Marketing Uncategorized

Take Your Marketing to New Heights with Drone Videography

From panoramic skylines and time-lapsed cityscapes to sweeping views of nature’s grandeur, drone capabilities have literally changed how we see the world around us. And, across industries, businesses are recognizing the value of a bird’s eye view. Done well, drone videography creates an attention-grabbing experience for your target audience.


Why Drone Videography?


Even twenty years ago, aerial video was the domain of Hollywood video producers with sizable budgets. It required renting a plane or helicopter, hiring a licensed pilot, and hoping the weather would cooperate. But drone capabilities have made aerial shots a viable option for businesses and production of every size.


In general, video is the reigning content marketing champion. The average person will watch 100 minutes of video every day in 2021. And according to Social Media Today, “81% of businesses use video in their marketing strategy. This figure is a 63% increase compared to [2019].” With this saturation in the video space, aerial videography is one of the most effective ways to make sure your video content stands out.


Best Industries for Aerial Views


While any business can benefit from a fresh perspective, some industries need the birds-eye view more than others.


Hospitality & Travel


How do you attract travelers to your resort, lodge, beach-side cabana, or hideaway? By immersing them in the experience of your location. With drones, you can capture immersive, breath-taking footage that helps viewers imagine themselves in the center of it all. Tropical getaways can showcase white sand beaches. Drones can follow skiers down the black diamond run in your resort’s commercial. No matter your location, aerial views help you get the most out of your video content. 


Real Estate


The National Association of Realtors reports that 90% of home buyers find their property information online. And one way that real estate companies add value to their listings is through drone videography. Not only does it give potential buyers a birds-eye view of the property, but it also helps showcase the neighborhood and surrounding areas.


Auto Dealers


Shoot a sweeping panorama of your lot and vehicle selection. Get white-knuckle, off-roading action shots of the trucks and SUVs you offer. Or, just show ordinary people doing local things in your vehicles. No matter how you approach auto dealership commercials, drone videography helps put your audience in the driver’s seat. And at WK Studios, we offer subscription packages to tell your dealership’s story (and tell it well).


Precision Drone Videography


But we don’t always need just drones to showcase bigger, broader views. Sometimes, they’re even more useful when it’s time to get up close and personal. Especially in the age of COVID-19. Drone videography lets us get close to the action—without getting in the way—while maintaining social distancing. The experienced team at WK Studios can use in-office and on-site drones to showcase your building, crew, and capabilities.


Contact WK Studios for FAA-Certified Drone Videography


Ready to take your marketing to new heights? Our team has the certifications and creative vision to help you get the most out of aerial video. Give us a call to learn more about using drones to capture your high-quality video content.



Storytelling…miles more than just a story.

Here at WK Studios, we love our industry, and that includes lots of love for other companies and individuals that are pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into it, just like we do. Muse Storytelling shares our passion for telling stories. They bring up a great point in one of their articles (The Story of Story, by Patrick Moreau) about being careful not to allow temptation or persuasion to derail the story. We couldn’t agree more.

There are endless things that you’d likely love to have viewers see in you your videos, whether it’s a specific person, the great price, or even all the ways your product can benefit them, but it’s important to remember that a story is meant to take the viewer on a seamless mental journey, and each informational detail that is forced in has the potential to damage the strength of the story.

Keep on making your dreams come to life, everyone!

Local Business Uncategorized

Branding is a Slow Burn… but a Longer Term Investment

I love commercials. I know… I’m the odd man out.

In fact, I’ll share a little secret with you: When I watch TV, I mostly skip the shows and look for the ads.

I’ve noticed that big names do branding commercials while small businesses create informational commercials. This got me to thinking and here’s what I came up with regarding the differences.

1. Branding creates a feeling

Check out this commercial for milk:

An informational commercial would have started by listing the health benefits of milk, continued with telling you where you can buy it, and finished with a call to action (i.e. Drink Milk because it’s good for you.)

Compare the above with this commercial:

Which one gave you more information? Which one are you likely to remember when you are at the grocery store thinking about what to buy? (Matt Dillon tells us, “don’t forget it,” but I’m pretty sure you already have.)

2. Branding is slower

If you want a quick burn with immediate results (i.e. a sale or event) then informational is the only way to go. Just tell people “Who, What, When, Where and Why.” But as Roy H. Williams, the “Wizard of Ads,” asks, do you really want to train people to wait for a sale, or do you want them to buy from you because they love your brand?

If you are looking to build a “presence” in a product category, or a reputation in a geographical market–if you want people to feel your weight–then informational ads will be watched and forgotten before people even know who you are.

When you think about Nike, do you think about what kind of rubber they use on their soles or how cool their laces are? Does Nike have to convince you that they are quality by listing their manufacturing process? No, you feel something that has been faithfully added to and built upon for decades; they have created trust by the very “weight” of their brand.

3. Branding uses association

Nike associates its products with the biggest names in sports. Milk associates itself with obsessive desire. By the time they get to their slogan, “Got Milk,” the idea of living without it is unthinkable.

Unlike Nike, most businesses can’t afford even one minute of LeBron’s time, but with some skillfully-crafted creativity, they can create other powerful associations that are cheap or free. If you make quality knives, for example, then you can spend your advertising dollars associating your brand with the types of gourmet foods that your clients want to cook. If you make custom dog collars, then associate your brand with the special bonding that happens between dogs and their loving owners.

The most powerful branding moves the viewer to think, “I want to be that person; I want to live that life”

(By way of full disclosure, we were not associated with the above commercials in any way.)

Which sports fan doesn’t fantasize about being at the front of the pack, or the top of the key, making the winning slam dunk and having the fans go wild? Nike ads strongly associate its brand with some of the most powerful images known to sports fans.

The stronger the associations, the more powerful the emotions; the more powerful the emotions, the deeper your ads will impact the soul.

4. Branding lasts longer

Since association and emotion are functions of the subconscious mind, they stay with the viewer for much longer than mere facts and figures (which reside in the intellect).

5. Few things can impact the soul like video

SO here it is…the shameless sales pitch. (Not really.)

