January 17th, 2022
Welcome to another blog post from Black Fox! This time, we’ll be focusing on a topic that I think we can all relate to: staying motivated throughout the year. Let’s get right into it!

As the old saying goes, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and nothing could be more true in your quest for success than when times get tough. Before you take that first step, though, you have to decide where you want to end up in the first place. What, specifically, is your goal? What are you trying to accomplish? Let’s just say your New Year’s resolution is losing 20 pounds throughout the year while getting in better shape overall. If you try to lose 20 pounds in one month, you’re bound for disappointment when you step on the weight scale on February 1st. This is why gyms are packed to the brim in January, and slowly attendance tapers off by the time March comes along. Your journey is going to take a while, and that’s okay. Keep your eyes on the destination and don’t waver from it.

While this might seem overly simple, it helps tremendously when kick-starting your journey toward accomplishing what you want. Sit down and actually write down what you want to accomplish. I don’t care how silly you think it sounds - write it down. It might be something as minor as hanging up curtains over your bedroom windows, but at least you’ll have it listed so you can hold yourself accountable later. Organize your list into two categories: big, expansive goals (these typically involve career, lifestyle changes, and family) and minor, personal goals (such as saving up for something you’d like to buy, like a nice pair of sunglasses). The big goals are going to take a while to accomplish. Most likely, they’ll take years. Let’s say you have a goal to start a small business; you need to be ready to put in five years of work before all that hard work pays off.

Using the example above, let’s say you want to lose 20 pounds this year. While it’s not realistic to lose 20 pounds in a month, it’s far more realistic to lose 2 pounds per month. Weight loss takes time, and many people quit their diets because progress isn’t quick and easy. True lifestyle change is extremely hard to accomplish, and those that succeed know that they are in it for the long haul. Someone with a successful mindset will say, “It’s going to take a while, but the end result will be worth it.” The person that fails will quit when the going gets tough. Using the weight loss example, the person that chooses a sustainable, easy to keep diet will ultimately be the one that loses the weight. The key to success is finding small tasks that slowly bring you toward your goal, and sticking to it on a daily basis. If you plan to meditate daily, there are apps you can download on your phone that will allow you to track how often you sit and breathe each day. In today’s modern world of smartphone apps, it’s easier than ever to keep track of your goals and stick to them.

Discouragements are inevitable. There will be times when you feel you are treading water and not making an inch of progress. Not every day will be a win for you. There are bound to be setbacks that will knock you back a few steps. I’ve got some news for you: that’s all normal. Everyone goes through it. If you’ve been eating perfectly for a month based on your new diet, and you finally give in and eat a delicious hamburger and french fries for dinner, you’ll probably be kicking yourself for having a moment of weakness. You’ll feel guilty and think all of your hard work was for nothing. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You’ve made it this far - do you really think one hamburger is going to ruin you? Who cares if you messed up just this once? All you’ve got to do is get back on the horse and try again tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is a new day.

Doing something painful now in service of a better, more substantial reward later is something we’ve all been through. Let’s say you have an exam tomorrow morning. You could watch TV all night and not study for your test, or you could study for your test tonight, and watch TV tomorrow after your test is over and done with. There’s even a name for this in academic studies: delayed gratification. Basically, it’s the idea that we knowingly do something not-so-fun so we can have something more fun later down the road. For people trying to lose weight or start a small business, they understand this concept all too well. The journey is difficult and painful, but the destination will be worth it.

This will be my parting advice when it comes to accomplishing your goals: don’t give up. There will be times when you want to throw in the towel, maybe more than anything. Work your way through the pain, and keep on pushing forward. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:
“Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.” - Jack Ma
I hope this has been helpful to you in your quest to accomplish your goals! We’ll see you next time!

- Jack Moffet
January 10TH, 2022
Welcome to another blog post from Black Fox Productions! This time, we’ll be discussing what to include in your videography contracts. As goes with almost any business transaction that requires a service (whether from business to business or business to client, etc), a contract is essential for protecting both sides of the transaction. If you’re just starting out in videography or providing services for free, you may consider going without a contract - at least in the beginning. While that’s fine for your first few projects, once payments start to come into the picture, it’s to your benefit to have a signed contract in place. So what exactly goes into a videography contract? It’s quite simple, really. Let’s get right into it!

Specifically, what work will you be doing for the client? Are you providing shooting/cinematography only? If so, for how many hours? Is your rate hourly, or are you providing a day rate? Does your fee include editing services? All this needs to be addressed in the “Scope of Services” section of your contract. This section should also cover delivery (how your client will actually receive the video file, whether through Dropbox, USB drive, etc) and music licensing through sites such as Musicbed or Soundstripe. Here, you’ll also want to provide an estimate for the finished length of the video (for example, 3 to 5 minutes long).

You’ll want to give yourself a cushion for post-production. For most videographers, that’s usually anywhere from 30 to 45 days from the original shoot date. If further shoot dates are required, make sure you take the last shoot date into account so your client has realistic expectations for when to expect their video for their first review.

This is a big consideration that shouldn’t be missed. After all, revisions are part of the post-production process, and they can be time-consuming. Of course, it’s a wonderful feeling if your client is happy with the first cut you send them, but it’s also to be expected that many of your clients will want changes. Ultimately, it’s up to you on how many revisions you would like to provide in your package and when you start charging extra. For example, here at Black Fox, we provide two rounds of complimentary editing revisions. Thereafter, we begin charging for any additional changes. Just make sure this is clearly stated in the contract so your client understands before production begins.

It needs to be crystal-clear who will actually own the video once delivery is complete. In our contracts, copyright ownership lies with the client when it comes to the finished video. We also provide the option to purchase rights to the raw footage, if desired. After that, we put in a simple clause stating we have the right to use their video in Black Fox’s marketing materials, such as social media posts on Facebook and Instagram.

Of all the clauses in your contract, I would say this one is the most optional. After all, the video will inevitably be an artistic collaboration between your company and your client’s no matter how you slice it. If you feel the video will benefit from more creative control on your end, then feel free to put this clause in the contract - just make sure the client understands you’ll have ultimate say over the video’s creative decisions, such as shot lists and editing. Even with this clause in place, it’s still absolutely vital to listen to your client’s wants and needs as far as the finished product.

This is a smart clause to have in your contract, in the event that something goes wrong, say, the day before a shoot begins. What happens if you become ill and need to stay home when your shoot was scheduled? You’ll need to state in this clause that their fee will be refunded if such an event occurs. Some freelancers also call this the “act of God” clause (i.e. an event outside of human control, such as catastrophic weather). Basically, liability covers yourself and the client in the event that anything outside your control goes wrong.

Indemnification protects your company from being held liable for use of any materials provided by the client that were not copywritten at the time of their submission. So what in the hell does that mean? Let me provide an example: let’s say you’ve been hired to make a commercial for a wildlife conservation fund. They send you high-quality photographs of a lion up close staring directly into the camera for use in the edited video. After the video airs on social media and television, you find out the conservation fund and your company are getting sued by a photographer for use of their photo without permission. An indemnification clause would protect your company in such an event. It would hold the conservation fund - and not your company - liable for use of the photo. Therefore, the fund would be responsible for any damages incurred in such a lawsuit. Remember: any materials provided by your client must be copyright protected. That means either A) they own the materials themselves and can prove it or B) they licensed the materials through a third-party vendor such as stock footage websites where the license is built into their use.

What everybody wants to know! How much should your client expect to pay you for your services? Obviously, this is a very important clause. It’s typically very simple, outlining the total fee and any deposits that need to be paid prior to shooting and delivery of the final video. At Black Fox, we require a percentage of the total fee at contract signing. This secures things for both parties: it secures a shoot date for the client, and it also ensures you won’t lose money if the client decides to change their mind and back out of the contract. Everybody wins when you have a contract in place!

At the bottom, you’ll want your own date and signature along with your client’s. I personally like HelloSign for this purpose. It’s completely digital, and upon signing, the finished contract is sent directly to your email address.
And that’s about it really! I hope this has been helpful in setting up your contracts for your future clients, and we wish you luck this year in getting lots of new work!

- Jack Moffet
Welcome to another blog post from Black Fox Productions! As we head into a new year, you might be aspiring to turn your freelancing into a full-time business. It’s a dream for many, but often the question people ask first is, “Where do I start?” It’s a legitimate question, as the answers are not easy or readily available. After all, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it!

This is probably the biggest point I’ll make in this blog post as everything that follows will be subservient to this question. You need to imagine what your side business will look like a decade into the future. Do you want to spend more time with your family? Be financially independent? Not owe a dime to anyone and live off of nothing but your own freelance income? I have some good news for you: these are all perfectly reasonable and realistic goals. The key to success is deciding what your goals are, then reverse-engineering the steps to get there. The bad news is that those steps are going to take a while. This leads to my next point…

If you want to be successful, you need to be in it for the long haul. As the old saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and the same goes for your side business. I always tell people to be prepared for 3 to 5 years of solid foundation building to get a business running smoothly. No one just up and decides to open a successful side business, even if seems that way from the outside. The first few years are hard. You might be straddling a full-time job while also trying to satisfy your customers’ needs. You may have to pull extra hours in the early morning or at night to make sure your business is taken care of. While I can guarantee you it will be hard, I can also guarantee you it will be worth it in the end if you hang in there and keep going.

In the world of freelancing, there are few things as valuable as recommendations from your past clients and colleagues. You’ll want to make sure you build a reputation as a professional that’s easy to work with and produces excellent results. You aren’t just another listing on Google - you’re THE listing that everyone lines up to work with thanks to a friendly demeanor and kickass deliverables. As the years go by, your reputation will build and begin to carry itself - just bear in mind that building up word of mouth can take a long time. Again, you need to be in it for the long haul. It’s going to take a while, and that’s okay. Once you’re fully on your own and in control of your own destiny, all that hard work will be worth it in the end.

Let me go ahead and say this right off the bat: no one starts as the best in their field when they start freelancing. And even when you do become a top-tier videographer or photographer (or whatever freelancing you might be doing), there’s always going to be someone that does it a little bit better than you do. That’s okay! See these pros as an opportunity to learn from the best, and see them as a challenge to better your own work. I’ve been working in production for over a decade, and I still learn something new every day. When I started shooting films in college, we shot them on Sony Handcams in 480P. They looked like hell compared to today’s cinema-grade full-frame powerhouses. But I had to start somewhere, right? I never would’ve made the jump to filmmaker had I not taken the leap and started shooting my own projects. Remember: your work in the beginning probably won’t look very good, but that’s okay. Your talent and skillset will increase with time and experience. In ten years, you’ll be the pro that everyone aspires to be.

I realize the prospect of starting a side business might be terrifying to you (trust me, nothing put the fear of God into me more than purchasing a full set of production equipment to start shooting videos and opening up Black Fox Productions), but at some point, you’re going to have to rip off the band-aid and get started. It’s never too late to start a side business and pursue your dreams. Why not start today? Or even next week? The sky is the limit on your potential if you make a plan and stick to it. Set fear aside, and think of the amazing, carefree lifestyle you could potentially have in the next ten years if you start freelancing now and building up your client base.

I would leave you with this advice: there will be bumps in the road. They happen to everyone. But never lose sight of your goal, and keep your eyes on the prize. Keep pushing through, always show up to your clients’ meetings with a smile on your face, and the work will come to you. I wish you the best of luck in the New Year with your side business!

- Jack Moffet
Welcome to another blog post from Black Fox! This week, we’ll be discussing why video is absolutely essential in your marketing campaign, from large business strategies to small one-man bands. Let’s get right into it!

The numbers don’t lie: after watching a product video, consumers are up to 85% more likely to buy it. With statistics like that, it absolutely stands to reason that video MUST be included in your marketing. Period. While the old style of marketing was simple (you put ads in the newspaper, recorded radio spots, and bought ads for television) the modern era is far more complicated. The internet has changed things for all of us, permanently, and businesses that don’t adapt to the times will get left behind. So if you’re not utilizing video yet, there’s no better time than the present.

