Walker Film Production

Following passion is what got us where we are today. We've told a lot of stories. Made a lot of images. Helped a lot of people.

It's more than just delivering content. Content for its own sake is easy. What counts in our shop is clarity of process. Consistency. Invention. Focus.

Solar Powered Cars

Current trends show that the world could switch to 100% solar power and 100% electric cars as soon as 2030.

This past October I drove across the country with some friends. We were in an old van getting terrible gas mileage and an idea kept running through my mind. If I built an electric van with solar panels on the roof – could we cross the country without using any resources? I got back home to the east coast and talked it over with my dad, who is a mechanical engineer. We did some rough calculations and determined that the batteries and solar panels that exist right now are too expensive and inefficient to make it possible.

My solar powered van idea was crushed. But it got me thinking – and reading a lot – about solar power and electric cars. I had always been under the false impression that both are growing very slowly and not making any kind of huge impact on the world. It seemed to me like this was common knowledge. Maybe in 50 or 100 years renewable energy will take off. But not now. And probably not in my lifetime either.

As I dug deeper into books and articles, I came across some really intelligent people who believe change is actually happening a lot faster than many of us realize. Tony Seba, from Stanford University, writes in Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation that he is certain the world will switch to 100% electric cars and 100% solar power by 2030, and maybe even sooner. Futurist Ray Kurzweil also predicts an all-solar world within 15 years.1 Elon Musk has made his own bold predictions, and is well on the way to making them come true with Tesla Motors and Solar City.

All electric cars and solar power by 2030 can be hard to imagine if you look at the way things are today. Both represent less than 1% of their markets. But, when you take a look at the steady growth that has been happening for decades – and project it out into the future – a different picture presents itself.

Continuous improvements year after year have brought solar panels and electric cars to a point where they are just starting to make sense for every day people like you and me. Battery technology has gotten a lot better, and it’s providing the missing element that’s allowing them both to thrive. The way the numbers look, my solar powered van idea might be possible after all.

Solar Power

As with any brand new technology, the solar panels first developed in the 1960’s were incredibly expensive. They were definitely not being used to power anyone’s home but they did allow some really cool outer space missions to happen. For the next 40 years, huge improvements brought the cost down, but not enought to allow solar to compete with fossil fuels. Then, around the year 2000 a tipping point was reached.

When I found out how fast solar has been growing I was shocked. Since the year 2000, the total amount installed wordwide increased 200 times.2 If the growth continues at this rate for another 15 years there will be a massive 19 TW (terawatts) of solar installed by 2030.3 That will be enough to cover most of the world’s projected energy demand – a slightly more massive 24 TW.4

This type of rapid growth is hard to imagine when we look around most neighborhoods in the United States today. Right now solar generates about 1% of our energy. But, there are some interesting examples of places around the world that are a little further along in the process. Germany, an early leader, generates 7% of its electricity from solar.5 Australia went from 1% solar to 20% in only 4 years.6 It looks like we are on track to see a similar solar explosion here.

Skeptics argue that the rate will slow down, but this isn’t the first time a new product has emerged that rapidly replaced its predecessor. After refrigerators, color TV’s, and cell phones emerged, their growth rate actually increased. When a disruptive technology is introduced, its sales start slowly, then gain a little traction, and then shoot up sky high and drive the competition out of business.

What makes solar a disruptive technology? The simple answer is that it uses resources more efficiently than its competition. Making energy with coal, oil and natural gas is extremely resource intensive. The fuel source must be extracted, transported, refined, transported again, only to be burned and then gone forever. Nuclear power has its own issues – extremely expensive construction, waste disposal, and decommissioning – not to mention the consequences of catastrophic accidents.

Once solar panels are built they will generate electricity for 30 to 40 years with zero resources being put into the system. Even at the end of their long life, the materials within them can be recycled to build more solar panels.

The rapid price drop is what’s driving this explosive growth of solar. Every time the worldwide installation of solar doubles (which happens about every two years), the cost drops by 22%.7 This is referred to as the “learning curve”. As the cost of solar continues to fall even further, it will become harder and harder to compete with its level of efficiency.

