Vimeo releases time-coded review

I was reposting some Vimeo links of some video projects earlier, and I noticed that Vimeo now has review built into their platform. I'm really excited to try that out on my next freelance assignment!

Fstoppers has a writeup here:

Vimeo Launches Review Pages 

Now that you've read this, here's a video I shot:

In which Jon Painter travels the world and makes pretty pictures. Shot on location in Thailand, Latvia, Austria, The Bahamas, and the United States.

Shot on Canon 5dmkiii, Sony Action Cam, GoPro Hero 3+ Black, and iPhone.

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Nasa Pluto approach timelapse video

Now that is just awesome. NASA's New Horizons program put together an approach video from more than 100 images taken over a 6 month span as New Horizons approached Pluto.

"To create a movie that makes viewers feel as if they’re diving into Pluto, mission scientists had to interpolate some of the panchromatic (black and white) frames based on what they know Pluto looks like to make it as smooth and seamless as possible. Low-resolution color from the Ralph color camera aboard New Horizons was then draped over the frames to give the best available, actual color simulation of what it would look like to descend from high altitude to Pluto’s surface.
After a 9.5-year voyage covering more than three billion miles, New Horizons flew through the Pluto system on July 14, 2015, coming within 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometers) of Pluto. Carrying powerful telescopic cameras that could spot features smaller than a football field, New Horizons sent back hundreds of images of Pluto and its moons that show how dynamic and fascinating their surfaces are. Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI"

Courtesy NASA

Blue Danube

Here's a release I put together to celebrate passing my part 107 FAA certification. I am a FAA certified drone pilot, so naturally I flew around... Germany.

Jon Painter spent a vacation traveling in Germany with his DJI Phantom 4 drone and shot this short film in 4k. 

Passau sits at the confluence of three rivers, the Danube, Inn, and the Ilz. Each river has a different color caused by the land it runs through before the rivers combine to the east of the Altstadt.

The Bavarian Forest National Park sits 46 km to the north, on Germany's border with the Czech Republic. Within the park is a 1300 meter treetop walk. The Baumwipfelpfad culminates in an egg-shaped observation tower. 

Back to Passau, and the Dom St. Stephen. A statue of Maximillian I stands in the Domplatz. The diocese dates to the 730's, and the present cathedral was built from 1668-1694. The organ in St Stephen's is the largest in the world with 17,774 pipes.

Jon is a FAA licensed drone pilot

Watch fullscreen to view in the highest resolution!

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A story about Picasso

Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a bold woman approached him.

“It’s you — Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist.”

So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the women his work of art.

“It’s perfect!” she gushed. “You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?”

“Five thousand dollars,” the artist replied.

“B-b-but, what?” the woman sputtered. “How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!”

To which Picasso responded, “Madame, it took me my entire life.”

2016 Cross Florida Ride...

...In which a liberal application of Rule #5 takes place. 

 The start, Cocoa Beach, FL.

The start, Cocoa Beach, FL.

This week I took part in the 2016 Cross Florida, a 170 mile endurance event put on by the Space Coast Freewheelers. 5 years ago I completed the ride when there was just a 1-day option. This year I tried the 2-day option, laboring under the assumption that breaking 170 miles into 2 days would be less painful.

That assumption would prove to be false.

Cocoa Beach had heavy rain Friday night, and Saturday saw us ride out of Cocoa under cloudy skies with threat of rain. Along the way I fell in with a group of riders from PPR Talent Management, and they were kind enough to let me join their slipstream. We finished about 4:45 later in pouring rain with occasional lightning. I was much relieved to get to the hotel, and escape the weather. 

 Apps and beer - Italian food for dinner day 1

Apps and beer - Italian food for dinner day 1

Day 2 dawned bright and clear. The PPR team had invited me to keep on with them, but they were starting early, and I got delayed loading up my luggage and pumping up the tires so I started off on my own around 7:20. A bit after 8 I heard hooting and hollering behind me, I turned, and it was the PPR team catching up after a later than expected start. They appear in my time-lapse of the morning. 

