Friday, December 14, 2012

Spencer Gordon Shares Expert Aperture Tips at the Apple SOHO Store

Spencer Gordon Gives Expert Tip Using Aperture
Spencer Gordon will be sharing his expert tips using Aperture to create stop motion animation video.

Come to the Apple SOHO Store in New York on December 17th at 6pm.
103 Prince Street between Mercer St & Greene St in Manhattan
Apple SOHO Store

Spencer will share how he created the "What is Christmas?" music video, a single by Nadia Ackerman and Harvey Jones. You'll meet a professor from M.I.T. Bring your handkerchief you may even shed a tear.


What Is Christmas? Written By Nadia Ackerman and Harvey Jones
Original drawings by Nadia Ackerman
Stop animation music video by Spencer Gordon

See you on December 17th at 6pm!!!!

More info about the Apple SOHO Store event.

Apple Retail Store - SoHo.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Creating Stop Motion Animation Video with Aperture | Apple SOHO Store Dec. 17th at 6pm

Creating Stop Motion Animation with Aperture

Apple SOHO Store
December 17, 6:00pm

Come see how Spencer Gordon created a stop motion animation music video by Nadia Ackerman using Aperture in less than 19 days.

This presentation promises to be informative, pull on your heartstrings and provide a few chuckles.

More info:

What Is Christmas? - Nadia Ackerman | Spencer Gordon Stop Animation Video.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Risa Binder covers Taylor Swift's "RED"

When Risa Binder contacted Spencer to shoot Taylor Swift's single "RED" their goal was to make the music video fun. That's what they did alright. From pillow fights to the elevator schtick behind the couch. "Risa has a bright playful quality making it great to work together. Even the guitarist Oscar Bautista got into the fun with his on camera humor. " says Spencer.

Why did Binder want to cover Taylor Swift's "RED"? Risa states "I wanted to cover her song 'Red' because I've been on the same love roller coaster ride, feeling all the colors she's talking about...especially Red."

Spencer and Risa have worked together before. Making a perfect collaborative team between taking direction and giving direction from both sides of the camera. "I like working with Risa she has creative ideas and is open to taking professional suggestions as well. I am an image solutions specialist taking my client's ideas and bringing it to visual fruition. Many times when Risa and I work on a project I can expand and strengthen her creative idea in a way she did not even imagine." comments Spencer.

The location of the shoot took place at 145 Antiques in Long Island City. A long time client of Gordon's they too have collaborated on many videos. "Jerry and Jim the owners of 145 Antiques have an extensive inventory of exquisite vintage furniture and props. They were so accommodating for Risa's shoot, being conscientious that we were actually recording sound live." Spencer claims.

Binder released her debut album, "Paper Heart," on Warehouse Records in February. The Brooklyn-based musician recorded the set in Nashville with producer Marshall Altman (Ingrid Michaelson, Natasha Bedingfield).

via Risa Binder Covers Taylor Swift's 'Red': Video Premiere - Viral Videos | Billboard.

Monday, October 29, 2012

On My Block Films - Screening Event

Even though we live in a city of over 8 million people, a lot of us don’t even know our neighbors. When you’re not connected to the people living on the other side of the wall, it’s hard to have any sense of belonging within a community. “On My Block” creates an opportunity for neighbors to introduce themselves, work together and create trusting relationships through the collaborative filmmaking process. The films created live on past the festival window as a source for community pride, and as a living map of the world’s most creative city.

OMB encourages novice as well as professional filmmakers to participate. Our goal is to capture a wide spectrum of blocks throughout the five boroughs including those whose residents live in religious centers, senior centers, homeless shelters, coops and even prisons.

Don't miss the OMB Screening on Wednesday, November 14th @ 7PM is at White Wave's John Ryan Theater on 25 Jay Street (entrance on John St.) in DUMBO Brooklyn.

White Wave is located right along the water in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Attendees can take the F Train to the York Street Stop and walk West 3 blocks to John Street where the entrance is. Click here for a map.

White Wave's beautiful hardwood dance studio will be serving as our cozy venue. Beer and Wine will be available by donation and movie concessions (Milk Duds, Goobers, Popcorn, etc...) will also be available for purchase. Dress is casual.

7:00-7:45 Cocktail Hour
7:45-10:00 Screening and Awards Presentation

So mark your calendars and start inviting your neighbors, friends and colleagues for what is sure to be an inspirational and entertaining evening. For more information on White Wave's John Ryan Theater, visit

Tickets are available now.

Interested in sponsoring the screening to show your community support?

