Back to Video & My First Documentary

George here again!

   Lately I've been doing a lot of photo related things. Be it macro photography, wide angles, composites etc. And that's great! I love doing that stuff, but it felt like I was doing the same thing over & over. I thought of a short term sea change, and it hit me. VIDEO! Why not? I used to do a lot of it. Albeit I might not have a camera that shoots very good video, but why would I let that stop me?

This is my most recent piece that I shot, edited, and directed:

   My first documentary! Not only was it nerve wracking, but it was my real taste at making an actual piece of actual professional video content. Let me take you through the process I took to see this from beginning to end.


   This was tricky. I had never shot anything of this sort before. I may have done some "demo-reel" style videos for others, but never a story piece with a beginning, middle, and end. I had to plan this out completely different.

   What helped me get the story out was to physically write out the structure for the Hero's Journey. For those of you who don't know, the Hero's Journey is the basic structure for storytelling. For more information on it, watch this highly educational video:

And after that I saw this video:

   After watching these videos, I figured out what & how I was going to ask the questions. Below are the questions I asked:

 1)  What was your first exposure to Spanish?

 2)  Of the many Languages to learn, why Spanish?

 3)  What were some of the challenges you faced in learning Spanish?

 4)  How did you overcome those challenges?

 5)  Why did you want to become a Spanish teacher?

 6)  Any advice for those wanting to learn a foreign language?

And with that done, I rolled into Principal Photography.

Principal Photography:

   The easiest/hardest part of the interview; actually conducting it. We had to figure out when/where to meet. Once we got that settled, it was time to go to the location. What happened after that... funny story. I was driving to the location we were planning on shooting, then out of the corner of my eye I saw him driving past me. In an instant, I parked, got out, and chased him for a good block and a half (and keeping up with the car to boot). Realizing that I wasn't going to catch him, I stopped and gave him a call. His response, "Were you the guy chasing me?" Once we had that fiasco settled out, we met at a new location and proceeded with the interview. For video, I just used the Canon T1i in 720p. The lens was my Canon FD 50mm f/1.4. For audio I used my iPhone with the RØDE Rec app. And for sticks I used the my trusty Manfrotto 294 Aluminum Tripod with 804RC2 3-Way Head. The whole interview didn't take more than 20 minutes.


   Now comes the real work, Post-Production. As many of you know, I use FCPX and love it. Now with the new update to 10.1, things fly faster than Premiere CC. Editing took only four hours... from start to finish. It was really flying. The sound, color grade, everything! But after that came the hardest part of the entire process... Subtitling. It took me about 12 hours to get a basic subtitle out. THEN I had to go back and refine it. For more information about this process, check out Philip Bloom's post here. Here's a screenshot of the early subtitling phase:

   Once that was done... I was ready to upload it to Vimeo & YouTube. Personally I prefer Vimeo because of the compression, but everyone uses YouTube.


   I want to give a shoutout to my cousin Ernest Koury. He runs a media company out in El Paso Texas and he helped me with the editing process. Check out his website here:

That's it! From start to finish about this film. I hope you guys enjoy it and I hope to see you soon.

   George out!