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?
The Los Angeles Children’s Chorus asked me to create some short introductory videos on each of their choirs. Previously I had produced one for their First Experiences in Singing class [see my eailer post]. These new videos required many hours of filming rehearsals and concerts for all six choirs, as well as music theory classes. Then we interviewed all the different directors to get their take on each chorus. Finally, we edited each piece together, trying to give new parents and members of the ensemble a sense of each chorus’ identity. And we attempted to keep them all under four minutes.
I’m excited about how these will be used to further the educational and artistic mission of the L.A. Children’s Chorus.
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’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.
Kari Davis, one of the fabulous students from the Pasadena Musical Theatre Program, sat down with me and recorded a few covers (as well as a few of her own original tunes). This is her take on an old Johnny (and June) Cash song, It Ain’t Me, Babe.
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.
Two quick video projects that I had the pleasure of working on over the last week.
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.
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…
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.