Batteries

Skeptics argue that solar can never be our only source of energy because it can’t provide power at night. This is where batteries come into the picture. Since 2007, lithium ion batteries have been dropping in cost by 14% per year.8 At the same time, constant improvements have allowed them to hold power longer, charge faster, and last longer. “Solar plus storage” means charging a battery with solar during the day and then drawing from it at night – and this is the real distributed energy revolution. In places like Hawaii where energy is more expensive, and California where incentives are better, it is already a better deal than what the electric company is charging. With the steady drop in the price of solar panels and batteries, solar plus storage will become cost competitive in half of the US states by 2020 and in all 50 states by 2030.9

As with solar panels, lithium ion batteries have a “learning curve”. Every time the worldwide production doubles, the cost of the batteries drops by 9%.8 Tesla Motors is building a solar powered factory in the Nevada desert that will more than double the worldwide production of these batteries. The plan is to make this the first of many such factories. LG Chem and iPhone manufacturer Foxconn have followed Tesla’s lead and started building their own giant battery factories.

As production volume keeps increasing, costs will drop even further. More money will be available for research and development which will continue the steady improvements in the batteries we have now and lead to breakthroughs in the development of new kinds of batteries. When you have a massive industry pouring money into a product, improvements will happen. Battery technology has three: solar energy storage, consumer electronics, and electric cars.

Electric cars

Until just a few years ago, electric cars weren’t taken seriously. Most people thought they were uncool and unaffordable. The cars built by Tesla Motors have definitely proven their coolness. And, the affordable part is happening sooner than many people expected.

Like solar power, electric cars are taking off right now because they use resources more efficiently than their competition. A gasoline car is only 20% efficient – most of the gasoline put into a car is wasted in the form of heat.10 Electric cars are 95% efficient.6 This is why the cost of charging them is equivalent to filling up a gasoline car for $1 per gallon.11 And, with the car plugged in at night, you will always wake up and start your day with a full tank.

This efficiency means saving resources and reducing carbon emissions. It also means insanely fast acceleration and high performance – Tesla's Model S is the fastest accelerating four door car in the world.12

The electric car also offers a much more reliable drivetrain. To provide forward motion, a gasoline car requires over 2000 moving parts. An electric car has under 30.13 That’s a lot of parts that won’t be there to constantly break down – costing the driver time, money, and stress. The Nissan Leaf’s drivetrain has proven to be 25 times more reliable than a gasoline car.14 Tesla is working on a drivetrain that will last a million miles.15 The battery lasts a decade.6 Even the brakes are hardly ever used because of “regenerative braking”, which uses the motor to help recharge the battery.

Short range, long charging times, and high prices held the electric car back in the past. But, the cars of today have blown past all of these obstacles. You can already buy a Tesla Model S that has 300 mile range, pull it into a solar powered supercharging station, and replenish 150 miles of range in just 20 minutes.16 And, Tesla offers free charging on long trips for the life of the car. Just like my solar powered van, once the panels are built the energy costs nothing.

Only one in a thousand cars on the road today is fully electric. The cost of batteries is the only thing still keeping them from going mainstream. Yes, there are affordable cars out now like the Nissan Leaf, Fiat 500e, and Ford Focus Electric, but they all get less than 100 miles of range. The general public demands a car that has at least 200 mile range.

In an electric car, roughly one third of the cost is in the battery.17 So, more range means more money. But remember, these are the same batteries we discussed earlier that have three massive industries driving down their price. This has resulted in two revolutionary cars that are about to come out. Tesla’s Model 3 and Chevy’s Bolt will each cost under $30,000 (after tax incentives) and will provide 200+ miles of range.

