New Spot - Northumberland Ferries Ltd.

When we originally met with Northumberland Ferries Ltd. it was the middle of January, and we were tasked with creating a new spot for them. Summer couldn't come soon enough so that we could get out on the water to start filming. We had such an amazing family to work with and our crew was perfect. 

We're really proud with how this turned out.


Here are some BTS shots on location. We knew we were working against the setting sun, so keeping our set up nice and light would allow us to keep moving quickly. We filmed this at 120fps on the Sony Fs7 and used as much natural light as we could with the help of a few bounces and diffusion. 

Our Latest Project

We recently had the pleasure of putting together another video for Subaru of Charlottetown. This time we met Mike Doucette, a paramedic on Prince Edward Island for the last 30 years. Mike was super great to work with and we're thrilled with how it came together. 

This is our 6th video for Subaru of Charlottetown, but the FIRST video that we got to incorporate some drone shots. Plus, Joel added a nice new logo animation at the end.

Never settle, always push forward. 

Hope you all enjoy.


Our Favorite Movies / TV / Music Videos / Ads of 2015

At Confound Films we're always watching stuff.  While we edit, especially, but in our free time, too.  We're always discussing what we watch as well.  Our #movies thread is one of the liveliest on our company Slack.  There's still a lot I'm sure we'd like to see from last year but as of today this is what stuck out to each of us the most:

NATHAN SIZEMORE

Top Five Movies:

  1. Mad Max Fury Road
  2. The Hateful Eight
  3. Inside Out
  4. Bone Tomahawk
  5. Mistress America

 

Biggest Surprise:

Man, I could list a lot of stuff here.  I had no idea I’d like Shaun the Sheep as much as I did.  Or Chappie.  Or The Visit.  But after the savaging that Mortdecai received I had no expectation it would end up sitting at #6 on my favorite movies list.  Your mileage may vary given that it seems like the majority of the world has turned on Johnny Depp but I found it to be smartly-written and very rewatchable.

 

Biggest Disappointment:

There were a handful of disappointing films made by filmmakers I respect this year.  Blackhat jumps to mind.  So does While We’re Young, a movie Noah Baumbach made up for with Mistress America.  Jared Hess’ Don Verdean was surprisingly drab and limp.  But the biggest disappointment for me this year was Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  I had relatively low expectations going in.  I was just looking for something on par with Abrams’ Star Trek reboot.  The Force Awakens starts out strong but the final 2/3 was a rushed mess with little I found enjoyable.  I’m still pretty bummed about that a few weeks later.

 

Favorite Performance That Isn't Going To Win Any Awards:

Surprisingly, it’s Meryl Streep.  There’s no buzz at all around her excellent turn as Ricki in Jonathan Demme’s Ricki and the Flash.  What the heck?  She’s incredible in the film, playing an aging rocker who actually rocks with complete authenticity.  The movie is good, too.  Go figure.

 

Favorite Cinematography:

I haven’t seen The Revenant yet, so, this can’t be considered definitive as Emmanuel Lubezki is operating on a cinematographic plane far above mere mortals but my vote at this point is John Seale’s work in Mad Max: Fury Road.  

 

Favorite Writing:

This is a toss-up between the world that George Miller and his writing team created in Mad Max: Fury Road, some awesome monologues in Craig S. Zahler’s  Bone Tomahawk, and Quentin Tarantino.  Tarantino’s films are always well-acted and shot but they’d be nowhere without his incomparable writing.  

 

Favorite Use of CGI:

My first thought was that sand storm in Mad Max: Fury Road, but on further reflection I’m going with the battle scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron where the various Avengers destroy robots as the camera swoops around.  It’s almost entirely artificial and incredibly beautiful.

 

Favorite TV:

The Last Man on Earth is the show that we’ve watched the most this year.  No one else seems to be.  What gives, people?  Will Forte’s brand of absurdity is my favorite beverage.   Kristen Schaal is a revelation and my favorite character in just about anything this year.  Season 2 has been a little less madcap than the first season but it’s only half over, so it’s hard to judge. 

I’ve also been watching and enjoying Stephen Soderbergh’s retirement project, The Knick.

