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1st Place award at 2016 TAMI Awards

Official release from our office at the City of San Angelo:

Public Info claims 1st 1 st -place trophy Following three years of second- and third-place trophies, the City of San Angelo’s Public Information Office finished first at this year’s Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers conference.

The City won first place in the Public Service Announcement (Educational) category for “Did Your Butt Start This Fire?” The 36-second video, produced by Multimedia Coordinator Brian Groves and starring retired City employee Roger Banks and his vintage wagon, dramatically illustrates the danger of flicking a lit cigarette from a car.

The Public Information Office also won two second-place Awards of Excellence for videos.

“Remembering the Fallen: Sgt. Korby Kennedy” captured the tributes paid by the community, the San Angelo Police Department and law enforcement from across Texas to the late officer killed in the line of duty last summer. The 19-minute video placed second in Special or One-Time Programs.

“Answering the Call,” a recruiting spot for the San Angelo Fire Department, placed second in Public Service Announcement (Marketing).

TAMIO’s competition attracted a record 317 entries in categories ranging from print to electronic to video. The winners were announced Friday in Arlington.

“Brian makes winning awards look easy,” Public Information Officer Anthony Wilson said. “Trust me, the guy busts his hindquarters to enlighten our citizens with compellingly visual storytelling. There’s not a public information office anywhere in this state that wouldn’t fall all over itself to have him. We’re fortunate he loves San Angelo.”

The office’s “#ThisPlaceMatters” video was spotlighted during the conference’s annual film fest. All of the videos can be viewed at youtube.com/CityofSanAngeloTx.

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Western Dodgers

I love that both my job at the City of San Angelo, and my freelance jobs give me room to grow and try new things.  I was hired by my friend, Alex Vega, to come out and shoot a video of his Little League Baseball team, the Western Dodgers.

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For this job I used the Sony A7ii, with the Canon 24-105L f/4 and the Canon 70-200L f/4.  Had to have variable ND filters on both lenses because the sun was so insanely bright.  All of the filming was from behind the fence or through the fence.  Luckily with the Sony A7ii I can go from Full frame mode, to APS-C mode, and then add on a 2x clear image zoom, so I was able to get a great variety of shots.

One thing I learned about with baseball, is man it is a bunch of start/stop shots, and man is it hard to guess what is going to happen or where the ball is going to go.

Our shoots consisted of 2 games, 1 practice session, and some scenic shots of equipment and the field.

The project was a new challenge, and a fun experience, check it out.

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Be Theatre

Back in October of 2015, Be Theatre hired me to film all of their productions for a year, for the ultimate goal of making a comprehensive short about Be Theatre.  This was the first time I filmed Theatre and boy was it a lot of fun!  We are about to wrap on all of our shoots, the last one being Shakespeare on the Concho.  As I get closer to finishing the project for them I will be posting more, but in the mean time I thought I would share some of the work I have done for them.  Enjoy!  (All filmed with the Sony A7ii)

The Sorcerers’s Apprentice:

Five Course Love:

Junie B. Jones (Literature Alive 2016):

Parallel Lives:

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Be water smart…

My Boss and I sat down back in April to brainstorm on a new PSA for Drought Level 1.  He ended up just giving it to me and said come up with an idea and lets get it done.

So my main goal, well I didn’t have a main goal, I couldn’t really come up with anything at first.

Then I started to think how whenever a big news story breaks it is everywhere, almost like you can’t escape it.  Even if you aren’t listening directly you are still noticing it a little, and over time you start to think about it more and might research it or bring it up in conversation.

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The idea started taking form in my mind and next I needed to work on an actress.  So I approached my friend, and fellow American Advertising Federation Board member, Andi Markee with Townsquare Media.  This ended up being a huge help.  Not only did she agree to be in the video but she also let us use the radio station she works with, KGKL for the radio portion of the video.

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Next I approached Kaitlin Moore with KLST and Joe Hyde from San Angelo LIVE! to get the TV and online portions for the video.

Before I go on, I would like to say that we have a fantastic relationship with all of the media organizations in San Angelo and we had just finished a Candidate Forum with the Standard Times, KIDY FOX San Angelo, Foster Communications, and Conexion Hispana.  I chose the media organizations on my own as a way to make an effort to work with everyone.

Alright on to the production side.  Main camera was the Sony FS7, every shot in the video is with the FS7 except for the car scene and her getting out of the car and the sliding shot of Kaitlin which was with the C100.  The car scene was filmed with the DJI Osmo (X3 camera).  I haven’t talked much about the Osmo, I love it!  The stability it provided in the car was phenomenal, especially since Andi was driving faster than I anticipated.