While many businesses are already using video in their marketing strategies, the consumption of video on the internet is only going to increase as the years go by, and that trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. On average, people watch a staggering 16 hours of video per week. According to Wyzowl, 66% of consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. This might sound obvious, but modern economics and the internet are practically inseparable in this day and age. Again, if you want to be ahead of the game, you must include video in your marketing strategy. According to the website Hubspot, 54% of consumers want to see more video content this year.

Yes, you read that right. Baking an action card into your video is almost 4x as likely to get clicked on. Video makes it that much easier and more accessible for a customer to buy your product, and as goes for any marketing strategy, you’ll have to break down as many barriers in the customer journey as you can. And one of those ways, obviously, is to use video when it comes to the content you produce. So let’s say your business is selling Christmas trees. You could create a fun poll that asks whether or not people prefer multi-colored Christmas tree lights or regular white ones. Not only is this fun for your potential customers, but it could drive engagement to your Instagram page, which in turn could send them to your website. There, they could purchase a tree online and check out all from the comfort of their own home. See the difference a simple video poll made to the business owner? You could potentially be doing the same with your own business.

Yet again, wow. You’ll drive even more traffic to your website if you include video on the landing page itself. Video tends to hold people’s attention longer than, say, a detailed description of the product you’re selling. While you’ll want this below in the description box just in case your customer wants to read it, nothing screams professionalism more than a video review of the product. And even better! If you made the video yourself. The modern consumer is much more discerning than in years past, and if they want to ensure that what they’re buying is the real deal, a video review is a perfect path to reassurance. They’ll research reviews from other customers solely to see if the product is bogus or not. Video creates authenticity and further breaks down trust barriers between business owners and prospects.

No matter how you slice it, creating video content to boost brand awareness will give you an edge over competitors. Video is the perfect medium for introducing yourself to prospects who aren’t even aware you exist yet. Remember: you want to establish your brand as trustworthy while delivering an exceptional customer experience. If you post a video on your website introducing yourself and your role at the company, your future customers will feel that much more likely to trust your expertise. Over time, your brand will build an audience, and eventually, that audience could become a band of loyal followers. Why would they ever think of switching to another company when they have you at the helm? This is what you want your customers to think when evaluating their buying decisions.

As you can tell, video isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Business owners need to understand that video is as vital to a marketing strategy as is fuel to the running of a vehicle: without out, the whole machine shuts down. Don’t get left behind - develop a marketing strategy involving video today. Old marketing strategies such as radio ads have gone the way of the dinosaur, and the future of marketing is video (I know, it’s an oversimplification since many other aspects of marketing are involved, but you get my point). Looking for some advice on what video types might work well for your business? You can always have a conversation with us to help you get started!

- Jack Moffet
Writing a screenplay can be a daunting task for just about anyone, but it’s arguably the most important part of the filmmaking process. The screenplay will make or break the film, dependent on its overall structure and dialogue. While it’s actually easier to write in a long-form storytelling format (such as a novel), your job is to pack a story into 120 concise pages - complete with plot points and a satisfying conclusion. So let’s not waste any more time; let’s get right into it!

This is probably the best advice I can give you: come up with an idea for a story that speaks to your heart. Every human being on planet earth has something sensitive in their personal lives that they consider dramatic. As with anything creative in general, fiction is often a reflection of ourselves. Every time you write something, you’ll see a little bit of yourself in the text, and that’s perfectly normal. The screenplay you plan to write might be made up, but often you’ll end up dramatizing something you’ve experienced for real. Let’s just say, for example, you got beat up on the playground as a kid, but you grew up to become an MMA fighter. That’s quite a personal story you’ve got there! Might make for a good movie… All you need to do is add in the drama.

Before we get into technicalities like plot points, bear in mind before you start writing that some type of dramatic conflict needs to take place in the story. Every successful film in existence (and any fictional writing in general, since the beginning of civilization) has had drama at its core. Even “quiet” films where main characters meditate on the meaning of life feature some type of existential struggle. Let’s just say your main character is going through a midlife crisis. His marriage is going down the tubes. His wife and daughter hate him. His job is meaningless. And one day he decides to turn it all around and begin life anew. Well, you’d have the central conflict in a little movie called American Beauty (1999). Remember: you need to make your characters fully developed enough to give them room to change and learn something new. You need to ask yourself: what does my main character want? If you can answer that question, all the other technicalities of the writing will fall into place.

It depends on the genre you’re writing in, but generally, a screenplay is expected to be anywhere from 90 to 120 pages long. Horror and comedy films are expected to be 90 pages. Dramatic films are expected to be 120. If it’s an epic film, you should shoot for 150. Since the beginning of screenwriting as an art form, it’s a general rule that 1 page of screenplay equals one minute of edited screentime. If you want to be a rebel and write 180 pages, go for it… but I should warn you it will be extremely hard to get it produced. Justifying a 3-hour runtime is hard enough for any film, in general, these days, and it’s to your benefit to stay within the standard writing lengths.

Plot points are points in the screenplay that dramatically change the outcome of the story for your main characters. Generally, these come on pages 30 and 90 (if you’re writing a 120-pager). Why those exact points in the screenplay? The first plot point in the screenplay is what pushes the story into action. It’s the moment when your main character’s world has just been upended, and he or she must work through the rest of the story to resolve the problem. The second plot point is when things change yet again, setting the stage for a 30-minute conclusion. Typically this is the moment when your main character feels all hope is lost, only to bravely push forward anyway and face their demons. Although you don’t have to write plot points on exactly pages 30 and 90, this is the traditional format you’ll want to follow.

Nothing wrong with that. The sky’s the limit on how creative you want your screenplay to be. Just bear in mind that if a screenplay isn’t in the standard format, it can get thrown into the rejected pile very quickly. If you want to get your screenplay produced, I would advise following the traditional format and sticking to the rules. It’s a common saying that you need to learn the rules before you break them, and screenwriting is no exception. After that’s established, you can be creative as you want when it comes to the actual subject material of the screenplay. I don’t care if you want to write a movie about zombie pirates - as long as you format it correctly. Writing software such as Final Draft is great for this purpose.

Like any famous work of art throughout history, it all began with an idea in someone’s head. Your screenplay is no exception. Ask yourself: what would I like to see happen on-screen? All you’ve got to do is write it down. When I wanted to write my first screenplay, I started by writing out the major story points on notepad paper. And that’s how it all starts! You have to get the ideas down somewhere right? Even if it’s just a sentence, write down what you see. Then you’ll already be on your way to cinematic greatness.

We hope this has been hopeful for writing your first screenplay! Good luck in your writing your next big blockbuster!

- Jack Moffet
November 22nd, 2021
As I can personally attest, obtaining your FAA Certified Part 107 Drone License can be quite confusing. In this short blog post, I hope you can find this information useful in your quest to become a certified drone pilot. Let’s get right into it!

Short answer: it depends on how you plan to use your drone and what state you are flying in. Each state has its own UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) laws, and it’s absolutely worth your while to research the laws in your own state before proceeding. But since here at Black Fox we’re operating in the state of Georgia, I’ll use the Peach State as an example.
Under Georgia law: If you are planning to use your drone for professional or business purposes, then YES, you will need to follow the rules of FAA’s Part 107 Small UAS Rule, which includes passing the FAA’s Aeronautical Knowledge Test to obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate.
If you are planning to fly your drone solely for recreation (just for fun as a hobbyist), then you are required to take the Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST). You are NOT required to obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate at this level.
If your drone weighs .55 pounds or less, you are required by law to register the aircraft with the FAA via the FAA Drone Zone website.
If you are planning to operate your drone for business purposes, you owe it to yourself and your customers to obtain a Remote Pilot Certification. If you get caught flying in, say, Class B airspace near an airport without a license - not only could you cause harm to other aircraft flying in and out of the airport, but your fine could well be in the thousands of dollars for such a violation. In general, it’s to your benefit to make sure you understand the rules and laws surrounding your UAS or drone. You’ll feel much more at ease when you go out to fly and capture footage for a client with your license in your pocket. It’s also much, much safer. No amount of pretty drone footage is worth an accident or putting other people in harm’s way.

For starters, you’ll need to obtain what’s called an FTN (or FAA Tracking Number) by putting in an application through the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA).
I myself start doing research on the internet about where I needed to go in order to educate myself about the FAA Part 107 Exam. There are quite a few websites out there, and - at first - I started downloading all kinds of materials from FAA’s Document Library and beginning to read. Unfortunately, the sheer amount of information is daunting and confusing. It’s not very clear what information will end up on the actual exam and what won’t. So I found this website, which was absolutely fantastic: Drone Pilot Ground School. The course is taught in easy-to-understand language in video format for each lesson, and transcripts are provided for each one. They even provide practice tests once you feel you’ve mastered the course. Drone Pilot Ground School boasts a 99% pass rate amongst its students. I would highly recommend them! The course costs $299 (I know, it’s a tad pricey), but you’ll have access to the courses for life - and that’s crucial when you’re going to get re-certified after 3 years when you need to re-up your license.

The Remote Pilot Certification Exam costs $175. You’ll need to take the test in-person at an FAA-certified testing facility, signing up for the Unmanned Aircraft General - Small (UAG) knowledge test.
I hope this post has been useful! Good luck in obtaining your Remote Pilot Certificate! I have provided links below for reference.

FAA Website Info for Becoming a Drone Pilot:
Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) for obtaining an FTN:
FAA Drone Zone Registration Website:
Drone Pilot Ground School:
FAA PSI Exam Registration to schedule your test:

November 15th, 2021
In this blog post, we’ll be discussing the future of filmmaking, and what films might look like long after we’re gone. Could other, more nuanced art forms branch off from film? Will films be made by AI completely one day? These are questions I often ponder, and we’ll be exploring them in this post.
While this might sound obvious, I think it’s without doubt that streaming is going to be around for a very, very long time. In fact, I would say that streaming is a permanent, natural endpoint to the potential of filmmaking. Some cinema purists such as Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan have stuck to their guns in avoiding streaming platforms, but I think even they are beginning to realize that streaming isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. I like to argue that streaming has always been an inevitable evolution of the filmmaking process. You still get to enjoy a film - you’re just enjoying it at home instead of the big screen. That being said, I also have to say that seeing a movie in a theater is quite enjoyable. I saw Dune in IMAX recently, and that’s one of the better theater experiences I’ve had in quite some time. It all comes down to personal preference in how you would like to view the film. But for filmmakers to say that the two can’t exist in tandem, and are mutually exclusive, is just pure nonsense. Back when sound first made its way into movies, people said it would be the end of cinema - and look where we are now. Film is now more alive than ever before.
Now this concept is interesting. There’s been lots of discussion as of late about automation in the socio-economic space. In particular, it looks like manufacturing will be the first industry to become fully automated. But other, newer industries are cropping up simultaneously - such as renewable energy. Naturally, this has led people in virtually every industry to question whether or not a robot will soon be doing their job. Which leads us to filmmaking. Could AI soon be making films for us? It’s a complex question, and worth exploring. Short answer: I think AI will play a part in helping us with certain logistics of filmmaking, such as scheduling and casting. How much time would be saved for the pre-production crew if AI could schedule a casting call with actors based on certain parameters like age and gender? AI sends a notification to your phone telling you when and where to show up to see potential actors read their lines. And just like now, I think AI will help us digitally create sets and make post-production much easier and less time-consuming. But will humans go away completely from behind the cameras? I doubt it. Call me egocentric, but I believe that the human element of filmmaking is something only us humans can create. So, much in the same way that AI will help us inform and streamline infrastructure in modern society, I think AI and humanity will work together to create movies we can all enjoy.
I think in the distant future, when virtual reality becomes fully immersive (yes, just like in the movie “The Matrix”), a new art form will branch off and emerge from film. I believe that video games and VR film will fuse into a completely new medium. We don’t even have a name for it yet, but maybe we could call these new projects “movie-games” or something thereof. Imagine instead of watching “Star Trek” that you’re not only a character in the film, but you get to experience the film just like a theme park ride. You make decisions in the movie that directly affect the course of the plot. You get to be a hero in your own movie. Pretty cool, right? I think that this too will become a natural branch-off from filmmaking. Will it replace movies as a whole? Absolutely not. It will simply become another option for movie enthusiasts who want to take their movie-going experiences to the next level and want a true thrill ride.
This is just my personal opinion, but I think there is a threshold for resolution count when it comes to picture quality, when the human eye can’t discern 12K from, say, 18K or above. For starters: no one needs an 18K camera. You can take a camera that shoots in 4K, light it perfectly, and still get fantastic footage. It all depends on your ISO settings and how you light the shots. I think that we’re reaching a point in digital cinematography when many cameras are beginning to look the same because the threshold for sensors and resolution counts are beginning to plateau. Soon, a $1500 camera is going to look like it was shot on the Arri Alexa. It’s both a wonderful time to be a filmmaker, but simultaneously the most competitive because filmmaking technology is now more available than ever before. Film has become a truly democratized art form. Anyone with a decent computer and a DSLR can potentially make a movie. There’s an upside to this though: with so many films being released, your film will stand out that much more if it’s well-made.
There’s one thing that will never change, and that’s the ability to tell a good story. Ever since man has been able to read and write, we enjoy telling each other stories that take us to another place. This is the one element that will always be around. Whether we’re making films in virtual reality or writing a good ole’ novel, writing from human fingertips is going to be around, probably forever.
That’s it for this blog post! We’ll catch you next time!
- Jack Moffet
November 8th, 2021
At long last, DJI releases its newest flagship drone.
Last Friday, November 5th, DJI finally released the newest in its flagship line of drones after a three-year gap between the last iteration: the Mavic 3. So, how does it stack up against its predecessors? Let’s see what the reviews are saying.
Two drone models were released last Friday. One is the standard Mavic 3 model, priced at $2199 (and for the Pro Combo: $2999), while the higher end Cine model is priced at a hefty $4999.
Let’s start with the Cine model, which is obviously aimed at professional cinematographers. It's capable of filming in Apple ProRes 422 HQ at 5.1K and up to 50 FPS. It even has a built-in 1 TB SSD storage unit. The real standout here is the 4/3 CMOS sensor installed into both models of the drone, allowing for even better picture quality and dynamic range. Bear in mind: this is a similar sensor used in many DSLR cameras such as the Panasonic GH5. Not bad for a camera on a drone.
The major differences between the Standard and Cine models are the ability to record natively in ProRes 422 HQ and the SSD, both of which the standard model lacks. However, the 4/3 CMOS sensor is installed on both. Both of the drones are capable of recording 4K at 120 FPS and capturing 20 MP photos. There is also a hybrid zoom lens capable of 28X zoom on both models.
In terms of flight time, both drones are capable of 45 minutes, which is a major plus for many drones pilots like myself who like to avoid changing out batteries unless absolutely necessary. Another upgrade is its omnidirectional object sensing. Where the Mavic 2 detected objects 65 feet out, the new Mavic 3 will detect objects at a whopping 650 feet. I’m not sure if I’ll end up buying the drone or not (I’m still using a Mavic Air), but this is a feature I would be curious to see in action. My only concern here would be over-sensitivity, with the sensors giving alerts even with objects being very far away. But, at the same time, I’d rather the sensors be over-sensitive than under-sensitive.
Both drones also boast new transmission technology, called OcuSync 3+, which allows for up to 15 KM (or 9.3 miles) of flying distance. I personally wouldn’t want to fly my drone ten miles away from my take-off point, but it’s nice to know transmission won’t be lost if you decide to venture out over, say, a mountain range.
The Fly More Combo gets you two additional batteries, a charging hub, four sets of propellers, a carrying case that also transforms into a backpack, and a set of ND filters (ND4, ND8, ND16 and ND32). The combo is priced at $2999.
Both models are now on sale! What do you think of the new DJI Mavic 3?
- Jack Moffet
NOVEMBER 1st, 2021
Welcome to another blog post from Black Fox Productions! In this blog post, we’ll be discussing the Panasonic GH6 and when you (might) expect the camera to finally see the light of day. Let’s get right into it!
The Panasonic GH6 has been hotly anticipated for years, thanks to the enormous success of the GH5. I myself have been a big fan of the camera, and still use it to shoot video even nearly five years after its original announcement. The 4/3 sensor provides run-and-gun videographers like myself the perfect blend of picture quality and mobility. Not only that, but they’re more affordable than their full-frame counterparts. The GH6 is a camera that many (myself included) have been looking forward to for a long time, but - from the sounds of Panasonic’s recent announcement - it looks like we’re going to have a little while longer to get our hands on the camera.
Originally, Panasonic made a statement that the GH6 would be released by the end of the year, but, on the 27th of this past week (the 20-year anniversary of the original launch of the Lumix camera line), Panasonic announced that the camera was still “under development.” This was a disappointment for many that expected to see the camera finally launched on that date. Or, at the minimum, professionals couldn’t wait to hear an official shelving date so they could put in pre-orders. But, unfortunately, the announcement essentially equates to “you’re gonna have to wait a bit.” And that means we may not see the camera released this year.
Since the camera needs a few more months to wrap things up before an official release, we’re hypothesizing that Panasonic will give an official announcement on a release date before the year is out, with a bonafide launch early next year. Although we’ll need to wait a little bit longer to finally see the camera, we’re of the opinion that the GH6 will absolutely be worth a few more months of development time. In other words: take your time, Panasonic. We’d rather you release a camera you think is worth its salt in the Lumix line than release a half-baked product. If the specs are any indication, we believe the new GH6 is going to deliver fantastic results for filmmakers.
- Jack Moffet
October 27th, 2021
In the spirit of the season, we broke down our favorite Halloween films. There’s nothing better than enjoying a spooky flick on Halloween weekend, and we can't get enough of them. Some will make you laugh, others will make you want to watch between your fingers, others will make your skin crawl. But, we have to say… each one of these is thoroughly enjoyable in its own right. Here are our top 10 favorite movies to scare the pants off of you this upcoming Halloween weekend.​​​​​​​
#10 - Addams Family Values (1993)
From director Barry Sonnenfeld, who also brought his wacky style of humor to Men in Black (1997) and Wild Wild West (1999), Addams Family Values delivered one of the most memorable (and funny) family dramas in modern cinema. The cast’s chemistry is palpable, the script is hilarious, and it features a particularly memorable Thanksgiving play scene featuring Wednesday and Pugsley pitted against happy-go-lucky camp directors. Equally entertaining is Joan Cusack’s Debbie, who only heightens the laughs with her acid wit in a mean-spirited performance so bonkers it has to be seen to be experienced. This movie is a perfect Halloween film with lots of laughs, not to mention fun for the whole family.
#9 - The Babadook (2014)
The Babadook’s exploration of grief in the face of parenthood was not only memorable - it was equally terrifying thanks to assured direction and a bravura performance from Essie Davis. Jennifer Kent taught us that horror needn’t be shallow in order to be scary, and boy did The Babadook deliver on the subtext. Amelia’s life raveling out of control is nearly as hard to watch (or worse) as the supernatural dread creeping into her bedroom to crawl on the ceiling. If you’ve seen The Babadook, you won’t forget it - and we think that’s what good horror is all about.
#8 - The Guest (2014)
Adam Wingard’s The Guest deftly blends genre satire with mystery thriller in this 2014 thrill ride of a movie. Featuring Dan Stevens and Maika Monroe, the movie is appropriately set during the Halloween season. While the real fun of The Guest is guessing what in the world is going to happen next, Wingard constantly teases his audience with joyful glee, as if to say, “Something terrible is gonna happen, just you wait,” forcing you to keep your eyes glued to the screen. The result is a fun Halloween flick that never takes itself too seriously while keeping you entertained, and boy are we here for it.
#7 - The Descent (2005)
This Scottish import was a sleeper hit back in 2005, and - at the time of its release - featured an all-female cast (which was a first for a horror film). Neil Marshall’s claustrophobic direction latches onto you throughout the movie, clamping down hard and never letting go. Things go from bad… to worse… to beyond worse. All the while, you’ll squirm in your seat as characters climb through impossibly tiny crevices, attempting to escape from a never-ending spelunking nightmare. When you’re done with The Descent, you’ll probably be gasping for air - a reaction well-earned from the movie’s unrelenting tone.
#6 - The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Back when everyone thought The Blair Witch Project was an actual documentary, this incredibly creative film caused a sensation upon release. Thanks to ingenious marketing and extremely unconventional filmmaking techniques, the movie still sits in people’s minds as a scary film even two decades later. The Blair Witch Project takes the idea that anything in the imagination is as scary as anything on screen… and takes this philosophy to the absolute hilt. The acting here among the cast is superb and believable, and the barebones doc-style filming gives the entire movie a hyper-realistic touch. If you’re looking to scare yourself over a campfire at night, then look no further than The Blair Witch Project.
#5 - Scream (1996)
Now iconic thanks to Ghost Face, horror master Wes Craven’s Scream functions as both a satire of slasher horror while working smoothly as a great horror film in its own right. It manages to be scary while maintaining a subtle tongue-in-cheek tone. Breakout star Neve Campbell straddles sensitive and tough-as-nails in equal measure, while the plot keeps you guessing as to who’s behind the mask. Scream is both fun and scary, even as it never fails to entertain while it giggles behind the scenes.
#4 - The Evil Dead (1981)
Nestled snuggly in the grand pantheon of legendary horror films, Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead is a triumph of micro-budget filmmaking (apparently he made the film for just under half a million). The Evil Dead is a funhouse thrill ride that never disappoints on scares, all the while injecting Raimi’s signature humor into the tonal framework. We can’t get enough of this movie, not just for its perfect Halloween vibes but for the unforgettable fun along the way. If you haven’t seen the original The Evil Dead, then we recommend you watch it immediately.
#3 - Mandy (2018)
Mandy is a film that defies genre, and we mean that in the best way possible. Straddling horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and revenge thriller in equal measure, Mandy is probably the most artistically eclectic film on this list. The design of sets and costumes are gonzo. Cage’s performance is appropriately explosive and bizarre. The story itself is heartbreaking. But just when you think Mandy can’t get any more insane, it goes over the top - and then some. This roller coaster of a film will have you falling down a hallucinogenic rabbit hole to a land of LSD-laced, neon-soaked fever dream goodness… all the while delivering bucket loads of gore. You wanted to see Nicolas Cage having a rage-fueled chainsaw fight? Look no further than Mandy.
#2 - Alien (1979)
Alien, now inseparable from mainstream horror cinema as a genre, is as beautifully poetic as it is horrifying. The film’s realism is backed by Ridley Scott’s iron grip on unease, further bolstered by Sigourney Weaver’s flawless performance. The design of the actual alien creature is unsettling enough, not to mention that the original film was pitched as a “slasher film in space.” Though space horror is now almost cliche as a genre, at the time, the idea of space crew members being picked off one by one was new and fresh. Alien is not just a must-see film - it’s a film that deserves its place amongst the best films of all time in general.
#1 - Halloween (1978)​​​​​​​
Could there be any other? Halloween’s The Shape (commonly known as Michael Myers) stalked the screen over four decades ago, and yet he’s still scaring the pants off of audiences. So what makes Michael so scary? His iconic mask, expressionless and stoic, allows Michael to be just about anyone, and his sociopathic pathology just makes things scarier. Haddonfield, Illinois could a suburban neighborhood right in our own backyard. The victims, unknowingly going about their lives in their own homes, could be any of us. One minute we’re preparing dinner, the next Michael is walking into our kitchens to murder us all with a large kitchen knife. That’s what makes Halloween so terrifying: the fact that these things could happen virtually anywhere. And yet… they happen every day. Halloween is still scary even though it was released over forty years ago, and that speaks for itself. If there’s any Halloween movie we recommend you watch this upcoming weekend to have you jumping under the covers, it’s this one.

