The Astronomical Society of the Pacific needed a set of five training videos to motivate and guide the Night Sky Network presenters who volunteer to educate Americans about astronomy. The presenters are astronomers and scientists, not professional speakers, who faced many challenges when addressing the public, including:
- How to get started with outreach
- How to say, “I don’t know”
- Connecting with kids
- How to handle difficult questions and difficult people.
- How to engage the audience and get the “Wow!” back in astronomy
The primary challenge was script development. The Society had completed a research project to understand the most pressing concerns of their target audience of astronomers and scientists. We worked closely with our clients, revising the script to select the topics from their outreach curriculum that were most requested by the audience and that would most benefit from a training video presentation.
We selected a humorous approach to engage our audience and allow them to laugh at their own past mistakes when presenting to the public.
We wrote and developed five scripts using techniques from our story development process, including reviewing our clients needs, writing several drafts of the scripts, rehearsing with professional actors and presenting a staged reading to a live audience. Critiques from the reading were used to revise the script.
Although it was not the case in the production of these outreach videos, we have often produce "Beta" videos for the Astronomical Society. These are economically produced, rapidly finished test versions that can be distributed to a focus group of astronomers for comment and revision.
The final training videos incorporated "right way" and "wrong way" skits to illustrate key communication concepts. We shot the 5 videos in a single day of production, on location, at the Chabot Space and Science Center.
The Sharing the Universe videos have been distributed to more than 400 astronomy clubs throughout the United States. The astronomers who studied our training videos have initiated more than 28,000 public astronomy events, reaching more than 3 million people.
Each year, over fifty performing arts groups compete for the opportunity to pitch their work at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters conference in New York City, the world’s largest networking forum and marketplace for performing arts professionals. Flying Moose was asked to design and produce a short demo video to win BANDALOOP one of only ten spots at the APAP “UpNext” pitch session.
Our challenge was to present BANDALOOP's new performance piece, Harboring, in the context of their two decades of pioneering aerial performance work.
BANDALOOP is famous for spectacular performances on buildings and cliffs. Harboring is an immersive piece that brings BANDALOOP's celebrated scale and excitement within arm's reach of the audience and leaves them viewing the space in a different way, thinking, "I didn't know that dance could make me feel this way."
The performance was presented in the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason, an historic maritime building set on the edge of San Francisco Bay. Audience members were led by a troupe of dancers to experience a sequence of performances presented at different locations throughout the fifty-thousand square foot, five-hundred foot long space.
We needed to capture, within the limited pallet of two-dimensional moving images, both the multi-dimensional aerial dances and the kinetic audience experience as they walked through the vast pavilion, witnessing images of travel, memory, the fluidity of the ocean, rope craft and maritime industry.
The Moose worked closely with BANDALOOP Founding Artistic Director Amelia Rudolph and Executive Director Thomas Cavanagh to understand their specific goals for the demo video.
Harboring's presentation at an indoor venue brought the troupe's unique form of aerial dance intimately close to the audience as they were led through the space. In order to capture a sense of both the performance and of the audience's experience of the performance, we planned for our cameras to move through the darkened space ahead of, behind, and within the large, mobile crowd.
The performances were "site-reactive", meaning that each of the eight dances were performed against a unique architectural element of the historic building - on top of shipping containers, suspended from the roof, or hanging on a wall. We worked closely with our client to plan a shot list to best frame and capture memorable images and motion from each of the dances.
Our team shot Harboring with multiple cameras at three performances. By reviewing our footage in-between performances, we confirmed what we had captured, reviewed the most compelling angles to shoot each dance, and adjusted our shot list to span the largest set of useful angles for our edit. Ongoing consultations with our client allowed us to anticipate the evolving elements of the show and to refine our plan as we experienced the show ourselves and learned which elements would best serve the communications goals of the short demo video.
In order to communicate the historical context of Harboring within the BANDALOOP repertoire, we reviewed their extensive video archive and selected dramatic clips that showcased aerial dances in a variety of international locations.
In addition to the short demo video, Flying Moose also delivered a full length documentary recording of Harboring that was used to archive the show, as supporting material for potential bookers, and as a gift to reward financial supporters of the company.
BANDALOOP used our video to win a coveted slot to pitch Harboring to arts presenters from around the world. The presentation, combined with the full length documentary video, led to international bookings of the show.
New Logic’s high-performance vibratory membrane separation systems are used for a variety of applications: filtering pure water, treating wastewater, and clarifying chemical processes (such as dehydrating paint). There are also powerful environmental clean-up applications. By using a bio-methanation process that includes the VSEP separation process, for example, a hog farmer can harvest and sell electrical energy and concentrated organic fertilizer while gaining clean water for reuse in their operations.
The design, manufacture, and installation of a VSEP system begins with a small yet complex pilot test to determine filter type, flow speed, and temperature, as well as a host of other factors that must be determined before New Logic can build a full-size, custom separation system.
The instruction manual for the pilot system was a set of foot-thick binders -- overwhelmingly comprehensive, but so intimidating to wade through that even the most dedicated engineers drowned in the morass of dense text and diagrams. This was especially true of the company's international customers, most of whom do not speak English as a first language.
New Logic Pilot Test Supervisor Roger Torres explained that, "Requiring our customers to study a thick user manual made the pilot test process too complex and support-intensive."
Flying Moose Pictures was asked to design and produce a video to replace the paper manuals.
The Moose worked intensively with New Logic Field engineers to develop a script, first by recording a live "performance" of an expert trainer demonstrating the numerous concepts and actions necessary to complete the test program. A transcription of the demonstration formed the first draft of our script. We tested the script with novice users, revised it, then shot the videos on location at New Logic's test laboratory in a three-day production. We edited and user-tested a beta version of the training videos to make final adjustments before releasing them on the New Logic website.
The new training videos are far more accessible and popular than the old printed manuals and deployment of the training videos has improved and streamlined New Logic's development and manufacturing process. The highly complex and technical pilot testing workflow is now separated into easily understandable and focused chapters. "Having each separate chapter of the video on the company website is a great advantage," Torres explained. "I can simply email a video link to a customer, pointing to the specific information they need to solve their support issue."