Natural Light Tabletop with Pixel 2

Natural Light Tabletop with Pixel 2

I’ve been picking up a few shots for a curriculum I’m working on with some other folk. The lessons are designed to help media organizations and individuals to learn, and then to pass on, important skills in content production using mobile devices.

These shots will be part of lessons on capturing still images using a mobile device. I’m collecting screen shots and many, many photos to use as examples in the curriculum.

Keeping the gear to a minimum, just window light on my dining room table and a little tripod for the phone. The goal is to help people anywhere, with any device, create nice content.


Why Use a Director’s Viewfinder? – A Tutorial in VR

Here’s a quick explanation of how I use director’s viewfinders – either physical finders (like the Alan Gordon Mark Vb) or smartphone apps (like the Artemis Director’s Viewfinder)


Note: I’m playing with VR/360video a bit more and getting my filmmaker’s brain around ways to use it for different kinds of stories. This isn’t really a story, but I got an urge to do a very quick tutorial in VR.

This hastily shot draft gives me ideas for the future. What do you think, does VR add, or detract from the experience? I’m already making my list of things I’d do differently, or add to the next one.

We’re all still learning here.

[Update: YouTube VR is now available on headsets like Occulus Go. You can watch it there, in Occulus, using this link: ]

[Production Notes: I shot this with a very basic Ricoh Theta SC camera. I recorded the audio double-system, using a small smartphone lav mic plugged into a spare iPhone 4S sitting behind me on the chair. I synced the sound in Adobe Premiere CC and edited the clips there, exporting and uploading straight to Vimeo for hosting.]

Musical/Visual Stories of Hope

This is our challenge – to be the culture-shapers AND to help those who are already culture-shapers to discover a new story for themselves, through Christ.

“Picture this. You’re standing in one of the most remote corners of Tanzania, East Africa, in a place called O’lerumo. Around you are a few bomas (collections of huts) – you’re in a Maasai village comprising maybe 200 people, living more or less in a dozen family groupings. There are no cars here. There are no wells here. There is no electricity here. You’re standing in a circle of a dozen people under a thorn tree, praying, and you’re feeling like for the first time you really understand just how nearby God is. Then a cellphone rings and a dozen Maasai reach into their shukas and pull out their phones – some of them have three – and someone apologizes and takes the call. It’s in that moment you’re reminded that the difference between here and there is not as big as it used to be.”

For us, this story from Jeremy, a friend in East Africa, vividly tells the story of the changes our world is experiencing and the opportunities that we have to bring Jesus to people and places that once seemed so far off. These are opportunities our 10X Productions’ ministry team is pursuing.

Assist the Culture-Shapers

In every culture, even among the Maasai, the stories communicated through technology and media like films, music, and games are what set the tone and agenda for the future. We have an opportunity every day to tell our own stories that reflect Kingdom values and have the potential to lead us to a different future. However, our voices tend to be drowned out, unless we are the ones who are leading the way in popular culture. This is our challenge – to be the culture-shapers AND to help those who are already culture-shapers to discover a new story for themselves, through Christ.

This summer, my team and I have a chance to help shape culture in East Africa. We are partnering with a singing group, The Sowers Group, and a ministry in Tanzania, Pamoja Ministries, to create music videos that will share stories of hope in Christ in a region that is torn by poverty, war, and oppression. The Sowers Group is a group of Christians from Rwanda, Congo, and Tanzania who have been through civil war, genocide, and the more ordinary trials of life. Through their music they speak of hope and freedom in Christ. The Sowers Group is becoming more well-known in East Africa and so have many opportunities to perform in secular and Christian concerts.

[listen to the song HERE]

Why Music Videos?

Africa is in the middle of a media explosion. Nearly everyone has a cellphone and a DVD player. It’s common to exchange music with friends on cellphones and the preferred way to listen to music at home is via DVDs of music videos. We want to help The Sowers Group create a high quality music video album on DVD. We expect the DVDs to be taken all over East Africa where the message of Christ in the music and visuals will have a great influence.

The Sowers Group are pop culture storytellers, helping to shape their culture through music. 10X Productions, through our collaboration with Pamoja Ministries, can help increase their influence by training and mentoring emerging local filmmakers. Our experience in filmmaking, combined with their cultural expertise, is a potent combination. The skills we teach will be used to create even more videos in the future.