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A Busy Year Ahead of Us

Posted on February 6, 2013 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

 

It has been a great start to the new year as we got word that our short film, "A Silent Universe," has been officially selected to be part of the 2013 Boston Science Fiction Film Festival that kicks off later this week. If you haven't yet seen "A Silent Universe," we invite you to check it out here. The year has also started off with Runaway Pen's involvement in video projects for Greene Rubber Company and New Balance.

 

Over the last several months, we have also been hard at work writing a feature length screenplay loosely based on our 2011 award-winning short film, "Stop." Last year, we were approached by an independent film production company out of LA that had seen "Stop" and has expressed interest in potentially developing the short into a feature film I would direct and co-produce with them. Currently, the script is under review. We await word eagerly. Meanwhile, you can watch "Stop" for free at: www.stop.mikelwisler.com.

 

Finally, we are really excited about partnering with Stories by the River again in co-producing a new short film. This will be the second short film Runaway Pen and SbtR produce together, the first being "A Silent Universe." This new short film is called "Playing with Ice" and was co-written by Andrew Gilbert and I. I will be directing and joining me will be Kate Paulsen and Laura Menzie in this two-person cast as well as cinematographer Bryant Naro and SbtR producer Kristina Kaiser. Rehearsals are underway and production is planned for April.

 

We have high hopes for a great 2013 with many possible new achievements.

 

- Mikel J. Wisler

New Cinematography Reel for Wisler

Posted on December 20, 2011 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Runaway Pen Production's co-founder, Mikel J. Wisler, has officially release a new demo reel of his work as cinematographer (director of photography). This latest reel showcases Wisler's work exclusively in the world of narrative filmmaking. Most notably, it features a significant amount of footage from the two short films Wisler shot in 2011, "Stop" (see the film here) and "Worm Free Society" (due out in 2012). You can see the new reel on Vimeo by going to: vimeo.com/mikelwisler/cinematography2012 or you can watch the YouTube release below:


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For more information about Wisler, please visit www.mikelwisler.com.

Wisler Directs New Short

Posted on April 21, 2011 at 10:03 PM Comments comments (0)

Hard for me to believe it, but it has actually been three years since my (Mikel Wisler's) last time directing a narrative film project. It’s not like I haven’t been busy. In fact, these past three years have been absolutely fantastic and I’ve been busy with many projects ranging from videos for clients like AOL to producing narrative film projects by other filmmakers, some of which I’ve had the privilege to shoot.


But I have to admit that it is time I got back to directing narrative projects. Truth is, I have been pushing hard to connect with investors and cast members for my first feature film project, After This. At the same time, however, I do feel it is important to keep sharp. In this spirit, we at Runaway Pen Productions have been busy working on short film concepts. These new projects are different in that while we are working hard to lay the foundation to make feature length films, we’re looking at making the shortest films we have ever produced to date.


In early May, I’ll be directing a new short science fiction project called “Stop” I am producing with Trevor C. Duke (writer and director of “Torn”). It is too early at this point for me to reveal too much about the project. But this new project will present some exciting opportunities to continue honing my work in visual storytelling. Given the shorter length of this project, I hope to have this film completed by mid summer. We will be shooting on the Canon Rebel T2i.

HDSLR Cinematography

Posted on April 13, 2011 at 5:45 PM Comments comments (0)

In light of all of the shooting I (Mikel Wisler) have been doing this past year on Canon DSLR cameras capable of shooting 1080p HD video, and of all the interest, views, and comments several of my videos have gotten on YouTube, I opted to release a new demo reel showcasing work I've done exclusively with Canon DSLR cameras. The reel bellow includes narrative film, documentary, and freelance video projects all shot with the Canon 7D, T2i, and/or the new T3i. 


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In this rapidly changing world of video acquisition technology, I am sure the year ahead will bring some new and exciting changes. Already, I am researching some new additions to my shooting and post-production workflow that could present new projects and clients with even greater quality.

DSLR Video Gear Upgrades

Posted on March 14, 2011 at 10:12 AM Comments comments (0)

In an effort to always keep improving, I (Mikel J. Wisler) have recently made up some upgrades to my DSLR equipement in an effort to better serve video and film productions I am involved with. Last year, I bought the Canon Rebel T2i DSLR camera. It proved to be a great investment and I shot several projects with that camera in the past year. Those projects include major web videos for AOL Travel, highly stylized videos for The River Church, and two independent short films I had the honor of shooting (cinematographer).


