News, work, musings, and a peek at the glamorous life behind the scenes at Vignette.

Quantum Goodness

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Test Journal Post

Another big thanks to DesignRush for including us on their list of Top Production Companies in Seattle!

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Studio meets street.

We don’t talk about gear very much on the journal. We probably should since we are constantly obsessing about it and have a few valuable lessons to share.

One thing that we are especially excited about is our new GFX100. We’ve been long time Fujifilm fans but this camera is next level. It brings together the resolution and mystical qualities of medium format with the handling and freedom of a much smaller camera. It opens up so many possibilities for environmental portraiture, fine art and documentary photography.

I can't wait to see what we do with it.

Vignette is hiring!

No, we won't make you do handstand push-ups but you will need to be a brilliant editor, have producing or production experience, and want to be a part of a collaborative team.

If that sounds like you, please apply here.

The beauty in a moment.

Sometimes we work so hard to tell stories by weaving together complex storylines, multiple cameras and cuts, we forget how much can be said in a simple moment. This short cut from our work developing the "Hands" campaign for Blue Nile is a great reminder of that.

On Location: Mexico City

From one world, straight into another. Early morning establishing shots.

We're gonna miss you D.

Many thanks for the talent, hard work and good vibes you brought to every project!

Even though we won't see your mug every morning, we're excited that we'll still get to collaborate on new compositions and scoring. Here's to making some beautiful music together!

Sometimes the shot just appears.

Sometimes you don't don't need to do anything more than point and click. Walked in to do a story on a community daycare center for the Pike's Place Foundation and this little guy was standing there with blue wings taped to his shoulder. Point, click.

Wrap: Building Changes Story Library

We're very happy to have reconnected with our friends at Building Changes. We created a new library of photography that help them advocate for the homeless populations and issues that need a face and voice.

Back in Kansas

Back in Salina, Kansas shooting on 'Kassem', a Vignette Original documentary. Got treated to some amazing performances like Beverly 'Guitar' Watson, a guitar legend still going strong at 79.  

Featured project: Deep Roots

Proud to share this very cool film we created for the rockstar hop growers at Yakima Chief Hops. We'd been experimenting with the group conversation format lately and thought it would be a good approach for this project, which needed to share stories of a long and rich past, while connecting the dots to a vision for the future.  Then we took the concept to the next level.

In the field: Sleeping on the job.

To capture the extraordinary moments that lie within the everyday routine we often need to embed ourselves in the story. Literally. Because the thing about moments is that they happen fast and you need to be there and ready when they do. Even if it's at 3am. Telling stories about the real lives of people is intimate work. It takes time, patience and most importantly, trust. 

Featured project: Less we Can

Making the case for Less through a series of broadcast spots and short web films for Portland natural gas provider, NW Natural. The big takeaway? Living with less doesn't need to be a sacrifice at all. It's a way of being and mindset that once embraced will actually enhance your life.  Check out the full project.

Oh the stories this bus could tell!

And will tell soon enough. Stay tuned. #randyandsam #vignetteoriginals

On Set: The haunting sounds of Alabama Slim

We were treated to an interview and performance by Alabama Slim as part of a Vignette original doc that we'll be talking more about soon. If you like the slow, rhythmic delta sounds of John Lee Hooker, you'll love Slim. Special thanks to our friends at the Music Makers Relief Foundation who work to preserve the musical traditions of the South by directly supporting the musicians who make it, ensuring their voices will not be silenced by poverty and time. Also, a big thank you to Stiefle Theatre in Salina, Kansas for letting us shoot in their amazingly beautiful (looking and sounding) venue. 

Hong Kong Nights

Wrapping up a fun and VERY hot week of filming in Hong Kong for an upcoming Vignette Original. The story starts in the middle of a small town in Kansas, has taken us to China and will end up somewhere along the banks of the Mississippi. Stay tuned...  

Angela live goes live

Based mostly from two live performances at Madison Square Garden, here's a look at our latest work with the Lumineers. And one of our favorite songs. 

