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The Timeless Art of Ethnography

October 13th, 2011 | Categories: Blog Tags:

Intern Isaac is all moved in at Stanford.  After a lengthy cross-country road trip, Isaac has settled in to his dorm, made friends, and acclimated to the college experience. He’s just finished his third week of classes, which he has found to be difficult, but ultimately enjoyable.

He shot us an email the other day about one of his classes in particular – it’s a humanities course that focuses on the journeys and ideologies of four ancient and classical historians and philosophers.  A major theme of the course is the ethnographic accounts of these historians.  The focus on these ethnographies caught his eye, as we at MVP also have experience in the ethnographic field.

Ethnography is the detailed research and study of a particular culture or group of people.  Isaac read Herodotus’ the Histories, which studies the interactions of the Ancient Greek and Persian empires, their geographical layouts, military conquests, and cultural interactions.  Herodotus describes their cultures and customs in great depth, true to the ethnographic style.

2500 years later, these same ethnographic accounts are still in use.  Here at MVP, we utilize ethnography to capture the behaviors, preferences, and buying habits of consumers.  We capture, on film, the behind-the-scences actions of consumers for large advertising firms like BBDO in New York. Working with anthropologists, we use this video to supply useful information to these advertising agencies.

The medium has changed, as video has fulfilled the demands of a faster moving world, but the overall essences of the art is still the same.  Centuries after Herodotus, the same ethnographic studies are in full gear at MVP.

Video, video everywhere…

September 8th, 2011 | Categories: Blog

At MVP, we have thousands of hours of recorded video.  Not surprisingly, the question of the best way of storing this copious amount of video often comes up.  It’s a tricky situation, one that can take a costly amount of hardware to store so much video if you don’t develop a smart process.  Even more pressing is the possibility of a drive or other device crashing, erasing all of the data inside of it.  This is why it is imperative to have a backup system, which stores everything a second time.  After doing our research, we considered the best plan for efficiently and effectively storing the media that makes our business what it is. Much of what we learned could be valuable to the average consumer as well. So, let’s start with the basics, by reviewing a brief history of the evolution of file storage. We won’t go all the way back, how about just far enough for our eighteen-year-old intern, Isaac, to remember.

Remember: 1000 bytes = 1 kilobyte. 1000 kilobytes = 1 megabyte. 1000 megabytes = 1 gigabyte. 1000 gigabytes = 1 terabyte

1. The Floppy Disc: 1.44 MB. They’re extinct. If you’ve even seen a floppy in the last 8 years, you’re probably doing something wrong.

2. Zip Disc:  100 MB. A step up, but no giant leap by any means.

3. CD: 700 MB. In no way extinct, but very quickly being replaced by MP3’s . The world is online.

4. DVD: 4.7 GB. We use DVD’s frequently for sharing video, primarily with clients. For storage, however, it is largely impractical.

5. Flash Drive: 128 GB. Varying sizes, but 128 GB is fairly large. Terrific way for transferring media, not stellar for storing it.

6. External Hard drive: 2TB . Ahh, the external HD.  Every computer has a hard drive inside of it for file storage. The external hard drive does exactly what it sounds like- it is another drive outside of the computer utilized for file storage. They come in varying sizes, but at MVP we primarily use 1 TB, 2 TB, and even 4 TB drives. To put the size of these drives in perspective, a 2 TB drive holds the equivalent of 1,422,222 floppy discs. By combining multiple drives, we have developed a system to edit, store, and backup the video very efficiently.

Our advice to consumers is to stay with this constantly changing evolution. We’re in the age of the terabyte, but fairly soon, we’ll undoubtedly be working with petabytes (1000 terabytes = 1 petabyte). If you’re a consumer, looking for easy file storage of documents, music, photos, and some video, our advice would be to purchase a 500 GB (half TB) external hard drive. They’re small, efficient, and can store a ton. Technology moves quickly, and is constantly becoming more efficient. Right now, however, a 500 GB drive puts you on pace with the technological evolution.

Governor Perry at D.C. Taylor Co.

August 17th, 2011 | Categories: Blog

Kirk filming Gov. Perry

Interview of Phil Suess, C.O.O. of D.C. Taylor Co.


Kirk and Craig wait for Gov. Perry to exit his campaign bus

Eric filming Gov. Perry touring the D.C. Taylor Co. building

On Location at DC Taylor for Governor Rick Perry

August 16th, 2011 | Categories: Blog

It’s election season! As straw polls are made, debates are contested, and candidates vying for votes in the first caucus state campaign across Iowa, MVP is on the front lines of the excitement. Today, MVP will be on location at D.C. Taylor Co. in Cedar Rapids.

The commercial and industrial roofing company is hosting Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas, who only yesterday announced his candidacy in the 2012 presidential election. Perry will be delivering a speech to the employees and visitors of D.C. Taylor, and MVP will be filming every second of it.

