Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's Here!!

My last post (which came over a month ago) talked about a large production we did about a month ago. This was an "epic" project (although I'm not supposed to use that word anymore. It was a sacrifice to be away from my family, but the end result is amazing. The producer/directors, Patrick Parker and Christopher Clark did a great job on this. As did cinematographer Tom Garner, who had to shoot from a moving van with no tripod!

I've been moving os fast at work and home and with sports events and the like lately that this piece came at a perfect time for me and really made me stop and think that I need to stop and slow down and take time. Take time to be with my family and those small moments with my incredible family that I am so blessed to have.

My baby, who is now 3 months old is now smiling and laughing. My son, who is 5 is playing t-ball and is my best friend. My 3 year old daughter is the sweetest thing on the planet and gives the best hugs ever. My 8 year old daughter is my inspiration in all things, she is righteous and beautiful. And my wife is the one who holds it all together.

Thanks to all that worked on this piece. I know it was countless hours of hard work with a workflow we have never faced before. Now, let's all slow down and appreciate our hard work...then get back to work on the next one!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Slowing the fastest pace possible!

>So, at work the team has been working on a new Mormon Message about slowing down and recognizing the moments in life. That's about all I can say about it, other then they wanted to shoot in in slow motion. As the guy in charge of workflow I got a little involved to figure out how we would get the files out of this specialized camera we rented and into our editing system. Well, Monday came when the camera came in and the guy was coming to train and suddenly I found myself booked on the week long (killer) shoot. I call it killer because it was booked from 8-9 everyday. Normally I wouldn't mind this and this is pretty much the norm in production, but when I wasn't prepped to be on the shoot i had to drop my weeks schedule and be ready. I became the DIT, which is the Digital Imaging Technician., who is basically responsible for some settings in the camera and offloading the footage and 'data wrangling', keeping it backed up and then transcoding it later. It was a HUGE sacrifice on my family, just dropping everything and never being home and then when I was home i was processing data. But it was a HUGE growing experience!

This camera was shooting at up to 1470fps and we never shot lower then 500fps. This required a TON of light, way for then we are used to using when shooting with out Canon 5dmkII's. Indoors we typically ran anywhere from 7k-10k of light. Needless to say we tried to shoot OUTSIDE a lot.

I want to thank my family for being patient with me during this process, but it will turn out to be an awesome message when it it all done in a month or so.

Here are some on-set picts. And below is a fun slow-motion shot we did of hte crew just walking in slo-mo for our "hero-shot"

Setup with a 12x12 silk

Chris, the director, hanging with me,the DIT. Waiting for footage to download.

DIT gets put in the corner.

Slow-motion on a dolly. Shooting at 700fps.

Our DP/camera operator extraordinary, Tom.

Stil downloading footage.

Video Village on the last day.

Producer (Patrick), DP (Tom), Director (Chris) review a shot.

Lot's of light in this room, about 10k total (you can only see about half of it in this shot.

Fearless C. Peck is doing the lighting/grip/

One again, notice the DIT in the corner?

Tom frames up a spaghetti bowl which is about to drop in 1470fps

Framing up some kids playing in the rain. (Sunny day, C.Peck rigged up a rain machine)

Video Village

The Y3HDiablo

Director, DP, Producer

(from L to R)
Christopher S Clark, Director. Tucker T Dansie, DIT, Post-Production Supervisor.
Patrick H Parker, Producer.
Christina Torriente-Robey, Hair, Make-up, Locations, Casting, Catering.
Tom Garner, DP/Camera Operator. Christopher Peck, Gaffer/Grip.

Coincidental this is the same slo-mo camera they shot 'The Hurt Locker' on. Check out this short clip from the Hurt Locker. Don't worry, there isn't anything inappropriate in it.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Blessings of the Priesthood

This fast Sunday is a special one in our family for a number of reasons. Let me break it down:

-First, I finished the movie I've been making with the Young Men in my ward (yes, I am promoting it again).

It's a funny take about Fast Offerings and it made me think more and more about fasting and the reason behind it, plus the boys had fun! I have chronic migraines, so I don't usually get to fast, I'm always taking morning meds and then usually needing food so I don't get a migraine for the day.