While strongly crafted words or a beautiful image can affect the soul, the medium of video is uniquely poised to impact the emotions of the viewer and help them temporarily suspend their filters. This is something I strongly believe.

Take your cues from how the big brands concept their ads, and focus on building brand loyalty through emotional connections, rather than going in for the kill with less effective informational ads. As marketing legend, David Ogilvy said, “Don’t bunt; aim out of the park. Aim for the company of immortals.”

Paul Powers videographer



Paul Powers is a producer at WK Studios and currently resides in Bend OR with his beautiful wife and daughter.




Filmmaking TV Show Uncategorized

Working for CBS Sports

The email came in from our website contact form just like a thousand before. ” Hello, I’m from CBS Sports, saw your website… Like to contact you about doing some filming. ”


I wrote him back. We exchanged emails two or three times and it turned out to be a legitimate job. (I have to admit that I was a little skeptical at first). He sent me a three-page special sheet highlighting everything from the format of the show to the method of delivery. I found out the budget, the needed crew and the timeline. He also sent me a long 10? 11 pages? vendor form that asked questions like, “what percentage of your budget does this job represent? ” and “list some of your previous clients”.

One of the things that surprised me is that they required the following:
A producer
A DP /camera operator
A dedicated sound tech
A PA/grip
A director

As I contacted all of these people we put together the following team:

Producer- Neal Burgess
Director/ Camera 2- Paul Powers
DP/ Camera 1- Benjamin Edwards
Sound Tech- Frank Costa
PA/Grip-  JP Schlick

The show was a reality sports show that would highlight a famous award-winning athlete and show their lifestyle. CBS had provided me with a shot list that included such things as luxury cars, iPod lists, time at the gym, etc.

We showed up on-site right at 12 the day of filming. Robert opened the door to the modest home. I was surprised. This was Robert Oberst’s multiple award-winning/record-setting strongman. He lived in a normal house and drove a nice but normal truck. The luxury car shots were out.

As we were doing the interview with this incredibly strong man, I was impressed by his humility, his intelligence and his easy-going good nature. We did some shots of him lifting and headed to the gym to get some more lifting shots. My DP immediately saw a beautiful light shining through the window which would work well for some Highlight and flares. It pays to hire a good DP /camera op as his eye can make let break the production. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring release forms and location releases. (more on that later.)

The last stop of the day was a Mongolian restaurant where Robert and his friend/fellow trainer stocked up on protein. While the rest of the shots had been somewhat set up, we decided to do this segment documentary TV style. DP, Benjamin Edwards put the camera on the ronin and “got the shot. ”

Since it was 4:30 and I had promised the crew an early quitting time I called it a day satisfied that we had done good work for 4.5 hours.

My big mistake on the day was not bringing the release forms. Because of my oversight, it took my producer another 5-6 hours of chasing down all the individuals and business owners without whose signature the show could not be aired.

Overall, CBS Sports was satisfied and it was fun to see what their editors did with the footage.


Local Business TV Commercial Uncategorized

Why Pay More for Professional Video?

We all know you can get cheap video. From the kid on the corner who is “really into” that video stuff, to the TV station that will produce your commercial for free in exchange for selling air time, to the cookie-cutter production house online, cheap video is not that hard to find.

So the question arises, “Why should I pay more for a professional production company?” Here are a couple of our thoughts:

1.  Experience Matters:
I was once a young film student with a video camera and a laptop out selling my video services to anyone willing to pay me.  These days, I hide those projects from everyone, secretly hoping that the Internet has lost that work forever. While it was pretty good for where I was, I sincerely hope my former clients have upgraded their videos.

2. You may need to access/ modify/ find that footage later.
It costs money to back up projects and keep footage safe and organized for future access.  The fly by night production service may not be there next month, let alone next year.

3.  Video is more than moving pixels, it’s a relationship.
Good video is communication.  A well-planned video will communicate with the words, the music, the set dressing, the wardrobe, the graphics, the talents movement, the camera’s movement, and more.

Moving pixels may be enough to look good, but only a relationship with our clients allows us to really understand and communicate your brand.

4.  Your brand is Important.
This is the big one. Everything you release to the public enhances or denigrates your brand.  Video is especially powerful and should be handled with extra care.  You spend a lot of money on your logo, your website, your copywriting and your print.  Do you really want to come across as the bargain place with the cheesy videos?

Yes, professional video is an investment, but like most investments, you get out of it what you put into it… with interest.

Filmmaking Uncategorized

10 Reasons We Love Being Video Producers

Seems like everyone is doing their own top 10 lists. So in the interest of represtin’ the video creatives, here are the top 10 reasons why WK loves to create video.

10.  We’re almost always doing something different

Just take this week for an example. On Monday we were working in premiere editing some incredible footage, Tuesday we were interviewing a gentleman who is on his way to Ghana to help the poor.  On Wednesday we were in a large airline manufacturing plant doing interviews,  Thursday we were doing a video of a guy who makes Aeroponics (designed by NASA), and today we’re working on a mountain bike commercial in After Effects (and writing this blog of course).

9.  Our  job is highly creative

Every part of our job is creative.  From the time we pick up our pen to outline some concepts, all the way through the storyboards, the filming, the editing, the music, all the way until we apply the final grade to the edit.

8.  You can never know it all

Even if you learn all the rules of the three-point edit, the three-point lighting, how different angles affect the viewer, etc. you are just then scratching the surface.  It’s only once you know the rules that you can bend or break them effectively.  The moment you think that you know everything is the moment you cease growing as a filmmaker.

7.   We have to figure out difficult problems under tight deadlines

This may seem like a negative, but if you like the adrenaline of keeping your mind alert and overcoming obstacles this job will present you with plenty of difficult challenges. Seth Godin talks about “dancing with the fear” and in this job you get plenty of dancing music.

6.  We get to travel

We have gone to more cool places with our video camera than we have for any other reason. And since our team loves to film, and we’re getting paid… well…. what could be better than that?

5.  We meet really cool/ amazing  people

We have met, spoken to and spent time with more amazing people because of our job. We have crossed social strata and met artists, inventors, creatives, geniuses, presidents of corporations and more.

