The Money Shot

by Bryce Benlon

DHTV is taking its attack plan to new heights during the production of its latest documentary project, a film focusing on the pre-Royals-era Kansas City A's.

While the crew lacks no confidence in their storytelling abilities, they're always aiming higher. Anybody in a creative field will agree, there's nothing more fulfilling than the golden "a-ha" moment. a.k.a. 'the money shot'.

The goal is to create a shot that looks like a continuous aerial shot from the site of the now demolished Municipal Stadium to Kauffman Stadium more than five miles away. This effect in particular took hours of planning and meticulous precision, and not without many trials and road blocks. But if Orville and Wilbur were here they'd tell you the same: persistence is key.

And charged batteries. Those are good too. 

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Step 1: Find your starting point and compose the first part of the shot. 

Step 1: Find your starting point and compose the first part of the shot. 

Step 2: After the first shot is established, map out a preferred path to ensure the most awe-worthy way from A to B

Step 2: After the first shot is established, map out a preferred path to ensure the most awe-worthy way from A to B

Step 3: Apply a marker-friendly panel over your screen for ultimate precision - use minimal gaffer's tape. Bonus points for sleek engineering.

Step 3: Apply a marker-friendly panel over your screen for ultimate precision - use minimal gaffer's tape. Bonus points for sleek engineering.

Step 4: Check for clear skies and an optimal lighting hour by the sun. A poorly lit shot will ruin any film's chance.

Step 4: Check for clear skies and an optimal lighting hour by the sun. A poorly lit shot will ruin any film's chance.

Step 5: Acquire final shot and bring home the Oscar winner

Step 5: Acquire final shot and bring home the Oscar winner

Keep coming back and checking out our Facebook page to find out the progress of the documentary

See more of our aerial video here

Dairy Proud

by Bryce Benlon

When DHTV treks out on a farm tour through the plains of the Midwest, we often find that there's nothing "Plain" about it. 

Wide open pastures, friendly inviting new faces, and the sweet smell of fresh feed from the fields - these are a few reasons we keep coming back every year with our friends from Midwest Dairy.

This years adventures consisted of traveling out to visit a fresh young group of farmers in gathered in Minnesota, to sit together and talk about how they're keeping the next generation aware and updated on why dairy farming is not only necessary, but a crucial piece to the world economy. Todays young farmers are some of the hardest working, genuine people you'll ever meet. 

Next stop: Illinois, to take a tour with the Chicago Bears' very own Staley The Bear. The energy was not lost on our next group of curious students as we toured the Redeker farm, while simultaneously chasing down the ever-ornery Staley. There is no doubt those kids will be sleeping well after this day.

In a nutshell, it was another successful journey, with yet again many new faces and forever lasting anecdotes, on top of a forever growing learning experience. The fun didn't stop at the last farm, though - We had plenty of Casey's Pizza and DVDs to pick from on our long drive back. No video crew is complete without the ability to watch a screen no matter where they are. (Don't worry, the driver didn't get to partake.)

 

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Bases loaded, Town Teams still running strong

by Bryce Benlon

DHTV had the home-field advantage on Friday as we had yet another successful screening of "Town Teams: Bigger Than Baseball" directed by our own Mark Honer. 

The Watkins Museum of History (Lawrence, KS) was proud to screen the documentary, while to DHTV Digital, it's yet another home run. Fans got to take the pitching mound as they threw questions to Honer, who continues to hit 'em outa the park. (Can we get away with any more baseball puns, here?) 

 

Another proud screening of our documentary, Town Teams: Bigger Than Baseball  

Another proud screening of our documentary, Town Teams: Bigger Than Baseball  

Q&A session with Mark Honer, Director of Town Teams and Head Honcho of DHTV Digital

Q&A session with Mark Honer, Director of Town Teams and Head Honcho of DHTV Digital

Fun with Motion Tracking

by Mark Honer

Sometimes, a client will let us have some fun with visual effects. A recent piece of work gave us the opportunity to create some motion tracking shots.

When we shoot a short film or video project, we typically use about 10% of the video we capture. For this piece, a culture video for Lockton Companies, we were able to dust off some dramatic aerial cinematography we found in our archives.

 

Town Teams Screened at Baseball Hall of Fame

by Mark Honer

Town Teams: Bigger than Baseball

DHTV Digital is proud to announce that Town Teams: Bigger than Baseball will play at the Baseball Hall of Fame next Sunday, September 24th as part of the Twelfth Annual Baseball Film Festival. So if happen to be hanging out in Cooperstown next Sunday, stop by and check it out. :)

http://baseballhall.org/Events/film-festival-2017

 

Locked-in on Lockton

by Bryce Benlon

Another great year for Lockton (and, in turn, DHTV) at the annual Lockton Sales Meeting - this year's theme being "Culture Matters"

 

Every September for the past 20 years, the Lockton producers and associates gather in a beautiful part of the country to hold their Sales Meeting: a healthy mixture of speakers in-and out-of house, ranging from Lockton legends, chairmen, and CEOs, to top name people from around the globe with their own bit of wisdom to share.