Solar power, batteries, and electric cars support each other’s success in many ways. There are thousands – soon to be millions – of electric cars plugged in at any given time. All of this battery storage can be used to absorb spikes on the grid. After an electric car’s battery reaches the end of its life, it can still hold 60-80% of its charge and go on to live its second life storing solar power full time. This is even starting to be written into the purchase contract, which lowers the price of the car.6

As the price of solar power continues to drop, lower electricity prices will make it even cheaper to charge an electric car – not to mention cleaner. These benefits definitely do not apply to cars that run on gasoline.

All of this has led to a rapid increase in the number of electric cars purchased each year. At the beginning of 2015 there were 740,000 electric cars on the road worldwide. By the end of the year the number had increased by 57% to 1,290,000 cars.18 If this rate is maintained, by 2025 all of the 82 million new cars being purchased each year will be electric.19

2030 and beyond

What’s happening today is enough to get most people really excited. But, a look into the not-too-distant future is truly mind blowing. Exponentially improving technologies can take us in amazing and unexpected directions. The computer that I’m writing this on, the internet, and the smartphone were beyond our wildest dreams just 20 years ago. The combination of solar power, batteries, and electric cars will transform how we live and work in ways that we can’t even imagine yet.

It is exciting to be watching a story like this as it unfolds. Every day there are new updates and breakthroughs. What was once said to be impossible is being done again and again. It looks like I might be building that solar powered van after all.


References

  1. Max Miller, “Ray Kurzweil: Solar Will Power the World in 16 Years,” Big Think interview, 17 March 2011. (URL : accessed 31 March 2016).
  2. “BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2015,” Renewable Energy Section, BP.  (URL : Accessed 28 March 2016)
    “Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2015-2019,” SolarPower Europe.  (URL : Accessed 30 March 2016)
  3. Tony Seba, Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation: How Silicon Valley Will Make Oil, Nuclear, Natural Gas, Coal, Electric Utilities and Conventional Cars Obsolete by 2030, (Tony Seba, self-published, 2014), p. 37
  4. "International Energy Outlook 2013," U.S. Energy Information Administration.  Published online July 2013.  (URL : Accessed 13 April 2016).
  5. "Snapshot of Global PV 1992-2014," International Energy Agency — Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme.  Published online 30 March 2015.  (URL : Accessed 13 April 2016)
  6. Michael Kent, “EVs, renewables & energy storage: The unstoppable trio of energy’s future,” Charged Electric Vehicles Magazine.  Published online 7 January 2015.  (URL : Accessed 13 April 2016)
  7. Seba, Clean Disruption, p. 13
  8. Björn Nykist and Måns Nilsson, “Rapidly falling costs of battery packs for electric vehicles,” Nature Climate Change 5 (2015): pp. 329–332.  Published online 23 March 2015. Accessed 28 March 2016.
  9. Bob Wile, “Barclays Has The Best Explanation Yet Of How Solar Will Detroy America’s Electric Utilities,” Business Insider. Published online May 28, 2014. (URL : accessed 13 April 2016).
  10. Seba, Clean Disruption, p. 104
  11. Max Baumhefner, "Buck-a-Gallon Gas for Life," National Resources Defense Council.  Published online 18 November 2011.  (URL : Accessed 13 April 2016)
  12. Christian Seabaugh, "Lightning Strikes Twice: The World’s Quickest Four-Door is An Electric Sedan," Motor Trend.  Published online 28 October 2015.  (URL : Accessed 13 April 2016)
  13. Tony Seba, "Technology Megatrends Disrupting Public & Private Transportation," Published online 19 November 2015.  (URL : Accessed 13 April 2016)
  14. Russ Finley, "Nissan Leaf Drive Train is 25 Times More Reliable Than Conventional Cars," Energy Trends Insider.  Published online 13 April 2015. (URL : Accessed 13 April 2016)
  15. Elon Musk, "Three Dog Day," Tesla Motors Blog.  Published online 17 July 2015.  (URL : Accessed 13 April 2015)
  16. Tesla Motors, "Supercharging,"(URL : Accessed 13 April 2016)
  17. Seba, Clean Disruption, p. 120
  18. "Monthly Plugin Scorecard," Inside EVs.  Published online April 2016.  (URL : Accessed 13 April 2016)
  19. Seba, Clean Disruption, p. 148

Local Sprouts

Imagine a restaurant where every single ingredient comes from a local source and every worker is also a part owner.  That restaurant exists in Portland Maine and it’s called Local Sprouts Cooperative.