Amazing! Simply contact

Monday, September 24, 2012

"My Ship" - Nadia Ackerman | Music Video

Nadia Ackerman's song "My Ship" was inspired by a young boy looking out to sea, when asked by his mother "What are looking for?" the young boy commented "I'm waiting for my ship to come in."

We shot this video one rainy afternoon while on tour in Australia. It's amazing how many things lined up perfectly for this video happen.

Here let me list them for you... ready.
1. The weather.
It was June, Australia's winter and usually it's rainy season. But this particular June was one to go on record as one of the highest rainfalls ever! It was drizzling during our shoot, the rain had slowed down just enough to make it tolerable for the boys to stand outside. You'll also notice that the sea was placid barely a ripple in the water. A calmness that gave a sombre feeling to the video. Perfect visually for creating that infinity horizon especially with the bit of fog to help mask the industrial cargo ships not far off shore. By the way Harvey Jones, the synthensizer mastermind in Nadia's band, and I went on a bike ride down to the same area the next day. The sea was raging! 4 foot swells and gail force winds. You would not have believed it was the same beach.

2. The costumes.
Nadia was the artistic director of this video and wanted the boys to wear pirates costumes. We were in Melbourne for only a few days. Doing radio interviews and a gig at The Toff our time was precious. Fortunately the pirate threads arrived on our second to last day.

3. The actors.
Jack and Sam were amazing! You just never know with kids. With Nadia's direction they adhered to her every command. They did manage to give the camera a "rude" finger or two during the playful running around scenes. We all got a good chuckle.

Jack and Sam are brothers very close. Jack, the older brother, has aspergers and the expressions he gave are so genuine we were besides ourselves. While Sam the younger one, who may be the next dance sensation, was an excellent supporting role.

4. The edit.
Due to the weather and the boys attention span we managed to shoot for barely 35mins. Not nearly enough film I thought at the time. I did my best to get as much cut away footage as I could. We got a couple of takes out of the boys for each scene. Nadia who loves to edit did an amazing job piecing the story together. I really wish we had had better weather conditions to get more B footage. Seriously I thought by the time we were done shooting my Nikon P7000 was going to short circuit it was so wet. Regardless Nadia managed to edit what we had to a solid music video.

In hind sight I really would not change a thing about the shoot for this music video. I've learned over the years you can plan and plan and plan a shoot. I was traveling with limited gear for the tour and no assistant. However sometimes you just have to go for it. As I state in my quote at the bottom of my website "Imagine NO excuses... All that is left is the space to create."

More info about
Nadia Ackerman
Harvey Jones

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Airline Travel Needs To Change

20120904-183151.jpgTraveling by air is usually divided into 3 parts. Waiting, waiting aaaanndd... waiting.

Today I'm traveling to Copenhagen. So about 5 hours before I needed to be at the airport I checked in online with my airline. Cool the flight status is on time.

So now we wait to be picked up to go to the airport. Well low and behold the shuttle van is on time! However there is an hours worth of driving around picking up more passengers so I have to wait some more.

Once at the airport you wait in line to check in, but I just did that online why should I wait to check in? No matter upon checking in the ticket agent informs me that the flight is delayed by an hour. Which equals waiting some more.

Next the security line where you have to wait for your ticket to be checked, wait for more bins to put your stuff in, wait to be told which TSA device they want you to go through. "WAIT sir. Hold your arms out please." A pat down prolongs the waiting I'm about to do in the terminal.

Finally you get to the waiting area at least we know what happens here. Yep. I heard you say it.

Board the plane we wait til we get to our destination. Disembark the plane then we wait for our baggage. Uuuugh.

OHHH wait a second wait in line for a taxi. Get in the taxi and zoom off to your final destination. Damn it!!!! Traffic so we have to wait some more.

As I was standing in line waiting in this whole process a woman said to me "Wouldn't it be great to just wiggle your nose and be where you are going?". "HELL yes!" I said.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Abkraken - A Film Made by Neighbors

Phew!!! We did it! What fun.

Just the other day I blogged about a neighborhood film challenge with On My Block Films. It's been edited and submitted to the filmmaking challenge website and is now live on the On My BLock Vimeo Channel.

Even though I recently blogged about On My Block we had been planning our film for weeks. We had 6 people total involved, 1 dog and 2 businesses. Not quite the level of a Hollywood film production. Lucy Frend who is a unique clothing designer was the "Block Team Leader". She came up the abstract and creative storyline. Watch the film below.

"Abkraken" - Park Avenue / 97th-98th Street from On My Block Films on Vimeo.