Happy Halloween from all of us at Black Fox!
- Jack Moffet
OCTOBER 14th, 2021
A common question among many starting videographers is “how much should I charge for my video work?” It’s a very valid question, and if you’re planning to make a career out of videography, it’s wise to consider your fee before taking on clients. Often, when a client approaches you, their first question is, “how much do you charge?” Instead of guessing in a ballpark, consider these questions before you answer.

If there is any one question I would implore you to answer, it’s this one. Regardless of any other technicalities, I want you to consider a figure in your head that seems reasonable based on the client’s requests. If the job is something you think you can finish in an hour, obviously your fee would be based on an hour’s worth of work. But if you’ve been hired to produce a feature-length documentary that could take up to a year to finish, I urge you to research VERY carefully before negotiating your pay. The pay involving video and film work can vary widely in non-union jobs, so it’s best to consider how much time you think you’ll be putting in before you sign on.

Although it’s hard to pinpoint the exact number of hours you’ll be putting into a single project (this is film and video production, after all), estimate how long you believe it will take to complete the project. It’s important here to consider every aspect of the production process, from writing a script to equipment prep to post-production. Calculate those hours, then do some simple math to create an estimate on the cost. Then, when you’re comfortable with the number, quote the client.

The worth of your production equipment is another consideration in assessing your fee. If you’re shooting on a Red Komodo, that’s worth something. If your post-production equipment consists of an iMac and a subscription to Adobe Premiere Pro, that’s worth something. Every piece of equipment you own is worth considering when your client signs on for your services. Because, when you think about it, they aren’t just asking for your manual labor - they’re also asking for the equipment that comes with it. Everything from lighting to sound to the gaff tape you use needs to be taken into account. You can think of the client as “renting” this equipment along with your services.

A smart business model for virtually anyone, package services are a great way for small businesses to put control in the hands of clients. Using this model, your customer will be choosing the services you provide, instead of the other way around. For example, let’s say your basic package consists of a 2-3 minute brand video, but you provide the video only. In the next level up, you could offer the brand video along with social media cuts of the same video: timed at 30, 15, and 7 seconds long. Then in a premium package, you provide all of the above in addition to basic marketing services such as social media advertising. The benefits of using this method with your clients are many, as they will feel in control of what they’re ultimately buying.

If there are any additional expenses such as insurance, paying actors, hiring additional crew - it’s important that these are added to your fee. I would add a note here: make sure the client is aware of these additional expenses before you quote them (just so there are no surprises when they see your price tag).

Another very big consideration in assessing your fee, take into account how long you’ve been working in the industry as a whole. If you consider your work to be upper-tier quality and definitely better than average, that’s worth something. As the old saying goes, “you’re only as good as your last video.” If your last video looks like it was shot in 2010 in 480P, your client probably won’t be willing to pay you much money. Your experience is valuable, and the client must understand that your price tag comes in the form of valuable work.
That’s it for today’s blog post! We have hope you’ve found these tips useful, and good luck negotiating with your next clients, and thus your next payday!
- Jack Moffet

OCTOBER 5th, 2021
When DJI released the original Mavic series, even the fledgling company (at the time) didn’t anticipate its meteoric rise in popularity. DJI’s flagship drones suddenly allowed prosumer filmmakers to capture cinema-level footage at a fraction of the cost when just a decade before it would’ve costed a fortune. As a customer of DJI’s products myself (including the DJI RS2 and the Mavic Air), I can tell you firsthand that their products deliver great results. I’m a big fan of using the RS2, in particular - especially for weddings.
The Mavic series has been the flagship of DJI’s products since its inception in 2016, with a stranglehold on the consumer drone market. The Mavic Pro 2 was released in 2018, and professionals have been speculating about the next iteration of the Mavic ever since. After a long wait, it looks like the Mavic Pro 3 is right around the corner, with a pending release date supposedly not too far off.
A note on the release date: I have been reading release dates that seem to be all over the place on various websites. Some say definitively the release date is October 20th (just three weeks away), while others place the release for November 15th. Either way, I’ll wait until an official DJI announcement before I speculate any further. 

So, without further a due, here at the specs associated with the upcoming Mavic 3:
Weight—2 pounds (920 grams)
Flight time—46 minutes
Flight range—up to 9.3 miles
Speed—15.5 mph (with no wind)
Obstacle avoidance—angled forward obstacle avoidance sensors to provide a greater field of view
Camera details—5.2K video / 20MP photos
Camera types—both a wide-angle and a telephoto camera

Supposedly, the drone will be equipped with two cameras, as noted above. It’s also worth noting that there will be two models: a standard model and a cine model.
The Mavic 3 is speculated to also include the following features:
Intelligent Flight Modes
Advanced Pilot Assistance

As for the price, this is another area where I’m getting some conflicting information. Again, I would take this information with a grain of salt.
The Mavic 3: $2,049 USD ($50 higher)
The Mavic 3 Fly Higher Combo: $2,799 USD ($50 higher)
The Mavic 3 Cine Premium Combo: $4,649 USD ($150 higher)

I’m of the opinion that these figures could very well be accurate, as I’ve read many rumors that the new Mavic 3 would be more expensive than its predecessors. Although these prices might not be spot on, I would fully expect the Fly Higher Combo to be in the $2500-$3000 range.
As for the controller, the Cine Combo will feature a new controller called the RC Pro. However, this will be available for that package only.
Okay! So this was a short blog post today, but this is very exciting for drone users! Are you looking forward to the DJI Mavic 3? We know we are!
- Jack Moffet
September 29th, 2021
So you’ve made the decision to become a filmmaker. Welcome! You’ve made a very brave and daunting decision. No doubt, you’ve seen countless behind-the-scenes videos of film crews working diligently on gigantic, expensive sets. And you thought: “Boy, I want to do that one day.”
I’ve got some good news for you: it’s perfectly realistic to become a filmmaker - just in ways you might not expect. If your goal is to direct a Marvel film with a multi-million dollar budget, I’m here to tell you that it’s possible, but I would also make you aware that you’re going to have to work VERY hard to get there. As the old saying goes, I can tell you that "it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it." Here are some tips for getting your start as a filmmaker.

Ten years ago, I would’ve told you to borrow a Sony Handycam from someone you knew and start shooting. Now, in 2021, phone cameras have become so advanced that professionals are shooting entire MOVIES on them. If I were just starting out in filmmaking in the current era, I would no doubt take advantage of shooting videos on phones. Grab yourself a cheap phone tripod on Amazon and start shooting. It costs absolutely nothing and provides great practice for angles, lighting, and (after your shoot) editing.

Another advantage of living in our current digital era is being able to affordably rent a DSLR video camera and shooting your project over the course of a weekend for virtually nothing out of pocket. If you’re looking to get experience shooting video, I can’t recommend this option enough. Websites such as give filmmakers a perfect opportunity to hone their skillsets with a variety of cameras and lenses. What do you have to lose?

While this might sound obvious, this is probably the best piece of advice I can give you: shoot and shoot and then shoot some more. There is no better teacher for filmmaking than experience. And when I say shoot something, I mean shooting literally ANYTHING. Go outside and shoot a video of your dog in the backyard, your little cousins playing tag, or your mother making dinner. It doesn’t matter what you shoot, I would just encourage you to shoot A LOT. Get as much experience shooting as you possibly can. As the years go by, you’ll get a better eye for how to frame and light your shots, and you’ll steadily improve your cinematography.

Some of the pros in filmmaking will tell you to rent your cameras, while I would advise buying a starter camera. It doesn’t need to be an advanced one - just a camera that shoots halfway decent video. The advantage of owning your camera is that you can have access to it anytime you want, and if you’re a run-and-gun videographer, that’s ESSENTIAL. Having to rent your camera every time you want to shoot something can be quite the hassle. Unless you’re working on a full-fledged film production with an established budget, I’d highly suggest buying a starter camera and getting to work on your shooting. Have you noticed a trend with my advice on shooting yet?

As noted in our previous blog post, it would be worth your while considering film school if you have a passion for filmmaking. Many professionals in the industry decide to pursue an education in film before they step into the real world, and it’s a perfectly reasonable choice. Film school will provide you a solid foundation for what you need to know in the working world of filmmaking, not to mention surrounding you with like-minded colleagues. While you can certainly learn a lot from shooting on your own, film school gives you an extra edge when someone is deciding whether or not to hire you. If you can walk onto a film set and the best boy asks you to get a roll of 1/4 CTB and some black gaffer’s tape from the grip truck, you’ll know exactly what they’re talking about.

Still on the fence? Reach out to someone who works in film production professionally. And while they’ll be able to tell you the pros and cons of their trade, they already share one thing in common with you: they love what they do. Many in the industry decided to pursue filmmaking because they’re fans themselves, and nothing is more addictive than the magical allure of movies. There’s quite a bit you can learn from someone who’s been in the trade for years… or even decades.

Okay! That’s it for today’s blog post. We hope you’ve found these tips useful! Good luck on your journey to becoming a filmmaker!
- Jack Moffet
September 22nd, 2021
It’s time for another post from Black Fox! This time, we’ll be discussing a topic often mulled over by aspiring filmmakers: is film school worth your time and money?
This can be quite a hard one to judge, especially seeing as film school is a gigantic investment for anyone (some undergraduate programs cost $40K/year or more in tuition fees alone). There are some famous directors throughout Hollywood that have notoriously quit film school... only to become successful anyway.
So the question becomes: why even go to film school? Can’t I just perfect my craft on my own? While that’s partially true, there can be major upsides and downsides to whether or not film school is for you. Let’s start by asking some very simple questions that might help you.

This is an incredibly simple question, but probably the most important one. There are many pros and cons to going to film school, but it’s important that you ask yourself if it would be worth your time and money to go in the first place.
Going to film school is a big decision. You may wonder whether it’s worth the tuition fees and expenditure of your time. If you feel a burning desire to learn from professionals who work in the industry while perfecting your craft, it’s probably a good decision to go.

There’s no better place to learn filmmaking craft and experiment with your creative style than film school. You’ll be surrounded by like-minded professors and students that all have a passion for committing scripts to camera just as you are. I myself went to the University of Georgia (which didn’t have a dedicated film school, per se), but I received a quality education in the technicalities of filmmaking nonetheless. Had I never attended school and learned my own filmmaking style (which tends to lean toward darker material), I might have never found my voice when it came to creative endeavors. 
The overall point is: film school is where you can find your creative voice.

It’s often a joke among professionals that people go to film school for the connections, and this is partially true. If you attend film school at, say, Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, then you’ll immediately be connected to major film professionals on both sides of the coast. There’s even a nickname for Tisch graduates (Tischy’s) and they can be hired based on the name association alone.
I have a personal opinion on this: while connections in the industry are great and undeniably valuable, I believe you should focus on developing your own creative, technical, and written skills before you decide to enter the industry. And if an opportunity presents itself when you graduate, then you’ll be that much more prepared to handle being on a film set or working in post-production. You’ll already know set lingo, how to spike tape on an actor’s marks, and how to ingest footage from solid state drives for transcoding. I went to film school and have been working in the industry for over a decade, and I STILL learn something new all the time from my colleagues. I believe it’s worth your time to prepare yourself for entry into the industry, and film school is a great place to cultivate those skill sets. Your superiors will be impressed at your comfort level when you finally step onto set and know what they mean when they say "flying in with number one" or "we're shooting the martini."

I’ll make this very short and sweet: if you want to turn filmmaking into a lifelong career, then film school is probably a good decision. If you want filmmaking as a hobby, then I would advise against it.
Filmmaking can be somewhat of an enigmatic trade. Those who work in it slave away for 12-hour workdays (if they’re on set), and yet they can’t imagine doing anything else. Some want to be rich and famous directors, but most are happily hammering away at their craft so they can be part of an exciting and fun industry.
If you have a burning desire to make movies, then it’s my advice that you apply to film school and learn the craft so you can begin your journey in filmmaking.