Blimes Brixton in the house

In SEA to be exact for some interviews and a studio session with Gifted Gabs. #randyandsam

Good morning Paris

Not a bad way to start off a week of meetings. 

The story starts here...

The Randy and Sam project really starts with this portrait. It was the first time I met both of them. Had no idea then, that over 26 years later we'd be doing a documentary about them.  #randyandsam - GM 

Select: Summer is coming.

One of my favorite photos of one of my favorite people. 

A skinny little kid with a thick French accent, Leila didn’t read until the age of eight. So instead she learned to tell stories. About the country she has invented. The perfumes she will create. Rather than escaping into her imagination, she draws you in and shares her world of magical thinking. And then takes your palm in hers and tells you your future in a story so complex and marvelous that you start believing it.

If she wants something bad enough, she will make it happen: dancing around the house until she gets ballet lessons, cutting and stapling fabric together until she learns to sew.

A perfectionist, she’ll sit back and observe, her eyes twinkling, until she has figured things out. She’d never played badminton until that afternoon, but once she’d gotten the picture, she took everyone’s breath away.

Microsoft Edge Impact Stories: Choice Humanitarian Launches

We're excited to share an inspiring new video we produced documenting the collaboration between Choice Humanitarian and Microsoft. The Microsoft team worked with Choice to create Accent, a browser-based, digital literacy platform to help women in remote Guatemala gain access to their country’s economy, government, culture and language. Learn more about our work on this project here or read a this in-depth article about the project in Fast Company.

Build the Wall!

No not THAT wall!  And no, we're not trying to keep Cam from fleeing his homeland, Editistan. Just doing clean up on some drives as we migrate to networked storage system. This is a fraction of our project drives, we're literally running out of storage space for our storage. In addition to the new system, new offices are in the works. Stay tuned!

'Randy and Sam' begins production

Veteran bluesman, Randy McDonald. This portrait was shot during the first interview session on a new doc project we're embarking on. 

In the Field: Guatemala

A week shooting the Alta Verapaz region of Guatemala documenting a very cool collaboration between Choice Humanitarian and Microsoft. All photos courtesy of colleague and good buddy, Philip Pacheco.

Select: 300 miles from home, Ben made a decision.

He’d been riding motorcycles since he was ten, and had never come close to crashing. He was careful, not a risk taker. He never rode without a helmet. Until that day.

Ben remembers the rush of freedom he felt as he left the Montana filling station. Almost home. Then cutting through a rocky mountain pass, an unexplainable crash that nearly took his life.

One year later, he returned to the site of his accident. He wanted to understand. To know if it was somehow his fault. But he couldn’t remember a thing.

Photographed as part of a story for Providence Healthcare. 

Microsoft Edge Impact Stories: NAAEE

The first in a series of short films for the Microsoft Edge team. This first one focuses on their work with the North America Association for Environmental Education. So cool to meets all these educators committed teaching people of all ages about the environment and conservation. We need them now more than ever!

Select: Clouds over Seattle

As a rule, I don't take/post ferry shots. But this I could not resist. 

On Set: The Garden Shows

In NYC to do some work with the Lumineers as they perform their first two (sold out!) shows at Madison Square Garden. 

Select: Bobby Jo and Bug

An outtake from a cover story shoot for Providence Health Care's Heart Beat magazine. This is a portrait of cancer survivor Bobby Jo and her daughter 'Bug'. We've shooting photo stories for them for years now and never cease to be humbled and inspired by courage and determination of the patients and their families in the face of very difficult situations.. 

In the Field: Getting up close and personal with nature

That's what NAAEE is all about. Just spent the last two weeks traveling the country documenting the work of teachers in classrooms, forests, greenhouses, bird sanctuaries, aquariums and wetlands, proving that education, especially environmental education, can happen anywhere, at any time. Honestly, we're just happy no-one got eaten by a gator while making the film.

