So today is my two year anniversary at Old Hat Creative. Much like my very first blog, this one will touch on a few things. A lot has changed for me in the last few years, though it seems to be settling down with much of the change coming in the first few months of that stretch two years ago.
The NBA Finals wrapped up last night with Golden State winning their first title in 40 years, finishing off one of the great seasons in NBA history. The Warriors are classy group with a likable cast including Steph Curry, Andre Iguodala and Steve Kerr. Kerr was one of my favorite Bulls back in the day (other than Michael and Scottie) and Kerr has enjoyed success at many of his career stops including playing, coaching or broadcasting. The Warriors also held off a spectacular series performance by one of the great players in history in LeBron James. I've been a LeBron fan for a long time but continue to be amazed / disappointed by all of the hate that's slung his way in spite of his on-court performance. Granted LeBron brings some of it on himself with actions like "The Decision" and "Not one, not two, not three, etc", but he is already one of the top 10 of all-time with several good years left. LeBron and MJ are often compared, many times unfairly because they are different types of players. Can't we be fans of both? I know I am. Jordan won four of his six titles in his 30s and LeBron, who just turned 30, already has two championships under his belt. Even though LeBron is just 2-4 in the Finals, that still holds up when compared to other legends such as Jerry West (1-8 Finals record), Wilt Chamberlain (2-5) or Karl Malone (0-3). Imagine what it would be like if Jordan, West or Chamberlain played in the social media era?
The New York Times reported yesterday that the St. Louis Cardinals were being investigated by the FBI for hacking the Houston Astros player evaluation computer database. We will see how this turns out, but the Internet has already had fun with this one and will call into question the accomplishments of the Cardinals over the last decade. I'm not condoning the hacking/cheating, but this has to be a lesson to create stronger passwords and don't re-use old ones. Especially if you're moving from one organization to a rival one!
Old Hat goes to 11 …. NACMAs. Another successful convention is wrapping up. A time to meet old friends and make some new ones. If you liked what you saw at NACMA or maybe weren't able to attend, check out the ways we use our experience and expertise to make you look good. Like Old Hat Sports Branding. Or court projection videos. Or Fanswers and Fangage. Maybe a print piece, large or small, is what you need. We will make you look good.
I've just got back in the office after spending the end of last week in Lubbock, TX shooting this year's football intro video for Texas Tech and then turning right around and hanging close to home, shooting photos for the Amateur Softball Association yesterday.
Two different kinds of shoots, one focused on video obviously and the other on stills.
Here's a screenshot from twitter showing our latest video shoot out at Texas Tech. There's a lot of tired football players just off in the distance, running sprints will do that to you, but I digress.
Here's a screenshot from twitter showing our photo shoot out at the ASA Softball complex in OKC. Apparently I'm tired because I'm sitting down on the job...(actually it's a good spot for taking full length photos, just so you know.)
Lastly, I've got a sneak peak at something exciting in the works. Keep an eye out for it at NACMA.
I love tired video concepts that are done in a clever way. You don't have to look very hard to see tributes or remakes of popular commercials or music videos on YouTube. Most are not very well done. (Well, except for ours of course...)
Here's a very funny take on the GoPro aesthetic from an office worker showing us the drama and intrigue that go along with his normal day.
This is a good idea in theory. The part I don't like is the limit on photo size at 16 MP. Almost every camera I shoot with besides my iPhone captures a larger file size than that. So it doesn't do me much good for professional work. I totally understand why they have to limit sizes, hey, storage costs money, but I won't be on board for this one.
I'm working on a new project for Old Hat Capture. We shoot a LOT of photographs that never make it into the public, photos that I think are worth showing. This project will allow us to show some of the never before seen images from the Old Hat Capture archives...stay tuned.
I realized this morning that NACMA is less than three weeks away...and started to get a tiny bit stressed.
We still have lots to do! NACMA is a team effort around here, and nearly everyone in the office is contributing in some way. There's been hotel reservations, party invitations...trailer rentals and graphics environmental. A photo shoot and ordering loot. Booth construction and office obstruction. And I don't have enough brain power to think of more rhyming phrases. Instead, I'll turn my attention to checking more off our list.
Old Hat Clients - make sure to watch your mail and email for more information soon!
I'm always on the lookout for new and more efficient ways to tell a story in our Capture department. Sometimes these are creative solutions and sometimes they're technical ones.
If there's a new way to do something that makes it cheaper, faster or easier than the way we currently do it, then I'm all ears.
Shooting photos and video is very interesting to me because it's where technology and creativity collide. You have to take care of all the technology to make the creative part sing. (Case in point, the photo above of me shooting at Clemson. One camera attached to a glidecam for moving, handheld shots. One camera on a tripod for locked off shots. Transferring a single camera between the two setups wastes time and allows for fewer setups. With both we can work faster, saving the client time and money.)
Recently Adobe released a new version of their Lightroom software. Lightroom is what I use to organize and process the tens of thousands of photos we shoot every season.
I keep all of the photographs we shoot. You never know when something will come in handy and I go back to stuff all the time. As you can see from the screenshot above, I currently have 111,612 photos stored. Most of those are client photos and there is also a good amount of stuff shot for Old Hat's internal use. We store it all on a Drobo 5N connected directly to my desktop.
111,612 photos is not a small amount of photos to sort through or load into a program. Adobe added lots of new bells and whistles into the new Lightroom. The one thing that Adobe did that I care about? SPEED. The newest version is faster.
Lately for video I've also become obsessed with 15mm rods and Nato rails. What are those you ask?
Both a 15mm rod and a nato rail are standard mounting protocols used in video for attaching accessories needed for video production. These can be monitors, audio equipment, a follow focus, handgrips, etc. They are also much sturdier and quick to attach and release than a screw mount.
