All posts by Mark Wallace

Mark is a traveler, photographer, and writer.

Video Progress

This weekend I shot a couple of videos of students talking about their experience with the 8 week Digital Photography 101 course.  Eventually I’ll have a bunch of videos that will all be edited and posted on our website.

I’ve had a few people ask about the process of shooting on a green screen and so I thought I’d create a short video that shows the editing process.

Here’s the lighting setup.  I have a portable green screen that’s lit by two Arri 650 Plus fresnels.  The subject is lit by an Arri 1000 watt Arrilite with small Chimera softbox.  There’s also a 650 fresnel that I use as a separation light – that’s the light high above the green screen.

There’s a silver reflector opposite the softbox for some fill light.  There are also two flags to keep light from spilling into the lens.  One large flag to block the separation light and one small flag to block the light coming from the rear of the softbox.


Here’s another view with our former student, Craig, in the shot.


After the video is shot with our Canon XH-A1 it’s imported into Adobe Premier Pro CS3.  I use a Matrox RT.X2 video capture card for real-time HD editing.  The basic steps shown in the video are:

  1. Add Chroma Key to reveal stock background animation.  You can buy these from Digital Juice, they’re called Jump Backs HD.
  2. Add left matte to eliminate the green screen stand.
  3. Clean up the audio in Adobe Audition.
  4. Add some stock music from Digital Juice.
  5. Add the right matte
  6. Adjust the color
  7. Move Craig to the right to make room for text.
  8. Add some text.
  9. Fade everything out.

From Green to Finished from Mark Wallace on Vimeo.

Post Game

I was hanging out at Chase Field again yesterday and was able to catch Fox Sports recording the post game show.  The setup was fairly simple.  A single camera on a jib, two HMI open face 2k lights with Chimera softboxes, and some lavs for sound. 

Since I’m a big fan of behind the scenes photos I thought I’d share the setup for others to glean some insight as well.


Mirror Image

While walking through Ikea yesterday I saw a huge wall sized photo that looked strangely familiar.  For a few minutes I thought that the photo was mine (purchased as stock), but it turned out to be the work of another photographer.  I dug through my photo archive and found my photo from 2005.  I’ve posted both photos below.  Freaky.

My photo from 2005.

The photo on the wall at Ikea.

Daniel’s Top 10

Daniel spent much of the day with us yesterday helping to build some of our Ikea furniture. Along the way he introduced us to some new music (A Fine Frenzy) and also fixed all of my furniture building issues. He took some snapshots along the way.  Today he sent me this Top 10 list and I just had to share it.

My ten key take-aways from an afternoon with the Wallace Duo.

  1. Ikea Cafeteria = good grub
  2. “Udden” apparently is a word.
  3. Mark has the looks to ignite the flame of random cougars in the Ikea loading area. Boys, please control your single-mothers!
  4. New studio location very nice!
  5. New studio classroom awesome.
  6. Sorting fasteners and cross-member orientation both require keen attention to detail. AKA: Re-work sucks.
  7. Mark has no soft spot in his heart for bugs.
  8. It feels very gratifying to build something, even if it just requires assembly of a box of parts.
  9. A Fine Frenzy is instantly likeable for a variety of musical palates/backgrounds.
  10. Hitchcock-inspired snapshots require a steadier hand and better composition/cropping than currently available.

Daniel and Mark after a snack at Ikea (Photo by Diane).

Daniel’s “Hitchcock” shot.  Yep, number 10 was right on the money.


We spent more time working on the studio today.  I took a few more iPhone snapshots of the classroom space while we were there.  I think we’ll be finished with everything by next week but things are in pretty good shape now.

The nearly finished coffee/tea/snack area and our new (larger) video screen. Also notice Luka’s dog bowls on the floor. He made another visit to the studio today.

The new tables and chairs that Bill helped build yesterday.  We still have nine more chairs on the way, so it’s going to be cozy.  We are also going to be hanging some photographs on the walls (of course).  If we have room some half height book cases will be installed for that great bookstore/coffee house feeling.