Favorite Commercial:

Skittles' "Settle It" commercial is the one that I've come back to the most this year.

Favorite YouTube:

Casey Neistat’s YouTube channel has been daily viewing for me and my wife for much of this year.  His vlog has been a major influence on the vlogging I’ve done.  I’m still amazed at how he does what he does each day, even if he only sleeps four hours each night. 

 

JOEL MACDONALD

Top Five Movies:

  1. Mad Max Fury Road
  2. Inside Out
  3. Spotlight
  4. The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
  5. The Seven Five

Biggest Surprise:

The biggest surprise for me was "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.". I went into it just thinking it was going to be an okay movie, but it ended up being one of my favorite movie watches of the year. Armie Hammer and Henry Cavill found a great chemistry in this film and given the fact that I'm not the biggest Guy Ritchie fan, I'm really surprised I enjoyed this as much as I did. 

Biggest Disappointment:

As the resident Disney fan of Confound Films, I would be remiss to not mention "Tomorrowland". This movie is bad.  How could a movie with Brad Bird writing be so poorly written with Damon Lindelof thrown in there? The casting of Britt Robertson was a bad choice and this just comes down to having a very poorly written story that seems to be just sort of strewn together. I blame Hugh Lawrie's villain character that I can't think of the name and don't care enough to look up.  

Favorite Performance That Isn't Going To Win Any Awards:

I really enjoyed Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson in "Creed". Apart they we're great, but their chemistry together really solidified their performance for me. It also goes without saying that Charlize Theron's performance in "Mad Max: Fury Road" was fantastic. We don't know much about her backstory, but that doesn't mean we don't get a great sense of her character. She's the only person that could pull this role of as well as she does. 

Favorite Cinematography:

John Seale - Mad Max: Fury Road
Emmanuel Lubezki - The Revenant
Roger Deakins - Sicario

Favorite Writing:

"Inside Out" for sure. Pete Docter hasn't really written a script I didn't like. What a great way to convey emotions and this script is just bang-on. That's all I really have to say. 

Favorite Use of CGI:

The use of CG in "Mad Max: Fury Road" was definitely a great addition to all the spectacle. It added to the experience as opposed to be the only thing on screen. Also, as much as I didn't like the movie, some of the CG sequences in "Tomorrowland" was pretty great. 

Favorite TV:

Hands down it was "Making a Murderer". Not since the couple of seasons of Lost have I been so compelled to be involved in a show. It's a great ride all the way through and it will leave your blood boiling. 

Favorite Music Video:

Drake's "Energy" is just a weird video, but I really dig it every watch. 

Favorite Commercial:

I loved H&R Block's Nine Nine Tee Nine commercial. The kid from Little Giants is in it!

Favorite YouTube:

I'm really into WatchMojo when I'm editing and when I'm in the mood, I watch Casey Neistat and he probably had the best account this year. MKBHD is always a great watch for tech stuff. 

 

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KYLE SIMPSON

Top Five Movies:

  • Straight Outta Compton
  • Black Mass
  • Chappie
  • It Follows
  • Mad Max: Fury Road

Biggest Surprise:

We went to see Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl at City Cinema and loved it. We tend to go see things at City without doing much research into what we're about to watch. I find that helps the experience (good or bad). By no means was it an uplifting movie, but they did a great job with it.

Biggest Disappointment:

Not that this movie was one I was looking forward to, but I did pay money to see it and boy was I sour. Vacation was one of the worst movies I've ever seen in theatres. We were ready to walk out. Joel can attest to that.

Or The Babadook. Man that movie had so much hype as being the scariest thing ever. I was pretty let down watching it. Knowing that it was more of a metaphor for depression and nothing supernatural really took any spookiness out of it. I was also sick the day I watched it, so maybe that tainted my experience, but yeah... lame. 

Favorite Performance That Isn't Going To Win Any Awards:

I would say that O'Shea Jackson Jr's performance of his father in Straight Outta Compton should get a nod, but I won't be surprised if it doesn't. I get it wasn't a role that called for much complexity or anything like that, but he had acting classes for 2 years leading up to filming and I think he nailed it. 