4.  We help people find their voice and communicate their message

Obviously, video is powerful. Well done video can take a message and amplify it: getting someone’s message out to places it would not otherwise go.  A good story can take complicated ideas and break them down in an easily understandable or intensely emotional way.

3.  We fulfill our passion to  tell stories

WK Studios crafts visual stories. We are storytellers. Whether it’s a corporate video, a music video, television commercial, or narrative, we see everything as a story to be told. Talk about loving what you do.

2.  When we get an image right and it looks good

We have a team of artists who love to create.  When the image on the screen meets or exceeds the image we originally saw in our head, there is no feeling to compare.

1.  We  get to use our God-given gifts to make the world better

We believe that God has given everyone gifts and talents that He wants us to use to glorify Him and help our fellow man. When we create a video that fulfills those two criteria, we like that.



Diversity of Projects Make the World Go Round…

Here’s some of the projects we have recently completed. A bunch of more amazing projects are in the works.

Josh and Nichole’s beautiful wedding was a joy to film.  What a beautiful couple and venue.

Willapa Hills Farmstead and Artisan Cheese in beautiful Southwest Washington.  This was the first of six Whole Foods Market Local Loan Recipients that we visited in a two-day whirlwind filming adventure.  We had two hours at each location and a lot of traveling in between.

Mt. Townsend Creamery:  Local Loan Recipient

Manini’s Gluten Free:  Local Loan Recipient

Willie Greens Farm:  Local Loan Recipient

Firefly Kitchen:  Local Loan Recipient

CB’s Nuts:  Local Loan Recipient

We are so blessed to get the most amazing couples.  This was a wonderful day spent filming in Sunriver OR.

One of our great joys is doing work for Non-profits that are making a difference in our community and beyond.

The Old Mill District is a hub of culture, shopping and entertainment in Bend. This commercial was a real joy to film, and it was great to work with all the creative people at the Old Mill as well.

This was a last-minute job.  Electronic International’s marketer called me up and said that Eric was going up to test a recently installed aircraft instrument.  I jumped in my car and had this whole thing filmed and edited by the next day.

What could be better than talking brains?  This was a really fun and quirky commercial for the Bend Webcam.

Local Business Uncategorized

Think Deeply…

When WK started, we had very few jobs, but tons of time, energy, and passion.  We wanted to create amazing video and an awesomely successful company.  As such, we spent countless hours strategizing around a giant whiteboard in the spare bedroom of my house.   We had plans to get new clients and increase our equipment.  We had revenue models, market analysis and a 5-year plan that would put MGM to shame.

Two years later we had real clients…. lots of them.  The editing bay was occupied day and night, but the whiteboard sat conspicuously empty.  We used it to write notes to each other or draw pictures.  When we moved into a studio the whiteboard didn’t even get hung up.   We were busy.  Too busy to sit around and strategize.

One day, during a company meeting, we sipped our mate’ and looked at each other.  “What happened to our five-year plan? Are we any closer to reaching it?” That’s when it hit us that we were no longer driving the company.  We were no longer in control.

We had become slaves to the tyranny of the now.

This is one of the chief dangers of being busy: The failure to think deeply; to strategize; to be in charge. If you are not driving your company, who is?  Don’t lose control. Make sure you are going where you want to go.  Take the time to think deeply. This may mean carving a day out of your busy schedule, going on a retreat with your core team or just getting alone in the woods for a couple of hours. Whatever it is… do it.  If you don’t, one day you will look around and realize you’ve arrived someplace you never intended to go.

Filmmaking Uncategorized

Video Production: How to Reach the “Next Level”

The price of entry into the video market keeps getting lower and lower.  From the Red to the 5D to the Black Magic Cinema Camera, the power to create incredible video keeps getting more and more accessible.  Heck, even the latest GoPro can film in 2.5K. Anyone with money (or a credit card) can get a pretty good camera, lens, a tripod, slider, Steadicam, and light kit.  Many creatives know someone who does logos, can whip up a website, and boom… “You’re in business”.

There are literally millions of young, creative, hopeful entrepreneurs with nice cameras and Creative Cloud subscriptions out to make a name and a profit for themselves. The question on all these creative’s minds is “how do I get to the elusive ‘Next Level'”? (and pay off this credit card).

While we at WK are constantly striving to get to the next level ourselves, here are few things we have learned in our journey thus far:

1.  Avoid the “Magic Camera Syndrome”
When we talk to young hopeful videographers, we often get the question, “what camera should I get?”  While this is a legitimate question, it belongs at the end of the conversation, not the beginning.   You can have a first-rate professional 6K camera and stink as a videographer… or… you can have an iPhone and tell an amazing story in a compelling way. Our rule of thumb is, “Keep using your current camera until the camera (not your lack of knowledge) is hindering your ability to tell your story.  Then, and only then, start looking for a new camera.”

2.  Don’t be Lazy/ flaky
I’m convinced that if you work hard and keep your word you will rise above 80% of the competition.  We are often approached by clients who have had a negative experience with their previous video team.  They say things such as, “I don’t trust my video team.  They’re creative, but they’re just flaky.”  Don’t be that guy/gal.  Work hard on projects.  Do the pre-production before you show up.  Have a shot list.  Really think about the client and their needs.  Know the brand.  Study it.  Show up for meetings on time.  Impress your client by your work ethic as well as your creativity.

3.  Learn as much as you can about business…
This can be a difficult concept for creatives to grasp, but there really is no substitute for good business.  Awesomely creative people who run their businesses poorly will end up working for someone who runs their businesses well. We had to learn the hard way how to read a balance sheet, do cash projections and create an accurate bidding spreadsheet.  If I could have done one thing differently, it would have been to get more business training before starting WK Studios.

4.  Practice, Practice, Learn and then Practice Some More
There are tons of training resources available to video people of all skill levels.  From formal training and film schools to and youtube, there is enough online training to help you make a feature-length film. Take advantage of all of it… Then take your camera out into the real world and film. Study your footage. What looks good? What could you do better?  What effect do different angles have on the viewer? Go out again and apply your findings.  Repeat. Every time you film and study your footage you are getting better.

5.  Be a good storyteller
Video Production is about more than just capturing a pretty shot, it’s about communicating. Learn how to tell good stories.

