Channel Umptee-Three is a now-defunct animated television series directed towards children that featured a lot of high-quality video, including some stock footage provided by New & Unique Videos, San Diego’s first stock footage library. This excerpt includes several images from New & Unique Videos. Keep an eye open for the snake charmer in New Delhi, India; and Polynesian dancers in Papeete, Tahiti.
We produced a web video for AAAS (The American Association for the Advancement of Science) about their service, called EureAlert!, science news that is accessible to researchers, scientists and reporters, including embargoed news.
It’s a good example of the kind of video that you can put on your website to present and explain the kind of services you offer. I like to say that just because you have a video camera does not mean you know how to operate it to produce professional-quality shows. If you are trying to put your best foot forward, don’t do it with a badly-made video.
This is a show we’re proud of, and will probably submit it for an award at a film festival or two. It’s been translated and captioned in five additional languages, so it is making its way around the world. Enjoy!
Back in the summer of 1994, we escaped the OJ Simpson murder trial here in America to embark on the video production of “Full Cycle: A World Odyssey,” a documentary which took us around the world to nine different countries with our mountain bikes. … Continue reading
Soccer Team, White Horse, Yukon, 1986 – Photograph by Patty Mooney
My wife, Patty, recently had some slides digitized. These particular slides have been in a binder on a shelf since 1986 when she and I sold or gave away everything, halted our video production business, rented our house out to some tenants, and set out from our hometown of San Diego for the wilds of North America in a small Chinook camper. We ended up driving 25,000 miles in the course of nine months. Along the way, Patty took some photographs and I shot video footage to document our adventures. I’m third from the left in the above shot, the guy with the lanky blonde locks (which are sadly no more).
On this particular day, after hanging out with some newfound friends in White Horse, Yukon, Canada, the soccer team invited me to play a game. As you can tell, they were quite fond of Coke.
We have since unfortunately lost touch with these wonderful, generous and hospitable people, but here’s a shout out, so many years later. Thanks for all the great times! Man, those were the good old days!
I was in the sort of maelstrom that many people around the world are feeling right now – insecure about where the next paycheck is coming from but knowing that I would have to move fast to generate funds, as we were tapped out after having traveled to nine different countries to shoot our our mountain biking adventure-documentary, “Full Cycle: A World Odyssey.”
To generate business, we worked on publicizing our documentary, and it earned a lot of press and won over a dozen international awards. Despite that, it didn’t fit into any niche, meaning that it was never broadcast on television. Both the Travel Channel and Discovery were interested in the concept before we left on the odyssey and sent letters of interest. But when the show was in the can, they had both changed their format and were no longer interested.
I believe this was the first reality show ever produced, because it starred normal everyday Mark and me. My feeling remains that “Full Cycle” was way ahead of its time.
Mark and Patty appear in a Swiss newspaper during the shooting of “Full Cycle: A World Odyssey”
Anyway, when sales of our “red-headed stepchild” proved less than stellar, Mark and I decided to take another tack.
Sometimes when one strategy doesn’t work, you have to abandon it and embrace another. But you don’t want to just jump into something without testing, researching, asking questions of experts, and reaching an informed decision.
Actually, the new tack presented itself to us, and we just happened to recognize it and exploit the opportunity. A company called us one day searching for stock footage of mountain bikers. That gave us an idea. We started selling our stock footage from around the world, and eventually added to the collection by gathering footage in other countries, from other producers, and built a library.
At this time we continued producing video, only not for ourselves anymore, but clients who needed our video production services.
Thus, after the years of struggle, we had created a niche for ourselves in which we could use all our talents, follow our passions and be together.
We learned how to “wear many hats” within the video industry. Mark is best as a camera operator and Director of Photography. He also runs the business and is an ace at marketing. He attends lots of networking events and volunteers as President of a local industry group. I have become an editor, shooter, sound technician, web maven, voice over, and sometimes actor. It is beneficial to know as many roles as possible, as it increases the odds on getting work.
