Egypt’s Flipping Virgins

No, we aren’t talking about the country Egypt, rather the incredibly talented television, radio personality, author, speaker and home space expert, Egypt Sherrod.

Nothing like a trip to Hot-lanta in the middle of winter to keep you warm and fuzzy.  Chris Valentino directed Egypt in a series of new promo materials for HGTV and the Cider Company. Once again shot by long-time collaborator, DP Mike Falasco, the promo campaign was a delight to work on.

Egypt is a passionate professional who always brings her a-game to the set. It was a fun time working with Egypt (she has some serious dance moves).  Check out her show on HGTV!

DIY’s Income Property

It goes without saying that the incredible talent at DIY knows how to have fun.  We worked with DIY, The Cider Company and super-nice, award-winning host Scott McGillivray on some new promo campaigns.  Chris Valentino directed the shoot for the Cider Company and DIY alongside the DIY design team.  This shoot was a blast as it reunited many of our old crew people together at one of our favorite NY area locations.  The shoot went incredibly well and we accomplished everything we hoped to.  It was a memorable day.  Our favorite highlight has to be Scott tossing a sledgehammer to Director, Chris Valentino while he wasn’t looking.  Thankfully, Chris’ panther-like reflexes were on point.  Lastly, we have to mention the shoot was shot by our talented and lovely DP, Mike Falasco.  Kudos and thanks to Kim Bratt and team Cider for another fun assignment.

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It’s Time: ESPN and SEC Documentary -Title Design

“It’s Time” is the highly anticipated SEC Storied documentary which depicts the unique relationship between former SEC players Chucky Mullins and Brad Gaines.

The film by Peabody Award-winning documentarian Fritz Mitchell takes an in-depth look at the inspirational friendship between Gaines, a former Vanderbilt fullback, and Mullins, a former Mississippi defensive back. Their lives became intertwined on Oct. 28, 1989 when Mullins put a devastating hit on Gaines near the Mississippi end zone. The collision left Mullins paralyzed and Gaines troubled with guilt for having played an unknowing role in the injury.

Several personalities featured in the documentary, including Gaines, Mitchell and former Mississippi head coach Billy Brewer, will discuss their participation after the screening.

Bean Labs, led by Chris Valentino, was happy to once again collaborate with Fritz on the project.  We provided the title design and animations for the film which premiered Sept 4th.

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Think Big Picture!

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by Chris Valentino, Partner/ECD

I have had the fortune of working on a number of rewarding film and video projects from independent features to documentaries, talk shows and consumer campaigns.   Each project has been its own reward and offered creative and technological challenges that have thankfully proved successful. As a result, I am approached by various industries to produce and direct projects for just about every screen. With each project I am often given a creative objective or marketing task. As with any medium there is no easy answer for execution and rarely do I make the decision alone. There are talented cinematographers and technologists who understand the emerging formats and the advancing post process who I am fortunate to collaborate with. More often than not the process involves me designing a desired result wherein my invaluable crew helps determine the best way to execute it. From a video standpoint there has never been a better time to work in the medium. The technology is within reach of anyone (for better and worse) and you can push creative boundaries to new limits. Unfortunately, as technology is evolving at an ever increasing pace clients are requesting to do more and more for less and less.

Video as a technology offers a specific way to tell a story and spread a message. As it becomes easier and more readily available to produce it creates a very specific problem. I call it the “my nephew can shoot this on his iphone” syndrome. Sure mobile cameras have killed the Flip camera (thankfully), but it doesn’t mean anyone can “point and shoot”. As an artist, (and someone who handed NYU film school a small fortune) I feel a dedication to the craft. Beyond that dedication I carry a weighted responsibility and understanding of the importance of producing video correctly. I could easily discuss the number of clients who have asked to produce videos with flip cameras, over skype or on iphones, however, I still cannot figure out why. Sure it may be perceived as being cheaper, but really? Isn’t audio a major concern in an interview? Isn’t exposure a necessity for capturing the essence of your subject or is silhouette shooting the new art form? There are no shortcuts; there are no cheap avenues without sacrifice. I wish I could call every other vendor and ask them what they are thinking when they say “yes” to these requests. I wish I could speak with every client who is soon saddled with extravagant post expenses to fix their skype or flip footage. The truth is YouTube and our acceptance of America’s Funniest Home Videos has contributed to the breakdown of quality in our industry. (In March Google purchased a tech company to improve quality of YouTube videos which is hopefully a sign of good things to come for consumer quality acceptance.)

