W Wear Wednesdays

My latest video for W Seattle is live!  This one is a promo for their Wear Wednesdays Fashion Social events that they hold monthly.  This month they featured designer Carole McClellan.

It was the perfect opportunity to try out my 360 degree panning timelapse camera  (AKA a GoPro stuck to an Ikea Kitchen Timer).  Here's a photo of it sitting by the fireplace (this shot is at 00:10 in the video), from Ilya's Photography

And here's Alex Berry (another talented Capitol Hill based videographer) guarding it for me in the other spot we had it set up, this shot is in there briefly, at 1:46.

Blue Chalk Website

I'm working on re-designing my website, so I've been looking at websites of other freelancers & video production companies for inspiration. 

Blue Chalk's website stood out to me. For one, because the way they describe themselves sounds more like how I would describe myself & my business (if I were better at describing myself) than any video company I've come across. 

I love this nugget:

Blue Chalk arrives at a complicated time in the evolution of the visual media industries. We embrace this moment of disruption and encourage blue sky thinking about the technologies and approaches needed to create and convey picture-led stories in a digital world.

...and I totally agree with it.  This part confused me a little though:

The world of visual communications, once a largely individual endeavor, is rapidly becoming a team sport. Blue Chalk specializes in building teams to accomplish the ambitious multimedia and video projects that clients now demand.

I think that in video production at least, things are moving in the opposite direction.  I frequently get the comment that I "came in WAY below the other bidders" on projects.  I have to assume that it's either because other freelancers are inflating their bids because they think they can, or (more likely) because I'm bidding against companies that default to hiring a full production team for everything.  They'll hire a director, camera operator, sound guy, grip, script writer, editor, etc... because "that's the way it's done," whereas I typically do all of those roles myself or with one or two assistants.

It looks like Blue Chalk offers a wider range of services than I do, so maybe that's where the difference lies.  I definitely make a point of sticking to what I know, video production, so I don't branch out into all the areas that Blue Chalk does. 

But anyways, keep up the good work over there in Brookyln, Blue Chalk!  And everyone else, stay tuned for a website redesign in the not too distant future. 

Sue Bird Racing - Best On Field Promotion!

The Seattle Storm's Sue Bird Racing just won GameOps.com's Best On Field Promotion Award for 2011! File this under awards I didn't know existed but are still really nice to get! 

Props to Matt Heuer who dreamed this whole thing up.  Here's what ESPN-W had to say about our work this past season;

The crowd has plenty of reasons to stick around, many of them uncommonly creative. There's Sue Bird Racing, where contestants step into ostrich mascot costumes and have to make layups before returning to squat on their "nest" of basketballs.

There's a trivia contest video of a famous movie, except with a Storm player inserted into the scene. This night's was "The Sandlot," with Bird uttering the familiar line: "You're killing me, Smalls."

"I can't believe he gets the players to do some of the things they do," Storm CEO Karen Bryant said of game operations whiz Matt Heuer, 29.

With the financial future of many WNBA teams still uncertain, it's time to get creative to get people in to the arena.  The Storm is really making the right moves by taking chances with things like Sue Bird Racing and other in-game video series' that help create buzz around the games, and the team. 

And check out the end of this bloopers reel to see the players' reactions to putting on the bird suits... it took probably 10-15 minutes before we could get everyone to quit laughing and start shooting.

When to work for free

There's a lot of people out there who think they should be able to get videographers to work for free.  Just check the craigslist job board right now and I'm sure you'll find a couple.  Many people are positive that the "exposure" you'll get from doing their video will be so valuable that videographers should be groveling at their feet to be a part of their project.  Well sorry!  If you want professional results, you're going to have to pay for it.

But I'm not one of those absolutists who will rant against craigslist postings (here's an example from just this morning)...

...and there are times when I will work for free.

Last month I shot an interview with Justin Carder, for Daisy Whitney's New Media Minute.  I didn't get paid, but in this case the exposure was definitely well worth it.  My website got screen time in the video, I got a link in all the places the video was syndicated to (including the Huffington Post*), and most importantly, the show is targeted at people interested in New Media, exactly the kind people that it would be valuable to get my name in front of.

So while I would, in general, recommend against working for free, there are definitely times when working for free can be a good business decision.  Just make sure that the exposure you'll be getting is worth the time and effort you put in... and remember that most of the time, it's not. 

Here's the episode.  She introduces me/ my interview at about 1:12.

* I even have my own tag on Huffington Post now! Although I appear to be sharing it with my google page rank arch-nemesis, Nuclear Non-Profliferation Expert David Albright.


Bobblehead Skits

This season we've got three bobblehead giveaway nights for the Storm so we made some video skits to promote them.  We shot these all on Media Day, so they were all incredibly rushed shoots, and I was basically working out the scripts as we were shooting (not something I'd recommend doing!) but miraculously they all turned out pretty good.  Here they are, in order...

 SUE BIRD - The Bobbleheads Are Here.

SWIN CASH - Don't be Fan 4001.

LAUREN JACKSON - Collect All 3

Storm Season in Full Swing

We haven't had opening night yet (May 16th!) but work for Storm season 2010 is definitely in full swing.  I've been doing pretty much a shoot per day for the past week, including Media Day on Monday.  Media Day is the day when we get all the players in one by one to shoot everything we're going to need from them for the ENTIRE SEASON's worth of videos, so it's a pretty chaotic day. Here's a pic of me with my EX-1 on a rented jib arm from the Storm's Photo Gallery.  I planned to use my ipad as a teleprompter (using the ProPrompter app) but we couldn't get it all organized and loaded in time so we had to stick with old school cue cards. There's also a behind the scenes video.

I produced a TV Spot which played during the Women's Final Four tournament, and then a whole new one which debuted at the Mariners game on Tuesday, and should start showing up on TV next week.  These are my first TV Spots, and man - those 30 seconds fills up quick, I used every single one of 'em!  I'll embed it here once it's up.

I also had a fun shoot on Tuesday, following Swin Cash behind the scenes when she went to throw out the first pitch at the Mariners game.  Some pics below of me and my giant camera backpack (Kata HB207), which now that I have I don't know how I ever lived without, it makes it so easy to take my camera with me anywhere.

Also had a good but soggy shoot in Issaquah when The Storm staff went out and helped build a house for Habitat For Humanity.  It was a struggle keeping the camera & lens dry, but I don't think I'd use it enough to invest in some kind of camera cover...