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What they’re doing may sound impossible – or at the very least, incredibly difficult.  How can 18 people make business decisions democratically?  Is it even possible to source local lettuce during a brutal Maine winter?

I produced a short film to answer these questions and more.  After receiving a grant from the Maine Arts Commission – and working on this two year collaboration with Skylar Kelly and Seth Dussault – the film is done!

Disposable Memories

This past fall I was invited to travel across the USA with Hidden Ladder Collective.  My first instinct was to bring a ton of video gear with me to document the trip.  Then, at the last minute, I decided to take a much lighter approach.

I left Maine with only a handful of cheap, disposable cameras.  It made for an interesting challenge.  The images were limited, so I was forced to choose my shots carefully.  There were no controls, so I couldn't adjust the focus or exposure.  But these simple cameras allowed me to capture moments that would have otherwise been lost.

The most exciting thing was that I had to wait weeks to get home and have the prints developed.  It brought back the feeling of magic that I can remember having at ten years old when I got my first camera.

Here are my seven favorite photographs from the trip.

An Organic Editing Process

Here is my second video about anaerobic digestion, an exciting new kind of renewable energy.

As a video producer, it is my goal to make every video as truthful and lifelike as possible.  I want people and their stories to be as compelling in video as they are in real life.  This inspires what I call my "organic editing process".
 

1.  Capture Media

First, I take the cards that my cinematographer recorded onto and upload them to two hard drives.  One is a fast drive that I use for editing.  The other is a slow drive for backup.  It is absolutely unacceptable to tell a client “sorry, my hard drive failed”.  Hard drives are known to fail from time to time.  Always have a backup.

2.  Transcode

Time for some technical info.  We shot this video on a Canon C100 which uses SD cards.  I transcode all of the files to ProRes 422 LT using Adobe Prelude.  Although Premiere (we're currently using CC 2015) can handle the AVCHD format just fine, later on in the workflow this format will cause a problem with the color grading in Davinci Resolve (11 Lite).

3.  Organize Media

Next I copy the transcoded files into Premiere.  Taking some extra time to get things organized now will make the whole editing process so much easier later.  Here is the folder structure I use.

For now, I am just putting the transcoded files into either “interviews” or “broll - files”.

4.  Screen Interviews

I see the editing process as a back and forth between playing the role of “the editor” and the role of the “the viewer”.  It helps me to actually sit back from the computer in a different chair when I am “the viewer”, so I don’t forget my role and start editing.  To get set up, I like to make the Source Monitor fill most of the screen (⌘`) and to put the timecode up nice and big.

Now I’ll watch the whole interview through without stopping.  I make notes with pen and paper about any parts that I think could be useful and the corresponding timecode.  It’s important not to worry too much at this stage about what exactly is useful.  When in doubt, make a note.

5.  Type Up Paper Notes

Open up a word processor (I like TextEdit) and type up the timecode and notes.  Print out two hard copies and set them aside for later.

6.  Add Markers

Go through the interview file in Premiere and add in a marker at the appropriate timecode for each note that was made.  Copy and paste the notes that you just typed up.

7.  Label Broll

Now I’ll go through each of the broll files, decide if I want to keep them, and name them.  As I’m going through the files, I make folders for each location and subfolders for each scene within a location.

The name can be creative, but must also be descriptive.  If I see multiple shots that can be pulled out of a single file I separate them with commas.  For example, one of the files above is called “curious calf, closeup, eye, eating”.

8.  Make Broll Sequences

To make life easer later in the editing process I make sequences of broll files (in addition to having them saved in folders).  It’s quick, easier to screen, and can be better to flip through when I’m looking for a particular shot.

