Wednesday, January 30, 2008


"As we explore promising avenues of research, we must also ensure that all life (is) treated with the dignity it deserves."
— President George W. Bush, State of the Union address, Jan. 28, 2008

Motion Tracking 50% OFF

Digital Juice has a motion tracking plugin for After Effects that they are selling for 50% off the normal price! If you use AE be sure to check this out!

What's mocha-AE?

Mocha-AE is a standalone 2D tracking tool that's specially designed to export tracking data to Adobe After Effects. It's packed with features to make a compositor's life easier. Click here to read more.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Biblical Principles of the Ballot Box

I'm sorry folks, this isn't a book (as I had originally stated) it's an Audio CD.

A new audio CD by Doug Phillips.

"The Bible is the only answer for fearful Christians in an age of politics. The Bible has the answer to the ethical chaos of fear-driven voting, pragmatic voting, “ends-justifies-the-means” voting, and “lesser-of-two-evils” voting. The Bible does not require Christians to vote for perfect candidates, but it does require that Christians support biblically qualified candidates. Biblical Principles of the Ballot Box explores the Scriptural standards for selecting civil magistrates, and offers great hope for Christians living in an age in which our leaders have broken covenant with the God of their fathers."

FREE!! - Read more here.
*I haven't listened to this CD so I can't necessarily endorse it. But it looks like it would be an interesting session and I'm planning on getting it.

Rattle snakes

Even if you HATE snakes this is a really insightful audio clip about the marvelous design of our God. Creation Moments: A Dangerous Wonder

"Saving Sarah Cain"

For those of you who like Michael Landon Jr. films, his new one is now on DVD:
"Saving Sarah Cain."

"Powerful, funny, heartwarming and triumphant, Saving Sarah Cain is a captivating film directed by Michael Landon, Jr. and featuring performances from Academy Award® nominees Elliott Gould and Tess Harper.

Sarah Cain (Lisa Pepper) is sweet, successful, slightly self-absorbed and a city girl through and through. But when the untimely death of her sister draws her to Amish country for the funeral, she makes a discovery that will change her life: she is now the legal guardian to five Amish nieces and nephews! Desperately trying to juggle the kids, her career and her comfort level, Sarah must reevaluate her priorities as she prepares for the biggest culture shock of everyone’s lives!" - View the Trailer, Clips from the movie and listen to an interview with the director.

*I'm not endorsing nor negating this film in any way. I am posting this information in the category of "Christian Film Updates."


Monday, January 28, 2008

New Video from Franklin Springs

"Measure Twice, Cut Once: Essential Building Basics for Kids of All Ages"

-Measure Twice, Cut Once is a fun-filled building adventure that provides kids of all ages with a great introduction to essential carpentry skills.

Click here to read more. Click here to watch a short intro.

Friday, January 25, 2008


You probably won't hear about this from the main stream guys.

"Guess who booed a black pastor at a Martin Luther King, Jr. rally" - click here to watch.

Facing the Giants

"Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent Tuscaloosa City Schools Superintendent Joyce Levey and Bryant High Principal Amanda Cassity a letter Tuesday saying that showing the movie “Facing the Giants” in class violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution."

"“This movie is not educational; it’s evangelistic,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, in a written statement. “Parents and taxpayers expect our public schools to teach, not preach.”"

Read the rest of the article here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Should the Sun spin faster?

Another fact of science that defies evolution. Listen to this Creation Moment!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Christmas BTS #2

I’ve always wanted to make a video that would encourage focusing on Christ during Christmas. How I decided to do a revision of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” I don’t remember, but one other reason I had for doing this short film was to see how well I could do with very few resources.

I wanted to try to shoot a complete short film using only one 500 watt light in addition to ordinary house lights or the ambient outdoor lighting. I pulled it off for the most part, there are several shots that I had to use more than one light though, such as the night shoot and the store scene.

If you watch the BTS video you will see that I use a 500 construction light for a “nightlight” in the bedroom, a fireplace in the living room and sunlight while drawing the picture. Reflectors were also used quite a bit.

The boy’s bedroom was actually shot in my sister’s room, we just re-arranged and added props to change the look.

