Teaching video in Cairo Egypt

Posted by ryanjackson on Jun 26, 2011 in photos, training, video

I’m in Egypt for the next 11 days training the media staff at Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt 57357 how to do better video, photography and online strategy. What a way to spend my summer vacation from the Journal!
I’ll be posting way more pictures and video later as well I’m going to blog about what I taught at NPAC in the next month.

Here is a shot of the hospital. It really sticks out like a sore thumb because of the modern architecture. It is 100% supported by donation which is where I come in. I’m going to help them strengthen their image and help them tell their story.

It’s funny how when you are in a foreign land EVERYTHING is a picture. I wonder if I took an Egyptian photographer and plunked her in downtown Edmonton what photographic opportunities she would see that I ignore every day…

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First Place Video of the Year with News Photographers Association of Canada!

Posted by ryanjackson on Jun 20, 2011 in Ryan's Life, video

I’m extremely honoured and humbled to have won 1st place team video of the year with former Journal reporter Ben Gelinas for my Brain-injured Comedian video in the annual News Photographers Association of Canada annual Pictures of the Year contest for 2010.

I also won third place single multimedia of the year for my first World Record Dodgeball video.

The event was held during the NPAC annual conference in Winnipeg. There were amazing speakers and fun times.

w00t!

A picture of me taking a picture of me getting the award. Photo by Phill Snel / National Post

I also won third place single multimedia of the year for my first World Record Dodgeball video.

One of my favourite photographers Scott Strazzante spoke at the conference which was awesome.

The Globe and Mail's John Lehmann gave an awesome seminar on new tech tools for photography.

I also got to see two of my former Loyalist College Photojournalism classmates Francis Vachon and Alexandra Stephanson

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360-degree video street view tour of devistated Slave Lake

Posted by ryanjackson on Jun 20, 2011 in 360 Panoramas, 360 Video, video

The Journal got an exclusive tour of the devastation created by the Slave Lake wildfire. Videographer Ryan Jackson set up four cameras on top of a vehicle to capture a 360-degree view as he drove through the town.

Here is my newest 360-degree video of the fire destruction at Slave Lake. I used the same workflow as my 360-degree World Record Dodgeball video
I felt the only way to truly show the extent of the damage to Slave Lake was to do a 360-degree panoramic video similar to Google Street View.

I used four GoPro cameras to capture the video and then stitched the video together. I have since bought a fifth GoPro to use for future videos.

I setup everything on the ground first.

A flash stand worked well for raising the camera above the roof of the Jeep.

Dent puller suction cups from Princess Auto. $5 each!

Even with the super strong suction cups you still need tie-down straps for safety.

I looped the tie-down straps inside the car.

Journal reporter Jana Pruden and me in Slave Lake. A lady in Athabasca was making these shirts to raise money for Slave Lake.

When we got back to the hotel I dumped all the images into my main laptop and then had four more laptops (total of five) processing the video into panoramas. I used a D-Link Gigabit Switch for the network and I had a D-Link DNS-343 8TB NAS drive for backup storage.

When I got home I had all five laptops processing the panoramas.

Five computers means five times the wires!

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Athabasca Fire Fighters and Bikini Car Washes

Posted by ryanjackson on Jun 20, 2011 in photos

Athabasca volunteer fire fighters (left to right) Ryan Bodnarchuk, Brant Marshall, Bryan Hall, Justin Zahara, Travis Shalapay and Denis Mathieu pose for a photo at the fire hall in Athabasca, Alta. on May 21, 2011. The fire department helped battle the wild fire that devastated Slave Lake last weekend. They celebrate the 100th anniversary of the department next week. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Athabasca residents (left to right) Lauren Perrott, Aleksey Schmidt, Roseanna Schmidt, Katrina Bulas, Kristie Nicholson, Holly Williamson, Jordon Major, Amber Schmidt and Tabitha Topola held a bikini car wash on Sunday and raised more than $1,500 for Slave Lake residents devastated by wildfires. Slave Lake, a town of more than 7,000 was evacuated on May 15th before wildfires destroyed nearly one third of the homes. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

I love my job! Photo of me by Jana Pruden

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Nature’s View of the Fire at Slave Lake

Posted by ryanjackson on Jun 20, 2011 in video

A cinematic journey through the charred forest around Slave Lake. The Journal’s Ryan Jackson couldn’t go inside Slave Lake on Friday so he decided to go into the forest instead and show how the fire has affected nature. Video by Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal

Here's me in the forest with my slider and camera. Even though the fire was mostly out I had to be careful where I stepped. It's really humbling to see what nature can do. Bug spray and dust masks are your friend. Photo of me by Jana Pruden

Here is my DIY slider that I built for camera movements. It worked okay but I've since bought a real Kessler PocketDolly.

