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2011 CLIENT REVIEW: EDITING WILD CAUGHT ALASKAN SALMON

April 2nd, 2012

With the Alaskan salmon season approaching, I thought I’d share some work I produced last year for Dan Lamont, a fellow photographer and board member with the Blue Earth Alliance. He needed an extra set of hands to finish up a project with the Seafood Producers Co-Op. Multimedia is time consuming; working as a team can make all the difference.

The Co-Op was updating its website with new content Dan had shot. They wanted to tell the salmon story, and why wild-caught salmon is so special, through video. With all the assets already shot by Dan, my job was to make a short overview piece for the Co-Op, plus a subject-specific short.

The challenge for me lay in careful image and video selection. Dan had already produced a couple of other subject-specific shorts, and we didn’t want the entire package to be reusing the same visuals. He had spent several days in Alaska capturing all the footage and stills, but working alone he could only gather so much footage, and only so many stories, and stay within budget. Having shot fishing stories in Alaska myself, I know how time intensive and expensive it can be.

Working in Dan’s editing suite, I was thankful for how he’d organized his assets, provided a rough audio track, and outlined the themes. All I had to do was clean up the audio and build the visual sequence in Final Cut.

It was fun to work in a collaborative atmosphere, and to enjoy Dan’s excellent culinary skills (lunch was on him!).

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NON-PROFITS AND NGO’S NEED STORYTELLING: WHY CHARITY WATER IS LEADING THE WAY

June 20th, 2011

During my morning ritual of sipping coffee and going over the news, RSS, and social media feeds, I saw a post at The Digital Naturalist. It’s a profile on charity: water, an organization successful at generating buzz, getting people to donate, and then going out and securing clean water for communities in developing countries. It’s a simple concept, with a simple message, and it doesn’t hurt that its founder, Scott Harrison, used to be a promoter in NYC.

Tucker Walsh interviewed Mo Scarpelli, of charity: water, about the non profit’s messaging. For the non profits and NGO’s out there, I think the take-away is that charity: water emphasizes how important communications and social networking are to its mission. For instance, they have leveraged a new communication tool to become, they say, the first non profit with more than one million twitter followers. Tweeting can be much more effective, and is much less expensive, than direct mail–or even email.

The story of charity: water – The 2009 September Campaign Trailer from charity: water.

I can’t definitively say that charity: water is leading the way, but it’s a good example. The organization has raised millions in a few short years, holds creative and well attended events, has made some excellent partnerships, and helps average people get involved through innovative fundraising models. Additionally, with the help of substantial private donations to cover operating costs, the organization can commit 100 percent of public donations toward direct services (building wells).

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Posted in activisim, advocacy, fundraising, multimedia, NGO, non profit, technique, work of others Comments Off on NON-PROFITS AND NGO’S NEED STORYTELLING: WHY CHARITY WATER IS LEADING THE WAY

HDSLR CAMERA “RIGS” – STORE BOUGHT (then modified)

April 11th, 2011

Part of shooting good video means capturing good sound, which is nearly impossible using an HDSLR. The solution I’ve chosen is to record audio to an external device and then sync the sound in post production using the Singular Software application “Pluraleyes” with Final Cut Studio.
The ergonomics of an HDSLR aren’t very conducive to shooting video. Add an audio recorder and microphone(s) to the mix and it’s even tougher–but it’s opened up a great market for accessory manufacturers who design HDSLR “rigs.” You can definitely do it yourself, but I’m not a terribly handy person. So I decided to go with a store bought solution.
I’m listing my kit as well as those of a couple other videographers whose solutions look quite workable (and which I might emulate if the situation calls for it).
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Posted in Canon 5D Mark II, gear, multimedia, technique, video Comments Off on HDSLR CAMERA “RIGS” – STORE BOUGHT (then modified)

HDSLR CAMERA “RIG” SOLUTIONS: BUILD YOUR OWN

March 31st, 2011

In my search for what I think is my “perfect” way to shoot video and dual system audio, I’ve paid attention to a lot of other people’s solutions. What quickly becomes apparent is there is no single answer. Your needs will change with the situation, and there’s any number of ways to address it.