Mark Schulze shoots off-the-cuff interview of Weird Al Yankovic at San Diego Comic Con
Highlights of our career include producing segments for Extra, Oprah and Discovery Channel, as well as an award-winning documentary about homeless combat veterans entitled The Invisible Ones.
Our success did not happen overnight. It took many years of concerted effort of working for ourselves from the time we each stopped working for someone else.
As I see it, with all the megalithic corporations falling to their knees like those big mechanical creatures on Star Wars, an opportunity arises for those who are savvy and courageous enough to take it. We can create a whole new and unique economy based on bartering time, skills and products that are handmade or hand grown.
It’s time for our communities to come together and work toward that new economy. So “follow your bliss” and start honing your skills. We have ingenuity and creativity going for us. And each other.
It was 1987 when Mark and I decided to start aggressively combining business with pleasure. We were involved in video production and had just discovered the sport of mountain biking. We racked our brains on ways we could combine the two. Voila! How about producing some instructional mountain bike videos?
Both of us went all in, and pioneered the first-ever mountain-bike videos which we distributed around the world enjoying thousands of sales. Every serious mountain biker HAD to have our titles in their video library. Sales have since subsided, as the market became saturated with videos, then DVD’s and now Blu-Rays. Now our videos are considered “classics” and because people are starting to feel nostalgia for the 1980′s, they may enjoy a popularity with the “next generation” of mountain bikers. We’ll see.
We have so many friends who feel chained to their jobs, going nuts on Fridays and dreading Mondays. They eagerly await their retirement years when they can do exactly what they want with their time. But it’s not like the body gets more youthful and energetic as time advances. It’s quite the contrary. How do you even know you are going to make it to 65 or or even 55? Are you dragging your feet through life to a job you can’t stand, just for the money?
Entrepreneurs are able to avoid that feeling. I’ve certainly paid my dues in all kinds of jobs ranging from babysitting and picking weeds to bussing tables and waitressing. There was a short stint as personal secretary to a quirky millionaire who turned out to be a sexual predator. Oh yes, dues have been paid.
Looking back I find that when I really started following my heart – that little “voice in your head,” I no longer worried about where my next job or paycheck were coming from. When your mind is free of worry, the channel is free for the circulation of money. The nature of money is to circulate, and if you worry about money, or hold on to it too tightly (i.e., don’t give to charity) it’s like a crimp in an air hose and you’ll start suffocating. These things have been written about by everyone from Napoleon Hill, to the people in “The Secret.” So I won’t cover it here.
I will just encourage you to follow your passions, for time is fleeting. Don’t be one of those people who says “I will be happy when…” You’re missing the opportunity to be here now.
We have been involved in video production since its infancy when video cameras were like lead bricks producing lousy resolution (it seemed good at the time), and video editing was linear. These days video seems to have reached the maturity of shall we say, a teenager who has flair but yet is very conflicted.
For one thing, video now looks very good on the web. You can play movies or television shows on Netflix or other providers, on demand, and the quality is pristine. On the other hand, there are so many available formats of video that it makes your head spin. Would you prefer 6×9 high definition or 4×3 standard? What’s the best file for export or sharing, .avi, .mpg, .mp4, .mov? The list goes on. And what’s the best camera to capture a movie on? The Red? The Sony Cine Alta? A Canon DSLR? It’s great to have choices, but it can wreak havoc on the small company that wants to stay on the cutting edge while providing services to many different clients who all want different things.
Today’s “consumer-grade” equipment is better than the “industrial-professional” equipment from days of yore. Many production houses are now sitting on equipment for which they paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, that has been rendered useless by today’s standards.