Favorite Cinematography:

I really loved what Mike Gioulakis did with It Follows. A lot of really nice shots in that movie. 

Favorite Writing:

I'm the worst person to talk about good writing haha. I tend to watch movies more on a visual level. I know it's empty and weird, but I don't pay that close of attention to the writing. I know when somethings good and somethings bad, or I don't like it. I think Inside Out did a great job with that story, so I'll go with that.

Favorite Use of CGI:

Mad Max really nailed their use of CG. Not relying on it for their crazy stunts or crazy cars, but instead they actually built some amazing rigs and did some insane stunts, and cleaned up the scene with CG. Replacing backgrounds instead of the main focal point. Smart. 

Favorite TV:

I really didn't watch much TV in 2015. Not in terms of a series or anything like that. Ghost Adventures is the only thing I looked forward to on our DVR. 

Favorite Music Video:

I mean, obviously "Better Homes and Gardens" by Taking Back Sunday. But there were some really great pop videos done this year. In One Direction's "Perfect For You" there's some really nice push/pull shots. Also the lighting in Bieber's "What Do You Mean" video is great. 

Favorite Commercial:

Variable did an absolutely gorgeous commercial for Audi. Salomon Ligthlem was DP and his work is untouchable. It's called "Rainmaker" and I'd go with the Director's Cut. 

Favorite YouTube:

I watched a lot of MovieTalk from Collider (which was once AMC Movie News). Also, Caisey is a regular. Roman Atwood Vlogs. I recently stumbled on Michael McCrudden's "Before They Were Famous".

Nathan Sizemore - Q&A

Birthplace: Springdale, Arkansas

Age: 33

 

What was the first movie you made?  

I seem to remember a video with a puppet named Herman that involved a bunch of bad physical comedy.  I made it with my neighbors and I think it was never finished.  We enjoyed watching it, though.

 

When you were a kid, what’s the first movie made you feel like a grownup?

Glory.  It was the first R-rated movie I ever saw and I think my parents and my friends’ parents must have decided to collectively let their sons see it, because it feels like all of the boys in my class saw it around the same time.  Seeing an R-rated movie felt like a milestone in my young life ( I was 7 when it came out but I imagine I saw it much later ) and it was discussed and recounted at recess in great detail.

 

What are you unembarrassed to admit you’re good at?

Problem solving.

 

What do you wish you were better at?

Getting things done.  I’ve got lots of ideas and half-written scripts that I don’t seem to ever get closer to finishing.

 

Nathan talking on his Nexus 4.

Nathan talking on his Nexus 4.

What phone do you use?

Nexus 4.  I’ve contemplated buying an iPhone for years but Android is too cheap, the notification system is too good, and I couldn’t type without being able to swipe (something Apple has just opened up to on iOS, albeit not on the native keyboard).  I spend a lot of time on reddit.com/r/android and my next phone is likely a Nexus or an LG (removable battery and SD card), but I’ll stick with the Nexus for at least a little while longer.  Using a $300 phone for 2+ years feels like making money.


What computer?  

Refurbished late 2013 15” MacBook Pro Retina.  This is the 2.3 Ghz model with dual graphics cards and 16 GB of RAM and it does just about everything I want it to right now.  It works a little hard editing 2.7k GoPro footage at full resolution but I think I won’t need to upgrade for a year at least.  I got rid of my iMac last year to go more portable and switched to portable drives for storage and I haven’t looked back.  It’s so nice to be able to do serious work at a coffee shop.


Nathan's battle-scarred GoPro Hero 3.

Nathan's battle-scarred GoPro Hero 3.

Favorite camera to shoot with?

I have to qualify this by saying “Favorite camera to shoot with that you have?” because otherwise I’d answer an ARRI Alexa or some other camera I’ve never touched.  I like shooting with a GoPro actually.  It isn’t my favorite camera to shoot with but shooting with it is unlike shooting with any other camera.  It can go anywhere reasonably well lit and fits in my front pocket and it’s nice and blocky so it sits on any flat surface and everything more than two feet away is always in focus.  My current GoPro is a Hero 3 Black that’s seen some wars.  It’s got a big non-functioning stripe on the front lcd.

 

Favorite lens?

