Tag Archives: Orillia

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 😀

A Sneak Peek at the Hall Wedding

6 Aug

I’m happy to say that my time spent photographing John and Genevieve Hall on their wedding day was incredibly enjoyable. John has a charisma about him that clearly sparks energy in the friends and family around him, and Genevieve and her wedding gown would fit perfectly into any high end bridal magazine of New York City.

Look at these two!

First Light on Simcoe County & Georgian Bay

23 Jul

My long time friend and mentor Tony Bianco and I got together at 5:30 on Saturday morning and headed up to Georgian Bay with a canoe strapped on the roof. As the sun started to creep up over the horizon, the air heated up and created this wonderfully soft environment of spectacular colour. We pulled the car off the road and scrambled to get a composition photographed. It’s an ironic process – to work quickly and with focus to try and get an image that portrays the serenity of what it feels like to watch the sun bathe the landscape in morning light.

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.

Orillia’s new Record Label: Sleeper Records

9 May


A year ago I wrote and filmed a music video for my friend Aaron Mangoff, who lives here in Orillia. We used a track from his first album that was recorded by my brother Luke, here in Orillia. And a few short weeks ago we created a short Rocket Hub video for Sleeper Records, a new record label…in Orillia.

If you’d like to find out how you can be a part of the record production, get tickets to Sleeper’s official launch party on June 16th, and own an album from two talented young musicians from my home town, check out the material below. Don’t just watch the video though – you gotta head to the Rocket Hub page to get info on how you can be a part of it. It’s a pretty cool process too!

Huge thanks to my brother, Luke for providing top notch audio. My wife, Lydia for helping with direction and production, and extra thanks to Jeff Andrews for coming out as second camera, and for providing his quality editing skills!

Click here to go to the Rocket Hub Page for Sleeper Records!

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