The tight itinerary of campaigning politicians will provide an opportunity for MVP to utilize our versatility in the field. With limited time and high demand to post quickly, we will be taking still images of the event and posting them on location to allow advertising agency, Henry Russell Bruce, to upload images of the event to the Internet in real time. MVP will also be providing a quick turnaround in video production, by shooting in the morning, and having the footage edited and posted later that same day.

Today is guaranteed to be an interesting day with a first-hand glimpse into the early political events of the election. It will be busy and exciting, but that’s nothing new for MVP!

The Lens is Mightier than the Sword

August 10th, 2011 | Categories: Blog

Our intern, Isaac, signed up for his first college course yesterday. Or rather, he ranked his preferences from a long list of courses and crossed his fingers. One in particular caught his eye and we began discussing it in the studio. The course focused on the effect that social media has on human rights and the new found voice of those who could not previously be heard. We thought back to the events that took place in Egypt earlier this year. Through the workings of Facebook and Twitter, disgruntled citizens organized and sparked a revolution.

This was not the first time such a thing has happened. Over the past few years, people around the world are quickly learning to fight injustice with camera phones. Suddenly, people had the power in their pocket to capture acts of violence or injustice and share them with the world in a matter of seconds. All they had to do was pull out their cell phone, record a video, and upload it to YouTube or Facebook for the world to see. The general public became their own journalists, publishing events that would otherwise go unnoticed.

It happened in Iran in 2009 as protests sparked up during election season. In Japan after the tsunami, the first videos seen by the world were from people on the ground with camera phones, before journalists could get there. The conflict in Libya was no different, and even the current riots in London are most thoroughly documented by bystanders.

Whether it be an authoritative injustice, the aftermath of unforeseeable events, or any other circumstance that could quickly go unnoticed by the world’s quickly moving attention span, those who need to be heard are realizing that the lens is often mightier than the sword.

Have you uploaded yet?

July 16th, 2011 | Categories: Blog

The other day, my friends and I realized we hadn’t gone to a video store and rented a movie in almost a year. It’s kind of a nostalgic idea actually, the days when your mom would take you to Blockbuster to rent something by Adam Sandler, or maybe Space Jam for the 500th time. Blockbuster just closed actually. It closed not long after Mr. Movies shut its doors.

We thought about the reasons why, and we realized it was a number of causes that culminate into the idea that the industry is changing.  Video consumers want video on demand. They want to watch it now, and they want it for cheap, (or for free). Take Redbox for example.  They drop off a Redbox machine at the local grocery store and soon its $1 DVD rentals muscle out the big names like Blockbuster.

Then there’s Netflix- who wants to drive to a movie store when they can be uniformly sent to your front door? But perhaps the greatest influence on this change in industry is something that Netflix quickly picked up on – the Internet. The Internet is the new home for all video, and quickly becoming the new home for feature length cinema. By providing an online database of shows, movies and specials to be watched at any time, who wants to pick up a movie from the front door when all you need is the remote and internet connection?

And then we venture into the free realm.  Hulu provides numerous shows to viewers online for zero cost.  YouTube houses millions of videos, uploaded by anyone and everyone, viewed by anyone and everyone, with no cost to anyone and everyone. So I guess what it really comes down to is this: if you have a video or a commercial that you want people to see, and it’s not online, it’s probably time to upload.

Isaac’s First Video Blog

July 12th, 2011 | Categories: Intern Blog

Back for more!

July 1st, 2011 | Categories: Intern Blog

Hello! My name’s Isaac, and I’m a summer intern at MVP Video Production. This is my third summer working at MVP, and I still learn something new every day.  It’s been busy at the studio, and I quickly remembered how much I enjoy the excitement and energy that goes hand-in-hand with working at MVP. Within only a few days of coming back to work, I was out shooting with the guys, often multiple times a week.

Every shoot is guaranteed to provide thrills, and often leaves me pretty wiped out as I gaff, grip, and lend a hand in every way that I am needed. I become more familiar with the lights, sound equipment, and cameras with every shoot we do.  This experience has allowed me to occasionally shoot on my own. Whenever the guys need some B-Roll footage that we couldn’t get the day of a shoot, they send me out with a tripod and a camera.  Pretty sweet, right?

In the office, I am starting to know my way around Final Cut Pro, which has given me the ability to edit some of the smaller projects that we are working on. I’m beginning to realize that there is no better way to learn than through hands on experience, and I am able to do things on my own that I would never had expected, just because I’ve done them so many times at the request of Kirk or Jeff.

I’ve also had the pleasure of working with Serena, another summer intern who is a student at the University of Iowa. It’s been very fun learning the ways of the video world with a fellow intern.

I’m sure the summer will be filled with even more excitement, so I’ll make sure to share the thrills of working at MVP on the intern blog!

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