I feel this is worth mentioning, as student loan debt is a harsh reality for many of us (I remember coming out of college with $20K in student loan debts, and I considered myself LUCKY). You need to ask yourself if you’re okay with some pretty hefty student loan payments, depending on which college you attend. Unless your parents are filthy rich and willing to pay your tuition and fees, make sure you consider the cost of film school before applying. It’s a risky decision for many, as it’s not a guarantee of employment once you’re accepted to a college or university. This is just something to keep in mind when it comes to factoring in your ultimate decision.

My overarching argument would be this: if you want a career in filmmaking and can’t imagine doing anything else, I would advise attending film school. Many of my colleagues went, and have had successful careers gaining employment in film production as a result.
Okay! That’s it for today’s blog post. I hope you’ve found these tips useful!
- Jack Moffet
Sept 15th, 2021
It’s time for another blog post from Black Fox! In this post, we’ll be discussing what we consider the top DSLR video cameras of 2021 (or, at least, the cameras that have been released thus far). There are many models and brands out there, so which one do you pick? Let’s not waste any more time and get right into it! Here are our picks for the best DSLR video cameras of the year.

Best All-Arounder
Panasonic GH5 II
Sensor: Four Thirds 
Megapixels: 20.3MP
Lens: Micro Four Thirds
Continuous shooting speed: 12fps (6k 30fps, 4k 60fps)
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: Professional
Price: $1697.99
In this “refresh” of the classic Panasonic GH5 (which, as many of you know, is a personal favorite of mine), the idea behind the GH5 II seemed to update the original GH5 for modern professionals. At a price tag of $1697.99, I think this camera is a perfect mid-ground for professional video shooters looking to work their way up to more powerful cameras. Not to mention, you can shoot grade-A video while also being mobile and compact.
There is also a big catch that we must note if you’re considering buying this camera: the GH6 is right around the corner in Panasonic’s release calendar. With the camera due for release by the end of the year, it may be worth your wait to see what the GH6 will be capable of doing. Until then, we recommend the GH5 II if you’re looking for an in-between upgrade.

Best Low-Light Performer
Sony A7S III
Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Full frame
Megapixels: 12.1
Lens mount: Sony FE
Max continuous shooting speed: 10fps
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: Professional
Price: $3498
Although the Sony A7S III is more expensive, you’ll know where that money went: the camera is a low-light powerhouse. We could consider the camera a natural upgrade from the popular Panasonic GH5S, which - at the time of its release - was the king of low light.
The camera also boasts a full-frame sensor and a feature that no other camera in its class currently offers: 4K 60P video with no crop. Pretty impressive for a compact DSLR body.

Best for Filmmakers
Panasonic S1H
Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Full frame
Sensor resolution: 24.2MP
Lens mount: L-mount
4K frame rates: 60, 50, 30, 25, 24p
Standard ISO range: Dual Native ISO, 100-51,200
Memory cards: 2x SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS II)
Price: $3697.99
The big sister of the GH series and also one of the pricer cameras on this list, the powerful S1H sports 6K video resolution and official accreditation from steaming giant Netflix. Considered a “bridge” from professional videographers to outright filmmakers, we consider this the best filmmaking 4K DSLR camera at its price point. We would also argue that the upcoming GH6 is the GH line’s response to the S1H: a nearly as powerful camera body aimed at filmmakers in search of a more affordable option. The color science, low light performance, and in-between camera body size of the S1H make this an ideal choice if you’re considering a career in filmmaking.

Best for the Price
Panasonic S5
Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Full frame
Sensor resolution: 24.2MP
Lens mount: L-mount
4K frame rates: 60, 50, 30, 25, 24p
4K sensor crop factor: 1x
Standard ISO range: Dual Native ISO, 100-51,200
Memory cards: 2x SD/SDHC/SDXC (1 UHS II, 1UHS I)
Price: $1669.95
A perfect DSLR for beginners looking for an introduction to the world of 4K video, the affordable S5 packs an impressive full-frame sensor into a compact body. For run-and-gun shooters, it also sports a weather-resistant body. If you travel frequently and want to travel light while not sacrificing quality, this camera is a great option. The S5 is considered to have some of the best video shooting performance for a camera in its class. So if you’re considering, say, the S1H, but not ready for that much camera yet, we recommend the S5 at its unbeatable price point.

Best for Hybrid Video/Stills
Fujifilm X-T4
Type: MirrorlessSensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 26.1MP
Lens mount: Fujifilm X
Max continuous shooting speed: 30/15fps
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: Expert/professional
Price: $1599.95
Everyone seems to be losing their minds over full-frame cameras these days, but let’s not ignore the DSLRs that boast excellent 4K video capability at very affordable pricing, such as the Fujifilm X-T4. The camera also features a major plus for run-and-gun shooters: new in-camera stabilization that virtually eliminates the need for a gimbal. An almost direct competitor to the GH5 II, the X-T4 is capable of internal 10-bit 4:2:2 video recording. If you’re looking for a hybrid in terms of size, performance, and an affordable price tag, the X-T4 is hard to beat.
Okay! That’s it for this week’s post. We hope you’ve found these tips useful, and good luck in purchasing your camera!
- Jack Moffet
Sept 7th, 2021
Choosing your first video camera can be an intimidating task for any aspiring filmmaker. Out of all the equipment in your kit, the camera body is likely to be your most expensive purchase. There are so many brands, so many price tags, and oh so many specs to sort through. So where do you start? Before you click your dream camera into the online cart for checkout, there are some very important questions you should ask yourself before you decide which camera is right for you. The answers to these questions will help you determine the grade of the camera you need, and therefore, the amount you’re likely to spend. So let’s get right to it!

Before setting out on your quest for the ultimate dream camera, it’s very normal for many aspiring filmmakers to begin shooting with a lower-grade camera. But which one do you choose? Some simple Googling can provide many of the answers you need. I plan to write another blog post about this in the future, but there are lots of articles on the internet detailing the top DSLR choices among video shooters. Seeing as cameras are being constantly updated to newer versions, it will be worth your time to research the models that are the most up-to-date. Before purchasing a camera, I like to watch video test footage shot by other professional videographers. This will give you a first-hand demo of what the camera is capable of. For example, what resolution does the camera shoot in? How's the camera’s low-light performance? What about battery life? These are all things to consider before spending your hard-earned cash on a new camera.

This is probably the most important question you can ask yourself when considering the camera you should buy. Are you planning to make a feature film? Are you intending to distribute video to social media sites such as Instagram only? Every camera - from the phone in your pocket to the big, heavy cameras used on film sets - was designed with an intended consumer base in mind. And in the modern world of digital production, there are now more options than ever for getting your content in front of an audience. It’s both the most exciting time for filmmakers and video shooters, but also the most competitive, and that won’t change anytime soon. It’s extremely important for you to decide from the outset how you want to position yourself in the ever-growing world of online video content. The good news is there are many affordable cameras on the market for producing cinema-level video. If you want to be a full-fledged filmmaker, DSLRs are a perfect blend of affordable and compact. As I’ve noted on this blog many times, a camera in the mid-range (such as the Panasonic GH series) is great for run-and-gun videographers such as myself. Decide which distribution channel you want to target, and base the class of the camera from this point onward.

If you’re on a budget, there’s no shame in purchasing a camera you can afford. I remember the first project I ever made was shot on a tiny Sony Handycam (and this was when digital cameras were still shooting on videotapes). I couldn’t afford my own camera, so I borrowed one from my roommate. You’d probably laugh at the video quality now, compared to the ubiquitous 4K standard of the modern era. And if you can’t afford a camera yet, start shooting video on your phone and editing it together. Keep in mind: there are entire feature films that have been shot on phones (Unsane and Tangerine are just a couple of major films that come to mind). I can tell you from experience that a more expensive camera does not necessarily equate to a higher quality video. If you light your shot just right, you can make a $500 video camera look like you shot on a camera that costs ten times as much. Do not fret over purchasing a cheaper starter camera. Unless you’re filthy rich, no one starts shooting on the Red Komodo on their first try. If you have years of shooting experience under your belt, you could potentially beat out the guy with a camera that costs as much as a new car - if you’re script is strong, your lighting and sound are on-point, and your actors give it everything they’ve got. The overall point is this: there’s MUCH MORE to production value than an expensive camera. Practice your shooting, and keep on shooting, and shoot some more, and eventually, your video will look cinema-worthy from sheer experience alone.

This is probably one of the minor considerations when deciding on a camera, but it’s definitely worth mentioning: the weight of the camera you’re going to be carrying around should weigh into your decision. If you’re planning to be a run-and-gun videographer, DSLRs are probably your best choice for fast-paced movement. If you’re planning to make a feature film, cameras in the higher grades (such as the Sony FX series or Red cameras) might be the right pick for you. If you’re a wedding videographer, it’s absolutely worth your while to consider how much weight you’ll be lugging around all day (anything but a lightweight DSLR will probably tire out your arms). You also need to consider the payload limit of your gimbal. Obviously, a Ronin RS2 will not be able to handle a fully-rigged Arri Alexa; you would damage the motors and ruin the gimbal. Make sure to do some research on the weight and dimensions of the camera. That way, you’ll know what kind of camera support will be needed before you head out into the field (whether that’s a heavy-duty tripod or full-fledged Steadicam).

A perfectly reasonable decision is to rent the camera before you buy it. There’s no better test of the camera than renting it out for a few days, shooting some footage over the course of a weekend, and evaluating the results. This will not only help you get oriented with the nuances of the camera, but it will also introduce you to the settings available in the firmware. Seeing as each camera is a little bit different (especially in the settings and menu department), this will give you a head start in shooting with each particular model. Companies such as will allow you to rent a camera and lenses for several days - or even a whole week - for very reasonable prices. What do you have to lose? If you don’t like the camera, you can always try out another until you find the right fit for you.

Everyone needs some advice every once in a while. This might be more in line with “doing your research,” mentioned above, but watch tutorials on the internet from professional filmmakers who have used the camera you’re thinking of buying. A lot of videographers post reviews of brand new cameras that hit the market, breaking down the pros and cons they’ve found with each. They will often post test footage to give you an idea of the camera's capabilities. These are extremely helpful: not just knowing the positives and negatives of the camera, but also seeing what an experienced filmmaker thinks from his professional standpoint. You can bet money that when the Panasonic GH6 is released later this year, I’ll be posting a video review after shooting with it for a while!

Okay! That’s it for today’s blog post. I hope you’ve found these tips useful, and good luck in purchasing your first starter camera! I’ll be posting another blog post soon detailing specifics on digital cameras for filmmakers and videographers. See you soon!
- Jack Moffet
JULY 30TH, 2021
It’s time for another blog post from Black Fox! Up until this point in our blog posts, we’ve been discussing a lot of the ins and outs of video production from the perspective of professionals.
But this time, we’ll be going in the reverse: this post is for couples out there looking for a wedding videographer, not professional videographers themselves. Some people opt to forego a wedding videographer altogether and stick strictly with photography, but I believe that video can capture moments all-too-often missed on your special day. Your video will be an artifact from your wedding that you’ll be able to enjoy for years to come, so you want to make sure you find the right videographer for you! Here are some tips on how to pick the right one.

There are lots of wedding videos all over YouTube! A good practice is to look for a video that fits you and your fiance’s personal style. You’ll want to find a wedding video that makes you say, “Oh, I like that a lot. I want a video just like it.” The prevailing style among wedding videos in the modern era is cinematic and epic in scope. It’s also extremely helpful when you approach a videographer with an example in hand. This will give the videographer a good sense of what you would like to achieve with your video.

