Dr. Bill McConkey’s Business Leadership Lecture Series Filmed and Produced at DesignWise Studios

October 12th, 2012

Two business training courses by UW Professor Bill McConkey teach Leadership and Inspiration with 34 video lectures filmed at DesignWise Studios of Door County.

This is final edit of the first of 19 lectures in Course 1, “Leadership & Inspiration” by Dr. Bill McConkey, filmed and produced by Stephen Kastner at DesignWise Studios of Door County in Fish Creek, Wisconsin.

“This was shot in our green-screen staging area and filmed with a 3-chip Sony HVR-Z1U using the onboard mic,” explains Kastner. “Closeup hand-shots were done by Patrice Lazerroni using our Kodak Zi8 mini-cams.”

The music was written and performed by British composer Alastair Cameron.

YouTube vs Facebook Video Quality

July 5th, 2012

I am posting two examples of the same digital 6-minute film short taken at the Door County Renaissance & Fantasy Faire that I uploaded to Facebook and YouTube.

It is surprising to see a significant difference in the visual quality of the rendered videos. Each of the two video-sharing sites present some specific advantages as far as distributing the resultant content, so it is valuable to use both …and others like Vimeo and Daily Motion as well.

Here is the YouTube version:

Here is the Facebook version:

The grainy quality of the typography in the Facebook version is immediately apparent. I thought this might simply be a symptom of not waiting long enough before watching and I hoped it would clear as is was “digested” by the Facebook engines… but no such luck. It can even be detected in the following screen capture, especially in the smaller line of type below.

Worse yet, while the embed feature is static in Facebook and very customizeable in YouTube… the speed of delivery is also markedly slower when streaming back from Facebook.

Luke at Blogworld sums up the following differences in the features provided by both.

Facebook Video Features

  • Videos can be up to 20 minutes long.
  • You can tag people who are your Facebook friends in the videos.
  • People who aren’t yet fans of your Page can “like” it from within the video clip, just by hovering the mouse over the video screen.

YouTube Video Features

  • Clips can initially be up to 15 minutes long, but you can gain approval for longer uploads.
  • A YouTube tab on Facebook looks much better than a Facebook video tab.
  • A YouTube channel can be used to direct traffic from YouTube to your Website or Facebook page by using the annotation feature.
  • A YouTube clip will rank higher in Google’s search results than a Facebook video.
  • YouTube tabs can display the number of views a clip receives. Displaying the views can work in favour of popular clips to increase the likelihood others will view them.
  • YouTube has online editing features.
  • YouTube annotations allow for on-screen menu options that viewers can interact with to bring them to other brand videos.
  • YouTube Insights is more detailed than Facebook’s Insights for video.

A Photojounalist’s Social Media Approach to Wedding Video Filmmaking and Distribution

February 20th, 2012

The documentary has been my favorite film form since 2004, when I started hosting a Saturday night film-screening series at a local Fish Creek coffeehouse.

We watched films on all sorts of subjects. As a photojournalist, I like the honesty and authenticity of storytelling with moving pictures in the documentary film format. In 2006, I spent 6 months in China learning to become a filmmaker.

Now, I produce feature newsreels, music and promotional videos and keep on expanding my editing and shooting skills. In my other life, I am a social media and marketing consultant. So, when I was asked to shoot my first wedding video, it seems like all of the boundaries blurred and I ended up creating a fusion concept – the wedding video as a multi-episode excuse to relive the highlights of your wedding with friends and family using social media as the vehicle.

The Angie Brusky and Josiah Lent Wedding Story is now an official Facebook Movie page, but my actual intention is to create a short-form episodic film series, more like a TV show. The chapters of their wedding story are published and broadcast each week on Wednesdays at 7 pm, online as their own, personal, wedding TV show in 7 chapters. Each week a new chapter in Angie and Josiah’s Door County Wedding story is posted on their Facebook Movie Page. I like to work as a fly-on-the-wall, filming discretely to capture an authentic story. This is how I was taught as a reporter, to shoot news photography. Never submit a “grip-and-grin” photo as newsworthy, my editor at the New York Times-owned Leesburg Commercial would  warn.

As the lead producer, editor and filmmaker at DesignWise Films, I have taken my background as a professional photo-journalist and applied it to making documentary wedding films. Please, take a look at the first two episodes and help me grow the movie’s fan base to over 25 Likes, so I can register a proper Facebook username. I am working on final edits for Chapter #3, “The Wedding” – to be released on Wednesday, February 22 – so stay tuned!