My dad’s workplace was kind enough to allow us to shoot in their bookstore for the “store scene.” That one was quite a challenge to light correctly My poor actor got tired of standing up for almost two hours (9-11 pm) They also let us shoot in the parking lot, riding the bicycle was shot on a street near our house and the wind chime was shot at my Grandparents.

Sixty percent of the project was shot in 2006 and then I finished up in 2007 about a year later, which caused a few problems. #1 – Benjamin no longer had his blue sweat suit that I needed for the night shots #2 Benjamin no longer had a buzzed hair cut (solved by wearing a hat and c/u shot from behind) #3 His jacket no longer zipped up #4 The stocking cap from “sweeping snow” had been lost #5 He was missing front teeth in ’06. This all created interesting challenges, I would encourage you to keep close tabs on props and wardrobe from shoot to shoot :p

One thing I learned was that a window screen can REALLY come in handy. You will notice it in several of the BTS shots. It works well to diffuse light and also will create a star shape effect when placed in front of the camera while shooting the Christmas tree. It also served as a softening “filter” for many of the Christmas tree shots, it created an interesting glow effect. It was difficult however to get the screen blurry enough so that the “grain” of the screen didn’t show up in the video. Besides lots of color correction, the only thing I added was the moon and stars reflecting in the window when he looks at the wind chime.

Well this was a nice project for audio because I cut it all out and just used narration. I did add in some sound fx to enhance the video, it just seemed like some of the scenes needed it. I found some of the sound fx from a website called The Free Sound Project.

Narration was recorded from 12-3 in the morning, poor guy…he was pretty tired when it was all said and done. I thought he did a fabulous job though. I wish I had a picture of the “sound studio” we setup to get a quiet recording! My computer is right next to our bunk bed and Benjamin sleeps on the bottom bunk, so I strung up his blankets and comforter to create a “box” on his bed for him to sit in. For a pop filter I held the microphone on one side of a thin sheet and had him talk from the other side – I know, quite the make-do setup but hey it worked alright

I covered this in an earlier blogpost, but thanks again to the Morris guys for the insane hours cranking out an amazing score for this short movie!!!

Also, special thanks to my family for all their support and assistance!!

- ‘Twas the Week Before Christmas
- Behind the Scenes

Monday, January 21, 2008

Dad the Hero

....and the WILD WILD WEST!
Check out the trailer here.

Filmweaver's Feature Film

From the creators of "Heartwood Dagger," comes a new adventure film!

Filmweavers has just finished the first complete draft of it's upcoming feature length film: Aeolus' Treasure."

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Florida Marriage Amendment: If you live in Florida or know someone who does, please send them this link. Signatures are needed to bring the amendment to the ballot.

FACTS - True or False?

Throughout history, evolutionary "facts" have been called into question as a result of further research. Here's Creation Moments, shedding the light of truth on false evolutionary claims.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

NEW from Apple!!

Click here to read all about it.

Visit the Apple home page to see other new updates and products.

Fireproof Interview

Christian Cinema did an interview with Alex Kendrick and Kirk Cameron about their work on the upcoming film, "Fireproof." Read it here.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Homeschool Hornet Nest

If you like to debate or just like to read debates, especially about Homeschooling, you should checking into this blog post I came across. Here's a tidbit from the first post...

"Here's what I see with homeschoolers (and I welcome feedback and input).

1. They have learned so much more Bible and theology than other kids their age that they don't seem to know how to relate to those kids who are "Christian," but aren't as deep. At least, they can't relate on a spiritual level without being scornful.
2. Church groups are very educational for them. Learning is great, but education is best tempered by rubbing shoulders with others not the same.
3. Grace is often lacking towards others not on the same spiritual path.
4. They don't know how to speak spiritually to different levels.
5. Pride? Hubris?
6. Very spiritually mature, but not socially mature when it comes to other Christians.
7. Have difficulty having fun spiritually."

People's response to these questions have been very interesting to read.

Hornet's Nest 1
be sure to read the comments afterward...then proceed to

Hornet's Nest 2

I found it to be highly thought provoking. I encourage you to take a read and take notes to think on.

Right to Die?

“What we’re doing is not really giving people a right to die, we’re giving doctors a right to kill," he said. "It’s a right or a power that history has shown that doctors can’t manage very well.”

I found this article to be interesting and theologically accurate. A warning that must be heeded.


