Tag Archives: Dennis Foley

Live Ammo Freestyle 2014.

What is Live Ammo Freestyle?

That was the question running through my head when Dennis approached me to film this project. We had just finished filming the first Project Thompson, which was still in post production, and I was just hot off the heels of filming my first professional shoot and another winter film. Needless to say, it was a busy month and I was only just getting started!

As it were, the notice I was given was barely a day or so. They wanted me to come out to the Live Ammo compound and film their practice for the live event, which was happening the weekend after. I drove out of town and found the entrance to the compound with Dennis’ help, but it was rough going because the “road” was only a snow trail one vehicle wide and although I was driving my SUV, it was still touch-and-go given that my vehicle was built for luxury, not off-road.

When I finally arrived, I heard the sounds of snowmobile engines revving and smelled burning exhaust fumes in the air. The sun was high in the sky without a cloud in sight. For a Thompson winter in April, it was surprisingly a warm day. I got over the shock of what these young lads were doing pretty quickly and got into work mode. I filmed the ramping and talked with the guys. The same question kept popping up in my head.

What kind of person finds the motivation to risk their safety and future health so they can participate in an extreme sport? I sought to answer my question through this film.

Live Ammo Freestyle 2014 Banner

The practice went relatively well. Some guest rampers were coming into town and practicing throughout the week, but I figured I would catch them at the event instead of taking the long trip out there. This foresight was my downfall.

The event itself was great. Lots of people showed up, and the guys put on a great show. It was the first time I used my Manfrotto SYMPLA shoulder rig. There were two accidents, but the riders were able to walk away from it. I missed filming both accidents, which would have added to the film’s suspense. Partway through the event, the worst thing happened. My card filled up. It couldn’t be, though; I had a 32 GB card and it took two consecutive hours of non-stop filming to fill it up. While two hours had passed, I was doing a lot of stop-and-go filming. I inspected all the clips, and there were a handful of clips, but nowhere near 32 GB worth of them. I hadn’t even gotten to the interviews yet! I didn’t have my laptop on me, and the event still had a few hours to go. So I had to make a choice then and there; I formatted the card. :'(

I re-shot all the jumps I could. I shot the interviews. Two hours later, the card wasn’t even 1/4 full. The file system was probably corrupted. This taught me a valuable lesson. Always carry a spare card, bring my laptop to offload files, and format cards between sessions!

Despite that hard lesson, there were more to come. My battery died. I had barely caught all the riders ramping since some of them went early in the day, which were part of the data I had to delete. That taught me lesson #2: always carry a second battery, and bring the charger so that I can charge the dead battery while shooting with the second!

Live Ammo Freestyle 2014 Poster

Finally, the last lesson came in post. I was creating subclips in Prelude when I came across Mike Poirier’s interview at the event. The audio was missing! I checked the sequence numbers and sure enough, it looked like I didn’t even record it, which was impossible, because I remember listening to it when I got the files on my workstation. So either my memory is playing tricks on me or I completely failed to hit the record button. That didn’t teach me a lesson, but I was acutely made aware that recording audio separately had its caveats.

I hate to say it, but the entire ordeal of this project was crazy. I was stressed out the max, and due to the issues I experienced at the live event, I admit that I put off post production of this film for three months partly because of those bad memories (and mostly a busy schedule). When I finally did get to producing this, I ended up with missing scenes, audio, and sanity. Despite all of that, I managed to put out a film that contains my blood, sweat, and tears. This film is my kryptonite, lack of foresight, and my uncertainty of whether I’m doing the right thing or not. But at the same time, it was my adversity, ingenuity, and creativity which gave birth to a film that managed to be something I could look at and say, “You may have won the battle, but the war is far from over.”

On the plus side, I met local photographer, Jenn P., at this event for the first time. Dennis had been promoting her to me for a while, and after working alongside her, we finally formed a professional relationship that would later expand into a future project that I just wrapped up filming as I’m releasing this. Stay tuned!

Check out this project on my Behance portfolio!

Project Thompson HD: Episode 2

Dennis Foley returns in this episodic documentary series now officially named Project Thompson HD. In this episode, we sat down to talk with Rachel Chartrand-Templeton, a wonderful woman with a heart of gold who leads her team of dedicated people at Juniper Centre Inc., a facility serving the community’s individuals with special needs.

