I have been making documentaries for almost 30 years now. In this day and age of shorter and faster, it’s nice to still be able to tell a story with some feeling in it. I’ve been lucky to work with Merrill L. Thomas in Lake Placid NY for a few years now. They believe a good story is as important, if not more so, than how many bathrooms and bedrooms a place has. Here a few of my favorites we have done recently in this style.
My wife and I celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary this past memorial day weekend. We ended up in Lake George, NY (Had a shoot scheduled but it was cancelled at the last minute). As I usually do, I brought a camera to keep from going stir crazy! If I don’t have it with me, I always see things I wish I could capture. Luckily my wife Teri is used to it now and accepts that she will likely be the subject for many shots as well.
When we got back I put a bunch of the shots to a catchy, thoughtful little song I found on artlist.io called “Next to You”. Many of the words are spot on perfect to how I feel about her. I hope you enjoy watching it. Sort of a personal peak inside our relationship, but that sometimes makes for a great video.
I’m thrilled to be continuing my work with St Lawrence University! Recently we created some student profile videos. Little mini-documentaries on their experiences and their lives. This is right up my alley as I started with making documentaries at PBS close to 30 years ago. The big challenge now is keeping them short enough for today’s young audiences! Check ’em out…more to come!
St Lawrence University launched their capital campaign with a gala weekend of events in October 2018. I had the pleasure of working along Tara Freeman, the Director of Visual Communications in crafting a video to highlight the weekends events but also promote the message of the capital campaign launch. We shot this in a 2.5 days and edited it in a couple more days for a quick turn time. The audio content is from the University President’s speech at the formal dinner.
Due to the run and gun situation of trying to cover many events around campus I shot most of it with a gimbal carrying my Sony A6500. I also had my SONY A7III with a 28-75MM lens for getting closer shots handheld as needed. The drone shots were with my new Mavic 2 Pro drone. The image quality is much improved from the original Mavic Pro. It has a new Hasselblad lens and an improved camera system. Shoots 10bit 4k HLG video in H.265 format which vastly reduces the mosquito noise in the image.
The video has been widely received by both alumni and staff at St Lawrence University!
This is a video I made to highlight Chazy Central School. The origins of the school date way back to 1916 when William H. Miner started it as the first centralized Rural School in the country! At the premiere of my “Heart’s Delight” documentary on William Miner’s life, I was approached by Chazy School administrators to help make a video on what the school is like today. They are a small school but with deep passionate roots and quire a few events and activities that make them very unique! The idea was to put this on their website to give people that are thinking of moving to the area an idea of what the school system is like.
This is a promotional video I recently made for a beautiful Inn dating back to the early 1800’s. Decided to try and do it more “Documentary style”. I actually shot the couples first visit and then at the end of the stay did an interview to capture their feelings about it. Was meant to be mostly from the female perspective. It really is selling unplugging, relaxing and reconnecting with a spouse as much as this particular place. That’s a little different than most promo videos but I think it worked overall. It tells a story and that is more interesting I think than just having a narrator tell stats and scripted material about the property. I also wanted it to be told mainly from the woman’s perspective, finding the song was a key part to giving me the idea on how to put this all together.
The owners of the Inn are friends of mine that I got to know by filming their wedding in lake Placid in 2010! The couple visiting are also friends of mine that didn’t know the owners or had ever stayed at the Inn before.
Tech details: Shot with the EOSHD Pro Color 3.0 Picture profile for the SONY A6500 and a SONY A6300 on a Zhiyun Crane gimbal. Also used a edlekrone motorized slider for several shots.
Nothing I like better than making a promotional video for a small company doing great things! Grace Guitarz is just such a company. It consists of two people (and their dog Bullock) making world class guitars.
Tom and Tracy are some of the nicest folks you could ever hope to meet. They converted their old garage into a wrokshop and formed GRACE GUITARZ. Their work is impeccable and if you get some time check out their website for some more information and high resolution to their work.
This was filmed over almost 8 months of time, thus the winter and summer footage in the same short video! Sometimes it just takes a while to make it come out just right. We were waiting for one of their house concerts in the summer to really show that they eat, sleep and breathe music!
For those who are into production details, I used my Canon C100 for the interviews shooting in Clog profile. Then I used my Sony A6300 shooting at 120fps for the broll. This allows for those super slow motion shots seen throughout the film. I think slow motion is sometimes overused lately. However, I felt it really showed the detail and craftsmanship of what they were doing. I noticed things when playing it back in slow motion that I just didnt catch in real time. The bits of dust coming off the sanding block, the particles floating in the air during the cutting of the wood… all microscopic details that show when you can alter time!