But today is a special day for 2 reasons and so I am fasting and hoping for the best (full disclosure, I started with 3 pills and a swallow of water).

1- As many people know the Church Media Services Department (previously AudioVisual) is building a set of Jerusalem in Goshen and they asked for a department wide fast to help the temperatures stay high so that the glue could set it. This is why I love working for the Church, morning devotionals, prayers & department wide fasts!!! Too cool!

2- Perhaps the biggest and most important thing is that today we will bless our new baby. I'm thrilled to be able to exercise this Priesthood ordinance. For the uneducated, this is sort of like a christening, but without water (I guess...). We give the baby a name and a blessing. It is always a joke in our family that if I don't like the name we pick out at the hospital, I'll just give the baby a different name during the blessing, the records of the Church will reflect it!

I'm privileged to hold the Priesthood and I'll be privileged to be surrounded by brothers, brother-in-laws, father, father-in-law and even a grandpa-in-law in a Priesthood circle of brothers to bless this sweet child. Nothing better then being a father...except one that holds the Priesthood.

(and since I'm a slave to my own work, here is an older Mormon Message about the Priesthood)


Here is the finished short film I helped make with my wards Young Men. (read previous post for more info)

Good thing there are people out there that still want to "play filmmaker" with me. So fun!

P.S.-The heck with my promise to have it done in 2 weeks or so, Fast Sunday is TODAY! I figured they need it in time for collecting fast offerings...(watch it to understand)

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Prize

Several years ago my ward Relief Society asked me to help them make a movie about the "WRONG WAY" to do Visiting Teaching. This was in the early days of YouTube and it became a "Viral Hit" and I was getting about 20-30 requests for DVD's a week. I simply couldn't keep up with demand so I posted an .ISO and let people burn it themselves...moral of the story is that they crashed my server. Now, I tell them just to rip it off of YouTube themselves. I still get about 2-3 requests a week for "permission to use it" (people in the Church are so polite). Here is the original video, it is showing it's age.

I bring this up because about a month ago the Young Men approached me and ask me to teach them to "make a movie". Well, this was around the time our new baby was being born-
(side note for obligatory baby picture update)
I was in the middle of a freelance project and was working my day job. So, I pushed them off for a month and asked them to go write a script.

As many Young Men do, with little to no training, the script I got back was 4 lines. So, this is how it went down:

-Night 1: write script.
They were actually pretty good writers, considering we wrote by committee.

-Night 2: shoot 4 page/ 4 scene script in 2 hours
We pulled it off with some help from my old buddy C. Peck (the greatest audio, grip, lighting, all around good guy to know on a set guy in the biz)

-Night 3: Cut a trailer
And that is what you see below.

The boys in my Ward are awesome and I hope this video is as "viral" as the Visting Teaching video (it is now an official competition and it will be premiering in Stake Conference). The full film should be done in a week or two, but remember I am a father, who coaches soccer 2 times a week. Is attempting to teach my daughter fractions (and doing a mighty fine job I might add). Is trying to finalize potty training on another daughter. And is raising a 6 week old...okay, let's be honest, mom is doing all the hard work on that one. I'm just having fun playing filmmaker.

It's a tough gig.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I am Octolingual & The Mesa Easter Pageant

Two part post, one blog entry.
Bare with me since i haven't written in awhile.

In my last post I told you the adventures of completing the Easter Mormon Message for the LDS Church.

(please watch it again before Easter comes HERE)

My latest initiative as post-production supervisor is to begin implementing the 10 internet languages (this is new and will be a slow roll-out, so don't pressure me!) Right now we already produce them in English and Spanish, now we want try adding:
-Portuguese, Russian, Korean, Mandarin, Japanese, German, French, Italian & Pig-latin.
(okay, I made the last one up).

I think this is great, but I only see one problem. I speak one language and I don't even speak that language very well, that is English. Working with Spanish is just beginning to be smooth. But with these new 8 languages, I thought it would be simple because the Easter message is mostly text that I could just copy and paste. For the most part I did pretty good except when it came to the Asian languages. Man, those characters are HARDCORE. I'll hyper-link the above messages as they become live on YouTube in the coming days.