For the first time that I can recall, we filmed from the end to the front of the video.  Andi was already dressed so we shot the ending (thanks to Fred Barnett of the SAFD for the use of his yard) first.

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We shot this scene 3 different times.  Once in 180 frames per second (slow motion), and then 2 more times at 24 frames per second (normal speed).  I did that for a few reasons.  One, the FS7 when recording slow motion does not record audio.  So that was one reason to record at 24p, was so that I would have ambient audio to place under the slow motion (shot that was used in the video).

Then we shot the car scene, which we only shot once.  We did shoot her getting out of the car twice because I fell over in the backseat and you could see my shadow in the shot.

The shots in the home weren’t anything special, did a couple of different takes and different angles.

I went to KLST and recorded Kaitlin with the FS7 straight on, and the C100 on our Rhino Slider on the side shot (which was used in the video).

In post the original version was a 30 second version and it just felt rushed.  The story didn’t make sense and it needed more.  This was pointed out by my wife, Lacy (Executive producer of everything I do haha).  So the next day I went back in, added a different scene here or there and didn’t worry about a time limit, and it came out beautifully.  I also added a little bit of distortion to the radio in the car because the quality was too good and I wanted it to have a more realistic feel to it (another Lacy point).

So without further ado, here is our Drought Level 1 PSA, “Do your part, be water smart”.

Rec SN Basketball

Recent work

We recently added the Sony FS7 to our equipment at the City and I can’t rave enough about it.  Really the total package when it comes to a camera, and a cinema camera at that.

In the last post I made, back in February, I know it seems like I can’t post consistently, but that just means that I am busy!  Anyway in the post, “Did your BUTT start this Fire?” that was one of the first shoots we got to use the FS7 and it was amazing.

I got to document a special program for the City’s Recreation department, which was an Adaptive Basketball League for special needs children.  This was so special to watch and get to document.  The 180 fps slow motion I felt really captured this story in a unique way and really captured the emotion and sheer joy these kids were experiencing.  I will say, manual focusing basketball is tough!  I was consistently shooting at a f/2.8 or f/4.

More videos from the past few months:

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Did your BUTT start this fire?

This was our first shoot with the Sony FS7 at the City.  And actually we had been holding off on filming this until we got the FS7 so that we could utilize the slow motion 180 fps.

Little background…

Our Fire Marshal, Ross Coleman, came up with this fantastic tag line, “Did your BUTT start this fire?” as soon as he mentioned it to me my mind starting racing with ideas on how to pull this off.  As discussions continued I mentioned to Ross that in order for this to really work we would need to ignite a fire from a cigarette just so that it drives the point home.

In searching for someone to be our smoker/driver we both came up with our friend and former Purchasing Director, Roger Banks.  Not only would he be able to be the talent but he is a classic car collector and we asked if we could use his car in the video as well.  Why? Because it would just look cool!

Aerial shots were filmed with the DJI Inspire 1 with the X5 camera.

Something of note on this shoot, this was the first time that all of the filming I did had zero sound.  The aerial shots were silent, and the 180 fps slow motion shots on the FS7 were silent as well.  That presented its own hurdle to overcome in post.

I needed to find sound effects for every shot of the video.  Car driving down the road; ambient sound inside the car while driving; smoking a cigarette; flicking a cigarette; fire and igniting the fire.  All of these shots I had to play sound engineer on.  And to be honest it was a pretty fun challenge to tackle. (Pond5, Video Copilot)

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If you have seen the video, you will notice that this shot is not in it.  This video definitely morphed during the creative process.  Originally it was supposed to end with hand cuffs being tossed on the fiery ash with a tagline about going to jail.  But as my wife pointed out, it just didn’t feel cinematic.  So we kept the video intact up until the cigarette hit the ground and then I began brainstorming what we could do.

Enter the TATOA (Texas Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisers) community.  I messaged my cohorts in local government asking them for wildfire footage, thinking I could use high quality footage of wildfires to get the point across.  Keith Reeves and Jonathan Uhl from the City of Austin suggested reaching out to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department to see if I could use their footage.  A huge thank you to TPWD because the wildfire footage definitely helped finish the video off while keeping the cinematic feel I was going for.

The crazy thing is, this little 30 second PSA totaled to almost 100 gig in project files!

This has to be one of my favorite pieces of work that we have done in my almost 8 years at the City of San Angelo Texas.