Viewing entries tagged
video production denver

Inspirational Storytelling

We're always excited when real stories get promoted in the creative industry in Denver, so when we came across The Denver Egotist's post highlighting work from Parallel Path and Roos Brothers we were inspired to watch and discuss. 

Three short films were created to promote Rocky Mountain Health Plans using real stories of people's lives on the Western Slope. They're beautifully and artistically done. 

 

Advance Video Stories: Transportation and Health

Advance Video Stories: Transportation and Health

We've started working on a series of stories for The Colorado Trust that mirror written stories published in their Advance newsletter. The stories cover all areas of topics around health equity in Colorado, and we were so impressed by the amazing reporting and information that we saw an opportunity to produce videos that would spread the stories even further. 

Check out the first video in the series below that highlights three Colorado residents with very diverse experiences, and their stories about transportation and its disproportionate effects on health.

The Process of Gathering Stories

The Process of Gathering Stories

We were asked to produce a visual story this month to compliment and build upon a written story published by one of our foundation clients. The story featured several characters, and we had freedom to speak with the people featured in the written story, or explore new areas and highlight new people. 

It's always a joy when we're able to dive into our own exploration process and seek out people that have very interesting things going on in their own communities, but don't often get the chance to have their voice heard. 

In this process of searching for people willing to share their story, this time about transportation issues for people in various environments around Colorado, we discovered Bill. He lives up in Gold Hill, a rural mountain town in the hills behind Boulder, up a steep and winding dirt road that you would never know exists. After a quick phone chat with Bill, we thought he would be a great piece of the story and could explain how he survives without a car in such a remote community. Often a phone call or two is all we have before meeting with someone and trying out an on-camera interview. It's often easy to tell if someone is going to be forthcoming on camera or not, and we find that most of the time people are excited to tell their story and have an active listener. 

Bill had agreed to an interview in his home, a dome structure up a steep hill without running water. He greeted us with tea and coffee, so warm and generous, and showed us a bit around his property. He lives a simple life, is retired because of a disability from an accident he had years ago, rides his bike and spends weeks in the woods behind his house camping and being in nature. He produced some wild foraged mushrooms for us as a lunch offering, which he grilled in butter with asparagus and local bacon - a savory and unexpected treat for us. 

During the interview we gathered much more than we needed for the story, but we often experience people opening up to us during interviews and understand that a listening ear is not offered much in people's lives. When they get the chance to open up, and receive genuine listening ears, they feel inspired and unfold layers of themselves. We understand that our job is not just to gather the story, but also to treat people with the utmost kindness and respect, acknowledging their humanity. We have a great responsibility with our cameras and editing capabilities, and when people offer a willingness to be vulnerable in front of our cameras, it's our job to take care and listen deeply.

The experience with Bill in his nature home and esoteric ramblings was a stark contrast with our next character, Pam from Montebello. We sat down with Pam in a park and learned all about her experience has a walker in her community. Pam is full of fire and energy, and leads a walking group in Montebello. She advocates for black women to get out of their homes and walk their community, to fight preventable diseases and also create a stronger sense of community. We learned about the greatest struggles Montebello has, and how the city has been built around the assumption that everyone owns a car, which not everyone can afford. We were inspired by her vivaciousness as a retired woman in her 60s, advocating for policy changes and galvanizing hundreds of other women in her community to make a change for themselves and where they live. 

We followed Pam through the streets with our cameras, documenting the dangerous and unfair experiences she has as a pedestrian trying to navigate her own city. 

It's these varied experiences that we love exploring, just minutes or hours away from our own homes in Denver, and it takes getting out into the community and talking to folks to understand and capture diversity of life. Everyone has something to share, and many people welcome us into their world without hesitation. When we leave ourselves open to the organic story that unfolds, we experience true humanity and can develop a story that expresses vulnerability and depth. We're also highly impacted by the experiences we enter into as filmmakers, and we learn a great deal about people and issues every time we discover a new story. 

Building a Chance Multimedia Team

Building a Chance Multimedia Team

We're a small team of people at Chance Multimedia, and it's so important to maintain team members that will uphold the company's ethics and values and understand the often sensitive nature of what we produce. When our dear friend and editor Dan Sohner decided to take his career to the mountains, (where his heart belongs!), we were on the hunt for a new editor and cinematographer that would jive with our team as well as Dan did. 