In the Field: Easter Seals Bay Area

Telling the story of how Easter Seals Bay Area is pioneering the way we think about and deliver care for children with autism. 

On Set: Adorable kids + green screen

What could be more fun? Shooting another project for our friends at the Fulcrum Foundation. The final piece will have these young students telling stories about the work of the foundation some motion graphics going on in the background. 

Production Tip: The pack, the unpack and the repack.

We've been working hard on refining our packing systems. Making the process more consistent, efficient, and most importantly, preventing errors in the field. One missing cord, clamp or adaptor can render an entire camera or other system useless. When your packing multiple cameras, lens packages, monitors, audio, motion control systems, lights, etc, it's easy to forget something small. Trust us, we've done it more than once.   

Our biggest takeaway? The secret to a great pack lies in the unpack from the previous shoot. It's easy to get back from a road trip, offload the gear in a corner and assume you (or someone else) will sort it out when you get ready for the next shoot. But if you take a just little time and care with that unpack, you're creating the groundwork for a faster, more accurate pack...

But there's another step that lives in between the pack and the unpack that might be the most important pack of all. And that's the repack. That's the pack you do on location, after the shoot. 

Read the entire post on Medium...

On Location: Chance meetings, view cameras and the resurgence of film.

We were out shooting some truly magical establishing shots on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah when we came across this photographer lugging around his 8x10 view camera. He turned out to be David Benjamin Sherry, a landscape art photographer from LA who is doing some beautiful work. We had a great conversation about the tangible and intangible qualities of large format photography and the renewed interests in film from the Instagram generation. Go Kodak!

Wings of desire (not)

We had to deplane off our flight from Salt Lake this morning because of a small technical issue. THERE WAS A CHUNK OF OUR WING MISSING! The real scary part? The problem was not initially caught by the crew but by a passenger who happened to look out the window. WTF Delta?

Fall at Vignette

Brian getting in a last few hours of 2016 deck time while ironing out the details on our next productions. Look forward to getting out in the field and sharing more soon.  

Lumineers Cleopatra Tour Video

The Lumineers just released the Cleopatra tour video that we shot and edited late this summer. It was awesome to get back on the road with them and see their new show. 

20 years at Attoma

A privilege and pleasure to spend a couple of days in Paris documenting our friends at Attoma who are celebrating their 20 year anniversary. 

@garymatoso on Instagram

Looking for more ways to follow us? Gary Matoso, our creative director, recently launched his personal Instagram dedicated to new photography and archival work. If you're an Instagrammer and love street photography, photojournalism and portraiture, have a peek at: @garymatoso and please follow if you like what you see. And while you there, be sure to check out the insta-goodness at: @vignettecreative  

Congratulations Luke... you crazy beast!

Congratulations to Luke Atkins for his 25,000 foot jump without a freaking parachute! Luke was our in-air camera op (we preferred to stay in the plane) on our Blue Nile proposal shoot (above). Honestly, we had no idea he was such a badass. He and Andy and Kasha were so chill and just amazing to work with. Check out Luke's ridiculous feat on Nat Geo's site

Vignette does Kaizen

We've always been about constant improvement and trying to take our work to next level. While much of the focus has been on technical improvement, better tools and techniques, we realized that there are dozens of systems and workflows around our creative and story development, pre-production and planning, project and client management that might not seem as sexy the latest 8k camera, but have a major effect on our end product and the success of a project. 

So we decided to get meta about it and learn how to get a lot better at getting a lot better. Still with us? To tackle this we've employed the services of our friend and Lean / Kaizen master, Carlos Venegas. Carlos recently spent a couple of days with us to break down all of our systems and workflows from business dev and strategy through all phases of our creative, production and project management work. The result was a truly mind bending experience and the realization that there is so much we can do to improve every aspect of our business. We're beginning to prototype our new systems and workflows and plan to share what we've learned here as they play out in the real world over the coming year. 

