Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Next Level


It's time to begin pushing my art to the next level. I have two projects in the works that will require a more artistic widescreen look than what I normally shoot for the kinds of documentaries I've been doing.

With that in mind I went on a couple of photographic expeditions to Valley Forge State Park and Manayunk in search of picturesque vistas to shoot. My Canon GL2 was set to interlaced 16:9 anamorphic at 60i (most of the time). Here are a few screen captures of my video. I plan to make a montage clip very soon to see how they look in motion set to music.


NATURE





ARCHITECTURE






URBAN DECAY



Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Stage Stormers are in rehearsal!



It's that time of year again! The countdown to the Stage Stormers' performances in August! I had a blast taping and editing the shows last year. Watching the joy on the childrens' faces while I edited the footage from our two cameras really made my job enjoyable.

Returning to shoot with me will be Jim Valentine for the Spring City show. My daughter Nicole (The Cat in the Hat from last year's Seussical) is also working with me this year and will be running the second camera for several shows and possibly helping with the editing. We also have Mary Crispin, a Communications major at Penn State, shooting and editing one of the shows (under my supervision, of course) for her portfolio.

I enjoy nurturing young talent. Both Mary and Nicole have already shown promise in videography and editing and I hope to be relying on their abilities in the future as Mike Pulcinella Video Productions expands.

I'll be posting stills and clips from the performances on this blog as the editing progresses so you might want to stop in here from time to time during the month of September and check 'em out. In the meantime I've set up Pre-Order buttons on the DVDs for Sale page. You can use a credit card and PayPal or you can get the order forms from me at the performances and pay by cash or check, if you are more comfortable with that.

Good luck to all the actors and I'll see you at the shows!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

A review of Beyond the Pain



My new documentary, Beyond the Pain is finally done and the reviews are starting to roll in! Here's a really good one! It was posted on the siouxcountry.com forum by Gina Fata.



“Beyond the Pain: The Vicki Nixon Story.
Review by: Gina Fata

Bodybuilding is a sport of discipline, desire, and dedication. Vicki Nixon possessed all three of these qualities under extraordinary circumstances for all 23 years of her bodybuilding career. “Beyond the Pain” is a documentary film directed by the talented Mike Pulcinella, who has gone DEEP into the pain, suffering, and love of Vicki Nixon’s bodybuilding career. Vicki’s story is not only told by herself, but by Brian (her husband), close friends, and others that have been inspired by her through the years.

Throughout the film, we are taken on a journey through Vicki’s career in bodybuilding, photoshoots, and current interviews with various supporters of Vicki Nixon. Vicki Nixon's husband, Brian is extremely supportive and stays by her through every aspect of her life. Vicki and Brian are true soulmates, and they consistently lift each other up in their life together.

While most bodybuilders must remain focused on diet, training, and posing to get prepared for a contest, Vicki did that while dealing with serious medical issues. Pulcinella directs the film in a way that goes deep into the soul of Vicki Nixon. He finds a way to capture emotion, integrity, and joy all in one moment. He also holds true to the dedicated person that Vicki Nixon is by showing the audience her passion for bodybuilding, and how supportive she is in fostering the success of other people. This is a unique quality that Nixon has, because bodybuilding can sometimes be considered a vanity sport.

In my opinion, Vicki Nixon is what female bodybuilding is all about. She deals with mental and physical struggles, hardcore dieting, precise training, and goes "beyond the pain." Although she has retired from bodybuilding, Vicki has proven herself to be a success in the sport. Her kind and giving spirit still continues to help others in the sport, which seems to give her much enjoyment. Vicki Nixon's story proves that will and passion to succeed is vital in bodybuilding, and your heart will take you "beyond the pain".

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A great review of Raising the Bar!

I get many emails praising my bodybuilding documentaries Raising the Bar and Raising the Bar 2. I never get tired of hearing how much people enjoy my work! Today I received a review that I felt I must share with you. It's from a Natural Pro bodybuilder that I met at the NGA Mr. & Ms. Philadelphia competition. Joanne was one of the judges at the show. It was very nice to speak with her that day and it is clear from her email that she is a good judge of documentary films as well!! ;-)




Hi Mike, It's Joanne.,

It was a pleasure to meet you at the Mr/Ms Phila show. I don't know how to even begin to put into words what you have managed to create in the two documentaries about your brother Dave. The documentaries are the best that I have ever seen. I have Pumping Iron I and II, and they don't capture the real "behind the scenes" of what bodybuilder's lives are all about. I felt that somehow you took my life and put in into this film but just changed the actors so to speak.

There were moments where I laughed (the food scenes in part I) and your brother's sense of humor, I became nervous for your brother when he was cramping (I have experienced this too), sadness, excitement and exhaustion. I can relate to the family functions that you can't take part in, how your family doesn't understand why you do what you do, the training, long days preparing, all the sacrifices made, etc..

You have captured what most people, other than a bodybuilder, will never see or experience. Sure most people see the glory of the end result when the competitors are on stage, but to live with a bodybuilder or to be one, well it's a very different life style we live "all year" round. I was also born in 1964 so I understand the joint pains, injuries, etc that Dave has experienced. I have watched both DVDs twice already and they are truly motivating. I will watch them over and over as I prepare for my upcoming shows.