Apple & Adobe

Watch the keynote speech by Steve Jobs tomorrow afternoon on

There is a rumor floating around that Apple is going to buy out Adobe....I guess we'll find out tomorrow.

The 2008 Trail Dance Festival

Praise the Lord!!

picture used from the TD website

Wow! What an event :) quite different from the Christian perspective of SAICFF. There were approx. 100-200 people in attendance for the award ceremonies and over 50% of the award recipients weren't even there...which cuts down on the excitement in the atmosphere.

This festival gives ratings (based off of MPAA criteria) for the films that it screens. Interestingly, out of 73 films screened, 27 were rated R, 31 rated PG-13, 13 rated PG and only 2 rated as G. Joel's Journey got rated as PG, probably because of the Christian theme and for the strong questioning of the medical community...I don't really know. Some of the films had reasons cited for the rating given, most common was 'Language' and 'Violence.'

5 of the documentaries were made in Oklahoma and 3 were nominated for "Best Oklahoma Documentary," the others ran in "Best Short Doc.," and "Best Feature Doc." Joel's Journey was up against...
-"Joined at the River" - PG-13 - (1hr 23 min) a film about the border between Mexico and TX (I think)
-"North of Austin, West of Nashville: Red Dirt Music" - R - (59 min) A gritty look at the home spun music genre that is Red Dirt. Produced by the Cameron University Summer Documentary Class. (from Lawton, OK)

Needless to say, based on the overall "flavor" that this festival seemed to lean toward we were very skeptical that we had much of a chance of winning at all, but dad reminded us that, "Miracles do still happen." Obviously, we were very pleasantly surprised to have Joel's Journey win its category. Miracles DO still happen!!

Here we are waiting for it all to get going!

Ropin' Cowboy

From left to right:
Anthony Foreman (Festival Director) - Daniel and Caleb Morris (Music compsers) - Yours Truly (holding the trophy) - Trail Dance Mascot (in her full costume)

All Glory goes to God!! I would also like to say thanks, to those of the Morris crew who made the 2 hr trip down, to Caleb & Daniel for the immense amount of work they put into writing the wonderful soundtrack, to the whole Morris family for standing firm on Biblical principles of life, to my family who supported and helped out with the project, to the many people who provided feedback on the movie and also thanks to Anthony Foreman for all his hard work on the Festival, for selecting Joel's Journey into the festival and for honoring us with the award!!

Special thanks to dad for being the stand-in paparazzi for us :)
We used the video mode on a still camera to capture the winning announcement...see it here! (it may take a second to load)


Saturday, January 12, 2008

2008 Trail Dance Festival

The 2008 Trail Dance Film Festival is in full swing! Today dad and I went to the showing of Joel's Journey. There was an average of about 40 people in the room for the screening. Some people got up and left, some people came in late, some whispered ;), one guy kept looking at his cell phone (I think he wished he hadn't come in), and more than one person was heard sniffling.

Overall it went well and people had several questions during the Q&A session.

Tomorrow evening is the Award Ceremony and I'll be posting results as soon as I can. Currently Joel's Journey is nominated for "Best Oklahoma Documentary."

Friday, January 11, 2008

Ditch Diggers

This is a funny video that was made by the same guys who did "Sam Franklin and the Cryptic Call." (which was at SAICFF 2006)

Watch "Ditch Diggers," - 'a video about the American work ethic.'

Thursday, January 10, 2008

CBD review

Most of you are aware that Christian Book Distributors (CBD) has recently picked up Joel's Journey for distribution.

CBD has the ability to spread awareness about Joel's Journey to a very wide audience. Please take a moment to give a short review of Joel's Journey at the CBD website. Positive comments and high reviews will help encourage CBD to promote the movie further. It doesn't require you to register or anything like that, they keep it very simple and painless.

to give a review.

Thank you.

Pirates Who Don't Do Anything

Vischer, the voice of Bob the Tomato, had just finished a pitch for a new VeggieTales movie at Universal Studios, when a studio executive asked, “Are you sure it’s Christian enough?”

Veggie Tales is back with another feature film. Now I am not really a big fan of Veggie Tales ;) but I did find this article from Phil Vischer, concerning the upcoming movie, to be very interesting. Phil talks about how this film is different from the most VT movies from a "spiritual" perspective and how he went about making a faith based film without copying a Bible story.

