Rain or Shine, The University of Portland's Multimedia Team Gets the Shot with Blackmagic Design
The University of Portland was quick to realize this, and created its own in house multimedia team, in conjunction with its marketing department, which handles all television commercial, online video and social media marketing campaigns. Headed by photojournalist and videographer Jeff Kennel, what makes this team unique is that it produces high quality work just as good as many professional agencies and production companies, but at a fraction of the cost and twice the speed.
"Previously, we would hire an advertising agency, freelance videographer or production company, and on top of paying for their services, we'd also be paying for their equipment. It used to be that only expensive cameras with big crews could produce quality footage. But that's not the case anymore thanks to Blackmagic Design," said Jeff. "By putting the Blackmagic Cinema Camera in the hands of our talented in house multimedia team, we can create professional, high quality work at a fraction of the time and cost."
Maintaining Brand Quality
Jeff began as a freelance photographer in Tokyo, and his career has included photojournalism stints in Chile and Cambodia. When DSLRs became capable of video, Jeff saw the opportunity to improve his skillset by learning the art of multimedia. After completing his Masters in International Multimedia Journalism at the University of Bolton, Jeff was approached by the University of Portland's marketing department to head up its new in house photo and video production.
"In taking the multimedia work in house, we had to maintain a professional look. Regardless of whether it's a YouTube video or a TV commercial, it's going to represent the university, and we had to uphold the quality of the brand. No matter what, people are going to associate the university with the quality of the product we put out," said Jeff. "I felt DSLRs had some shortcomings, and I wanted something more cinematic with more dynamic range and sharpness while being mindful of our budget. The Blackmagic Cinema Camera fulfills all these needs and delivers incredible image quality at an affordable cost."
Now, Jeff is able to shoot all multimedia videos either by himself or with a small team of people. The team averages several television commercials a year, in addition to dozens of social media, web and promotional videos for the university, all of which are essential to promoting the university, keeping alumni engaged and attracting new students and donors. Jeff's work for the university has taken him and Blackmagic Cinema Camera around the globe, most recently on a two week shoot in Salzburg, Austria to produce a video for the university's 30th anniversary of its satellite campus there.
"The confidence in knowing that I'm getting the best quality images possible, especially in far away places where you know you won't have a chance to reshoot, is invaluable. With a DSLR I'd always be thinking about blown out highlights and loss of detail in the shadows. I had to make compromises with DSLRs, which is a terrible feeling when you've traveled so far to capture amazing images. I don't have to make compromises with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera," said Jeff.
Rain or Shine
While some YouTube and Facebook videos are shot in ProRes, all television commercials are shot in RAW, and Jeff notes that he enjoys the camera's flexibility because it doesn't dictate his workflow. "RAW is great because I get the maximum latitude possible, which I need for TV. But for some projects, we don't need all that, and we benefit from the simplicity of shooting in ProRes and putting a quick video together. The Blackmagic Cinema Camera adapts to whatever workflow I throw at it, which ends up saving me time and money in the end," he said.
With Portland's weather either bright and sunny or dark and cloudy, Jeff finds that Blackmagic Cinema Camera's 13 stops of dynamic range also provide him with the flexibility to get the shot regardless of the conditions. With a scrim not in the budget, shooting on sunny days means the talent is in bright sunlight with hard shadows, but Jeff knows he can recover highlights and pull out shadows in post. Cloudy days do not deter Jeff either, as he know Blackmagic Cinema Camera will capture every bit of detail, which he can then finesse with DaVinci Resolve for color correction to get the exact look he wants.
"We did one shoot where a lot of the shots were on a rooftop with solar panels in direct sunlight, and the camera's latitude helped make those shots usable," said Jeff. "In post it's a snap to use DaVinci Resolve to pull out shadows or tone down highlights if needed. Before the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and DaVinci Resolve, we couldn't have done any of this in house and have it look this good."
Perfecting in Post
Jeff was unfamiliar at first with color correction, but picked up DaVinci Resolve quickly. When coloring footage, Jeff maintains as natural and accurate a look as possible with a nice saturation, which he feels adds a happier look to the footage.
"My breakthrough moment was discovering nodes and applying different nodes to clips, and I was amazed at how easy it was. Thanks to Portland's weather, I'm now a pro at recovering highlights and pulling out shadows," said Jeff. "It's incredibly easy to shoot in film mode and gather all that information, then play with and pull the colors back in DaVinci Resolve. The Blackmagic Cinema Camera and Davinci Resolve are more robust than most tools out on the market, and the affordable cost puts professional quality into the hands of many. Blackmagic Design really helped make it possible for us to transition to an in house multimedia team."