Posts Tagged ‘ video ’

John Ford – When Hollywood Was On Our Side

Everyone who knows me well knows I’m a tremendous fan of movie director John Ford.  This week, I rediscovered Ford’s Oscar-winning documentary, “The Battle of Midway”. The final scene, “Divine Services” is one of the most touching scenes I have ever seen in a motion picture.

I love Ford and his work for many reasons. First is his eye for photographic composition. That eye produced many an iconic scene and photograph that many other, including myself, seek to emulate. Second, was Ford’s ability to convey enduring traditional values into the script, values which are the bedrock of life, along with the humorous situations those values often evoke in daily life. In Ford’s work, the “heroes” are the ones who maintain and perpetuate those values, or those who may have lost their way and re-discover those values, such as Ethan Edwards in “The Searchers.  In fact, he often made a point of one’s duty to perpetuate those values. The villains are those who wish to take those values away.

The third thing I admire about Ford is his deep respect, reverence if you will, for the common person; the person who works hard, sacrifices, doesn’t win much nor earn much, but does an honest job to best of the ability without asking fo much in return. Just his or her freedom and basic respect.

Ford had a unique ability to pull all these elements together and tell a story and “Divine Services”  does all that. “Midway” was a true documentary. Ford was on the island when the battle started. He and two other U.S. Navy cameramen filmed on the cuff under fire with hand-held 16mm movie cameras. There’s no Hollywood production sets, no actors, no costume designers., no computer animation. One sees only people and events that were quite real.

When the movie was ready for release, Ford ran afoul of the censors who thought the American public wouldn’t be able to handle what they were seeing on screen. Ford arranged a private screening at the White House with Mr. and Mrs. Roosevelt, who’s four sons were all serving in combat units. There oldest son, James, was with the Marines on Midway. The Roosevelts were profoundly touched by the movie. Seeing how his wife reacted to it, the President told Ford “Every mother in America should see this.”  Thus ended all battles with the censorship board.

Another message was sublimely sent to the public by showing James Roosevelt; the President’s son, wealthy and as well-connected as could be,  right there with the common Joes, facing the same danger, taking the same punishment. Ford drives the point with the narration and these two images that  “All men are created equal” just as the Founding Fathers once declared.

"Land Where My Fathers Died"

"Major Roosevelt"

So where is Hollywood these days? Not producing documentaries of this caliber about the current war, that’s for sure. Ford was the most acclaimed movie director ever. No single director has ever, before or since, received as many Academy Awards. But being top director didn’t prevent him from going in Harm’s Way to show the Roosevelts of Washington and the Smiths of Pine Bluff exactly what their sons were enduring, and more importantly, that they could win.

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New Video – Blackhawks in the Sky

A video made from a recent visit to our area from two US Army Blackhawk helicopters. My son-in-law, Jerad, handled the Canon HV30 camera on this one. One of the helicopter pilots is a good friend of his and my daughter. My only wish is that I could have gotten a ride with them and filmed some sequences from “up there”.

Music is Dick Dale’s rendition of “Ghost Riders in the Sky”. I’m glad Mr. Dale is receiving renewed popularity. He is considerd to have invented the surf guitar sound and style in the early 1960s. The likes of Jimi Hendrix and Eddie van Halen are amongst the guitar kings that were influenced by him.

I also uploaded it on Vimeo where you can view an HD version plus download it. The download will only be available for one week starting today.

New Showing and New Video

Once again, its been a while since I made a blog entry. Its not that I’m lazy, which is always debatable. It more that I’ve been busy with a great many things.

However, today, I hung a small showing of my prints at the Lawrence Bank, located at 9th and New Hampshire in Lawrence, Ks.  Included in the show is the 20×40 inch Flint Hills triptych, “Road CR-2, Greenwood County”. Please stop by and view if you can.

Back in December, we purchased a Canon HV30 high definition video camera. I had been having yearnings to get a film movie camera, but the production costs really rack up fast, and they wind up being digital videos anyway.  The HV30 is a wonderful little camera, with capability far in excess of its diminuative size. Thus, with a few video skills under my belt, and with the aid of the editing software, I’ve created a small self-promotion video (which includes authentic Flint Hills wind in the sound track). Here it is: