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I love working on commercial projects for the National Education Association (NEA). Not only do I believe that public eduction is of utmost importance in a civilized society (and those that aren’t so they have a chance to become one), I also enjoy working with such a competent client that makes projects interesting and fun. This was no exception.

With COVID-19 turning the production world (and every other conceivable industry and reality of life) on its head, we had to execute this particular project differently. We had to incorporate the reality of a pandemic world, the safety necessary to pull it off and still deliver a message that worked. We also cast both our kids for project and they recruited some of their school friends as well.

The concept of the video was the idea that DC had “sacred” places: The Lincoln Memorial, The Martin Luther King jt. Memorial and the just recently created, Black Lives Matter Plaza, which is simply yellow paint on 16th Street, leading to the white house.

We needed to visually establish all three and while the first two I had done easily on other project prior to, filming an overhead view of Black Lives Matter Plaza seemed impossible. We tried to contact the managers of buildings that loom over the Plaza with no luck. We kept getting pushed on to people who recommended we call “another person.” With drone use being out of the question, I had to be innovative with the approach. I purchased Segway to incorporate some fluid movement in the shooting earlier, but then the idea hit me and I was off on a very early morning trip to the site.

I had a DJI Pocket OSMO mounted on a 16ft boom pole and monitored it on my iPhone, mounted to the base of the pole. I carefully traveled as best I could, right up the middle of the plaza. The road wasn’t very smooth, and there were concrete barriers between each street crossing. The edit would then have to create a sense of seeing all the words because the whole thing is a few blocks long. Keep in mind, I had only a shot while to learn how to balance my body on the Segway while also managing a 16-foot pole.

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