My role was Director of Photography. I tackled all the filming technical issues. Like types of cameras we used how to get the look with various lenses and so on. To get the "point of view" look I opted for the Hero Camera. Lucy wore the head strap with the camera mount. I directed her on how to move with the camera on her head to give the best footage. We only used one other camera that was the new Nikon D800. An incredible camera the quality is by far astounding to the other DSLR's I've used for other films.

The editing process I was also involved in giving a tutorial in iMovie. Impressively Lucy was quite inventive using a scrubbing brush on a wood chair to give the sweeping sound of the guy sweeping the sidewalk. He's actually the owner of Guthrie's Inn.

The beauty of this project is NOT having to be a pro filmmaker. It's all about community... getting to know your neighbors. Through this film Lucy meet Kathy who is also from England. I got to be in front of the camera for once I was the bartender. As well as I got to pass on my expertise in filmmaking. We got to know the business owners. Myung of 97th Street Cleaner is an avid dog lover. So am I!!! It's amazing what we find out about one another through a fun project such as making a film.

Are you interested in making a film and getting to know your neighbors? Yea.... go on then.
Register to make a film with On My Block Films just CLICK HERE.

For more information:


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Calling all non-filmmakers & filmmakers - On My Block Films

911 Photography Project | Spencer Gordon | Photographer | Filmmaker
Although we live in a city of over 8 million people, a lot of us don’t even know our neighbors. When you’re not connected to the people living on the other side of the wall, it’s hard to have any sense of belonging within a community. “On My Block Films” ( OMB ) creates an opportunity for neighbors to introduce themselves, work together, and create trusting relationships through the collaborative filmmaking process. The films created will live on past the festival window as a source for community pride and as a living map of the world’s most creative city.

OMB encourages novice as well as professional filmmakers to participate. Our goal is to capture a wide spectrum of blocks throughout the five boroughs.
Beginning August 1, all eligible films will be posted and screened online from the time they are finished until November 1, 2012. The public will be able to vote on a film by liking it on Vimeo. The 30 films with the most Vimeo likes will move on to be judged by the Judging Panel the first week of November. The top-scoring 15 films will be screened at a physical outdoor festival in November. Awards will be presented to Best Narrative Film, Best Documentary Film and Best In Show.

I plan on doing a film something abstract and fun. Next door is my Tailor and I know the Bar owner. That's two people right there. Maybe I'll use my Hero camera... yea that sounds good. My creative ideas are flowing. Now I just have to get out there an meet my neighbors. Yea a bit unnerving but hey it will be fun. That's the whole point of the project, have fun and get to know your neighbors. What do have I to lose? Space on my external hard drive that's about it.

Lights, camera, action!!!

How about you? Interested? Of course you are... check out On My Block Films for more details.

Here's the OMB schedule:

Dates: August 1 – OMB will kick off.

August 1 through October 31 – Films will be shot, edited, uploaded to Vimeo.

August 1 through October 31 – Public Voting will be open.

November 6 – Judges Panel will vote.

November 17 – Top 15 films will be screened at On My Block Film Festival.

For more information


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Circle In The Sand - A documentary film about love, hope and forgiveness.

For the month of June I travelled with Nadia Ackerman, singer / songwriter, and a simplified version of her band ( Harvey Jones and David M Patterson ) on a music tour across Australia. Starting in Sydney Nadia had to overcome many obstacles along the way. Not only was she the tour manager, the marketing coordinator, social media promoter, webmaster, the performer, the songwriter, the financial backer... Nadia was also confronting a 20 year old wound, the loss of her father.

The documentary film Nadia and I are creating is going to cover what it is like for independent music artists to make it in the music industry. As well as bring a personal side of the story about family, relationships, and dealing with the death of a parent.

What we've noticed through the process of making the film that timing is everything. We had some absolutely magical occurrences happen during the course of the trip across Australia. Things we can't explain unless we put a visual to the story.

This documentary film can use your support. I have set up a KickStarter project: Under Going to help fund the film. Yes... this post is quite late in the game. With only 57 hours, just over two days left to reach the funding goal your pledge is imperative to creating this film. July 5th is the deadline to reach the goal. But we are committed to making this film happen. So if you are out at the beach celebrating 4th of July I completely understand, don't forget to apply your sunblock.

Here is the link to support the KickStarter project - Under Going:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Under Going - Hope, Strength and Love - Documentary Film

The Sydney portion of the tour was amazing! From radio interviews to raising money for a little girl named Natasha that has leukemia, live gigs to a presentation at the TDP with kids about being a singer.

