Blowin' In The Wind

I was doing some house work today and figured I would listen to Bob Dylan's second album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. The first song is Blowin' in the Wind. I must have heard this song well over 100 times at this point in my life, but as I have grown older the song feels more important than ever. The first concert I ever attended was seeing Bob Dylan at the age of 13. He would do a free concert every year at Conneaut Lake in Western Pennsylvania. 
 

Yes, how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
— Bob Dylan

Adam's Last Day

It is with mixed sadness and nervous excitement that I announce today is my last day with Scouts Honor Media. It's been an amazing trip, and I thank Josh for asking me to partner with him on this company three years ago (give or take). I've had the opportunity to work on some really fun projects and meet some really great people. Thank you to everyone who has given me the trust and freedom to produce your visual media. I'm sorry to anyone I've pissed off... I know I'm stubborn. Thank you to everyone who helped out with projects just for the fun of hanging out and doing cool stuff.

There are a number of reasons why I'm leaving, but it will suffice to say I simply feel my time here has run its course and now it's on to the next thing. I'm leaving on good terms and there is absolutely no bad blood with me and Josh. So zip it on the rumor mill.

The next phase for me is wide open, which is why I say I'm nervously excited. Stay tuned to my adventures on Instagram, and my personal website, www.dearadamsmith.com, which is currently under construction.

Josh will continue with Scouts Honor, but with my leaving, will no longer offer graphic design and illustration services. Video production will be the main focus, so hit him up for those vids!

Keep on thuggin'. Peace.


We The Scouts, Honor Philly

Hello friends! With the month of January almost behind us, we thought we'd give you a little nudge to remind you of our Instagram Giveaway. We, here at Scouts Honor, have decided to offer a free, one minute promo video to one lucky follower! We're honoring our city, as well as the many small, locally owned businesses in and around it. Let us support you by celebrating your dedication and shining the light on YOU. To enter, you  all you have to do is post a picture (to Instagram) of your workspace, studio, or store - with a brief description of your company and what you do - with the following included in your caption: #wescoutshonorphilly #phillymade #phlmade @scoutshonormc 

Also, if you know someone who deserves to win, tag them in our original post ! *To qualify, you must be a Philadelphia (or surrounding area) based company, artist, or band. One winner will be announced on February 2nd, 2015 - so be sure to get your entry in before then! 

 

Adam's Top 10 Christmas-timey Movies

Tis the season to stay in your house y'all.  It's cold outside.  I could go on here about twinkling lights and such but let's talk about this list.  I'm not usually one for lists, but I do appreciate a couch and a Christmas movie this time of year.  There's no need for me to keep talking here so let's get on with it.  These are in no particular order.  Sorry, I know you were hoping for a countdown, but I told you I don't really do lists.

Elf

"I just like to smile.  Smiling's my favorite."

Universally recognized as a modern classic by everyone who likes anything at all, Elf is the sweet story of a man who was raised at the North Pole by elves, but doesn't know he's an elf.  When he finds out he's human he goes on a quest to meet his real dad.  Really though the plot pales in comparison to Will Ferrell's straight up domination of the childlike character and his ability to make us laugh every 3 seconds, which when divided amongst the film's 97 minutes equates to approximately 1,940 laughs.

Home Alone

"You guys give up?  Or ya thirsty for more?"

This list would not be complete without Home Alone.  If this movie came out when you were a kid, how many times did you do the aftershave-face slap-scream bit just like Kevin?  It almost got old, like the Ace Ventura "Alllllrighty thennn", but time has been graceful to Kevin McCallister and the movie holds up.  We anticipate almost every line of this veritable quote feast, and still cringe when the Wet Bandits are dealt their deserved hands.  It's good they conceived this plot in the pre-cell phone era, because the days of a probable home alone situation are long gone... just like Kevin's family! 

A Christmas Story

"Aunt Clara had for years labored under the delusion that I was not only perpetually 4 years old, but also a girl."