I should mention my wheel troubles. The Wednesday prior to the ride I hopped on the bike for a spin and realized my back wheel was out of true. I swung by Orange Cycle, and when the mechanic checked my relatively new wheel, he found significant damage to the rim. Orange Cycle was kind enough to give me a loaner wheel so I could actually make the ride - file that under have a good relationship with your local bike shop kids - so my heartfelt thanks to Orange Cycles. 

After SAG 4 on day 2, with a mere 25 miles left it the ride, I started down the first hill, got to 25 mph, and heard an eruption of clacking from the rear wheel. I managed to slow it down and when I got off the bike and checked the wheel, I found a broken spoke. Apparently I'm tough on back wheels. A broken spoke 145 miles in was a crushing blow. I hiked back up the hill with the bike and put a call into the SAG truck. None of the folks that stopped by while I was waiting had any spare spokes, and neither did the SAG vehicle. But the SAG mechanic thought the wheel would hold up, so he tucked and zip tied the spoke for me, and I gingerly returned to the road. 

 Spoke tucked. Rule #5 bike!

Spoke tucked. Rule #5 bike!

I spent the last 25 miles hoping and praying that wheel would hold up. It did! Of course this is where the legs got really painful. I borrowed a line from Jens Voigt, "Shut up legs!" 10:45 of ride time after I started, I rolled into Bayport Park to finish my second ride across the state.

 The Finish!

The Finish!

Many thanks to the Spacecoast Freewheelers, Dave's World Cycles SAG, the many volunteers that made the ride possible, the PPR team for letting me tag along, and my girlfriend for transporting me to the start and home from the finish! What a great adventure.


I'm riding in the 25th Tour de Cure tomorrow in Lake Nona. Donations go to support the American Diabetes Association in the fight against Diabetes. 

 The number is pinned and I'm ready!

The number is pinned and I'm ready!

A midnight stroll around The Breakers

I was at the Breakers Resort this weekend and snapped some photos during a midnight stroll around the property. Lovely hotel, if you ever have the chance to visit take it!

The Lobby

Every time I walked into the hotel, I had a hard time keeping my eyes off of the magnificent ceiling.

The Mediterranean Ballroom

During the time I was there, the Mediterranean Ballroom was always filled with chairs and tables for different conference events, but the last day they removed all of the furniture and placed a baby grand piano in the center of the ballroom. I couldn't resist sneaking in to take a shot!

The Palm Courtyard

The Palm Courtyard, a lovely place with a bubbling fountain and a cafe that makes a great cappuccino. 

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Ode to Apple

I'm no johnny-come-lately Apple fanboy. I've been around awhile. I grew up fascinated by technology. As a kid, I tinkered on a Tandy and eventually upgraded to a Commodore 64. I played Oregon Trail on the Apple's in the middle school lab. In high school, I learned Dos programming - del *.* - on 386's and Visual Basic on 486's, and we even had a, gasp, Pentium in the lab. I'm clearly an ol' geezer in computer world. After years of working on the school newspaper, fighting to get it printed in time because one computer or another wouldn't talk to the network, I left for college, turned my back on the Wintel world, and bought a Mac.

It was 1997. It wasn't easy to buy a Mac. 

At one store, the salesman told me Apple would be out of business before I graduated. Boy was he wrong! HA.

My beast of choice was a PowerPC 7300/200. 200 mhz of raw power at my fingertips. That lasted me through an extended college (I was not on the 4 year plan) that included coding classes, digital animation classes, I even did some video editing. That lead to a laptop, an assortment of iPods, another laptop, an iMac, an iPad, a couple of iPhones, and yet another laptop.  

Last week I got an email that my iMac group had a known issue with its hard drive and I was eligible for a free replacement. I'd actually already replaced it a year ago when it died, so I spent a few minutes on the phone with Applecare, and viola, they refunded the money I'd spent. This week I went in to the Apple store with my laptop cable as it was frayed through at just a year old, and they took one look and replaced it. I'm not saying they're going to replace everything for free if you beat it up, but the company has been so fair in the way they've treated me.