Yet, there is always room to grow. One of the main challenges I faced when shooting video was that the Canon 50mm 1.8f lens I love using for at least 75% of my video footage has far too small of a focus ring. While a great lens for the price, the focus ring did not allow for enough manual control and precision when pulling focus (changing what I'm focused on) while shooting HD video with my Canon T2i. As a result, I've upgraded to Canon's 50mm 1.4f prime lens, which has a much better focus ring. This will allow for much better accuracy and qualty when shooting video and film projects that require a much more cinematic approach to style and aesthetics.


The Canon 50mm 1.4f Prime Lens (right) with Mikel's light metter and other lenses.


In addition to this, I also have ordered a new portable digital audio recorder, the Zoom H1. One of the major shortcomings of most HD video capable DSLR cameras is that audio quality and control is lacking. In the past, I have recorded audio with my MacBook Pro. While the quality is great when recording with my MacBook, the prorblem with doing this is that it is not as portable as is often needed when I'm doing one-man crew shoots.


Thus, In an effort to be able to record better audio with more ease and flexibity, I  have opted to introduce the Zoom H1 recorder into my set up. The Zoom H1 allowes for much higher quality sound recording than what any DSLR on the market can provide at this time as the H1 can record 48KHz and 96KHz audio at 16 or 24 bit. It also allows for manual control over recording levels, something few DSLRs offer which causes major problems when trying to record audio directly into a DSLR. So, bypassing all of this, I've opted for a two-system (video and audio seperate) approach. The Zoom H1 includes a bult-in stereo microphone useful for some applications, but most often I will be recording audio with my wireless lav and boom mic which will be sent through my XLR-PRO portable mixer for proper level setting and cotrol. The signal then is sent from the mixer to the Zoom H1 for high quality recording as WAV audio.


The Zoom H1 portable digital audio recorder shown here mounted to a Canon Rebel T2i.


How will we line up the audio and the video? Simple. We use the classic movie slate (which I own), announce what the take is we are shooting, and claps the slate shut. That instant that the slate snaps shut is the perfect point for synchonization of picture and sound. There's a reason Hollywood has been using a slate for decades, and there's still plenty of reason to continue using one.


To see a full list of my gear available for film and video productions, you can take a look at the Video Producion page right here on Runaway Pen's website as well as my gear list on my persnal website: www.mikelwisler.com.

Booming Business for Runaway Pen

Posted on August 26, 2010 at 3:54 PM Comments comments (0)

If you happen to visit our site periodically (first of all, thank you for doing so!) you may have noticed a lack of updates recently. This is mainly do to the fact that Runaway Pen Productions has been quite busy with projects. These projects have ranged from some rather small and quick video projects to larger and more complicated video productions involving crews and multiple days of shooting. I also have other projects in the works right now that present some pretty exciting possibilities.


As for independent film, I am currently working as the Associate Producer for The Legend of Oak Swamp. It is a fantasy/adventure feature film currently in development by writer/director Jedidiah Burdick. We are currently raising seed money to help us with development expenses. You can learn more and see the concept trailer we created by going to: www.indiegogo.com/The-Legend-of-Oak-Swamp


I am also lined up to be the cinematographer for a new short film by writer/director Raz Cunningham. The film is slated to shoot in October and will be shot on Canon DSLRs.


Finally, as you might tell from this new entry, I'm opting to switch things up on the news feed to a more personal touch. I hope you enjoy it and that you will come back regularly to find out what I'm up to and what Runaway Pen is developing.


Thanks for stopping by,

Mikel J. Wisler

Runaway Pen Produces Patch Videos

Posted on June 16, 2010 at 11:34 AM Comments comments (0)

This week, Runaway Pen filmmaker Mikel J. Wisler is busy shooting and editing three videos for the new web destination for local news and events known as Patch. Two of the videos are introductions of editors for the Brookline, Massachusetts Patch site and the Westwood, Massachusetts Patch site. The third, shooting later today, is for a local business profile video that will be appearing on it’s local Patch site.


Wisler, who is shooting all the videos with the Canon Rebel T2i HDSLR camera, is also editing the videos on his Final Cut Studio 3 system. “The T2i works great for shoots like this,” explains Wisler. “It’s light and small, but the image looks fantastic. I also like it’s tapeless workflow as these are projects with a quick turnaround. I’m just quickly transcoding the footage to a better format for editing and getting right to work. I’m excited about setting a hight standard for the quality and artistic aesthetic for all my projects. The T2i might not be the camera for every freelance video project out there, but it’s working great for these.”