Luckily, at the Church we employ a plethora of people that speak a ton of languages. Sitting next to me is a French speaker. Across from me Portuguese and French speakers. The floors above me have Mandarin & Japanese speakers. Just a few clicks away and a file gets send to a friend that can check the German and another that can check Korean. And let's be honest, I'm pretty good at ebonics, yo! Quite remarkable that we have the 'internet 10' covered in our building and by the end of this process I'll be Octolingual.

Last week I had the opportunity to go to Mesa, AZ and film a Church News & Events story about the Mesa Easter Pageant.

I've never seen a Church Pageant and I had been told that this was the one to see. It was a pretty cool shoot with some talented producers in Media Services (Jim and Erika, I'm talkin' about you!) and a very enthusiastic cast and crew. We got to interview many of the cast members, families who had been in the pagaent for years, non-member cast, even a lamb!

Additionally we interviewed some missionaries that were there last year, the director and even the actor who portrayed Christ. I was impressed with how humble he was and what a great responsibility it was to him. The pageant is a HUGE deal to the community of Mesa and brings in 8,000-12,000 people each night, totally amazing. They even have live animals (sheep, a donkey which didn't kick me off the stage) and a real baby playing the part of baby Jesus.
(side note: during the 2nd performance one night one, Baby Jesus was not a happy camper...just saying, it was his nap time!)

Here is the final product that the news team put together:

I encourage anyone that has the opportunity to see the pageant once in their lifetime, it is pretty cool and just tells the Easter story, the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Very powerful stuff.

Even though I was only gone for 3 days, I missed being away from my family, particularly because I had a 4 week old new baby girl. I'm amazed at how much they change practically overnight. I skyped home one afternoon (since we primarily shot in the evenings) and couldn't believe how chubby her cheeks had gotten. My others kids were so excited to "see me" over the electronic airwaves. I'm one proud poppa. It made me reflect on this amazing technology that seemed to be second nature to them, but was amazing to me still (does this make me old?). I was talking to them from thousands of miles away and seeing them, as well. They were performing for me, my son was showing me his latest Lego creations and my 3-year-old daughter was showing me her dance outfit and my oldest daughter was telling me all about school and activity days. It was just like being there. It made me happy to be a father in this era of technology.

It used to be that I had to send an e-mail (or worse yet, send a postcard), which couldn't express my true emotions or love, or call and only talk to one person at a time. But this way I could talk to all of them at once, smile and express love to them all with the expression on my face.
Thank you technology.
Thank you internet ( and Al Gore :) ).
Thank you Skype.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My final Mormon Message

As I alluded to in my last post, my job description is changing a bit in the Mormon Messages world. I'll still be working on them, but rather then coming up with ideas and being a producer, I'll be the post-production supervisor, making sure that the technical standards are followed correctly and then aiding in finalizing the pieces and prepping them for delivery to the web. Additionally, I'll be working with some outside companies to do turnkey outsourcing of Mormon Messages or just portions. I'll be responsible for much more in the workflow and touching each and ever message that come through the shop.

Additionally, I will also be coordinating Language production and making sure that the messages get translated into Spanish in a timely manner, something that has been lacking in the last little while.

As I reflect on these changes, I thought I would post the first Mormon Message that I ever produced back in 2008. This was a talk from Elder Holland and was produced in record time, about 3 days from start to finish, including approvals.

Today's latest release, my FINAL Mormon Message is the 2011 Easter message. "His Sacred Name - An Easter Declaration"

I was privileged to work on this message and touched by the spirit that I felt as I worked with my co-producer Christina Torriente-Robey. All of the images are brand new still images produced by the still photographers and they did some amazing work and once again I was deeply touched by their work and the portrayal of the Christ story.

I am thrilled to be able to work on these messages everyday and although I won't be producing them directly, I'm lucky to be working with incredible producers and helping them make top quality products each month and helping where I can.

I feel a bit like a father who has created a piece of media and then moved on and let other producers now come into their own and start producing stuff. I'm so proud of them and the work that they do and they are pretty amazing and I'm just the proud dad that sits back and watches with a smile (and happiness knowing that I don't have to deal with the approvals anymore.) My time has come and I'm ready to move onto the next challenge.