All of my tech talks to each other, I don't spend days hacking it to force it to cobble together, and when there's a known issue with gear, they've always cheerfully replaced it without making me feel like I have to pass a polygraph to get service. Since 1997, over 18 years and multiple computers I've lost 2 hard drives, a power cable, and had a keyboard problem, and Apple's taken of 3 of the 4 gratis. And my kit works hard. Most of the gear I'm carrying now is working on it's second circumnavigation in terms of distance traveled. I buy Apple because it works without an IT department, it keeps me working, and the company treats me great when things go south. 

Thanks Apple!

Jon Painter
Customer since 1997 

Joss Whedon or: how I learned to stop worrying and love Avengers Age of Ultron.

Background: I saw Avengers Age of Ultron opening weekend, and really liked the movie. That weekend I noticed a growing backlash online about the "Prima Nocta" line. A lot of people were upset, and as I thought about it, it seemed to me a bit of misguided self-righteousness. I tried to engage some people on the level of media criticism, but was told a comic book movie didn't deserve that treatment. Respectfully, I disagree. If a media text is very popular, it's more deserving of the critical eye because it has a broader reach. So this is what I wrote on Quora in answer to "How inappropriate was it for Joss Whedon to have Tony Stark make a joke about Prima Nocta?" It seemed to do well there, so I thought I'd release it here.

There's long been a conversation in media criticism about the male gaze, and the way the director portrays characters by how he places them relative to the camera. I should point out that nothing that I'm going to say here is groundbreaking in terms of film theory, but I haven't seen it mentioned in reference to this particular issue. What I've written below is a bit informal, but it's basically how you would approach the issue from an academic perspective.

Part of today's film theory is Mise-en-scene theory. Mise-en-scene is French for "everything in the scene." This theory allows for critique of film ideas based on what is included in the scene, costuming, shot selection, the relationship on screen between characters, the relationship of characters to the camera, etc.

If a character is powerful or has agency in the plot, the general tendency is to place the camera below the character shooting up at them. The audience is looking up at the powerful character.

If a character is weak or lacks agency, you place the camera above them, and shoot down towards them. The audience is looking down at the weak character.

Sometimes directors do this intentionally. 

This is the first shot of Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now. The camera is looking down at him while he lays in a hotel room bed. For the first 6:15 of this scene, when we see Martin, the camera is above his eyeline looking down. The script is about the psychological repercussions of fighting in Vietnam. This man has no agency. He's fighting a war, and he's at the mercy of the war, the military, and the river.

This is the shot in Psycho as the killer enters the shower. Throughout the scene, we look down at poor Janet. Interestingly enough, we also look down on her killer. Hitch apparently felt he or she is at the mercy of other forces too.

Sometimes directors do this because of the Hollywood system. One of the conventions of Hollywood is that leading men are proportionally taller than leading women. This is because of a true life bias in casting, but interestingly enough, if the lead actor is shorter than the lead actress in real life, he's still taller on screen. When you shoot an interchange between an actor and an actress, you match eyelines with your diegetic world -- the world of the fictional narrative. This is one of those conventions that's a bit sexist as well.

Tom at a roster height of 5'9" and Nicole, at 5'10 1/2" at a premiere. He generally wears thick soled boots that have an easy inch in the sole, and he's probably got lifts going too. Most head to toe shots of Nicole have her in short heels:

This is the first time Tom and Nicole meet in Far and Away -- the first film with both that came to my mind.

The camera slightly down toward Nicole. She has a pitchfork on Tom. She's afraid of being attacked/raped and she lacks agency.

At first Tom was crouched, but as he decides she's not going to attack him, he relaxes and stands up. We go from a neutral shot to an upward shot as he relaxes. Nicole has 3 1/2 inches on Tom in real life, and is holding a pitchfork, but is looking up to him in their first meeting in the story. This guy is running things.

When a male character is doing something awesome, they get a hero shot. This is a shot that illustrates their ultimate power over the plot. This is happening more with women recently, but that's for another blog.

