Been taking a lot of time to think about what started me off on my image making journey. First it was stories, and then drawing and painting was a way to bridge that gap. It allowed me to more effectively communicate with people.
When it came to photos and video it was as an outlet after my father died. I just picked up a camera and went half way around the world virtually alone , to just figure some shit out. I entirely fell into the role on a whim through a phonecall from a friend.
Now I'm at a point where I actually do this for a living and I'm connecting a few more dots along the way.
This shoot specifically takes me back to my art school days. Figure drawing. Form , light , texture and flow. The basics.
Going forward I'm focusing more on the art and letting go of the hang ups of the work mentality. Being business minded won't go away, just I see it as a point of importance to stay connected to the source of it all.
Stills from a scrapped project.
A year ago things were a little simpler, but this year is much clearer.
Shot on 35mm / Kodak Gold 200 / Nikon F3 / Nikkor 50mm f1.8
Testing lenses and looks with my nephew.
Red ISCO Anamorphic 2x
Taking lens: Nikkor 50mm 1.8
Camera - Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6k (3.7k anamorphic mode)
Testing a new anamorphic lens with my nephew.
ISCO Red 2x
Nikkor 50mm f1.8 Taking Lens
Rapido FMJ and FVD
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6k
#horror #cinematography #blackfilm
Today I assembled a blended anamorphic kit.
ISCO Red 2x
Rapido FMJ, and FVD
Nikkor 50mm F1.8 as a taking lens.
More to come.
Also for a full gear list , click here www.manikkrealm.com/kit.html
I've recently learned what I can and can't be casual about.
When I was a teenager I heard someone much older say, there comes a point when you have to start narrowing things down. At first I thought that I could do everything, but in time i learned that it's not entirely about your wants, it's just a matter of needs.
In time I started to see that there were things that I couldn't live without, and others that gave me no energy. Among the things that I did enjoy, a few things turned into more of an obsession. I'd find myself nerding out over image making a little more than normal. Drawing, painting, taking photos, and cinematography really stuck and I'd find myself thinking about those things on my free time. At that point it all made sense.
There comes a point where you'll no longer be casual about a few things. A casual participant doesn't dig deep into technique, or persist to break through fringe obstacles. A casual participant doesn't study for fun.
Lately I've been thinking about the grid. The grid being the ideas that keep us on the tracks that we're moving along.
I've been trying to figure out better ways to break patterns and make new ones. Is it rewards, is it schedules and charts, is it accountability partners?
So far it seems to be hinged on a need. Any wants that happen to be around just don't have the same gravity. They lack the same pull. The question then becomes, how does one develop a need. Is there a rational process that one can take to shift ideas from one category into the other?
It's like walking into a mansion and turning on lights to guide myself along the way. In part I'm already where I need to be going, in part I'm catching up to myself.
I stumbled on an odd combination.
Hoya IR Cut + Tokina 11-16 V
It blooms red with double rainbow rings, and creates a star pattern at times.
I've been gradually messing with kit combinations to get a specific look. After the camera captures all of the necessary data to craft the image you'd like , you can bend and tweak things. Sometimes it's grain , color shifts , levels , sharpness or lack of, lensing etc.
That then gets combined with the framing and lighting approach, and styles of camera movement.
It becomes something of a recipe in your cookbook.
If you want to dig in deeper I recommend checking out the display prep demos by Steve Yedlin.
ALSO , if you'd like to know about the equipment that I use on the daily you can check it out here.
I decided to pick up a new camera. Something that is super solid for travel work, light and easy to port around, but also delivers some solid quality. The blackmagic pocket cinema camera 6k checked all of the boxes for my list. I've personally rigged it up a bit but it's still very portable.
It's unreal how far technology has come. As I stepped out to shoot this clip with my little bro and my nephew it made me think about how this would blow my dad away if he could see it. Grateful for him putting a cam in my hands when I was a kid.
Side note , DaVinci Resolve has been immensely helpful. Recently I've picked up a few things to add into something of a workflow and it's proven very effective.
If you'd like to try out this camera for yourself I'm dropping an affiliate link below.
Also if you'd like to talk about workflow stuff feel free to drop a comment, or hit me up directly through my contact page.
This comes to mind every time that a new piece of tech is dropped. Too often people forget that if you look at a camera as a data collection machine, and know how to properly manipulate the data, the out of the box "looks" mean less and less.
Dig deep, as there's so much untapped potential in your gear.
Take an active role in your display prep.
Active authorship over passive use.
Overload. It's becoming more common. In the sea of information, and while using the most powerful tool that the masses have ever been given, it can at times be too much. It's not the raw potential that is too much, but the fact that information is almost becoming an echo chamber. Region to region we have to face down the issues of the era, but in knowing people who are on the same or even on opposing waves, the messages start to become repetitive. Along with this, it starts to become apparent that people are essentially yelling at clouds.