On top of the whole tour there has been another side of the story. 20 years ago Nadia's father passed away. But his presence is still evident through various signs. We've had some magical occurrences let me tell you about one in particular. On June 18th Nadia and her family picked up her father's ashes from the cemetery. On this gorgeous crystal clear sunny day they scattered his ashes out to sea. I was filming from a respectful distance on the beach to give the family privacy. I had wired Nadia for sound to help capture the emotion and story. The power of the moment unfolding swept us all away to tears. I had to remove my earphones when I heard Ben, the brother, mention "I wish he was here so he could have met my kids."

Alright..... back to the magical occurence. So after the scattering of the ashes we all went for fish & chips at the Newport Arms. A beautiful serene setting for such an emotionally charged day. As we are getting out of the car at the Newport Arms parking lot Nadia asks her father for one more sign. (By the way we've had other signs along the way during this trip.) Nadia and her family are enjoying their lunch reminiscing about various stories of her father.... laughing and smiling. All of the sudden Nadia's friend Kate looks up into the sky and notices the word HOPE written in the clear blue sky. None of us heard a plane perform this acrobatic script maneuver.

The meaning of Nadia's name is HOPE.
The meaning of Nadia's name is HOPE.

Here is a small clip of the song "In The Middle Of My Chest." from the show at Blue Beat.

Contribute to the documentary film via my KickStarter project by clicking here.

For more information:
TDP = Talent Development Project
Nadia Ackerman

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Under Going - A Documentary Film

Do you know someone that has had a traumatic life altering event happen so overwhelming it almost crushes the essence of who they are?

20 years

It was 20 years ago that Nadia's father unexpectedly passed away. A teenager at the time, this tragedy devastated Nadia. A debilitating darkness that consumed Nadia to her core crushing her natural artistic creativity. Fortunately Nadia had the sense and the strength to seek help. Through the therapy process it unchained a record's worth of heartfelt lyrics creating an album called "The Ocean Master". Nadia's artistic soul was reborn.


June 8th, I will be traveling to Nadia's homeland with a simplified version of her band. Nadia, Dave, Harvey and myself are driving across Australia. We will embark on a 3 week road trip filled with live music gigs, teaching children to sing, a family unification culminating with Nadia's releasing of her father's ashes at sea. Two decades later, a final resting place for her father and a healing milestone for Nadia.


This project is to create a documentary film about hope, strength and love.

Nadia's story will be an inspirational film about changing one's life.

The goal is to raise $2,500 dollars via the KickStarter project. This will merely reimburse the project for the expenses mentioned below. Anything over the goal will be used to pay a professional film editor. An important task to creating a powerful and inspirational film.

Your donations will go directly towards essential film documenting equipment: external hard drives to store the many hours of film footage, video memory cards and rental fees for lighting, sound and video equipment.

Contribute TODAY! Click Here

Thank You. Your support is very much appreciated.

Be part of the experience follow the progress of the project.

Like the Under Going - Facebook Fan Page.

To find out more information about:

Nadia and her band.

Nadia Ackerman - click here

Harvey Jones - click here

David M Patterson - click here

Friday, April 6, 2012

Underground Music Video - Nadia Ackerman

Nadia came to me to create a video for a recent song called "Underground" from her new album Ocean Master released via Spectra Records. We worked on some concepts for the shoot and had a solid storyboard. During the shoot I came up with a technique that Nadia absolutely loved. The film technique took the music video in a whole new direction and inspired the final cut video.

It amazes me that even a clear vision of direction can always be altered.

Filmed By Spencer Gordon
Produced and directed by Spencer Gordon and Nadia Ackerman
Makeup By Esma May
Music and Lyrics Written by Nadia Ackerman
From "The Ocean Master" - Spectra Records 2012
Nadia Ackerman - Vocals and Piano
Harvey Jones - Synthesizer
Jon Ossman - Bass
Produced By Harvey Jones

Friday, March 30, 2012

Photographer's Rights by Jon Arnold

[caption id="attachment_356" align="aligncenter" width="590" caption="What is your wish?"]New York Commercial Photographer | Filmmaker | People | Interiors | Spencer Gordon[/caption]
Original Article by Jon Arnold on Camera Sim.

"No Photography Allowed" | A look at photographers rights | CameraSim.

Battle at the Alamo

Last week I visited the Alamo in San Antonio Texas. When I took a picture inside one of the old buildings, I was immediately reprimanded by a docent who told me that photography was not allowed. I asked what would happen if I chose to ignore that rule, and he said he’d call security and have me forcibly removed from the premises. Sheesh. Take a pill, dude.

A paranoid store owner

A couple months ago, I was walking downtown in Palm Springs California, where I saw a fellow pedestrian admiring some dishes displayed inside a storefront window. He took out his camera, snapped a photo, and the shop door flew open. “Hey! My dishes are copyrighted, and you can’t take pictures of them!” said the man who I assumed to be the storeowner. The flustered pedestrian apologized and quickly put away his camera.