For instance, are you running after subjects? Maybe a Glidecam would be best. Can you “eyeball” it or will you need a monitor? Can you take a tripod with you? Do you need to be discrete? Do you have a sound person?

To make a climbing analogy (sorry, I can’t help it), documentary still photography is like free-soloing or climbing without a rope. There’s minimal equipment. Shooting HDSLR video is more like aid climbing, where every inch of vertical is gained by using highly specialized equipment. If you don’t have the right piece, you’ll have to find a different path.

When HDSLR videographers realize the need for dual system sound, because the cameras cannot record good sound, one of the first questions is where to put the microphone quickly followed by where to put the recorder.

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Posted in audio, Canon 5D Mark II, gear, multimedia, technique, video Comments Off on HDSLR CAMERA “RIG” SOLUTIONS: BUILD YOUR OWN

TIMELAPSE CINEMATOGRAPHY

March 3rd, 2011

Thanks to the Twitter Feed, I came across this time lapse work by Tom Lowe. Aside from getting in some climbing and canyoneering, I can’t thing of a better way to spend a summer than to travel across the American Southwest and shoot amazing footage with all this gear. Yes, I do like gear, and I can’t wait to have a shoot where I get to use such a long dolly shot or incorporate a crane! Here’s a behind the scenes video of this shoot.

TimeScapes: Rapture from Tom Lowe @ Timescapes on Vimeo.

Says Tom Lowe (included in total because I know how important sponsors and assistants are!):

“This is production footage I shot over the summer for my debut film, “TimeScapes,” a modern portrait of the American Southwest. I used Canon and Red MX cameras.

“Follow the production of the film at: http://twitter.com/timescapes

“Also here: http://timescapes.org and here http://timescapes.org/blog

“A huge thank you to my assistants/Associate Producers who helped me film this, Dustin Kukuk (http://twitter.com/drkanab), Nilo Recalde (http://twitter.com/nilomr) and Chris M (http://twitter.com/visceralway). And, as always, my most sincere and humble respect goes to Ron Fricke, Mark Magidson, Terrence Malick and Godfrey Reggio.

“Thank you to my sponsors: Kessler Crane, camBLOCK Canon USA, Vinten, KATA & Cinevate.

“Music is by the film’s composer Nigel “John” Stanford: http://johnstanfordmusic.com Make sure to turn the volume and bass way up!”

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Posted in Canon 5D Mark II, coolness, gear, photography, RED, technique, video, work of others Comments Off on TIMELAPSE CINEMATOGRAPHY

INTERVIEW WITH BENJAMIN DRUMMOND ON “HOZOMEEN” MULTIMEDIA

January 7th, 2011

I love looking at other people’s work, especially multimedia. Benjamin Drummond and Sara Joy Steele, a husband-wife creative team, recently produced a piece on chert. “Chert?” you might ask. Yes, chert. It’s a rock that’s easily shaped into stone tools historically used by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest, and there’s a stash of it in the heart of the rugged North Cascades.

Benjamin and Sara are using the new tools of today’s evolving media industry, and I was noting the techniques they used, the pacing, the music, and how the story gets told. Afterward, I wanted to know about the business end of it; how did they get the work? How did they budget it? How did they manage the multiple roles?

While it’s still a tough time for the editorial market (and commercial, too), it’s also exciting because of multimedia, social media, and the hardware and software allowing small teams to become full production studios.

It’s about tools, style, and…chert. Read the interview and learn about the tools from today, and days gone by.

Watch the video and click through the jump for the interview! Post to comments if you’ve more questions.

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ONE-EIGHT BASETRACK: TERU KUWAYAMA’S EXPERIMENTAL MEDIA PROJECT IN AFGHANISTAN

December 21st, 2010

Teru_1-8Journalism is not dead, in spite of what many in the industry bemoan, it’s simply that the industry is changing. Drastically. Photojournalist Teru Kuwayama is doing just that: frustrated by traditional outlets, he spent the last year as a Knight Fellow researching new means for content distribution. This year, he’s surprised himself by winning a Knight Foundation Grant to use his new content distribution model to report from Afghanistan.

