I've always been interested in film and video. I made some avant-garde films in college on Super 8, but only recently has the availability of HD video cameras lured be back into the field. I am a member of the Princeton Filmmakers Group, a loosely-knit band of creative people who get together to learn from each other, do projects with each other, and talk about everything from the latest hardware and software to tips, tricks, and shooting techniques. Here are a few of examples of projects in which I've been involved.

The video below is "It Didn't Have to Happen," a PSA produced by Sharyn Murray for BYOBag/Sustainable Princeton. I created and mixed all of the original music, sound effects and foley work you hear, as well as the special effects lighting for the underwater background and the jellyfish. I did some of the camerawork, too.

I like to produce visuals and lighting effects for my live PYXL8R electronic music concerts, as well as my band, Brainstatik, and I usually record both multi-track audio and multi-camera video of the show to document each event. I really like spicing up live shows with interesting and unique LED lighting, fog machines, lasers, projected video and DIY visual effects, which is a hobby in which I’ve enjoyed doing for a long time, going back as far as my high school days. I really want to get into the field of projection mapping too… some of the creative technology I’ve seen developing lately has really caught my attention! But I digress… here are a few recent examples of my own live projects:

Whether performing a solo/duo artist...

…or with my band...

…or even with my son playing creepy music on my front porch every Halloween: 

This Kickstarter video for TIKLYZ (below) was produced entirely by me (except for the music). I shot and edited all of the video, recorded and mixed all of the audio, and did all of the background graphics and transition slides. It was actually quite a bit more of a time-consuming project than what ended up on the screen; I think it went through almost a dozen different edits before it was posted! Also, in this video, the packaging for the product is shown, which I designed, and I even produced all of the die cuts for the packaging.

I was involved in the sound recording and production of this book trailer. Although most of my work ended up on the cutting room floor, I did get some nice praise from the producer, Kevin Finn: "For all the video problems on this shoot, the sound has been F-L-A-W-L-E-S-S. Everyone should be as blessed to work with someone as good as Ken Palmer. Real pros make it real easy!

The "Whiteout" video below was shot and edited entirely by me to go along with an ambient music composition I did as part of my "Improvised Music Track a Day" project, during which I created an original piece of music once a day for 30 days. This video was shot immediately after the recording was made, in order to capture the mood of the environment which surrounded me on that day, and was the inspiration for the music.

(Best enjoyed in full-frame view with headphones/earbuds on.)

I've talked a bit on this site about embracing "happy accidents" and turning mistakes into something far more cool. While learning to use Final Cut Pro X, I've realized that I needed a second monitor to view my projects more effectively. I hooked up an old 17" VGA monitor to my MacBook (using a Mini Display Port to VGA adaptor), and loaded up some HD footage I'd shot of my musician friend Mark Mosher's performance at the Electro-Music Festival from September 2011. When I moved the FCP Viewer screen to the second monitor, the output looked like what you see in the video below: the screen looked split, with the left half of the video looking squashed, with the color messed up, and the right side of the video glitching out with a broken and rapidly-changing combination of fragments of noise, parts of the video, and pieces of my desktop and application icons. 

It looked kind of cool to me, so I tried to output the video to capture the effect, but the exported file from FCP looks normal. SO I set up my HD camcorder and shot the actual screen. I discovered that I could scrub along the Timeline and the video glitching would follow along, so I shot some of that too. After importing that footage back into FCP and playing it on the second monitor, I captured additional footage of the second generation of the glitching of the already-glitched video, with some zooming and panning of the monitor to add some variation. That's what you see in this video in most of the inset clips here. Except for one short section at 0:33, the video below uses only the raw footage I captured of this effect and no other FCP processing. I thought the glitch was perfect to use with Mark Mosher's song "Dark Signals," because it ties in with the sci-fi feel of the song and reinforces the idea of receiving an unknown - and degraded - signal from deep space.

I'm going to explore this quite a bit more and see what it looks like if I record even more generations and run it on that monitor again. I also want to see if I can rig up something so I can take a live feed of a concert and project this effect with a video projector onto a large screen behind the band. It might be worth pursuing!

The "Undetermined Origins" video below was produced to go along with another ambient music composition I did as part of my "Improvised Music Track a Day" project. This track sounded a bit dark and spacey, so I sought out some appropriate visuals. The public domain film I used is called "Way Stations in Space" (from 1961). I enhanced the colors a little bit, added a glow filter to soften the visuals, and edited it to fit the length of the music.

I shot the band Mayakara rehearsing at WPRB-FM in Princeton, NJ (below) as an experiment for achieving unusually-tight shots without intruding too much on the performance. I used an HD cam mounted on a long boom pole to get "up close and personal" with angles that wouldn't have been possible using handheld methods. Some people thought I used a motion-controlled robotic arms for some of the shots, which I take as a compliment. My artistic side tends to compel me to push the envelope and do things differently than the accepted "normal," and in this case, I think this shooting method was a visually-effective technique that deserves further refinement.

The video below is an experiment in creating a short graphic piece using only Abobe Photoshop's animation features. The visual sequence was output directly from Photoshop and combined in Final Cut Pro X with my original music. I'm thinking of using a style like this in the credits of another video, so this is really just a test.

More to come!

Contact me at pyxl8r@me.comRésumé available upon request. This site ©2017 by Ken Palmer. Images by other artists and photographers are shown for portfolio purposes only. Requests for removal of images owned by others will be honored immediately. Do not copy or otherwise infringe upon my -- or anyone else's --  work!