We ride together, we die together, Bad Boys for life.

Mifune with several of the Seven Samurai, because we're all borrowing from Kurosawa. Mifune has an extremely long sword, and that's an intentional choice by the director. More on swords later.

Basically any time Indiana Jones walks into a room, but especially when he chooses wisely. 

What does this have to do with Avengers Age of Ultron?

Lifting Thor's hammer is essentially a derivative of the Arthurian legend of the sword and the stone. Whoever can pull Excalibur from the stone is worthy to be King of Albion (England/Britain) and wield the power of the monarchy. He's also righteous. 

Here's a recent television adaptation of that myth. Arthur, with some help from Merlin's eyes, has just pulled Excalibur from the stone. My hero.

There is in film, and literature, a use of the sword as a male token for masculinity, and very bluntly as a phallic reference. Romeo and Juliet starts with a low comedy -- "Cut off their heads. The heads of the maids? Aye, the heads of the maids or their maidenheads... Draw thy tool" and ends with Juliet burying Romeo's "happy dagger" into herself. Shakespeare is the eternal champion of the sex joke.  

Teddy Roosevelt's, "Speak softly and carry a big stick," comes to mind as a nonfictional example. 

William Wallace certainly had a big... sword. His masculine token was so powerful, it get's it's own hero shot at the end of Braveheart, after it's thrown and sticks quivering into mother earth. Presumably the English then drop dead. Wallace is deceased at this point in the story, but his masculine power leads the Scots to victory.

So we can agree that swords and weapons in general have a commonly understood reference to male power in literature, and by extension cinema. In the academic world of film criticism, it's generally accepted that putting the camera low and shooting up at a character indicates they have agency/power.

In the scene in question from Avengers AoU, we have a bunch of guys trying to show off that they are "worthy." Tony Stark spouts off a lot of patriarchal, hetero-normative power talk. And then this happens:


Also, no.

Yeah, still not happening.

Look at how low the camera is. This isn't even a hero shot. This is a god shot. This is a dictator in the eyes of a documentary filmmaker. (Google image search "Leni Riefenstahl Triumph of the Will" and you'll see what I'm talking about.) Whedon is taking this common chauvinistic convention of american film, with all of it's patriarchal wrappings, and turning it into a big joke. The joke is not what comes out of Tony Stark's mouth. The Joke is Tony Stark's machismo. The Joke is that the military industrial complex, represented by War Machine, is not worthy. The Joke is patriarchy in cinema, and it's so embedded and such a subtle sexism, that these angry fans complete missed A) the contextual sexism that the director was making fun of, and B) that the director had made their point much more eloquently than they ever could. 

In the meantime, they're all trying as hard as they can to burn him in effigy. 

Having Tony Stark make the "Prima Nocta" joke, and then turning it around on him, is actually a more helpful critique than Braveheart gave to the issue, because in Braveheart, Murron needs William Wallace to fix the problem for her, and then she still gets killed by a different man, because Murron is living in a man's world and she has no agency at all in the plot. In fact, she is punished (killed) for breaking a King's law, but the man, Wallace, receives no direct punishment for breaking the same law. Braveheart reinforces the patriarchal narrative. In the Avengers films, Whedon likes to make a fool out of, or punish the character that's spouting off patriarchal chauvinism. 

In short, it's not inappropriate, Whedon is making the point that all the angry internet commenters think they're fighting on behalf of. The angry fans just missed it because they aren't as sensitive to the encoded sexism as Whedon is.

The power of thought

“I am the greatest. I said that even before I knew I was. I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.” – Muhammad Ali

One of the great parts of the experience of working on Big Break was the opportunity to meet and learn from people that had a different life experience than I had. Sometimes from crew, sometimes from contestants, sometimes from folks abroad, sometimes from people who grew up in the US. 