Will this film be a success? I guess we will find out - it opens in theaters tomorrow.

Watch the trailer.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Capturing HD with Final Cut

This is a great article about working with HD footage in Final Cut and how to go about capturing it!

Pendragon 2

And again...another update from the Burns Family Studio on the Pendragon project! Lots of pictures too!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Towering 8 core


Editor's blog

I found this today, ACE Members Tech Web Discussion, a blog by professional editors. They have several articles about Final Cut vs. Avid, which I found to be very insightful and interesting.


They are keeping their blog hoppin' - read about their new sound studio!

Monday, January 7, 2008

"Come What May"

This is an upcoming film produced by Advent Film Group with a crew of homeschoolers in association with Patrick Henry College.

"Caleb, a recent transfer to Patrick Henry College, teams up with Rachel to lead the college to the National Moot Court Championship. Along the way, he is caught in a moral tug-of-war between his parents—a newly Christian father, and a feminist Supreme Court attorney mother. As the PHC moot court team and the U.S. Supreme Court simultaneously grapple with legal cases involving abortion, Caleb clashes with his mother and his own conscience over difficult issues of truth and compromise in the intense world of collegiate moot court."

You can read about their upcoming week long shoot for pick-up shots at Christian Wire. A trailer for the movie can be seen at the AFG website.


I came across this info today...

"Is the high-def format war coming to an end? Warner Brothers and New Line Cinema have announced that they will go exclusively with Blu-Ray, and stop releasing films in the HD-DVD format; this boosts Blu-Ray's exclusive marketshare to 70% and leaves only Universal and Paramount/DreamWorks releasing films in the HD-DVD format."


Friday, January 4, 2008

Christmas BTS #1

Ok, finally some BTS info ;) I'm going to start out of order this time, and this is a special edition BTS!!


I asked Caleb and Daniel Morris, the composers for this project, to give me some insight into how they go about writing music, and then to give me some specific details about writing for this project.

1. How did you get started writing music?
John-Clay asked us if we wanted to do the music for his first movie “The Price of Freedom” and we said yes, not really knowing anything about composing music, much less composing for film. We had done some arranging in the past, but composing was a whole new world to us. So basically it all started by just jumping in and trying to do our best.

2. Who are some of your favorite composers? Who do you study?
John Williams would definitely be on top of that list, also James Horner, John Debney and Jerry Goldsmith. I guess the “big J’s” are the favorites! As far as studying goes, we study who we like best so the list would be the same with John Williams being the one we study most.

3. If you could describe the way you write music in 5 steps what would the 5 steps be?
1. We normally try to come up with a main theme that captures the heart of the film.
2. Playing on the piano along with the movie or sometimes after we have watched a scene trying to come up with ideas and find the music that conveys the feelings and emotion of the scene. At times this can be very difficult when it is not really obvious to us what the music should be. It is essential at times to just trust our instincts in this part of the process.
3. After we have an idea of what we want the music to do with the video, we go back and organize our ideas laying out the temp track and deciding what shots we want to hit and points to emphasize.
4. Now it’s time to lay down a prominent part that we know we want, like the bass line, melody, or rhythm of the section. This gives us something to work off of, something to build the orchestration on. This brings us to the last point, orchestration.
5. This is where we add color and emotion to the basic outline, themes or motif. Deciding on what instruments make the music feel dark, light, happy, sad, or whatever mood we are trying to convey. Choosing the right instrumentation is a crucial part of how the music will sound. We play different instruments along with the main line of the section to decide on what instruments work for that specific scene, sometimes it’s just like trying to “fish” for different things to get just the right sound.
This is a high resolution screen capture of the Cubase program. (click to enlarge - it may take a second to load)

I had the guys describe what each window is used for:
1. The main project window all the colored tracks that you see are the midi tracks
2. The effects window with EQ and reverb plug-in
3. Video window
4. Mixer
5. Stereo enhancer plug-in window
6. Reverb plug-in where we can edit everything pertaining to reverb.
7. Transport panel, this has time code on it also has play, stop, record etc. It has info about the temp track where you can turn the metronome on or off, you can also set left and right locators, there is also a little dial that you can zero in on exact frames.
8. Just a little Mac widget, wasn’t supposed to be in the picture.

