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Don Dohler: Uncontained Imagination « Baltimore Filmmakers

Baltimore Filmmakers posted a nice article about my friend, the late Don Dohler. Here's the link:  Don Dohle r: Uncontained Imagination...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Timewarp Stabilizes

Now that I'll be responsible for Timewarp's cinematography, I decided to look into acquiring a Steadicam, a camera mount that allows the operator to move around while keeping the image stabilized. Of course, professional models can cost several thousand dollars, so I decided to look into making one. I was truly surprised how many Web sites provide plans and instructions.

I decided to start off simple and build Johnny Chung Lee's $14 Steadycam (left). I had to alter the basic design to accommodate our larger camera (XL1S), and I added some padding to cover the galvanized steel, but it was easy to build and only took an hour or so.

When I tested it, I discovered two things: 1) it takes practice to make it work. Moving around with a counter-weight takes a little getting used to, plus you have to learn to work around the base as you walk. 2) A rig that relies completely on arm strength can get heavy--particularly with a prosumer-level camera. Ultimately, this rig can only be used for short periods, and I really want one without that kind of restriction. So I kept looking, and I found the ultimate site for home-built stabilizers. The name says it all: http://www.homebuiltstabilizers.com/index.htm

This site has more about the subject than you can possibly imagine. From info and tips on how to build your own rig, to forums to share your experience. There's also a photo gallery that allows users to publish detailed photos of their creation. And these creations are amazing, and overwhelming. At this point, I can't imagine building one. But the forum members are happy to offer advice and answer questions.

My first step will be to buy one of the books a forum member had published. It has detailed instructions on building a Steadicam that has a spring-loaded arm, a harness, and a mount for a monitor. This is serious stuff.

Here's the link for the book: http://www.cafepress.com/stabilizer.31893959

In addition to Steadicams, the site has information on dollies and crane's as well.

Photo provided by Robert Long II

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Blood, Boobs & Beast Premiere

I'm sure Don would have been honored to know that a documentary about his life, and careers in filmaking and publishing, was accepted into the Maryland Film Festival. Though, we that know him know he wouldn't have made a fuss about it. He'd probably have said, in that calm, low Baltimorian drawl of his, "hey, that's great," and would have offered a genuine smile.

But his family, friends, and fans were elated. We couldn't wait to see what documentarian John Kinhart had put together, and we weren't disappointed. We were able to spend 90 minutes re-living fond memories of a man we all admired.

After the Friday showing we were invited to a party hosted by Greg Dohler (Don's son) and his wife Cindy France. I had a great conversation with John, absorbing all the inside information on how the film came together. I also got to meet Christian Brown, the film's composer. We compared notes (as it were), me being a wannabe composer myself.

I also met one of John's friends, Rich, who gave up a major in political science (thank God) to pursue filmmaking and writing. We talked shop for quite a while--he seems to think I know what I'm doing behind the camera :lol:

Also, Rob Long presented Don's wife Leslie with an original painting of Don.

We stayed out way too long, the old farts that we are, and were dragging all the next day, but it was worth it.

The next showing was Sunday. This time I brought my own entourage, and some folks from Horrortalk (Steve, Eric, and Robert) also made an appearance.

When the weekend was over, I was exhausted, but felt as if I had spent the time hanging out with Don, like I used to. If only that were true.


All photographs provided by Leanna Chamish.

Monday, May 7, 2007

The Filmmaker's Exam

My wife noticed that at the bottom of the Fantasy Novelist's Exam is a link to a filmmaker's exam. It's even funnier for us filmmakers.


Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Web Site Dedicated to Cult Filmmaker Don Dohler

Don and Greg Dohler on the set of Fiend Greg Dohler has launched a site dedicated to his father's creative legacy. Check it out: http://dondohler.com/

Don, best known for writing and directing the 1977 low-budget film The Alien Factor, also helped start the underground comic movement with his unique character Pro Junior, and published the filmmaker how-to magazine Cinemagic.

In 2000, he co-founded Timewarp films with partner Joe Ripple. In all, Don produced 11 films, including Fiend, Night Beast, Harvesters, and Stakes.

Last summer, Don was diagnosed with cancer, and passed away in December. But his legacy continues. A documentary about Don, produced by filmmaker John Kinhart, is premiering at the Maryland Film Festival the weekend of May 4th, 2007. For details, visit John's site: http://www.bbbmovie.com/