Testimonial Advertising

This television commercial was captured and edited from the patients own words.

Working with director Tom Mescall on this project, we ran a two camera shoot with five different patient groups. Hearing their first hand from-the-heart stories, of the struggles they went through prior to bariatric surgery and the changes in their life since, made for some wonderful footage and commentary.

It is about the moment.

Using two cameras when conducting interviews is wonderful, and three might even be better. It isn’t just about having different framing, it is about having the cameras move and keep framing visually interesting. Having one play it safe leaves only one to have fun with. Still, it seems that there is always a moment captured where it all comes together, where the spontaneous voicing of a real situation brings an understanding to the eyes, where a genuine emotion is conveyed beyond the words spoken.

Authenticity in advertising is critical to reaching people at a place where they believe what they see and hear. A rehearsed script rarely comes across as anything other than what it is, and loses much in that reception. Typically, authentic advertising is based upon a testimonial or other proof of worth. These stories are best captured in a video interview.

The video interview process is much more than simply showing up and asking questions. Research is needed beforehand to discover the intent of the organization, their manner of achieving those goals, the nature of the volunteers and employees and many other factors. Similarly, knowledge of the public perception is important, particularly that part of the public that is the demographic target of the video.

Using real people in advertising requires a unique skill set of the interviewer. Having the knowledge of the research noted above, the interviewer must be able to ask questions in a manner that invites the person to discover in their own way the answer. Often, the same question may be asked in a couple of different ways to achieve similar answers that are spoken in different tone, wording, or facial expression.

It is a debatable point as to whether a pre-interview helps or hinders. I fall on the side of hindrance. By experience I have found that the first conversations with a person about their company or organization are the most candid, the least prepared, and the most effective at capturing a person in the real moment of their enthusiasm. A prepared interviewee is one that often hesitates to find the “right” words they thought they wanted to say when. Spontaneous interview responses yield genuine responses.

Support for this thinking comes from most of the late night talk show hosts. They rarely visit with their guests before the show, wanting a more candid and spontaneous interview.



Autism Speaks Charity Golf Tournament

The Topping brothers know what autism is all about.

One of the leading donors to Autism Speaks in Southern California, the Topping Brothers and their golf tournament contribute significantly to this organization that supports families experiencing autism and the research to cure it. This was my second year of creating a video for them and I am impressed by the camaraderie that is shown among the adults almost as much as I am by Trey Toppng, brother of Liam who has severe autism.

Trey speaks each year from his experience growing up with autism in the house. It cannot be easy for a pre-teen to cope with yet Trey rises above himself and sees the road ahead.

If you are interested in playing in this tournament sign up early, it sells out every year.


CG Producer Reel

Sometimes I work for a living, and have fun doing it.

It can be said that computer-generated art and the photographic techniques that help make it real is part of my roots. If not for Paul Debevec’s online classes in high dynamic range imaging (HDRI) I probably would not have had the chance to shoot my first commercial, would not have gained the confidence that yes, darnit, I can do this and really enjoy it, and would not have grown to the point I am at now.

But yes, work is worthy, even for me.

This video showcases several techniques. Opening with a flicker-free time lapse of day into night from Point Dume, a bit of mirror lens on the moon and then a dusk freeway, a series of urban freeway time lapse unfolds into a showcase of computer generated cars with the creation steps shown in fair detail. The better video of computer generated car in real scene is the first one, but the music went longer and we needed something to fill it out with. Most people don’t notice the flaws in the red car, but if you’re good and see them I want you to know that I do, too.