Hearken Creative provided lights, sound, and video support for the Children’s Advocacy Center’s first ever (and hopefully annual) fundraising gala on the gorgeous grounds of the Masonic Home in Covina, California on October 12, 2014.
We worked with the organization, as well as rental companies, the featured band, and on-site personnel to make sure that everything ran smoothly — from power concerns, to the ability to hobnob over the live music, to making every word intelligible — from honorees and speakers. We received numerous accolades from event planners and the 200+ attendees, stating that this was the smoothest and best-sounding event they had attended.
Photos from the event are below. The young (but very good) band “Them Kool Kats” [ http://www.themkoolkats.com/ ] was the featured entertainment. Hearken Creative provided them with onstage monitors so they could hear everything, and they had a great time working the crowd.
It’s remarkable what Hearken Creative can accomplish — from branding, to websites, to video, to event support (sound and lighting). Why don’t you give us a call for your next project and see how Hearken Creative can help you?
My new band, Doobies Inc., walked into SIR Studios in mid-December to film and record a live demo. We tracked to ProTools and filmed 3 cameras (2 roving and 1 stationary). Then I took all of the tracks and footage back to my studio to mixdown and edit. For a one-night session, these came out really well, and we hope to get quite a bit of work from this promotional video.
I truly enjoy recording and filming live events. One of my favorites was Jennifer Robin’s CD release party for her album “The Bird and The Beatles” found here on YouTube:
I also have filmed live concert footage that will be found in the upcoming film “Praying the Hours” by Lauralee Farrer. These types of events are difficult to capture multitrack — so that one can mix the music later on — but ultimately exceptionally rewarding, because you get both the immediacy and thrill of the live event, as well as the incredible sound of a professionally mixed and produced recording.
We recorded our live show at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s annual Fun In The Sun Chili Cookoff in October 2011. Straight off the board, with some compression/limiting done after the fact. Sounds great. And some really nice photography by Katie Macquarrie to show off the band.
We had a great time. Check out Tribute for more information. Maybe you want to book us for your next event!
credits: Loren A. Roberts, producer, ProTools recordist and editor, film editor, b-camera operator; Jordan McMahon, a-camera operator
Jennifer Robin is a fantastic jazz artist that I have known for almost 20 years, but have never gotten to work with before. That opportunity finally came when she announced a CD release party for August 2011. I stepped in to both run sound for the show and assemble some live footage for an electronic press kit. All mics were mine — we ran 12 channels directly into my ProTools rig, and then straight out to the board for live mixing. Jordan and I both brought cameras, and later I mixed down the live recording and married it up with the footage as well as some interview clips that I filmed a few days after the concert.
I love how much of her personality I was able to capture, both in the concert and in the interviews. Jennifer deals with life with a thoughtful but in-the-moment grace that is hard to find in artists, and I believe that comes through loud and clear here. And she surrounds herself with wonderful people, too: the whole band was game for trying things, but gracious and helpful as well.
In all, a good time putting together a powerful package that I hope helps her sell some more albums. And a good piece showing what Hearken Creative can do on short notice…
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:
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:
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…
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!
This is looking down on the stage from the catwalk where my speakers are hidden
It pays to have a kid who loves classical music, and love classical music myself. Los Angeles Children’s Chorus asked me to help out with adding surround sound to the Ambassador Auditorium for a new piece, composed for the Children’s Chorus by Caroline Park, entitled Motion. So I took a bunch of powered speakers and climbed up into the catwalks above the audience. And it sounds fantastic. Ms. Park has written a challenging piece for the kids, but the payoff is huge — being enveloped in sound in a way that only someone with an understanding of children’s voices could create.
Rehearsing the new piece "Motion." Composer Caroline Park's laptop with MaxDSP running can be seen in the lower left of the photo.
The concert is Saturday, May 14, at 7:00 p.m. You should come if at all possible — these kids are pros. They have sung with the L.A. Phil, Hollywood Bowl, L.A. Master Chorale, tons of recordings, and all sorts of other stuff. More importantly, they love music, and are learning to love the work that goes into doing something well — doing something right. I’m proud of all of the hard work that they have put into this.
And I love getting to play with sound, too.
LACC's Concert Choir rehearsing for this week's concert
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:
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).
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).
The Tribute Band isn’t part of my day job, but we’re starting to book gigs for money [!], so it is tangentially part of my business. In addition, I got to use the Canon 7D and the Zoom H4N on this wonderful gig we did out in Van Nuys a few weeks ago.
And boy is it loads of fun to play great rock music with a bunch of awesome people.
I like to promote things. I’m a producer — a promoter — a big-picture kinda guy. And so when I become friends with an incredible artist, like Buddy Zapata or Lauralee Farrer, I can’t help but want to promote their art in any way I can. And I have skillz. I can take press photographs (see my post on T-Lou). I can shoot video (see the stuff I did of Buddy Zapata). I’m now producing (check out Not That Funny on Facebook). And now I can record live concerts. Laurie Niles is a fellow parent at McKinley School, where my kids go. Laurie is a violinist, a music teacher and educator, and a friend. She runs the crazy-cool website violinist.com, and this past Spring, she agreed to do a concert of violin music in the school auditorium. It was simply amazing. And I got to record it.
I think the live recording sounds pretty good, no, it sounds great. But live was even better. I wish you all could have been there. If you ever get the chance to see her in concert, it’s a treat. And every piece of music was unexpected — none of the “standard” classical fare. Here’s the trio that started the concert (the audio on this video is simply from the Flip camera — sometime I’ll marry up my audio with their video, but it’s not a priority right now):
And it was all that good. The “Meditation from ‘Thaïs'” that you heard at the top of this post was her encore, and it was a beautiful, peaceful way to end a magnificent evening of violin music.
I feel so privileged to be around such awesome talent. It’s fun. It’s challenging to me as an artist. And these people become great friends too, friends that I hope to be promoting and hanging out with and enjoying each others’ company 20 years from now.
So enjoy the music, and enjoy life, and enjoy the friends and family that you get to experience life with.
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:
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.