One of the more driven people I ever met on the show was Christian Heavens. Beyond being a student of golf, Christian had made himself a student of greatness. Most golfers are going to read about Jack, Ben Hogan, and Bobby Jones. When Christian and I sat down for his bio interview, it quickly became apparent that he was looking beyond the question "What makes a great golfer" to a much broader theme, "What makes a great athlete?" Christian has studied people like Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Olympians, you name it, to see what makes greatness. This conversation didn't make the final cut due to time considerations, but is struck me the way Christian thought about intention. Muhammad Ali said he was the greatest before he was the greatest. Ali spoke it into being. Think it, believe it, say it, make it happen. 

Since I've recently found myself "positioned for employment" I've been thinking about where I would work and who I would work with if I could be king of the world. In fact, I made a list. Instead of burying it, as I was once wont to do, I'm going to throw it out there and see if I can make any of it happen. Think it, Speak it, Make it happen, right?. It's a bit of a big list, but I'm not a narrowly focused person.

Virgin Galactic
Space X
Zero Gravity Corp.
-If you know me well, you know I'm a space geek. I didn't just go to Space Camp, I won the "Outstanding Trainee" award, my team won the Space Bowl quiz award, and my rocket team had an issue with what you might call an "overly experimental" rocket design. I took an undergrad planetary sciences course at the U of A and surveyed maps of Mars that probably no one has ever seen. I've toured the Vehicle Assembly Building, and the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout building. I've seen ISS modules being checked out on earth prior to launch, I've watched a host of space launches from early Space Shuttle to Orion. These are the organizations that are flying into space or involved in the space experience. They must need a producer or a photographer right?

Kevin Smith
-It's Kevin Smith. It would be a career highlight to be a PA on a Smith movie. Snooch to the nooch.

Star Trek or Star Wars Episode 8
-I have no connections to Vancouver or Pinewood, but see point 1 above. 

The Olympics
-Greatest sports television on the planet. 

Walking Dead
-Extremely well put together show. One of my favorites to watch. I can work as a local in Atlanta. I would be a frighteningly huge zombie. 

Game of Thrones
-Again, top-notch filmmaking, love watching it.

Captain America
-I hear they're shooting the next one in Georgia. Like I said, I've got a room there. On your left.

Outside TV
-I love road biking, skiing, rock climbing, and shooting time-lapse photography (demo to come). This seems like a natural fit.

The Tour de France
-I like road cycling, and it's Le Tour. 

-I love seeing the world and meeting people from all over... I've done some nice photography from all over, and people seem to like some of the things I've written recently. I should look into this.

That's what's rattling around in my head today. Before I sign out, follow Christian on twitter if you want to watch his pursuit of his dream.


The Best Damn Crew in the Biz

It’s been an emotional weekend to say the least. 

For those catching up, a huge group of us got laid off last Friday. I’ve been a freelancer for most of my 11 years in television, and I know the ropes and, so I wasn’t really surprised that something happened, but the scope of it took my breath away. 

I’ve got no sour grapes, no issues with the people who let us go. They handled it in the best way that they could. Golf Channel is amazing, and the professionals that work there are fantastic at what they do. I wish nothing but the best for my colleagues there. This is just the way the business works, and as the old movie joke goes, “This is the business we’ve chosen!”

I do have a couple of things to say. And I have 2 requests to make.

It’s been an absolute privilege to work with everyone on Big Break, Destination Golf, and Altered Course for the last 10 years. It’s a unique experience to work on a show that runs as long as Big Break, it’s not common to the tv experience. I’m incredibly proud of the work that we did. The people I’ve worked with along the way are without reservation the best in the business. Looking through the photos, it’s striking how much life and the world around us changed between 2003 and 2015, and how many of the people who made the show such a success are the same people through 12 years of photos. Somewhere along the way we became more than coworkers, and more than friends. Somewhere along the way it turned into a huge extended family. I’m so lucky to have been a part of it.

The response this weekend has been overwhelming. When I first posted on social media that I was available for freelance work, I wasn’t aware of the true scope of what was happening, I was just trying to reconnect quickly with people that I’ve worked with over the years. I didn’t know how many people were going to be affected. I didn’t think I needed to hear people say they were sorry that it had happened, or get positive words from people. I was wrong. I did. 

