Tag Archives: Barrie

The Amazing Race: James and Krystel Weening from Barrie

26 Feb

Our friends James and Krystel are applying for the season premiere of Amazing Race Canada. They asked me to create this 3 minute audition video for them.

As I’m getting more and more into the video scene, I’ve realized the importance of collaboration. I’ve got a good handle on composition, lighting, and telling a visual story. But when it comes to cutting down a final video, there can be a lot to sift through. Taking 45 minutes of footage and cutting it down to 3 minutes can feel overwhelming. My wife, Lydia has been a great help in keeping the ball rolling in our interviews and promo videos – as I focus on the technical camera work. It turns out she’s also a natural at editing. We both had our hands in the final edit for this, and I think it’s stronger for it. On top of working with her, my brother was only a phone call away offering assistance in getting the best audio set up.

Projects can only be strengthened through working with a solid team, and receiving wisdom and feedback from friends, family and mentors. And I’m incredibly thankful for those who are there for me!


Web Videos: Connecting with YOUR Audience

5 Sep

Every Business and Organization can benefit from using video to connect with their audience

If you have an online space dedicated to sharing information about a product or service, a web video could be a great next step. Video is a straightforward way to deliver information to your visitors in a digestible manner. We’ve just launched our most recent video production, and I thought it would be a chance to share some of my thoughts on what makes a successful short video on the web. This content will be specifically aimed at small businesses, organizations and entrepreneurs.

This video was created for Conscious Water – a young company stoked on the importance of pure drinking water – and they’re doing something about it. Seriously, check out their website.

“The Four E’s”

It’s not entirely formulaic – but I’ve found “The Four E’s” to be a good guideline.


To be successful, your video must engage the viewer. This is done through a series of small things that make up the final “Big Picture”

 The Communicator – The person in front of the camera. This person must be concise, passionate, and confident. Not every communicator talks. Some perform in sports, music, acting – but they all communicate.
Give it to me in HD. The nicer it is to look at, the better. Choice of location, angle, lighting, camera, lenses and accessories will all add to this.
The Audio. It’s a well known cliche in film making that audio is 50% of the video. Viewers will put up with poor visual quality far before we put up with poor audio. Suitable music will almost always add to the production value.
Content is King. (Read on!)


If you’re creating a video for your business or organization, chances are your goal is to share with and educate both your potential and existing customers. This may be direct education through show and tell, or it may be visual communication that highlights specific elements of your products and services. If you can provide an educational element in which your viewer becomes better informed through your video, you’ll begin to be seen as a valuable resource by your audience.


Any opportunity to make your content entertaining through visual effects, catchy music, and humour will help keep your viewer engaged with the video. Make sure it jives with the content, and it will increase the likelihood of viewers remembering and sharing the video.


The goal in any commercial video is to have viewers act on what they’ve seen. Whether it’s to spend more time on your website, to share the video through their social networks, or to sign up for what you’re selling. A good web video will enable your customers to make the next step, being better informed and feeling more confident about their decision.

What do you think?

Those are just a few E’s from what I’ve learned. What do YOU think makes for an effective web video? Join the conversation in the comments!

Cole Bennett is an Illustrative Photographer and Film Maker living in Orillia Ontario.

Movement! Movement! Testing some New Video Gear.

22 Aug
CAUTION: The guy blogging is still an illustrative photographer. It would hurt his feelings if you thought he was only shooting video now.

All the Rules of Photography + Movement

I’m gunna state the obvious and say that the basic principles of video and photography are very much the same. Rules of Composition. Lighting. Showcasing the subject and subject matter. Telling a story. These rules all correlate wonderfully between photography and video.

The biggest difference between photo and video I have found so far: The Element of Movement

Taking a photo captures a single image, usually at a fraction of a second. Shooting video is often 24 (or more) images in a single second. You’re capturing much more visual content, and at a very high speed.

Because of this variable, unless you’re filming a static brick wall with the camera on a tripod, you’re going to be recording movement in the frame.

And so, the game becomes

Controlling Movement

There are dozens of methods used in Hollywood, television, and independent film-making for controlling movement in the frame – for having movement assist in telling the story. The one I’m most excited about these days is the movement of sliding.

