Today I'm going to talk about my recent travels shooting. Not only have I been out shooting videos and stills for clients these last few weeks, but I also attended a great cinematography workshop in Dallas.
A couple of weeks ago I made the short trip down to Dallas to attend Alex Buono's Visual Storytelling Tour. Alex is the Director of Photography for the Saturday Night Live Film Unit as well as a director of movies, commericals and shorts. That's Alex operating the new Movi and yours truly on the screen behind him with an iPhone pressed against my face taking the photo.
The workshop was a very full day of lighting setups, equipment testing and most importantly storytelling. I'm looking forward to taking some of the lessons learned that day out on the road for future shoots.
(Alex, lighting for an interview setup.)
My first trip out after the workshop was to Utah where we met up with the marketing team there and our on-campus designer Luke. Luke's a manly man with a manly beard so he had no problem having a girly drink at dinner.
We all met up the day before to setup and then kick off the shoot with dinner and to celebrate Bethany's birthday. Utah's also building a new football facility right now and Old Hat client rep Bethany and myself had a chance to take a tour. There's Bethany below throwing up her best U.
The day of the shoot was full of lots of green screen action and stills. We had limited time with all of the student-athletes, as these things tend to go, so we setup video one direction and stills in the other. Here's a couple of screengrabs below with yours truly shooting a player in video one moment and then photographs the next.
We'll use the footage and stills to create all of the Utah football materials you'll see this year, so stay tuned for those future projects to be posted right here on the website.
Next time I'll cover some of our other recent shoots. More to come...
I don't have a ton of memories from spending time with my father growing up. He was in a car accident when I was 6 that nearly killed him and for a couple of years, he was incapable of doing much in the way of the typical father-son things. And even after he had fully recovered, he was never the type of father to sit down on the floor with me and play a game. He worked hard all week and then on the weekends he worked harder (I grew up on a farm). This is not to say that my father failed in any way. I think he still spent more time with me and my siblings than a lot of fathers do. And he was a great dad. I'm just saying that due there wasn't just a ton of one-on-one time. Therefore, the memories I do have of time with my father are held very precious to me. Three to four times per year, he would drive me the hour-long trek from Guthrie, OK to Norman to see the Sooners play football. It was the Switzer era and there was no bigger fan of Brian Bosworth than I was. I was equally as excited to go to the 2-3 OU men's hoops games each season. Wayman Tisdale, Mookie Blaylock, Tim McAlester... All my heroes. But I don't think anything was better than when he'd take me to Stillwater to see OU play Oklahoma State in basketball. Gallagher-Iba Arena held all of about 37 people back then and there were typically 4 OU fans in the entire crowd. I was one of them for about 8 years in a row. I'll never forget those times and because of those moments, I have passed that along to my own sons. I want them to have those same memories I have.
Years after I started Old Hat, I finally decided to sit down and figure out our mission. What is our purpose? Why do we do what we do? I had pondered that many, many times and for some reason it was never obvious to me. But all at once it became very clear why we are here and why I started Old Hat to begin with. Almost every person I speak to, whether they are sports fans or not, have some memory of a sporting event that they will never forget. Whether it's just driving to track meets with their dad, attending the World Series or simply playing little league, I've never met a person that didn't have a great sports memory that nearly brings tears to their eyes thinking about. And those people ALWAYS remember exactly who they were with.
Sports brings people together. It provides opportunities for fathers to create lifelong memories with their sons. It allows people to share great moments with their brothers, sisters, mothers, friends, etc. And we get so wrapped up in it that the emotion often turns into embraces and tears of joy. And all of the stresses of life are temporarily invisible.
THAT is why we do what we do. At Old Hat we have the opportunity to be a part of that. We can amplify that experience for people. Whether it's helping get people in the seats to begin with or making they experience better once they arrive, we are a part of creating memories for literally millions of people every year. I take great satisfaction in that.
Hey everyone, welcome back! During the summer months I travel and shoot a lot of content that we use to produce football videos and other fall sports, so today I'm going to talk about what's been going on with Old Hat Capture.
Like Robert mentioned in his blog a week and a half ago, we just returned from the University of North Texas where we captured footage for their 2013 football videos. That's me in the photo above, giving instructions on a shot to 600 students. I can't remember exactly what direction I was giving here, but it was probably something along the lines of, "Hey, listen to this guy with the camera say something stupid and then scream like crazy."