Mike, your commentary, interviews, music selection, and how you put the film together is truly amazing and done very professionally. I would recommend that anyone who is a bodybuilder, lives with one, or knows of a bodybuilder should see this video to truly understand "our" lifestyle and the rigorous months, weeks, days, hours we go through to prepare for shows.

I hope some day I get an opportunity to meet your brother. Dave is an inspiration and it's obvious he lives for the sport and to keep his physique in top condition. I have my pro card with a natural organization but have never competed nationally. I did qualify for nationals, but may see what I can do in 2009. I'm anxious to see your next documentary.

I'm so glad that I ran into you at the show and that I purchased the documentaries. Mike, you have done an incredible job and you should be very proud of your work.

Joanne G
IPFA Professional Bodybuilder
http://www.myspace.com/musclegal

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Mr. & Ms. Natural Update!

The NGA allows props and encourages creativity in competitors' posing routines. Here's a brief taste of what went on at the Philly Nat this year!




The disks are ready and will be shipping early this week!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Mr. & Ms. Natural DVD is nearly done!



I'm putting the finishing touches on my two DVD set of the contest video for the 2008 NGA Mr. & Ms. Natural Philadelphia show that I shot on May 3rd. In the meantime here are a few stills from the video.

Warren Egebo runs a tight show and he always tries to make it interesting. This year was no exception. He had a skit and a parade of competitors to open the show and his guest poser was the inspirational Johnny Quinn, a victim of a motorcycle accident who would never use the "v" word to describe himself!


Congratulations to Adrianna Aliotta and Luther Bradford, the overall winners!



I'm taking pre-orders right now on the "DVDs For Sale" page of my website and expect to be shipping by the end of next week, if not sooner!


Saturday, April 26, 2008

What makes a photograph "artistic"?

I think this is one of the best explanations of what makes something artistic that I've ever read!

It was posted by "chubs" over at unrealmuscle.com. Thanks for letting me repost this, chubs!

If a photographer takes a straight shot with good exposure, that's composed pleasantly, we don't generally refer to it as photographic art. He has competently recorded nature and gets credit for skill at a craft, as in this photograph of Mavi Gioia.



If a photographer takes consistently accurate, nicely framed shots for an extended period of time, he may earn credit as somewhat of an artist, but still more a craftsman.

As soon as there's intervention from the photographer, a manipulation of realism, the term artist becomes easier to apply. Here, the viewer starts to think of things other than the depiction of nature, thanks to a rearrangement of elements by the photographer.


People look at that picture of Colette and say, that's an "artistic photograph" because it's more than just a recording of nature. If someone consistently produces images like that, over time is considered more an artist than a craftsman.



Taken to a further point, like in this wonderful example by Patrick of his lovely wife Emery Miller, the photographer imposes his vision to elicit strong emotional reaction, a hallmark common to all things considered "art" by current societal standards.



This is Mike again...I'll take it a bit further and say that the third pic is especially artistic because it begins to abstract nature.

The photographer is asking us not only to appreciate the subject for what it IS, but also for the basic geometric play of light and shadow that is occurring. We begin to enjoy it on multiple levels and that also is the hallmark of art.

Friday, April 4, 2008

I've been made a mod at MD!!


About a month ago I started a thread on the Muscular Development.com discussion forum in order to help the members learn how to make better videos of their workouts and posing. As you can imagine, bodybuilders are generally horrendous videographers! Shooting video of people in the gym has become my forte (quite by accident). My "video tips" thread became popular and the other forum leaders decided that I should be the one to develop a strange hybrid bodybuilding/video section of their forum.

The offer came as a complete surprise. I'm very flattered and excited about it! If you get a chance, stop by and check out "my" section, the MD TV Community Channel.


forums.musculardevelopment.com


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Analogue Lives!


This kind of music isn't for everyone, but if you are a fan of synth-based, meditative "space" music you must check out Baltimore musician Jeff Koepper! I used to dabble in this stuff back in the 80's but never approached Jeff's level. I met him through craig's list and recently sold him some of my old keyboards. As far as I'm concerned they couldn't have gone to a better home! There are some samples on his MySpace page so you can see what I'm talking about.

Jeff Koepper

I love this stuff! You may hear it finding its way into some future video projects of mine!

He's also giving a live concert in Philadelphia on April 19th. I'm not going to miss it!

You can check out more about the concert and his CDs here...

thegatherings.org

Just so you know..."analogue" is a classic type of synthesizer that predates digital. It's the kind of instrument guys like Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman used to play. By restricting himself to only these kinds of keyboards Jeff Koepper, and others like him, create music that has a distinctive "retro" sound that can't be achieved any other way.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A thought about editing...

Real life is mostly long boring stretches with brief moments of excitement. The problem is it takes too long to get from one interesting moment to the next. 

What we do as editors is take real life and condense it. It's like taking the watery sap from a tree and boiling it down to make maple syrup. We boil life down and boil it down and cut out the boring bits and remove the waiting around till all that is left is the good stuff.

