Blog

Columbia-Barnard 2015 Sexias Dinner

The annual Columbia-Barnard Hillel Sexias dinner held in Columbia University's Low Library honored Michael P. Lustig, Columbia College ’86, President, Board of Directors and Dr. Judith W. Schwartz, Barnard College ’78, Chair, Board of Directors. 

https://columbiabarnardhillel.org/ways-to-give/seixas/

This piece was made specifically for Columbia-Barnard Hillel's 2015 Sexias Dinner. The video was projected inside Columbia University's Low Library for the more than 400 attendees on May 14, 2015. 

About the video:

In February, I spent one day capturing the students. I used a Canon 5D Mark III and a Canon 6D to capture the interviews, and I lit the shots with two LED lights; camera left and camera right. The audio was captured with a Zoom H4n and an external lav. mic. I later synced the audio and video in Premiere Pro. This was one of the first projects in which I captured audio and video separately, and I'm very happy with the H4n's audio quality and ease of use. My usual go-to audio device was the Rode shotgun mic.

For this type of a project, with 8 subjects, syncing audio and video was easy, quick and efficient. In a later a project, involving 30+ students, I learned syncing external audio with video for so many subjects can become time consuming and challenging. Although, there are a lot of tips and tricks you can do while shooting to keep the audio and video closer synced. One of these tricks is having both devices time synced. This allows you to do a general, and very initial "sync" between the two mediums.

Capturing b-roll is where I spent the most time on this project. My idea was to have unique, interesting and relevant content (photos and video) play over the students as they spoke about their Jewish college experience. The content had to be relevant to what each student was talking about and to their "character". In mid-february, when the project began I started capturing b-roll at events, lots of b-roll. 24GBs of b-roll to be exact. However, it wasn't very good. I hadn't whittled down the 42 minutes of rough interview footage and I had not found found my theme.

April arrived and so did the nice whether. I came to the Columbia University campus and the Columbia-Barnard Kraft Center numerous times to capture content. I (finally) purchased a lightweight and inexpensive slider for DSLR video, and I captured a beautifully smooth pan of the Kraft Center's exterior. I emailed the students appearing in the pieces and captured extra footage of them doing that "typical college" stuff. The b-roll made the film interesting and engaging. 

I learned a lot from this one video and I have a lot more to learn.  

Breakneck Ridge

Considered to be the most strenuous hike in the East Hudson Highlands, Breakneck Ridge is well worth the trip. It involves steep climbs over rock ledges that can be very slippery when wet or dry.

The hike provides hikers amazing views of the Hudson River between Beacon and Cold Spring, New York, straddling the boundary between Dutchess and Putnam counties. 


Habitat For Humanity - Binghamton University Alumni

On Saturday, April 18, 2015, the Binghamton University Alumni Association Metro New York Chapter travelled to Hempstead, NY to work with Habitat for Humanity. Not only was the volunteer turn out great, but so was the amazing weather. The amazing weather attracted a great volunteer turnout, bringing together alumni from all years and areas of the metropolitan area; Connecticut, New York City, Long Island, Westchester and New Jersey.

In just one day, the Binghamton University Alumnus were able to spread wood chips around the home's foundation, build the house's wood frame sill and organize building materials for the project.

Checkout the alumni group on Facebook for more great events!

Bronx Zoo

Wobble like a penguin! Cackle like a hyena! Now, stretch your neck for a photo with the giraffes! 

When I was younger I used to visit the Bronx Zoo quite often. I would go with my parents in the Spring and then in the Fall. Everything was larger than life, and everything seemed so far removed from the energy of New York City, and yet we were in a New York City borough. The zoo, acted more like a time machine taking me back to early 1900's Africa with it's small tribal villages and roaming herds of animals, than a 20 minutes car ride from Manhattan, NY. When I hopped out of the car in to the Bronx Zoo parking lot it felt more like I had hopped out of bush plane and landed in the Serengeti. And yet, I was in the Bronx.

Many years later, as an adult visiting the Bronx Zoo it is a true rediscovery of self. There's a true deja vu as you walk the same paths you did as a child, as you giggle at the sea lions, and as you gaze at the size of an elephant. From the first time I visited the Bronx Zoo to my most recent visit a lot has changed. What has not changed is my love and excitement for visiting the zoo. 

Grand Central Station - New York City

On a recent shoot for my alma mater, Binghamton University I photographed a fellow alumni at New York City's Grand Central Station. The lighting situation and white balance was difficult. Lots of harsh, warm, yellow light. There also wasn't much light which presented its own challenge. The culmination of white balance and light made it very difficult to create fill light using an external flash. 

I will upload a link to the alumni shoot photos once they are published in Binghamton University's alumni magazine, In the mean time here are a few photos I grabbed before and after my shoot.

Enjoy,

Jonathan Heisler