Kevin Nations Post helps Chef Daryl make his splash

The KNP office was filled with the sensational smells of food

as Daryl and Dawn Huff set up their props getting ready for a photoshoot for Chef Daryl's soon-to-come website.

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Daryl Huff is a personal chef.  He and his wife Dawn own a non-profit organization called HolyRollers Ministries which makes and serves first-repsonders and people in need due to disaster.  They "roll" all over the country with a mobile kitchen to let Chef Daryl make his signature dishes for the needy.

"People going through a disaster need food, we might as well give them a gourmet experience" -Chef Daryl

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KNP took photos and is designing Chef Daryl's online presence.  If you are in need of a personal chef, I highly recommend him (he brought amazing food for our crew to eat).

 

 

The Youth of Today are our Tools for Tomorrow

You should see my domain registration bill every month.  You see, I'm a domainoholic. 

Because I am an entrepreneur, at any given moment, I have about 5-6 future businesses floating around in my head and usually register the domain right away.  I think about ways to make common everyday life easier, then how to monetize that.  I think of how to improve items people use every day, faster ways of doing things or services for doing things that people that are too lazy to do themselves.  I am not too enamored with the concept of 'spending money' but more so the concept of 'making money'. 

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Think UBER.  Holy cow!  What an amazing idea.  Why on EARTH didn't anyone think of this before (and act on it).  AirBnB.  Are you kidding?  That business was on the tip of everyone's tongue and no one moved on it... until someone did.

Many of you reading are adults.  We should show the youth of today HOW TO MOVE.  Many of you reading might even be successful and have a little free time or money to pour into those youth and

MAKE THEM INNOVATORS.

Maybe it's time for us to mentor our youth.  Find those that have the potential and drive that you have now and shape them into success. 

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Kevin Nations Post delivers stunning cinematography for Sam Lerma’s music video “Falling” featuring The Black Market Club

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Lerma’s music video for The Black Market Club has been selected to screen at this year's Austin Revolution Film Festival. Screening is Sept 18th at the Alamo Drafthouse Mueller. Congrats to the band, cast and crew!

If you find yourself in Austin on Sept 18th, don’t miss it!

More info here: www.austinrevolution.com

 

Social Media Video Marketing

The Future Of Video Advertising Is Social.  

Video ad spend on social networks is escalating for one simple reason: Social media is where the consumers are.  The presidential election illustrated the extent to which we – rightly or wrongly – rely on social networks for news and information and a large proportion of the content consumed on these platforms is in video form.

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Mobile Will Create More Opportunities.

Mobile video is one of the fastest-growing ad formats – with almost a quarter of digital ad budgets already allocated to it – but its potential is only just beginning to be explored.

Brands Will Communicate Via Video.

Email newsletters continue to play a major role in marketing strategies; embedding video into these emails will become increasingly popular next year as brands seek to maximize their effectiveness. Newsletters with embedded videos have high open and click-through rates, and videos can be used to build consumer relationships through creative brand storytelling.

Demand For Viewability Metrics Will Rise.

With video advertising a firmly established feature of digital strategies, brands are increasingly concerned with measuring performance and viewability is top of the agenda.  Facebook, Youtube, and other social media platforms have built-in metrics that can provide all of this information to the client.

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Design by Committee

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A Roadmap to proper designing and billing for you and your client.

I've been in the design business for 25 years.  As one who designs things for a living, you nearly always answer to a higher power... be it a client, a boss, you name it.  Satisfying your clients with your design skills can sometimes be easy, sometimes hard and I have seen all types, all scenarios, all situations and all levels.

The Best Case Scenario

A client hires you to design something.  They trust you, they know you are the expert in this particular field and not them.  They take your word for it.  They realize that your 1000+ hours doing what they are asking for outweighs their 2 hours of thinking about it.  They turn over a list of Design Directives or a Creative Brief and you get to work.  Once finished, you show them their product.  They look it over, sleep on it, show it to their stakeholders to get feedback and devise a list of revisions (this is perfectly normal).  As humans, we have to realize that we aren't perfect and that counts certainly for our communication skills.  Sometimes parts of Design Directives become lost in translation and require tweaks.  You make tweaks to your design and BAM!  Revision 1 hits them and they love it.  Mission accomplished.  

Most Common Scenario

By far, in my years of designing things, I would say the most common scenario would be a slight alteration to the above paragraph.  Read that one again, and add a "Revision 2" to the mix.  I will admit that most times it takes the client and designer 2 revisions to reach a final.  The key to the success of both scenarios is that your POC (Point of Contact) is in charge.  It is essential that your POC "own" the project ultimately having the final say in it's creation.  PERIOD.  After all, what else is their company paying them for?  It's great and even essential for your POC to get stakeholder feedback on the initial version.  This gives the stakeholders a voice and makes them feel more part of the team, also giving them a chance to think of things that your POC didn't.  

Design by Committee

This scenario is the world's worst.  Not only for the designer, but for the client themselves.  It is costly and far from productive.  It wastes time and money on line items that just don't matter.  Some of you might be wondering, "What the heck is Design by Committee"?  Well, I am here to tell you.  In this process, your POC isn't in charge.  He doesn't have an "ownership" in the product design.  He is simply a "middle man".  He translates the needs of the committee to the designer.  In this scenario, the "design process" is owned by a conference room full of people.  Most of these folks couldn't design their way out of a paper bag but what they DO have is an opinion and they darn well will tell it.  Design by Committee will cost the company huge overage costs in revision after revision after revision and leave the actual designer working on the product for an exorbitant amount of time.