Every DSLR filmmaker’s life changes when they get a 50mm prime lens.  I love the Canon f1.4 50mm I’ve currently got.  It’s so easy to get good bokeh and it can shoot good stuff with so little light.  I’d love to upgrade to the f1.2 Canon L Series 50mm that Kyle’s got eventually but the f1.4 is a game-changer.

 

Favorite gadget (non-computer, phone, camera)?

My Kobo Aura.  It’s totally changed the way I read.  And in my opinion it blows the Paperwhite away.  It’s got a fully flush screen on the front, great grippy texture on the back, supports ePUB (and everything else), has a microSD card slot, and native Pocket integration.  I bought a Kobo Mini a few years ago for fun because it was $40 and I’ve basically stopped reading paper books.

 

What everyday object is a masterpiece of design?

Keys.  I use mine to tighten the screws on tripod plates about twice as often as I use them to open doors.  Also useful for opening packages, jingling to get someone’s attention, and for ruining someone’s car.  If configured properly their usefulness can outlive yours.

 

Favorite phone app?

Now for Reddit.  I love other apps on my phone but the Twitter and Reddit apps get the most use for me and I much prefer the experience on this third-party reddit app to Twitter’s native app.

 

Favorite desktop app?

Final Cut Pro X?  This and the Adobe Creative Suite are the only desktop apps I use that don’t have a mobile version.  I say Final Cut but I might find Adobe After Effects an even more pleasurable experience.  Where Final Cut can sometimes stutter and drag, After Effects rarely feels like it’s chugging, even when it is.  If you’re a filmmaker on a budget Final Cut X should be your first editing investment.  Hard to say no at $300 and secretly a whole ton of professionals are using it.

 

What social network do you like the most and why?

Reddit.  I like Twitter a lot, too, but Reddit is the perfect combination of strong user engagement and relative anonymity.  There’s very little self-promotion on Reddit and there’s a ridiculous amount of constantly-updated quality information.  I rarely comment or post on Reddit but I have a number of subreddits I check every day, specifically - r/android, r/movies, and r/nba

 

Favorite YouTube channel?

Casey Neistat, no question.  My wife and I started watching his vlog every evening when he was on day 40 or so of his current run of daily vlogging, so we’ve been watching his channel every day for 200+ days.  He’s been in Cuba the last few days.  I can’t imagine growing tired of watching his stuff.  I also subscribe to MKBHD, New Rockstars, Chris Stuckmann, The Verge, OKGO, PES, Kirsten Dirksen and Devin Supertramp.

 

If you could create a commercial for any brand/product what would it be?

Apple.  I think they consistently do the best work aesthetically of any brand.  It would be a lot of fun to do a series of pieces for them.  It also might be frustrating if we weren’t given much creative control at the concept level.

 

What would be your dream music video project?

I’m going to limit this to artists who are currently doing stuff because we’d all love to make a music video for The Beatles.  I’d love to work with OK GO on a video.  We may think that Beyonce or Taylor Swift videos are the ones that are going to have historical legs but OK GO have an amazing body of music videos for songs that no one remembers and people will be watching those videos purely for their creative ideas in the years to come.  

 

Where do you most like to travel to?

Anywhere.  I love New Orleans, though.  And Quebec City and St. Augustine, Florida.  And NYC.

 

What helps you recharge?

Traveling. Well, that and watching movies.  Sleep.

 

What are you most excited about working on in 2016?

Vlogs. I love our creative and commercial work but vlogs are a lot of fun to shoot and edit and they’re immediate.  I’ve got a long list of other stuff I want to do, but I want to be vlogging fairly regularly through it all.

 

Kyle Simpson Q&A

Birthplace: Prince Edward Island

Age: 28

Title at Confound Films: Partner/Director/Director of Photography/Editor/Gear Guy

What was the first movie you made? It was shot over the course of a summer when I was 13 with two friends. We used my parents’ camcorder and did all the editing in camera just by hitting the record button when we wanted to make a cut. It had something to do with finding a skull on the beach while we were out tossing a football around. I remember doing the transition of the football being thrown out of frame and then being caught in the next shot, I felt incredibly cool with that level of skill. It then transitioned into a bad guy with blue skin and a trench coat holding up a skull in a corn field as Limp Bizkit’s “9 teen 90 nine” played. Copyright infringement at it’s finest. I would trade quite a bit to see that movie now.