We are so happy to have found Alex Sandberg, an East Coast native and wanderlust who started his career in L.A. before being called to the beauty and expansiveness of Colorado. Alex is approaching his one-year anniversary with us, and he's made our team so much better since we snatched him off the freelance market. Here's a little bit about Alex:

1. Why did you decide to move to Colorado?

I grew up on the east coast, and before moving here I had spent the previous three years in Los Angeles, so I was ready to get away from the endless urban sprawl. I love the outdoors and I’m an avid hiker, so I wanted to move somewhere in the western U.S. with forests, mountains, four seasons, and great weather, and nowhere fits that bill better than Colorado! I only knew a couple of people here but I decided to just take the leap, and I couldn’t be happier with the choice.

2. What was your first shoot experience like with Chance Multimedia? 

My first shoot with Chance was certainly a memorable one. The day after my interview, I got a call from James asking if I was available the following day for a shoot, which would also serve as a “test run” to see if I was a good fit. Then he asked me if I had ever been up in a helicopter, to which I replied something like, “Uhh… no.” I said I was free and up for the challenge, but couldn’t make any major promises about the quality of my footage. The shoot was a blast, and I managed to walk away with one or two usable shots (with lots of stabilization in post), which I guess was enough to pass the test! 

3. What camera gear are you looking at right now? Drone? New DSLR? 

I’ve been thinking about upgrading my camera body for a year or two now, but just haven’t been quite ready to pull the trigger. I have Canon lenses, so I (like so many others) for years eagerly awaited the release of the Canon 5D mkIV, and I (like so many others) was disappointed when it finally came out. The photo specs are superb, but 60fps at 1080p is underwhelming for slowmo capability, and the 1.74x sensor crop in 4k mode is a deal breaker. I’ll take a bit of pixel binning any day over a crop that extreme. Sony on the other hand has been very impressive over the last several years. The A7S II and A7R II are both fantastic cameras and very tempting, especially with the performance of metabones adapters for using Canon lenses, and the cheaper price tag than the 5D mkIV. The A7S II is certainly the better camera for video with its fantastic low-light capabilities and 120fps slowmo, but the sensor size for photography is a bit underwhelming at 12.2MP, as compared to the A7R II’s 42.4MP sensor. My ideal camera is an all-in-one video and photo camera, which has me leaning towards the A7R II at this point. Sony also just released the A9, which appears to blow both A7’s out of the water. But with a price tag of $4,499.00, I may need a slight raise to make that jump... James? Jessica?

4. What do you do on the weekends? Tell us about your adventures. 

I try to spend as much of my free time as possible outdoors, preferably hiking. I’m also an avid nature photographer (childhood dream job was to be a National Geographic photographer), so I love finding new remote places to explore with the hopes of spotting any little (or big) critters who might be roaming the woods. I had an awesome adventure just this past Monday in the Mount Evans Wilderness, which is only about an hour from Denver. I hiked the Tanglewood Trail, which follows a beautiful bubbling creek through a lush forest before emerging above the treeline to a saddle beneath Rosalie Peak, a 13’er in the shadow of Mount Evans. I got to break in a new pair of snowshoes for the last couple miles to the top, and the trail was completely lost under fresh snow so there was some bushwhacking involved! The view from the top was incredible and I didn’t see a single other person on the trail all day. I also came across some large and quite ominous animal tracks in the snow, which I later ID’d as belonging to a mountain lion. Or it could’ve been an enormous dog... but I’m going with mountain lion. Makes for a much better story.

5. What are your dreams for the future in the documentary/video production business? 

I’m passionate about environmental issues and I hope to use the power of documentary filmmaking and visual storytelling to help spread awareness about the impact that climate change is having on all the living creatures of our planet. Facing existential threats are countless species and entire ecosystems, not to mention the homes and way of life of people around the world. I believe climate change is the greatest challenge we’ve ever faced, and I hope to use filmmaking and photography to be part of the fight. 

Ethics and Responsibility in Storytelling

Ethics and Responsibility in Storytelling

Our team was recently at an introductory meeting with a new client, and the topic of sensitivity and participant care-taking came into the conversation as a concern for the client. We're always glad when it does come to the forefront of a client's mind, because that means our priorities are aligned - they're putting the wellbeing of participants and interviewees in front of the story, which is always where we place the most importance. 

