Masters In Motion 2012 Austin TX


I got an email back in the summer from good friends Jon Connor and Cristina Valdivieso of asking if I was interested in becoming a part of Masters In Motion 2012 in ATX.  Of course I jumped at the opportunity, as last year was a blast.  Rule Boston Camera was a sponsor last year as well as for the NYC presentation this summer right after NAB.  I knew this would be a great event to network, meet with good friends, talk with filmmakers of varying disciplines, styes, etc. It was also a good opportunity to get the Phantom Flex and TS3Cine high-speed camera into the hands of people who would not normally get the chance to use them.

As the week progressed, Jon and Cristina kept introducing new educators and workshops.  I was blown away with what this event was becoming right before my eyes.  Now, last years were great but I could tell that this year they outdid themselves.   More educators, more sponsors, more workshops, more everything.

Shane Hurlbut ASC, Vincent LaForet, Alex Buono, Philip Bloom, Erik Aadahl, Ian Vertovec, Joe Simon, Tatjana Green, Konrad Czystowski, Ondi Timoner, Eric Kessler, Preston Kanak, Jon Bregel, Khalid Mohtaseb, Sean Steigemeier, Justin Hamilton and myself all were heavily involved in making this event more than memorable.  Every part of the pre-pro, production and postproduction was covered.  These were not re-hashed presentations, and everyone came with something fresh to the table.

Day 1, Monday.  First up at Masters In Motion was Tatjana Green presentation was: Creating Concepts, Credibility and Cash.  Its focus was starting with an idea and touched a lot on branding and building a name.

Next up was Joe Simon on Creating Development of Commercial Work.  Joe has a great background in what I like to call Million Dollar Wedding Videos.  Basically Joe’s videos look like they were shot with insane budgets.  Joe is also well known for his BMX videos that incorporate insane glidecam shots.  Joe has since branched out with a new launched company called The Delivery Men, which focuses on commercial work.

Third on stage on opening day was Alex Buono.  Alex DP’s for SNL short films and has some great documentaries under his belt with Bigger, Faster, Stronger standing out. Alex got up on stage and threw away his Canon playbook.  In fact he threw out everything that related to camera talk and kicked it old school by cramming 4 years of film school into a few hours.  He did this in a way that kept everyone drawn in and attentive to the subject matter.  Alex brought the science of space, lines, shape, color, tone, rhythm and movement in film making to MIM 2012.  Alex’s presentation was very well received and unexpected.

The last presentation for Monday was by Vincent LaForet.  Vince did something different than his previous presentations and covered Deconstructing The Demo: How to Stand Out in a Saturated Market.  He provided some great insight for start up filmmakers who are looking to break into the business as well as for seasoned filmmakers who need to adapt to an ever-changing market.

Tuesday, day 2:  Shane Hurlbut’s presentation and hands on sessions were fast and furious.  His presentation was Act of Valor: A Case Study in Out of the Box Filmmaking.  Shane clearly does not give an F’ about what the establishment is doing or is mainstay.  The guy is a beast, making his own lighting rigs, using DSLRs and crazy configurations to get the shot.  Every he does is unconventional but all successful in getting the shot, with invigoration.  He showed up with a 3 ton truck loaded with gear and I don’t think I ever saw him sit down for a second.  It is clear that he believes in his methodology and has basically built a brand around it.  It is fascinating to watch him work and I can see why people pay a lot of money to go to his workshops.  Masters In Motion allowed a view into this madness for a fraction of the price and based on the feedback it was worth every penny.

Next up was Ian Vertovec of Light Iron.  Ian’s presentation was on Color.  Very fitting as he is one of the best colorists in the business.  Talk about what you know.  He knows color.  Ian has numerous credits as a colorist with some of the standouts being The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Timescapes and Hitchcock.

Tuesday afternoon consisted of the hands on sessions with Tatjana Green doing “Set Design”, Philip Bloom covering “The Interview”, Konrad Czystowski on “Maximizing Your Coverage”, Preston Kanak & Eric Kessler covering “TimeLapse”, Shane Hurlbut ASC “Storytelling with Light and Composition”, Joe Simon and Sean Steigemeier on “Utilizing Natural Light”, and Justin Hamilton and myself “The Phantom Flex and TS3Cine High-speed”.  There were six rotations of 45Minutes each so that everyone who attended was able to experience each workshop without feeling rushed.