9.  Screen Interviews Together

Editing should not be entirely a solitary process.  It's important to involve other people at certain key stages – and this is one of them.  Invite a friend to come by (or hire an assistant) and re-watch the interviews together.  This person doesn't have to be a video editor.  A lot of the time it's better if she isn't.  A non-editor can give an important perspective that is hard for a video editor to see.

Each of you will take one of the hard copies that were printed out earlier.  As you watch the interviews together, highlight sections that are most important to the story, cross off things you don't like, and write down any notes that feel appropriate.

After watching all of the interviews, compare notes.  What works?  What doesn't?  What do you like or dislike?

10.  Build Segments

This is the fun part!  Working from the interview markers, paper notes, and broll sequences, I will start to edit short sequences that I call "segments".  These can be as experimental as I'd like them to be.  However, I always fine tune the audio and visuals enough that they aren't distracting to a viewer who is not a video editor.

Trust your intuition and try not to worry too much at this point.  These are just the rough building blocks that will start to form a finished piece later in the process.  Give each segment a short name that describes it the best you can.

Here is an example of one of the segments that made it into the final piece.

11.  Screen Segments

Make up a new sequence with each of the segments separated by 10 blank frames.

Type up a document with each of the segment names in the correct order.  Print two copies.  Sit down with another person (who does not need to be a video editor) and screen the segments one at a time.  Pause after each one to write down notes.  Is the segment useful or not?  Should it appear at the beginning, middle, or end of the piece?  What other segment could it precede or follow?  What edits should be made?

After watching all of the segments and taking notes, rewatch each of them from the beginning.  This time through, pause after each one to compare notes with each other.

12.  Begin Edit

Make a new sequence called "edit 1".  Work from the paper notes generated in the previous section to start piecing together the segments.  For this first edit, trust the notes and do your best to stay true to the decisions you have already made.

Work until you have a sequence with somewhat of a flow.  If something is missing don't worry.  Maybe you don't have a good ending yet?  That's okay.  You are now aware that it's something you are looking for.  And, that awareness will help you find it.

After you have arranged the segments the best you can, copy and paste the cuts from the original segment files, but maintain the segment layer (here in pink).  Set the opacity to 0% on this layer.  This invisible layer will allow you to quickly scan your sequence and know what each portion of the video is about.

Finally, smooth over the audio and visuals between the cuts so that the edit will play smoothly.  This will complete the groundwork for the next step.

13.  Revise Edit

Sit back and watch the edit.  Again, I like to literally sit back a few feet from the computer in a different chair than the one I sit in to edit.  It is all too tempting to alternate between the role of "the viewer" and "the editor", but at this point it's important to try to see the piece through the eyes of "the viewer" first.

As you watch the edit, note on a piece of paper each part that doesn't feel right to you.  It's okay if the initial viewing generates a lot of notes.  Rewatch the edit a few times if you need to so that you can get everything written down.

Now, its time to put "the editor" hat back on.  Sit down in front of the computer and duplicate the sequence.  So, if this is your first revision, you'll now be looking at "edit 2".  Work through each note one at a time.  Cross each note off after you have made the change.  You may decide against some of the changes.  There is nothing wrong with this.  You are now viewing the notes from the perspective of "the editor", so it's okay to disagree with notes made when you were playing the role of "the viewer".

During one of the revisions it's time to add in music.  The music that you use, or maybe choose not to use, is entirely a creative choice.  Because anaerobic digestion is big in Germany right now, and because he is incredibly talented, for this piece I chose to use four songs by a German musician called C418.

Repeat this step until you are 100% happy with the edit.  Or, more likely, you'll eventually get to a point where you feel totally stuck.  Either way, it's time to proceed to the next step.

14.  Screen Edit Together

I have said that editing must be a team effort at times and this is definitely one of those times.  Just having another person in the room with you can help you spot things that you didn't notice on your own.  Invite or hire a talented artist to sit down with you and review the edit.  This should be someone whose creativity you admire, but she need not be a video editor herself.

