Tag Archives: Video

Lighting and Filming a Nativity Scene

30 Dec


Earlier this month I took the role of DOP (Director of Photography) on a couple of Christmas videos for Mapleview Community Church in Barrie. Lydia and I have been attending for a few years now, and I’ve been working more and more with their media pastor, Michael Fess. On top of dozens of other roles he plays, Mike takes care of video production.

Mike had a couple ideas for some videos he wanted to create for the Christmas Eve service at Mapleview, and asked if I would help out. He produced, directed and edited the videos and left the cinematography, and lighting in my hands.

Producing can take up a lot of time. Getting costumes, locations, equipment, talent, storyboards – and keeping people happy on set all takes time and energy. Good producing makes the shooting of a video a smooth experience. It allows the day of filming to simply go from point A to point B – with everything in order to do so. For me, it was really nice to be able to step onto the set with the equipment, and basically start lighting the scene in a way that suited the story Mike wanted to tell. I didn’t have to worry about all the production stuff – and could focus entirely on lighting and filming.


ChineseLantern_FilmLightingOne of the most fun parts of the evening was creating the Chinese Lantern on a stick. Even big film sets will use large paper lanterns with dimmable lightbulbs inside. They’ll hover the lights in close to the subject to create a nice soft light that puts a bit of a glow in the eye of the subject. I thought one of these could be really useful to us in both this video and the 2nd video we shot – so Mike and I went to Home Depot and grabbed the components. He already had a $7 IKEA paper lantern. Another 30 bucks got us a dimmer switch, the casing, lamp wire, and a pack of lightbulbs.

As well as the Chinese Lantern, we used a Tungsten light in a soft box for our key light – along with an LED panel to add some cooler light to the background. The idea was to mimic light from an oil lamp, or a small fire burning nearby – and some cool moonlight coming in the window.

Mike and I are already currently putting together some ideas for future productions, so I’m sure I will be sharing more material that him and I have worked on in the future!

Thanks for taking a look at my work, and feel free to stay in touch with me via Twitter, Facebook, or email!


A Film from Ecuador: Escuela speranza de Bastion

26 Nov

It’s been a while.

It’s been a while since my last blog post. And it’s been a while since we shot this film in Ecuador.

I’m happy this is the case, with the film anyway. I’ve learned so much in the past year about myself and about filming and piecing together footage to tell a story. I’m glad that we took the time needed to produce a video that we’re happy with (both my self and the folks who help keep the school ticking), and one that showcases the wonderful atmosphere of Escuela speranza de Bastion (Hope of Bastion School).

I’m not going to fill you in on the details about the school. But I will say that these kids are disappointed when summer holiday comes around, because they love being in school so much (this also says something about the neighbourhood they live in). I will also let you know that each student is sponsored to be there. Francisca, who’s now in university, was sponsored to attend the school back when it first opened. If you’d like to find out how to get involved, contact Nikki Horne, through their website: www.sponsorhope.ca 

The audio was recorded and mixed by my audio extraordinaire brother, Luke Bennett.

A bulk of the commercial projects I have been working on in the past month are for internal use, and as a result can’t be shared publicly. So, this has kept me very busy with work, but with not a whole lot to blog about. Cracking the hood open on the old blog has given me some ideas for future posts. I plan to be back in the game in another week or so.

Until then, Buenas Noches, Amigos!

Marina del Rey Shrink Wrap Demonstration Video

28 Aug

This spring, right before it was time for Marina’s across Ontario to start putting their boats in the water, I was hired by Marina del Rey to shoot a short video that outlined the benefits of shrink wrapping a boat for proper storage throughout the off season.

Marina del Rey had just had their website designed and launched by a local business – a web & graphic design company, DivineDesigns.ca, which is owned and operated by my friend Jesse Barton. I was recommended by Jesse to provide the Marina with some visuals to help strengthen their brand.

Since having created this video, we have spent a full Saturday shooting life at the Marina, showcasing what it’s like to be a part of the community at Marina del Rey. The plan is to gradually move ahead through the fall, and put together a short promotional video that they can use to showcase the grounds and community life at Marina del Rey.

The quality audio recording in this video was done by my brother, Luke Bennett.

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 😀

Our Latest Film Production! Able Taxi, Orillia ON

8 Jun


I’m very happy to announce our latest film production, an online promo video for Able Taxi in Orillia!

It was a big endeavour, and it came together with a solid amount of team work. I can’t express how supportive John Beck, the owner of Able Taxi was in providing us with everything we needed to make this film a reality.

It was astounding how much positive feedback I got from Orillia citizens about Able Taxi. One friend of ours, who works at a medical facility stated that when patients need a ride home, nine times out of ten they ask for Able Taxi. It was great to create a visual message like this for a company that already has a reputation in the community for delivering top notch customer service – They’ll even deliver your groceries! ; )

Able Taxi, Proudly serving Orillia and Simcoe County  705-325-0632 http://www.abletaxi.ca


Written, Produced, and Filmed by Cole Bennett

Audio Engineering and Sound Design by Luke Bennett
Directed and Staged by Lydia Bennett
Co-Edited by Lydia, Cole, and Jeff Andrews

Elderly lady played by Isobel
Young man played by Evan Cook
Real Able Taxi Cabby played himself, Ron

Special thanks to Lorelai and David for opening up their beautiful home for us.
Alexa Blair, and Josh and Katie Overbeek for lending an extra hand on set.

If you’re the geeky, gear enjoying type, you might like to watch this quick video showing some behind the scenes 🙂

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!

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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