 

The Lockton message is all about setting themselves apart. Not in isolation, but rather to go above and beyond the standard in the insurance industry. The Lockton name represents teamwork, dedication, passion, and culture. Lockton has always represented a caring community of hard working producers and associates, who are proud to be a part of the team. Not only is every member carefully chosen, but they are cared for, groomed, and trained with great passion. Lockton cares about it's family, and that is one among many reasons they thrive as one of the best company's still standing to this day.

 

Here are some highlights from this year's conference

 

 

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Solar Eclipse Road Trip

by Mark Honer

We had to drive about 100 miles east to get a clear shot at it but we dodged the clouds and ended up in Sedalia, Missouri to shoot the eclipse. Here are a few scenes we picked up from the state fairgrounds.

Town Teams Documentary Airs on KCPT

by Mark Honer

Town Teams: Bigger than Baseball will be broadcast on Channel 19, KCPT - Kansas City Public Television this weekend and next. The documentary about Kansas baseball in the late 1800s and early 1900s will air a number of times in the next two weeks. Here's the schedule:

 

  • Friday, August 18, 07:30 pm
  • Saturday, August 19, 12:00 am 
  • Sunday, August 20, 08:00 am 
  • Sunday, August 20, 11:30 am 
  • Sunday, August 20, 06:00 pm 
  • Saturday, August 26, 12:30 am 
  • Sunday, August 27, 05:30 pm

Road Trip from H.......

by Mark Honer

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This is not a photo of either Todd or I at KCI. But we kinda felt like this dude crashed on the floor a couple of different times this week.  We were headed out for a fairly complicated road trip; four film shoots in five days. 

The plan was Houston, LA, Las Vegas and Dallas.  We got up at 3:30 in the morning to make our 6:30 am flight to Houston. After settling in for the flight(United), I noticed that the cockpit door was open and there was no pilot in the left seat.  A few minutes later the people from the friendly skies informed us that the plane we were sitting on had been written up for a repair last night but that no one had done the repair.  "You never should have been boarded onto this plane, and I'm very sorry but we're going to have to fly a part in from Chicago and this flight will be delayed until this afternoon."  

This is the kind of explanation you imagine when you're swearing under your breath at an airline - any airline - for making you late or screwing up your schedule. It's just rare to actually hear them admit that they screwed you.

There were 3 other flights booked and three more canceled this day(United and Southwest) so we ended up skipping the Houston shoot and decided to start instead in Los Angeles. Long story short, we crashed in LA(as in reached our hotel and collapse - not the other kind of crash) after a 21 hour day...and we hadn't shot a second of film. Can you say unproductive? :)

Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you. 

 

Great futures start here

by Bryce Benlon

Waking up to join the early birds in rush hour traffic: Check.

Spending most of the morning out in weather hot enough to match your body temperature: Done.

Filming a heartwarming commercial with unforgettable people and an inspiring message that changes lives: Sign us up.

Shooting day was finally upon us, and the sun shone bright. The DHTV Digital team assembled in Independence, MO on Thursday, to spend the day with Boys and Girls Club of America, (KC chapter) and put together a commercial that shows the world just what they're about.

The Boys and Girls Club of America is a national organization of local chapters which provide after-school programs for young people. But there is far more to their plan than just a simple mission statement. They mentor, they offer genuine support and understanding, and they inspire.

Many children have a lot of potential but lack the right opportunity to reach it. And fault doesn't always play a roll, sometimes that's just how the chips fall. And that's where the Boys and Girls Club of America comes in - they give a new chance of hope, a new path to a better future.

Our team had an extremely rewarding day with a vast pallet of talented volunteers who were eager-to-play and happy to be a part of the production.

What you see on your screen sometimes might be a 30 second "one-shot take", but the effort and planning that goes into that final 30 seconds can take a lot of coordination. And these kids nailed it with flying colors.

To sum it up: planning & prep, standing in the heat, shooting take-after-take until it's just right - its all worth it at the end of the day. Because nothing tops meeting the people we get to work with.