Advice to Client and Designers

Clients.  Choose a proper POC and let them own the project.  Let them make decisions, do not micro-manage them.  Give them your thoughts and advice once, but after that, trust they know what they are doing.  You hired them, let them to their job.

Designers.  When quoting a design project, work off the 1 Version and 2 Revisions List method.  The communication and flow looks like this:

  1. Get Design Directives (Creative Brief) from Client
  2. Hop on the phone to clarify any questions about the Design Directives
  3. Do the work.
  4. Turn in a 100% completed project preview for the client to look at.
  5. Client looks it over and makes a list of revisions.  This list can be 1 item or 50,000 items (whatever).
  6. Turn in Revision 1 project preview for the client to look at.
  7. Client looks it over and makes a 2nd list of revisions.  This list can be 1 item or 50,000 items (whatever).
  8. Turn in Revision 2 project preview for the client to look at.
  9.  Client approves the product, invoice and get paid.  The invoice should come with "2 FREE Revision Lists".

____ DERAIL _____

10.  If the client comes back AGAIN with a 3rd revisions list, estimate the time it will take to make those changes and send them another quote to approve.  This quote's cost will be in addition to the original quote's cost.  If this happens (and continues to happen), then you have found yourself a "Design by Committee" client.

You know the 3-point lighting you learned in college? You're doing it wrong.

I'll assume everyone reading knows the typical 3-point lighting setup used in cinematography.  You have your KEY light which is your main light source, goes on one side of the face, slightly higher than head level.  The FILL light which fills in shadows caused by the KEY light, goes on the opposite side and traditionally is about head level.  Then finally the HAIR light, used to separate the subject from their background, is behind the subject, typically on the same side as the KEY, higher and spotted down.  Below, although crude, I have illustrated my basic 3-point lighting methods using a 3D program.  I realize that 3D programs come close but are not exactly 'real world' but hopefully it will illustrate my point sufficiently.

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The mistake that many beginners make is that they turn on all of these lights at the same time, then maybe tweak their intensities until they get what they want.  Some will get lucky and dial in what they want especially if they know what lighting ratios they usually are after.  The key is to turn your lights on one at a time, starting with the KEY and really look to see how it works.

  In the following scenario, I have assumed that we are in a 100% dark room for simplicity's sake.  That said, let's start with no lights turned on. 

 I see nothing!  (That's the point)

I see nothing!  (That's the point)

Next, let's turn on ONLY the KEY light and see what we get.  I have the subject standing right up against a brick wall, which we will talk about soon.  But Take a look at what the KEY light does by itself?

 Key Light only.  (To make ratio math easier, let's say it's set to 100%)

Key Light only.  (To make ratio math easier, let's say it's set to 100%)

See how the left side of our object is well lit but falls off towards the right.  This look is more dramatic.  Do you like it?  Making a NOIR film?  Then you're done.  1-point lighting.  If your aim isn't to make a NOIR, let's go ahead and add in the FILL light.  I have set the FILL's intensity to 50%.  Take a look at the difference it makes in the mood.

 Key Light set to 100%, Fill Light set to 50%.  This makes a 2:1 ratio.

Key Light set to 100%, Fill Light set to 50%.  This makes a 2:1 ratio.

Now, we can see the pimples on the other side of this actors face.  Much better.  That said, we still have a nice dramatic falloff between the KEY and FILL side.  Have you ever heard someone talk of "Flat lighting"?  This isn't it.

Although this looks decent, our actor isn't popping like he should.  The background seems to compete a bit with him.  Let's fix that by adding a couple of more things.  First up, a HAIR Light.

 Key Light set to 100%, Fill Light set to 50%, Hair Light set to 100% and spotted down.

Key Light set to 100%, Fill Light set to 50%, Hair Light set to 100% and spotted down.

Our lighting setup is complete.  However, that dang brick wall background is still competing for screen time with our main actor.  It's pretty, and lovely and all but I find that my mind concentrates more on it than him.  "And the Oscar goes to..... THE BRICK WALL!".  Um.  No.

If you can help it, never shoot your subject up against a wall.  Your scene needs DEPTH and your focus needs to be clearly on your subject.  Let's fix it by moving the actor away from the wall a bit and even opening up our Iris to make our Depth of Field shallower. 

 Here we separated the subject from the background and even opened up our iris.  Doing both, achieved a shallower depth of field

Here we separated the subject from the background and even opened up our iris.  Doing both, achieved a shallower depth of field

Doing the above made the background an 'after thought' and gives our brain a rest so that it can really focus and concentrate on the actor.

In closing, cinematic lighting is all about pushing or pulling the drama using light and dark.  Remember, don't be so 'flat' with your Key/Fill ratio.  A bit of chiaroscuro is a good thing.

Oners in Cinematography pt 2

Oners in Cinematography Let the Audience Feel More a Part of the World.

A previous post explained and showed what a "oner" is, please check it out here.  I ran across another one I did on a past film and wanted to share it because of it's artistic quality.  The scene was set in a comic book store, full of toys and books.  The Director's vision was to have the male actor introduce the actress to her deceased son's world, a world of fantasy where he lost himself between the pages of a comic book. 

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My best interpretation of the Director's feelings for this scene was to envelope the two actors inside this world and make the audience feel as if they were looking through a toy and comic fantasy snowglobe of sorts.

I thought a curved dolly track oner would be a perfect application for this.  In this scene, the toys and comics play a character and gets nearly as much attention and screen time as the other characters themselves.  I felt that this was a constant reminder to the audience.  A reminder of the world the actress was being introduced to.

View the entire scene here: