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.