Wednesday, Day 3:

First up on Wed was Konrad Czystowski on: Art & Science of Storytelling.  Konrad covers camera movement and how to use it based on whether or not it drives the story forward.  The basics of Konrads presentation was that shots were like words in a sentence and sequences are like the paragraphs of a story. Use them wisely and if they are not pertinent to the story then loose them.  Example if a shot looks cool but doesn’t have any real benefit to the message then don’t bother.  RUN, JUMP, KNEEL, BEND, DANCE, FLY, FRAME, SHOOT, FAST, SLOW, TWIST, SHOUT, CLICK, EDIT, CUT, CUT, CUT, SHOW, PACK FRESH SOCKS, RINSE AND REPEAT.  This is his motto and after meeting Konrad it is clear why he was voted one of DV Filmmakers top 25.

Next up was Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner Ondi Timoner.  Ondi talked about creating characters, engaging the audience and grabbing their attention during the first few minutes of the film and ideally during the opening credits.  She also talked about her new film Mapplethorpe as well as showed a few clips from her documentary films.  Did I mention she won the Grand Jury Prize twice?!! Ondi is the only filmmaker to win that category twice in Sundance’s history.

Third up Wed was another presentation that got raving reviews by sound designer Erik Aadahl.  Erik did the sound design on films I, Robot, Transformers, Kung Fu Panda, Tree of Life to name a short few.  As one of Hollywood’s most sought after sound designers, I learned that Erik is booked solid till 2016 with jobs.  That is pretty impressive.  Erik showed crazy amounts of audio tracks and how to assemble sound to make a completed scene as well as how to add or remove suspense, etc. Great stuff that most people do not get to see often outside of behind the scenes specials.

Last up on the final day was Philip Bloom.  Philip’s presentation was Navigating The Road to Success: Strategic Marketing in the Digital Era.  This presentation was new and something we had not seen before from Phil.  He covered everything from Social media to leverage yourself, chasing the right project and doing what you need to stand out from the crowd.  As always Phils, presentation was peppered with humor and whit.

Overall the event was a big success for everyone involved and I was glad to be a part of it again this year.  I can see Masters In Motion becoming something even bigger.  I my opinion I think it is probably the go to event for filmmakers outside of NAB, and perhaps even more important.  Both Jonathan and Cristina did an amazing job putting this event together. I have no idea how they managed to coordinate everything and everyone.  They did a stellar job and it’s clear that know the secrets of success when pulling off something as grandiose as this. I would like to thank all the presenters and workshop instructors for giving it there all and keeping it fresh and interesting for all.  Thank you to all the attendees and friends who made it out.

We made a fun high-speed video again this year after hours called “Operation BullRide 2″ shot on the Phantom Flex and TS3Cine camera.  Here is a link to one of the edits:

Hope to see you all next year!


Michael Sutton Twitter & Facebook @MNS1974

Twitter accounts of presenters, workshop instructor’s, sponsors, assistants, etc:

@alexbuono @freshsox @joesimon @philipbloom @onditimoner @vincentlaforet @thisisbtyb @erickessler @hurlbutvisuals @khalidmohtaseb @jonathanbregel @nickmidwig @seansteigemeier @justinphamilton @jaredlevy @joelgraves @prestonkanak @karenabad @jonconnorfilms @cristinavaldivi @shooteditlearn @dustinbennett76 @mimvideo @dstewart126 @jognmiller @melissaransdell @cinevita @gametavern @mrs_h_bomb @ryan_connolly @cinetics @editshare @mashallusa @letusdirect @hivelighting @annieraydotnet @rodemics @zacuto @themusicbed @manfrotto_tweet @redgiantnews @lensprotogo @kesslercrane @TS3Cine @rulebostoncam

Jared Abrams
Jared Abrams is a cinematographer based in Hollywood, California. After many years as a professional camera assistant he switched over to still photography. About two years ago a new Canon camera changed the way the world sees both motion and still photography. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time.