After the success of the first episode, Dennis was trying to secure a guest that would be a good follow-up to Jasyn Lucas, and he found it in Rachel, who keeps giving back to the community.

When it comes to the Juniper Centre, both Dennis and I are no strangers. Dennis has a personal history with the organization, while I have been serving their IT needs for many years. While I cannot speak for Dennis, one of our mutual friends, James, works at JCI (Juniper Centre Inc.), and he brought me in to help them out with their computer issues several years ago. After ending my career in IT, I decided to continue helping them out in a 100% donation basis, after seeing their budget constraints and big hearts for our community. I always feel welcome at JCI whenever I visit, and it’s Rachel who I’ve started to see as a person you can really open up to.

Project Thompson HD: Episode 2

This shoot was interesting, as it’s the first one I’ve done that utilized the majority of my film equipment in one session. I also learned a lot again, and I ended up purchasing a second lavalier mic for Dennis after seeing the vast difference between the lav and dynamic condenser mic. I’m also convinced that the Zoom H4n sounded really good to me during my first few shoots, but when I recorded using the lav mic, it showed me just how terrible the Zoom really is for my application. Using lavs will alleviate the issue for now, but I’m going to require a preamp (or a JuicedLink, hehehe) at some point if I want to move into film entertainment and continue using boom mics. I’m also running into challenges operating one camera. My editing work would greatly benefit from a second and third camera, but alas, I will have to wait and try out a few before I commit to buying again. The GH4 looks amazing, but the C100 also caught my eye despite its hefty price tag. I had also considered BlackMagic but I’m not too sure if I’d appreciate their workflows. Nevertheless, I need to rent them at some point during a job to see which one will work best for me.

Project Thompson HD: Episode 2 Poster

I hope you enjoy this video. Stay tuned for more later!

Check out this project on my Behance portfolio!

Project Thompson: Episode 1 with Jasyn Lucas.

Written and hosted by Dennis Foley in this provisionally named documentary series, we sit down and talk with people around Thompson, Manitoba about their stories and opinions about their lives in the Hub of the North.

In this first episode, Dennis sat down with Jasyn Lucas, a prolific artist whose works include the Northern Lights, wolves, and other Aboriginal inspired paintings.

When Dennis approached me for the project, he wanted to focus on the positive aspects of living so far up north in Canada. Most people usually respond negatively when it came to Thompson, and it took 36 years for this humble filmmaker to learn that his family and friends lived here. I spent the entire time trying to get out of Thompson and it seemed that in the blink of an eye, I planted roots and realized that if you actually took the time to look, Thompson is actually a wonderful place to live.

Project Thompson 01 with Jasyn Lucas Banner

A lot of what Jasyn said really resonated with me. It was coming into alignment with what I was starting to see. I know the video is pretty long for a guy sitting around talking about his life and this place; I totally could have edited it to make it shorter, but I don’t want to just make films. I want to make emotions tangible and immortalize them for generations to see.

Sure, it’s butt-freezing cold in the winter, but no different than most places in Canada. You’d be surprised how easy it is to adjust from -25°C to -50°C with windchill.

There’s crime. There’s always crime. But to be labeled as a murder capital is only that – a label. There’s no more or less crime per capita here than any other place, and despite what the numbers say, you won’t see crime unless you actually go looking for it like a damned fool.

Project Thompson 01 with Jasyn Lucas Poster

Food selection may be limited, but I believe this has made accomplished cooks out of the residents of Thompson. So if you can’t cook or like to eat out, then either make peace with becoming proficient at cooking or make friends who can cook and invite yourself over for supper; I guarantee the friendly people will accommodate you and more! Just make sure to chip in for groceries and do them a favor here and there. :)

Maybe one day, I’ll go to Vancouver and attend film school or fulfill my dreams of traveling the world and making documentaries, but no matter what happens I will always come back to Thompson and proudly call it my home. I became the person I am today because of my family, my friends, and my hometown.

So why not come up and visit the Hub of the North?

Check out this project on my Behance portfolio!