Hearken Creative Services’ blog

Blog, business, graphic design

Touring the Facility Where the Print Magic Happens

Editor of The Planetary Report Emily Lakdawalla joined me today as I approved magazine proofs coming off press. We had a blast, and account manager Gwen Lloyd gave us the grand tour of their print facility. Check it out — Emily filmed some of the fun machines running:

It is invigorating to work with great colleagues, and today’s press proofs once again brought home the value of a good team throughout the visioning and production process.

Blog, business, graphic design, portfolio

Loren Roberts (and our magazine) mentioned on Planetary Radio

Grateful to Emily Lakdawalla and Mat Kaplan for a lovely mention on the most recent edition of Planetary Radio. Emily was discussing some of the newest features of The Planetary Report magazine — including the quarterly spacecraft-locating-map-feature “Where We Are” — with Mat. I’m grateful for the decades-long partnership that we have with The Planetary Society, and look forward to even more fun with them in the future.

The segment on the magazine begins at about 6:40.

Blog, film/video, Pasadena and local, post production for film and video, sound

Baseball Reliquary videos published

We have a multi-year relationship with The Baseball Reliquary, a sort of “people’s Baseball Hall of Fame.” Not only do we film many of their events (such as the one below), we set up their YouTube channel and have begun populating it with archival footage that the Reliquary has provided to us. Pretty fun, right?

Check out the video, and enjoy some of most fantastic baseball music that you have ever heard, courtesy of 2018 inductee Nancy Faust!

Blog, business, graphic design

Bill Nye Quarterly Magazine Off the Press

Once again we have published a beautiful issue of The Planetary Report, the quarterly magazine of The Planetary Society (Bill Nye is the CEO). I’m so excited for everyone to see the beautiful artwork and infographics that we did for this issue.

Not only are we doing the magazine for The Planetary Society, but we also support the marketing department: we just finished developing a life-size standee of Bill Nye to be used at conventions and trade shows!

Don’t forget to contact us for any marketing/design/art-direction needs you have.

And, if you want to take a look at the magazine online (almost as good as seeing everything look beautiful in print) go to http://www.planetary.org/explore/the-planetary-report/.

Blog, graphic design, portfolio

Another magazine for Bill Nye in the books

Our win for this week was getting Bill Nye’s newest quarterly magazine off press and ready for mailing. We’re placing a lot of emphasis on infographics in order to explain complex scientific principles and processes involved with space science and exploration. The hope is that people become even more excited and invested in space science through our magazine. Head over to http://www.planetary.org to become a member and get your own copy of the magazine!

 

Blog, business, film/video, portfolio, post production for film and video

Museum video for the win

We have been working with the Los Angeles Maritime Museum for years, but we are just now beginning to explore how video can help them market the wonderful little museum on the Los Angeles Waterfront.

To that end, we applied for a grant to produce a video specifically on the history of Terminal Island. This is a Ken Burns-style short piece:

And, since there are a lot of Spanish-speaking people in Southern California, we decided to do it in Spanish:

And then I did a quick 30-second “welcome” for the Museum’s YouTube page. Our thinking is that this could also be used as a cheap 30-second commercial spot for cable and local-access channels:

We are happy, the client is ecstatic, and we’re looking for the next video project to promote the Museum. Very exciting!

Blog, business, film/video, graphic design, post production for film and video, sound

…and, we’re back.

It seems odd that the last “post” I made to my own website was 11 months ago. I mean — there’s lots to talk about, so why has it been so long?

Work.

Lots of work.

Here’s a little taste:

  • Four (4!) books — cover design and interior design — for Servant Partners Press. They are beautiful. Go check them out.
  • Audio mixing half of a live concert DVD for the  “Celebrate Recovery” program at Saddleback (a megachurch in Orange County). It sounds beautiful…I’m really proud of the mixing/mastering job I did on that project.
  • Another book  — cover design and interior design — for longtime client Asian Access. The book drops May 1, so I can’t post pictures yet. But it’s beautiful, and will be really well-received.
  • Continued work with The Baseball Reliquary, including video from their annual Shrine of the Eternals induction ceremony event and continued support for their website. Let me be clear: it was difficult to become a member of the Reliquary — an association funded entirely by member dues — before our redesigned site launched. The new site has paid for itself in new memberships that have been purchased over the website. Wow!…absolutely wonderful.
  • Photography for the amazing JD Hinton and Phil Bloch (we’re developing a new site for Phil Bloch). These musicians are amazing, and I’m privileged to be working with such incredible talent…and all-around great guys.
  • I’m not only working with Fuller Theological Seminary (I do all the cover art for the Fred Bock Institute of Music) and Caltech Campus Programs (all of their e-marketing for arts and lectures), but I’m now assisting with the fundraising activities for the Pasadena City College Foundation. If you live locally, you might have heard that they just heard that PCC will now be offering free first-year tuition for all local high school students. This is a very big deal, and much of it has to do with the fundraising capacity of the revamped Foundation; the people I work with there are top-notch. Kudos to them.
  • You did see the game I designed, right? Rocks and Docks keeps plugging along; it’s used in treatment facilities in group therapy. We had a fun time developing, testing, revising, and assembling that game.
  • We’re helping out good friend and colleague (and amazing product designer) Dave Schultze launch a Kickstarter campaign for his new game. I just spent part of last weekend filming some footage for the Kickstarter video.

I don’t even think this covers half of what we’ve been working on. And I can’t wait to show you more: another trip to Asia where we’ll be producing all of the onsite video, several more websites that we are currently developing, more music and sound cues, and the list goes on…

My signoff for a form of pages (8 out of the 24) that go into the magazine

Today I got to spend the day at The Dot Printer, one of my favorite printers in the world. I spend a whole day here every quarter, checking the magazine that I art-direct for The Planetary Society as it is going through the press. Why do I spend a whole day watching paper run through the press? Because I only want top-notch-quality for my clients. By being on-site, I can ensure that everything comes off press looking exactly how I intended it to…down to the color of that dot that shows where they landed on Antarctica (check out this quarter’s issue for a really fun look at research being done on Antarctica that simulates the environment astronauts might find themselves in on Mars).

I have lots to talk about, and I think I’ll be on here more often this year than last — telling all of you about my projects and all the opportunities to see our work pop up around town. I also want to talk about some of the things that we at HCS care about — education, science, and the technology that continues to drive our industry.

I hope you come along for the ride.

Jakarta waterfront
Blog, business, film/video, post production for film and video

What are you doing in Jakarta?

One of the “perks” of working with international organizations is that — sometimes — you are needed for filming overseas. Last week, I conducted interviews and filmed b-roll for Asian Access at a conference in Jakarta. I have worked with them for twenty years, and have traveled many times with their people, filming both documentary-style footage of relief work and interviews at conferences.

This event posed a few new challenges. I was not given an area in which to film, so I decided to use my hotel room (keeping it spotless!); it is relatively quiet in a hotel room, and I could control more variables. (Outdoor shoots proved sketchy because South Asia rainstorms kept pouring at the most inopportune times.) The next issue: most hotel rooms don’t have much light. Even though I have never been to Jakarta, I was able to locate a local production company [Amazing Productions] that brought in a pair of 4-bank fluorescent lights for the week:

4-bank fluorescent lights

Like my hotel room? We dressed every corner of the room I could think of to get different setups for different interviews.

I wanted fluorescent because I don’t like doing interviews with hot lights, and KinoFlo’s can be fitted with daylight bulbs so that I can use both the lights and exterior light from windows. We needed the lights because I would be filming interviews at all hours of the day and night, so we needed to be able to blast light into the room at any time. Here are just a few of the looks that I was able to get:

chinzo-setup

Late-night setup with 4-banks flooding entire room with soft light

Midday setup with 4-banks as key and window as backlight

“Magic hour” setup with 4-bank providing key light and shooting directly through the hotel window

I am happy with the setups, although I would have loved to have more time and more room. More room enables me to separate the subject from the background more easily; as you can see from the above photos, though, I was able to create quite a bit of separation even in a small (325sf) room.

