compositing / special FX
voiceover and music production
dvd, blu-ray and web mastering
short form videos
video installation works
Sometimes a client has a complete mental picture of what they need. More often, they know what idea they need to get across, but have no idea how to accomplish this. Tom11 has worked with clients to develop concepts that are appropriate to the project, and fit within the budget alloted. We have great ideas just arcing off our circuit boards all the time! Let us shock you with a new way of looking at your problem. Often, it's wise to bring in someone who is familiar with video production early on a project to avoid the pitfalls that can occur with large projects like these. Because of our vast experience, we have probably already made many of the mistakes that you might make- but we've learned from them. Let us help you, and we'll both be more proud of the outcome.
Capturing great images can make all the difference when you are trying to tell an engaging story. Other times, being at the right place, and the right time, are much more important than what lens, filter, and framerate you are shooting at. Tom11 has shot hand-held documentary style and mounted low-resolution "bullet" cameras on motorcycles for Discovery Networks. On the other end of the spectrum, we have shot with 35mm DOF adaptors on HD cameras mounted on jibs, figrigs, and fluid head tripods. We have shot in the desert outside of Las Vegas, cabled from the top of an aerial tram moving over Portland, Oregon, from the side of a class V whitewater creek, and countless other locations. We know how to use various cameras, lighting and sound equipment to capture the action, and to tell a story. We have lit interviews, documentaries, and short films, creating various looks, or working with the available light to shoot "run-n-gun" style. In addition to full motion video, Tom11 has also worked with high-speed (overcrank) low-speed (undercrank) and time-lapse shooting techniques. These techniques help convey speed, the passage of time, and the effects of weather and light on an otherwise static shot. On many projects Tom11 will utilize these techniques to add some sugar and bake some eye-candy into what might be otherwise a dry subject. Anything that doesn't detract from the message of a project can help draw viewers, and keep them focused on the subject.
Tom11 has worked with a wide range of video edit systems. While this robot currently prefers to work with Adobe Premiere Pro CS3, we have also been known to edit with Final Cut Pro, Avid, Media 100, Sony Vegas, and several older edit packages that we hope no one is still using. (Speed Razor anyone?) Beyond the software, which is nothing more than a tool, really, much thought goes into the edit. Editing is where the wheat is separated from the chaffe. Our editors have decades of experience, as well as high-faluten Masters degrees in Computer Graphics and Fine Art from various Universities across the country. We also have a wider range of experince that comes from working in different media- running a digital audio workstation actually flexes the same muscles as editing video, and this cross training makes Tom11 stronger than your average EditDroid.
What do you do when there is an element of a story that can't be filmed? Some concepts are just too large, small or wiggly and etherial to be photographed directly. For those cases, animation is the best way to get the message across. Animation could take the form of hand-drawn 2D cell-style, 3D renderings, stop-motion, cut-out style (think Monty Python) , or some combination of 2D and 3D graphics along with still photos, video, text, and more. Tom11 has worked extensively with animation and compositing packages to create these types of animations. Some of the software it uses includes Adobe After Effects, Adobe Flash, Solidworks, Autodesk 3D Studio Max, and Maya.
Greenscreen (or Ultimatte, if you are more familiar with the commercial system that made it famous - I bet you say Kleenex rather than tissues?) has come a long way in the past few years. Thanks to the availability of low-compression and high-color space (4:2:2 and higher) HD cameras and video compression codecs, the ability for shooting green and bluescreen and compositing it with other footage has grown by leaps and bounds; the quality has risen at the same time. Tom11 utilizes a portable green-screen and light kits to achieve great-looking results, quickly. Along with compositing, the spicy mixture of animation and particle systems (2D and 3D) has really opened the door to a much higher level of quality special effects work that Tom11 is able to create. Be sure to check out our Post/Effects reel to see some of what we can do.
When video is recorded, the color of the light may be just what you intended, or might turn out completely wrong. We all make mistakes, and color correction is the only way to repair the footage, rather than shoot it again. This is what they call 'fix it in post'. Other times, color correction is used to convey a particular mood, or set footage apart from other parts of a program. Tom11 has a full range of color correction tools at it's disposal, and uses them to sweeten many shots, as well as to create moody scenes, or a heightened reality of saturated colors and casts.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but without a good audio track, it's much harder for a program to succeed. Tom11 has an on-site recording studio with a drum set, vintage Wurlitzer electric piano, guitars, and various midi synthesizers. With our team of local musicians and songwriters, we have created music and voiceovers for a variety of projects. Since we don't have to subcontract this work to another recording studio, we can offer significant savings over our competitors, while still maintaining a high level of craftsmanship and attention to detail.