Audiences are increasingly fragmented, diverse in their interests and able to refine how, and what, they view. Largely because of the internet. RSS feeds, Digg, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are online tools allowing viewers to pick and choose their content; no longer are they bound to the morning paper and the five o’clock news hour.

Teru_UKAs content dissemination changes, so does the role of the journalist. Objective reporting is the journalist’s creed–though “objective” is becoming increasingly less so (think FOX News versus NPR).  Journalists can now publish via the web, circumventing the filters of large publishers, and so can citizens, eyewitnesses to events. Being so close to the source, their view may be myopic and rife with opinion. This may be where the journalist’s role is changing. He or she may become more a curator of information provided by eyewitness sources, feeding to the web. That means journalists need to maintain a technological leg-up on content distribution, utilizing and designing new platforms. The tool is no longer just the pen or camera.

Where does this leave traditional media outlets? They’re still powerhouses, backed by infrastructure and revenue, but I believe as their content suffers, as viewers grow increasingly fragmented, and as technology allows additional means of distribution, traditional media will need to evolve or be relegated to the back channels of the new media world. Which may not be a bad thing.

NYT-lens-basetrackWhat Kuwayama has done is use largely existing technology and code to create a website that leverages social media. His publication is Basetrack, his distribution Facebook and other social media, his photojournalists are himself, Balasz Gardi, and Tivadar Domaniczky in the field, with support from the States. His reporters are the marines, their family, and their friends who also become their readers. It is a social media microcosm of news dissemination curated by  journalists.

Does this mean Facebook is the new news platform?

Read More About Kuwayama and Basetrack:
• Basetrack.org
• Q&A at journalism.co.uk
• On PBS.org
• NY Times Lens Blog interview by war photographer Michael Kamber
• Knight Foundation Grant

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Posted in afghanistan, inspiration, journalism, media, photography, publishing, technique, technology, war, work of others Comments Off on ONE-EIGHT BASETRACK: TERU KUWAYAMA’S EXPERIMENTAL MEDIA PROJECT IN AFGHANISTAN

ALL I CAN: NEW TRAILER FOR UPCOMING FILM

November 11th, 2010

This came through FaceBook, and was first released on the Arc’Teryx website, a company making high end technical outerwear, harnesses, backpacks, etc. that is kind of like the Mercedes Benz of the outdoor industry. They also support film projects, like “The Season,” a series my friend Fitz Cahall produced with Bryan Smith.

This is a ski film with purpose, says the website, and you can see it in the six minute trailer. Since I think I’ll actually be in Seattle this winter, it got me thinking of some skiing. Lu, even though she’s only alpine skied one day in her life, is going to give the back country a shot. (I’m excited).

Back to the film. Skiers and alpinists are seeing the effects of climate change first hand. This film purports to hook in outdoor enthusiasts and skiers alike with all the action, then deliver a message about being responsible and doing not just something, but “All I Can.” I like some of the techniques in this trailer; they use a lot of time lapse, slow motion, and aerials, plus have some well-timed cuts to the music. I have to say, after my time working on multimedia production in NYC this spring, I look at films much, much differently now. Blessing or curse, I’m not sure…

I hope they do a good job with it. Not just the ski-porn part, but the message as well. Speaking of which, I just read an article in Outside about Jeremy Jones of Jones Snowboards. Looks like somebody grew a conscience.

Anyway. I don’t do big mountains, but I’m psyched to ski the back country this winter, and I hope this film gets others psyched to do all they can for the environment.

(Looks like Arc’Teryx had all videos pulled down except what was on their cover page. Too bad you can’t embed this version. Click through to their website for the trailer.)