6.  Charge what you’re worth…
I mean this in both ways:  If you’re brand new and don’t know what you’re doing you can’t expect full studio prices.  If you are experienced and have great equipment don’t try to compete with the kid down the street.  Your experience brings value.  Charge for it.

7.  Do get better equipment
There is no doubt about it, nice equipment will make a huge difference in the image. Once you truly understand why you need it; what you will do with it; and if you can afford it, go get it… just post reviews on youtube for the rest of us.

These are probably not the answers you were hoping for, but I’m convinced there is no shortcut. I’m open to your opinions and comments. Let us know what you think.


The Real Power of Video…

I never sell video.

Oh sure, I meet with clients and explain the benefits of having a quality video, but I won’t sell it if I feel they have no need. I never try to talk someone into getting an expensive video just to increase our bottom line.

That being said, I feel that video sells itself. According to SEO experts, video has been proven to increase web rankings with Google overnight. Video increases conversion rates by a significant percentage. Video makes your webpage more “sticky” (causes people to stay on your page longer) and decreases the bounce rate. It can replace reams of copy and makes the process of ingesting your message much easier for your visitor.

While these are all great reasons to buy a video, they are not (in my opinion) the primary value of video.

The primary value of video is that it can infuse emotion into your brand like nothing else.

When you think about your favorite brands, do you think about information or do you experience an emotion?  Companies like Nike and Starbucks spend millions to infuse emotion into their brands.  Apple made a “dent in the universe” when they released their 1984 commercial and forever infused an emotional response to their computers.  Nike commercials consistently capture the “emotion” of running… or basketball… or jumping… or competition…  They don’t just give information about their shoes, they make you think… “I want to be that guy!”  Later, when you pick up the latest copy of “Running” magazine and look at the Nike ad the same emotion comes back.  Why?  Because emotion is much more sticky than information. Information goes in and out of our minds in volumes, but emotion will stay with us long after the initial experience has passed.

A well-conceived, well-created video can stick in people’s souls long after they have finished watching it. If the emotion is powerful enough, it will go a long way toward keeping you top of mind when someone thinks about your product category or service.

Are you utilizing the true power of video?

TV Commercial Uncategorized

The Latest From WK Studios

Kuk chocolate is a chocolate producer from Portland. We had the privilege of producing his Kickstarter video.

Hood River Blueberry- A fun video we did as part of the Whole Food Market, Local Producer Loan Program series.

Brew Dr. Kombucha and Townshend Tea- A fun video we did as part of the Whole Food Market, Local Producer Loan Program series.

Heidi Ho Vegan Cheese- A fun video we did as part of the Whole Food Market, Local Producer Loan Program series.

Ruby Jewel Ice Cream Sandwiches- A fun video we did as part of the Whole Food Market, Local Producer Loan Program series.

Dave Kamperman Photography- a great Central Oregon Photographer we had the privilege of filming.

Always love working on the animation pieces.  Here’s a 30-second TV spot for Bend Webcam.

Filmmaking Uncategorized

Paper (Pixels) are the Cheapest Thing You Have

When most people think about video production, they think about the big sets, the sense of community, the creative energy, and the excitement. While these things are certainly awesome, we have found that this is not where the production succeeds or fails. There is something more, something a little less glamorous that really determines the final quality- and it happens long before you pick up a camera.

What I’m talking about (of course) is paper.  In the craft of filmmaking, we have found that paper (or pixels) is the cheapest thing you have. “Fix it in Post” may be a clever phrase, but it’s a horrible strategy and can turn into a real nightmare. Paper on the other hand, when used correctly, can save you days of time and help you create infinitely better final results. So how do we use paper correctly? Here’s the WK guide.

1.  Script:  Write with intelligence.

Everyone knows you need an interesting concept and solid story, but most beginners write far above their budget and skill level.  As you write think about the following:

A.  How many locations?  company moves take time and money.  If you have 40 locations are you really ever going to get your film finished.
B.  Are these real locations you can practically get to?  If you live in a small OK farm-town should your script really include a NY city street?  Can you realistically fake it and make it look good?

A.  As you write your epic scene about the aliens coming out of the white house covered in green ooze think to yourself, “What building do I know of that could pass for the White House?  Who do I know that could make realistic alien costumes?  Can I make green ooze and how much do those ingredients cost?  Can I afford it?
B.   Think about what you have and write based on that.  Unless your buddy is a 3D animating master, you might want to leave the 1940s world war two tank out of your script.

Skill level.
A.  Yours:  Be realistic about what you can and can’t do.  If you can’t do a rack focus dolly jib up then don’t write it into your script.
B.  Your Actors:  Can your actor pull off the emotion it takes to attend the funeral of his father and make it look good?  If not, then maybe write something different.

2. Shot list:  Don’t pick up a camera until you have one.

Not every shoot requires a storyboard but even the simplest shoots can benefit from a shot list. This can be simple or complex. The idea of the shotlist is to put every single shot on paper in order of location, not the order of the script.  Make sure to mention the location, the actors needed, any special props/ animals/ etc, what type of shot (ie handheld, over the shoulder, high angle, establishing) and then check them off the list as you go.  If you’ve thought through your shot list well enough you should have no need for pick-ups later.

Of course, there is more you can do with paper such as storyboards, script breakdowns, call sheets, lighting diagrams, script supervisor notes, budgets, and more… but these are, in my opinion, the basics and absolutely necessary to keep the production from spinning out of control.

We would love to hear from you?  Please leave a comment below or look us up on Facebook to join the conversation.


More Oregon Video Production

We love it when we’re busy, and we have been. Here’s the latest.

The client wanted a video to show just how easy it is to travel from the neighboring city to save a whole bunch of money on a vehicle. This is what our crew came up with.

Finally, we did a video for ourselves. We are storytellers who use video.

A nice video title sequence can add production value to any show.  Here’s one we created for Visitors Choice.


A Professional “Crisis Moment” on LinkedIn

My LinkedIn home page is constantly updating me about my friends and colleagues:  people that I know well, and some that I don’t.