When you were a kid, what’s the first movie made you feel like a grownup? I still don’t feel like a grownup, so this one is tough, but I do have random memories of movies I was too young to watch. I remember the transition from being aware of what I should and shouldn’t let my mom see me watching. My stepdad would let me watch movies like Child's Play, so that was fun. He also took my best friend and I to some R rated movie (pretty sure it was Universal Soldier) on my 13 or 14 birthday. He bought the tickets, took us in, but didn’t stay I don’t think. Thanks Dave!

What are you unembarrassed to admit you’re good at? Keeping a clean house. I absolutely hate clutter. So we keep it more tidy than most.

 What do you wish you were better at? While I’m confident in my cinematography skills, I can always get better. I still have a lot to learn. I do wish I were better at conversation with people I just met and also keeping eye contact with people. I’m bad for that.

What phone do you use? I’m an iPhone guy.

What computer? Macbook Pro or iMac

Favorite camera to shoot with? I don’t have much experience outside of my own gear, so I’ll go with my Canon C100 (though there are things about my 5DMk3 I like more). Obviously a C300mk2 or a RED would be my real choice if I had the option.

Favorite lens? Again, if I could choose any, this answer would talk about Canon Cine Lenses. But if I’m choosing from my own gear, my 50mm L-series f1.2 is my go to. Big fan of the 85mm L-series f1.2 too, that will most likely be my next lens purchase. I also really like the look of extreme wides. So my 16-35mm f2.8 on my 5D makes a really nice wide shot.

Favorite gadget (non-computer, phone, camera)? I’ll cheat on this one like Joel did. My new DJI Ronin has changed how I shoot, quite literally. It has introduced me to a whole new level of movement.

Kyle's DJI Ronin with Canon C100 and 16-35mm f1.2 mounted on it.

Kyle's DJI Ronin with Canon C100 and 16-35mm f1.2 mounted on it.

Outside of gear though, I’ve recently become interested in vinyl. I’m late to the game, I know, but I do quite enjoy my Crosley record player, especially with Christmas records.

What everyday object is a masterpiece of design? An everyday object that’s actually in my life would be my wrist watch or my French Press.

Favorite phone app? I’m a big fan of the photo editor VSCO. I also like being able to pay for things with my phone, so the Starbucks app as well as Hot Spot Parking.

Favorite desktop app? I'm probably the worst person for taking advantage of cool apps on my Macbook. So looking at my dock, I'll go with Final Cut Pro X.

What social network do you like the most and why? Right now (Nov 26, 2015) I would say I check Instagram the most. Snapchat is fun, but I don’t have many people in my contact list (kylejason34 - add me). I like how streamlined IG is. Not much text, good structure, easy to follow. They’ve recently introduced varying picture sizes, which I don’t really like. I enjoyed being stuck in a 1:1 aspect ratio.

Favorite YouTube channel? I used to watch FilmRiot religiously. I still check in from time to time. Lately I've been into Casey Neistat like the rest of the world. Roman Atwood Vlogs are also something I check in on from time to time.

If you could create a commercial for any brand/product what would it be? I would love to do a spot focused on Christmas and the holidays. That could be a lighthearted one like Coke has done this year, or something more cinematic and moving like John Lewis.

What would be your dream music video project? Something with Taking Back Sunday. I would have loved to been given the task of putting together a treatment for “Better Homes and Gardens”. But what they produced is perfect. I was pretty excited to be able to film Lydia in Toronto this year.

Where do you most like to travel to? I haven’t done much traveling, but Austin was pretty great. We go to Toronto quite often. I’d like to see a lot of the major cities in the States. I’m not really the adventurous type when it comes to traveling, so I wouldn’t be trekking through The Himalayas or anything like that.

What helps you recharge? RedBull, coffee, and going to the theatre. I'll watch any movie if it's in the theatre.

What are you most excited about working on in 2016? Not sure yet, but I hope it’s huge.