Eve M. Cohen

Cinematographer
Eve M. Cohen is an award-winning cinematographer whose work ranges from independent feature films to reality television and documentaries, and even virtual reality.

Workflow

"Storage is just as important as the things you’re putting into it."

Careers can pivot on the simplest, strangest things...like ladders and coffee.

For Eve M. Cohen, the story started in 2009 when she was working as the director of photography on a short film. One of the project’s actresses, Emily Best, mentioned that she was producing a new feature in need of a DP — was Eve interested? Eve was. She went to New York, fell in love with team, and became the cinematographer for Like the Water.

Of course, even films on a shoestring budget still need supplies, like cameras, wardrobe, ladders and coffee. The team needed to raise additional funds for Like The Water and created a wedding registry-like site that was so successful for their project, Emily, Eve and a few of their team would adapt their method to become the WishList of the crowdfunding and distribution platform Seed&Spark. 

In addition to being a crowdfunding resource, Seed&Spark sprouted a streaming service and truly independent filmmaking. Filmmakers can not only raise money for their projects, but stream the finished films directly to their audiences. From there, Seed&Spark moved quickly into distribution, partnering with a content delivery service called Quiver Digital in order to access outlets such as iTunes, Hulu, Netflix and cable VOD platforms.  Eve serves as Seed&Spark’s Chief Creative Officer, and she couldn’t be happier.

“We’re completing an independent ecosystem and saying, ‘You can grow your audience and raise your money by crowdfunding your film on our site. You will always have a home on the site for people to get updates on your projects, gain followers, and show them where they can see your film.’ There’s no exclusivity. We just want filmmakers to brand themselves, generate an audience, and move on with success to their next film.”

With over 150 successful campaigns and a success rate of over 75%, Seed&Spark is off to a roaring start. However, its success is largely built on a foundation of reliable digital storage, and Eve has found herself quickly becoming both an expert and advisor on the subject to the indies she helps. Naturally, she didn’t land in such a role without her own share of struggle in getting there.

Born to Store

Eve’s lifelong fascination with film began when she was 12 years old. Her middle school and high school had a black and white dark room, and the process of developing negatives and images consumed her —it was all she wanted to do. She soon discovered that the act of capturing images enhanced her memory. Just the act of clicking the shutter was enough to crystallize that instant in her mind.

After growing up in Philadelphia, Eve moved to Los Angeles and did her undergrad work in Photography at UCLA. Once there, she transitioned from a black and white darkroom into a color lab.  In the summer of her junior year, she took a class on cinematography and it was there that she internalized the film process; how, as she puts it “motion picture film is just 24 frames of of a negative in one second, shot with a bigger camera.” What little bit of Eve’s creative passion wasn’t already on fire at that point ignited. After graduating from undergrad, Eve applied to the highly selective Cinematography graduate program at UCLA where she received her masters. She has been working as a professional cinematographer ever since.

Most creative professionals suffer at least one data catastrophe on their road to success, a little life lesson to stand as a cautionary tale. Eve’s warning happened while finishing her masters thesis at UCLA and assembling her first highlight reel.

“I didn’t lose the reel, but I lost all the footage and all the parts that went into it,” she remembers. “I hadn’t turned the drive on in years, and it just...didn’t turn on. That was the one and only time I lost something, and I learned my lesson.”

True to her word, Eve hasn’t lost a single file since, but she’ll be the first to say that her “luck” comes from having a meticulous workflow and using the right storage tools from G-Technology.

The Perfect Process

Ask most photographers and video pros where their workflow starts, and they’ll begin at the camera. Eve begins even earlier, in the premeditation stage, thinking about the project as a whole from capture to final distribution.  Eve explains: “As the DP I need to know how the post-supervisor and editor want the footage to be delivered, what kind of system they are working on, and what the final goal is for the film.”  Clear communication between all three key positions is essential to a smooth workflow and should take place before you even begin shooting.  The recent trend in shooting 6K video comes with a massive data storage impact and it is important to know if this resolution is necessary and affordable for your production.

“The kind of camera you’re shooting will indicate how much storage you need,” Eve says. “At the minimum, you have one drive for you, one drive for backup, and one or two drives for somebody else, in addition to a couple of ‘shuttle’ drives that are probably going to float around. I highly recommend having three separate drives with all of your data, like mirrors. One drive serves as a solid backup of all of the footage. A second drive can be a little bit larger, backing up all of the footage as well as a copy of a project that’s being worked on. Then a third drive with a mirror of the footage and edit that is happening that can then get sent off to a music supervisor, mixer, post supervisor, or whoever. Then your shuttle drives can have an entire mirrored master of the film.”

Eve practices what she preaches. Her own storage setup, both at Seed&Spark and her own private projects, includes 1TB G-DRIVE ev RaW as her choice for shuttle storage. She prefers these because they are large enough to fit an entire finished feature film, convenient for quick copying through the G-DOCK ev, rugged enough in its rubber bumper casing to withstand FedEx shipping to and from a distributor, and plenty fast for backing up in the field. She also keeps a pair of 1TB G-DRIVE ev RaW in the bag that goes everywhere with her. These contain a duplicate of the entire Seed&Spark library, because, as she says, “we’re a startup, and I never know when I’m going to need to pull up one of the films and send it somewhere.

Perhaps still smarting from the loss of her early footage, Eve is emphatic about the importance of having a current archiving strategy.

“Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t have the right impressions about the best ways to archive, and it changes constantly. What was the best method a couple of years ago is not necessarily the best method now. If you’re working with an archive solution from 10 years ago, it may or may not be sufficient. That’s why getting and staying educated is one of the most important things when it comes to storage.”

In particular, she points to the common misperception that USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt are essentially synonymous from a performance standpoint. They’re not. Thunderbolt connectivity, now available on all modern Mac workstations and notebooks, offers 10 Gb/s throughput. Thunderbolt 2 doubles that. Such speeds can be essential to maintaining a fluid workflow during real-time editing. In contrast, USB 3.0 tops out at only 5 Gb/s, and this can prove to be constricting when dealing with 4K and higher multi-stream workflows.

“You must understand the necessity of speed,” Eve says. “If an editor can work faster, and the exports are quicker, and all of the downloads and transcodes can be done faster, that’s just saving you money, because you’re paying somebody by the hour to do the job.”

This, in turn, feeds back into Eve’s devotion to the G-Technology brand, which predates her status as a G-TEAM ambassador by several years. She notes that the company has long demonstrated its commitment to embracing the latest high-performance storage technologies and offers unparalleled support to creative professionals, even indies like herself trying to gather funds for ladders and coffee.

“I always recommend G-Tech drives,” she says. “They’re the ones I’ve always used and feel the most comfortable with. They are also the only drive I’ve used that has never failed on set.  For whatever reason—better components, better testing, better design—they’re always the most reliable for me. I mean, I originally trusted my images to shoeboxes, but I’m long past the point of taking chances. Storage is just as important as the things you’re putting into it.”  

 

G-Team members are leaders in their respective fields who use G-Technology products in their day-to-day work lives.  G-Team members are compensated for their participation.