The view from the back of the class.  The small table at the front is for my laptop.  Tomorrow we’ll be installing a white board to the right of the video screen.

Another view of the class space.

The neat thing about this room is that we designed it to be flexible.  For our Photoshop workshops the tables will be arranged differently so students can sit behind the table with a laptop.  For the other workshops we will arrange the space in a semi-circle so everyone can share and discuss.  Our first class is Tuesday night, I can’t wait!

The Work Continues

We’re still putting the finishing touches on the studio. Diane spent all day Friday painting the walls and yesterday we picked up the first two truck loads of new furniture for the classroom.  We still have more chairs and shelves to pick up and install, but things are getting closer to being finished.  Our fist class in the new studio is Tuesday so we’re working hard to be ready.

We had some help yesterday from our friends Bill and Daniel.  We’re fortunate that Bill has a nice truck because we loaded it to the gills with tables and chairs yesterday.  Bill helped build all the tables and chairs and then Daniel showed up to help us with the second half of the day.  We really appreciate the help.

Here are a couple of iPhone snapshots from the last two days.

Diane painting the walls.

New wall color!

Taking a break at Ikea where we spent a LOT of time yesterday.

Our friend Daniel who helped us build the coffee station.

The new coffee/tea/water/snack station.  The black thing is a refrigerator and we’ll be installing shelves and cup holders on the wall later this week.

I can’t believe I didn’t snap any pictures of the tables and chairs. I guess I was just too busy assembling to remember to take any pictures.  I’ll make sure to get some shots today so you can see how the classroom is coming along.

From Blank Page to Big Screen

Later this year we’re going to be hosting Keith Digby and Brian Paisley of West Coast Screenwriting for an all new (to us) workshop!  Yes, that’s right – we’re hosting a screenwriting workshop.

In addition to all the vital information you need to develop a screenplay, Brian and Keith give you and your project their hands-on, personal attention. In a dynamic, collaborative environment, their ‘tag team’ approach will help you evolve your characters, develop your structure, conquer your unique challenges.

Keith and Brian developed West Coast Screenwriting to help new writers, teachers of media, and writers who want to take their work to the next level realize their ambitions. It’s not simply about learning to write; it’s about screenwriters and teachers both new and experienced being motivated, confident and supported in their endeavors.

We don’t have a date set yet but I know it will be October at the earliest.  If you’re interested please let us know soon.  Space is going to be very limited and I know I want a seat!

Ciao 111

I made the last trip to the old studio today.  Everything is finally moved out and at home in our new location in Phoenix.  Diane and I are both excited to be out of the Tempe studio.  We won’t miss the constant sound of jets flying over our heads, the crumbling building, the leaky roof, or the dumpster just outside the front door.

I know, I’m making it sound worse than it really was.  The old place was a fun location with lots of character and we were happy to have a home in Tempe.  Unfortunately the management company didn’t keep the building in good condition and the business park started to go sour soon after we moved in.  Two months ago the entire business park was sold and new management took over.  But it was too late, the damage had been done and we’d already decided to move to Phoenix.

Goodbye Suite 111.  Thanks for all the memories.

A last look at the studio in Tempe.  I shot this with my iPhone just before walking out the door.

This hole is where we built our makeup counter.  We took that with us.

One of the things I won’t miss at all; the dumpster right outside our front door.

And as a tribute to the old space here’s a video from 2006.  I think it shows everything in the studio except the bathroom.  You may also recognize Lilli and Amanda from previous posts.

Behind the camera with Steve Carell

There’s a very cool article at the Wired web site.  It combines four things that I enjoy a lot; Photography, Wired Magazine, Steve Carell, and Lost In Translation (true fans will find the obscure reference).

Photographer Brent Humphreys drew sketches while squeezed into a window seat on his flight to shoot Steve Carell. “The upshot was those little napkins provided me with a sense of confidence and control,” Humphreys says. “Of course, the flight attendant thought I was crazy and so did the passengers next to me when they finally woke.”

Click here to see the sketches and photos.