People have reached out to me from college at the University of Arizona, people that I worked with years ago with opportunities and leads, or to put me in contact with people. People that I’ve worked with once or twice along the way have reached out to let me know that they're out there. People that have no connection with the TV business have reached out to ask me to do photos or videos for them. 

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. 

As the word spread, and the news became public, contestants that had appeared on Big Break have reached out to let us know what our work meant to them. Some of them have texted, or written us on social media. Some of them have just told the world at large. Between what I’ve experienced and what I’ve seen online, I’m guessing my experience isn't unique. It’s truly humbling to have someone reach out and say, “hey, what you did really changed things for me and for a lot of other people.” I think I speak for a lot of us when I say, I’m honored. There is nothing that you can say that means more to me than to tell me that my work helped you. I’m so glad that the effect of our work meant something to you personally. I’m so glad it meant that you could chase the dream longer, or live the dream on the PGA or LPGA tours. You should know that every week in the office, we paid attention to the scoring on the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour, the Web.Com tour, and the Symetra Tour and emailed each other when people on the show did well. It wasn’t because it was good for the show, it was that we were happy for you. Because someone we know and respect had just taken advantage of an opportunity presented to them. We are all so proud of you.

So I have 2 requests. The first is the most easy thing I’ve ever asked anyone to do, and the second will take at most 5-10 minutes of your time. 

1)Watch Altered Course on Golf Channel beginning on June 15th at 9 pm ET on Golf Channel. I ask you to make some space on your DVR and time in your schedule for 2 reasons. The first, is that everyone appearing on the show deserves your attention just as much as anyone that ever appeared on Big Break. I had the opportunity to produce 2 home visits for Altered Course. 2 of those gentlemen that I worked with are chasing the dream on the mini-tours, and the other 2 have spent the last few years of their lives serving our country in the US Army. 

Help us change a few more lives.

The second reason I ask you to tune in is that this is our swan song. The same people that made Big Break set out to do something different, and I firmly believe that we succeed beyond our wildest imagination. I’ve seen the first 3 episodes, and I can honestly say, if you love golf (I’ve played for 25 years) or if you’ve never swung a club in your life, you will find this to be the most riveting television we’ve ever made. If you're concerned with golf courses in your area closing, this show will convince your buddies that they should pick up clubs and try the game. I promise you that you’ll be on the edge of your seat for an hour every week. 

2) This is much bigger than just those of us that work on Big Break. Other extremely talented folks lost their jobs last Friday because the effects of letting us go trickled down to other departments. They may never have worked on the show, and you may never have seen them on a shoot, but I promise you they are just as talented and just as amazing as those of us that where on set season after season. I’ve been in touch with freelancers in the industry here in Florida, and the word from a year ago to this morning hasn’t been good. I have a lot of friends out there are hurting because the Florida State Legislature can’t figure out that we need to be competitive with Georgia and Louisiana. If you’ve ever watched Big Break, you should know that beyond the people that lost their jobs this week, this affects 80-plus freelancers that count on our shows as a significant portion of their income. They hail from all over the country, but an overwhelming majority are based in Florida. If you live in Florida, please please please write your state representative and ask them to help us out by passing the Film Incentive.
If you’ve appeared on Big Break, or have ever been a fan of Big Break, please write and tell them how much the Big Break as part of the Florida Production Industry meant to you. If you don’t live in Florida, you can write my Representative and Senator, they represent Orlando, so they're right in the heart of the state.

Rep. Mike Miller
1101 The Capitol
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee , FL 32399-1300
Phone: (850) 717-5047

Sen. Andy Gardiner
420 Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100 
Phone: (850) 487-5013

The last thing you should know, is that the people we've worked with as advertisers and at resorts around the world have been absolutely amazing. From Hawaii to Ireland, as far south as Mexico, and as far north as Canada, with gnomes and rental car credits and whatever else we've given away, we’ve had just tremendous experiences and we’ve been so lucky, and so fortunate to be a part of it all. 

Thanks again for all the kind words.
My best,

Jon Painter

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