Slow motion has a whole new meaningIt was quiet and dark while the crew moved about in near silence as the star of the show was adjusted, modified, windswept and tweaked for over 325 video clips that took three days of setup and shooting to accomplish.
By: Margaret Ontl, Hudson Star-Observer
It was quiet and dark while the crew moved about in near silence as the star of the show was adjusted, modified, windswept and tweaked for over 325 video clips that took three days of setup and shooting to accomplish.
The star in this case was a nozzle spraying a water solution. The second star of the photo shoot was the camera itself, one of 18 in the United States and 40 worldwide.
Mellissa Dahl of Vivid Communications did not have to search far for a company that could meet the needs of her client, WinField Solutions, a Land O’ Lakes Company.
Dahl, who operates her business out of Hudson, specializes in script writing and promotional productions. To help her get the job done, she called on another Hudson-based business, Picture Factory Inc.
Picture Factory owners Jillian Nodland and Craig Peterschmidt met when they were both working the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. They have been together ever since and have worked at every Olympics since. The couple eventually moved to the town of Troy, locating their business in the St. Croix Business Park. It was visits to see Dahl that first introduced them to the Hudson area.
The husband-wife team has traveled the world with their specialized camera gear, which includes a crane that is being shipped to Arizona for three months to be used on a movie set. For the Sydney Olympics, Jillian managed a crew of 200 technicians from all over the world, who shipped in 13 sea containers of equipment. From cranes, underwater cameras to remote heads, if they don’t own it they know where to get just the right equipment to make the project work. Some of their local clients include Best Buy, Target, 3M, Polaris, Foley and Prince.
“We are used by ad agencies as a production house,” said Nodland.
To create the training and sales video for WinField Solutions, Peterschmidt brought in the Phantom Camera, an HD digital cinematography camera from Cincinnati. It can film digitally at 1,500 frames per second, which translates to super slow motion when viewed in real time.
This was exactly what WinField agronomist Eric Spandl and David Nicolai of the University of Minnesota regional extension office needed to visually present their subject matter.
Spandl basically wrote the “script,” a detailed plan for every video clip, to demonstrate how his crop protection products such as herbicides are applied. The variations included wind, created by a film to demonstrate drift, different volumes and pressures of applications and different nozzles.
“This is working out better than we hoped,” said Spandl. “It will be used to train applicators, agronomists and farmers.”
“This camera has revolutionized what we can do,” said Steve Speers, a certified Phantom Camera technician from Minneapolis. “It has become an artistic tool. We can see things now that we have never been able to see. It actually records the event before it happens.”
The only thing that comes is when the unit is rented is the camera body. The technician brings all the rest. The body itself includes three pounds of copper to help keep the unit cool. It records continuously unless it is shut off. For this project it did not have an extra on-board storage unit so after each take, the video was downloaded to a computer.
After, three days, the collection of professionals, orchestrated by Dahl, packed up their gear, shipped the camera back, and the client left to await the final edits of the “digital film,” all of it created in Hudson.
“We work all over the world,” said Jillian, who also does event planning. “It means a lot of traveling, especially for Craig. It sounds glamorous but it is nice to work close to home as well.”
For Dahl, keeping all of the production locally keeps the cost down for her clients as well.
For more information about Picture Factory, visit www.picture-factory.com or call (715) 386-0777.