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Mark Honer working with the younger kids to coordinate one of this centuries most innovative karaoke numbers known to man

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Senior D.P. Todd Norris preparing for the one-shot-take with our narrator Janese of the Boys and Girls Club (left to right: Todd Norris, Brock Masters, Mark Honer, Janese)

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A hot day and a quality shot requires a lot of care, including blocking the camera and the videographer from the sun. Thanks to Isaac Honer for lending more than a hand. (left to right) Brock Masters, Isaac Honer, Todd Norris, Mark Honer)

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Back in the recording booth with Janese for the final voice over recordings that will play over the commercial (from left: Brock Masters, Mark Honer, Janese)

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The kids get ready for another take of singing and dancing, lit by Bryce Benlon 

Paints, canvas, action!

by Bryce Benlon

The DHTV Digital crew is at it again, sharing another colorful story. 

Cathy Kirkland of Kirkland Creative Art and Design met up with Mark Honer and his team (DHTV Digital) to tell her story of inspiration and what initially brought her brush to the canvas - and what a pretty picture she painted.

Cathy has had a genuine interest in many mediums of art throughout the majority of her life, experiencing new muses and inspiration along the way. From painting with oils and acrylic, to illustration and graphic design. They always say "do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life". Cathy is living, smiling proof. 

(left to right) Intern Brock Masters and Mark Honer map out the spot to call home for the upcoming interview with Mrs. Kirkland

(left to right) Intern Brock Masters and Mark Honer map out the spot to call home for the upcoming interview with Mrs. Kirkland

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(left to right) Senior DP Todd Norris and Editor Bryce Benlon operating cameras, while Brock Masters sits down with Cathy for a conversation

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To get the full story, one must look into it from all possible angles (not just metaphorically, but, you guessed it- physically.) That's where our creative dream team comes into play 

 

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All in all, it was a successful shoot. A good conversation was had with a lovely and talented artist, questions were answered, laughs were had, and Cathy will walk away with yet another platform to share her work and her story. DHTV was lucky to have the chance to share an afternoon with Mrs. Kirkland.

The pre-run

by Bryce Benlon

Of course all of your favorite movies, shows, or photo shoots weren't done without a little location scouting beforehand.  

As with any other quality production, there is a good amount of homework done before shooting day begins. So you've gotten past the pitch stage, rolled out a nice shiny script, but now what? Location, location, location. 

What good would Star Wars have been if Lucas had only filmed it in his garage? (Okay, before green screen took all the credit). How effective would Jaws have been if it were filmed in someone's back yard pool? Imagine the wizard of Oz, without Oz. Yeah, we can't either. 

Theres more than just finding the right location, though. What do you do once you've found your spot?  You map out a pre-run.

Checking how the ideas you've written translate to on-screen, seeing how the timing flows on set. Getting the proper angles and composition down. Looking for any and every possible hiccup that you may encounter on shooting day, so that you have yourself covered no. matter. what. Leave no stone unturned.  

At the end of the day, the pre-run process is once again just every bit as important as the final piece itself. Without it, extraordinary just becomes ordinary- missing that little extra. 

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These are some photos from a location scout we did for an upcoming public service announcement we're producing for Boys and Girls Club of Kansas City.

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Beantown Film Shoot Entertaining on Multiple Levels

by Mark Honer

Boston Skyline

Boston Skyline

We flew to Boston to shoot a story about 'The Community Builders', a very cool non-profit that develops and manages housing projects and works to provide affording housing and community building in 29 cities. 

But first things first. Upon landing in Boston, I learned that Salvy had jacked a grand slam in the bottom of the 8th and we'd beaten the Red Sox 6-4. Listening to Boston sport talk radio absolutely crucify the Red Sox manager for his bullpen management was hilarious.

Then I found out that my wonderful office assistant, Brandie Mendoza had booked us into the CharlesMark hotel and my room overlooked the finish line of the Boston Marathon. This wonderful old hotel has a check-in desk that's just a few feet from the sports bar. (most of them whining about how the Royals had just spanked their team) You could barely hear the front desk receptionist over the rousing crowd at the bar. Then she checks us in and hands us keys. Not a keycard, not a FOB, actual keys.(how cool is that?) 

Keys to room at the CharlesMark Hotel

Keys to room at the CharlesMark Hotel

Then we went to work, for our client, Lockton Companies, shooting a story about its client - The Community Builders.  

Acting as reporter/producer on this shoot, the lovely and talented Yaryna Klimchak. Very smart young lady who knows how to set up a story and roll with the punches when things change on the fly. 

DHTV Digital Director of Photography Todd Norris shoots interview.

DHTV Digital Director of Photography Todd Norris shoots interview.

Yara did a great job interviewing TCB Director of Ancillary Services and Risk Management Shawn Thornton and VP of Communications, Stephanie Anderson-Garrett.

Overall a fantastic shoot on a beautiful day in an interesting city.

Art Center Shoot

by Mark Honer

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We got a sneak peak inside the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center today. Shooting a short film about an up and coming artist - Cathy Kirkland - who's work will be on display when the center opens June 10th. Check it out. 