While traveling, I try to “go light,” even with photo gear. So I left my camera slider and mini jib at home, as well as my Steadicam Merlin and my large Cartoni tripod. All of these are great tools, but for the footage I would be shooting, I couldn’t justify the extra weight. Here is what I ended up with:

  • Sony PXW-X70 camera. The main camera for all interviews and b-roll
  • Canon EOS 7D. I have shot so many stills — and video — with this camera that it has paid for itself over and over. Sometimes used as a b-camera for this project, but mostly stills on this trip. Took along a 70-200 lens as well as a 24-55.
  • (2) Sennheiser ew100 G3 wireless microphones
  • Two Canon flash units, with CowboyStudio radio-remotes to control the flash off-camera
  • Zoom H4n recorder. I used this for years as the primary audio recorder — when I was shooting with DSLR cameras. Now it serves as backup, and I can also do audio recordings for sessions that I’m not filming (which we did on this trip).
  • Two little lights that I got off of Kickstarter called The Kick that are awesome for an accent light, or even a quick interview using the diffuser.
  • Audio Technica AT897 shotgun microphone.
  • Manfrotto 5001b lightweight “anything” stand. I could put a light on the top of this, my SmallHD monitor, or a flash
  • Additional cables, chargers, two camera tripods, my laptop, a bunch of CF and SD cards, lenscloths, and lots of batteries for the cameras and microphones.

This all fit into three bags: my laptop backpack (carry-on), my Pelican 1510 waterproof case (carry-on), and my suitcase. It didn’t leave much room for clothes, but I managed to fit in enough.

Some videos were produced in real-time and posted immediately to the Asian Access blog. Others will be rolled out over the next few months. Some will even be held for a larger event happening in 2017.

We were really happy, though, with everything that was filmed, and look forward to working on a project like this again in the near future.

Doobies Inc., with Loren A. Roberts at the far right. Photo by Kat Roberts
Blog, film/video, graphic design, Pasadena and local, photography, portfolio, sound

“Music is my life, man.”

I’ve made no bones about the fact that I love music. My entry into filmmaking came only after an internship at a North Hollywood recording studio brought my recording chops up, and then I used that skillset to start location recording, and then sound editing, picture editing, post production supe duties, and finally producing…but I digress.

I’ve been playing music since I was five years old. First piano and drums (orchestra percussionist for five years), then classical guitar for a while, then cello for a few years, voice lessons in high school, and on-the-job accompanist training in college. So it should come as no surprise that my current business has a soft spot for musicians.

What does that mean? Well, I still need to make money. But I can cut deals that benefit an artist or label because of my varied skillset. I can do your product packaging, but I can also work on your website and advertising. We can work on a music video, brilliant photography, and even do some recording. Later on I’ll show you a few examples.

Matt McCormackBut first: the newest project that I’m working on is with a fantastic San Antonio-based artist, Matt McCormack. Check out this guy’s amazing songwriting. We met through a friend, and I played onstage with him a few months ago when he traveled to L.A. at Genghis Cohen (fantastic venue, and fantastic restaurant too).

So when Matt asked me to add some keyboard parts to his new recording project, we embarked on a long-distance back-and-forth to find the right sounds for these new songs. Here are the first two:

I’m really excited about the collaboration, and I hope to be onstage with Matt again sometime soon.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Check out this amazing 70s-style photo from a recording session with Shakedown Mambo:

IMG_0853

…and the photo that ended up on the back cover of their most recent album:

IMG_1202-color

PACKAGING

I did a rather long blog post on the creation of the CD packaging for T-Lou, a Zydeco/accordion artist here in L.A., but there are a few other recent additions. These are varied, but fantastic:

IMG_4278-shakedown-cover-art

(notice that I started with photography and moved to doing Shakedown Mambo’s packaging?)

swine-king

(Buddy Zapata is also the guy who introduced me to Matt McCormack…)

echo-park-album-art-13-02-25

avery-cd-covers-2015-08-31a

MUSIC PRODUCTION

  • Avery Roberts (my son!)(see the above CD cover) needed some demos recorded. Those demos turned into a self-published album entitled “Where Nothing Can Hurt Me“.
  • The aforementioned keyboard tracks for Matt McCormack’s new album were recorded in my studio, and then added to the mix by Matt’s amazing production team in San Antonio — an engineer, mixer, and mastering engineer.
  • Check out my “audio” page for more examples of my experience working as a composer, engineer, and producer.

WEBSITES

VIDEO PRODUCTION

All of these videos were shot and produced by Hearken Creative:

LOGOS

I was a founding member (keyboards again) of a Doobie Brothers tribute band, and developed an “homage” logo for that band:

Concert Crowd

 

As you can see, we are a one-stop shop for marketing musical acts. Does this limit us? No! We are still working on communications and marketing for pharmaceutical companies, nonprofits, colleges, museums, and more. But it’s fun to look at one market segment, and see how much incredibly fun material we have produced.

(The blog post title is from 2003’s movie “School of Rock”…)