There is a clear difference between calls to action and venting.
Many times I find myself watching the equivalent of reality television unfold in the post or post-repost link through to comment sections. It's just discourse. People being mad or sad or shocked and sharing it. It has become almost automatic. This part right here is the major issue.
It's not that people aren't thinking as a whole, it's that people are only thinking about a part of the process that they're going through each day. They think about the issues, they reach their logical conclusion, and then they side with the post torrent that aligns with that view. After this they get swept up into the automatic process of spamming or parroting the ideology.
What's the danger in this? What's the harm?
The danger and harm come through in several points.
We burn time in doing this. Hours and hours spent over years pushing buttons to share ideas and get an emotional spike. The clashes, the likes, the energy. It burns TIME which we will NEVER be able to get back.
I speak of energy in terms of polarity. When we interact with things we train our minds. We train them to habitually flow through certain routes more easily. This can be done for productive means, and destructive means. We have a limited amount of energy each day, but this can very easily be squandered. This squandering or productive use begins to add up. Energy, like time is a limited resource. If you curate the flow of this energy and you reinforce the right polarity in its use, you will see exponential gains. Your life will naturally trend to the productive and positive side. This in turn leads to a deeper sense of fulfillment.
The repetitive hard wiring of actions can be both beneficial or detrimental. When actions slip into this automatic stage after heavy repetition, we essentially surrender all control of the active mind. Knowing which actions to put into the active and which to repeat until they become automatic will have a massive effect on your life. Professional basketball players repeat their motions so that in the heat of the game they don't have to think about how to hit a jump shot. The body simply does what it is supposed to do. If these repetitions are trained on things that are non productive or detrimental to the individual, when it counts, the person will fall automatically into doing the wrong thing. This adds up and can steer one into oblivion. (Dramatic but true)
To conclude :
If one's actions become automatic, and they drain the finite resources of time and energy , over and over again, every day , for years, the individual is essentially being robbed of their life by an automatic process. There is a solid way to avoid this. Actively limiting and at times completely removing the activities that have the potential to build up that automatic process.
A digital detoxification.
Yelling at clouds is the same as spinning wheels. It's action but it isn't a call to action.
Be conscious of where your time and energy go. Be conscious of your habits. It is great to join with allies and bring about positive change, but we must remain cautious of which actions we're actually participating in. Although something may feel productive, it's often necessary for us to step back and truly analyze what traction is actually being made.
- MANIKK -
It's truly a marathon.
Not everyone has the exact same experience during this new and unusual era, though I figure I could shed some light (although I do need more sun myself) on methods I've found to keep on track during this suburban Toronto area lockdown.
Overall it's come down to 5 major things.
1) Setting goals - on physical paper
When it comes to getting things done, physical and visible charts have been the most helpful to me.
As much as I could trust my superhuman (lie) memory to perfectly catalogue every single thing that I have to do in perfect order, it's still much much easier to simply write things down, order them by number based on importance, 1 being the most essential, and then setting a due date. Due dates are extremely important
(Short side note : When I was going through art school and trying to pick a solid study path, I always wondered why the animation students in general came out with a higher level of draftsmanship. I realized that they simply had to get more projects over the line. Deadlines coupled with a set quality standard and criteria make for a solid level up recipe. )
2) Targeting health and nutrition - without this , there's nothing to build on.
If your body doesn't work, you lose the game. (You've already lost the game because you're aware of the game - Am I telegraphing my age?)
Making sure to keep plenty of good clean , nutritionally balanced foods in your house, and to actually eat them and not the junk food that's conveniently placed to the left of them is essential. Also supplements are very useful ( vitamin D if you're not getting as much of that sun as you should)
3) Scheduling rest.
If you don't make time to just chill then you may never ever chill. It's common to want to just feel productive and think you need to be killin it 25/8 but it's not realistic. Work in cycles, rest in cycles, schedule it all. You'll thank yourself for following through on it.
4) Taking time to learn new skills
Keep your mind fresh. There's always more to learn, but once in a while picking up skills outside of your normal range will grant you some extra peace and a bit of mental flexibility. Innovation usually comes from combining things that haven't gone together before. If you'd like to know more check out Mastery by Robert Greene. (Click through for a direct link to the book) He gives an excellent and comprehensive look into what gets people from wherever into success.
5) Aim beyond the comfort zone. - Making a note of it to punch above my weight
I've learned that pushing the upper and outer limits of your skills is where you grow. Being comfortable is cool if you're running a money button situation ( A money button is a task that you can simply complete that generates solid revenue, as if it were a button. Low input with a reliable return) .