The folks at North Texas who had organized this terrific shoot naturally fretted about the results and wanted the crowd to look super excited, thankfully they got their wish.
Dealing with a crowd can be unpredictable, but in this case we had a captive audience since they were taking part in an orientation of sorts. There's nothing like putting six hundred 18-year olds wearing the same shirt into a football stadium. All you need is a microphone and a PA and excitement WILL ensue. It's just a fact people.
The students were already seated in the stands when we arrived, so we just started there. I wanted some epic shots that showed the vastness of the crowd and a tripod just wasn't going to do it for me. Thankfully I had brought the jib along for just this occasion. It doesn't hurt that it looks extremely cool in operation as well, which is always useful when dealing with a bunch of teenagers. Robert and I did some quick setting up of the SevenJib on the platform and we were ready in just a few minutes thankfully.
Let me backtrack for a minute though.
We started by shooting the players against a bluescreen. Normally you might use a greenscreen to key out players, but since they wear green as part of their uniforms it would probably make for some odd video to have a bunch of disembodied heads floating around in the intro video.
I can't get into too much detail on the blog today, but we'll use the keyed out footage of the players to do some cool stuff, so stay tuned for that in the coming months.
On another sidenote, we obviously have a lot of football videos in the pipeline but I'm making time in the next couple of weeks to attend a pretty cool workshop that should be beneficial moving forward for all of our clients. It's Alex Buono's Visual Storytelling Tour and you can find more info on it here. I'll recap that in an upcoming blog. More to come...
Well that about covers the bad and the ugly over the last few weeks. Now let’s move on to the good…
Another successful NACMA is under the Old Hat belt and although it feels really good to have made it through without any hiccups, I also realize what the end of the NACMA conference signifies… BUSINESS TIME! That’s why they call them business socks.
I always enjoy NACMA but this year seemed especially good and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I’m not naturally an extroverted person and it takes me some time to warm up to people. So one would figure by my seventh conference maybe I’m starting to warm up to all the people I see every year, and I figure that’s why this year seems to have gone so well. I admit I’m not a small-talker and I don’t feel uncomfortable with having some silence. It’s golden, after all. It’s also hard for me to “fake it” when I’m talking with people, so if I act like I want to talk with you, chances are I do.
So this didn’t seem like it should fall in the “good” category, but it does. I came back from NACMA to find a piece of foil wrapped around my office doorknob. I thought to myself, “Oh, nice prank people- that’s so amateur.” Before I could even finish my thought I had opened my door to what appeared to be the inside of the ship from Flight of the Navigator. It was ridiculous… ridiculously awesome. Although I knew there was going to be some serious cleanup to be done, there was a true respect for the effort put forth by Tricia, Traci and Stevie. I’m quite the prankster around the office, but I can handle getting a taste of my own medicine every now and then. So we’ll see what happens…
North Texas On-Site Shoot
Last on my list of the good things is the video shoot Dustin and I just finished up with North Texas (actually on our way back now as I write this blog). It’s always nice to go to a shoot and have things run smoothly. Dustin does a great job on our side making sure we have everything needed, but we also have to rely on our clients to get the student-athletes, coaches and many others in the right place at the right time. Tonight was a perfect example of all those things coming together seamlessly. We started off by setting up a couple hours before the first football players came in. The room provided for our blue screen was exactly what we needed- a high ceiling and a lot of space to allow us to capture what we needed (FYI- we use blue screens when shooting folks wearing a lot of green). Secondly, the student-athletes were ready on time. That was crucial to keeping with the schedule and it worked out beautifully. Once we had all the guys “captured” we moved out to Apogee Stadium to shoot 600 rowdy students. It was good foresight by Jamie and Kayla to use the freshman orientation as a backdrop for our video shoot. When else are you gonna have that many students in one place, having a good time and dressed in fan gear, with the ability to direct them to do what you want? It turned out incredible- the students were pumped after an electric speech by Athletic Director Rick Villareal, they did exactly what they were asked and at the end of the day we got a lot of great footage that will show how much fun it is to be part of North Texas athletics.
So there you have it, a breakdown of the good, the bad and the ugly, with more emphasis on the good. Happy humpday!
Hello in Old Hat blog land! I just got back from the NACMA convention in Orlando. I hope all of our clients made it home safely and had a great NACMA. It was great chatting with all of you.
