Posts Tagged ‘Video’

Make Mine Scrambled

June 26, 2019

I’ve enjoyed Tokyo a number times, so I was especially intrigued to stumble onto this live stream from Hachikō Square, just outside Tokyo’s Shibuya Station. It shows what is reputed to be the world’s most heavily used pedestrian scramble, an intriguing  concept in pedestrian and traffic management. Neat to watch.

ACTION ITEM: Look at it. Look. At. It.

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Table Read

June 21, 2019

I mentioned in one of my very recent posts that I’d auditioned for a minor role in a local film production (working title, “Shutdown”, part of the “Through The Lens” film series here in Nevada County). Here I am (second from left in the black ball cap) reading lines with the other actors. I think I did okay (still have the job ;-), but it was pretty intimidating to be working in the presence of gifted, real-life actors. If there’s anything I learned it’s that the more you rehearse the better you get – more relaxed, more nuanced, more convincing. I think the three lessons for anybody hopping up in front of the camera are 1. rehearse, 2. rehearse again, then 3. rehearse a bunch more

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ACTION ITEM: Take a risk today. Stretch the boundaries of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid… to be a little afraid.

Watch It, Buster

June 17, 2019

I rarely get to see videos I’ve helped to create displayed in the their actual, for-realsies environment. But last month I got to watch 5 videos that I co-produced for client QAD displayed on a huge LED screen onstage at QAD’s premier customer event, “Explore” in New Orleans, LA. These Customer Showcase Videos were beautifully shot and edited by James Barnett and are always well-received by attendees. But what did the in-person experience teach me that I could apply to future productions? On the plus side, they’re well-received and appreciated (I’m trying to be objective here, but the entire audience seemed pretty engaged and attentive) so that’s helpful to know. But I did notice that for anyone in the audience behind the first row or two, anything on the screen under the lower quarter of the frame is pretty much lost, blocked by audience members’ heads and shoulders.

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ACTION ITEM: For the benefit of the entire live audience, keep important images and graphics above the bottom third of the screen.

Casting Call

June 14, 2019

I do like to try out different facets of the production process so I have a well-rounded appreciation for all of its constituent parts (I think it makes me a better producer/director to have experienced, first-hand, how nerve-wracking it can be to be on camera). This week I did something way out of my comfort zone – appeared at a casting call as part of a “Through The Lens” production here in Nevada County. The part is a small one, but I had to study a bit, read lines aloud, and even read with the lead actor to see how we worked together. The most suprrising part was, though I was doing this purely as an academic exercise, I discovered I really wanted the part. I mean it suddenly became important to me that I be selected. (I did, in the end, get the role. But in the spirit of full disclosure I was the only guy who auditioned for it 😉 I’ll let you know how the process proceeds right up to the day of filming (sometime in July).

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ACTION ITEM: If there isn’t some part of every job that scares you, you’re probably not taking enough risks. Is there a part of your job – corporate communications, for example – that you’ve never done personally but that you could experience, however frightening, to gain a better perspective on the overall function of your job?

Router Rejuvenator

May 1, 2019

I‘m a huge fan of life hacks though sometimes they can be silly and impractical. Here’s one that seems to work pretty well: we live in an area of unpredictable and intermittent Internet service, and one of our coping mechanisms, when speeds slow to a crawl, is to reset the router (in a lot of ways, even your household router is a kind of computer, with an OS and memory – just like your personal PC, a hard restart can solve a lot of annoying problems). To make it a preemptive practice, I placed a timer between the router and power source that automatically cuts power at 4:00 am then restores it 60 seconds later. Seems, so far, to be effective – and as the cost and complexity is pretty low, may be worth a shot 😉

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ACTION ITEM: Consider scheduled router restarts to keep Internet service zippy and crisp

TRAVEL TIPS: Slippies

May 1, 2019

I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned this before, but most hotel rooms will leave these cheap, disposable slippers (here’s a 12-pack on Amazon) in your room – I save ‘em and use ‘em when I’m on a long flight and don’t want to wear shoes but absolutely am not stepping into that plane’s bathroom in socks or bare feet.

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ACTION ITEM: Take nice comfortable slippers with you on those long plane trips

TRAVEL TIPS: “How Can This Be A Thing” Part the Infinity

April 27, 2019

International flights sometimes means booking a redeye. Returning from a flight last week from London and, out of the entire aircraft, this person had their window open the entire 11-hour flight keeping at least eight other passengers from sleeping (I always bring a sleep mask but not everyone does).

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ACTION ITEM: Please close the shades when everyone – I mean everyone – is trying to sleep

Get Some Long Straws

April 5, 2019

This came up on a shoot recently in the SF Bay Area: everyone on your shoot has some basic physical needs that you need to prepare for in your planning, scheduling, and execution. I know this sounds silly, but I can’t tell you how many times a day has been planned with no time for breaks to use the bathroom; no periods, however short, to catch a breath between set or location changes; or to spend 30 minutes contemplating a tuna sandwich and an apple. These are not nice-to-haves – they’re critical for the effective functioning of your crew (I had the DP mention to me, specifically, as we rounded 4:00 pm with no lunch break, that he was getting concerned about making errors). Plan for having humans on your shoot and accommodating their very-human needs.

Protip: have extra-long straws available for your female speakers to use (I snatch one or two from Starbucks when I grab that morning’s cappuccino) when drinking from a water bottle – they’ll appreciate that their lip gloss doesn’t smear while they sip.

ACTION ITEM: Be sure to incorporate the physical requirements of talent and crew in your production schedule

Just Say Yes

April 4, 2019

When I started in this business like eleventy billion years ago, I worked on a design project where the graphic designer acted tired and super annoyed at any and every suggestion. He just seemed unmotivated and predisposed to negativity, and I vowed to Not Be That Guy; rather, to approach every job with enthusiasm and a you-betcha attitude and, when practical, never say No. Now I often find myself challenged by clients who sometimes ask for work that’s not likely to happen due, usually, to time or budgetary constraints (BTW, you should know that enough time and enough budget can make the impossible possible ;-), and I hate – HATE – having to say no. To Be That Guy. Generally, my strategy is to say “no, but…” so I can at least provide more practical options. But I’m eager to know: how do you handle a client who – almost always coming from a position of inexperience – asks for something that can’t or shouldn’t be done within the constraints they’ve set? Any thoughts? When has your approach been the most creative or helpful?

ACTION ITEM: Try to find creative ways to say “yes” when a customer asks for something

Finger Food

March 15, 2019

My local hosts exposed me to dining experiences that were just this side of sublime: ample quantities of some of the finest food I’ve ever enjoyed. But I think my favorite was reclining on soft cushions while dipping into a shared platter of tender lamb and rice. I learned there’s a specific way to cup my fingers to contain the food and thumb it into my mouth.

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ACTION ITEM: Wash your hands


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