Packaged. Branded.

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I've been putting the finishing touches on the DVDs for the cast of OnStage Productions' Pajama Game, which include all of the photos I took at a recent shoot. I've provided these DVDs to other companies in the past, but this time I wanted to take a different approach.

In the past, I'd been happy to use plastic cases for the finished product, which certainly look shiny:

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However, I kind of got tired of forking over cash to some international, big-box store to put more plastic out into the world. Thus, I started looking for a more environmentally-responsible solution.

Though this site will tell you I'm a photographer, I am also a lot of other things, like a writer, a sculptor, and, when the wind is southerly, I know a pica from a pdf. I appreciate clean, attractive design, and, whenever possible, I try to do clean, attractive design for myself. That drive lead me to the lovely people at Moo (yes, that is a refer a friend link), and I designed the following for them to print off:

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Coming back to the DVD packaging dilemma, in the current age of digital photography, folks don't print as many pictures as they used to, and my clients almost exclusively request only digital copies of the photos from their shoots. These are then posted on websites or social media, and the only concrete thing that remains of our exchange is a DVD. So I combined my past experience with marketing materials and branding, combined it with a knowledge of all of Moo's wonderful offerings (STICKERS!), and I got to thinking outside the plastic box.

Along with the interest in design and sculpting comes an interest in Making Things. I had made the following wooden business cards as memorable handouts for Anime North this weekend (since I figured I'd be handing out a lot of cards and didn't want to exhaust my supply of Moo cards):

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Once I had already created that stamp, it was easy to repurpose it, and, after a quick trip to a Canadian supplier of recycled cardboard sleeves, I produced the following:

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It's simple, but combine it with some different branded Moo stickers, and you've got a blank canvas that can be redesigned as needed. What's more, with the exception of the physical DVDs, the thing is recyclable, and I feel like it's moderately prettier and more memorable than a plain paper DVD sleeve.

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Video: Urinetown

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After the success of the promotional videos I provided for StageWorks Toronto for their 2011 production of Into the Woods, they asked me to come up with something similar for this year's production of Urinetown. I was able to spend far more time with the cast this year as I was official photographer for the entire production process, and I feel this enabled me to better capture the cast's diverse personalities. 

Comedy Cabaret, a Urinetown Fundraiser

As part of the work I have been doing with theatre company StageWorks Toronto, I photographed their recent fundraising event. It took the form of a comedy cabaret: partnering stand-up comedians with musical theatre actors for an interesting blend of Entertainment.

I was also asked to shoot some video of the event so that it could be viewed by those who missed the fundraiser.

Video: Doing Dublin

In an ongoing series of travel videos of Europe in the fall of 2011, we have our next instalment from Dublin! As a side note, if you ever have the opportunity to visit Dublin, do so for the Guinness brewery alone. Regardless of whether you like or loathe the beer, the brewery itself is a wonder of Wonkanian proportion, and it simply needs to be experienced. The bit of it you see in this video is only a glimpse of its true, dizzying potential. 

Video: In the Lakes

While visiting the Lake District this October, I shot some video alongside photos and cobbled it together into the following. It's a travel music video, I guess, in the tradition of my original Rishiri Climb one. This whole DSLR video thing is really growing on me: particularly the part where you can accurately document what it looks like to walk through those woods or look over the lip of that waterfall.

Video: Into the Woods

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While shooting various rehearsals and headshots for StageWorks Toronto's Into the Woods, I was also shooting the occasional video since my camera was enabled to do both. Video is still a relatively new medium for me, but there's something addictive about using the aperture controls on DSLR lenses to influence video in the same way that we influenced photos.

Though they hadn't requested it, I offered to provide StageWorks with some short, promotional videos of their rehearsals to help with the advertising of the shows. The videos turned out to be a big hit.

All videos feature audio recorded from the actual cast.

Video: The Climb

When my D60 gave me the camera equivalent of the Blue Screen of Death, and a good friend and talented photographer advised me to bite the bullet and buy a better body, I paid little attention to that new body being capable of video. In fact, I may have even exclaimed aloud "who cares about video? I'm buying this thing to take photos!"

So when I started taking brief, documentary-style video clips on our July 2011 climb of Rishiri-zan in northern Hokkaido, it was a lark. I wasn't really sure if they would be any good or what I would use them for...perhaps a dorky little documentary about our climb?

When we returned from the climb, and my teaching partner at my Japanese high school asked me to prepare something for our students, I figured I had time enough to cobble the short video clips together with some photos to make a brief music-video-sort-of-thing that might entertain the students. It was a hurried thing, and I always intended to return to the footage and make something proper and longer.

What came out of the exercise is, to this day, possibly one of the most rewarding bits of video I've ever strung together. This thing still makes me smile now, nearly two years later, and it inspired a series of travel videos when I headed over to Europe that fall.

But this is where I started: my first crack at video. I hope you like it as much as I do.