We have strict ethical guidelines in our work not only because of our journalism backgrounds as a team, but because we as individuals uphold strong ethics and values in our own lives, in our own day-to-day interactions with others. We're aware of the power we hold as storytellers with tools, and we ask subjects to make themselves vulnerable through the interview and storytelling process. As such we have a great responsibility to make sure we operate within the comfort of those subjects from beginning to end and beyond. The process involves building relationships, building trust, and intently listening, all keys to crafting beautiful stories and letting people's words be truly felt. 

We start every interview ensuring the participant that they are fully in control of what goes into the story - they don't have to say or answer anything that makes them feel uncomfortable, and even if they do, they have the right to strike it from the record. We're often in sensitive, nuanced situations where people may be hesitant about our presence, and we're sure to never push any boundaries to "get the shot". We are humbled when we're welcomed into communities, into people's lives, and respecting them is our number one priority. 

When our ethics and values are aligned with those we're working with and for, the storytelling process is truly powerful and impactful for all those involved. 

Green Spaces

Green Spaces

Did you know we moved?? Chance Multimedia has been growing and expanding in great ways.

When Chance Multimedia started, James and Jessica were working out of their home in the RiNo neighborhood, before it was hipster Denver, a time that Jessica fondly refers to as RiNo B.C. (RiNo Before Crema).

Then when the company grew a little they moved to Green Spaces, a co-working building down the street that offers work stations and a fridge full of beer in a very energy-efficient green conscious building.

When the Chances bought their first house in City Park West they renovated the attached garage into a cute, small Ikea-esk office space and moved out of Green Spaces. A couple turnovers, a new baby, and a few years later, we are back in Green Spaces!

The community has grown immensely, but it’s still the fun, quirky, relaxed environment that Chance Multimedia thrived in before. With the expansion of Chance’s nonprofit arm, Stories Without Borders, and the addition of a team member, Alex Sandberg, and the expansion of the Chance’s family with little baby Daniel, we just needed some room to spread out.

We also wanted to welcome clients, partners and friends into a space where we could offer coffee, beer, couches, and a creative ambiance. Our office is decked out with plants, accented by beautiful brick walls, and we feel great working in a space that is so energy conservative. We were able to become a Certified Green Business through the City of Denver just by being in this space and operating how we do as a company.

One of the best parts about this space is being able to mingle with other creative minds every day, as the whole building is full of entrepreneurs of all sorts. Need a web designer? He’s next door! Need someone to help on a shoot? There’s a videographer available! The community is amazing, and the craft beer in the fridge doesn’t hurt.

 

Lessons from the Community

Lessons from the Community

A huge part of our job as videographers and journalists is to listen and absorb.

We do a lot of community work for foundations and nonprofits who activate rural city participation through grant opportunities. The documentation of those community-led processes sends us all over Colorado, to Olathe, Fort Morgan, Manzanola… places we hadn’t even registered on the map. Those places have taught us incredible lessons about life in rural cities, reflecting all the rural communities that make up the majority of this country.

In these tense political times it’s easy to become polarized. The hard thing is cross those lines and listen to the other side. Rural Colorado has a unique voice, a unique perspective, it’s a dichotomy of new and old, immigrants and generations-old families.

When you sit and listen, you have the opportunity to embrace. We’ve heard stories of Somali refugees making the journey to Fort Morgan to work and build better lives, we’ve heard stories of families traveling from Mexico to find peace and security in the small farm town of Olathe, we’ve heard stories of three-generations of families living in San Luis Valley embracing the changes they’ve experienced in their own, small culture. The most important thing is, these people are all now listening to each other through grassroots efforts.

Listening creates empathy, empathy creates movement, movement creates great change, and we’re honored to be able to witness these transformations and capture them in visually beautiful ways.

 

Farmer to Cup

Farmer to Cup

Hi all, Things have been a little quiet lately on the blog because of a new project we’re working on, but we’re back online! We’ve been developing a new documentary with with a unique window into tea production practices in Kenya, the world export leader of black tea.

