Internship Trip to St. Louis

One of the best parts about my career path is being able to do new stuff everyday and go to different places. My internship this summer has taken me all over NYC. I have shot in numerous studios including Viacom and A&E studios, other locations such as the American Museum of Natural History, and many outdoor locations. I have had many experiences within NYC but recently I got to travel to St. Louis for a shoot.

Two of my coworkers and I traveled to St. Louis to help film some interviews for a documentary about the musical group Kool and the Gang. The reason why we traveled out there was they had a concert that weekend. It was easy for the producer to just have us come out and film some members of the group while they were together.

The shoot was a basic two camera set up. One camera had an over-the-shoulder shot of the interviewer and focused on the group member. The second camera was a close-up shot that was at an angle to get the profile of the band member. As far as the lights went it was three point lighting, but we had a different element that I had not done before. The producer wanted to keep continuity in all the interviews and in the past interviews they had used a black back drop, so we had to use one as well. It was a bit different then just using a green screen.

One problem we encountered was some of the felt on the back drop had been ruined or burned, so there was a white spot directly in the middle. This problem forced us to move all the props around so that the angles of the cameras, were shooting the band member so it would be blocking the white spot. Luckily it was not a huge white spot so it wasn’t to difficult to hide it. It was still a little frustrating after we had already set up the props perfectly to just move them again, then since the props were moved we had to then re-adjust the cameras to the appropriate focus and aperture.

Setting up was probably the most difficult part of the shoot, once we set-up we sat and listened. I was on camera B which was filming the profile of the band members. My job was to just adjust the camera and keep them in frame if they moved or adjusted themselves throughout the shoot. It was very interesting hearing the band’s story and how each of them got introduced to music and hearing stories about their childhoods. I only thought of them as a funky disco type group but after hearing the interviews I learned they had done a lot of jazz and even pop just to name some of the genres.

Aside from the shoot the most difficult thing was lugging all the equipment around the airport and through security. The ironic thing I realized was leaving New York we had no problems with the equipment and everything went fine. Once we finished the shoot and were heading back to New York that’s when we encountered some minor problems. They had confiscated some pliers that had some knives like a pocket knife would, and some problems with our carry on bags. It was like they didn’t care what was leaving New York, only what was coming in.

This was a very cool experience and even though we didn’t really get to explore St. Louis that much because we were working, I still had fun being in another city. We got to experience the penthouse suite at the Ritz Carlton, and hang out in the most expensive room in the hotel because that’s where we shot the interviews. We received all the perks of being in the penthouse suite which was awesome to say the least. Also on the flight back to New York I got bumped to first class, so it was safe to say I was living the high life during this trip. I am looking forward to going on more business trips to different places and seeing where this internship and career will take me.

 

Filming Music Festivals

In my posts from earlier this summer I have explained the three different settings where shoots take place. They can either be in a studio, on a set, or at a location. Most recently I have been lucky enough to travel to some pretty cool locations and events to film. These two events I went to happened to be music festivals. These were long days and pretty tiresome but the experiences were well worth it.

The first music festival I went to film was the Governor’s Ball on Randall’s Island in NYC. We were filming and interviewing a artist by the name of Charli XCX for the MTV show called “The Road.” If you are not familiar with her work one of her songs is called “Boom Clap” it was featured on the radio for a lengthy period in 2014.

We met Charli XCX at her hotel room before the festival and had a pretty brief sit down with her. The producer asked her some questions and did a quick interview. Then we filmed her as she picked out her clothes for the festival and also showed us other clothes she had brought to New York. Once we filmed her in her hotel room we then set up downstairs in the lobby and waited for her to come down.

The producer wanted to film her as she was exiting and asked if I would operate the secondary camera. This was pretty cool because I was just suppose to assist our head camera operator and did not think I would have the responsibility of actually operating the camera myself. This was exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. I was excited to have been trusted with this responsibility but on the other hand wanted to do a good job. Also I was filming the talent in a real environment, it wasn’t set up or planned. If i messed up I didn’t have the luxury of doing it again on the next take because there was no second take, the producer wanted a real feeling to the show. So i just remembered the techniques I was taught in BRC 235 and 465 about framing and lighting etc. I am pretty confident that my shot came out pretty good.

The other music festival I went to was the Firefly Festival in Dover, Delaware. This was the longest day I have had during my internship by far. We worked a total of 20 and a half hours that day and its safe to say I was extremely exhausted by the end of the day.

