Oh what a beautiful day it is! Makes it difficult to be inside working. I’m making progress though and I’m sure I’ll have some stuff posted through this week of video’s im cutting together. I’ve got the Veterans History Project, where I sat down and talked to Dale Wilson who was a nose gunner in WWII. I’ve got a short video from Bahama Bobs which is a great little dive place on the beach for food. And I’ve got some video to put together from the airport. I went out and filmed some from the Birds of Paradise biplane rides, so I’ll be posting something from that as well. SO stay tuned!

Oh and by the way, yesterdays post was not intended as a ‘poor pitiful me’. I post shorts about those sort of things so the rest of the photography community can see what a pain things can be at times. I finished college 4 years ago and was in no way prepared to deal with the real world of business. College teaches you the craft, the rest comes from dealing with people and talking with those who have dealt with blunders and good times. I want to share my blunders and good times so other artists emerging in the world know what to expect.

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This is a super interesting story. Really shows what the world is like for artists. We constantly have to fight! Of course this guy is really laid back about it and brings an interesting question up. Is it ‘ok’ that his work has been used countless times even though he hasn’t been paid? It does mean practically unlimited exposure to his work and to his name, and that can’t be a bad thing. I say its horrible, its bad that his work has been used countless times and he has never been paid. In a few places someone else took credit for the photograph. Not to mention his work has been used to promote messages he may not agree with. Who’s to say I would even want my name associated to that piece of work if it was used in that manner.

These are types of things we fight with daily. Or I know I do. A lot of times you think, well surely if its a big company or a respectable place like a college, they won’t take advantage of you. WRONG. Of course I have to say this is not always the case. I have worked with some amazing people before. Friendly, considerate, and will pay you for your work. Sometimes the downfall to working for companies though, they take credit for your work. The image, artwork, or video is not credited to you the artist, it is credited to the company. Is that right? Again, I say no. If you are the creator of a piece of work, your name should be credited to it.

A few stories of the experiences I’ve had:

I contracted to film a web video for a colleges website. I go to watch a report on the local news stations website and my video is the precursor ad. Not only was it used out of context for what they paid for, it was also chopped up where they had someone else cut the intro and add a different slide at the end. Because of this editing the video no longer went to the beat of the music, it was just mixed junk. I, in no way, wanted my name associated to that video.

The employees at studio I worked for would smoke inside. By law this is illegal. When I asked one of them not to smoke at my computer in my workspace, he blew smoke in my face and walked away. I would find cigarette butts in my can of coke on my desk. Ok, this is more of a crap work environment that a story of misuse of work lol.

A college hired me to film and cut together a commercial for them. They provided me with the script and prerecorded voice over for the commercial. I filmed and cut together the video. They changed their mind and said the audio was not approved even though they gave me the audio. They did not want to pay for the work and in the end sent a check for 90% of the agreed price saying the video was only 90% done.

Two other separate occasions. I filmed and cut together a video. They approved them and put them on air. A month later they still had not paid their bill. On two different occasion they had filed away the invoice with the purchase order and never turned it into the business office!

I contracted to work for a studio were they refused to hire me as an employee. I continued to freelance but was called into the office where the boss told me I had to make a business decision. Whether I wanted to continue to receive a check from him, or to continue freelancing for others.

A studio I worked for wanted me to spend time out on a barge with construction workers and a crane to film a project. I had to sign release forms with the construction crew in case I was injured. The studio refused to cover me medically if anything happened but said I had to do it to keep working for them.

The new manager for a studio I contracted for overstepped his bounds demanding I do extra work I was not contracted to do. I would do the work and bill them for it. They refused to pay the bill. I went to the head boss about the problem of the manager overstepping his bounds constantly demanding other work. They fired me. I asked “did I do the job asked of me? Did I meet all deadlines?” They refused to answer any of my questions.
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SO, to the point. As an artist you have to fight constantly. On one side, its business, smart business is getting as much as you can for as little as possible. Crooked business is getting as much as you can and cheating others out of as much as possible.

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Doc Wilson logbook

New project

I’ve been slowly working on a new project the last couple months. Of course with any project, its months of planning, setting stuff up, making contacts, and THEN you get around to actually doing something.

The project itself is simply to document our Veterans. I know I would give anything in the world to have a video of my grandfather talking about his life. I don’t have that opportunity now, but it’s something I can give to others. I have been talking with a lot of people and trying to schedule interviews with veterans, particularly WWII veterans. The second part of the project is to submit the interview videos to the Veterans History Project. The VHP is a permanent collection in the Library of Congress dedicated to archiving our veterans stories.

http://www.loc.gov/vets/vets-home.html

I’ve had the opportunity to sit down and chitchat with a couple people thus far, and I just sat down with Dale Wilson and recorded his story. I have some editing still to do but I will post a piece of it once I am done. As for now, here are a couple notes he had recorded that he shared with me. A brief log of his time in WWII.