I have been asked to meet with companies to talk on this subject. I have been asked to outline my opinions on how to produce a strong video and how to capture a subject in a way that will reach and engage an audience. Each time I have the same response. Do it right, or not at all. If a client is going to spend a dollar on a video they should understand where that dollar is going to go, how it will affect future dollars and how it will impact results.

If a client is looking to shoot video, I ask two questions. The first is “what is the story you want to tell?”. The second is “what else can you capture in that time?”. For example how will still photography enhance the project? How may additional audio extend your campaign? and how will the video be used (not just tomorrow, but a year from now)? It is important to think about not just your desired results, but the greater possibilities for it. There are certain a
spects of video that you can control and it is important that before you begin a project, whether as a vendor or client, that you plan accordingly. Think big, and then allow yourself to proceed with small steps. The problems with many projects result from small thinking and shortcutting expenses without analyzing the impact.

As you embark on your next project take a moment to think objectively. Examine your costs and your desired results, and then think about what else you can accomplish. Lastly, before you unplug the USB charger on your Flip, remember your efforts need results. So, Think Big Picture. In the end tell your story and do it right or not at all.


 

MOTIVE HELP HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL

 

“I love working with hsr|ny and MOTIVE because they expertly deliver two critical elements to the show – the audio and graphics, both of which are essential to portraying the whole story of each of our house hunters,” says John Bertholon, Co-Executive Producer, Leopard Films. “Our audience needs to be intoxicated by the story we’re telling and the expertise of the engineers and creatives at hsr|ny and MOTIVE help us do just that.”

 

Bertholon can often be found working with hsr|ny to mix the sound at the companies’ facility in New York City on any given day. Chad Roucroft and Tom Gehring, sound mixers at hsr|ny, both work on the series, alternating from episode to episode. When in session, it takes about seven hours to complete a mix for a typical episode of House Hunters International. In Pro Tools, staff members remove most of the background noise that comes with raw footage, leaving some intact to add to the show’s naturalistic sound, look and feel. Gehring, also notes that a major challenge is keeping the audio consistent from show to show. “The local crews always send us good quality sound; it is just that some portions of it is better than other portions,” Gehring says. “We’re just trying to make it sound the best it can.”

 

Roucroft explains that a big part of what they do, about sixty percent of their day, is to edit sound elements to better move the story along.  “For example, if you want a husband or wife to say, ‘We’re really looking forward to this part of our lives,’ we’ll take different parts of different sentences and put them together to ensure it sounds natural. In the industry, these are known as “Frankensteins.”

 

Creating the graphics for each episode presents its own set of issues. “The map type of graphic, which depicts the destination town, includes any iconic highlights, such as the Coliseum in Rome or the Eiffel Tower in Paris,” says Will Hong, the MOTIVE artist who handles graphics for House Hunters International. Some cities lend themselves well to this, but if you’re in a lesser-known location, such as Ulan Bator, Mongolia, then you might have to show more graphics that are specific to the person’s experience, such as a school they will be teaching in, or the train station they’ll use for their commute. In these instances, Leopard Films helps us decide what kinds of graphics to create.”

 

MOTIVE also performs the final online edit for every House Hunters International episode. Leopard Film’s offline edit is very tight by the time MOTIVE receives it, so senior editor Stephen Hoppe, who handles this edit, usually only makes minor corrections. He checks to ensure that the graphics and color correction are of consistently high quality, as well as conforms any uneven shots.

 

House Hunters International is an excellent example of the value the collaborative efforts of hsr|ny and MOTIVE bring to the client,” says MOTIVE Executive Creative Director Chris Valentino. “Since the episodes take place in some exceptionally gorgeous settings, it is absolutely critical that the look and sound is picture-perfect. That’s why our graphics and design skills and hsr|ny’s renowned sound services make for an especially powerful combination. Along with Leopard Films’ superb video editing talent, they help to truly bring the show ‘home’ to the viewer. We are looking forward to a continued relationship with all parties well into the future.”