Video/TV Production for over 20 years!

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Interviewed on TV for “Heart’s Delight”!

I was fortunate enough to be asked by Thom Hallock to appear on the program “Mountain Lake Journal” and discuss my documentary “Heart’s Delight: The Story of William H. Miner”.

I got my start working at this station in 1990.  Its the PBS affiliate in Plattsburgh, NY and started as “WCFE” then became “Mountain Lake PBS”.

We taped for about 35-40 minutes and it was cut down to about 13 minutes.  I am clearly better behind the camera but was happy to be able to discuss the program and William Miners life and legacy.  The segment below starts with the program trailer, if you have seen that already, you can skip to around the 3 minute mark.

An interesting behind the scenes note, I was just diagnosed with a herniated C6-C7 disc in my neck and was in a lot of back pain.  It really hurt to just sit still so that’s why I am moving my arms so much!  That, and I am of French-Canadian decent!  Enjoy.

 


Cumberland 12 Cinemas

I made some spots for Cumberland 12 Cinemas recently.  Three that will play on local cable TV and one that is a policy spot for playing before the movie about cell phone use.  They were a lot of fun to make.  As the budget was tight, we had to get people to be in it in exchange for a few movie passes.  My friend Todd Brunner and his wife Jodi and daughter Tia were the perfect family to be featured in the policy spot.  Todd has done some acting for TV shows like NYPD Blue when he lived in NYC and he ad libbed most of his “annoying chatter”.  One thing I really wanted to do was an homage to GOODFELLAS, when they freeze Ray Liota laughing and continue the voice over.  It worked out well here too!

 

Other spots included this one for their birthday parties they offer at the cinema.  My neighbors were perfect candidates for this one and they helped secure other family and friends to be in the “party” as well.  The challenge here was to shoot it all while the theater was open, thus we had to do the red carpet scenes inside the same room where the birthday parties take place.  I changed the lighting for the red carpet shots to look more dramatic, like at a movie premiere, even having the back light appear in the scene.  In reality it’s the same room as the other party scenes.  Finally using 120 frames per second as a shooting rate made it all look more glamorous when played back in slow-motion.

 

 

The theater does 10am shows on Wednesday for just $5!  Not second run films but whatever is currently playing at the time.  I thought a clever way to promote this was with a 1980’s theme as that is what a premium ticket used to cost back in the 80s!  Again, the talent was some friends and neighbors.  They really embrassed the theme and went all in with the look of the 80’s including big hair, spandex and a fanny pack and mullet!

 

Finally we wanted to do a spot that promotes the C12 “Experience” of their large curved screen, surround sound and 3D!

 

Overall, we all had a blast making these and it’s fun to go to the movies now and see them up on the big screen!


SUNY Plattsburgh Music video!

This was an incredibly fun project to work on!  When Paula Bachman of the SUNY Plattsburgh admissions office started to talk about making a music video for incoming accepted students, I was excited and nervous at the same time.  The idea was to show the students and staff of the college dancing and singing to the song but also to show as much of the campus “in the background” as we could. With the possibility of hundreds of participants, and as much as 30 locations for a 3 minute song, it was a little unnerving to think about pulling off.

Luckily Paula would handle the coordination with all the students, groups and faculty and try to schedule them in as few days as possible.  (She is AMAZINGLY organized)!  We then mapped out the locations of the campus we wanted to include, then what parts of the song would be lip synced and what parts would be danced too.  Then as the list of participants came in, we decided who would sing what parts.  We used a small bluetooth speaker for location playback off of an iphone.  It was difficult to pre-plan much beyond that as we never knew how many would show up or what they had for props etc.  We also had to think fast to design the shot for each as most people only had 15-30 minutes.

Everyone was really into it and made shooting fun!  Usually once we nailed the “action” we would rewind that section of the song and then shoot it several times.  I used a 11-16mm wide angle Tokina lens on almost every shot so we could see the campus “in the background” and did the entire shoot handheld to give it the energy and drive it needed.

The biggest challenge was clearing the rights to the music!  It took SUNY Legal over a year to do it!!  The music industry has GOT to make that easier.

Anyway, please enjoy this video, 3 minutes…and several weeks of work to make!

 


William H. Miner documentary preview

I’m happy to present a “coming soon” preview trailer for my next documentary called “Heart’s Delight: The William H. Miner Story”.  I’ve been working on this off and on for almost 3 years now!  It’s a passion project of mine and I’m finally done with all the interviews and am entering the writing/editing phase.  It’s a massive undertaking as William Miner had a very complicated and “rich” life!

More to come for sure but for now, please check out this short clip.  Narration by my friend Greg O’Brien.


Merrill L. Thomas Inc. – Company video

This is a video I worked on for adworkshop in Lake Placid (an advertising and marketing agency).  They did all the concept and producing and directing, I was the videographer and editor.  It’s nice to be a part of a team for projects like this one.  It allows me to really focus on the shooting, and what is the best way to tell this story visually.  I used a variety of cameras on it, my main camera the Canon C100 for the majority of it, but also set up a second camera for the interviews, the Canon 7D DSLR camera.  I used the GoPro on a handheld gimble and the Inspire 1 for some aerial shots.

Editing is always a hidden craft, but it’s really driven by finding the right music.  I usually piece the narrative together first (on this project from a script supplied by adworkshop), then find the right music to give it energy and convey the mood.  That then drives all the edits of the cut away footage or Broll as we call it in the industry.

Check it out!  Merrill L. Thomas Inc. is a great company and I am happy to get to know them better working on their video.


Jumping the K120 – Lake Placid, NY

What’s it like to fly through the air at 80 miles an hour off a 120m tower on a pair of skis?  It’s something I always wanted to know!  The ski jumps in Lake Placid have always dominated the landscape since they were built for the 1980 Winter Olympic Games.  I’ve been up to the top a few times covering corporate events up there, but was never fortunate enough to see it being used.  The smaller 90m is used year around, but the 120m takes a lot of effort to get up and running and just one 45 degree day can melt the ramp surface.  With the warming temperatures of the last decade or so of winter, it hasn’t been open…..until this year!

A friend of mine is a ski jumper and mentioned I should come get some shots of it in use.  Luckily the technology of video has come so far so fast that there are now some new tools to show this sport in a way that wasnt possible just a couple years ago.

I just received my new DJI Inspire 1 aerial drone and its the perfect flying platform to get super stable shots!  Couple that with the incredible GoPro action cameras and we were in business!  I hope you enjoy the video, its the closest many of us will ever want to get to going off a massive ski hump like this!


“Divine Discontent: Charles Proteus Steinmetz” documentary EMMY nominated!

This is a documentary I produced with Bruce Carlin.  We tried for 7 years to get funding and finally managed to secure a grant to get it made.  Our good friends at wmht, the PBS affiliate in the Albany area was the presenting station for it to the PBS system.  It is now airing across the country!  We decided (and at the suggestion of Dan Swinton of wmht) to put it in for a NY regional EMMY award.  That’s a tough market as it includes all of NY City and NJ!  So we are up against MSG, Yankeeograpy docs etc… It was announced last week that it has been nominated in the BEST DOCUMENTARY category!  Winners will be announced on May 2nd.

 

Here is the promo for it:

 

And here is the open to the show and a round table discussion we shot at Mt. Lake PBS with Thom Hallock for Mountain Lake Journal.  The narrator is none other than Kate Mulgrew who is best known as Captain Janeway on STAR TREK VOYAGER and as Red in ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK.  She was a delight to work with and added so much to the finished production.

 

The entire documentary can be viewed here:

http://video.wmht.org/video/2365246534/