Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A singer's Achilles heel

 Oh no...#voicestrainalert
The moment of realization finally arrived for me. Last week, while I practiced one of my regular voice warm-up exercises, I felt that my voice sounded slightly cracky and strained. I told myself that maybe this slight strain was normal - a normal way to remove my vocal cord cobwebs! Keeping this mindset etched in my mind, I continued my warm-up exercises.

Another moment of truth arrived when I sang my rendition of George Micheal's Monkey. I noticed that while I was singing the song, I was beginning to lose my breath. But once again, I continued singing- as I told myself, what if this was a live performance? Would I stop singing in the middle of the song? If that was the case, all the other performance elements could have been affected (i.e the musicians, the back-up singers and dancers)

I'm sure you've imagined the result of my practice and warm-ups - I strained my voice. Despite this, I continued to sing a few notes and lines of some of my favourite songs - like I usually do. I eventually decided to take a self-imposed vocal rest - I just hummed and mumbled songs. That experience "re-taught" me the significance of listening.

Listen to your body
What I learned from my voice strain experience is that sometimes, we have to listen to our body. We should take a moment to stop a task that may veer us off the road that leads to our goal pursuit. I know, this is easier said than done. But nonethless, I think a pause is a worthwhile pursuit. Who knows, maybe you'll be surprised to savour the insights you gain from taking a 5 second or a 10 minute break. Perhaps during this break-time, you might discover a new angle to pursue along your path of pursuing your goals.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Unit Still photography 101

This past summer, I did some unit still photography for a short film called "The Stakeout". I was super excited about this gig as I got an opportunity to hone my photography skills, meet some new people, visit a new film set and experience a new place - Steveston Harbour.

I'm also very happy to share with you some key still photography or regular photography preparation tips. I hope these tips will help you with your still photography or regular photography gigs.

Ensure that your camera battery is fully charged (from the previous night)
Depending on the number of hours you spend on a set, you'll probably snap at least 50 pictures, so you'll want to ensure that your battery is fully charged at 100% from the beginning. One of the best ways to ensure this "assurity" is to charge your battery the night before.

Enter the shoot with an open mind
I know a lot of photographers like to use formulaic photography rules and techniques. However, I these rules and techniques aren't always applicable for all shoots or sets. Each set has its own peculiarities so I like to go to the set with an open mind. I usually like to assess the physical and human environment, snap from different angles, or try different settings on the camera to see which setting works best.

Organize your photography kit (from the previous night)
Organizing early helps to ensure that you have all your camera accessories and an extra battery - for the day of the shoot.

Check out some of my "Stakeout" photos! 😊