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Chris Camping

Friday February 18th – 20th

I left Gulf Shores to go on vacation. Usually its the other way around, everyone comes to Gulf Shores for vacation but I needed to get away for a few days. To relax, hang out, fend for myself, and to get away from everyone/everything. So I went camping. Not completely ruffing it, I had everything I could need in my truck, so I slung up my hammock, built a fire, and enjoyed it. This is a short video of my time away.

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Feb Fun w/ Fam

February Fun

Well life isn’t all fun and games but we make the most out of what we do. I’ve been spending some time helping my dad on a few projects. The first of the video is us on lunch lol “do you want an onion sammich” (couldn’t really film when there was work to do). Since the out of town work we were doing was close to the hunting camp, we jumped over and spend a day there. Spent the morning walking, scouting, squirrel hunting, and spent the afternoon down at the pond catching dinner.

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Music: Dixieland Delight by Alabama from their The Closer You Get.. album

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So as you can see I havn’t posted anything in the last few weeks. I know, horrible of me.

I started this blog with the intent to update it on a regular basis, but to keep it professional and media related. I planed to post video updates, photography, updates in the photo/video world. I truth of it all is that my life is not completely surrounded by photography and video related projects. So I am going to update based off what I HAVE been doing. Posting about the rest of life, things I’m doing and working on even if its not media related, are important. This is my life, who I am, what I am about. I’m not hiding anything or putting on some front so that people will thing more professional of me.

This is about the real Chris Helton. Not just the photographer. Not just the editor. This is my life and what I do

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Encore Louisiana Magazine

Another publication I tracked down. Had several pictures published in the Encore Louisiana magazine.

Here is the cover. My shot is the inset photo of the crawfish.

My photographs of the book and wine bottles on the first page, of the crawfish dish on the next three pages, Ms Elmore, two page spread of books, and the wine glasses again on the “raise your glass” page.

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A few notes on Follow Focus units for my Canon DSLR.
Of course there are a ton of follow focus units out there, from geared to friction base. You can spend more than a grand on a nice unit, and even the lower cost $350 focus units are super nice to have. I’m not going into big specifics between cinevate, cavision, redrock and so on. Today I wanted to point out two interesting finds that have a different take.

Ok, first lets take a quick look at a typical follow focus and then move on to the two interesting finds. To use one of these your camera has to be on a set of rails. Personally I own a Cavision RFD15BM Basic Mini Single Wheel Follow Focus and I really love it. Mainly I bought this because it fit my budget and have never looked back, its been a GREAT follow focus unit.
Here is a shot of what it looks like.

On to the cool stuff. This seems like a great little unit thats relatively inexpensive. The motor seems a little loud though, so that could mess with your audio. First off is Jag35.com electric follow focus.

Here is the newest find that I CAN”T WAIT to get my hands on. It’s from a group Im not familiar with but called Okii Systems. This looks like such a sweet little idea. You have to use a USM Canon lens for this to work, but it is based off of Canons EOS Utility plugged into the usb of the camera. Check out the site for more specifics on it. As of today its not been released yet, but has a price of $400. THATS AMAZING! Anyways, here a shot of what it looks like. There are a couple videos on their site.

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MY CHALLENGE TO YOU

The modern age digital Holga.

How many of you know what im talking about when I say the “Holga”? Im sure a percent of you are thinking, this guy has spent a little to much time in German hostels. As a female name, its actually has a Danish origin. BUT for the photographers out there you either just gave me a high five, or imagined slapping me in the back of the head. You love her or you hate her. She is the Holga!

The Holga is a all plastic toy camera. You load it with real film, and take actual photographs with the camera, but it is as basic as basic can possibly get. It is a creative camera. A learning tool. My first photography class at Savannah College of Art and Design was centered around this camera. We used this camera for a couple different purposes. We used it to hone our skills in the darkroom because of the unique photographs it produces, but this camera was to teach us to stop worrying about each photograph and details of shutter and aperture and just take a picture. Pure creativity. Many of us fall away from this side of photography because of all the details and specifics our cameras posses. After college a few of my friends traveled Europe with their Holga camera. It was cheap, plastic, could be beat around, did not need batteries, could get wet, and had a spring shutter… I mean it made some wonderful photographs, but they certainly didn’t have to worry about someone stealing their camera.

To be creative and photograph just for creativity. As a photographer, this is rare. Taking photographs with something that produces a low quality crappy image? Why would I do that? I am sure a lot of you do it on a daily basis and never realize it. I call it the modern Holga…… our cell phones. This is something that every one of us has in arms reach nearly 24/7. Our phones take the same quality picture as a Holga, instead of shooting on 120 film, its straight to a memory card where we can see our picture that instant, make quick edits straight from our phone, and even post them for all our friends and family to see within minutes of taking the picture. And the joy of it is we don’t worry about specific focus, what shutter we are using, nothing but pure enjoyment and capturing a moment. To snap a picture out of pure carefree pleasure, not caring how it came out or what the picture even looks like. It’s simply for the creativity and for capturing that moment.

I challenge you to take a photograph every day. Any photograph. Something funny, something enjoyable, something painful. Anythings that is in the moment that makes us smile, makes us cringe, or makes us laugh.

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