We spent the last couple of weeks in production in Kenya, meeting new people and discovering new stories on small tea farms. We are learning about the tea trade and synthesizing that information for a new media and storytelling platform. It’s exciting stuff! Not only are we capturing a unique story that has yet to be told in this light, but the way it’s going to be shared with viewers will be completely new.

We can’t wait to share these new stories with you! Until then, here are some pictures from the recent trip.

photo 1
photo 1
photo 2
photo 2
_MG_0184-1
_MG_0184-1
IMG_2412-1
IMG_2412-1
IMG_2429-1
IMG_2429-1
IMG_2439-1
IMG_2439-1
IMG_2443-1
IMG_2443-1

Living with the Dead at the Intendence Film Festival

Intendence_2015_logo_square25Aug2014.jpg

Greetings! Our documentary Living With the Dead has been chosen to screen at the Intendence Film Festival the last week of June. We are excited and honored!

Living with the Dead is one of 13 films to be chosen from Colorado and 26 chosen from other states and countries. IFF's mission is to provide an inclusive film event that features the world-class talents of the Colorado film industry, while acknowledging good filmmaking wherever it originates. The festival also encourages and recognizes emerging young filmmakers. We are so happy to get Living With the Dead back out there for another screening.

Living With the Dead was our first feature-length documentary film researched and shot over a period of five years in Manila, Philippines. Manila is the most densely populated city in the world with an average of 43,000 people living per square kilometer. In the center of this heaving metropolis lies the North Cemetery which is home to a living community of more than 2,000 people. In a country where around 40 percent of people live below the poverty line, and population in Manila is reaching desperate proportions, the cemetery provides a unique residence for the hundreds of families that live and work within its walls. Our documentary explores the lives and dreams of several cemetery residents as well as the socioeconomic and political issues that brought them there.

We can’t wait to see what other incredible documentaries have been chosen to screen at the festival. There are so many stories that need to be told!

The Intendence Film Festival (IFF) will be screening films from Colorado and the rest of the world on Thursday, June 25, through Saturday, June 27, 2015, at the Open Media Foundation. Check out more information about the fest and film lineup at their Facebook page.

There are Many Ways to Capture a Scene...

We would like to introduce you to some key players on our team.  They lend us the ability to "extend our reach" and create shots that are even more engaging and interesting. Like hammers and nails - the use of specialized video equipment will have a different outcome and impact on a scene depending on whose hands they're in. It’s up to us to use them to tell a story beautifully and with impact. Introducing... the Movi, the jib and the slider.Movi

The Movi excels at following people and things - a child’s feet running with a soccer ball, a bike’s wheels trailing along a dirt path, or a presenter anxiously walking onto a stage to face the crowd. We use the Movi to capture close-up, intimate movements steadily, providing a visceral experience for the viewer.

MOVI from Chance Multimedia on Vimeo.

Slider

The slider likes to pan the scene. We use it to provide the viewer with a natural path on which to follow the story.

Slider from Chance Multimedia on Vimeo.

Jib

The jib comes in to grab the entire scene.  We use it to create a certain feeling of wonderment in the viewer, an awe that comes with the weightless aerial view of a situation that the jib instantly yields.

Jib from Chance Multimedia on Vimeo.

These are just a few of the tools we utilize in video production to capture scenes in the most unique and visual way. In the hands of talented cinematographers, under the eye of a keen director and woven together through the editing process, they allow us to capture a very intimate and dynamic experience for the viewer. You can see the results of these tools in our work.

Don't forget, we rent our gear out! Check out the Equipment Rentals page for more information.

Documentaries at the Denver Film Society

dfs.jpeg

Greetings, Just in case you didn’t know, Denver Film Society is going crazy with documentaries during May, and we wanted to pass the word along! There is something for everyone.

If you like getting glimpses into artists’ private lives:

Cinema Q: Packed In A Trunk - The Lost Art Of Edith Lake Wilkinson

Edith Lake Wilkinson, an artist of the early 19th century, was committed to an asylum in 1924. This doc reveals some of the mysteries and work of Wilkinson’s life as her great niece goes on a journey to return some of her lost pieces to Provincetown. The documentary was funded by Kickstarter where 235 backers pledged $37,150 to bring the film into reality. Denver is one of the first cities to screen the doc, so don’t miss it!