Oh Ralphie, how you have sweetened our hearts for the last 31 years.  Is it a coincidence that your movie was released in the same year that I was born to this earth?  Maybe.  Maybe it was a sign.  Maybe we're kindred spirits.  I did once receive a B.B. gun for Christmas.  I never shot my, or anyone else's eye out, but I certainly thought I was as badass as you.  Bonus trivia: Did you know Peter Billingsley, the actor who played Ralphie, also played Ming Ming the elf in Elf?? 

Scrooged

"I never liked a girl well enough to give her twelve sharp knives."

A strong contribution to the list of reasons why Bill Murray may be the greatest of all time.  This film is one of many adaptations of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", but in my humble opinion, it's the best one.  This time Ebenezer takes the form of Frank Cross, a mean tightwad TV exec play by Mr. Murray.  I don't know if it's just me, but it seems like this movie isn't as well known as it should be.  I only discovered it last year, and let me tell you, life has been better since. 

Rudolph, the red nosed reindeer

"Didn't I ever tell you about Bumbles?  Bumbles bounce!"

It's cute, it's animated, and it's about Rudolph.  That's a recipe for a sweetness coma if you ask me.  Plus my wife says in college I looked like Hermey the elf.  But I don't want to be a dentist.  My favorite part?  When Yukon Cornelius flickers his tongue on his pick to taste for gold.  Bonus: This month marks the 50th anniversary of the film.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

"Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!"
charlie brown.jpg

Charlie Brown and I have one thing in common; we're tired of the materialism of Christmas.  The other kids only care about presents and it drives Charlie nuts.  Thank God for Linus who shuts everyone up by reading from the BIBLE!  Are you kidding me?  If you tried to do that in a Christmas movie these days you'd be accused of disseminating hate.  Thanks Chuck Schultz for keeping it real.

Die Hard

"Yippee ki-yay motherf...."  you know the rest

I know there are some haterz out there who will diagree with the Christmas classification that I've assigned to this one.  This is one of the few VHSs that would be located in the Action Christmas section of your local video store.  If you're anything like me, a red-blooded meat-eating beer-drinking American male with breath in his lungs, you'll agree that we're in dire need of new contributions to the Action Christmas section of the local video store.  You still might agree even if you're a cold-blooded vegetarian vodka-drinking European.  Hans Gruber?

The Nightmare Before Christmas

"What's this? What's this?!"

A tale of discovery and finding one's own true merit in relishing his own true self.  Plus it looks freaking amazing!  Ok my opening line probably didn't make any sense.  Anyway here's to all the teen goths and soccer moms who love this film because, really, everyone loves it.  And if they say they don't well then maybe I'm wrong.  The animation and sets and puppets are so amazing I see something new every time I watch it.  Apparently it took 100 people three years to make this movie.  Great music too.

Christmas Vacation

"It's a membership to the Jelly of the Month Club."

So the thing is here with this one, I'm not really all that familiar with NLCV.  I mean I've seen it, sure, but it didn't stick.  It has procured a spot here because Josh and Jasmine had me in a double headlock and threatened a swirly if I didn't include it.  I'm embellishing a little bit.

How the Grinch stole christmas! (The old one)

"How could it be so?  It came without ribbons!... It came without tags!... It came without packages, boxes, or bags!"

What can you say about this one really?  A Dr. Suess story come to life through animation, isn't that every kid's dream?  Or was up to 10 years ago.  Now it's gidgets and gazmos and whozits and fudgets.  Everything they want takes a humongous budget.... I think I'm getting cynical at 31.  Is that bad?  JK everybody.  

Thanks for reading my list.  If you want to contest any of my movies or want to contribute your own you can tweet me @dearadamsmith.  Merry Christmas!