Luke, running wireless audio feed to the Canon 5D MarkII. We’re testing the new Philip Bloom Pocket Dolly slider, and SmallHD DP6 field monitor.

Why I’m Excited about Sliding

I’ve just invested in a slider myself. I found a used Philip Bloom Signature Series Pocket Dolly, by Kessler Cranes, way over in Australia. I found it in the marketplace on DVXuser (A HUGE resource for anyone who’s into shooting video), and I got a pretty decent deal on it. It’s super compact, and with some practice, it can deliver a solid recipe of movement.

Last night around sunset, my brother and I went up to the intersection of Rama road and Fern road, just outside Orillia (a beautiful place to go for a walk, by the way) to do some tests with the new slider.

Since I’m talking about gear already, I’ll mention I’ve also recently invested in a DP6 HD field monitor, from SmallHD – an outstanding company, producing top of the line field monitors, and outstanding customer service. Check ’em out if you’re in the market for this stuff.

Here’s a

Very Brief Video

of some of my favourite shots. The intro was filmed earlier in the day, in Barrie – but I thought it suited the feel of the video. Be sure to change the quality to gorgeous 1080P HD 😀

Simple is Beautiful

16 Jul

I’m excited to finally be able to share this image and chat a bit about the process behind it.

Skip what I have to say and buy Aaron’s album: Download it on iTunes now for only $6.00!

A few months back, my very talented musician friend Aaron Mangoff hired me to create some promo images for him. Through bouncing some ideas back and forth, we decided to try a bizarre concept involving broken mirror and hanging out in a freezing cold parking lot. It was a pretty complex idea, and the pictures were…experimental.

We wiped the slate clean and decided to simplify the complexity and ramp up the epic-ness.

This picture was shot in my office, and in about 12 minutes we had the image that would end up on the cover of his latest Album, You and I (Again, Download it on iTunes now for only $6.00!)

I think that it’s all too easy to get caught up in trying to create something different – complex – and miss the endless possibility to be had in adapting simplicity. Many of the world’s most famous photographers were and are minimalist in their approach to photography, and they have absolutely stunning imagery with their name signed to it. Yousuf Karsh is one such individual. He focussed his entire career on lighting and photographing people’s faces, and some of his portraits are the most stunning imagery I’ve seen!

I talked to Aaron the other day and he gave me some insight on his thoughts for his next album (which he’s already thinking about?!) And interestingly enough he’s already started to simplify his writing and performance down to core compositions that he feels express certain musical elements that are often lost in arrangements involving more numerous instruments and complex techniques.

Simple is beautiful.

Here is a little sketch, to help you see why I decided to be a photographer and not a sketch artist.

If you study it closely and get past how true to life my drawing is, you’ll be able to see what I did to light it.

Thanks so much for stopping by, if you like what you see – feel free to subscribe to my blog for future updates.

Why I do this Photography Thing (and check-out-my-website)

17 Jan

This time last year, my buddy Ross asked me a question (about my photography career) that really bothered me. He said “Cole. Why do you do what you do?” My answer on the spot was something like “I feel like I do this, because I haven’t got bored of it yet.” But I went home and realized that I needed a real answer. Not for Ross, but for myself.

I think a lot of people forget why they’re doing what they do. They forget what got them interested in the first place. That’s not the place to be as a Creative.

So, when I had some time I went to my parents and sat on the couch with a notepad. And I wrote a list of things that I loved about photography. It wasn’t hard to write. I love photography for a lot of reasons. But as I wrote, a theme started to emerge from the scribbles. The theme, summed up in one word, was: Share. Simple. My Favourite part of photography is honouring a person, place or thing (usually person) enough to take a photograph, and share it with someone else. Sharing my version of a story that is panning out in real time in front of me.

As I began to absorb this reality, I started to understand why I enjoyed certain photography projects over others. Projects in which I could tell a story, especially a unique story really got me stoked to do what I do. Projects that lacked a story were less interesting.

This isn’t a license to pick and choose the projects I take. I’m not independently wealthy just yet ; ) But it was definitely freeing to be able to put into words what I had felt about photography, and especially photography as a business.