I am often amazed by the skills that are added to people’s profiles. I find myself saying, “I know that guy.  He may have a Facebook account, but that doesn’t mean he’s a social networker.   He may understand meta tags, but that doesn’t make him an SEO expert. ”


I was recently faced with this when a well-meaning friend endorsed me for “Graphic Design”.  I found myself hesitating over the button, wondering if I really wanted to add this skill to my profile.  Yes, I took 2 or 3 semesters of Graphic Design in college.  I understand the concepts, I know the software, I could point to a ragtag body of work gathered over the years, and yes, I could design a logo or a poster if needed.  However, I still hesitated… Why?

I hesitated because I’m not a graphic designer and I really don’t want to be. There are a few things that I know really well – video is one of them.

In “It’s Not About the Coffee,”  Howard Behar advises leaders to “Wear One Hat”.  He says that we need to very honest about who we are and who we are not.  As the former President of Starbucks Coffee Co. I think the man knows what he’s talking about.  By trying to be a jack of all trades do we ever become the master of any?  If people are hiring you to do a job, don’t you think it would be better to be the absolute best at what you do rather than dissipating your time and energies over many disciplines?

I know some will make the point of diversifying revenue streams etc. but for the WK crew, we are passionate about video production, it’s tools, it’s a trade and it’s a craft. That’s what we do, that’s what we invest in, and that’s where we want to go.  If we need a graphic designer for anything other than a newsletter, we will hire someone… someone who’s passionate about graphic design.

So, did I add “Graphic Design” to my LinkedIn Profile?  I’m not saying.

Brewery Filmmaking Local Business TV Commercial Uncategorized

Gary Gruner’s Sock Puppets, Aircraft Instruments and Deschutes 25th

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again.  One of the great parts of our job is the amazing amount of variety we experience in the day-to-day.  One day we are literally hanging out of airplanes as they narrowly escape hitting a rocky, mountain ridge, and the next day we are filming sock puppets in our studio. Then on Saturday, we get sent out to film Deschutes Brewery’s 25th-anniversary mountain bike ride and party in the park.

Hope you enjoy checking out our videos as much as we enjoyed making them.

Electronics International wanted a video to highlight one of its high-end airplane instruments.   We needed to show the functionality but also wanted to make it a little more exciting.  We worked together with Michael Roberts to shoot takeoffs, landings, in-flight shots and chase scenes.

Gary Gruner wanted something out of the box, and Anne Marie Daggett of The Marketing Department delivered. Collaborating with a creative from Texas, and a bunch of our amazing friends (Duane and Liz, Kecia Kubota, Anne Marie, and more) we filmed these toys against our studio green screen, composited in After Effects and edited in Premiere Pro CC.  The original music came from Freddie Gateley.

Deschutes Brewery is a landmark in Bend Oregon and the Craft Brewing world.  Established in 1988, they have literally grown from a little pub downtown to a nationwide distributor.  All that growth deserves a little celebrating. WK was there to record their anniversary ride and party in the park.

Another part of Deschutes’ 25th-anniversary celebration was a collaboration between Deschutes Brewery and Great Lakes Brewing Co. We were privileged to make this video highlighting this collaboration brew (Imperial Smoked Porter).

Filmmaking Uncategorized

Is RAW video for you (…or me for that matter)?

Greetings all! Duane Shrode here – WK contributor, with what I hope to be a pretty interesting post. There has been a lot of buzz lately surrounding Magic Lantern‘s work, specifically as it relates to RAW video in Canon DSLR’s. If you’re not familiar with Magic Lantern, it’s an independent group that has been able to hack into Canon DSLRs and unlock amazing features found only in higher-end cameras. Features such as peaking, zebras, audio levels and AGC disable, a built-in intervalometer and HDR bracketing, and a myriad of others. But what I really want to talk about is their latest offering – RAW video.

The long-short of it is: After installing the Magic Lantern firmware (hack) into your Canon DSLR, you are able to record RAW image sequences. These sequences are then broken up into DNG files via another program downloaded from Magic Lantern – raw2dng.exe. Then these DNG files are brought into Photoshop, batch color-corrected/graded, and then saved as tiffs. The final step is to image-sequence import the tiffs into Premiere and cut, film dissolve, and ripple edit to your heart’s content.

A couple of questions that have been posed:

Q: What kind of resolution are we talking?

A: The settings on the latest hack let you ratchet all the way up to 3584 or 3.5k… unfortunately – my fastest card is unable to ingest this much information and I have not heard of anyone having success passed 1920. The 5DMKII and 60D are the only cameras I have experienced RAW with, and they max out at just under 200 frames with 60/mb CF and 95/mb SD cards… but that’s only at 1880. I have heard of people using anamorphic lenses to squeeze those last 40 pixels out with a horizontal crop, but I have yet to try anamorphic lenses on my 5DMKII (plus I don’t want to mod my body in order to receive them).

Q: So what’re the “nuts and bolts” advantages?

A: Since the video sequences, in essence, are built from raw (stills) frames, all of that detail and information is maintained through the ingestion process. This pays dividends in both initial fine detail and latitude to push, pull, and tweak in post. In laymen’s terms, where a video file might fall apart – say after trying to spot expose a dark point or push some contrast back into a cloudy sky… the RAW files are able to stretch much further. This allows for more vivid colors, sharper fine detail, and better image crops.

Sound like a lot of work? It’s not… it actually promotes a little more composition discipline. You don’t want to record clips you know you aren’t going to use – not only is the post process a little more “involved,” but the clips take up quite a bit of space on ye ole’ memory card. Why? Because all that information streaming onto your sensor isn’t being  stifled by compression (especially nice for keying):

At any rate, there’s plenty of tutorials on Magic Lantern, setting up your camera to record RAW, and dealing with the files in post. I just wanted to relay my findings and experiences… and offer my support as someone who has first-hand experience with the new function – and would recommend it to others looking to take advantage of all that RAW video has to offer. Questions/comments/concerns welcomed!


Finding Stories

I make friends where ever I go.  I believe part of this comes from my upbringing in Northwest Oklahoma and another part is just how I was made.  Early on in my relationship with my wife she found me in the tire section of our local big box store talking to an older gentleman.  I introduced the two, shook the gentleman’s hand and said my goodbyes. On the way out of the store, I shared the man’s stories of his grandchildren, his health and other details of his life.  Tabitha turned to me and asked, “Where do you know him from?”