Today I'm going to talk about Old Hat Capture. Some of the feedback I got at NACMA was about how some clients didn't know we offered this service, so I want to tell you a little more about it.
(Above - Old Hat Capture hard at work in Cincinnati.)
Old Hat Capture is one of six divisions of Old Hat Creative. Old Hat Capture focuses on capturing original photography and video content for our clients. We can travel to your location and shoot the materials you need for any and all of your sports throughout the year. We can turn that content over to you or we can use it to produce the posters, videos and supporting materials you market with throughout the year.
We have experience with shooting green/blue screen, scripting and storyboarding, live action and posed headshots. Basically anything you need to make cool stuff. This service goes hand in hand with Old Hat Productions and every other Old Hat division so that you can get everything you need from one, full-service creative agency.
In just the last few weeks we've traveled to MIchigan, SMU and Cincinnati to shoot and have upcoming trips to North Texas and Utah in the next couple of weeks. We've been traveling to shoot for some clients year after year and captured footage of almost every sport in the process.
(Above - An Old Hat Capture set up in the Michigan football locker room.)
We can work with a minimal crew to keep costs down for the client or we can ramp up to a large production to take care of those big ideas you have. We can shoot a broad range of styles so any idea you have for your program or sport is within reach.
If you want to know more about Old Hat Capture or get a look at more examples or hear more about the process then give us a call or send us an email. We'll be happy to discuss your project and what Old Hat Capture can do for you.
It is Super Fan 5k time here in Norman. If you are reading this blog you probably already have seen something about the 5k but it is finally here!!
When Zac first announced that he wanted to change to a 5k from Humayliation, I was excited.Mostly because thiswas painful.I have never had half of my face go numb like that without involving a trip to the dentist.On top of that, it turns out I am a little allergic to the grass wherever we filmed that video.Add in the pain of jumping in the air and landing on your back, I was happy to have to run a little for charity this year instead.
Setting something like this takes a lot of work and preparation. Kelby has led our efforts to put this event on and she has done a great job. Initially, I thought I would run the 5k, but I wont. I will be taking photos of the event as Old Hat’s third string photographer. When everyone that has talent is gone, they turn to me. I am excited to do it and I am excited for the race to be here.
Giving back in some way or another is something I love about Old Hat. Ironically, I am not a fan of being on websites or filming myself and posting it online. I try to keep a tight lid on what gets out on the interwebs about me. When I applied for Old Hat, Zac asked if I used Facebook. He asked because he could not find me on Facebook and it would be a part of my job. I keep my account locked down as much as possible. When Robert tagged me at a restaurant in North Carolina, I almost un-friended him and then quickly logged on to undo what he had done. I am not trying to hide; I am just not one to broadcast my life to the world. The point of this rambling is that when it comes to giving back, I do not even think about it. I ran for an hour on a treadmill last week, broadcasting my receding hairline to the world but really did not care. I am not near as entertaining as Zac, Robert, or Tricia but I wanted to do it to help out even if I bored the audience to tears. Twenty years from now, there will still be a video of my failed attempts to be a real soccer player and embarrassing myself online but I do not care because of what Old Hat is doing to help those in need.
The Super Fan 5k is raising money for Norman Public School Foundation and the Mary Abbott House. Both are great causes and the money is definitely going somewhere that it is needed. We are still accepting donations so if you have not managed to get to Norman for the race, go to http://superfan5k.org/donate and help Old Hat support two great causes. And who knows, after this weekend we may have a few more embarrassing videos to put online.
When this time of year rolls around I get ready to travel and shoot footage for intro videos, commercials, player features and to shoot plenty of stills. We capture the content for fall sports in the summer. Then we spend the months leading into football and basketball season creating the designs and videos that schools market with.
It's an exciting time of year around Old Hat World Headquarters. Every year we do bigger and better things and I'm excited to try and top everything we did last year.
The Part Where We Talk About Gear
One of the things we've done in the past year that has helped me tremendously is organizing our gear for those shoots. Since we moved Old Hat into a new space we have a legitimate gear closet now. Things are still a little messy, but they're 500% better than our previous situation.
(Just some of our gear that's in the closet right now. Oh how I love thee gear closet. Let me count the ways...)