Overzealous security guards

A couple years ago, while strolling downtown Indianapolis Indiana, and taking shots of building exteriors, I was stopped by a security guard who demanded to know who I was, what I was doing, and then informed me that he needed to inspect my photos. Though he didn’t use these words, I very much felt “detained” and “released.”

One more: A few years ago, I was taking photos of some friends as we walked through a shopping mall. Not only was I stopped and questioned by security, they told me I had to delete the photos I had been taking. Not knowing I had a choice, I naively complied.

Utter madness

Now, let those stories sink in for a second: Forcible removals from public places. Harassment from store owners. Detention by security guards. Intimidation to delete one’s data.

And for what? Causing a disturbance? Endangering the public? Damaging property?

Nope. Just taking a photo.

Taking…a photo. (No matter how many times I repeat it to myself, I can’t make it make sense.)

So what does the law say?

I’m no legal expert, but the internet research I’ve done so far on this topic reveals the following:

The shop owner who scolded the guy for taking photos of his precious plates was completely out of line. No one – not storeowners or even the police – can prevent you from taking photos of whatever you want from a public place. Regarding the storeowner’s copyright cry, yes, there are laws against publishing photos of copyrighted works, not taking photos for private use.
The security guard who stopped me while I was taking photos of downtown Indianapolis was just doing his job by being paranoid. But he wasn’t a police officer, so I had no legal obligation to give him any information, to let him detained me, or show my photos to him.
The security guard at the mall also had no right to detain me, and certainly no right to make me delete my photos (apparently, even the police need a court order to do that.) Even though a shopping mall is private property, it’s open to the public so most private property rules go out the window. The photos I took that day were nothing special, but I am still filled with regret for letting a mall cop bend me over like that.
I’m not sure about the Alamo situation, and museums in general seem to be a big “grey area.” Are they private or public property? Do they have a legal right to ban photography? I don’t know, but I’m going to find out.
Photographers’ rights can unfortunately be a murky and contentious issue, and I recognize that common sense and decency play as big of a role as any law. Anyone can take photos of kids at a public playground without getting their parents’ permission, for example. Illegal? No. Creepy? Yes…don’t do it.

Educate yourself

My point here, dear reader, is that you educate yourself on what you can and can’t do with your camera. Not every battle is worth fighting, but how you exercise or forgo your civil liberties should be an informed choice that you make, not a rent-a-cop.

What about you? Have you ever been unfairly harassed for taking photos? What about all you folks from outside the US?…what are the photography laws in your country?

Further reading:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Dead Exs - All Over You - Couch by Couchwest

The concept about this video for The Dead Exs was getting it all in one take. The singer, David Patillo, originally wanted to do a dry run without video for the first take however I stated that I'm gonna roll video because you never know that take may be the ONE. We did 7 takes and guess what? The first take, the rehearsal run was the one that made the cut.

We submitted the video to Couch by Couchwest. CXCW is the slackers alternative to SXSW. During the week of March 11-18, 2012 musicians from around the world submit videos recorded on a couch, porch, bathroom…anywhere but the stage…for our enjoyment from the comfort of our living rooms. All in hopes to bring together as many people as possible who are stuck home while all their friends are stuck in the crowds of Austin, TX. So crack open a beer, crank up the volume, and enjoy the couch!

By the end of the CXCW week The Dead Exs video was the 4th most viewed! YAY!

The Dead Exs perform "All Over You" from the album Resurrection.
David Pattillo - guitar, vox
Wylie Wirth - drums
Spencer Gordon - film & edit

Do you need a video created for your band or company?
Contact Spencer Today!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Oyster + Swimwear = March Madness Basketball