If you'd like to grow and achieve something a bit more remarkable then you'll need to go beyond the normal.
Stretch and you'll grow.
That's it. Those are the top 5 that have helped me keep on track.
Hopefully they'll help you out as well.
Let me know what you're targeting over the unforeseeable future and what processes you're using to stick to it.
This is near the top of the list when it comes to the skills that we all need to drill in order to be productive, and then prolific.
Even if one does not want to pump out tons of content, the ideal balance would be to maximize the time doing tasks that you truly love, and minimize the time doing tasks that you’d rather not. This brings us to time management itself. We’re only handed so many hours in a day and don’t have any flex on that (if you find a way then please tell me how).
The secret to effectively using your allocated time is to set LIMITS. Most times it’s not a lack of ability that stops us from being efficient, it’s often a lack of limits.
It’s said that the task stretches to the time allocated. You can probably think of a do or die situation when you had to turn in an assignment with a very near deadline and you managed to transform into something else, and magically get the task done. This latent ability is in you, but the main factor is the HARD LIMIT, set by immovable time constraints. The task had a short window, but it also took the extremely high priority spot on your to do list.
From this we can build a system that solves the problem.
FIRST we must decide what tasks are highest priority. This means, you’ll need to make a list of all of the to do items you have. Then decide which task will make the greatest impact. If you can’t choose one then limit it to the top 3.
A side note here, each day you will only tackle a maximum of two major tasks. This gives you ample breathing room.
When you have decided upon your top task, that has the most impact, you will next set a SOLID TIME CONSTRAINT. On top of this, you have the option of setting a consequence for not tackling the task.
This could be handing your friend 100 bucks, and not letting them give it back until the task is done. If you don’t complete the task in the day (or make significant progress) then they keep the money. This is a bit extreme, but sometimes a little motivation helps.
As a time constraint , 2 to 4 hours is a fair time block in most cases.
If you take this into account, and you have two major tasks a day, a solid working day would get you sorted out.
NEXT, you must prepare your work space. This is CRITICAL. Find an ideal working environment. It may require you to turn off your phone and throw it across the room. It may be to turn off your internet connection. It may be to use plugins such as “StayFocused” , an app I recommend, that sets time limits on your web browser for certain sites daily, and will lock you out as your time limit expires. Personally I tend to set aside a specific playlist to listen to when I’m working. Usually instrumentals work better, so that no words cross over into my writing. (I’m currently listening to my own instrumentals from my next album on repeat. I know them well so it’s just background noise to me. )
A secondary option is to pick up some 3M Earmuffs. They dampen sound so they’re useful for locking in focus (Though be careful and stay aware of your surroundings when wearing them) - Providing an affiliate link here for the ones I picked up - https://amzn.to/330G59E
Once your space is prepared and you’re optimized, you can go a step further. On a sheet of paper ( I strongly recommend paper over pc for this), Divide your task time in 15 minute increments. Then set checkpoints for your task in those lines. Set a stopwatch and when you’re working you’ll have steady goals to reach, or race against. It’s like time attack mode in a video game. This has worked plenty of times for me in college when I had to write essays that I would have otherwise put off until the last minute. Being able to burn down a task in a single sitting instead of stretching it over weeks was a godsend.
With these steps your time management should have a significant boost.
1)Sort high priority tasks - limit 2 per day
2)Set a solid time constraint - 2 to 4 hour blocks
3)Prepare your work space - and your task materials
4)Set up your time attack sheet - on paper.
5)GET TO WORK
Hope this has been of help.
I recently watched a clip by Geoff Boyle, talking about cinematography on Cooke Optics TV. I figured that it could be useful to share.
This topic hit home for me because my upbringing was in art. Painting and drawing were my home for most of my life.
Coming into cinematography I see the same thing. You can forget the numbers at a point and just focus on painting the image. Make it look right. Forget the numbers and paint. Does it look right? Are the colours right? Does it feel right? Can you understand what's happening in the context of the story? Are your eyes guided in the right place? Good. You're done.
This is the exact method that I've used to study everything that I know for the past few years.
The major issue with pursuit of anything is keeping the objective and efforts organized.
I developed the idea of using a game format skill tree to chart this.
When it hit me I was in college. I generally knew what I wanted to make but it had tons and tons of moving parts.
Fortunately the solution was simple. I took each section in larger chunks.
At that point it was Art , Film and Tech.
I went to college for animation and was heavy into the art stage, but it also doubled as a little bit of a film education.
Everything was done manually but we learned everything from pre-production to post. I knew that this would take years and years to complete but this was the method.
THE 1ST WAVE IS FOUNDATION.
You'll need to understand what it means to do the thing.