Tickets

If you’re a late-90’s music lover, check out:

Heaven Adores You

Through the unique lens of Director Nickolas Rossi, the story of late musician Elliott Smith is told through an artful compilation of thirty-plus interviews. In the past his story has been told through the lens of addiction, drugs and darkness, but Rossi puts Smith’s music in front and center, with support from Smith’s friends and family members. This documentary also came to life through Kickstarter, raising $15,292 with 218 backers.

Tickets

If you’re interested in unique and curious portraits, see:

Meet the Hitlers

This documentary follows the lives of several of Hitler’s last descents, discovering along the way what’s in a name. The film captures individuals speaking about what it’s like to carry Hitler as a last name, and how it’s affected their lives and identities in a myriad of strange ways. The film challenges viewers to question their beliefs and biases about what a person’s last name really represents, if anything at all. Director Matt Ogens will be in attendance to answer questions after the viewing. For a peek into the director’s work, read Jamie Clifton’s interview with the director on Vice.com.  

Tickets

If you’re interested war and the mind’s of soldiers that have served….

In Country

A documentary teetering on the line of entertaining and disturbing, this film, also born of from a successful Kickstarter, peers into the lives of war veterans who spend their time reenacting their experiences abroad. The film follows the men, some of whom are still on an adrenaline rush from time recently spent in Iraq, as they reenact Vietnam war scenes in the thick forage of Oregon. It reveals personal footage of the men’s time spent in war mixed with old war movie footage to create a truly unsettling yet honest and vulnerable look into the lives of men struggling to reintegrate themselves back into the daily grind of American life after war. For some it’s a form of therapy, for others it’s purely a nostalgic act, and for the audience it’s a revealing, thoughtful and even historical account honoring those who’ve served. Catch it on it’s one and only viewing night at the Denver Film Center on May 25th.

Tickets

Read A.V. Club’s review of the film here.

A Letter to the Interviewee

A Letter to the Interviewee

Dear Interviewee, We’re going to show up to the scene with a multitude of cameras, lights and tripods. We’re going to set up a “stage” for you with lights all over and we’ll be standing behind and around the lenses asking you questions, but we don’t want these things to intimidate you, although we recognize that’s probably impossible.

We’re here to listen to you and tell your story. We value you.

The gear, the lights, the tripods - they’re just tools we are using to make your story beautiful to watch. It feels awkward right now, so keep in mind that we’re here for a larger goal. Your story is serving a purpose.

Now is your opportunity to say what you want an audience to hear, to tell your story honestly and without reserve. This is our opportunity to listen. We’ll take what you say and form new questions from it, keeping the flow of the conversation going very naturally. We like things to unfold organically. We’ll try to connect with you on an emotional level, if that’s where you want to go, because that is what will capture an audience the most.

Unless you’re delivering a thesis, there is no need to prepare. Who could know more about your experience than you? We’ve done enough research to know what questions to ask. We come to you having formulated some questions, but not all of them. We come to this conversation from a place of true curiosity. You have the story to tell, we have the job of weaving it together in the best way possible. You can leave the work and worry to us - all you have to do is show up and sit with us.

Being interviewed on camera is an extreme act of vulnerability and trust. That’s a lot to offer someone you just met. Trust that we appreciate this and in turn, we will treat your story with great care.

The secret is this: We have the gear, the knowledge, the expertise when it comes to making a video work. But your story is the reason we’ve all gathered here. So make “mistakes.” Ask to start over. Ask questions. Let’s collaborate for a goal beyond this awkward moment -- we’re ultimately here to educate, inspire and inform our community. When we remember that, we’ll do great work together… especially if you’ve never been on camera before.

Sincerely,

Chance Multimedia

 

Feature Photo:

Jessica Chance interviewing Hassan Latif for Take Care Health Matters. http://takecarehealthmatters.org/portfolio-item/hassan-latif

We spoke with Kevin Monteiro in 2014 for Take Care Health Matters. Kevin sat down with us 72 days after his release from a 30 year prison sentence. The experiences he shared, and more stories at takecarehealthmatters.org, are inspiring other justice-involved people to access health care.

http://takecarehealthmatters.org/portfolio-item/kevin-monteiro

Introducing New Team Members

chloe_danCM.jpg

  Spring greetings!

We have some great new content lined up to share with you throughout these upcoming months.

First things first, meet Chloe and Dan.

