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

New indie movie released with HCS support

I did mention that we do movies, right? Hearken Creative supported the release of Hano! A Century In The Bleachers on so many different levels:

  • Loren A. Roberts shot some of the interviews for the film
  • HCS designed the e-commerce website for the film
  • HCS designed the DVD packaging and marketing graphics
  • Loren A. Roberts shot the “hero” studio photography for the film’s key art

HanoDoc-DVD-hero-box-final-733x1000When coming to Hearken Creative, director Jon Leonoudakis knew the breadth of skills that were available from us: Jon has collaborated with us on two previous film projects — Not Exactly Cooperstown (camera) and The Day the World Series Stopped (camera, packaging, website). Jon’s passion for baseball is infectious, and we have found ourselves with a new respect for the game — even hitting up some major and minor league games recently! Jon’s professionalism and passion has paid off: both previous films have been recognized worldwide in film festivals (and Not Exactly Cooperstown has even been screened at the Baseball Hall of Fame).

We love working on projects like this: where quality and passion come together to make something truly unique. We congratulate Jon on his newest release, and look forward to the next project that we get to work on with him!

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

New Client, New Video, Incredible Story

Villa Esperanza is a ground-breaking school here in Pasadena, CA that serves kids and adults with developmental disabilities. The staff is amazing, the results are astounding, and we got to tell one small story recently. Take a look:

The school has launched a capital campaign that will build a new school facility for the numerous programs that they run, and this video was produced in concert with the campaign launch. We hope that the video will help them raise the money needed to build the new school.

As always, we were able to assemble a team of incredible people to bring this video to completion. HCS principal Loren A. Roberts produced, directed, and filmed (a little) and did sound. Greg King filmed/directed and edited. Roberto San Luis brought HCS and Villa together, and provided the concept and script for the video. On The Mark Rentals provided some gear that HCS didn’t already have. Vanessa Voors and Michelle Cox at Villa Esperanza were instrumental in making the production run smoothly. Most importantly, Jamie and his father were patient, enthusiastic cheerleaders for Villa — we couldn’t have made this video without them and the wonderful faculty at Villa.

Can we do this for you? Get in touch with Hearken Creative if you have a story you need told on film — or through e-mail, or on paper, on a website — whatever the project, we have a solution that will make you look great.

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, 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, 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, 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, portfolio, post production for film and video, sound

New video projects

Two quick video projects that I had the pleasure of working on over the last week.

ASIAN ACCESS

First up was a quick web video post for the president of Asian Access. He wanted to say “thank you” to the many people who have already donated money to the relief efforts going on in northern Japan after the Sendai earthquake in March 2011. So I raced out to his office and filmed him:

TECHNICAL DETAILS: This was filmed with the Canon EOS 7D, using the “kit lens” — an 28-135mm. Sound was handled using a Zoom H4n with an Audio Technica AT897 microphone. Footage was transcoded to ProRes LT using the wonderful 5DtoRGB app with a command-line batch processor provided by French video production company NoSide. The whole thing was sync’d and edited in Final Cut Pro, and exported to H.264 via Compressor.

NIMBUS ENSEMBLE

I did a 12-part videolog series with Nimbus and this same composer back in 2008, and they are back with a new composition that Nimbus will premiere. We’re in a rush, so there’s only one video, and I shot a rehearsal for a few hours this week, followed by a very brief interview. But the piece will be instrumental in advertising the concert:

TECHNICAL DETAILS: Much the same as the previous piece, except I used a host of lenses: a 50mm f1.4 prime (I used this a lot because the room was pretty dark, but I didn’t want to raise my ISO too much and get grainy footage), a Canon EF-S 18-55mm, and a Canon EF-S 55-250mm. Sound was captured 4-channel using the Zoom’s onboard mics plus the AT897 and a Sennheiser lav (but the interview was done with the AT897 — I love the sound of that mic compared to a lav).

All-in-all, a pretty busy but fun week of budget-conscious filmmaking. Every project that we do gets easier, more fun, and give us invaluable experience for the next one.

Today I’ll be taking my equipment and doing an outdoor photoshoot for a band I’m in (stills, not video). Can’t wait to share those…

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

Now shooting in HD for your next project

Finally!

Hearken Creative now is shooting in HD on a Canon 7d camera. We have several lenses and filters, and can make your next project shine, whether for the big screen, the small screen, or even a web screen.

Additionally, not only can we do full-blown ProTools audio for location sound, but we now have a small Zoom H4N 4-channel audio recorder for interviews, small cast shoots, and field recording. Put the two pieces together, and you have a wonderfully small setup for mobile filming!

Call us to discuss your next video/film project.

Blog, business, post production for film and video

Canon DSLRs get a channel to Final Cut Pro

Canon has taken the pain (or most of it, anyways) out of bringing footage into Final Cut Pro from their DSLR cameras with a new FCP plugin. The new plugin allows us to ingest footage directly into Apple’s ProRes 422 code, and adds timecode based on the camera’s date and time stamp (a workaround to actually having real timecode, but it’ll work for now).

This, along with the firmware update that was released recently, brings us closer to truly being able to use the Canon DSLRs in a professional environment, which is what I want to do. I’m considering skipping the 7D entirely and simply saving up for a 5D — which will fit my business much better than the 7D anyways.