Director Spotlight: Don Hewitt

Don Hewitt  began his career during the dawn of television, starting in 1948 and working at CBS for an incredible sixty-one years. Shortly after World War II while the new medium of television was just in its infancy, Don and his contemporaries literally invented how this new communications technology could be used.  While at the CBS’s News Division, Don directed the very first live televised Presidential debate. He also did the very first live broadcast remote of a political convention. He…

How Do I Get On The Crew?

From time to time I am asked, “how do I get on the crew of so-and-so show?” If we boil these and other similar questions down I think what is really being asked is “how can I advance my career?” And that’s a really good question. I am blessed to work on some cool projects. I’ve seen some people get hired over-and-over again on “A list” shows. I’ve seen others get hired once and then never get hired again.  What…

Active Cameras

Stay static, push, pull, pan, dolly, truck, pedestal, crab, track and dolly-zoom. It seems like the options are endless. Add to this list flying the camera on a jib, crane or wire, canted (dutch) angles, shaky cam, soft focus, rack-focus, whip pans and more, we could go on and on. Some of these camera techniques are now seen in some church worship services. In some cases unusual camera movement is used in just one song or even less, maybe just…

Director Spotlight: Don Mischer

A young boy sat on the floor of his living room playing with a cardboard box. But this was not any ordinary cardboard box. On the back of the box facing the boy at eye level was a scene drawn onto an imaginary viewfinder. His mom’s only broom handle (now cut equally in half) was taped to either side of the box serving as pan-handles. A paper towel-roll insert, affixed to the front of the box served as his cameras’…

Production in War Zones

Years ago I was employed with a company that provided audio, lighting, projection, set design, carpentry and video production services on all sorts of events. During this period I mostly worked as a Video Director although at times I would also go out with video production packages as a systems tech (or the broadcast TV title would be “Engineer in Charge”) especially when a client had their own director. I had been on a much needed vacation when my pager…

FILO 2018 Notes – Live video for worship

At the 2018 FILO (First In, Last Out) church tech-arts conference Rusty Anderson taught a break-out session on “Live video for worship.”  Rusty has served in church video production for 15 years.  He toured with Chris Tomlin, served as the video director for the Passion Conferences and has led the video team at Passion City Church. What follows are my own notes from Rusty’s session.  I hope I did a satisfactory job recording his major points and I hope they help…

Air traffic video directors

Cross an air traffic controller, someone who is responsible for the efficient implementation of schedules in an altogether unforgiving and dynamic environment; with a story-teller / visual artist, and you’ve just described a live multi-camera video director. No, I am not suggesting video directors are responsible for the safety of thousands of people and millions of dollars in property if they screw up while doing their job. Such a statement would be hyperbole. I am suggesting that the skillset and…

The Broadcast Audio Guy Should Be Fired!

[… or so I’ve heard …] I am fortunate to be able to work on a lot of live-live broadcast entertainment specials. Some recent ones include The Global Citizen Festival (MSNBC & web), Bill Maher’s special from Tulsa Oklahoma (HBO), the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (NBC), the Disney Christmas Parade (ABC), Garth Brooks at Notre Dame (CBS) and various parts of the Grammy Awards (CBS). Like clockwork both during and after these tentpole live broadcast events, more than a few…

Deconstructing State of the City

One of the difficult things we do is train someone to be a competent technician. Training someone to be a video director is really difficult. Training someone to be a competent tasteful video director via a blog post is near impossible!  But then, I love a challenge. Why is training someone to be a competent tasteful video director near impossible? It’s that word “tasteful.” How do you teach someone to have “taste?” A number of people have encouraged me to…

Tech-Artists’ Proverbs

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary a “Proverb” is an adage, a saying often in metaphorical form that typically embodies a common observation. In the Bible the English word Proverb has the meaning of an aphorism, a pithy observation that contains a general truth. As a college student I trained to be a musician and arranger. At one school I studied Jazz and at another Classical. Studying the works and the lives of various artists proved beneficial not only as a musician…