RIP Dan Rooney

Categories Spotlight

Pittsburgh lost a great man today.

As a baby, my parents would take walks with me through West Park and would often run into Mr. Rooney and his wife, Patricia. One thing they always remembered is how exceptionally humble and friendly they were. ~20 years later, my parents started the Allegheny City Historic Gallery, a space dedicated to the history of the Northside of Pittsburgh.

Mr. Rooney was personally always kind to me and told my father that he loves what he’s doing for the Northside and that he would like to write a book with him. My condolences to his family, he will be missed by myself and my family.

RIP Mr. Rooney.

Being Featured in a Northside Documentary

Categories News, Spotlight, Video

Local filmmaker Gabriel Colombo is working on a full length documentary about the Northside, supported by The Heinz Endowments. Here’s behind-the-scenes of me being interviewed for it at his place in Oakland. Big thanks to the whole “Searching Common Grounds” crew!

Link to the video.

This is another case of the internet being an awesome place. Me and Gabe didn’t meet but very briefly in the past, but because he sees what I do on Facebook – like with my Cool Pittsburgh Videos group – he thought I would be a good person to feature in this documentary and I’m very happy to have the opportunity.

That’s really what I like about living in 2016, opportunities that come from you putting yourself out there and contributing something unique are plentiful. Never was there a better time for connecting with like-minded people. I’m doing right now what 30 years ago would sound like the delusions of a madman and I’m enjoying every millisecond of it.

Pittsburgh regional artist grants

Categories Spotlight, Video

This was an info session on Monday, October 10th hosted by Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council (GPAC) for artists in the Pittsburgh area to learn about how they can apply for grants that are currently open to them. Organizations that presented that day include: The Sprout Fund, GPAC, The Pittsburgh Foundation, New Sun Rising, Penn Ave. Creatives, Awesome Pittsburgh, and the New Hazlett Theater, where it was hosted.

Direct link. Here’s the Facebook version.

I also shot this video on my new Canon G7X Mark II which I’ve received as part of a grant from The Sprout Fund- more details on that in the next blog post about my short documentary on the Banjo Club.

Costumes of The Wiz Live Pittsburgh debut

Categories Spotlight, Video

New video alert. I’m also back in action with my blog. Costumes from The Wiz Live will be on display at the August Wilson Center from now until November 30th. Here’s me covering the premiere of the exhibit.

I’m very happy with the way it came out. Here’s the version uploaded directly to Facebook and Instagram. You’ll probably notice I’ve…

  • Made it square. The exact dimensions are 1,000px by 1,000px. This uses more screen real estate and is more noticeable when users are scrolling by on Facebook. You’ve probably seen this done by companies like Buzzfeed.
  • Added a title above it. This is my attempt to catch more attention using all that extra white space, although if I were to redo this I’d probably put a banner similar to the “Costumes of the Wiz” ads they ran in the Post-Gazette.
  • Subtitles below it. This makes it very convenient on mobile, which accounts for 90% of Facebook’s traffic. You bet your sweet butt I’ve added subtitles.

I’m not completely certain at this moment as to whether or not it drove up engagement rates. The aim is just to connect with the people who would be interested in The Wiz or things going on in Pittsburgh and potentially want to see more videos like mine.

I’m very happy to have had the opportunity to interview Paul Tazewell, Kiya Tomlin, and Darieth Chisholm that day. Natalie Bencivenga with the Post-Gazette was also there, it was my first time meeting her and she’s a real go-getter. Here’s the SEEN section that she’s the editor of – she covers the city’s social life.

Thanks for your time.

P. S. For those paying close attention, both Robyn Greer and Demeatria Boccella were in another video I’ve shot earlier this year in April. Here’s the blog post on it.

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Chris Whitlatch’s Into Pittsburgh

Categories Spotlight, Thoughts

Into Pittsburgh, made by Chris Whitlatch of the Pittsburgh Foundation, is a very informative show that focuses on nonprofits. It airs on PCTV21:

Chris Whitlatch’s “Into Pittsburgh” interviews non-profit organizations in the city of Pittsburgh, aiming to educate the public on the services these organizations provide, how to utilize these services and provide advice for those who want to work in the non-profit sector or start their own project.

I feel the program does a great job of asking the right questions. There are a lot of people who might not know about the stories behind these organizations and this show presents an open platform for them to tell the story in their own words.

He has over 30 episodes, but here are his interviews with 412 Food Rescue, the Pittsburgh Zoo (I like this one! It’s a bit different and he went on-location), and Work Hard Pittsburgh.

Take this as a grain of salt, but this contributes to my opinion that the majority of local access shows should play it safe and just use a black backdrop if they’re unsure what to use. It just looks better with less effort. Many show producers seem to get too fancy with their background and use a “beach” backdrop or something that doesn’t fall in line with the message of their show. When it’s not done tactfully, it comes off as cheesy. It’s especially apparent when the background position stays the same during camera switches.

An example of a creative use with PCTV21’s green screen is HughShows. I understood quickly the vibe of the show and it’s differentiated well with it’s groovy intro. The white and psychedelic patterned background grew on me over the course of an episode. The topic of the show is also immediately understandable: music.

I do have a small suggestion for the format of Into Pittsburgh.

Continue reading “Chris Whitlatch’s Into Pittsburgh”

Behind the scenes at Robyn’s photoshoot

Categories Spotlight, Video

Shot and cut this behind the scenes video yesterday to cover my friend Robyn Greer’s photoshoot for her upcoming book “Infected by Life”. This shoot took place in her hair salon, The Trevor James Experience.

Incredible photography by my brother-in-law, Vernon Young Jr.

I’m currently shooting with a Sony camcorder which, for whatever reason, didn’t fit onto the mount for Vernon’s slider. So, I held it as steadily as possible on top of the slider and took multiple takes. You’ll notice the slider was used in the opening and ending sequences. Even though you can still see it’s a little jittery, I think it came out relatively well!

1 minute Washington D.C. vlog

Categories Spotlight, Video

I had such an amazing time in Washington D.C. If you spend any length of time there, you’ll quickly notice how wonderfully diverse the city is. The grandiose architecture is very cool looking and you really get a feel for how much history you’re walking into when you see the monuments. Here’s a 1 minute travel vlog taking you along my short 2 day journey.

I shot this alongside the video I’m producing for the Northside Old Timers.