Bobby's number two

I’ve been itch­ing to play around with some new footage late­ly cause I love edit­ing and it’s been a while since I had a good sto­ry to tell, so when Tiana invit­ed me to Bobby’s sec­ond birth­day par­ty, I could­n’t resist. I also recent­ly pur­chased some new gear in prepa­ra­tion of a wed­ding I’ve been hired to film in the Fall (with a sec­ond one poten­tial­ly lined up), and I’ve been look­ing for an oppor­tu­ni­ty to field-test a new bag, shoul­der strap, and mono­pod.

I tend to get real­ly shy at Tiana’s par­ties cause I feel like I’m the only one who does­n’t know any­one else there, but she does a good job of mak­ing sure I’m nev­er left alone for too long and includ­ed in most con­ver­sa­tions. She’s also the only oth­er per­son I know to actu­al­ly design cus­tom invi­ta­tions. This time, how­ev­er, she was sport­ing a perky new hair­cut, and no longer a veg­e­tar­i­an (for now). Such is the pow­er of St. Hubert.

I had so much fun mak­ing this. It’s got the right depth-of-field (shot entire­ly wide open at f/2.8), but­tery smooth bokeh, and moves like cin­e­mat­ic stock thanks to the lat­est Canon 5D Mk II update which gives it the abil­i­ty to shoot in 24p. The mono­pod also did a great job of sta­bi­liz­ing most cam­era shake while retain­ing enough of that indie hand­held feel that isn’t pos­si­ble with a tri­pod. This was a one-lens job; a tes­ta­ment to the ver­sa­til­i­ty of Canon’s 24–70mm. There were times when I wish I had just a bit more wide­ness or a bit more tele­pho­to, but I nev­er had the chance to change lens­es as things move quick­ly when there are kids involved.

To be hon­est, I don’t like being a cam­era­man. I nev­er know how cam­era shy some­one is, I hate both­er­ing peo­ple, and I can nev­er keep a low-pro­file with my gear. At the same time, I find it hard to trust any­one else to com­pose the shots the way I want to see them, so I do it myself. When I look at my footage though, I for­get how awk­ward it is to be film­ing some­one sur­rep­ti­tious­ly and know it was total­ly worth it.

There were so many great moments — Bobby pre­tend­ing he’s fly­ing, the guy doing bicep curls with his baby, a lit­tle girl play­ing with a dog through the win­dow, Tiana mug­ging to the cam­era at the end — but my favourite shot is of the man fid­dling with the toy plane. He sat there amid the hur­ri­cane of kids and new toys for about a minute, com­plete­ly lost in the pre­ci­sion of his adjust­ments and, final­ly being sat­is­fied, gives the pro­peller a blow.

(If you read Tiana’s LiveJournal, you’d know that she takes pic­tures of her son’s dook­ie. Hence, Bobby’s num­ber two.)


  1. Wanted to com­ment about the men and the lit­tle plane…
    I like to obser­vate peo­ple that are so com­plete­ly in their own world for a moment in between all the oth­er loud/bussy nois­es or actions :)

    Seeing movies like this makes me want to get a sim­i­lar cam­era too, but then again I should be tak­ing pic­tures again too just to start with…

    • Too bad it’s so sel­dom that this hap­pens. One of the best skills of a can­did pho­tog­ra­ph­er is being able to observe peo­ple with­out their know­ing.

    • Awesome…then I know my work is effec­tive in con­vey­ing the spir­it of the event. I hope you bawled your freakin’ eyes out.

  2. Also, most peo­ple there did­n’t know each oth­er I think.

    • Really? Then maybe I get that feel­ing because oth­er peo­ple usu­al­ly go as a cou­ple so they know at least one oth­er per­son and nev­er stand by them­selves.

  3. So nice Jeff!!! Love the end­ing. What an amaz­ing mem­o­ry for Bobby to have.

    • Actually, I think the moth­er is going to appre­ci­ate the mem­o­ry a lot more than the son. :)

  4. Hey Jeff

    That was me with lit­tle air­plane. I noticed you tak­ing pic­tures most of the time, but got caught in a lit­tle world of my own while fid­dling with that toy plane.

    Thanks for the com­ment, and the video is great.

    • Thanks for being a great sport and mod­el!

  5. Wow! What an amaz­ing video! I absolute­ly love the depth of field in this video — you have such an amaz­ing eye! And those yel­low rub­ber boots with the blue dress!! I would love to have that shot on my wall!

    Looks like such a fan­tas­tic par­ty! LOVE watch­ing Bobby devour his cup­cake (err…frosting!)

    • I’m glad some­one else picked up on the shot with the rub­ber boots. I could­n’t resist get­ting some footage of them with the trim on the dress.

      By the way, I took three cup­cakes home and they were DELICIOUS.

  6. Great video. I loved all of it.

    I have a beau­ti­ful grand­son and am very proud of the fam­i­ly.


    • You have a right to be proud, Bobby’s such a cute lit­tle boy.

  7. This is so sweet. I wish we could have stayed longer to help cel­e­brate.

  8. That made me feel as if I had been there… it was awe­some!

    Thanks Jeff,

  9. I love the part where the lit­tle boy is putting the can­dles back into his cup­cake! I love how pre­cise­ly he is hold­ing the candles…so adorable!

    • I agree…I pur­pose­ly left the shot a lit­tle longer until he deeply puts the can­dles in there so you can see how soft and moist the cup­cake is.

  10. Didn’t think I could love this kid (from afar) more than I already do. Great job.

  11. Wow, that was absolute­ly breath­tak­ing. Great job!

  12. Wow! I’m impressed with cam­era work and editing…but even more so, just lov­ing the glimpse into Bobby’s life…Great doc­u­ment­ing of a sweet life.

  13. Your video is absolute­ly amaz­ing. Inspiring me to get into film also! Could you let me know what cam­era you’re film­ing with? And also any sug­ges­tions for a sol­id used cam­era between the 500–700 range. Thanks!

    • I shot this with a Canon 5D mk II. I’ve nev­er pur­chased a used cam­era, so unfor­tu­nate­ly I can’t help you with any rec­om­men­da­tions there.

Leave a Reply