I smiled and said, “The tire section… just met him”

I love people and the stories that make up their lives.  I guess that is what helps me make friends where ever I go.  I truly do care for the people I encounter.  I believe that no matter how brief the encounter that we affect one another.

This is is also why I am driven to be a filmmaker.  I have heard so many stories.  How can I keep them to myself?  So here I am in Iraqi-Kurdistan making friends and learning their stories.  And my hope is to share them with you someday.

There was a man I met at the airport. Long ago he fled Saddam’s Iraq, making his way to Greece, much of it on foot.  He fled in such haste that he had left his passport and other documents behind.  It was of no concern.  Whatever he would face as an undocumented immigrant in other countries was better than what he had left behind.  He found a home in the U.K. and after the fall of Saddam returned home.

Years later, standing outside an airport checkpoint he met me.  Another stranger in a strange land. He shared his story and then I shared mine.  He offered me a ride to my hotel and I accepted.  We may never meet again but I will always call him a friend.

I am collecting stories like this every day. My hope for you, my friends is that you will take the time to get to know the strangers around you,  listen to their life and share yours with them.

Tomorrow I go mountain biking in Iraq with new friends I met today.  I will update you soon.



Here’s an update from the road.


Murray and Holt Commercial

We recently teamed up with “The Marketing Department” to produce a great commercial for Murray and Holt Motors.

While we initially wrote the script to involve a grandfather and grandson washing a classic car we soon realized that would be impossible.   A very cool owner was going to loan us his  ’67 Camaro for the shoot, the idea of washing this $50,000 car was vetoed.  We were also informed that the only person who would be allowed to drive the car was the Head Sales Rep at Murray and Holt.

This created a few challenges.

The first day’s shooting was in the Murray and Holt lot.  We started in the mechanics bay with a shot of a Murray and Holt technician helping our “Grandpa” with his car.


From there we moved into the showroom where our grandson was going to buy his first car (with grandpas help of course).  So that we would not interrupt the flow of business, we wrapped for the day.


The next morning the Head sales rep drove the car down to the local park, put it by the curb, took the keys and went back to work.  The shooting went well.


How were we going to show that the grandpa was driving the car?  We didn’t have a green screen with us.  So what do we do?  Marshall came up with the idea of holding up a scrim outside the window as he shot from the other side.


Back in post, we put it all together, using the After Effects Rotobrush tool to composite “grandpa driving”.  Marshall even put a virtual camera on the shot to make it look like the car was shaking.


For the other half of that shot we had the “grandson” ride with the sales rep on the way back Murray and Holt and filmed him riding in the car.

We then called in our good friend Cameron Whitaker to do the voiceover.

All in all, it took about 2 and 1/2 days and 8 people to produce a 30-second commercial.

Here’s the result:

Murray and Holt “When it Came Time” :30 second Spot from WK Studios on Vimeo.

Filmmaking Uncategorized Volunteer

Breweries, Bars and Beer Food

Last week, WK Studios worked with Chris Spradley and Jason Randles of Deschutes Brewery to wrap principal production on a 21 minute TV pilot entitled “Breweries, Bars and Beer Food.”  Of course, Steven Heinrichs came along to take beautiful production photos.

The show is going to highlight great craft brews, the breweries that make them, the places that serve them, and the food that pairs well with them. The pilot episode features Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon and takes viewers on an in-depth, behind the scenes tour of the inner workings of this landmark brewery.  Along the way Chris (our host) spends time with the brewers, visits the downtown pub, learns some recipes from Chef Jeff, and of course, drinks some great brews.  He even gets a sit-down interview with the brewery founder, Gary Fish.

The project is currently in post-production and a special introductory trailer will be premiered at American Craft Beer Week in May. If you want to keep informed on the progress and get special extras, you can join their Facebook page or visit their website.

Filmmaking Uncategorized

The Rule (Principle) of Three

Oh sure, everyone knows the “Rule of Thirds”.


Everyone knows that you divide your frame into thirds and make sure that important elements in your frame happen on those lines. It often makes for a more interesting image than one that just lies in the center in your frame. Even consumer cameras often have overlays available for their view-screens dividing the image into “thirds”.

This post is not about the “Rule of Thirds”;  It’s about the “Principle of Three”.

The “principle of three” is something I carry in my mind every time I step out the door with my camera.  It’s an instruction I give to my DP every time I’m a director on set.

It comes in two parts:

In Filming:  Wide/ Medium/ Close Up

This is actually as old as classic Hollywood. When you’re filming, make sure you go for the wide medium and close up (throw in some cutaways and you’ve really got something you can work with). That’s pretty straight forward, but it’s easy to forget when you are on set and the pressures and demands of direction come upon you.

In Editing: A series of three cutaways is (generally) better than two.

When I sit down for the edit, I find that a series of three quick b-roll clips can really tell the story more quickly and more interestingly than just one or two.  This is not always the case, but when we start out with it as a principle, I think it helps.


Note how the three clips together give you a more complete and interesting sequence than just a shot of the van going by.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Local Business Uncategorized

“Angry Cat Mob” TV Commercial

We just finished this fun commercial for Sublime Creative Agency and The Marketing Department of Bend Oregon. The goal was to promote ABC Coating Solution’s Ugly Bathroom Contest.

Anne Marie Dagget of The Marketing Department wrote the script. She sent it over to Russell Nute at the local radio station to magically transform it into a jingle. Once we received the jingle director Marshall Burgtorf broke it down into a shot list. We transformed our Studio Bathroom (already an ugly bathroom) into an ugly bathroom that looks like it belongs in a home (thank you, Goodwill).

On the day of shooting, we lit it, and then super PA/ Gaffer/ Grip/… was willing to be a stand (er… sit) in for our talent.

Once we got to Marshall’s house we had 5 kitties. Unfortunately, only 2 decided to cooperate. It became clear that the shot of our “angry cat mob” outside in the front yard was not going to happen. What do we do now? If only one kitty will cooperate then one kitty it is… We changed the headgear of our one kitty multiple times and filmed him over and over again. The other shots went pretty much the way we figured they would. Here’s a little bit of the process we went through in post.