The day started by the crew meeting at VH1 Studios in NYC where the bus was waiting to take us to Firefly. My job at the festival was to be a utility man for the day. I had to supply my crew with everything they needed to keep the shoot running smoothly. During this shoot there was a script but we also shot a ton of b-roll, so I needed to be attentive to my crew and make sure they had free space in their memory cards, battery life, correct lighting, and I also handled all the equipment and kept everything organized. It was pretty exhausting because I had three people and their equipment to account for. Since it was such a long day we were given two meals instead of just the normal one. The VH1 staff was very accommodating to us and took care of us, more so than MTV. They understood we were in the heat all day and needed breaks. Towards the end of the day we were rewarded with a nice meal and some drinks to relax in the air conditioned tent. We had some time to relax and enjoy the festival as well, where I got to see some performances and hang out. After shooting more b-roll we accounted for all the equipment and headed home.

These experiences I had shooting the two music festivals are one of the main reasons why I decided to go into this business. Every day is different and that’s what I love about it. To top it all off we also had fun during them. After the VH1 shoot at Firefly I made some connections with the VH1 staff and have been on a couple of more shoots with them. All in all they were great experiences, we got the job done and the client was happy, we had some fun, and I made some business connections, I would say they were a success.

Hiya!

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^That’s me

Hi everyone! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Collin Hoeffner and I’m going to be attending Oswego in the Fall, majoring in history. Throughout the rest of the summer, I’m going to be blogging to you guys (whether you like it or not) about how I’m getting ready to go away to college, and how I plan on taking on these new responsibilities while away at college for my first semester.

But before I jump on all those topics, you probably want to know a bit about me before I start preaching to you guys, because honestly, who wants to listen to some stranger telling them what to do?

So, for starters, I’m from Long Island, NY. I’ve lived here my whole life, and going to Oswego is going to be the first time for me living away from L.I (Long Island). Yes we ask for Caw-fee in the mornings, and yes, I pronounce Long Island as Lawn-Guy-Land. What may be a little unconventional about me, however, is for the past three years I’ve been competing in the US Legend Car series, racing on a range of race tracks weekly in NY, CT, NJ and PA (I’ll leave one of my videos at the end of this). So, I know a bit more than the average guy about your car. I follow sports, primarily the NHL and the NFL (How about them Bruins and Patriots), but I’ll watch whatever’s on. Personally, I’m planning on trying out for the club hockey team in college, as I play ice hockey a bit.

I chose Oswego for a few reasons. One being the fact that the school is a bit far away from home. I wanted to get the classic “college experience” of living away from home, and finding myself, if you will. Another is because I REALLY enjoy the cold. I ski quite well, I like snow, and just the overall cold. Taboo right? However one of the most important reasons why I chose to spend my next four years of Oswego is because Oswego has a great teaching program. In fact, one of my teachers who I have grown very close to the past four years is an alumnus of Oswego! So perhaps I’m a little biased. I’ll let you decide that.

Anyways, that’s me, in an extremely shortened version. If you guys want to talk, or maybe want me to focus on something in my upcoming entries here, message me on Facebook, or shoot me an email at choeffne@oswego.edu OR Choeffner6897@yahoo.com see you all in the fall, and maybe I’ll see some of you at the July 12-13 orientation!

Below is one of my racing videos from last July If interested

Perfecting Shooting on a Green Screen

The interesting thing about working for a production company like Showbizz is that you tend to shoot content at a lot of different places over the course of a month. You can either be in a studio, on a set, or at a location. In my first two weeks interning at Showbizz however I have not been able to partake in that privilege. For my first three shoots I have only been in a studio and all three have used green screens. I have learned that although I have not seen other aspects to this business there is some benefits to only filming one specific type of setting.

I have realized that filming in a studio has allowed me to really learn every aspect there is to know about lighting the space for each specific shoot, and I feel much more confident and qualified about lighting a studio in general. Without this repetition I feel I would not of been able to pick up and remember the key components there is to lighting in a studio so quickly.

As I mentioned in my first blog I re-learned the three point lighting techniques I was taught in BRC 235. I was still a bit hazy about the whole technique even after my first shoot. Looking back now after my third shoot I now completely understand every aspect of the key, fill, and backlight of three point lighting. The hardest part to master was the backlight, because the backlight makes the object your filming pop from the background and gives the shot depth, so it is very important in creating a complete shot. The hardest part about the backlight is to make sure light does not spill over the object you are filming and shine back into the camera. If this happens it will make the shot look white above the object because there is to much light shining directly into the camera. So in order to avoid this you need to put a shade on top of the backlight, almost like a baseball hat to focus the light down.

I also gained insight on how to properly light the green screen itself. It is important that the green screen has an even layer of light covering it. If it does not the green screen will have hot spots that appear white on the camera and not green. This can be very problematic because once in the editing stage it will not succesfully be able to chromo key the green out and you will have “holes” in the image you are trying to fill in over the green screen.