Summer Jam 2010 Video by Runaway Pen

Posted on June 9, 2010 at 12:08 PM Comments comments (0)

For the second year in a row, Runaway Pen Productions has been hired to shoot and edit a highlights video for the sponsors of Boston's Jam'n 94.5 FM big summer hip-hop extravaganza known as Summer Jam. The concert event took place at the Comcast Center on Saturday, June 5th. Mikel J. Wisler was responsible for shooting all the footage of the crowds interacting with sponsor booths and is currently editing a video showcasing how the sponsors were featured at this years event. Sponsors for the even include Dunken Donuts, Boost Mobile, Zippo, The Navy, and The Marines.

Brand New Camera, Brand New Look!

Posted on April 1, 2010 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

As March drew to a close, Runaway Pen Productions filmmaker Mikel J. Wisler purchased a new camera that has only just hit the market. The Canon Rebel T2i, a new, lighter version of Canon's hugely successful 7D camera, is in fact a Digital SLR camera. In other words, it’s a still camera. And while Wisler is quite enthusiastic about still photography, it’s the 1080p HD video shooting capabilities that sold him on buying the T2i.


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The above video is footage Wisler shot with the T2i.



In January, Wisler directed a short documentary project and hired a two man crew with two Canon 7Ds to shoot the project with him. “I was really impressed with what Canon has done with the DSLR technology to allow it to shoot such great video,” Wisler remarks. “Using good lenses and being able to have a shallow depth of field is so important to achieving a distinctly cinematic look for my projects. So, when I found out that Canon was putting out a new camera with such capabilities, it was a no-brainer for me. I put my pre-order in immediately.”


The new camera arrived just in time for Wisler to use it along side the 7D in a student film project he was hired to shoot (aka Cinematographer) during the final weekend of March. “The results are fantastic, and the director is very pleased,” says Wisler. “We shot with both cameras side by side at times to get more coverage quickly. Looking at the footage, they are identical in quality. It’s very clean and the depth of field we achieved with the Canon primes we used is fantastic. This is the look everyone has been trying to get with lens adaptors. But the problem with those adaptors is that they require so much light and always introduce some amount of noise to the image. Having an HDSLR [what DSLRs that shoot HD video are being called] cuts out all of the drawbacks of a lens adaptor.”


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The above video is footage Wisler shot with the T2i to test it's slow-motion capabilities.



The new camera has quickly been integrated into the Runaway Pen Productions workflow. The camera shoots to SD cards, which Wisler off-loads right on set with a new MacBook Pro. All the footage is then quickly transcoded to Apple ProRes codec for editing and dropped into Final Cut.


Currently, Runaway Pen has at its disposal two lenses, a Canon 50mm 1.8f Prime and a Canon 18-55mm 3.5f - 5.6f zoom, with intent on purchasing more lenses in the near future. Additional lenses can easily be rented for specific projects.


For more information on Wisler's take on shooting with the T2i and other HDSLR cameras, check out his recent blog entry on the topic: http://mikelwisler.blogspot.com/2010/03/dslr-revolution.html



Wisler's Canon Rebel T2i and MacBook Pro (perfect team for great video production).



Wisler using the Canon T2i and counter balance system on the set of "Torn"

Wisler Directs Documentary Project

Posted on February 2, 2010 at 9:27 AM Comments comments (0)

On January 25th, Runaway Pen's Mikel J. Wisler directed a day of shooting for a documentary style project being produced by Bryan Felty of Good Bones Productions. While at this time, Wisler in not at liberty to divulge any information about the project itself, the production took place in Concord, Massachusetts. Wisler, who hired a two-man crew (David Kruta and Jeff Melanson) for the project, conduceted the interviews and orchastrated the days work along with Felty. The project was shot on the two Canon 7D DLSR cameras which are capable of shooting 1080p HD video.


"I'm impressed with the cameras," says Wisler. "I think the DSLRs that are now shooting HD video trully spell the death of the lens adaptor. Having worked with lens adaptors before, I'm happy to see the results of using good lenses without having to work on what ammounts to a 50 ISO film stock, which is what I rated the Redrock M2 and HVX200 combo at when I used it. Not so with the DSLRs. When Bryan and I first sat down to talk about this project, we knew we wanted to give this a very cinematic look, and work well with good lighting and shallow depth of field. But we also knew we couldn't justify a bigger crew for a bigger and more expensive camera like the Red One for this particular project. So the 7D became a perfect fit. We could shoot with two cameras at all times and have a very minimal crew. And the look is great."


The project is now in post-production, with Wisler behind the wheel as editor and Felty creating some of the animation effects which will be used in the finished product.