This is probably your biggest consideration. The price tag of wedding videographers can vary wildly: some charge $500, others charge $10,000… and that’s just for the base package. As a general rule of thumb when it comes to wedding videographers, their services are like any other professional when you go shopping: you get what you pay for. The quality of your video is often directly proportional to the amount you’re willing to pay. I’ve seen some wedding videos that look like Hollywood productions, and I’ve seen others that look like they were shot on iPhones. It all depends on how much you’re willing to spend, and that often correlates strongly with the quality of the video you’ll receive.

Once you’ve decided on a budget, it’s time to start searching for your wedding videographer. Some companies specialize in producing wedding videos only, but often you’ll be speaking directly with the videographer themselves. Wedding vendor search engines like Wedding Wire and The Knot are excellent places to start. You can search through a variety of videographers using this method, and it will even narrow down your search results based on region. Check out some of the reviews from other clients and look at some of their other videos. Often, one will stick out to you, and you’ll say, “That looks just right.”

After you’ve decided on a videographer that you like, reach out to them and ask for any further details you might be looking for: information on packages, availability, and anything else, in general, you might want to ask. When you have an initial phone call with them, see if your personality matches up. If you’re looking for a bold new wedding video that breaks many rules, you’ll want to find videographers who aren’t afraid to take risks. They can be hard to find, but they’re out there! Make sure you take the time to find the right match in your videography team.

During the initial video meeting or afterward, it will help your videography team enormously to tell them as many details as possible about what you want. If you want first looks with Dad, or any other can’t-miss moments, be sure to voice this to your videography team. The more details you give them, the better. Big bonus points if you send them examples of other videos you hope to emulate. Conversely, you might simply tell them, “Everything is up to you! Go crazy! Just make it look good.” And that’s perfectly fine - just make sure you communicate this early on. If the videographer starts raising objections to your every request, then they probably aren’t the right team for you. You’ll want a team that can say “This is realistic and we can get that done for you,” or, if it isn’t technically possible, “I’m really sorry, but that’s outside of the scope of our services.” A good sign of a professional videographer is their ability to be completely transparent with you at all times by communicating what’s realistic and what isn’t.

Your videographer will want to know, first and foremost, where your venue is located. And, of course, the wedding date itself. Something that will help them tremendously is by giving them contact info for your wedding planner. Your videographer will want to communicate with them about any logistical details such as the itinerary (and that’s huge as far as planning out a shooting schedule).

So you’ve got a videographer picked out, you’ve communicated all the above details to them, and now you’re ready to sign with them. Typically, a wedding videographer will request a signed contract and a deposit before agreeing to shoot your wedding. This is pretty standard in the industry. Just make sure you read it thoroughly! While it’s unlikely you’d be signing your life away, you’ll want to make sure you understand all the details involving payment, the scope of their services, and other details you might’ve missed.​​​​​​​
Alright! That’s it for this blog post. We hope you found these tips useful, and good luck in picking your wedding videographer for your big day!
- Jack Moffet
July 20th, 2021
In our conclusion to the “How to Shoot a Wedding Video” series, we’ll be discussing what to do after you’ve gotten the hardest part out of the way: actually having shot the video. We’ll be diving into this lengthiest part of the video production process, lightly talking about post-production (although this won’t be the primary focus of the post. I could spend several posts discussing color correction alone!). So let’s dive right in.

The hardest part of the video production process (actually shooting the wedding) is now out of the way. No doubt, you will feel exhausted and tired once the shoot is over, and it’s important that you rest for at least a day or two. The day after the wedding, don’t touch or review the footage. In fact, it’s advisable that you do anything else besides work on the video. Lay around and watch movies, get outside and go for a hike, take some time to exercise - do literally anything that will decompress your mind and body from the intense amount of work you did the day before. I usually make an effort to do virtually nothing the day after the wedding.

Once you’ve had a day or two or rest, it’s time to check over your equipment. I treat myself as my own rental house, as though I had rented the equipment from someone else. If you were checking in your equipment to a real rental house after a shoot, you would no doubt want to make sure that everything is accounted for and in proper working condition. I have a checklist of my gear that I check off one piece at a time to make sure that I haven’t lost anything. In film school, I actually had three different columns for equipment check: before, during, and after the shoot. You can’t check your equipment too many times! There’s no worse feeling than discovering you’ve left a piece of equipment at the shooting location.

Be sure to thank your couple for being a part of their special day, while also getting the opportunity to help them create a video artifact that they’ll cherish for years to come. Let them know you had a great time, and you can’t wait to show them some footage!

I won’t spend an elaborate amount of time getting into the minutiae of the editing process here. I could easily spend an entire post talking about transcoding your footage alone. But there is an important note here that I think is worth highlighting:
Remember that this process is going to take a while. The editing phase of production is often the lengthiest and most time consuming part of making a video.
Be patient. Crafting the storyline of your video can be intimidating from the sheer amount of footage involved. Take your time to think through this couple’s story, and how you generally want to put it together.
My timeline will usually go something like this:
Day 1: Ingest, backing up footage, transcoding, and setting up project files.
Day 2: Folder organization within project, begin reviewing footage, and music selection
Day 3: Actual editing begins
End of Week 1: Teaser provided to couple
End of Week 2: Rough cut provided to couple
End of Week 3: Tweaks, revisions implemented
End of Week 4: Release on social media
End of Week 5: Follow-up and ordering external media drives (such as USB)
Notice that the entire process takes about a month. This is an extremely generalized timeline, but it will give you a good idea of the process I usually go through to the get the video edited and completed. There are some videographers that spend MONTHS editing a single video, making sure that every cut is perfect. There’s nothing wrong with perfectionism (I’m definitely in that camp), but I try to deliver a couple’s video within a timely manner. I make it clear to them, from the beginning, that it will probably be about a month or more before they see a finished product.

I typically provide a social media teaser about a week after the shoot. This accomplishes several things all in one: your couple gets a snapshot of what they can expect in their video, it builds excitement for the video’s release on social media, and it lets the couple know you are actively working to get it finished. In other words, you won’t leave them hanging throughout the editing process.

Once again, communication! Make sure you are keeping the couple updated through the entire editing process. An update once a week is usually a pretty good average. You can say that they’re footage is looking great, you can’t wait for them to see the finished cut, or anything that will let them know you’re working hard to get them a quality edit.

Once you’ve edited the video, send a rough cut of the video to the couple for any revisions. Be open minded and accommodating during this process. In my experience, any revisions requested by the couple are minor. Implement the revisions, then rinse and repeat until the couple is happy. 

The couple has signed off on the final cut of the video; it’s polished and ready for the world to see. Build up excitement on social media by scheduling a premiere date.

The moment you’ve been waiting for. Sit back and let those sweet view counts and shares roll in!

After the video has been released, follow up with the couple once again and thank them for being so awesome to work with! Export their deliverables onto a USB drive and send it their way. Later down the line, you can even repost their video on their anniversary to congratulate them and see how their newlywed life is going. They’ll appreciate that you had their special day in mind!
Okay! That concludes our “How to Shoot a Wedding Video” series. At some point I hope to make a full-fledged vlog highlighting the process I go through to shoot weddings on actual wedding day, but we hope all these tips have been useful. Good luck shooting your weddings!
- Jack Moffet

July 13th, 2021
Welcome to Part 2 of our “How to Shoot a Wedding Video” series! In this post, we’ll be discussing the phase of production that’s often the most stressful and labor intensive: actually shooting the wedding. At some point, I may create a vlog taking you through an actual day of filming, but for now we can go over some of the basics. Let’s get goin’!

In the same way you’d arrive for a job interview 30 minutes prior to the actual interview, you want to build in a solid half an hour of getting your bearings once you arrive. You’re not worried about shooting just yet. You’ll want to have a look around simply to see how things are laid out (and if you visited the venue beforehand, as discussed in Part 1, you’ll be that much more prepared). For example, where is the groomsmen parlor located? Where will the wedding ceremony be taking place?
After you’ve had a look around and gotten your bearings, touch base with the couple and wedding planner. Typically, the bride and bridesmaids arrive in the morning because their makeup and hair takes much longer than the groomsmen. Here you can go over your plan for the day, tell them any specific shots you’ve got planned, and after that, you’ll probably want to leave them alone for a while. Their day is going to be very busy and hectic all the way into the evening.

Make any last minute adjustments to your gear. Dust off your lenses, check your battery levels, and make sure everything is in proper working condition. If you would like to set up a “base camp.” so to speak, you can typically find a spot somewhere at the venue to house all your gear. You’ll want this spot to be out of the way and out of sight. Please be careful where you keep your gear (if it’s not in your car). You don’t want any equipment walking off while you’re shooting.
Okay! So it’s time to start shooting! For these next tips, I’m going to use my own personal methodology, but feel free to modify this schedule if it suits the shots you want.

Before I begin shooting, I always check over my shot list to remind myself of the shots I’d like to get. I typically start with drone/aerial videography first. For the FAA certified remote pilots out there, you’ll want to check if any airspace authorization is required to fly at the venue. More than likely, you won’t need authorization, but it never hurts to check! Especially if you’re in a densely populated area.
Once your aerial videography is complete, I begin shooting b-roll shots. This could include shots of the venue, reception area, ceremony space, greenery and decoration, signage, and pretty much anything on your shot list that doesn’t involve actual people.

Once your bride enters the makeup chair, the clock is now ticking all the way to the ceremony. It's go time. You’ll want to get any b-roll shots that involve her getting ready: shots of makeup being applied, putting on any jewelry such as earrings, slipping on her slippers, and (of course!) showing off that shiny wedding ring. If there is anything the bride would like to say to camera (such as reading a letter from her fiance), then now is typically a good time. You can also wait until she is fully dressed in her wedding gown if she prefers. As an overall note: it’s always a good idea for the bride and groom to talk as much as possible, whether separately or together. This will make your edit much, much easier to handle later.

Always keep these three informed of what your plans are. If you have an interview with the bride scheduled at a certain time, make sure the wedding planner is made aware of this. The photographer(s) typically arrive about noon or so, depending on their contact. It’s extremely important that you are respectful of the photographers. They’re trying to get certain shots in a very limited amount of time just as you are. If I want to take the bride and groom aside for 10 minutes for some shots, I let the photographer know so that they can take a breather while I get them. Typically, they’ll be cool with this and will appreciate the communication.

A wedding day can be stressful and hectic for all parties involved. There is a great deal of pressure to make sure everything is pitch perfect within the span of just a few hours. The bride and groom have been looking forward to this day for a very long time. It’s your job to make them feel as comfortable and relaxed as humanly possible. If things get crazy, always keep your cool. Remember: your role isn’t that of a photographer, which requires certain poses and formalities. Your job is to capture all the feeling and natural emotion that represent this couple’s special day. I typically tell the couple to almost act as if my camera isn’t there at all, and just do what comes naturally to them. You’d be shocked at the amazing candid footage you capture just by letting the bride relax while makeup is being applied and she looks in a mirror. No fancy poses, no cheesy grins, just a relaxed subject happy to be getting married in a few hours.

The groom has arrived! Make sure you get some establishing shots of him getting dressed, putting on shoes, tightening his bowtie, etc. The more footage you shoot of this process, the better. And remember to ask if he wants to say anything to his future bride! This is a moment that they may rewatch after decades of being married; now is your chance to capture it.

If there are any lights on in the grooms parlor or bridesmaid parlors, shut them all off and put your subjects up next to a window. These naturally lighted shots are going to be what makes your video shine in the edit. It took me a long time to understand that lighting fixtures in domestic interiors aren’t designed with photography in mind - they’re designed to simply illuminate a space. It may seem counter-intuitive, but they will actually hamper your photography. Shut those puppies off, keep your ISO as low as possible, and your footage will look great!

Throughout the course of the wedding day, you’re going to be moving around A LOT. You’ll want to be as compact and light as you can with the gear that you walk around with. I typically walk around with my gimbal ready to shoot just about anything. I’ll also strap a small pouch to my belt for batteries, lens cloths, ND filters, etc.