Chloe came to us as an intern, hungry for more knowledge and experience in the video production world. She admired our mission, having a passion both for working with nonprofits and using video and photography as mediums to tell the untold story. With a background in journalism from Colorado State University, she was eager to develop her skills in that field and gain some real-world experience. Her natural knack for listening and narrative development quickly earned her a spot on the team as a Creative Production Assistant, where she is able to get her hands dirty in a variety of areas. She enjoys being a jack of all trades. She is currently working on building up Chance’s website, attending shoots to assist the team, blog planning, updating Stories Without Borders.com, organizing video projects and narrative development as an assistant editor.

What inspires her the most?

“When I watch a finished draft of a story we’ve told, a story that I’ve been involved with from start to finish, I feel incredibly inspired. Creating a story takes so much work, so much attention to detail, so much listening and attentiveness to the people being featured...it’s amazing when it all comes together.”

Dan came to us as a skilled craft editor.

He came to Colorado by bicycle in 2013 and just recently landed at Chance Multimedia. Living in Ohio, he had attended Ohio University for Photojournalism and Film and held a position as a staff photographer at the Columbus Dispatch. While freelancing in Colorado for outdoor lifestyle clients, Daniel was looking for something bigger which would help him give back to a larger community. As an Editor and Cinematographer, he is able to help tell stories which, in turn, help inspire people to think outside of their immediate lives. Daniel has experience working with nonprofits such as Local Matters in Columbus, Ohio and Paradox Sports in Boulder, Colorado and is using those experiences to help communicate the stories we here at Chance Multimedia are passionate about.

What inspires him the most?

“I am inspired by passionate people or groups who are not afraid to stand up and make their voices heard. We often work with exceptionally driven subjects and try to tell their stories with as much conviction as they tell them. Being able to feel that energy and weave it into the work we are doing here is a very inspirational feeling.”

Catching Up in Denver

HP_2.jpg

Greetings! Since we took a blogging hiatus for a while we need to play a little catch up, like old friends catching up over a cup of coffee. We’ve been up to quite a lot.

It’s been interesting to see what stories have come our way in the last year. We have felt the changes happening all over Colorado in our own business. Because of our mission to tell the untold story, to enlighten individuals with narratives of great people doing great things, we are excited by the storytelling opportunities we are seeing all over Colorado. Things are shifting.

Some shifts are positive -- there is a movement to live healthier, build self-sufficient communities and become more active in one’s own city. Other changes are posing a great challenge to people that have been here for years -- new developments are driving people out of their homes as many cannot afford the skyrocketing prices of living.

Chance Multimedia strives to capture both sides of the picture. We like to follow people and organizations that are making positive changes, and we think it’s important to be a voice for those that are feeling trampled on by the rapid growth in this city.

One story came our way in the last year that inspired us and caused us to contemplate our own community. The story of the Healthy Places Initiative, developed by The Colorado Health Foundation, and what’s happening within three communities in Colorado. These communities, full of families and lively cultural diversity, had room to improve: In some places they lacked streetlights at night, parks for their children to play in, bike paths to ride on...

We have been running around with our cameras following the actions of the Healthy Places Initiative members as they set out to build those things that were lacking, celebrate with their community members, and cultivate stronger relationships between neighbors. They’re creating pride in their community and embracing health in a whole new way.

Watching this growth and change makes us reflect on what we’re doing in our own lives and communities, Do we feel the sense of excitement and hopefulness in our own neighborhood that our lenses are capturing in these three ever-evolving places?

We think so. Jessica is involved in the Sustainable Food Policy Council, Chloe volunteers at the Denver Film Center down the street, James and Jessica participate in vegetable gardening with the neighbors on their block, and we run races in City Park to support causes we’re passionate about. These things excite us, and we would like to look for other ways to be engaged in the lively Denver community this year.

There’s always more that can be done. It just takes some vision and a few strong individuals to start moving forward and others will inevitably follow.

We are pleased that the work we’ve been doing with Healthy Places not only inspires us, but will inspire other communities around Denver to make the same impacts in their own neighborhoods.

We’re just glad we can be here to capture and share it all.

It’s an exciting time for Denver, and we have more interesting stories in the works that embrace these great movements.

All this talk of growth and change reminded us… we have some new team members to introduce to you next week!