But wait! That's not all! How the heck are you going to show your project to your viewers? Tom11 can deliver in just about any format you require. Usuall that will be DVD, and soon Blu-Ray. Nearly every project also ends up online, and we offer compression to Quicktime, Windows Media, and our favorite, Flash Video. These can get you a file to play off your laptop for a presentation, or a video for your website, or content to post to YouTube, Vimeo, or whoever is the newest bestest place to do that by the time you are reading this.
A short form project can be anything from a 30 second commercial spot, or clip of video for a web site up to a 10 or 15 minute promotional or educational video. Often times short-form videos are delivered in a variety of ways- online via YouTube, Vimeo, or other sharing websites, directly on a client's website, (or served through a CDN - content delivery network). Short form videos are also distributed on DVD, BluRay, or as a video file for broadcast.
Tom11 loves music. How can a robot love something? Just ask Kraftwerk, or Herbie Hancock, or Wendy (formerly Walter) Carlos of Switched on Bach fame. You get the picture. We are musicians, have been since we were kid bots. We like mixing video with music, ideally to help give the listener a deeper understanding of the music, and a better picture of who is behind the music they are diggin on. This is what music videos can and should be. We don't want to sound like an old bucket of bolts, but most of the music videos we see are simply marketing and 'fluff' for the band. Don't get us wrong, marketing is good, but a music video is such a great opportunity to also make an artistic statement, how can you pass that up? Our electric robo-horn is tired of honking itself. Iif you want us to make a music video for you, it's going to have more substance than just a shot of you playing your song in some dirty warehouse or empty field.
Documentary filmmaking is a powerfull tool to explore issues, explain a point of view, capture a moment in time, and generate interest in a audience on a topic that might otherwise seem dry or boring. The vast rise in popularity of the documentary format in the past 15 years is due to films like David Guggenheim's An Inconvienent Truth, just about any of Michael Moore's films, Morgan Spurlock's Supersize Me, Steve James's Hoop Dreams, or the amazing Oscar winning Winged Migration. What these movies have in common is the ability to take an issue or story that otherwise is not very high on the general population's radar, and bring it to life. Not only are they entertaining, but they bring this story out of the shadows and make it accessible and moving to a much larger audiance. Tom11 has long had an interest in Documentary work, and we apply the same aesthetic and structural elements from documentary work to our promotional and education films. Even when trying to get a particular point of view across, Tom11 always tries to illuminate both sides of the story. We believe this results in a more honest film, and allows the viewer to make up their own mind. Another great element about the documentary form is the variety of storytelling and visual styles that are acceptable. It is not uncommon for Tom11 to utilize animation, text, narration, talking heads or even puppets to get a story across. It's wide open, and we like that. It lets us flex our servos.
Tired of the old "we make this, you watch it" mentality? Some of our favorite jobs let us break out of that mold. For a production of The Merchant of Venice for Portland Center Stage, Tom11 was fortunate enough to be hired as "Video Designer". That means we were hired to create art as part of a larger stage production. We were able to combine our love of technology to oversee the installation of 3 rear-projection screens, and on-stage night-vision camera, a wireless camera, and a back-stage video studio. Actors were able to act on stage and interact with other cast members on-screen, while an operator was also on hand to trigger canned video and special effects clips that were made ahead of time. This is only one example of what is possible. Video installation is still a baby of a medium, and many things are possible, especially with the ever increasing speed and power of VJ (video jockey) computer systems. Tom11 has done live VJ mixing for the Time Based Art Festival, Bishop's Rock & Roll Hair Show, Portland Fashion Incubator, as well as several other local theatrical productions.
As of January 2002, Tom11's offices have chosen to participate in our electric company's "Blue Sky" renewable energy program. 100% of the electricity used in our edit suite and audio recording studio comes from this program which uses wind, solar, and biomass to generate electricity that is less harmfull to our planet. In addition to this, since March of 2008, Tom11 has elected to add a carbon-offset to each project, offsetting the carbon emissions used during production. That means driving to shoots, tapping power from non green sources, and more. These carbon offsets are purchased through The Climate Trust, a leading non-profit who's projects are expected to ofset 2.6M metric tons of CO2, making them one of the largest in the world. Furthermore, Tom11 makes every attempt to limit the use of paper, and other consumables.