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Writers on the storm

by Bryce Benlon

A solid story isn't complete without a good writing session. Our team wears many hats at DHTV and that includes script writing. From collaborating on technical ideas all the way to structuring a solid script, we don't hang our hats up for the day until we have something to show for it. 

Many great stories have a lot more going on under the surface. Sometimes the process will require more than a few sit-downs to get from the initial pitch to the shooting phase. The real brain power is done during sessions like these where we bounce ideas off each other and really take the time to polish our project, to ensure the best piece we can present for our clients. Good work takes care, effort, and passion.

After all, Rome wasn't built in a day

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DHTV 360

by Mark Honer

Yep, we took the plunge and invested in a 360 camera last winter and we're having fun learning how to put it to good use for our clients.  

Attached to the bottom of a piece of farm equipment, this camera captures everything and lets the viewer look around while the tool does it's job. Our client is Kelly Engineering, an Australian farm emplement firm and the creator of the Kelly Diamond Harrow.

We spent the day capturing this 62 ft harrow in Macon, Missouri. We flew over and around it with a drone, shot footage in super slow motion, and captured up close shots of a corn field being prepped for planting with a gold old fashioned GoPro.

DP Todd Norris and digital assistant Brock Masters strap a GoPro camera to this Kelly Diamond Harrow before it heads back out in to a cornfield.

DP Todd Norris and digital assistant Brock Masters strap a GoPro camera to this Kelly Diamond Harrow before it heads back out in to a cornfield.

Overall a great day, although we all headed home with a thick layer of dirt under our fingernails, in  our hair and pretty much everywhere else. Sometimes ya just gotta get a little dirty.

Sometimes, Making Movies is Just Fun

When I was young, I always dreamed of a job that's interesting, sometimes exciting, always challenging, and fun. Making short films for business clients and for public consumption is all of the above. Like all jobs, some days in the video production business are just better than others. Today was one of those days

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There's No Such Thing as, 'It's Just an Interview'

When the mandate is, 'making people look good', every element of story production is critical. Our clients, and prospective clients, see our work or the work of other high quality video production companies and assume the interview is the easiest part. 

It seems pretty simple, right?  Sit the interview subject in a room, put the camera on a tripod, point the camera at him and roll. But even when it’s just an interview, ESPECIALLY when it’s an interview, there are many considerations.

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The Right Tools for the Job

By Todd Norris, Director of Photography-DHTV Digital

“The right tool for the job.” This phrase comes up often when talking about different camera models. While a larger broadcast camera might be best for most video production, sometimes you need something small and nimble. Also, while quality video production involves using professional lighting, sometimes you need to capture images in very low light. Enter the Sony A7sii, the latest addition to DHTV Digital’s camera family.

Camera A7S ii

Small and lightweight? Check. Incredible low-light performance? Double-check. Oh, and stunning full-frame video in 4k resolution, continuous 120 fps slow-motion and, for the camera nerds, 14 stops of dynamic range. Uh, what? Let’s break these down, one by one, to see how and why these features help make your videos better.

1.     Small and lightweight. Sometimes a big broadcast camera just isn’t a practical choice. It’s much easier to mount a small camera onto a vehicle for a moving shot, for example. And sometimes a larger camera and tripod are simply too large to transport to remote locations.

Screen grab from video captured in extreme low light with Sony A7S ii.

Screen grab from video captured in extreme low light with Sony A7S ii.

2.     Low-light performance. Some locations are too big to light. Some locations forbid the use of video lights. Most common are situations where adding lighting would spoil the mood (a candlelight vigil, or a dark conference room, for example). The Sony A7sii can actually be used in moonlight! Not that you would ordinarily shoot in such a way, but having that ability is now another brush for our canvas

3.     4k resolution. TV and websites like YouTube are quickly making the jump to 4k. Shooting in this format future-proofs your videos. Also, when down sampling 4k footage to the more common 1080p, the result is a creamy, cinematic look.

4.     Continuous 120fps slow-motion. Many cameras that shoot 120ps can only do so in short bursts. This means that there’s always a chance of missing a crucial shot when the burst ends. The A7sii can record 120fps without such restrictions.

5.     14 stops of dynamic range. While most people are aware of the benefits of higher resolution images, fewer people are aware of the benefits of high dynamic range. Dynamic range is the range of light to dark a camera can capture in one shot. Higher dynamic range is one reason Hollywood movies look richer than, say, your average reality TV shows, which are shot on cameras with lower dynamic range. 14 stops is roughly the same range that 35mm film can capture. So there’s plenty of detail in the shadows and the highlights.

Combine all these features and the Sony A7sii adds up to the perfect addition to the DHTV Digital camera family.