In art it's drafting, tone, rendering, colour, perspective ETC. Just the essentials to effectively make anything work visually. After that application of the first wave lead into specifics. Everything in the world. Organic and inorganic. Costume, clothing, was next. Last, Flair or design sense came in. After a base is established you can flip it any way you'd like. This process was then repeated for tech. I got to a certain point and understood enough to get what I needed in relation to the projected final result.
Currently I'm on the film part of the chart.
This is a deep avenue of study but it's getting there.
BONUS: THE SKELETON PORTFOLIO
Along the way my ideas had been cooking and I started to make a skeleton portfolio.
The idea of drafting the final before your skills are there to meet it is quite useful. This often includes, writing stories, premises, treatments, scripts etc. Also due to my prior experience in the art skill tree, I've been able to develop accurate concept art and storyboards for the ideas that I create.
When you have a shell version say 5 key pieces, you have pencil sketch versions of them.
You can keep them on a closed page of your site or as a mock up somewhere.
Over time you'll slot one of the roughs out with an updated version.
You keep doing this until they're all done.
After the tree is completed, you batch that tree under 1 "node" and you can either scale that idea up as an expert,
or you can repeat the steps with other branches to develop a more complicated final skill.
Think like an rpg, or Naruto lol. You can stack elements on top of each other to form new techniques.
Go out now and make your own skill tree.
Think of your final longer term goal.
Break down the areas of study.
Tackle them piece by piece starting with the raw foundation.
Something about street photography always calls me back.
The idea that fashion can be blended with architecture and a bit of spontaneity always carries with it a certain energy.
For this shoot I spent some time with my friend and model Yusra Bijou.
She styled her own look and I picked locations that would compliment it.
The core of what I wanted to express was the air of a dancer. Although she's not one herself, the museum like elegance of the hard architectural lines matched with her pastel clothing and posture seemed fitting.
Here are several select pieces from our outing.
Recently I picked up a Steadicam Scout system.
It's SDI so I've had to figure out another way to patch through an hdmi signal.
Also this is a 2nd hand kit, and the internal sdi cable has to be replaced.
I tested the blackmagic hdmi to sdi adapter which works well but lead me to finding out about the sled's inner workings weren't working lol.
In the meantime I found a simple solution of running an hdmi cable around the sled itself into my atomos ninja v.
Currently I'm running monitor power at the bottom of the stage from a v lock battery, and at the top using an anker pd26800 patched into the camera and the follow focus motor. I've added on a second smallrig clamp to slot in another anker battery just in case i'd like to power the other parts or swap quickly.
As an additional little thing, I've mounted the wheel of my tilta nucleus n to the handle so that I can get something of a thumb wheel going.
I've got quite a bit more to test but I'll see how it goes and post again here in the devlog.
It's all about people.
The people you travel with, and the ones you learn from.
No matter what we do, it's all about people.
Build your own. Your own reel, your own art.
Too often people can get caught up in frameworks of dependency.
Relying or wishing on others to complete the picture for them.
In truth, this is not the most effective way.
You must build momentum yourself.
Build your own bridge forward as you walk.
Personally, when I was learning how to be an artist, I just created.
It was pencil and paper and simplicity and all of the time in the world stretched to fit my will.
As I moved into film I found a bit of a divide.
Due to much of this being a collaborative process, I started to slow down.
I created but much more frequently in my books than on recorded film / digital media.
From now, I’m setting out to change that. It may take a simple push.
It may take the form of restructuring my projects.
It may take me moving to the other side of the planet.
Whichever way it will be done.
In truth, this is why this space was created, Manikk Realm.
It’s a home, a place for my mind and yours to meet and talk.
Brutal patience and sensitivity. In film we control the flow of time. You can pull at the strings of one's soul.
The more that I create, the more I come to understand this. It takes a specific type of bravery to guide the spectator and make them an active participant. Brutality in patience is knowing that you have the room to lock one’s gaze or free them. Cutting away isn’t always the best answer. Speeding things up isn’t always the best answer. In deciding how you’d like to feel while sitting in front of a sequence of events, you can better decide how to call your cuts and what shots to hold.
Sensitivity is necessary as it allows us to access varied levels of awareness. The audience, the participants in the project’s creation, and the cultural context that the media is enjoyed ( or hated ) in is only accessible once you attain a reasonable degree of sensitivity. At times you might not even understand why you feel something , but as long as you know that its there , you can put it to use as a compass in creation.
It’s a great gift, time. Being able to manipulate the perception of time is powerful, so feel free to take your active participants on an adventure. It may just change some lives, yours included. Also remember to play. Remind THEM to play.
“It was a musical thing, and you were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played. “- Alan Watts
On a journey. Searching for something. Sharing what's found.