Before the meeting, make a new version of the edit.  Let's say we're up to "edit 7".  Duplicate the file and rename it "edit 8".

Review the edit together.  Discuss what works and what doesn't.  With some people it's better to make edits during the meeting and see what works.  With others its better to make notes on their feedback and then try out the changes after the meeting.  As you work with different people, you'll learn how to make the most out of each interaction.

Repeat this step and the previous step as much as needed until you are 100% happy with the video. 

15.  Graphics

Add in text, graphics, and end logos to the video.  I worked with a graphic designer on this piece to get the lower 3rd titles just right.

16.  Fine Tune Audio

Audio is a whole industry in itself.  There are people who dedicate their entire lives to it.  If your budget is sufficient, hiring one of them is a great investment.  For this piece, the audio was relatively simple so I did it myself.  To keep things organized, I separated the audio into three layers:  vocals, wild sounds, and music.

Technically, I've been working on the audio since step 10 when I started building the segments.  But, now it's time to fine tune each layer and make sure that everything sounds amazing together.

First, mute the wild sounds and music so that you are only listening to the vocals.  Slowly and methodically, go through the piece and make sure that the vocals peak no higher than -6dB.  Make sure that the fluctuations in the vocals sound natural.  When a person speaks, the volume of his voice will naturally go up and down.  Because this video is going to be heard mostly on computer speakers, it's best to minimize the fluctuations so that every word can be heard clearly, while keeping enough of a variation that he doesn't sound monotone.

When we recorded the interviews, my cinematographer recorded a sample of the room tone.  Now is where that is incredibly useful.  Between sound bytes, insert some of the room tone to hide the cuts.  Use cross fades between all of the cuts and adjust the levels of the room tone so that everything sounds natural.  This may take a few passes to get everything just right.

Wild sounds are a great opportunity to bring the viewer into the piece.  I like to gradually introduce them in time with the music and vocals so they are not jarring.  In this piece, the truck and factory sounds helped make the video come to life.

Music is so important, but can be overbearing if you are not careful.  Listen to all of the audio tracks at once and make sure the music is at an appropriate level compared to the vocals and wild sounds.

17.  Color Grade

This is another part of the production that you could dedicate your entire life to.  A talented colorist can add a dimension to a video that can't be achieved any other way.  If your budget can support it, hire the best colorist that you can.  I was fortunate to be able to work with a colorist on this piece.  We graded the colors in Davinci Resolve 11 Lite and then brought the graded video back into Premiere Pro CC 2015.

18.  Export

Export Media (⌘E).  I set the format to "H.264" and the preset to "HD 1080p 23.976".  In the project folder in the finder, I have a subfolder called "deliverables" that I send the export to.

19.  Upload

It's time to release your video into the world.  I use Vimeo to host my videos.

20.  Double Check

When the upload is complete, I always watch the video through at least once.  Sites like Vimeo will do their own compression to my video.  Maybe I like it, but maybe not.  Either way, why should I assume that I'm happy with the way that it looks?

Another reason to double check, although it is rare, is that frames have been known to get corrupted during exporting.  Although it's easy to blame this on the editing software, any errors to the final video are ultimately a reflection of me as a filmmaker.  I always take this extra step to make sure that my video is flawless before I release it to the world.

Farm Powered

It’s just like a giant cow's stomach – or a tiny power plant.  There are many ways to describe it, but one thing is certain.  This form of renewable energy is changing the world.

Anaerobic digestion is a relatively simple process.  It takes things that most people throw away – cow manure and food waste – and combines them to generate electricity, heat, and organic fertilizer.

Many problems are solved at once.  The farmer saves money.  The food manufacturer has an alternative to dumping waste into a landfill or down the sewer.  Methane is not being released into the atmosphere.  And, there is enough electricity left over to power hundreds of homes in the community.

This is already huge in Europe.  For example, right now Germany has 8,000 farms taking advantage of this technology.  The United States has only 250.