A year has gone by, and I decided several days ago that I would sit down and do the same thing all over again. I would focus on what I love about photography, and I would get my eye down the scope and on the target once again.

Well, it turns out that this year I had no real epiphany.

I still really enjoy the story telling aspect of photography. I enjoy honouring an individual in a photograph. I enjoy being somewhere different at each photo shoot. I enjoy learning new things about this great big planet.

It was encouraging to test my realization from a year ago, and feel like it still holds true.

On the topic of development. My quiet time at the office has not gone to waste. I have got my receipts in order for my tax returns (Booooorrring).

More Excitingly: I have updated roughly 85% of the content on my website!

You can check out the fresh website at www.colebennett.com

If you need to borrow a notepad, a pen, and a couch, give me a call and we can hook you up.

A Source of Inspiration (or, 120 sources.)

6 Dec

When I was a kid, my mother had me enroll in various activities.

We tried out the baseball thing. I did alright with it at first. Until I was a little older, and my league graduated from the precise machine pitcher – to an eight year old kid who could hardly spell his own name. Let alone throw a hard ball straight down the line. I cracked under the pressure.

Then there were the music lessons. Violin. Recorder. Piano. Trumpet. Bass Guitar.

I don’t even remember how to play Yankee Doodle on piano.

We did end up starting a rock band. My brother and I, along with a couple good friends of ours. We cut an album. I played bass. Sort of. The guitarists had to play the difficult bass rifts for the album recording. I played well enough to put on a good show. My rhythm is atrocious, but I was weird enough on stage for people to keep watching.

I used to paint with oil paints. Draw with pencil crayons. I probably made my mum an ash tray out of clay at some point. She doesn’t smoke.

Eventually, I picked up my dad’s Nikon FG20 35mm SLR. 35mm film, for you kids out there, is kind of like digital but you can’t see the picture right away, and it’s not free.

But you know what it is about photography that kept me at it?

Curiousity. It allows me to observe and interact with interesting people and places, while also sharing a message to others about what I find interesting, strange, or important.

Photography, whether it’s with a professional camera, or a cell phone is the expression of valuing a subject as important enough to capture and share it.

Keep this in mind when you are looking through these three outstanding blog posts I have come across in the past few days. You will see some of the most amazing images of natural disaster and political uprise – all from 2011. You will see absolutely stunning portraits of homeless individuals in the U.K and the U.S. And you will see a random collection of strange photographs that people from various walks of life deemed valuable to create and share.
If these images are not enough for you to fall in love with photography, you should probably not bother subscribing to my humble blog. Though, I will appreciate it either way :DThanks for stopping by!

Lydia Hijacks the blog! {Robert and Alanna’s Wedding, July 2011}

10 Aug

Good evening everyone! This is Lydia. I am Cole’s wife and thought it was about time to steal a blog post and share a few of my experiences working for my husband. Thanks for reading. : )

One of my favourite parts about working with Cole is assisting him at every wedding he photographs. The morning of the wedding I begin as a typical wife: brewing the morning coffee, ironing Cole’s outfit, and shining his shoes. Well, Cole wishes this is what I did for him. But it gets better…

I never know exactly what the day has in store for me. Although I am primarily there to help in the direction of formal photography…there is no telling what the day may bring! Some weddings I am holding a reflector for Cole to create the impact shot he is going for and other times you find me helping with last minute decorating, or holding the bride’s flowers so she can give a hug to all of her guests. I love all of these things.

A wedding is such a happy time for a couple, and it was no exception for Alanna and Robert on their big day! Alanna had one of the most beautiful dresses on I have ever seen ( I am not just saying that!) and Robert’s laugh could put anyone in a good mood. They are perfect together and their love for one another was completely transparent. Their wedding was in Orillia; the ceremony at St. Paul’s United Church and the reception held at Mariposa Inn.

I love seeing the story of a wedding day unfold, as Cole is busy trying to capture meaningful moments. Having been at the wedding helps when I am picking out images for editing that truly capture the mood of the day! On from here, I design the album layout that I hope illustrates the joy experienced on that day! Robert and Alanna, here are a few images from your album that make me smile and bring me back to June 25, 2011. And just so you know, we put the final touches on your albums today. They should be arriving soon. Congratulations!


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