All posts for the month November, 2014


Probably one of the best things a viewer of a TV show, Movie or Broadway play can say to a costume designer…is nothing about the costumes. If done correctly the attire worn by the cast will blend seamlessly into the type of media they were watching. We live in the world where many of us pay attention to the special effects in a film and often forget about the sets, the music, the costumes and all the work that goes into making a film pop on the big screen.  That’s OK, all those elements are designed to whisk us away into a place we haven’t been before or ever seen.

Now of course the costumes don’t want to go unnoticed at all because it’s what helps make the character. Princess Leia wouldn’t be what she was if not for the glamour and clean lines of her costume. The wrong vest and pants for Han Solo and you would think he was a garbage man and not a Smuggler.  The materials used, the cut, the style, all important. I Recently had a chance to look through the new book STAR WARS COSTUMES: The Original Trilogy. This is a book to have if you really want to look into the detail and craftsmanship behind the costumes, helmets and other elements of the Three Original Star Wars films.

You see the costumes from the films in a way you never have before. Up-close and personal. Creators of the book brought out the original costumes from the Lucas archives to show them in a way you NEED to see them to understand what beauty and craftsmanship went into the work.

If you are a STAR WARS fan, you will love this, but if you are an artist like I am, you are going to really enjoy this. From perfecting the perfect fabric cut, replicating scratches and bullet holes on Boba Fett’s helmet, It’s beautiful.

Gatefold Photo from Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy. Lucas Books/Chronical Books 2014

Gatefold Photo from Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy. Lucas Books/Chronical Books 2014

The Above is just one of many examples you will see through the book.  As the book progresses through the three films you see how characters are created by what they wear based on their environment. Planet Hoth costumes were interesting, such as vinyl sheets for Imperial snowtrooper costumes, or creating the camo costumes for the speeder races through the woods on Endor.

This book is a fantastic read and Visually stunning. I recommend for the fan and the artist.

STAR WARS COSTUMES: The Original trilogy book was purchased by Paul and was not provided by the publisher for review.



Inspired By a conversation from Dennis & Judi on NJ 101.5 FM Radio
Dear Members of the LLD (Left Lane Dick) Society,

As we discussed at our Sunday Night meeting, we will be hitting the roads Monday morning on I-295, Rt 287, Route 1 (north of Trenton) and parts of Route 35 in Toms River. It is imperative we hit the left lanes hard, as it is the start of a new week where people will be honoring veterans on Tuesday. We must make these people angry so they can then be offered joy, or offer joy to any Veterans of the state the next day. It is also imperative you bring an item of distraction with you, such as coffee, a morning breakfast wrap, or doing your make-up. This way other drivers will think you are distracted and NOT trying to slow them down on purpose in the left lane.

Remember our motto…Left Lane Dicks..are not Pricks!

Thank you all and see you next week.

Your humble Chief

Richard Ball
A.K.A Dick Ball


Can a news organization in a major market shoot a show on GoPro Cameras and Cell Phones? Yes, yes it can. I was skeptical myself when I was first presented this question but through determination and a little pushing, it happened.

One of the hardest obstacles to overcome was getting our reporters to understand they could shoot on their own. If you came from another news station you are used to having a photographer in the field with you. Now I know some smaller stations have reporters shoot their own content on large format cameras, however this was a whole new ball game.

The idea behind our show is to bring the viewer into the story the reporter is covering. The only way to do this was to use a compact, versatile camera with easy operation and mounting options. Enter the GoPro.

I first got involved with GoPro cameras in 2011 with the Hero2 Model. I’m not an action sports photographer, not skiing, snowboarding or anything along those lines. While working a TV job in New York City, I was spending my evenings covering red carpets movie premiers, Broadway play openings and other events. I started using the camera as another way to capture the events on the carpet from a slightly different angle. We all know the traditional shots that come from these types of events and I was trying to modify the game with some different images. Shooting video and photos to capture not only the celebrities walking the carpet, but the action that goes on with the photographers, videographers and all the other staff involved in making that red carpet moment pop.

Shortly after leaving the job in NYC, I got involved with a new TV program that was looking to shake things up in the way local news is covered. Questions were asked about technology and what we can do with it. A realization came one day to my boss about shooting events on cell phones. He was thinking if he can tape his kids playing sports on his phone and then share it with friends, why can’t news be presented that way?

The first part of the puzzle was in place, shooting on cell phones. While most of the news would be tackled that way, some high res cameras would also be used in the field to capture events and to shoot the show in the studio.

The above process worked great, but something was missing. It was still hard to bring the viewer into the story, through the eyes of the reporter. The cell phone could only go so far and a cameraman would only get so much, but something was missing. That’s when it came to me…let’s try the GoPro.

I sent my personal GoPro into the field and the results were fantastic! It was the missing link to help bring the viewer into what was being covered. The possibilities of where the camera can go are endless. On a car, in a bag, in a pothole, under a bus, in a drawer, in a snow blower, attached to almost any moving vehicle, you get the idea.

Eventually we moved up to the Hero 3 Black and 3+ Black, these cameras are the workhorses of our shop. The quality we get on these cameras is great and their flexibility makes it easy to use for the reporter. Just extending your arm and shooting yourself telling the story about where you are going and what is happening gives a whole new perspective to telling a news story. The GoPro works in tandem with the cell phones, often becoming a second camera angle to news events that are often only shot at one angle. In an age where Vine, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and other video APPS are taking over the way viewers consume media, this was the answer to telling a visual story and bringing the viewer into the moment.

We also learned, that the GoPro is built to last, not just from physical abuse but also from a mechanical standpoint. We shoot at least an hour of footage on each one of the 8 we have in use daily. In the case, out of the case, mounted, under water etc. starting stopping the records multiple times every day. We have been doing this for over a year now and only lost 1 camera…and another under a train but that’s another story. I think the wear on these is great. Most people use them on the weekend or a few times a week while doing sport activities, we are shooting news content on these every single day.

We broadcast in 720/60 so the camera was more than suitable for shooting the quality we wanted. The updated image sensors in the 3 and 3+ create gorgeous images. I actually have the cameras set to shoot 1080/60 so we have an even crisper image to zoom in on if we need to. The other advantage to this was the video was less fisheye at 1080p versus 720p. Light performance was better than expected, of course at night it can be tricky but on a day-to-day basis, outside or indoors the GoPro excels on getting the images we want.


GoPro With Knog Qudos LED Waterproof Light


Audio can be tricky with the GoPro, but most of the sound we capture on the internal GoPro microphones works great. Man on the street sound and natural sound are captured very well. We also invested in some external microphones to attach to the GoPro. They require the GoPro adapter but otherwise there are a slew of Stick Microphones and Lavalier microphones that are available on the market to suit your production needs.

Recently we have started using a GoPro hand-held gimbal during our studio production, giving us nice smooth stabilized shots.


GoPro with PilotFly Gimbal


So I ask you again, can the GoPro be used to shoot news and features in a Major broadcast market? Yes, yes it can.

I welcome your thoughts on this process…