[caption align="alignnone" width="600" caption=" (FREE download of brochure click on image.)"] (FREE download of brochure click on image.)[/caption]
Oyster's swimsuit samples were straight out of the box for this photography shoot. Francess, the co-owner of the Brooklyn based company, was very excited to be photographing her "JUMP!" Spring / Summer 2012 line of swimwear. Even though the samples had their imperfections that did not stop our photography production from moving forward. That's only one of the obstacles we had to deal with that day. There were a few other challenges for example Oyster likes to work with "Real" models. Fortunately one model (Bryson) had worked with Oyster before but the other model (Margaret) was quite green. A new model can take up additional time and can cause a shoot to go off schedule.
[photoshelter-gallery g_id='G0000DTyE_w60W7k' g_name='Oyster-Bathing-Suit' width='600' f_fullscreen='t' bgtrans='t' pho_credit='iptc' twoup='f' f_bbar='t' f_bbarbig='f' fsvis='f' f_show_caption='t' crop='f' f_enable_embed_btn='t' f_htmllinks='t' f_l='t' f_send_to_friend_btn='f' f_show_slidenum='t' f_topbar='f' f_show_watermark='t' img_title='casc' linkdest='c' trans='xfade' target='_self' tbs='5000' f_link='t' f_smooth='f' f_mtrx='t' f_ap='t' f_up='f' height='400' btype='old' bcolor='#FFFFFF' ]
I've worked with many NEW models. Patience is the key. Working with new models in a friendly helpful way makes them feel comfortable. By the end of the shoot Margaret was slam dunking the poses!!! The second challenge was we were on a basketball court and when school let out, well let's just say March Madness look out! So we had to work with the kids and their pick up basketball games to negotiate them out of our shots. We eventually got one kid with his skateboard to be in a shot, which was perfect![photoshelter-img width='600' height='695' i_id='I0000eYuCofwSx2M' buy='0']
How did we come up with the basketball theme? Francess states “We wanted to challenge the idea that swimwear needs to be shot in exotic locations with busty, bombshell models. The Oyster customer is not interested in being overtly sexy, but sex appeal comes through in her confidence.” Oyster prides themselves working with natural-looking models that represent a more realistic young, female demographic.

Finally our biggest challenge was time. Being on location you never know when the weather is going to turn. The make up artist ran a bit over pushing the photography off schedule to a full court press pace. The forecast was for rain that late afternoon. For once the weather man was right that day. As our model walked onto the basketball court for our last shot the sky started dribbling rain drops. Francess was very concerned we were not going to finish. I told her not to worry. By this time the kids were gone and we had the basketball court to ourselves. We moved over under a large tree that provided us enough cover to do one last lay down shot that was the "layup" to wrapping up the photography shoot. Even though we started behind schedule due to hair & make up, model constraints, location elements I was able to shoot our entire shot list and still finish on time.

Oyster's Spring / Summer 2012 swimsuit line launches this Friday March 9th. If you are in the NY area come attend the FadMashion Show click here.

Featured Article on PDNonline / PhotoServe

Spencer Gordon Jumps Into Spring with Oyster.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

"The Artist" - Best Picture.... Really?

[caption id="attachment_1387" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The Artist (2011) Poster"][/caption]"The Artist" takes place in Hollywood in 1927 right at the beginning of the "Talkies". As silent movie star George Valentin ( Jean Dujardin ) wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion, he sparks with Peppy Miller ( Bérénice Bejo ), a young dancer set for a big break.

Does "The Artist" deserve Best Picture of the year? The actors Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, did and excellent job. Uggie, the Jack Russell, was superb and deserves notoriety however did not receive any. Michel Hazanavicius did a tremendous directorial of this film. Cinematography by Guillaume Schiffman was right on the money with subtle camera tricks. However, "The Artist" does NOT deserve Best Picture from The 84th Academy Awards. NOPE... Here is why. I found myself bored and force fed throughout the picture. "The Artist" lacked an engaging story that holds the viewers attention.

For instance in "Speedy" the plot revolves around Harold 'Speedy' Swift's attempts to save the last horse-drawn trolley bus in New York. The film contrasts the speed of life of the contemporary city with the pace of yesteryear, represented by this non-motorized mode of transport. It was a very smart move for the story to be about a current day topic of the time engaging the viewer through a constant choreography of witty occurrences within the main story. "Speedy" was brilliantly done and more importantly it was the story that made it so captivating. This was the last silent film to be released in theaters. In the clip provided you'll see what I'm talking about. Please disregard the cheesy computer dialog, this was the doing of the person who posted the clip on YouTube. You'll find in "Speedy" the story delights the viewer to the level that they don't even want to blink because they will miss something poignant and funny.

"Speedy" is a 1928 silent film that was one of the films to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director of a Comedy. It starred famous comedian Harold Lloyd in the eponymous leading role. The film was written by Albert DeMond (titles), John Grey (story), J.A. Howe (story), Lex Neal (story), and Howard Emmett Rogers (story) with uncredited assistance from Al Boasberg and Paul Girard Smith. It was directed by Ted Wilde (the last silent film to be directed by him). It was shot on location in New York City. Incredible to see NYC at that time.

Here is an example of a short silent film I shot for a client. Interesting how the male character looks similar to Jean Dujardin of "The Artist"! I also used a dancer.... that's a coincidence. If you'd like to see the stop animation version go to my blog Magic - Stop Animation & Silent Film Video by Spencer Gordon

Do you have a film or photography project to be shot?
Contact Spencer Gordon today!