Vanguard Renewables has set out to change that and they hired WALKER to produce a series of films.  Here is the first one.

GRIME Studios

This past October, I got a call from Justin Curtsinger.  He wanted me to do some video work to help raise funding for a unique and exciting project.

It seemed almost impossible.  Justin was about to sign a 10 year lease on a giant 8,500 square foot warehouse.  To convert it into the new home of GRIME Studios, and open for business, he had to raise well over $100,000.  To make matters worse, the initial response from the Portland community was not very encouraging.

Most of the general public didn't seem to understand what all the fuss was about.  Though Portland, Maine is quickly becoming known as an "art and music city", it is getting hard to actually find an affordable space here to create art or music.  Securing a practice studio – where you can play loud music late into the night – is nearly impossible.  But, that is exactly what Justin sought to provide with GRIME.

The "old" building on Thompson Point had been a hub for creativity and artistic expression for 20 years.  It gave numerous bands a place to play at full volume – 24 hours a day – 7 days a week.  But, Portland had other plans.  To clear space for a new development (ironically, one that prides itself on having an outdoor music venue) GRIME was slated for demolition.

The journey during the next year was a rough one.  With a trickle of funds coming in, Justin and a small crew were able to build seven small studios to temporarily holdover the 30 bands practicing at GRIME.

Before the "old" building was demolished, Justin struck a deal with the developer.  In exchange for handling the interior demo, and working around the clock for days, GRIME was able to salvage building materials – even entire sections of wall.

As of today, GRIME has raised over $120,000 and the buildout is 90% complete.  The last round of fundraising has begun.  It's time to finish the buildout and open the studios.

To contribute to the project, visit grimestudios.com

Kung Fu

Part of an interview I did with Sifu Dave Bearce of Portland Kung Fu.

PATRICK WALKER:

It blows my mind.  I can't even express it.  Just the efficiency of it.  That you're training to improve your health, which makes you live longer and better.  But, you're also training to defend yourself from random violence that may happen – also out of your control.

I don't know – I don't even know how to ask the question.  How did this come to be?

DAVE BEARCE:

Chinese Culture.  The nature of the Chinese people.  What are they after?  There's a few things that help define Chinese culture – especially the classical Chinese.

One is seeking after long life.  Wishing somebody a long life is one of the best things you could wish upon them.

Good fortune.  Good luck, or just good prosperity in your life, as well as a happy and healthy family.

Naturally, while you're working to defend yourself – working to perfect the art of warfare – you wouldn't want to do so at the risk of jeopardizing your own life and prosperity.

These were things that the Kung Fu masters of old took into consideration.  They devised training programs to teach people how to use very debilitating techniques, movements that could cause a lot of damage.  And yet they trained in such a way that didn't cause any damage to their own bodies.

Now that's a big deal.

Community Doula Birth Program

Don't know what a doula is?  That's okay.  Neither did I when a group of them contacted me a couple of months ago about a video project.  Since then it has been fascinating getting to know them, learning about their work, and helping with their amazing mission.

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Julie, Rebecca, Sunshine, Melissa, and Amanda are starting a nonprofit to help connect low-income pregnant women with doulas in training.  They needed a video for their Indiegogo campaign and they hired WALKER Film to produce it.

In this six minute video we were able to build an emotional connection with the viewer that has currently helped the doulas raise $6,255.  They have 21 days left to reach their $10,000 goal.

So, what is a doula?  You'll have to watch and find out!

Virtual Reality Jugglers

I can remember being a little kid dreaming of virtual reality.  It seemed so far off.  It was science fiction.  But the future got here quicker than I thought it would.

A company called V.360° chose me to be one of the first filmmakers to test out their new camera.  The thing is amazing.  It can film everything in front, behind, and all around you in a complete 360 degree panorama.

My sister, Abbeth, and I took it out for a day of biking and juggling all over Portland, Maine.  Here is a short, virtual reality video documenting our adventure:

© 2016 Patrick Walker Russell