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

Case Study: Lloyd Ogilivie Institute for Preaching announcement

Back before Fuller Theological Seminary had even hired any staff for this new venture, the Lloyd Ogilivie Institute of Preaching needed a multichannel piece that would bring in relevant candidates for the new chair of the program. So it needed to be high-end, concise, fast, and under-budget. We designed three pieces: a magazine ad, a direct-mail piece, and a (mini) website. In addition, we filmed several people on campus, all talking about what the Institute was going to do.

All design and filming (and subsequent printing and DVD replication) was turned around within one month, and perfectly on budget. The campaign was successful: Mark Labberton is now the chair of the academic program, and has successfully moved it from infancy to relevancy across the campus.

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

Summer 2011: Pasadena Musical Theatre

Ryan Scott Oliver, PMTP‘s creative director, wrote a brand new musical for the students who participated in the Summer 2011 session of the Pasadena Musical Theatre Program. I am a member of the board of directors of this fantastic program. We now have a partnership with the Pasadena Playhouse, and are looking to expand even further into the community.

But back to the musical, Jasper in Deadland. I filmed a bunch of the shows and rehearsals, and mixed the live sound off-the-board for this recording. It gives a good glimpse of what the students got to experience over the summer: originating roles in a fantastic new musical, and getting to work with musical theatre professionals — directors, choreographers, lighting and sound and costume and set designers, etc.

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

Zach Dellinger plays the viola on the Zipper Hall stage

I had forgotten how much fun this little shoot was, from back in April 2011. But people keep coming and watching this piece (with almost 700 views on YouTube), even thought the concert that this short advertised is long-over. I think Zach is a fantastic ambassador for new and unique music, because his passion and deep understanding of the music is clearly evident when he starts talking about the Berio piece.

I filmed this in a quick two-hour session; approximately one hour of simply letting Zach play while I shot from different angles, and then another hour (probably less) of Zach and Young Riddle talking about the piece. The awesome sound comes from mics set up both on the stage and out in the middle of Zipper Hall picking up the great acoustics of that room.

Happy that so many people are enjoying this simple piece. I wonder if I could do something similar for your business or project…what are you passionate about?

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

Constantly learning, constantly, working

We filmed another short promo for Nimbus Ensemble this past week:

I tried some things on this shoot that I ultimately regretted, but on other elements of the shoot I’m extremely happy. Running four-channel audio recording through the Zoom H4N is a breeze, and gave me lots of options for incredible audio. I’m finding that I like wireless mics less and less, so I used only studio-quality mics and shotgun mics for this shoot (all wired directly to the Zoom). The viola sounds superb, and the interview worked beautifully with a shotgun on a boom stand.

The things I’m less happy about are in the video; specifically two things:

  1. Halfway through the shoot I changed white balance settings. I should have just left it the same as when I started, because it would have been easier to match everything together in post (unless we were changing locations, which we did  not for this shoot).
  2. I wanted to minimize the effects of the “rolling shutter” issue (because his bow was moving so fast) by filming everything at 60 frames a second. Bad idea. First, it didn’t eliminate the rolling shutter. Second, I was eating up card space like crazy. Third, I conformed to 24 frames, so it looks a little jerky. Fourth, the 7D won’t record at full 1920×1080 HD when shooting at 60 fps, so I don’t have as many pixels as when shooting at 24 frames. But hey, it was a good idea. And now I know.

We’ll be filming the real concert coming up this weekend. I’ll be excited to show you footage from that. Or, you could just come and listen to some great (and very unique) music: here’s the information page at Nimbus’  website (which Hearken Creative also designed).

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, graphic design, Pasadena and local, post production for film and video, sound

The movie we’re shooting


Not That Funny is a movie that is shooting currently in Sierra Madre, CA. I am an associate producer on the show. What does that mean? Well, it can mean anything, but for me, what it has meant so far is

  • recording production sound for a week before our wonderful sound guy came on board
  • renting my Canon 7D camera, lights, hard drives, and other useful stuff to the production
  • managing the digital workflow for set-to-editor-to-director-to-post, as well as managing dailies
  • general help on-set and off-set
  • even some graphic design! (see the photo of a fake poster above)
  • maybe sound design.

The cast and crew is incredible. We are halfway through 25 days of shooting, followed by some additional pickups and various projects to get the film ready for completion. The editing process will take several months of massaging the footage to make it serve the story. Our hope is that it will get picked up for a few film festivals in early 2011, and then see theatrical distribution sometime during the year.

Our cast is outstanding, anchored by John Kapelos (remember Breakfast Club?), K Callan, Brigid Brannagh (Army Wives), and the amazing Tony Hale (Arrested Development).