'Drive the Conversation' campaign launches

Here's the first in a series of stories we conceived, shot and edited about teen driving for the insurance company PEMCO. The concept was to get teens and their parent talking about their fears, expectations and the excitement about becoming a new driver. 

Love in the Moment

The centerpiece in a series of stories we did for Blue Nile about falling and being in Love. 

'Love in the Moment' goes live

After months of hard work, our client Blue Nile just launched Love in the Moment, a series of stories about falling and staying in love. We love them for embracing the idea of telling meaningful stories that go beyond talking about products and get to the heart of what their customers care about: love, romance and building life-long relationships.  Learn more about our work on this project...

Casting Tip: The great thing about real people? They're everywhere!

One of the fun things about casting real people is that you never know where you will find your subjects. A great example of that was on a project for Vantari Genetics. We needed to find a parent and child to convey genetic inheritance, some distinct trait that you could see was passed down from generation to generation. We usually start our real people casting by going to friends and the people around us and then open up the process to Craigslist and other more targeted sources. But sometimes the perfect subject appears magically in front of you. 

In this case, it was while boarding a plane to NY. Queuing in the jet bridge I saw these two bright red heads up ahead of me. A perfect mother and son. Not wanting to freak the mom out, I gave her a brief pitch on the project and a card to contact me after the flight if she was interested in learning more. Fortunately she did, and we set up an impromptu studio shoot while I was in town.  The shot turned out perfect for what we needed. The moral of the story: keep your eyes (and your mind) open and don't be afraid to respectfully approach strangers if you think there a good fit for your casting. 

Swedish Extraordinary Care Spot

The first in a series of 30 second spots we shot and edited for Swedish Hospital. 

On Set: Drive the Conversation

First family and first day of shooting for the Drive the Conversation project for PEMCO. Kitchen table conversations with parents and teens about joys and fears of becoming a new driver. 

David tries VR for the first time and...

...he wasn't all that impressed. I however, beg to differ. I got to visit Jurassic Park and see a dinosaur! It's still early days but it's clear (to most of us) that VR is going to be huge. We're just starting to look at VR shooting rigs with thoughts of dipping our toes in the water at some point soon. 

Bernie Sanders and the Death of the DSLR

In 1991 I switched camera systems from Nikon, which had dominated the market until then, to the new groundbreaking Canon EOS that was taking the photojournalism world by storm. Changing from one system to another was a major decision at that time, and it still is. Once you‘ve invested into a couple of bodies, glass and accessories, it’s like getting married, you’re committed. 

It took time but Nikon technology finally caught up to Canon and both companies continue to produce fine cameras and have throngs of faithful who love to argue the merits of one brand over the other. But the point being, once I made that switch, I stayed with the Canon for the next 25 years. 

Read the full post on Medium...

On Location: Bring it on.

Cam in the field in North Carolina on our shoot for Avalara. This time though, our subjects we're shooting back!

Jane Evelyn Atwood in NYC

Really nice to see JEA today. A groundbreaking photojournalist with a deep and meaningful body of work. If you don't know her and her photography, you should

Love those pre-dawn scouts...

Cam stands in for the talent for a pre-shoot scout and test. 

Blue Nile 'Hands'

The fruits of our first project with Blue Nile.


One of our more colorful color references shots from the Beautifully Different campaign. 

On Location: The Departure

Three days shooting on Whidbey Island shooting Luca and Xander preparing to leave to AK. 

Making a good time lapse takes time

Trying to step up our time lapse game which simply means getting out there and shooting more time lapse. On a surface level a time lapse is easy to shoot but in reality they are hard to do really, really well. So many factors to consider and then once you pull the trigger there's a lot of hurry up and wait. I will say that once you get your head around the workflow, LRTimelapse makes the process a breeze. The ability to work easily with RAW files makes it a super powerful tool. Here's a test from last night. 

SeaShare Instagram Video

The first in a series of 15 second instagram videos to promote the Share the Sea campaign to raise funds for one million seafood meals for individuals and families across the nation. 

On Location: The Lumineers in LA