Review of the DJI Ronin

We recently took on a music video which required a long take for the opening shot. Our best bet would have been to rent a stabilizer, such as Steady Cam, as well as an operator. This would be ideal so that we could have relied on the expertise of another, allowing us to do our job. However, the budget would not allow for that (typical indie music budget, am I right?!). We then looked at renting a DJI Ronin, which we knew was a more accessibly priced option, but were unfamiliar with the quality of the product. After comparing the rental rates with the actual cost of the item (about 20% of the retail price), we hesitantly made the jump to purchase the Ronin. For a small company such as ours, any substantial purchase such as this must be weighed with these considerations:

-Will this make our product substantially better?

-Will it pay for itself, or better yet, return a profit?

-Will it help us be more efficient, or slow down productivity (affecting profit)?

-Is this item something we can use in a variety of productions (or is it too niche)?

-Can we rent this item out when not in use?

-Will it add credibility, add status (perceived value)?

Assuming the Ronin works well, it seems to answer those questions positively. So with that we pulled the trigger and made the purchase. The most intimidating aspect of this was that the Ronin arrived on Friday. The shoot was scheduled for Monday. So I only had two full days to become acquainted with the Ronin. For someone with zero experience operating any kind of stabilizer it was definitely a gamble.

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Saturday, I decided to spend a few hours setting it up, troubleshooting and getting familiar with it. Setting it up was fairly self explanatory and within about 30 minutes it was all assembled with the camera on it. Getting the camera to balance was fairly simple, however looking back, there were some things I didn’t understand just yet. I think that is something favorable with the Ronin. You can get it going rather quickly to an acceptable use, however, the more you use it, the better you can operate it. 

There is an app to control and fine tune the controls which is a big help. One problem I didn’t realize right away though is that once you’ve used the app, it’s best to turn it off. That way it isn’t continuously trying to tweak the gimbal. Once you get it set, it’s best to roll with it and start shooting. I spent a good hour or so with the app and that was concerning. I didn’t want to have to spend that much time on set fiddling with it while everyone was waiting. Once I got it seemingly set, then I did my first test shots.

The test shots were essentially me chasing family members around the house. Definitely was encouraged by the “out of the box” results. Spent about 2 hours overall on Saturday getting it up and running, including test shots.

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On Sunday I decided to start from scratch to see if there would be any kinks. I realized with a shorter lens (50mm) that it was having problems. I switched back to the 24-70 lens previously used and it was fine. This limited my confidence for the next day’s shoot, which allowed me to mentally plan on only using the 24-70. The wider lens is better for this type of thing in my opinion anyway. Set a deeper focus and shoot at 24-28 focal length. That was the game plan. It felt good and we were all set for Mondays shoot.

On set, it was smooth sailing. All the prep work paid off and we didn’t experience any kinks along the way. 

In addition to the DJI Ronin, we used the Small HD 7” monitor attached to the top cross bar. Otherwise, it’s impossible to see what your shooting. Ideally, someone else would have a wireless follow focus system. But we have yet to incorporate that into the configuration with the Ronin. With that addition, it really seems that this piece of gear could be used on so many things.

Overall, we’re very pleased. If you’re looking to add some sweet tracking shots to your production, hit us up. We will rent the DJI Ronin to anyone in the Philadelphia, New Jersey, Delaware, New York area. We would recommend sending out an operator with it as it protects our equipment, but also frees you up to not worry about the technical considerations with it. 

Here are some of the first test shots we got with the Ronin:

New Look, Same Great Taste

If you're reading this, you might notice that we've redesigned our website.  Take a look around and you'll find some new content.  We've finally put our philosophy into words, answered some FAQ's, added a studio manager, and there's a new section for our Making Tracks series, which we're hoping to do more of soon.

Revised Logo

We never felt quite settled with our original logo, so we've made some changes!  The goal was to simplify the overall design and add a bit more character and harmony to the typography, as well as define the tent better.  We love it, and we hope you do too. 

Old logo

Old logo

New logo

New logo

Free Wallpaper Pattern

We made a new pattern for the background of this site.  But we ain't selfish.  Feel free to download this image and tile it as your desktop wallpaper.  (But please not for anything else without our permission.)  

We gotta go.  Til next time!