Corporate videomaking


Lately me and some other guys from school have been doing some work for The Skagen Funds, a multi-national, well renowned mutual fund company located in Stavanger. Our work mainly consists of producing short videos. Usually it’s an interview in which a manager, or expert of some sort, updates the investors on current development of the funds and markets.

Production is done on a weekly basis. We’re five people in total, but we work in teams of two. Teams rotate and take turns working. This way the work don’t interfere with our studying too much. Every week we produce one or two short videos that are uploaded to YouTube. We usually shoot them at their headquarters and edit them straight away. So far it’s been a pretty straight forward and quick job. The interesting part is that they’ve just started this project, so they’re still experimenting a bit. It’s very interesting to be part of the development of such a project in such a big company, and in such a professional environment.

Last night we produced not two, but a total of four videos. Two in Norwegian and two counterparts in English.

Go to the Skagen Funds YouTube channel, SkagenTV to check out our work.

Project NAS

Today I’ve been cleaning up on my computer and I’ve copied a lot of the stuff on my external hard drives on to brand new hard drives. See, lately my room-mate and I have had this little project going: We’re building a NAS-station.

The thing is I have a lot of photos and video footage I hate to lose to a computer crash. Up until now I’ve kept all my stuff on an external hard drive, which have been sitting safe on my desk. I’m just as paranoid about loosing my stuff as I should be, so I also keep a backup on another external hard drive.. This have been a satisfying solution so far, but it had a couple of draw backs.

First: I had to manually take backup. Now, as a busy guy I rarely take the afternoon off to back up my hard drive. Hence, the backup was never really up to date.

Second: Since I used it to archive stuff and not work directly off the external hard drive, I had to plug it in and out every time I wanted to use it.

Third: So far it had been sitting safe on my desk, but a while back I moved in with my girlfriend and now I don’t really have a desk. So now, every time I want something on the external hard drive I have to temporary set it up and take it down after I’m done, and while I’m using it I can only hope the cat doesn’t attack it or chew the wires. In other words, the hard drive is a lot more exposed than earlier, meaning closer to destruction! It was mainly this last reason that made me look at NAS-stations.

I was originally planning to buy a NAS-station, and put in some hard drives. Then my room-mate had this idea we could make our own out of an old computer of his. So we gathered a bunch of spare computer parts and grabbed all the hard drives we could find and stashed them in there. In addition I bought two 2 TB hard drives and we also needed a SATA controller card, as we had more SATA discs than the motherboard could handle.

Homemade NASSo after putting together a computer of spare parts laying around the house we set it up with FreeNAS. It’s a NAS software based on FreeBSD and runs off a memory stick. Not to mention it’s totally free! After a little tweaking we had a NAS station hooked up to the wireless network. So far it’s tested with my room mates PC, my MacBook and my girlfriend’s MacBook Pro so the cross-platform support is excellent. Even supports TimeMachine on my Mac.

It’s got a couple of hard drives so plenty of space, most notably two 2 TB drives being mirrored in a RAID. This way I don’t have to worry about loosing my stuff to hard drive crashes and with an additional backup on my old external hard drive it’s pretty safe.

Now, it’s still not finished. We still need to hook up the printer and preferably also a scanner, so we can use it over the network, but this requires some more tweaking. So far however, I really like this solution!

Friday production: Notekoppen #1

Today we produced the first episode of Notekoppen, The Note Cup, for our TV-production 2 class. My job was script and I had most of it under control. The part I was most curious about was scripting the band we had in the studio.

The band was called Bow To Your Sensei and was a local hard rock band. They were going to play a total of two songs. I was lucky, cause my producer didn’t want detailed scripting on the music performance. He just wanted me to keep track of the cool parts and solos etc and he didn’t have a detailed  camera plan, but decided a lot on the go.

As the script I made the plans for the day and included plenty of time for rehearsals. And I’m glad I did so! The first rehearsal had potential, but didn’t exactly go smooth. After a couple of runs it started to look better. Every time we noticed details we could do different or better and when it came time for the actual production it all went pretty smooth, almost perfect. (It’s never really perfect)

I manage to keep track of the program and the songs, always one step ahead and while the mood in the control room was rather hectic, as it should be, it seemed like everyone had their responsibilities under control. The result was a pretty good show. I think everyone, including the band, was happy with the result.

Would you like to see the show? It’ll be published on The University of Stavanger’s Vimeo Channel.

Keeping track

Yesterday and today I’ve been keeping track of people, timescodes, seconds, minutes. What’s happening next? That’s my responsibility as I’m script for this weeks friday production in class.

This next series of friday productions is called Notekoppen, The Note Cup. (Weird name, I know) This next series consist of four shows and this time the focus is music. Every week we’ll have a new band in the studio who’ll play two songs live. Producing music performances is a new challenge, so it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

I’ve shot numerous music performances, but mostly as a camera operator. I really like it. I think it’s challenging and a lot of fun. At least if the music is good. This time I’m behind the camera, keeping track of it all. It’ll be interesting. I like keeping things under control and making plans isn’t too bad, so it’s my kind of job, but this is the first time I’m doing something like this on this scale. The music performance part is going to be really interesting. Keeping track of when guitar solos and cool stuff comes is the part I’m most curious about.

Now, I’m off to fine tune the plans for tomorrow.

Watch Input/Output online

I was just made aware of that the 4-part series we produces in class called Input/Output is now available to watch online at Vimeo.

Input/Output is a 20 minute TV-show, produced live to tape by our TV-production 2 class at the University of Stavanger. My functions on the show have been camera operator, lighting and set design, camera controller and sound.

You’ll find all four episodes of Input/Output here. Enjoy!