4. How do you write music with two people?
What we normally do is have one of us picking out ideas on the keyboard and the other working the computer. As we work through the scene sometimes what we’re playing on the keyboard just seems to fit. Like that’s just what it needs. Other times whoever is playing the keyboard will get a little bit right, but some parts just aren’t quite there yet. When that happens we switch. It seems to work quite well because we can give each other input and thoughts as we compose. With two people we’re able to see different things sometimes and it sure helps out when you get stuck and can’t figure out what comes next.

5. Are there any special instruments that you used for ‘Twas the Week Before Christmas’ and why?
We used a variety of chime sounding instruments to create a “Christmas” atmosphere. To name a few - Celesta, Hand bells and a Glockenspiel.

6. Any special feeling or emotions that you wanted to convey and what techniques did you use to do that?
At the very beginning you will notice high tremolo on the strings, we used this to create a “cold night” kind of feeling and brought in the high hand bell to let you know it’s the “Christmas Season.” On the part where he sees the note we used some lower strings on some dissonant chords to create a darker confused feel and ended the scene with sort of a minor chord. On the working scene we used a light feel with flute and horn doing a faster repeated note version of the theme. Also the guitar was used in this scene to give it a more motivated, diligent sound. We wanted the end to have a bigger “Christmas” feel so we used a larger orchestral setting still using some of the chime sounding instruments that you hear at the beginning with the theme coming in really slow before it says “Merry Christmas.”

Here are a couple of incomplete music samples from the project. I find it fascinating to hear music at different stages of completion. Clip #1 - Clip #2

7. How long does it take? (on average)
It all kind of depends, but I would say one minute takes us about 5-6 hours. (Lot of hard work).

8. Why do you write music? What is your purpose?
Our ultimate purpose in writing music is to glorify God. We want to write music for films that accomplish this goal. Music is a powerful element of film and can be used to communicate a message to the audience in a very compelling way. We want to use this powerful element of music to compliment and uplift Christian films that exalt the Lord Jesus Christ and hold up a standard of solid biblical truth.

Listen to samples of their music at the bottom of this page.

[UPDATE] Morris brothers music website - Shekinah Springs Studio

-Thanks to the Morris boys for the great information, and all their hard work!

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Joel's Journey has been picked up for distribution by Christian Book Distributors! See it here.

Thanks to Scott Eash for setting this up and coordinating it all. :)

Veggies in hot water!

I just finished reading the story of how Big Idea/Veggie Tales came to an end...."What!!?, its gone!?!?" well not entirely but yes. ;)

More accurately, this is the journey of Phil Vischer the founder of Veggie Tales and his struggle to keep the company floating. How did Phil go from attracting artists from Dreamweavers and bringing in millions of $, to one day sitting in bankruptcy court waiting for the jury to either save or sink his company? You'll have to read the story.

This is a must read for filmmakers, business people, and just anyone who has ever struggled with wondering why God allows difficulties to happen..

I think we all face times in our life when everything is going wrong, and we wonder "God, I thought this was what I was supposed to do."

I have learned a lot from reading this. It will be well worth your time.

Read it here.

Phil Vischer

Some of you may say.."who is HE?" Well he started Big Idea and Veggie Tales (not that I am a big fan of that series) BUT Phil does have several VERY good articles about filmmaking in general on his blog. This one is about Christian themes in movies and this one is about whether the story is all that matters in a movie.

I highly recommend reading both of those articles.

Techy info from DJ

Digital Juice has 5 new DJTV shows up, and they cover enough topics to cover just about everybody - in the media industry anyway.

Check out the episodes on the left column.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Bees & Communism??

I have to admit this was a new idea to me, but apparently there are many bee keepers and magazines that to use bees as an example of socialism at work. But perhaps the bee hive is not what most perceive it to be....

Gotta love Creation Moments for this one!


What does print design have to do with music? Is music objective or subjective? And what DOES the Bible have to say about music? oh...what does Indiana Jones have to do with any of this?

Find out here by reading this post from Nathaniel Darnell's blog.

Calling all artists!!

Pendragon is hosting a drawing contest! Check it out here.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A New Year - 2008

"Resolved, never to do anything that I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life."
~ Jonathan Edwards

I thought this was a good quote.