There is another phenomenon that I have noticed. Production houses do their utmost to deliver crisp, crystal-clear, beautifully-lighted, phenomenal video with awesome sound. But in cutting corners, there are companies that are willing to use video that is nominal at best, at their web sites or during presentations for large audiences. The other day we were at an award ceremony where Mark accepted an award as a “Top CEO” nominee. The main honoree was unable to be there in person and so he had ftp’ed a video from his cell phone. Both Mark and I were mortified to see the heavily-pixelated, non-lighted, echoey-sounding piece that was, to us, like fingernails scratching a chalk board. Pretty bad. Back in the day, there was this motto: “Crap in is crap out.” I think you get the picture.
Judging from recent movies like “Harry Potter” and “Avatar,” there are audiences that appreciate beautiful movies. But the acceptance of Skype video, cell phone video and other forms of bad quality video at widely-seen venues is disconcerting. Imagine if everyone built their own house. You’d have a neighborhood full of these shoddy, lopsided, Dr.Seussy homes. Would you really want to live in one? How soon before the roof fell in or the plumbing exploded? So why would you produce a video that lacked any production quality? Why would you not want to put your best foot forward? I will go further and say that if and when you decided to hire a professional production company to create a video and post it to your site, it would stand out like a gem among all the crappy videos out there that never should have made it through the Internet pipeline.
Stay tuned as video production moves from teen angst to its mature young adulthood.
This video clip is from the old Current Affair series. Crystal Pyramid Productions used to shoot interviews and B-roll for many segments on A Current Affair. In this one, moderator Tim Green spins the story about Susan Renteria, the young woman who wanted to take a contract out on her Marine husband’s life. Unfortunately for her, she was trapped like a fly in a spider’s web during an elaborate sting operation in Yuma, Arizona. It is one of the most chilling stories with which we have ever been involved. Director of Photography, Mark Schulze, was the videographer, and Patty Mooney was Sound Technician.
Our stock-footage library, New & Unique Videos, has some pretty interesting footage in the vaults. Jay Leno has used several clips from “California Big Hunks,” a male erotic striptease video (no nudity) which we produced in 1985, and which we believe inspired the Chippendales franchise (1987 video production date). Many of the videos we produced in the 1980′s were the first of their kind and we were pioneers in the home-video industry. That and $4 will get you a cup of coffee, right?
Anyway, this is a compilation of clips that Jay Leno featured on The Tonight Show. Watch for Jay’s head atop a ripped and studly body. Laugh and enjoy.
Dr. Oz, the doctor everyone wants as a personal physician – appeared at the NABJ (National Association of Black Journalists) awards gala to speak to conventioneers about heart disease and obesity. Crystal Pyramid Productions videographers Patty Mooney and Mark Schulze were there to capture all the action on long-lens cameras for the IMAG.
Mark Schulze, Director of Photography and Videographer, captured footage of vehicles on the newly installed express lane on Highway 15 with Patty Mooney as driver. It’s not as easy as it sounds, as we had to pull over to the side of the highway on a couple of occasions and videotape passing automobiles, then re-enter the stream of traffic during rush hour and jet across five lanes to access the “Hot Lanes.” Yep, Patty’s palms were sweating.
Crystal Pyramid Productions videographer and Director of Photography, Mark Schulze, and Patty Mooney, Sound Technician and Producer, climbed aboard the coastguard cutter Hamilton in order to interview the vessel’s popular chef who had won a prestigious award. The video crew were invited to enjoy lunch with the cutter’s crew and indeed the fare was good.
Crystal Pyramid Productions Director of Photography and videographer, Mark Schulze, orchestrated a live webcast in a San Diego studio for Cardio Care Live. Two doctors and a moderator spoke while utilizing a Power Point presentation, and then took questions from audience members via a live feed.
The Crystal Pyramid Productions crew of Mark Schulze on camera and Patty Mooney as Producer, with Luke Jungers on sound, followed San Diego’s own Bachelorette, Ali Fedotowsky and her fiancee, Roberto Martinez, through Crate & Barrel as they selected items for their cozy home. It’s sad that this couple could not make the relationship work out, and we wish them both a happy life.