We used to keep all of our gear in a small crawl space underneath some stairs. This was not exactly ideal for getting access to everything. I think Deb liked it the most, since it was right next to her desk and she enjoyed the way I stacked boxes around her. :)
When scheduling a shoot for a client there are several things to consider. Are we shooting stills or video or both? The equipment requirements for a still shoot are different than the requirements for a video shoot. There is some overlap in what to bring but of course there are differences that must be accounted for.
Stills require strobe lights, or strobes for short. These lights fire off a burst of light that illuminates the subject then fades away to black again. Video requires continuous lighting or lights that stay on the whole time. Despite what some clients might wish, you can not shoot video and stills with the same lights. Not if you want it to look good anyway. (There's a gray area here, but for the most part this statement shall be taken as truth.)
The Part Where We Talk About Big Ideas
(Hey, I think I can see Quentin Tarantino from up here!)
Dustin's Rule #1 - Almost everything you want to shoot requires more lights than you think it does.
It's important to keep budget and expectations in line with each other when on a shoot. Here's a behind the scenes photo from the set of the movie Django Unchained. They were creating the illusion of moonlight to shoot some night scenes. All it took was a couple of massive cranes, several very large generators and a couple of light banks big enough to light an entire field. Something to keep in mind next time you have that brilliant idea for a night shoot.
On the flipside of that, I've shot plenty of intro videos after dark. On those shoots we were lucky enough to have equally large football stadium lights at our disposal. So there is that, but just saying... be sure and temper your expectations to your resources.
Dustin's Rule #2 - Almost everything you want to shoot requires more room than you think it does.
Sometimes clients want to shoot on green screen. It's an excellent way to add special effects and graphics to your videos that aren't possible in a practical sense. We do a lot of that at Old Hat. However, it always takes more green screen than you think it does.
Above is a behind the scenes photo of a scene from The Matrix. We've got guys up in the air on wires, crash pads, bullet time cameras, etc. Lots of stuff going on to create the illusion of this shot below.
So, make sure you have a big space to shoot to go along with your big idea. Personally, I like big spaces to shoot and I cannot lie. You other video shoot people can't deny.
Ok, now that we've made that reference I'm going to wrap this up for now. Make sure and hire us to come out and shoot videos for you this summer. If this blog has taught you anything it's that I promise to rent or ship obscene amounts of lighting and then set it up in huge rooms to shoot. Or to make whatever you have work and still look awesome no matter what the obstacles. One of those two. ;)
Know what's difficult? Running a business. Raising children is tough, sure. But the results of your failures aren't quite as immediate. If you screw up in raising your kids, you probably won't realize it until they're meth addicts or shooting at people from a clock tower. Running a marathon is difficult. But it's difficult for 18 weeks leading up to it and then for 4 hours during (or if you're a complete stud like me, 3 hours and 35 minutes). Running a business is always difficult. It never gets easy. No matter how well things are going, there are always new challenges. Back me up here, Trip Durham! And if you screw up, people lose their jobs. If you screw up BIG, you lose everything.
One of those difficulties we face every year is how to be properly prepared for the onslaught of "busy season" for the upcoming year. Right now we're in our "dead season" which doesn't mean that we don't have lots to do. It just means that compared to August, September and October, the spring months are a breeze. But Old Hat has been around for 9 years and each year we have seen exponential growth in the amount of work that we have coming in. And it seems like each year we are understaffed through those busy months. What I am faced with each spring is making sure that we are properly staffed for that time period but not OVERstaffed. We don't want to be put in a position where we have to lay-off someone after the busy season ends because we don't have enough work. We also have to decide when to bring in new people in order to train them and have them ready for busy season. If we hire too soon, we're putting money toward an unnecessary payroll expense for someone that doesn't have anything to do. If we hire them too late, busy season comes and they aren't properly prepared. So every May/June, we have to decide who we're hiring, how many people we're hiring and when to bring them on. Hire too many and we spend too much on payroll and profits suffer. Hire too few and everyone is miserable all fall because they're working too much.
Growing is painful at times. And even though you can analyze past successes and failures, study your numbers, etc... it's all just a big guessing game. Sometimes I guess right and sometimes I guess wrong. I've gotten better at it over the years but last year we had the biggest jump in growth we'd ever had and there was no way to know it was coming. It seems to have just happened. Do I prepare this year for that level of growth? Or do I prepare for what we had typically done in prior years? Or is this the year where it all levels out and we hardly grow any?