Tag: Jennifer Isenhart
As digital production moves away from video tape, post production work-flow and backup procedures become more important than ever.
It seems like it happened in the blink of an eye. Tape is gone. Gone with it is a “hold it in your hand” assurance that all the work that went into planning, lighting, directing and shooting your project is safe.
Enter: the completely digital production, from field acquisition to final delivery. Ones and Zeros all the way. While shooting directly to hard drive has many benefits, including a streamlined work flow that cuts down hours (and costs) in the edit suite, it also lays open your project to the potentially devastating loss of all that digital data.
I know someone who recently suffered through one such disaster. The local producer/editor had just finished up a video project for a business client and was kicking back with the satisfied feeling of a job well done when– this is no joke– his DOG jumped up on the table and knocked over his media drive, sending it crashing to the floor. The small, firewire hard drive held the only copies of his digital media. And since his project was shot with a digital HD camera, there were no shoot tapes for backup. His client’s entire project laid there, lifeless on the floor. When he tried to fire up the drive again all he got was a sickening clicking sound, the worst sound ever known to man (at least to that man in that particular situation).
How to prevent this kind of disaster? Redundant media storage. The solution can be as simple as copying all your media onto a second hard drive that sits on the shelf, just in case. Or, you can spend some money and integrate what is widely considered the safest solution: a RAID level 5 system. A RAID (redundant array of independent discs) distributes data across multiple hard drives, but the array is seen by the computer as one single disk. In a RAID5 if any single drive fails, the user simply removes the bad drive, replaces it with a new one and the RAID will rebuild itself, restoring all media that existed on that drive to its original state. Voila. One of the best side benefits: producers and editors can sleep at night knowing their digital footage is safe from loss.
Our friend with the dog found out the hard way how painful it can be to lose digital media. He had to go back to the very beginning and re-shoot footage for his project.
Constantly repeating yourself in social settings may not be cool. But redundancy in digital production is critical (did I say that before?). Redundant storage protects your project from loss. If you’re planning to produce any kind of movie– from a YouTube sizzle reel to a major motion picture– you’ll need to know that your production company has it. Redundant media storage systems like the ones we have in place here at Wide Eye Productions offer peace of mind to our staff and our clients. And our meticulous archiving system ensures the posterity of every completed project.
So next time you gather bids from a variety of production companies, make sure you ask what methods they use to backup and archive their digital media projects. Ask them if they have a redundant media storage system, then ask them again.
Principal and Producer Jennifer Isenhart is a fourth generation entrepreneur. She also happens to be the great grand daughter of one of the first cinematographers in the Pacific Northwest.
Media mogul Ted Turner says an entrepreneur is what you call yourself when you don’t have a job. By that definition, I come from a long line of jobless people. As far back as my great grandfather, my family members have created their own opportunities with fresh ideas and a lot of long, hard work.
My great grandfather moved from Wales to Wyoming in 1898. Lewis Mortimer Lewis was his name. He was just 11 years old when he moved to America, ready to take on a new world. On that long voyage across the ocean, he carefully tended to his first business idea– one large box of live worms. Upon landing in America, he immediately went to work farming Welsh worms and selling them to local fishermen. I don’t know if they worked any better than American worms, but they launched my great grandfather into the world of business.
By the time my great grandfather Lewis was 20 years old he had put himself through college, graduated with a degree in business and purchased a private business college in Washington State. Through his hard work and determination, the college grew and thrived and he became partner in another business college in Chicago. By the time he was 30 years old, my great grandfather was a wealthy man.
But it wasn’t until the great depression hit that he found his true passion. That’s when Lewis M. Lewis picked up a motion picture camera. He was instantly hooked.
Roy Ash, co-founder of Littleton Industries says, “an entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.”