Even though I would of loved to see different sets/shoots and travel to other locations, I believe that shooting in a studio has given me a better understanding of lighting both in and out of the studio. Shooting in a studio is very basic and easy to control because you have no extraneous variables. All in all I am very happy with my first experiences and the ease that learning and shooting in a studio has brung. Now in turn, when it gets more challenging and difficult due to having to adjust to other factors I will be more prepared because I have learned the basics first.

 

Starting off my Internship

To finish off my college education I decided to earn my last five credits through an internship. I felt that this would be more beneficial to me and my career than simply enrolling in two online courses over the summer for the credits. I am a broadcasting major so I wanted an internship in the field of production and Oswego provided me with several great internship oppotunities to gain hands on experience in that field.

The company I chose to work for is called Showbizz Productions, a New York based television production company that was founded in 1999. Showbizz Productions provides all crew and equipment needs on set for its clients, focusing mostly on day of shoot needs with little involvement in the pre-production and post-production process.

For my first day, Bizz, owner of Showbizz Productions, allowed me to join him on location for his shoot that day. One of the main and most important things about beginning the day is loading all the equipment in a smart and safe manner, you have to arrange it all so it will fit, but you also have to know where to place things so equipment doesn’t get damaged.

Next is setting up all the equipment in correct places to achieve the desired look. One thing that I re-learned was three point lighting. This was a lighting design technique that I had learned in BRC 235 as a sophmore, and being able to see its implementation on a real set helped me better understand its application and the purpose behind setting up the lighting in this manner. Lighting is a very crucial step in creating a clean, clear, and professional looking shot. While it was only my first day on a professional production, I felt well prepared for being on set from my time spent in the classroom at Oswego learning both production techniques as well as their real world application.

In the future I am hoping to further expand my knowledge of lighting and learn new lighting concepts and techniques. The next step is to learn more about camera settings and composing a shot. This is a very complex process which I don’t expect to fully learn in just one day. Overall the first day was a great learning experience and I couldn’t of asked for a better learning environment.

Clubs & Organization: Balancing Final Club Events and Finals Themselves:

IMG_0177Towards this time of year, it can seem like your life is like a game of Jenga.  With so many blocks being pulled out as you finish different tasks and new ones are added on top, it can seem overwhelming. However, realizing that this tower doesn’t have to fall is an important part of having a fulfilling end to the semester.

You know how during sports practices and the likes coaches always say “finish strong?” Well, this can apply to a wide array of things. Anything from organization’s final moments to those tests that you just feel like you can’t study for anymore, should be treated with this “finish strong” mentality.

I know that for me, a lot of my extracurricular activities focus heavily on end of the year involvement. Shaun Cass Improv’s biggest show is always our last. It involves planning, promotions, and practice. This can be tiring. But, once it is done, the fact that I remained committed is enough.

For Lifestyles, the Peer Education program comes with banquets and applications for the following year. This means filling out forms and having to move schedules around. But these final things are still important to attend and making it work around your schedule involves a lot of time management.

Other things that can make studying feel impossible are work schedules. While often able to do homework at the desk, sometimes it can be hard to focus. The way to beat this, I have found, is to only bring homework to the desk. Whether that means leaving your laptop or just having less to occupy your time, you can help yourself focus.

That being said, final notes I would give is to realize that at the end of the day, school does come first. And, while this college offers a lot of opportunities to expand yourself, it is a college and gaining professional knowledge is what matters. Good luck to everyone with the final weeks of the semester.

Student Athlete Guide: Eating Right

When it comes to preforming, the food that we put in our bodies makes all the difference in how well we will be able to compete. As athletes we can’t be like Popeye the Sailor and just eat spinach before a game, have mega-strength and destroy our opponents… I’ve tried.

Any athlete will tell you that practice makes perfect, and the same thing can be said about training your body to eat right.  By minimizing the bad (yet oh so good) food from your diet, it will allow your body to understand what healthy foods help you preform better. Having the right food in your system will not only make you a healthier individual but it will also improve your performance out on the field.

SUNY Oswego is always promoting a healthier way of living, especially when it comes to what you eat in the dining halls. However the choice to eat the right things as an athlete falls solely on you. You have to make the conscious decision of doing what it takes to become a better athlete. So put down the extra slice of pizza and step away from the ice cream bar, and here are some helpful hints about eating right.

1) Freshman 15 is a Real Thing

It really shouldn’t be called “Freshman 15″ in reality it should be called “Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior 15.” When it comes to eating in the dining halls it becomes a social event. Even when you are not hungry you still go to the dinning hall because that is where all your friends are. And when all of your friends are eating food around you its hard not to want to get a plate for yourself.