Related articles:

Oscar Nominations: The Artist, a big score for a very French Film.

The Oscars and Movie Awards Season - Carpetbagger Blog -

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

MobileMe: How to save your MobileMe Gallery photos and movies

Have you been storing your original images on your MobileMe account? You did not back up your images and are now scrambling to figure out how to save all those precious images? You can download your photos and movies from MobileMe. Not to worry I got your back

About MobileMe and all your albums you have stored there I did a little research since you and I are in the same "Digital Boat". As you already may know you can not move your MobileMe albums to iCloud. However you can sync the albums back into your iPhoto or Aperture Library. Start now because as of June 30th, 2012 MobileMe will go offline. I suggest doing this in stages as some of you may have an extensive library of images.

Apple's MobileMe Sync to iPhoto or Aperture instructions are below.

MobileMe: How to save your MobileMe Gallery photos and movies.

Tips on backing up your digital media.

Back Up Your Media - LaCie Drives - Spencer Gordon - NY Photographer.

Need help with your digital workflow? Contact me I can help.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

East Yorkshire - Winter Countryside

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The countryside in the East Yorkshire is amazing! Quiet, serene and peaceful. I stayed in a village called Kilham. A quaint English village that has a convenience store, 2 pubs, fine art gallery, post office, butcher and a church all nestled inside of 2 blocks. The village is surrounded by farmland. One of the farmers even has an honor system produce stand. The brussels sprouts on the stalks were only 1 pound per stalk!

Walking through one of the fields we came across a cabbage field. They looked like purple brains in the snow.... a little eerie in the still quiet country cold air.

Also in the slideshow are a two shots of Bridlington Beach. My favorite shot is of the colorful changing bath houses.

The slideshow above if you click on an image it will take you directly to that shot on my website. All images are available for download.

Related articles about Yorkshire & Bridlington

"Yorkshire Coast - What will you find on the Yorkshire Coast?".

21 Jan-9 Apr: David Hockney and Yorkshire | Hello Yorkshire Blog.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Risa Binder "You Made It Rain." - Paper Heart Album

When singer / songwriter Risa Binder contacted me to shoot an off the cuff unplugged music video where she performs at a sweet shop. Intrigued with the challenge for this musician I opted to take on the assignment. At the dessert shop Risa reviews some of the sweets and then performs an acoustic guitar version with musician Ryan Bull of one of her songs, in this video Risa sings "You Made It Rain". We shot one cold rainy afternoon in Brooklyn, NY at One Girl Cookies. Since Risa was on tight budget I planned to do this assignment solo. The trick for me was how can I get two camera angles, be mobile, work fast and not disturb the customers with obtrusive video gear. I came up with the "J Rig".J Rig - Nikon P7000 - Hero HD - Bogen Magic Arm - Adorama Flash Bracket The "J Rig" consists of a Bogen flexible magic arm, 2 stud adaptors and 1 Adorama umbrella flash bracket. Mounted to this rig was a Nikon P7000, Hero HD camera and a Sony wireless stereo mic receiver. The rig worked perfectly allowing me to move freely and still be able to use the zoom on the Nikon P7000. I directed Risa to only look at the Nikon knowing that this camera will be the "A" footage. The Hero cam was set to it's widest setting R4 giving the "B" roll an almost fish eye look. This worked perfectly due to the tight space we were shooting in at One Girl Cookies in Brooklyn, NY. After filming for 2.5 hours and a major sugar rush from the incredible Whoopie Pies we had what we needed.

As I began the edit process I presented Risa the first cut which was just over 7 minutes. Risa informs me that her record label Warehouse Records, LLC and publicist Shore Fire Media after seeing the quality of the video wanted to use the video to promote the release of her album Paper Heart. The one requirement was we had to cut it down to 3 minutes so it could be used on the Official Facebook Music Page. After a few more edit sessions cutting the acoustic song of "You Made It Rain" in half we finished in time for Risa's February 14th release date of her album Paper Heart.


WHO: Risa Binder - Vocals; Doug Yowell - Drums; Ryan Bull - Guitar; Lee Nadel - Bass; Chris Lopresto - Keys; Nadia Ackerman- Background Vocals; Anthea White - Background Vocals

WHERE: Rockwood Music Hall

196 Allen Street

New York, NY 10002


WHEN: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - 7PM

Are you a musician in need of video or still shots for your CD artwork, press kits and website? Contact me and I'll be happy to discuss your project in detail.

Related Links

Warehouse Records, LLC – Risa's Record Label.

Shore Fire Media - Risa's Publicist.