I use a lot of different tools to help facilitate our Capture division. Software, hardware, cameras, lights, grip, etc. All of it plays a role in making things faster, easier and better for our clients. There's always something new in the works from a lot of great companies out there that make these tools.
Yesterday Adobe announced Lightoom CC/6. I use Lightroom here at Old Hat to edit, categorize and organize all of the photographs we shoot throughout the year. It's a crucial part of our workflow and I'm very excited for some of the new features they've engineered in this version.
The number one feature I'm excited about is SPEED! Apparently the new version of Lightroom is way faster than the previous version and speed means we can get things done faster, which is great for you, as a client!
We rely heavily on technology to do our jobs around here, as most people do nowadays. Ask yourself, could you do your job effectively if you didn't have the internet? Or email? Or cellphones? Now think about how we didn't have any of those things only a few short decades ago. Things still got done, but not at the speed and with the ease they're accomplished now.
In order to keep up with your competitors you had to institute all of those things into your workflow. And that's what we do here at Old Hat. We keep up with the technology and the new trends. It's the reason for any price increases or changing of protocols. We have to advance to survive.
In no particular order, here are the top 5 technological thingamajigs that make my life easier/faster at work:
1: Desktop Computer
Of course right? I don't know a whole lot of professions that don't use a computer to accomplish all sorts of tasks. If you walk into Old Hat on any given day, you will find every member of the staff sitting at their computer. It's important that these computers are fast and powerful so we can concentrate on the creative part of our jobs and that's making cool stuff for our clients.
This goes hand in hand with the whole computer thing. We use the latest and greatest creative software from all kinds of companies to create the cool stuff we push out the door everyday. Without it we couldn't create the thousands of posters, publications, websites and videos that we make every year. The days of setting type and photocopying designs are long gone and they aren't coming back.
I use a variety of diffent capture devices for taking photos and shooting video. Each one has its pros and cons that make it better suited to one task or the other. These tools are constantly in flux and are designed to make things faster and easier on set. When I started at Old Hat we were still capturing video at SD resolution. Fast forward a short 8 years and the industry has moved up to HD and now 4K is even coming on strong. The one rule of technology is that it will always advance and we have to advance with it to serve you, our clients.
4. Office Chair
You didn't see this one coming right? I know, it sounds silly, but I sit in this chair for close to 8 hours a day, every day. It needs to be comfortable and ergonomic to allow me to focus on what's in front of me and not what's beneath me. I've went through several chairs over the course of the last few years and I anticipate I'll be going through several more in the years to come. I'm always on the lookout for a better chair. And as much as the chair is important, getting out of it every once in awhile is just as important. If you sit in a chair all day at your job, make sure you get up and move.
No man is an island. You have to have help to do this job and we have a lot of great people here at Old Hat. You may even have met a few of them. So thanks to the great people here for helping out everyday.
This past week has been pretty exciting! Last Monday, our client, Duke, won the Men's Basketball National Championship. On Saturday, our client, Providence College, won the Men's Hockey National Championship and our client, OU, won the Men's Gymnastics National Championship! Not a bad few days! I was fortunate to work with Duke on a lot of their regular and post season Men's Basketball print and video pieces. Additionally, I worked with Providence on their Men's Hockey intro video this year. Dustin went over to OU and did a photo shoot for the Men's Gymnastics team this fall for them to use in their marketing efforts throughout the season. Seems like if you want to win a National Championship, maybe you should consider letting Old Hat help with some of your marketing pieces ;)
You can check out some of the work for these champion clients here:
Providence Men's Hockey Intro Video:
Duke Men's Basketball Season Ticket Book (click thru to video the entire publication):
Men's Basketball Poster, Schedule Card and Magnet:
First up, congrats to Old Hat client Duke on winning the National Championship last night. The leadoff photo is from my last time out there shooting for them. Mason Plumlee (pictured above) isn't there anymore, but his little brother still is.
Here's some quick speedlinks leading into your Tuesday. Here we go...
• Do you like court projection videos? Of course you do. But other industries are using the same technology to make cool stuff. Check out the video above from American Idol.
• How about tintypes? Do you like tintypes? Don't lie, you probably didn't know what those were. Basically if you wanted to take photos like we were still in the 1800's, well that's what you'd do. Not sure I have the patience for it, but holy smokes is it cool. So props to her for making it happen.
That's it for today! Come back next time for more.
This was a still pulled from a video shoot for Men's Basketball shot last year at the University of Cincinnati.
The shoot was done in a darkened practice gym. All of the light in the photo is coming from Arri 650's that we setup. We turned off all of the practical lighting and started with a blank slate.
One of the big components of this shot was the smoke. We had 3 smoke machines working to create the hazy atmosphere. One smoke machine was underneath and behind the basket. We had additional smoke machines off to each side.
A key thing when you're putting smoke in a shot is that you have to light it to see it. If we smoked up a dark gym and didn't light the smoke properly then you would barely be able to tell it was there. In this case we had 4 Arri 650's behind the basket to illuminate the smoke, the basket and the player when he came into frame.
We also had 2 Arri 650's off to camera left to light the area where the action was taking place. Without the 2 lights to camera left you would see just a silhouette of the player and you'd lose the detail of seeing the graphics on his jersey, facial expressions, etc.
Since we were shooting at 120 frames per second we needed a lot of light in the shot. A fast frame rate vs. a standard 24 or 30 frames per second means less light hitting the sensor per frame in the same amount of time. The Arri 650's gave us just enough power to light a large area of the gym floor and still get the background to fall away to black. We couldn't have pulled off this shot with less powerful lights. In fact, 1000 watts per light would've been even better.
This was the setup for almost all of the shots we included in the following video. Thanks for coming by!