I am not discouraging you to go to the dining hall, in fact some of the best new food concoctions are invented in the dining hall, I am just encouraging you to grab some fruit, or make a salad instead of eating another full meal.

2) Check Out The Resident Dining Menu Online

Looking at the dining menu online before eating can help with making the right choices about what to eat. If you look at the menu only it will show you what is being served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and what foods are heart healthy, vegetarian, and vegan.

Also the dining menu online offers MyPlate. MyPlate is where you can pick foods from the menu that you want to eat and then it will calculate all the total nutrients (good and bad)  you are receiving from that specific meal. By being able to visually see how the foods are helping or hurting your body it will make deciding what healthy food to eat easier.

3) Encourage Your Teammates

Eating healthier can change your game, imagine what it can do to an entire team. That being said take the initiative to circle the wagons with your teammates. Trying to eat healthy as a group is a lot easier than trying to eat healthy on your own.

I know for our team we have a sweet tooth for ice cream and Cooper Dining Hall has its own creamery. So after a lot of our meals we would go get ice cream afterwards and not think twice about it. It wasn’t until when we were in season that we were seeing the effect all this ice cream was having on us. So instead of just cutting out all junk food we decided that once a week in season we would go for ice cream. We were all in it together and it made things a lot easier. It’s okay to eat junk food as long as you manage how much you eat of it.

 

Lakeside Dining Hall

Lakeside Dining Hall

 

 

 

 

Clubs & Organizations: Taking Initiative During Summer

DSCN999Summer is coming up. That is a fact and while everyone is excited for one of the longest breaks of the year, students everywhere will be left unoccupied by extracurricular work. For some this is a blessing, but for others summer, while fun can also be a simulative lull. For those needing to occupy their brains with entertaining, but experiential work during the warm months, here are some things I think will help.

  1. Start a summer blog. No matter what club you are in, chances are your experiences through that club, your interests, and your personal thoughts can be applied to some blog form. Whether its useful tips, entertainment reviews, or opinions on certain matters; establishing a strong summer blog can be great for the mind to filter out information and ideas, while also providing possible work examples.
  2. Stay sharp by practicing. A lot of different clubs can provide summer work if students choose to accept it. For clubs that feature performances in any form, find local open mics and attempt to do your act at them. In addition, clubs that are more major-driven can be made much easier by calendaring the schedule. By getting a jumpstart on the year ahead you can spend your time more evenly.
  3. Do an internship. In terms of no-brainers, this point may seem obvious. Internships can definitely help you build professional experience and experience to help in your organizational commitments. Building skills while also building your resumes is the way to getting a step ahead.
  4. Learn new skills. One way to occupy your time constructively is to pick up some new skills. Things like photo editing programs, web programing, and the likes help make you look technologically advanced for your future. Even learning the fundamentals of these various things can help you in the future when looking for a job.

Clubs & Organizations: Things I Wish I Had Known

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As previously written, I always knew that in college I wanted to be as involved as possible. I knew that it was a great way to build social relationships as well as professional ones. Coming into Oswego I wanted to join everything. Instead, I wish I had known what I know now about joining organizations because it probably would have made things much easier.

  1. Try out for things, even if you’ve never done it before. Coming into the school, I definitely had a love for comedy but had never done any form of improv or acting. When I heard about Shaun Cassidy Fan Club (the improv troupe), I was unsure whether I would/could do what they set out to do on a weekly basis. Skipping their table at the involvement fair out of fear, I went to their first show and found their brand of comedy to be something I could fall in love with. I moved on to try it out and proved myself to be right.
  2. Mix clubs of entertainment and leisure with professional ones. While clubs can be fun and social experiences, the benefits of joining organizations that push you towards a career can be extremely beneficial. Major-driven clubs (Like PRSSA) and honor societies are great because they allow you to gain real work experience (not to mention they look good on a resume).
  3. Pick a few clubs and excel at them. As stated, coming in I wanted to be a part of everything. I love clubs and feel that they provide people with great social and experiential opportunities. I signed up for a double digit amount of clubs during the involvement fair without realizing the commitment they would take. After quickly dropping some, I’ve wished that I had picked a few from the get go to become deeply invested in (at the very least, it would have saved my wrists from having to write my email down so many times).
  4. Realize that integration is a process. This one should have been a no brainer, but for me it wasn’t. When I joined my chosen organizations I had hoped for swift bonds and engagement. What I realize now is that no matter what the organization is, becoming truly invested in it and creating long lasting bonds is a journey in itself but the rewards are terrific.
  5. At the end of the day, Oswego offers enough organizations where there is multiple things for everyone. Not being able to find a club is as remediable as a Google search. Picking a few awesome clubs is a great move for anyone!