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.
In case you haven't heard (like the weather here in Oklahoma), it's July already. WOAH! Where did the time go? Seems like just a few weeks ago it was the New Year and all of a sudden, last week I'm celebrating my 1 year anniversary at Old Hat. IT'S CRAZY STUFF. But, with the start of July comes two things: our busy season and Independence Day (the actual day AND the movie, so I guess that's actually 3 things? whatever.)
The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays - there's no stress about getting everyone the perfect gift, no excessive holiday traveling, no worrying about if all the food will get done at the same time, etc. It's all about pyrotechnics and stuffing your face with unhealthy things like beer and hamburgers and my absolute favorite - hotdogs. WHAT CAN BE MORE AMERICAN THAN THAT?! In case you couldn't think of anything, I've already got something for you - one of the lesser-known and under-appreciated sports out there: Competitive Eating. More specifically, Nathan's Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island.
I'm sure most of you have seen or at the very least heard about this crazy awesome spectator event. I first became interested in the sport when I saw one of those MTV True Life documentaries about competitive eating. They even followed around Takeru Kobayashi, who is one of the greatest to ever eat a bunch of food really, really fast. At the time, I thought this guy looked unbeatable. Before him, the record was 25 hot dogs, and in his first year, he DOUBLED that number and took home first place in the Hot Dog Eating Contest 6 years in a row. That was UNTIL American great Joey Chestnut came along and has won every contest since 2007. This year, he's going for 70 hot dogs in 10 minutes. He's finished 68 in two previous years, so I definitely think he can do it.
This morning, I was thinking of what an intro video for Joey Chestnut would look like... Do we focus on his EIGHT World Records? Maybe the fact that he's going for his 7th Nathan's title this year, to surpass Kobayashi? Or even throw in a VO from a previous interview, "I will not stop until I reach 70. This sport isn't about eating. It's about drive and dedication, and at the end of the day, hot dog eating challenges both my body and my mind."? This guy is hard core, but ultimately, I came to the conclusion that making a minute-long intro video for a 10 minute eating contest may be a little excessive. What do you think? Are you going to join me on the Fourth in cheering for our hometown (err, country) hero? Either way, I hope you have a fun (AND SAFE) holiday!
I recently got back from a pretty fantastic vacation to Tennessee and Pennsylvania. We hit up Dollywood and got some amazing Moonshine in Gatlinburg (free mini shots to sample the goods...hello!). Country music, mountains and booze: nice work, Tennessee. We spent the next few days in Gettysburg, PA. I'm a pretty big history nerd so it was really amazing just walking around the old town and battlegrounds. One of the coolest things on this trip (other than the ghost tour during the daylight with our guide carrying a lit candle) was my discovery of the Gettysburg Cyclorama. It's probably a combination of geographic location and generational factors, but I had never even heard of a cyclorama, ever. What a sheltered life.
Here's a quick wiki word-for-word definition: A cyclorama is a panoramic painting on the inside of a cylindrical platform, designed to provide a viewer standing in the middle of the cylinder with a 360° view of the painting. The intended effect is to make a viewer, surrounded by the panoramic image, feel as if they were standing in the midst of an historic event or famous place. As the viewers stood in the center of the painting, there would often be music and a narrator telling the story of the event depicted.
For a video lady like myself this experience of the Battle of Gettysburg was mind blowing. The painting is 27 feet high by 359 feet in circumference.Think 19th century IMAX. A different scene comes to life everywhere you look. Words or photos won't do it justice, but it was truly a remarkable piece of work that I would highly recommend checking out sometime.
There's something to be said about being able to transport a viewer to a different time and location. That opportunity is one of the great things about working in video. A project we're currently in the final stages of is a 3D model project for Duke Basketball. I can't reveal the exact details, but my experience in the Gettysburg Cyclorama mirrors (in a way) what we're doing in this video. Exciting stuff in the OH Video Department! I will link back to this blog entry when we can go public with this project and then you'll all be like, "I totally see what Deb was talking about."
If I were to build my very own Deb's Summer Vacation 2013 Cyclorama it would probably include a view of these images (courtesy of my magical iphone):
Almost a year ago, I started at Old Hat Creative. My second week on the job I attended NACMA in Dallas and at about that same time, the University of Utah came on as a retainer client. This meant great things for Old Hat Creative! We would be their marketing agency, designing anything and everything one can think of in the sports marketing world. Intro videos, posters, banners, calendars, logos, commercials, web and newspaper ads, social media graphics, brochures, postcards, etc. The list goes on and on.
It's been one year now and Old Hat Creative and the University of Utah Athletics are happy to announce a new opportunity! Starting this July, our graphic designer, Luke Atkinson, is moving to Salt Lake City, Utah to work side-by-side with the Utah Marketing department as a member of Old Hat Creative. You can read Luke's story by reading his latest blog entry.
I have a big secret to share. Not many people know about it. It's probably not as lovable of a quirk as I think it is. Okay here it is: I don't know the lyrics to most of the songs I sing. I do a mumble (similar to Kanye West's self-censorship on last weekend's SNL) and then sing the parts of the song I do know with all of my heart. I know I'm not the only person who does this.
Luckily for myself and the people riding in my car, lyric videos are now a staple of the recording artist's video repertoire. I love these videos not only because they clue me in on what's actually being sung, but some of them are incredibly creative and fun to watch. The variety of fonts and text sizes and motion graphics...it's just delightful. Here are a few of my fav's:
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.
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?