Check the movie out:

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

What Hearken Creative did (is doing) this summer, Part 3

Well, I can’t say “did” for this one, since we’re still in production. I’m associate producer on a quirky little film called “Not That Funny” starring Tony Hale (Arrested Development, Chuck, and a bunch of other stuff). Here’s a breakdown of what I am working on during this film:

  • Recorded all production sound for the first week of shooting (before our wonderful sound guy showed up)
  • Managing/devising digital workflow for the production and post-production
  • Assisting with social media and web presence for the film
  • Renting Hearken equipment to the production (KinoFlo Diva Lights, Canon 7D, microphones, batteries, cards, hard drives, etc.)
  • Assisting in whatever way I can on a small shoot, sometimes as a production assistant, sometimes as a driver, sometimes schlepping crafts service, sometimes…?

The cast and crew of this tiny pic are wonderful, and I’m honored to be working with them all. I can’t wait to show you some of the production stills, and get this film finished so everyone can see it.

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

What Hearken Creative did this summer, Part 2

Did I mention we were busy this summer? (By the way, my son is the one in the yellow cap above…playing the nerd. Perfect casting.)(Oh, and the fantastic photos of this summer’s shows were taken by New York-based pro photographer Matthew Murphy. He got some incredible shots.)

The Pasadena Musical Theatre Program is a decades-old training program for kids in Pasadena, CA. But I would call this a kid’s program on steroids, or, better, a pro theatre program that just happens to have kids as its focus. But this summer we held a master class with Megan Hilty of Wicked fame, held a class entitled Pursuing a Career in Musical Theatre, and did a American Idol-style solo competition, in addition to the two main shows that are produced every summer. Ryan Scott Oliver (award-winning musical composer), Cindy Abbott (wonderfully dedicated Pasadena music teacher), and Emily Clark (fabulous musical theatre performer and teacher) have transformed this program into a powerhouse that trains over 125 students every summer.

So what did Hearken Creative do? Well, for starters, I joined the board of the program last summer, because funding for arts has dried up with local school districts and I feel strongly about arts education. So, on our own, we have raised somewhere in the range of $50,000 every summer to make the program happen. In addition, Hearken Creative

  • provided all design services for print media, programs, and press releases,
  • photographed the Megan Hilty master class,
  • filmed the Promise Competition,
  • ran sound for all events, including the master class, meetings and competitions, and
  • sound designed both major shows — the Juniors (4th-6th graders) and the Seniors (7th-12th grade) shows.

Essentially, this was two weeks of wrangling a high school auditorium (that a friend aptly called an “airplane hangar”) into submission, using Hearken Creative-provided equipment, rented equipment, and the high school’s 40-year-old 24-channel mixer, as well as my own 16-channel digital mixer. Twenty wireless body mics, plus choir mics and band sound reinforcement.

And boy, did it sound good! We don’t have the professionally-produced video from KLRN yet, but several people have posted their home videos already. Here’s one:

and my son singing a solo at the Promise Competition:

Gimme Gimme, performed on July 8, 2010 from Loren A. Roberts on Vimeo.

The purpose of the program is twofold: first, arts education is vital to a well-rounded education, and music/dance hits so many of the other disciplines — math, reasoning, spatial relationships — that it seems stupid the schools are cutting performing arts. Secondly, there is an erroneous meme out there that there are no viable career options in performing arts. We aim to change that perception.

By using Hearken Creative’s graphic design skills, our production and sound design skills, as well as our music background and fundraising acumen, we were able to help make this summer’s Pasadena Musical Theatre Program a complete success.

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

What Hearken Creative did this summer, Part 1

While I can’t say that I have a new job or have turned the economy around single-handedly, this has been a marvelous summer of new experiences.

The first project I want to talk about is the West Covina High School Chamber Singers reunion, which happened two days ago after over a year of preparation. I was a committee member, and developed the website and Facebook presence, as well as designed all printed matter, and finally, managed all the stage tech for the evening, including a 16-foot screen, memorabilia slideshow, music cues, and sound reinforcement for the evening’s program, all provided by Hearken Creative.

The event was an amazing success, where 80+ people re-connected after 25 years with our dedicated teacher/director/conductor, Tom Kessler.

While the event was not specifically a showcase of Hearken Creative’s available services, we nonetheless made the entire evening possible, with HCS’ graphic design, film/video production, and live show production strengths.

In the near future, we will also produce the event “re-cap” video DVD. Can’t wait to show you how much fun everyone had at this event.

Tomorrow: Live theatre sound design for 100+ children and teens this summer…