All in all, we think it turned out really well. The client loves it and it effectively communicates their message in a very creative way.


A Surprise Addy Award

We weren’t expecting this one. Visit Bend hired us last year to film and edit one commercial of a two commercial TV campaign. We just found out that they won a Silver Addy for that campaign. It’s matés all around at the studio!

Here’s the commercial that helped win another Silver.


WK Studios Wins

Saturday was an exciting night for WK. We received a silver award at the Oregon Addy Awards in the category “Digital Advertising- Video”. We are going to the Northwest Addy’s.

Here’s the video that won.

Filmmaking Local Business Uncategorized

Northwest Quality Roofing

WK offers a service that we call “Facebook Videos” which are shorter videos at an affordable price. Companies can buy these individually, in a four-pack or in an eight-pack.

Here’s a four-pack that we produced for Northwest Quality Roofing in Bend OR.


Don’t Forget the Story

One of my favorite books about filmmaking is “On Directing Film” by David Mamet.  This book has become a WK manual in the art of directing.

While the book covers many subjects, one of the most important takeaways is the idea of super-objective.  Every film, every marketing video, every commercial has an overarching goal that it wants to accomplish. Since a  film is broken down into scenes, sequences, and shots, the first question to ask yourself when you are writing, filming, or editing is:  Does this shot forward the sequence, does this sequence forward the scene, does this scene forward the super-objective?  I don’t care how great the dialogue is, how creative the camera moves are, how awesome the depth of field, if it doesn’t further the story, cut it.

A shot has to earn its way into the film.  Let’s not allow our stories to be ruined by emotional attachments to shots.  In the art of filmmaking, let’s not forget the story.

Filmmaking Uncategorized

The Curse of the Lazy Brain

If you are a creative professional, you have an enemy:  a horrible monster that seeks to destroy your potential and limit your results. Many are enslaved by this insidious curse, not even realizing that it has control over them.  These poor souls languish under the weight of mediocrity, never quite understanding why their work doesn’t satisfy.  They long to create something original, epic, amazing, but it continually eludes them.  What’s worse, is that the monster lives inside of all of us, defiling even our best days with it’s subtle whisperings.

This monster is none other than Lazy Brain and here’s how it works.

I’m approached by a client to produce a :30 second spot on how widget A will help save time in the chopping of onions. Not the most exciting project. Hmmmm.  How are we going to show this?

  • Lazy Brain:  “Interview the client talking about how much time you can save in chopping onions and film b-roll of the widget actually chopping onions.  Put the two together with cool music.”

Sounds like a good idea.  It will be fast, easy, cheap…. LAZY.  MEDIOCRE.

Those of us who have identified this enemy have found that our first thoughts are usually the lazy ones. That’s why WK has developed a culture of challenging one another to dig deeper; to bypass the lazy brain. The collaboration continues… maybe we could show two people, one is crying and the other is smiling.  We hold on this for a while and then show that the crying person is cutting onions by hand.  The smiling person puts the onions in the widget BOOM, BAM, BANG. FINISHED:  The widget is so fast that the persons eyes have no chance to tear up from the onion’s odor. We wrap up the spot by showing the widget and the tag line, “Widget A:  Chops onions faster.” (Note:  I think my lazy brain wrote that tag line.)

Which one do you think will be more effective?  Both communicate the message.  Both require a similar investment of time and money.  One is lazy brain and the other more creative.

Unfortunately, the lazy brain is not something we overcome once and are free forever.  For the creative, this is a lifelong battle, one which we sometimes win and sometimes lose.

Have you had any battles with the lazy brain?  How did you conquer?  We would love to hear your story.  Leave it in the comments.


Still Having Fun

Here’s a couple of the fun projects we’ve been a part of during the last part of 2012.

This was a great project. We traveled to the beautiful city of Oaxaca Mexico for 3 days filming with Director Mark Ellis of Moonshine Park. After coming back, White Knuckle had a great time editing and doing the special production.

Another great shoot. WK took the little jaunt up to Walla Walla to spend a day and half with director Kate Medley at the VA Piano Vineyard. What a great collaboration between Whole Foods Market and Va Piano.

Another great collaboration with Moonshine Park. We did the camerawork and lighting for this great project.

One of our great pleasures is to spend the day with great people. This awesome couple allowed us to join them on their wedding day. Here are 7 minutes out of the hour-long DVD we produced for Richard and Carrie.

Filmmaking Local Business Uncategorized

Ideas are the new Currency

As creative professionals, we’re constantly trying to figure out what the market is doing? What kind of creative work is reaching people?

Sure there’s the obvious stuff like “that’s a cool camera angle”, or “that’s a great use of that effect”,  but what really catches our eye, (and I believe the eyes of clients and viewers) is a well communicated, original idea… in classical terms:  a good concept.

The de-facto video is: A. Show up. B. Get an interview with one or two people C. Get some really pretty B-roll. D. Edit it to music.

It’s easy, it’s quick, and it doesn’t require a script, a storyboard, a shot list… you get the idea. No concept. And let’s face it, there are a ton of people out there who can capture good interviews and b-roll. Some are worse than us, others are better.

So what can set your work apart from the competition? Yes, you could capture prettier b-roll than they do (sometimes)…. or you could consistently come up with original ways to “Show and not tell”.

I’m convinced that there is a sea of amazing videographers and editors out there, but in this new digital landscape, “Ideas are the new currency.”

Do you think this is true?  Head over to our Facebook page to join the conversation.


Gearing Up for Iraq

There’s no way around it:  Baghdad is a dangerous place; a fact that was not lost on my wife.  So when I told my 7-month pregnant wife that I was going to Baghdad for two weeks it was met with a mixture of reactions.

Her:  How long will you be gone?

Me: Two weeks.

Her:  How much are you getting paid for this?

Me:  Nothing

Her:  To tell the story of Kent Couch and his flying a lawn chair?

Me:  Kind of….