At any moment of the day, be ready to whip out your shooting schedule and shot list. As the day goes along, check off each of your shots. There are plenty of wedding “must-have” shot lists out there on the internet, but here are the basics:

 Groom waiting at altar
 Processional with bride's entrance
 Reciting vows
 First kiss as married couple
 First dance
 Cake cutting
 Bouquet toss
 Bride and bridesmaids getting ready
 Exterior shot of the church or venue
 Interior wide shot of the church or venue
 Wedding program
 Groom and ushers hanging out
 Pinning boutonniere on groom
 Guests being escorted down the aisle.
 Guests sitting, reading programs and talking.
 Family members entering the venue or church.
 Father kissing the bride and handing off to groom.
 The ceremony. Record it all if you have the space and edit later.
 The must-have shots mentioned previously of the groom at the altar, the processional and         bride's entrance, the first kiss and the recessional.
 Exterior shot of reception site
 Guests signing guest book
 Receiving line
 Champagne toast 
 Guests enjoying cocktail hour
 Servers passing food
 Ice sculpture
 Table tags
 Gift table
 Wide shot of reception room
 Close up of place settings
 Guest favors
 First dance of couple
 Parent dances
 Cake cutting
 Bouquet toss
 Garter removal
 Last dance of the evening
 The newlyweds as they exit the reception

If you really want to do the wedding vendors a solid, you can capture footage of them in action at the wedding. For example, you may want to capture the florist setting up bouquets on the reception area dining tables before the ceremony. Other vendor shots will be more obvious, such as the reception band. Your vendors will be very appreciative of the free advertising! And who knows - they might recommend you to some other couples!

PHEW! This was a big blog post, but we hope you found this information useful! We’ll see you on the next blog post, where we’ll be discussing what to do after the shoot is over.
-Jack Moffet

July 6th, 2021
Welcome to another blog post from Black Fox Productions! In this series of blog posts, we’ll be discussing how to shoot a wedding video, broken down into three parts: before, during, and after the shoot.
Before we get started, I’m going to assume a few things: you’ve signed on with a couple, you've negotiated your rate, and you've nailed the date into your calendar.
So what comes next? You just wait until the day before the wedding, check over your gear, and hope for the best on wedding day, right?
If only it were that simple! My experience with weddings has been that the more that you plan, the better (and easier) your shoot will go. Not only that, but your video will look remarkably better than average.
So let’s dive right in!
Every wedding video you shoot will be a bit different from all the ones you’ve shot before. This isn’t to say you can’t have a style of your own, but each wedding venue - and every couple - will bring something new to their video.
The first question you should ask your couple is what they are looking to get out of their wedding video. Do they just want the ceremony filmed? Are they wanting an epic wedding film that captures the entire scope of the weekend? Which parts of the day are unmissable as far as filming is concerned? These are all questions that need to be asked right out of the gate.
From there, it’s your responsibility to creatively meld your vision with that of the couple’s. If they requested a specific style of music, if they plan to have speaking roles, whether or not they want first looks with Dad captured - these are all things to keep in mind before you ever start shooting on wedding day.

This one should go without saying, but you'll want to research the venue beforehand. Nowadays, doing a virtual tour of the grounds is only a Google search away. You can go ahead and start getting shot ideas from the pictures on their website. And if you can schedule a personal tour of the venue - even better. 

A wedding planner’s job entails a great deal of responsibility. They must ensure that the day goes smoothly and according to plan, almost without a hitch. Every hour they are on site - from the moment the bridesmaids go into the makeup chairs to the fake leave - matters. You want to make sure that your shooting schedule (we’ll get to that in a minute) fits seamlessly into their wedding day itinerary. Wedding day can be hectic, and every minute on wedding day counts - even if it’s for a 15-minute block of time.
Let’s just say, for example, that the bride has requested a specific shot of herself and her husband walking hand in hand through the forest. So you go to the wedding planner and tell them: “I’ll need the bride and groom for 15 minutes after they’ve taken their formal photos with the family.” The wedding planner can plug this specific shot right into their itinerary. When wedding day rolls around and formal photography ends, the wedding planner can pull the couple aside and give you some privacy while you get the shots you need. No stress, no hassle, no getting in the way of the photographers. Everybody wins.

One of the biggest challenges for many wedding videographers, in the beginning, can be a battle for time amongst the wedding planner, photographers, and yourself. But I have some good news for you - it doesn’t need to be a battle! Something that I struggled with for my first few weddings was how not to step on the photographer’s toes in trying to get the shots I needed. You don’t want to be rude, but at the same time you want to get the shots you need, right?
It’s very important that you get along with the wedding photographers. Find out from the wedding planner who they are, and email them. Introduce yourself, and better yet, give them some compliments on their work! You’ll be starting off on the right foot before you ever physically meet each other. And here’s a pro-level tip: send them your shooting schedule. They’ll know every shot you want before ever setting foot at the venue on wedding day.
And speaking of shooting schedules…

On the last wedding I shot, I sent a shot list to the wedding planner a couple of weeks before the wedding date. They were absolutely amazed that a videographer had documented the shots they wanted in an easy-to-understand list.
“No other videographer has done that with you before?” I asked, astonished.
“No - not one!” she said.
This is the tip that’s going to take you from just another wedding videographer to pro-level. If you make a shooting schedule, you’ll be saving everyone massive amounts of time on wedding day. Everyone - from the couple, to the wedding planner, to the photographer - will benefit from this practice.
While you won’t be able to plan every single shot on wedding day, it will pay massive dividends to have a shot listed schedule on your phone that you can reference at any moment.
As an example, below is a mock shooting schedule that I created for myself and sent to the wedding planner. She knew everything I needed and was able to fit in blocks of time for the specific shots requested.

10 - Arrive. Shoot establishing shots of venue. Aerial photography. Shoot bridesmaids in parlor getting makeup put on.
11 - Bride Arrives. Shoot her interview. Shoot bride with dress over her arm. Shoot her opening her gift from Luke.
12 - Videographer #2 arrives.
12-1 - More establishing videography
1:30-1:45 - Shoot groom’s interview. Shoot him opening his gift from bride.
2 - Bride in makeup chair shots. Shoot rings, wedding dress, etc.
2:40 - First Look with Dad
2:45 - Shoot groom getting dressed into tux.
3:15 - First Looks with groom
4-5:30 - Formal Photography
5:30-5:45 - Walking videography. Shot of bride silhouette against window.
5:45-6:30 - Set up camera equipment for ceremony. Shoot cars coming into parking lot, ppl walking up to pavilion.
6:30-6:45 - Shoot ceremony
7-7:15 - Glory poses
7:15 - Introduction of new couple and first dances
8:45 - Fake leave
9 - Both videographers dismissed
10 - Music ends
Notice that the schedule works in tandem with the wedding planner’s itinerary. You’re working around the schedule that’s been established already.
When you’re scrambling on wedding day, wondering where you’re supposed to be next, all you’ve got to do is whip out your phone and reference the schedule. You’ll want to kiss yourself for having done the ground work in advance. And so will the couple! Maybe not the kissing part - that would be awkward (but you get the point).

This will save you massive amounts of time on wedding day. All you'll have to do is show up, whip out your camera rig, and you're ready to go!

As an overall note, I’ve found that the best wedding videos I’ve made have been a result of using these practices. The more you plan, the better your video will be. Everyone will win from having a good plan that is communicated to everyone.
We hope this comes in handy for your wedding shoots!
- Jack Moffet

June 28th, 2021

Before you get into the minutiae of establishing a business, brainstorm some ideas for a company name. Bear in mind: your company’s name will say a lot about you (even in a subconscious sense) to your future customers. Do you want the name to sound edgy and cool? Or warm and inviting? A drone videography company might name themselves “Ascent Productions,” for example. Another thing to consider is whether or not to establish an LLC (a limited liability company). Some videographers rely on their personal name alone, while others create an LLC for legal, accounting, and tax purposes. Here at Black Fox Productions, we are an LLC, and if you want to be considered a bonafide production company in the long run, this is the route we recommend.​​​​​​​
This one is critical. Your website is the first thing your prospects will see, and they will immediately decide whether or not you are worth hiring based on this aspect alone. It’s also essential if you want to be found on search engines such as Google. There are many affordable website builders on the internet nowadays, such as for under $20, that allow you to pick out a template and hit the ground running with content. You don’t need to know how to write code to start a website. You just need some projects to showcase in your portfolio! Your website is the salesman that never stops working for you while you sleep.

This one might sound obvious, but you’ll need a camera to shoot your projects. It’s okay to start with a camera than you can afford. There are lots of DSLR’s on the market that can run as low as $500 or less that shoot decent footage. Buying a camera is sort of like buying a car: you can spend as much or as little as you want - just bear in mind that high-end production cameras such as the Arri Alexa or Red Epic series can cost as much as a car... and that's just for the camera body. We advise starting in the mid-range (we’re big fans of the Panasonic GH5 over here), and then working your way into higher end cameras. Can’t afford a camera yet? That’s okay! Start shooting projects on your phone and edit the footage together. Everyone in the industry had to start somewhere.
So you’ve decided on a company name, got your LLC paperwork filed, established a website, and purchased a camera. You’re ready to start shooting. It’s time to start finding clients! I have some good news for you: there are actually many ways to make money as a videographer in the high-demand business of video production. Real estate agencies, marketing agencies, small businesses, artists looking for music videos, brides wanting a wedding video - all these are potential client bases to tap into. Another industry that’s become increasingly friendly with video that might surprise you is legal services. There are entire companies out there dedicated to nothing but creating promotional videos for law firms.
In the very beginning, you may have to work for free - at least for your first few projects. This approach can be as simple as approaching friends and family to see if anyone they know might want a video for their business. You can try cold-calling businesses near you and introducing yourself. “Hello! I’m Jack Moffet with Black Fox Productions,” you might say, “Would your business need a commercial made? I’m willing to work for free.” Remember: your first project doesn’t need to be a Martin Scorsese production. Just do your best and enjoy the process.

Below are some tips for when you get some projects under your belt.
Lighting and sound are what separates the men from the boys and the women from the girls. Lighting can take a little while to learn, but once you learn how to light your subjects and make them appear more “cinematic,” the results can’t be understated. Lighting is everything. We can’t recommend enough investing in a lightweight lighting kit. You can purchase a 2-light LED kit for under $200 from companies such as Neewer.
Equally important is sound. Utilizing a lavalier mic during interviews is worth its weight in gold. Not only will your audio be clean, but lav mics isolate dialogue almost perfectly. We strongly recommend purchasing a lav mic system if you are planning to shoot weddings and interviews. You’ll absolutely thank yourself later.
This tip is more administrative- and accounting-based, but do keep your taxes in mind. Most companies will hire you on as an independent contractor - meaning you’ll be filed in their books as a 1099-MISC expenditure, at least from the IRS’s perspective. You’ll be responsible for paying taxes on that income (which as of this writing is set at 15.3%). So make sure you keep track of your business expenses throughout the year when it comes time to file. Anything you use to make the business run - equipment purchases, travel expenses, subscriptions to editing cloud services like Adobe - all these things are considered a tax write-off. The sooner you start keeping track of your business expenses, the better! And the less of a headache you’ll get once tax season rolls around.

Finding your niche is something to consider for later down the road. What type of projects do you want to focus on in the future? Do you want to strictly focus on being a wedding videographer? Or would you rather make high-end commercials for big companies with gigantic ad campaigns? Do you want to make feature-length films? Or just focus on music videos? In the beginning stages of your company, it’s okay to be a jack-of-all-trades until you’re more established. But it never hurts to start considering the future focus of your company.