Whoopie Pies - One Girl Cookies Store.

Rockwood Music Hall - Upcoming Performances.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

LYTRO Technology is Perfect for the iPhone 5

iPhone4s | Spencer Gordon Photography | New York Freelance Photographer
In the upcoming Inside Apple book by Adam Lashinsky, it's revealed that Steve Jobs had expressed interest and subsequently met with the CEO of LYTRO, the makers the first light field camera.

Quote from the book:
The company's CEO, Ren Ng, a brilliant computer scientist with a PhD from Stanford, immediately called Jobs, who picked up the phone and quickly said, "if you're free this afternoon maybe we would could get together." Ng, who is thirty-two, hurried to Palo Alto, showed Jobs a demo of LYTRO's technology, discussed cameras and product design with him, and, at Jobs's request, agreed to send him an email outlining three things he'd like LYTRO to do with Apple.

The light field technology by LYTRO is poised for the smartphone market..... especially the iPhone 5. I can't tell you the number people I've seen who have simply no clue to touch the area of their screen to focus the picture. The LYTRO technology will eliminate this all together. Being "focused" on the moment before you is key. Having the ability to focus after the image is taken is a better way to approach an image.

Spencer Gordon | LYTRO Camera | Commercial Photographer | Digital Technology
I've actually had the pleasure of a hands on demonstration of the LYTRO camera. You can read about that experience on my blog post by clicking here.

LYTRO - as a camera I'd have to say NO, however as a technology LYTRO's breakthrough will be a welcomed feature in any smartphone, tablet, digital camera or imaging device.

Related articles:

Steve Jobs Met with Light Field Camera (Lytro) Company's CEO - MacRumors Forums.

Book details Apple's 'packaging room,' Steve Jobs's interest in advanced cameras.

Will Apple's iPhone 5 be the only camera you'll ever need? - Computerworld Blogs.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Nikon D4 Overview: Digital Photography Review

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Nikon has finally released the news that the Nikon D4 will be on the shelves starting in February of 2012. Finally a Nikon camera with some cojones!!! I personally have been waiting for this camera since 2009 when I realized the Nikon D3s was sub-par. Some features I am excited to put the test are the facial recognition system, the 204,800 ISO which should be noisy but could play that up to create some interesting images. Ohhhh and finally the 1080p video... YES! That is the sole reason I did not purchase the Nikon D3s because it was wimping out at 720p for the video. I have to say was a bit upset to see the $6,000 price tag when the past price point for Nikon's flagship cameras had been steady at $5,000. OUCH!!!

Here are some things to note about the Key Specifications for the Nikon D4:
• 51 AF focal points - When people's faces are priority subjects, the Advanced Scene Recognition System delivers particularly outstanding performance. The camera's auto-area AF mode accurately recognizes human faces and achieves sharp focus immediately and automatically
• D4 also has the all new card format.
• 16.2 effective megapixel, full-frame sensor (16.6MP total)
• 10fps shooting with AF and AE, 11fps with focus and exposure locked, 24fps 2.5MP grabs
• 91,000 pixel sensor for metering, white balance, flash exposure, face detection and active d-lighting
• ISO Range 100-12,800 (extendable from 50 – 204,800)
• MultiCAM 3500FX Autofocus sensor works in lower light and with smaller apertures
• Two sub-selector joystick/buttons for shooting orientation
• 1080p30 HD video at up to 24Mbps with uncompressed video output
• The D4 is designed for crisp stereo recording with a built-in external stereo microphone connector. Attach the compact Stereo Microphone ME-1 to record clear sound while significantly reducing mechanical noise. An external headphone connector enables use of headphones to effectively monitor and control audio in isolation. The indicators offer visual confirmation of audio level and the microphone sensitivity can be precisely controlled in 20 incremental steps.
• New EN-EL18 battery (21.6Wh capacity, CIPA-rated at 2600 shots)
• Twin card slots - one Compact Flash and one XQD
• Wired and wireless communication system
The D4 employs a built-in wired LAN function of IEEE802.3u standard (100BASE-TX). Moreover, the D4 is compatible with the compact, easy-to-connect, newly developed WT-5A/B/C/D* (optional) that realizes high-speed wireless transmission. Also, IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council) data can be automatically added to the images within the camera. In addition to input with a camera, it is possible to add information to a series of images at high speed using an IPTC file created on a PC in advance. *Wireless Transmitter WT-4A/B/C/D/E is also compatible.

Below are some related articles.

Hands on: Nikon D4 review | News | TechRadar.

Nikon D4 overview: Digital Photography Review.

Nikon | Imaging Products | Nikon D4.