A well edited TV show or movie or documentary is real life as we WISH it would be! I think that video and film editors should be as highly paid as doctors because we do just as valuable a service...we save, preserve and present the best of life.


Friday, March 7, 2008

Why am I being Googled so much?


I am always sure to include a link to my site when I post on other blogs or on Youtube. So why is my tracking service telling me that much f the time my website is being reached by people who have to Google me to find it? Not that there's anything wrong with that, I'm happy that you found me no matter how you did it! 

If you used Google to get here please leave me a comment telling me how you heard about me. I would really appreciate it!

Thanks,
Mike

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Good news!

The MMA promo has been getting mixed reviews but mostly positive. 
Here's what the webmaster of mmarecruiter.com/ had to say...

"The video is awesome and you did a great job with what was available to work with. I was trying to create a buzz and it worked. We had a big increase in our sign ups since the release of the video.

We are the first site MMA site that has a intro video which is huge. I couldn't be happier to be breaking ground and making the standards higher. Just alone today we have had close to 20 sign ups and its still early.
It's working!

Thanks,
Mike"

All in a day's work!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Classical music ROCKS!!

It always bothers me when people say that they like classical music..."but only when I fall asleep"! I've loved classical all my life. Some of the hardest hitting music I know was composed for an orchestra. There's nothing like the power of 100 people playing together! 

It was with that in mind that I dove into the re-edit of my MMA promo video. The original was a flop. (See "Mixed Martial Arts video backfires!" below.)  I had tried for a Raging Bull homage but just got snores. I posted it on a few MMA boards and it didn't get them very excited.

For my re-edit I chose a section from Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, one of the most powerfully raucous pieces of music I know. This video is the result and it has been applauded by some of the very people who had expressed disappointment with the first promo. Home run!!

Hopefully it will also be successful in drawing people to the mmarecruiter.com site to join up. That will be the true test!

video
The fight footage was graciously supplied to me by rageinthecage.com and ukcmma.com. Thanks guys!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Bodybuilding as art

While I was shooting my new documentary, Beyond the Pain, I was lucky enough to get permission to sit in on a photo shoot with the exceptional photographer Martin Schoeller. Martin is known for his portraits of celebrities like Jack Nicholson and Bill Clinton, among many others.


This day Martin was working on his latest project, a series on women bodybuilders. An exhibition of the work is opening in March at the Ace Gallery in Beverly Hills, CA. A book will be published some time after that.

I like this clip because it does three things. It shows Martin's method of relaxing a subject during a photo shoot, tells us a little about the difficulties that Vicki has faced in her career and says something about bodybuilding in general.



Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Just like TLC!

I just finished a short demo for my cousin Matt showing the latest bass guitar he's added to his collection. He's a guitar maker (more specifically, basses) and collector and I was pleased with how quickly and easily we were able to present a few details of his latest acquisition.


video

Just like The Learning Channel! Well, maybe not, but I even used those swooshy kind of transitions like some of those Do-It-Yourself shows use! We are planning to make a much more elaborate DVD for sale online and at guitar shows that demonstrates exactly how he makes his custom instruments. Matt is a personable guy and a great musician so it should be an interesting piece.

Here's an example of the kind of work that he does. Beautiful isn't it? And it sounds even better!



You can check out his website here...

http://www.mpguitars.com/

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mixed Martial Arts video backfires!


The webmaster of MMA Recruiters.com has asked me to create a short video intro for his website that show what MMA recruiters is all about using only stills and footage shot by other videographers.

I attempted to put this all together using music that is a little outside the norm for these kinds of videos. Here's what I came up with...

video

It flopped.

I posted the vid on various forums and asked for opinions. Very few people liked it. I will admit it's WAY too long. It needs to be about a minute or slightly over. But what they really didn't like was the music. 

Most MMA vids use fast cuts and screaming heavy metal music but I wanted to do something that was as different from that as possible yet still communicated the passion and power of the sport. I guess I went too far.

Back to the drawing board!! Stay tuned!!

Surgery or Supermarket?

What do you think is harder; getting permission to tape in the operating room of the University of Pennsylvania Hospital or the local supermarket? If you guessed hospital you’d be wrong! With one friendly phone call I have been able to record actual surgery in two major hospitals. (See my Knee Surgery vid.)

Getting footage of food for my latest commercial was a completely different story and proved to be much more difficult than I expected. Still, I persevered and after a month of phone calls and emails I was finally given permission to shoot. As you can see, I got some great stuff!!


Hey everybody!

Welcome to my blog and my newly redesigned website! Thanks to Rob Ziruolo for turning my ideas into reality. I wanted my website to be simple, uncluttered and easy on the eyes. I think we achieved that.

My other objectives were to provide...

- Higher quality video clips than Youtube
- A place for my clients to check in on their work in progress and make suggestions
- A place to discuss anything we want to discuss! Video editing, bodybuilding, movies, whatever interests me, my friends and clients is appropriate subject matter for the blog
- And finally, a place where people can purchase my DVDs directly from me!

Any suggestions to make the website or blog better are always welcome.