Picture 3

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Posted in activisim, advocacy, art, coolness, movies, multimedia, outdoor industry, technique, video, work of others Comments Off on ALL I CAN: NEW TRAILER FOR UPCOMING FILM

MULTIMEDIA: PAKISTAN FOR THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS

October 8th, 2010

CFR-PAK-coverBrian girded me for the first review. Nearly a half-dozen staff from the Council on Foreign Relations(CFR), who are really-smart-people, came in to look at what I’d made. I’d built in mood, tension, suicide bombing, explosive music, rioting, ambivalence, war, and finished with hope; I’d followed the script they’d given me and produced a nine minute overview piece that rose and fell with the story. I paced it out to give it room to breath and to captivate the viewer.

It would be an overstatement to say I was crushed by the review. They really liked it. But I would be lying if I said it wasn’t hard. They wanted to cut some dramatic, painful moments I felt honored the fortitude and vision of the photojournalists who were there (and the people who died). But my creativity had to yield to the political implications. I was quickly learning the world of foreign policy, I thought, where a summary of history and current events may influence the decision makers shaping our policy. Something as simple as lingering on an image too long could be seen as a political statement, leading to ramifications I had yet to understand.

Sounds a bit dramatic, but that’s what I thought about New York in general while I was at MediaStorm. I met a lot of people, in a casual sense, who disseminate information and hold sway on a large scale. As a photojournalist I’ve been a part of this before–being there as events unfolded before me–but I hadn’t been in the room with editors and other decision makers, in a city that is an epicenter for news production.

In fact, this was the first time I was acting as a photo and video researcher, an editor, and a producer–and having this level of peer review. I had full access to all the wire services and boutique agencies; I was culling work from the best of the best, deciding which images would further the story, a story being deliberated upon by experts in their fields. Creatively it was empowering…but it did leave me itching to be in the field making those images.

I just finished watching the final version of the Overview for the Crisis Guide to Pakistan, for the Council on Foreign Relations. I wasn’t there for the final edit. The gifted Eric Maierson became co-producer after I left. I’m impressed. Not just by the overview, which I’m happy to see maintains a lot of my style, pacing, music and edits; I’m impressed by the entire interactive package. Especially when the CFR editor says he thinks it’s their strongest Crisis Guide to date.

This is a true multimedia, team-produced project. It is interactive, filled with graphics, and lives in the new player MediaStorm coded. While MediaStorm built it, the Council on Foreign Relations was scripting, interviewing, reviewing, researching. It was intensive and extremely well thought out. I’m proud to have been a part of the production.

Put aside 20-30 minutes to understand why Pakistan matters to our war effort in Afghanistan, to nuclear proliferation, and to interfacing with the Islamic world in general.

Watch it. Here:
CFR-PAK-overview

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Posted in afghanistan, clients, inspiration, multimedia, publishing, technique, video, war Comments Off on MULTIMEDIA: PAKISTAN FOR THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS

CANON 5DMKII HDSLR TIPS: THE CAMERA SHUTTER

August 17th, 2010

20100802_TIM-cpyrtI am a photojournalist who has evolved into a multimedia journalist and producer. When I work in the field I have a minimal footprint, often trying to do the work of an entire production crew on my own.

Being a one-person-band isn’t preferable and, having spent time working with MediaStorm I am an advocate of working as a team. But, sometimes the budget, location, or story don’t allow for more than one, maybe two people.

Part of a series, this post is intended for others journalists who are shooting, or starting to shoot, video with the HDSLR Canon 5D Mark II. I’m posting because I’ve spent a lot of time researching blogs, forums, and testing through trial and error.

I hope this becomes the one-stop-shop I wish I’d stumbled upon and, as such, I would like to encourage reader comments. What tips do you have? What links, videos, or content pertinent to the post would you like to share? Help us grow in this new world of media production.

However, please note the date of the post. HDSLR videography is a rapidly changing field and this information may soon be old.

Click through the jump to learn more about the 180 degree shutter rule, shutter speed, ND filters, and the “rolling shutter” of CMOS sensors.

(Many thanks to my sweetie for her iPhone picture of me wandering around home figuring out gear).

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