Their wedding videos are also posted with my other work, on the DesignWise Films YouTube Channel, where they are much easier to locate and can be easily shared or embedded elsewhere from there. If you are planning a wedding in northeastern Wisconsin and this format seems appealing, please contact me as I look forward to my next wedding documentary project.

Liam Ford Band Filmed with two Kodak Zi8s

December 15th, 2011

Liam Ford Band playing at Sonny’s Pizzeria Bar & Grill in Fish Creek, Fall Fest 2011.

Wrapping up the season, I filmed the The Liam Ford Band playing at Sonny’s Pizzeria Bar & Grill in Fish Creek, Wisconsin on Saturday evening, October 15, 2011. Early Thomas describes them as “phychobilly, rockabilly” and they do not disappoint! I was captivated by this band of musicians not only in listening to their songs but also in conversation afterwards. Their deep knowledge and love for traditional rock and roll and the artists who helped to create the songs and rockabilly country tradition was impressive. They were a real treat to watch and listen to as hopefully evidenced in the video!

My Sony pro 3-chip camera was in the repair shop, so I ventured on an experiment using two Kodak Zi8 pocket cameras, just to see what kind of quality could be achieved. I was careful to adjust the sound levels and the light settings in advance and then edited both of the clips into a composite. It was fun to see what can be done on a shoestring budget.

Filming in Puerto Rico… Every Treasure Hunter Needs a Secret Map

May 29th, 2011

Juan Carlos is writing… a book, his notes, a map all in a whirl of energy, like a tornado circling around a central core.

Puerto Rico Mystico, the working title of Juan’s book, consists of his historical research on the spiritually significant geographical spots of this island. He is mapping them and then observing the energy lines that connect them locally and globally.

Juan is not the first person to share with me a firm belief that Puerto Rico is the last remaining vestige of the lost continent of Atlantis. Skeptics may decide at this point, to stop reading and let their seeming scientific logic exercise its control. Atlantis is just a myth.

When I was just a boy my science teachers taught me that an atom was the smallest particle of matter in the universe. They worshipped that dogma, believing in it like Christians believe in the Bible. Then, things started to break down and continue to fracture, as we learn more and more about how little we really know. So, I accept the fact that we also know so very little of our own history as a species and of the planet as a living entity.

Of course there were greater civilizations that preceded our own. Simply pay closer attention to such things as the ancient pyramids of Egypt or the intricate modern-day crop circle phenomenon if you need persuasion. And if your fear of the unknown is so strong, then stop reading and by all means, do not visit Puerto Rico because this island is full of such enchantment.

I am here to trace those threads, to meet and interview people like Juan Carlos, to build a film that will serve as an introduction, a doorway to the spiritual dimensions of this magic island. Juan tells me about another myth, that of the Prophecy of the Condor and the Eagle, birds of the south and the north. Puerto Rico is the bridge he explains, one that will permit the condor and the eagle to fly together once again. How else but via a completely Hispanic, Caribbean culture that is also a part of the United States, one where most of the people are bilingual?

On Spiritual Tourism, Filming in Puerto Rico

May 22nd, 2011

At the moment, I am sitting in a beach cafe in Puerto Rico, drinking a cup of fresh, island-grown, local coffee.

I have accepted a 2-week assignment to make films on tantra and the spiritual power-spots of the island. It is pretty cool… all expanses paid including meals, plane ticket and a San Juan beach hotel suite. Sometimes, the craving for a massive culture shift can become overwhelming. I silently wait without complaining and then suddenly it comes, like food for a starving (beach) bum.

I am here to film the work of tantra practitioner and healer, Peter Ross Voigt. We are living and working at Hosteria del Mar, located within the gated San Juan community of Oceanside Beach. It is an amazing building, created with intention. Quartz crystals were embedded and buried in the foundation and six pyramids are constructed into the roof.

We arrived on the day of the full moon and were invited to attend the monthly lunar drumming circle celebration on the beach. More than 150 people turned out for fire, ritual, drumming and dance. As the moon eventually broke through the cloud cover following hours of music and motion, many of the participants slipped away to swim to swim in the ocean as they entered the world.

The next day, I awoke early to get some location shots in the morning light. I found individuals dotting the beach, doing yoga asanas in the sand at the water’s edge. I must close for now as I have a day of filming to begin in 15 minutes. Puerto Rico is an undiscovered spiritual treasure and I intend to share it with you.


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