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

New promotional video from Hearken Creative

This piece was commissioned by the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus to promote one of their newest educational programs — First Experiences in Singing. We’re proud to be working with such wonderful organizations.

http://youtu.be/TacItRy0Gbs

Blog, film/video, photography, portfolio, post production for film and video, sound

Corporate Video piece

In April 2012, Hearken Creative was brought in to produce a video piece that would thank some major donors at Fuller Theological Seminary. Chris Min directed, and Loren A. Roberts produced, filmed, edited, and managed post-production.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYlk3UT7rvM

Hearken Creative equipment used on the shoot and in post includes

  • Canon EOS7d camera
  • Zoom H4n field recorder
  • Sennheiser G2 100-series wireless microphones
  • Kessler Crane Pocket Dolly
  • KinoFlo Diva fluorescent lighting
  • Final Cut Pro system on multiple computers, with client preview on large-screen plasma monitors

One thing to note is that Hearken Creative has multiple back-up systems in place, so that no footage was lost, corrupted, or destroyed on this project (or any other recent projects). We use a dedicated NAS, directly-connected swappable hard drives, and cloud storage to ensure that no data is ever lost in our facility.

The client was very happy with the final product, telling us that there were “quite a few misty eyes” in the banquet hall as the piece ended. We are proud of the work we did on this video project.

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

The Transit of Venus, June 5, 2012

I created this timelapse over the course of the transit of Venus that occurred on June 5 and 6, 2012. I used my Canon EOS 7D with a 55-250 lens, zoomed all the way in. The resulting images were 4096×3456 pixels, so I was able to reduce the size of some frames, and leave other sequences at full resolution. I popped three different neutral density filters on as well as a polarizer filter. Because of all that, I cannot honestly say how many stops I was able to pull down, but I felt that I was well within the range of safety for the camera.

Funny thing was that I was confronted by not one but two different security guards who, at first, didn’t want me photographing from long periods of time from the top of their parking garage (something about loitering). As soon as I explained what I was doing, and showed them the cool photos, they were excited — and more amenable to my presence on the roof of the structure. Still, I moved a few times so that the security guards wouldn’t have to deal with me for too long.

I wish that I either had a) a longer lens — in the 600-1000mm range, or b) a good small telescope with proper attachments for viewing solar activity. This was a lot of fun, and made me even more interested in earth-bound space phototgraphy.

For even better images of the transit, here are some good links:

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

New short YouTube videos on the Japanese tsunami and rebuilding effort

We’re still working on the main piece — a longer video with lots of interviews in Japanese that need to be translated and subtitled in English for the North American viewers. But today (March 11) is the one-year anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami in NE Japan, so we rushed to get just a few videos posted to commemorate the horrors and to point towards the hope and vision that many Japanese pastors have for their country in the new reality that is Japan.

First up is a prayer from Mori Sensei, a pastor living 30 minutes away from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. His church wants to help rebuild an entire seaside community, hopefully relocating just a half-mile off the beach up into the hills, so that they can still have their livelihood, but be protected from the possibility of another tsunami:

The next video is a set of reflections from Eric Takamoto, an Asian Access missionary from the Kobe area who was one of the first responders up into the destroyed town of Ishinomaki. Eric’s family is going to relocate to Ishinomaki because they feel strongly that the rebuilding work is going to take time and committed effort, and they want to be part of that long-term process. Eric’s passion for the people he ministers to inspires me:

Both of these pieces were filmed in January 2012 as part of my one-week trip to NE Japan for Hearken Creative client Asian Access. I was accompanied on the trip by Asian Access’ VP for Communications Jeff Johnston, good friend and colleague Joshua Clayton, Asian Access’ VP for Strategic Engagement Takeshi Takazawa, as well as translation and hosting and friendship by Asian Access’ Jeffrey Sonnenberg (oh, and new friend Mike McKay from Cypress Church here in California was with us for part of the week).

Video was shot with A2’s Sony HD Handycam and my Canon EOS 7D, with color correction done in Final Cut Pro with additional color work by Red Giant’s Mojo. Audio was recorded through my Zoom H4N using Sennheiser G2 wireless mics and an Audio Technica AT897. All data cards (CF for video, SD for audio) were captured onsite and backed up to multiple G-Raid Mini hard drives for redundant transport back to the U.S.

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

Another nice quick video for a client

We filmed this last week in West Covina. Joe (president of Asian Access) is so smooth on camera. We interviewed him for 45 minutes for another project, and then he did just a few takes of this quick “thank you” before I had to run to another shoot in Downtown L.A.

Great time. Good video, good audio. Great message.

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

Just returned from week-long trip filming in Japan

Building a new community center in Sendai

I just returned from a week-long trip filming relief and re-building work on the eastern coast of Japan. We traveled well over a thousand miles to capture stories of churches working amongst those who have been displaced by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. This trip was part of an ongoing video project for longtime client Asian Access. Previous trips with them have taken me to Sri Lanka (after the 2004 tsunami), Mongolia, Cambodia, and other countries throughout Asia.