That was my great grandfather. In the 1930’s, he taught himself how to be a cinematographer and set out around the Northwest selling film productions to businesses and government agencies. He used a Bell & Howell Filmo movie camera and shot films for many of the newly created national parks. He was the first cinematographer to shoot film footage of the recently opened Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. In the 1930’s, visitors to the park had to be lowered down hundreds of feet in a guano mining bucket– about the size of a whiskey barrel– to enter the caves. That must have been an interesting ride down with two arms full of camera equipment.
Lewis M. Lewis excelled at nature photography and went on to sell his footage to the Walt Disney company for a nature series called, The Living Desert. Over the years, my great grandfather started and developed numerous other businesses, but photography always remained a passion throughout his life.
Nolan Bushnell, the founder of the Atari company says about entrepreneurs, “The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”
Both of my parents inherited the ‘doer’ gene. One day in the basement of my great-grandfather’s house, my father stumbled upon a small treasure that would point his ambition toward a familiar course. It was the old Bell & Howell Filmo camera. My father didn’t know it yet, but that day in the basement marked the beginning of a 30 year career in film, then television, then video production. Together with my mother (and a lot of hard work), they built a successful documentary and corporate production company in the Puget Sound area.
I grew up in and around television stations, camera equipment and editing bays. I remember getting in trouble when I was a little girl for playing with my dad’s white editing gloves, the ones he wore when handling the film on the flat bed editing table in our basement. I learned to splice and tape a film edit when I was in grade school. So it just made sense when I went to college to chose a major in broadcast journalism.
Now it’s my turn to carry the entrepreneurial family torch. Over the past 13 years, with long hours (and a lot of hard work), my husband and I have built a strong, creative production company that is innovative enough to thrive during these tough economic times. When it comes to examining my own success, I like what the founder of The Body Shop, Anita Roddick has to say, “success… is not about money or status or fame, it’s about finding a livelihood that brings me joy and self-sufficiency and a sense of contributing to the world.”
For me, success is also a sense of contributing to and carrying on my own family legacy. A legacy that appears to be alive and well. This summer my 7 year old daughter Gwendolyn got to work with a business of her own. In a single hour she pulled in more than seven dollars with a small stand selling peach ice tea. That night, she informed me that selling ice tea in the hot sun is a lot of hard work. I just had to smile. I think our family legacy lies in good hands.
Principal and Director of Photography Tom Hadzor gets a little misty on this nostalgic step back in time to the beginnings of Wide Eye Productions.
My wife, Jennifer and I started Wide Eye Productions in 1996. The worldwide headquarters were housed in our small, handmade office in the middle of our goat pasture in Northwest Boise. Before that we both were happily employed at the NBC affiliate, KTVB working on our own separate travel shows. Jennifer wrote and produced a travel series called “Exploring Idaho” and I shot and edited a wildlife series called “Incredible Idaho”. We even shared the same time slot each and every Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. I worked with a producer from the Department of Fish and Game, Sue Nass and our host was Jack Hemingway. We sure had interesting jobs, to say the least.
Sue and I spent days and days driving around Idaho, swapping stories and looking for wildlife, both of the animal kind and of the human kind. Jennifer worked with several different photographer/editors from KTVB (too many to list here, but one I will mention later in this blog). We both traveled the state, mostly in different directions, shooting interesting stories for television broadcast. We would spend one week traveling and shooting stories, the next week writing, the week after that editing and then one week ramping up to do it all over again. I think I shot and edited almost 100 hundred shows in my run and Jennifer just a few less than that. We both loved what we did and felt very fortunate to have the opportunity to grow as television program producers.
After a good, long run of eight years for my show and six for hers, management called us in one day and informed us both our shows had run their course and would be canceled, immediately. After receiving the news on the same day and suddenly both now unemployed, we decided to start our own business and Wide Eye Productions was born.
Our first endeavor was a wild game cooking series called, “Cooking on the Wild Side.” In that office in the goat pasture we produced 26 half-hour shows that aired nationally on The Outdoor Channel– good credits for the resume, but we didn’t make a dime! However, in the process, we learned a lot. All the while, we continued to build up a corporate clientele (many of whom we continue to work for today). And while the goat pasture had a certain nostalgia, we soon tired of escorting clients into our house because we didn’t have a potty in the office (we did actually have a functioning outhouse behind the garage, but didn’t feel it was appropriate to ask our clients to use it!). I will always have fond memories of those goats and the 60 yard golf pitching green, which was immaculately mowed and maintained by the goats. It was a great distraction for the hours of waiting for video to render in our first of many non-linear editing systems (remember the IMix Videocube? In 1998 ours was smokin’ with render times of an hour for a simple graphic).
I get asked quite a lot why we decided on the name, Wide Eye Productions. I always say, “I guess we both just liked the sound of it.” Plus, we wanted to do world-wide television programming. So Wide Eye Productions just seemed to fit. Around that same time, our longtime friend, Andy Lawless returned back to Boise from working in the movie business in California and inquired about our name too. I told him we called ourselves Wide Eye Productions and he said, “that’s weird, I started a film company and the name of it is Wide Eye Films!” Since Andy was on a cosmic collision with both Jennifer and me, we all decided at that very moment to work together and keep the name Wide Eye. It’s been 13 years and we haven’t looked back… full steam ahead!
I couldn’t think of a better way to make a living than doing what we do. Everyday brings us different challenges, learning opportunities and the chance to meet the most amazing people. Just to give you an example of what we do, last week alone we shot an episode (our sixth total now) for the NBC hit show, “The Biggest Loser.” Two days later we were hired as a camera crew for ABC’s news magazine, “Nightline.” That same week we were editing a long form piece for a corporate client– a hospital in San Francisco, one of many medical clients we service across the West. Whether it’s segments for the Dr. Phil show, NBC, ABC, CBS, ESPN, History Channel, Discovery Channel, we cover the full range of television production and corporate video production and love every minute of it!
Wide Eye has five full time people in our Boise, Idaho office and another two in Seattle. Those people are what make Wide Eye Productions what it is and it wouldn’t exist without them. Along with Andy Lawless, who works as a producer/editor/audio tech/shooter, a man of many talents, we have Bill Krumm. Bill came to work with us about three and a half years ago after a very long and colorful career in the local television market, doing everything from shooting, to editing, to even running a newsroom as the assignment editor, or as I like to say, “babysitting the reporters.” Bill is an exceptionally talented individual with numerous skills. He has an incredible work ethic, one that often has to be monitored so he can get some sleep. He has to be told to go home on occasion and get away from that Final Cut Pro HD editing computer. Bill is also one of the very finest videographers I’ve ever seen. He can shoot our Panasonic Varicam or Sony D-600 Betacam as good or better than the best shooters anywhere in the world. Bill is a perfectionist, which is a good thing in our business and we are honored to have him on our team. He is also the videographer that worked with Jennifer on Exploring Idaho.
Rounding out the Boise Wide Eye team is Lana Tidwell. Lana applied for an office job with us about a year and a half ago. We were so busy with projects that we needed someone around to answer phones and do the typical office duties. It quickly became apparent to us that Lana had other talents up her sleeve. Not only can she type a zillion words a second but she has the uncanny ability to get things done before they actually need to be done. I’ll say, “we need to…” and Lana will say “already done that” That’s the kind of person you want around. And that’s why she’s been promoted, already to full-fledged producer. But if you call Wide Eye, chances are, she’ll be the one answering the phone because she’s the nicest one out of the whole bunch!
We do have one more person at Wide Eye HQ who deserves a mention. Cheryl Reed comes in one day a week to take care of our books. She is a delight to be around and we feel so lucky to have her. So, everyone here at the office has their own special set of talents, and we wouldn’t exist without them.
How lucky are we to do what we do!
Looking for something?
Use the form below to search the site:
Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!
Visit our friends!
A few highly recommended friends...