a personal brand stand out among a sea of contractors.

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On many video projects, there’s not much time for preparation. We show up at the call time and the camera is rolling an hour later. But, having the right equipment ready-to-go takes planning. A prep day is critical the day before a shoot to get things ready. Read More


The key task of a director of photography is controlling light. As the trend toward smaller and smaller crews continues, I’m finding myself on sets with just one or two grips, gaffers, or production assistants. Updated lighting technology and more sensitive cameras have reduced the bulkiness of indoor lighting. But outdoors, most cinematographers are using the same tools Hollywood did almost a century ago. I’ve been looking for new ways to creatively manage lighting for video outdoors. Here’s how I’ve been managing light outside on shoots with small crews this summer. Read More


I was hired to work as second unit cinematographer on “At the Fork,” a feature-length documentary film from executive producer Dave Matthews. The film follows people and animals throughout the farming process. My focus was on the junior swine competition at the 2015 Wisconsin State Fair. Read More


More than one-third of workers in the US are freelancers, according to a recent study by Freelancers Union, and the ranks of independent contractors are growing every year. Hiring freelancers can save your company big money in taxes, benefits, and other costs, but it comes with a different set of obligations that your staff and your HR department may not be used to.  Making your company easier for independent contractors to work with will help you draw the best freelance talent, and give you latitude when you’re negotiating for lower costs in future contracts. Read More


The Canon 5D mark III has been one of the most popular cameras for shooting video in low-budget applications ever. In 2012, it was the camera to use for reality, corporate, interviews, B-roll, and even some commercials.

Since 2012, it’s been completely outclassed, eclipsed, and out-priced.  It’s always been a great stills camera, but it’s time to send that dinosaur back to the still photographers.  In 2015 so far, I would guess I’ve been asked to use the 5D mark III as an A or B camera more than a dozen times. Whenever I can convince a producer/editor to make the move to something newer, I do.

Here’s a few reasons why producers are still shooting video on the Canon 5D mark III, and why they don’t make sense any more.
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I was recently approached by the Greater Milwaukee Committee, Southwest Airlines, and Kohl’s, to shoot a mini travel documentary about their Destination Innovation program. We covered the event as it happened in Milwaukee, San Francisco, and Milpitas over three days. The most exciting part of the project was documenting the competition on board a Southwest Airlines commercial flight between MKE and SFO. Working at 35,000 feet is something I’d never done before. Needing to be highly mobile, as well as TSA-compliant, meant I spent a lot of time choosing and trimming my camera kit. Read More


While most of my work is scripted commercials, TV, or movies, occasionally I get to work as a camera operator for live events. This summer, I was lucky enough to join High Five Entertainment of Nashville to shoot the Willis Clan’s appearance at Milwaukee’s Irish Fest. While there is much in common between live and scripted shooting, there are a lot of differences in the language we use. I teamed up with one of my favorite PAs to create this crash course for people finding themselves working on live video production for the first time. Read More


Once your project has a director, producer, cinematographer, and post-production supervisor/editor on board, it’s time to choose the right video camera that makes the most sense for your production. Here’s what you should consider before you pick your camera kit. Read More


While 99% of this blog will be about cinematography, I think it’s important that we’re all having a conversation about how we’re communicating online. This post is my contribution to that conversation.  I am an advocate for free and secure communications for everyone, and hope that one day all digital communications will be truly secure, end to end, without leaking metadata, by default. Read More