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1116 Vista Point Ln
Concord, CA, 94521
United States

(925) 286 6721

The visual works and portfolios of Josh Harmon. Northern California native photographer, videographer, and seeker of moments specializing in portraits, landscapes, and water. 

Sunrise, Red Dress, and Blackmagic: Building a Better Demoreel


Sunrise, Red Dress, and Blackmagic: Building a Better Demoreel

Josh Harmon

iPhone shot while waiting for the light

iPhone shot while waiting for the light

It has been quite a while since I have made a blog post, too long. Unfortunately school, swimming, and life have deterred me from doing much of anything creative in the past few months. Not that that's unusual since I do find my that my creativity does wax and wane. 

As a soon to be graduating senior in college I am also at a point where I am looking for jobs and planning my future outside of school. As I am figuring out what I want to do, where I want to be, and how I want to live I've been able to determine a direction I want to go in. As of right now that direction is the professional video production and the film industry. My goal is to pursue my passions of image full time and to share my talents with a larger audience. The first step toward this process is creating my "capstone" demoreel, aka the portfolio of my best work to show future employers.

I have been working on this for the past two or three weeks, collecting my favorite and best clips and media, scouring the web for an awesome song to use (that is royalty free or cheap to buy royalty free), and figuring out if I should shoot something new for my reel. I managed to have completed the first two steps.

Collecting previous media was a simple task of perusing my hard drives. Finding music took quite a bit longer since quality royalty free music isn't easy to come cheaply. I was close to buying a track from but instead found one I liked from that had a creative commons liscense. 

Having completed these items I knew I wanted to have a really top notch high end opening sequence. Since the majority of my work is done on Canon DSRLs I wanted to be able to have at least a few quality shots that are RAW based. Having worked with a Blackmagic Cinema Camera for two previous projects I had some RAW footage I could use, I also had some MagicLantern RAW stuff from my Canon 7D. However, relative to the bulk of my work this amounted to very little. From here I decided I wanted to pursue an idea that I've had for a while.

Only 10 minutes of 4K RAW on a 250GB SSD!

Only 10 minutes of 4K RAW on a 250GB SSD!

The idea, one I've explored a bit in photo shoots, was to have a women in a dress in nature as if she was dreaming. The concept was for it to be slightly surreal and dreamy. Ideally I would have liked to film in a dense green forest and be able to bring in external light sources to be able to film during twilight. Due to my time constraints, budget (literally nothing), and available locations, I decided to take advantage of what I have access too.

I am blessed to go to a college located right on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi river. This provides a very dramatic backdrop with a great vista to look out to. Unfortunately Spring has not really sprung yet and everything is still barren rather grey. Combining these features I decided to make the best out of it.

The actual location I chose to use is on a trail that goes right up to the edge of the 300' bluffs in an area where there was a control burn last year. The ground was still slightly ashy and there would nubs of clipped brush that leaded up to the edge. I wanted to contrast this barren landscape with the vibrance and life of a woman in a bright dress.

My friend, and frequent model, Bailey was nice enough to help me out for this shoot. I had here wear a lively red dress to contrast with the desaturated landscape. Lastly I wanted to film in the blue indirect glow of post sunset, avoiding any direct sunlight. Due to scheduling conflicts this meant shooting at sunrise rather than sunset, which actually turned to have a better direction to the indirect light.

Shot of me with the BMPC and Glidecam while waiting for the light

Shot of me with the BMPC and Glidecam while waiting for the light

To jump back a little bit, one of the goals for this shoot was to be in RAW and as high quality as possible. Luckily one of my friends on campus who had helped out on the Frew's Bridal Halloween project owns a Blackmagic Production Camera. He was generous enough to let me borrow for a few days to be able to use on this project. I borrowed a glidecam and vest from my school.

I balanced the BMPC with my 17-40 f/4 L lens for the main shot and used the BMPC with my 85 f/1.8 for the other shots via tripod. Playing with the camera the 250GB SSD was capable of holding 10 minutes of 4K RAW footage at 30FPS. I was hoping that this shoot wouldn't kill what remaining storage space I had on my media hard drives.

The shoot went very smoothly, perhaps a tad bit chilly. Bailey was a champ willing to wake up early on Sunday and handle the breezy 45 degree air. We arrived early and waited for the light ot be bright enough to actually film. I ended shooting at ISO 800 for most of the shots, only switching down to lower ISOs for the last couple shots. I also managed to shoot less than 3 minutes of footage, since I only needed 3 angles. 

I have yet to digest the footage but am extremely excited to have had the opportunity to work with the camera and capture something that has been floating in my head for a long while.  More to come once I have a chance to look over the footage and prepare a few grades!