Interviewing a pastor surrounded by donations for tsunami victims

Here’s a breakdown of our gear:

  • Sony Handycam
  • Canon EOS-7D with 4 batteries and 3 lenses (18-55mm, 55-200mm, and a 50mm fast lens)
  • Zoom H4N for audio recording
  • Sennheiser G2 wireless microphone
  • Audio-Technica AT897 shotgun microphone
  • Manfrotto tripods
  • Kessler-Crane Philip Bloom Pocket Dolly (4-ft. slider)
  • Lots of Compact Flash and SDHC cards
  • MacBookPro laptop
  • G-Raid Mini 750gb hard drive

Plots still being cleared right next to brand-new houses

I could have used more than one G-Raid. As it was, I had one set of captures on the laptop and one set on the G-Raid. I think I should have had both on separate external drives (I started to run out of space on the laptop’s internal drive).

The Kessler-Crane slider was great for getting really smooth motion for b-roll, and even during some of the interviews. I was worried that it was going to be a pain to carry around and get through security at airports, but it wasn’t (and it’s still under the weight restrictions, so bringing it along didn’t cost me any extra).

The water in some places has not sunk back to pre-tsunami levels

The rest of the team was Joshua Clayton, Jeff Johnston (of Asian Access), and Takeshi Takazawa (also of Asian Access). We were a good team — we have all worked together before — so we got a lot of footage and some great interviews.

One issue that came up very quickly was the challenge of language. I felt that we would honor the interview subjects best by conducting the entire interview in Japanese, and then figure out what they discussed later. I don’t understand Japanese, so I had to get a synopsis of the interview from Takeshi before determining what b-roll would be needed to tell the story for each interview. We’ll see how well that went as I cut the pieces together over the next week or so.

Joshua capturing a small shrine to honor those who died in the tsunami

But all in all a very productive trip. I was happy with the portability of my kit (both audio and video) and how well everything worked. Can’t wait to show you all the footage as it gets finished…

(photos by Joshua Clayton & Loren A. Roberts)

Blog, business, Pasadena and local, photography, portfolio

The Perfect Gentlemen at Levitt Pavilion

The Perfect Gentlemen are a riveting vocal group here in Southern California. A few weeks ago, I dropped everything in my office and walked over to the Levitt Pavilion at Memorial Park here in downtown Pasadena to see them perform. And then I pulled out my camera. The light was really harsh, because it was sunset (I hate to think of the blinding spotlight the performers were enduring onstage!), but everything turned out really warm and summery. Lots of fun.

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

Summer Musical Theatre Fun

So I’m on the board of the Pasadena Musical Theatre program, and we get to do all sorts of fun and cool stuff. In addition to year-round programs, we put on two big musicals every summer — one for 4th-6th graders, and one for 7th-12 graders. So here’s what I get to do:

ADVERTISING DESIGN

All postcards and posters and such are developed by me, in concert with the directors. Here is the keyart for the two shows this summer:

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The Jasper in Deadland keyart was developed with strong direction from the composer/conductor, Ryan Scott Oliver, because this is his baby. I’m very excited to be helping him bring this original musical to life.

PRODUCT & BRAND DESIGN

As part of the story for Jasper in Deadland, the protagonist crosses the river Lethe (get out your mythology books!) and keeps getting offered Lethe™ Brand water, so we decided that we needed to offer Lethe™ Brand products as well.

It’s a clever, simple brand, but people are loving it, and I expect that we’ll see tote bags and water bottles with this logo all around campus in a week or two…

VIDEO

I have found a way to use the Canon 7D for quick, news-gathering-style video: 1) simply accept the limitations of the on-board microphone, and 2) stop the iris down a little so things don’t go out of focus so quickly. And so, every day of the program, we have posted a 2-minute recap, showing warmups, rehearsals, discussions, and antics of the kids in the program. It’s a win-win for the families in the program: parents get to see what’s going on, students get to show their day off to their friends, and PMTP gets added exposure through the hundreds of views we have gotten on Youtube. Here are two of the most popular recaps so far:

Filming these giving me a chance to understand how to choose shots quickly and follow the action. Everything is handheld except for performance video.

IN OTHER NEWS

Tomorrow (I hope) I’m going to roll out a press release announcing one of the newest projects that I have been working on. We’re very proud of the design work that Hearken Creative is doing these days, and I can’t wait to update my portfolio. It’s just a busy time of year for us!

Blog, business, graphic design, portfolio

Shakedown Mambo photo session

Wow, I had a blast today. We are currently working on a CD packaging design for Shakedown Mambo’s upcoming album, and to support that effort we shot some photos of the duo — Rick and Phil. Some iconic shots here (click on any image to get the larger sized lightbox):

Can’t wait to show you the rest of the CD package, as soon as it’s done. These guys sound as good as they look!