A final note: it can take a little while to get a production company going. Be patient, always be professional and courteous with your clients, and the work will come to you.
We hope this has been helpful, and good luck in starting your video production company!
- Jack Moffet

MAY 11th, 2021
In this blog post, we'll be discussing a piece of equipment that has become absolutely essential in my equipment kit: the DJI RS2 camera gimbal. I'll cut right to the chase if you are considering buying one to shoot your videos: it's pretty awesome. Having used the gimbal for multiple shoots by this point, I'll take you through what I consider to be the pro's and con's of DJI's newest flagship camera stabilizer.
Pro #1: Your Shots will be Buttery Smooth
This is probably the most important for us videographers. After all, this is obviously why we use the gimbal in the first place: to achieve those awesome looking, cinematic tracking shots. The new SuperSmooth option provides an added layer of stabilization even when you are moving quickly (such as leading the bride down the aisle when she makes her grand entrance or circling around your couple during their first dance). There are bound to be those slight bumps in the footage from your footsteps (as with any gimbal), but overall my experience with the actual stabilization of footage has been a positive one.
Pro #2: Compact, Light, and Mobile
I recently purchased this gimbal as an upgrade from the Ronin M, and while the M is great for stabilization in general, it can be extremely cumbersome to lug around while shooting at weddings. When protracted over the course of a full shooting day, that can be downright exhausting. In order to sit the gimbal down, you have to carry the balancing bracket along with the gimbal itself. Overall, it was too heavy to be practical and can be a pain to deal with if you're a wedding videographer.
The DJI RS2 eliminates all those problems. The bottom screw-on handle of the gimbal also functions as a mini-tripod with three legs attached. You can sit it down on any stable surface, and oh my lord is it easy to carry. If you need to walk a considerable distance, you can even lock the three axis' motors into place and carry the fully-rigged gimbal with one hand. The convenience can't be beat.
Pro #3: Easy to Use
The gimbal itself is extremely intuitive to use in general. While initial setup can take a little bit of time (I'll discuss that as a con later in this article), once your camera is fired up and ready to go, the controls are placed in extremely convenient positions within a finger's reach. The ability to control the focus motor with a roll of your index finger is absolutely critical when shooting can't-miss moments such as first looks with the bride and groom. If you decide to purchase the new 3D Focus System, even better (in my case I went without it and settled for the Pro Combo package that included a focus motor). There is another added feature on the gimbal that's fantastic: a touch screen. If you need to calibrate your gimbal and make sure those motors are nice and tight, a couple of buttons and the RS2 will test out each axis' stiffness using Auto Tune. If you need a quick view of the gimbal's active track shot, it will show up on the screen when activated (although this isn't as good as an actual external monitor). So when it comes to ease of use and ergonomic design: bravo DJI.
Pro #4: The Raven Eye Wireless Video Transmitter
The Raven Eye is essential if you're deciding whether or not to purchase the RS2. You may not think you'll need it, but oh will you. There are many times when I would want to get low to the ground when shooting, and in cases like this it's essential that you use the Raven Eye so you can view your shot. Not only that, it eliminates the need for a bulky external monitor like you would need to use with the Ronin M. I have almost no complaints about this system. It's easy to use and the convenience of using your phone as an external monitor is ingenious.
Pro & Con: Battery Life
I'll list this feature as both a pro and con, seeing as there are both some great positives here while also recognizing some caveats. While the battery life of the DJI RS2 is ample, I'd say you'll be able to get a solid 10 hours of use out of the gimbal if you use it constantly. If you let the gimbal rest in sleep mode occasionally, the advertised 12-hour battery life is more feasible. That's crucial if you're shooting a wedding over the course of a full day. I think DJI's claim that the battery can last a full 12 hours while in constant use is overestimating things just a bit. If you're putting this gimbal through the ringer with hours of non-stop shooting, it's my opinion your battery will run out before those 12 hours are up. I can't complain about this too much, as being as able to shoot potentially for 10 to 12 without a recharge is fantastic. But this is something to be aware of if you start shooting a wedding at, say, 10 AM in the morning and go all the way to 10 PM at night. I would carry your charger with you just in case you need to recharge later in the day as your battery drains. A note on charging: it takes a while - and by that I mean a couple of hours. You'll certainly want to let the battery charge overnight before you head off to your shoot.
Con #1: Assembly. Cords, Cords, and more Cords
Out of the box, the RS2 can be intimidating in terms of assembly. When I received the gimbal in the mail, I spent a solid half day doing nothing but putting it together. While DJI does a good job of providing plenty of instruction booklets and how-to videos, it's still a bit confusing as to which cord plugs into which port. With a complete rig, I ended up with four cords in total plugged into the gimbal and camera (and this isn't including the optional 3D Focus System). I'm sure in the future DJI may find a way to integrate all connectors into a single cable, and granted I'm no engineer, but overall this is a small price to pay for the overall convenience once fully assembled. I can undoubtedly say that I'm much faster in building the rig having shot with the RS2 over the course of the last few months, but this is something else to bear in mind when you are up against the clock on wedding day. I always assemble the RS2 the night before specifically so I can save time when I show up to the venue.​​​​​​​
Con #2: Active Track Could Still Use Some Work
I think an enormous benefit to future iterations of Active Track would be improvements in facial recognition, similar to the software used in iPhones. It honestly might be that I'm new to using the gimbal's firmware, but there were times when my focus point was lost and the camera struggled to track the point I dictated to it. This is something that DJI is undoubtedly working on improving, and will only improve with each new version of Active Track.
It's also a requirement that you purchase the Raven Eye system in order to use Active Track in general, and while the system works great, I'm sure there are videographers out there that would like to be able to use it strictly with the built-in touchscreen for a more cost-effective option.
Conclusion: Absolutely Worth the Price Tag
If you're deciding whether or not to purchase the RS2, I can say wholeheartedly that this gimbal is worth the money. Obviously the pro's outweigh the con's, and ff you're a wedding videographer, look no further the RS2. I can't say whether it would be worth your an upgrade from the Ronin S, as I jumped directly from the Ronin M to the RS2, but I'll definitely say my experience with this gimbal has been a positive one. The convenience of mobility and intuitive controls make for a perfect run-and-gun videographer's gimbal.
- Jack Moffet
why i still use the panasonic gh5 to shoot video

February 11th, 2021
In this blog post, we'll be discussing a camera that needs absolutely no introduction in the world of videography: the Panasonic GH5, and why - even going on four years after its original release - I still use it for shooting video.
The GH5 (at the time of its release in March 2017) was a major game-changer: it was the first mirrorless camera capable of shooting 4K resolution video with 10-bit 4:2:2 chroma subsampling. When its sister camera, the GH5S, was released nearly a year later in January 2018, providing even better performance in low light, videographers the world over understandably felt their eyes pop out of their head when reviewing the dynamic range and color space of their footage. Suddenly, anyone with a GH5S in their hands could consider themselves a filmmaker at an unbeatable price-point. I purchased my own GH5S in November of 2018, and I've fallen in love with the camera ever since.

This is a still from a video I shot in February of 2020 with the GH5 and a Rokinon 24MM lens

As goes without saying, the GH5 is an absolute workhorse of a camera. The footage is breathtaking even in today's era of popular full-frame cameras such as the GH5's big sister the S1H or Black Magic's Pocket Cinema 6K. When equipped with V-Log, the camera is capable of shooting footage that is downright cinema-worthy. I've been shooting with the camera for several years now, and I can tell you first-hand that the camera is worth every penny of its price-tag if you are an aspiring videographer or filmmaker. If you are interested in wedding videography, just take a look at the still below taken directly from a wedding video I shot in last November of 2020.

amazing color space and dynamic range from the footage out of the GH5S

If you are looking for a starter camera, I can't recommend it enough. With the GH5 currently priced at about $1400 and the GH5S at $1900, both are a steal. All that being said, I will also be the first to admit that the camera is due for an update. Four years after the original camera's release, professional videographers have been waiting breathlessly for an update to the GH5. The S1H, released in September 2019, took the lead in full-frame mirrorless video and has been a very popular choice ever since. So.... where is the next camera in the GH series?
The Panasonic GH6 is rumored to finally arrive this year.
And the potential specs are nothing short of exciting. According to 43Rumors, it's rumored that the camera will be capable of recording 8K video - an astonishing resolution for any videographer. Although it was originally slated to be released in mid-2020, the camera was withheld from release due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If the rumors hold true, the GH6 could well become the first practical 8K video camera at its size and price-point. Once again, the GH line of cameras may break barriers for countless professional videographers looking to achieve the "Hollywood" look in their footage.

Would ya just look at it?!?

I'm going to go out on a limb here: I think this is going to be the most popular video camera release of the year. For professional videographers like myself, the camera could well become a dream come true for many. There are rumored to be three versions of the camera: the GH6 (the base model), the GH6V (aimed at video shooting), and the GH6X (likely aimed at professional photographers). The price of the camera is expected to be around $2500. At that price range, if you can afford the camera and have some patience to spare, it will be absolutely worth your wait. If the price tag is outside your budget, you can expect the GH5 to drop in price as soon as the GH6 is released. As stated before, you'd be hard pressed to find a better starter camera than the GH5.
So are you are as excited as we are to get your hands on the GH6? We know we're ready!
- Jack Moffet


January 25th, 2021

Hello! And welcome to Black Fox Productions' very first blog post. In this post, we'll be discussing the importance of using video in your marketing strategy, and why it has become a standard in virtually all modern marketing infrastructures.​​​​​​​
A common question I get from many business owners is: "How would a video benefit my business?"
This is a very valid question, as the benefits may not be inherently obvious at first glance. It may seem like an extravagant expense to hire a videographer or production company, but the statistics couldn't possibly contradict this notion more and absolutely speak for themselves.
According to a 2020 study by Wyzowl*:
- 89% of video marketers say video gives them a good ROI.
- 83% of video marketers say video helps them with lead generation.
- 87% of video marketers say video has increased traffic to their website.
- 80% of video marketers say video has directly helped increase sales.

Study after study has shown that businesses (both small, medium, and large alike) are benefitting from video in their marketing strategies. It's not only becoming popular to use video, it's becoming a standard.

When I first began studying film and video back in college, it was somewhat of a novelty trade. There were the professionals who had access to equipment that cost as much as a house, and then there were people who watched the television shows, movies, or news broadcasts produced by those professionals. With the advent of social media - such as Youtube and Facebook - the entire landscape of videography and filmmaking changed. With the invention of smart phones, the access to endless forms of media (especially video) was now available in someone's pocket at the simple push of a button, and it was available instantly.
This democratized media as a whole. Suddenly, anyone with a smart phone could post a video to their business's Facebook page and reach all of their followers within seconds. Videographers could now purchase cinema-grade DSLR cameras at a fraction of the cost, and overnight they were filmmakers. Businesses are now creating their own video departments specifically to address this ever-growing demand for more video in their marketing platforms.​​​​​​​
So when it comes to video benefitting your business (and I'm sure as a professional videographer I have some unapologetic built-in bias here), it's my opinion that video is a worthwhile investment. A single video post on your business's Facebook page can potentially generate thousands of viewers. Overnight, your prospects have ballooned exponentially and that means potential conversion of more leads.​​​​​​​
Are you a small law firm, looking to gain an edge on the other firms in your area? Look no further than video marketing*. There are entire companies dedicated to nothing but law firm video marketing. Are you a medical practice, looking to gain more patients? A video commercial highlighting your services is a great way to go. Do you own a restaurant? A short documentary-style video highlighting delicious food being made will make your customers want to come eat dinner at your business on Friday night. Run a dance studio? How about a cinema-style short showcasing one your student's dancing skills? Are you a real estate agent, hoping to sell a hot new property? A video walkthrough of the listing is statistically more likely to generate leads.**
Not only that, but video is entertaining and easy to watch. It's the easiest and most effective way for a prospect to research your brand before deciding to buy from you. A quick "About You" video introducing yourself as business owner develops a sense of openness and trust. We live in a highly risk-averse consumer culture. Your prospects want a guarantee that their hard-earned money won't go to waste. And what better way to do that than showcasing what your business can offer to them?
This trend has only become more ironclad with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, solidifying video's place in the marketing industry. Businesses and customers alike are utilizing video now more than ever before.
So what are you waiting for? Let's talk about your video!
- Jack Moffet
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