Truth is, that’s how it started.  We were invited to Iraq to tell the story of Kent Couch and Fareed Lafta as they launched a double lawn chair equipped platform from the center of Baghdad, powered by nothing more than helium-filled party balloons. Crazy story, right? They were going to break several cluster ballooning world records, flying to an altitude of more than 25,000 feet and staying aloft for more than 24 hours.   This was a great story, we thought, and could easily be sold as an interesting documentary/ TV special. Since the airfare and accommodations were covered, the cost of production would be at a minimum. We felt that we could easily get our initial investment back.

Last November, my business partner Marshall Burgtorf packed his gear and boarded the plane to Baghdad. That’s when things changed. The news media grabbed ahold of this story, and it went worldwide in a couple of weeks. Fareed and Kent saw an opportunity. What if they could bring the attention of the world to help the millions of orphans in Iraq? No question about it. This immediately became the new plan with the launch postponed until March 2012.

Fast forward to…. well… now.  It’s March 2012 and the whole WK team is leaving for Iraq on March 17th.  The launch is scheduled for the 29th and we have the privilege of not only telling the crazy story of two adventurers floating in the skies of Iraq but also being an integral part of bringing the needs of Iraqi orphans to non-government and humanitarian aid organizations around the world.

Yes, Baghdad is still dangerous, but all I can say is that… “I love my job”.

Here is a prologue to the documentary put together from Marshall’s previous trip to the middle east.  You can follow the whole story at


Is Your Camera Controlling Your Image?

Believe it or not, I was once a ranch hand.  Besides the usual excitement of feeding the horses, chickens, dogs, and other animals, my days consisted of lots of time alone, walking the acres of the East Texas ranch.

This stoic season left me with lots of great memories.  My favorite memory, however, was not walking by the beautiful pond, or across the emerald green  pastures; my favorite memory was saddling up the horses to get that “darn bull” back into his pen.  During this time, the rancher would put me on a rodeo winning, 3/4 thoroughbred, cutting horse.  I’m serious, this horse knew more about “rustlin’ up that old bull” than I did.

During these exciting rides, my horse would run full gallop across the field, get in front of the charging bull and “cut” back, leaning nearly to the ground. It was all I could do to keep from being thrown for a country mile. I was having a great time, but that rancher was not impressed.

“You’re a rider, not a passenger!” he would yell at me. “You need to control that horse!”

I see the same thing when I look at video sites like youtube or vimeo.  While there are many true artists out there, a lot of videographers seem to point their nice cameras at pretty things and hit record.  Instead of controlling the image, they let the camera define it.  What I say to myself as well as others is: “You are videographer, not a passenger!  You need to control that image!”

Just because my camera has a shallow depth of field, should I really use it for every single shot?  Just because the image looks good with natural light, will I get more depth if I light the background separately? Will my story be told better with fast falloff, or with flat lighting?  What items in the frame move my story/ interview/ promo video forward?  Should I make sure all of them are in focus, or does a little blurriness create a sense of mystery?

As videographers, we have an opportunity to move the story forward.  Don’t settle for pretty… Control your camera and go for art.


Canon FD lens Test on Sony NEX FS-100

This is a simple test to try out our FD lenses on the FS 100. Ignore the sloppy camerawork. What I was really looking to find was the clarity of shot compared to the kit lens. Unfortunately, I didn’t do the shot with the kit lens, but I think most of us know how it looks.

None of the shots are color graded or stabilized (although they could definitely use it) and the editing is not meant to be beautiful. It is just to show the diff. between the lenses.

We use the Kipon Fd-NEX adapter. We also used the Heliopan variable ND filter on each shot and left the aperature wide open.

Special thanks to for the music and my friend, Michael for allowing me to film him and his dog.

My observations:

All in all, I was very impressed with the lenses. None of them are “L series” lenses, but the image looked good to me.   The zoom lens seemed to have the least “tack sharp” of all the images, but that’s to be expected.

I was a bit surprised by the difference between the f1.8 on the 50mm prime and the 2.8 on the 35mm and the 24mm.  There is a significant difference in the depth of field (the 1.8 allowing for more shallow DOF).

I think the 50mm 1.8 is the sharpest image and may become my lens of choice for many situations.  I guess it’s true:  You can’t beat the nifty fifty.

Let me know your thoughts and comments.

Filmmaking Local Business Uncategorized

Opportunities and Challenges of the New Video Landscape


The landscape of video production is changing at an alarming rate. The digital revolution rolls on as standards change from HD to 2, 4, 6, and even 8K.  Sub $5,000 cameras (especially DSLRs) allow the kid down the street to take shots that would have required a full crew less than a decade ago. Video sites are flooded with masterpieces.

So how do we find our places in this new digital landscape?

It’s simple really…  The best storytellers will emerge. Those who push their craft, hone their skills, don’t rest on their laurels and don’t let the camera define their style will begin to stand out.  Good business practices;  good work ethics;  Good customer relations:  These are the timeless principles that will always remain.

A good camera is a beginning… a good shot is a building block… a good story will stand out… good storytelling will excel… and good businesses will remain.


What Camera Do You Use?

This music video was going to rock!

I had a concept…  I had a storyboard… and I had a VX 2000.  This was an expensive camera with lots of controls!

Pulling the camera out of the black pelican case, fresh from the hallowed halls of film 101 I knew I must have arrived. Superstardom awaited. I put my hand on my cell phone and felt for the buzz. My call from Stephen Speilberg was coming at any moment.

My disappointment was pungent. While the dailies were pretty good for a first-year film student, I had seen better things on public TV. I was unimpressed.

That was the first time I dipped my finger in the waters of “There’s more to being a good filmmaker than just having an expensive camera.”  I didn’t know that an ocean lay beyond. 10 years and many cameras later I have learned that lesson well.  I think there is a transition in most filmmaker’s lives where they must turn the corner from “I need to focus on getting a better camera” to “I need to focus on improving my skill.”

Improve your skills and someone will put a better camera in your hand.

If you don’t improve your skills will you even know what to do with a better camera?

My new mantra is this: Improve your skills to the point where your old camera won’t accomplish what you know is possible, watch people who are doing what you want to do, and then ask, “What camera did you use?”