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Fox Creek Forest Fires

Posted by ryanjackson on Jun 20, 2011 in photos, portrait

Marcel Desjarlais, Crew Leader with Alberta Sustainable Resource Development wipes his brow after fighting forrest fires for eight days in a row, at the south east corner of a fire near Fox Creek, Alta. on May 19, 2011. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

Brad Desjarlais, Crew Leader with Alberta Sustainable Resource Development poses for a photo at the south east corner of a forrest fire near Fox Creek, Alta. on May 19, 2011. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

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Photo spread in Bridal Fantasy Magazine!

Posted by ryanjackson on Jun 20, 2011 in Engagement Photos, wedding

I have a photo spread of Erin and Brad’s wedding in the current issue of Bridal Fantasy Magazine! What an awesome wedding.

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Photo Story: Kids spend a day at Disneyland with Dreams Take Flight

Posted by ryanjackson on Jun 20, 2011 in photos

I got the wonderful opportunity to cover Dreams Take Flight which is a charity that sends children from physically, mentally or socially challenged backgrounds to Disneyland for a day. We basically left Edmonton at 4:00 A.M. and then returned the next day at 2:00 A.M. It is a wonderful charity and means a lot to these kids. http://yeg.dreamstakeflight.ca

Eight-year-old Daniel Paradis, front left, and volunteer Tyler Loney ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad during a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011. More than 130 children from physically, mentally or socially challenged backgrounds took part in the Edmonton chapter of Dreams Take Flight, a national volunteer charitable organization that has taken more than 21,000 children to Disneyland over the last 19 years. More information at dreamstakeflight.ca. The Journal's Ryan Jackson documented the magical trip and created a photo gallery with dozens of images of the extremely happy children at "The happiest place on earth." Go to edmontonjournal.com/photos. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Young Gavin Sisson gives a tearful goodbye to his mother Karen before taking off on a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Twelve-year-old Daymon Halladay dances with excitement while going through security at the Edmonton International Airport before taking off for a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

More than 130 children gather at the Edmonton International Airport to take off on a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Children with Dreams Take Flight walk through security at the Edmonton International Airport before taking off on a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

James Loe with the Canadian Air Transport Security Agency gives Gi Gi the clown a full body scan at the Edmonton International Airport before taking off on a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Kaitlyn Harvey looks to get a hug from Micky and Minnie at the Edmonton International Airport before taking off on a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

The Dreams Take Flight party crew get ready to board the plane for a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Air Canada donates a Boeing 767 airplane and crew for Dreams Take Flight to travel to Disneyland. More than 130 children from physically, mentally or socially challenged backgrounds took part in the Edmonton chapter of Dreams Take Flight, a national volunteer charitable organization that has taken more than 21,000 children to Disneyland over the last 19 years. More information at dreamstakeflight.ca.

Six-year-olds Naomi Elgot, left, and Kaydence Taillon read the airplane safety booklet before taking off on a fun-filled trip to Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Air Canada flight attendant Yan Tremblay gives a fun safety demonstration before taking off on a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Transportation security administration officers greet the children as they get off the plane in Los Angeles, California for a fun-filled day at Disneyland on May 4, 2011.

Ben the TSA K9 dog waits to greet the children as they get off the plane in Los Angeles, California before a fun-filled day at Disneyland on May 4, 2011.

Air Canada donates the Boeing 767 and crew for Dreams Take Flight to happen. More than 130 children from physically, mentally or socially challenged backgrounds took part in the Edmonton chapter of Dreams Take Flight, a national volunteer charitable organization that has taken more than 21,000 children to Disneyland over the last 19 years. More information at dreamstakeflight.ca. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Madison Mercer is excited as she enters Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Getting ready for a group photo in front of the Disneyland Railroad at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Everyone poses for a group photo in front of the Disneyland Railroad at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Seven-year-old Kaitlyn Harvey is excited as she enters Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

The crowds down Main Street U.S.A. in Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Six-year-old Nayt Bedard checks out a map of Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011

Six-year-old Adam Nesom from Leduc, Alta. is excited as he enters Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Nine-year-old Brandon Dorward and his teacher Sheila Fraser are excited as they enter Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Twelve-year-old Sara Elder rides the Jungle Cruise in Adventureland during a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

A group rides Pirates of the Caribbean during a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Ten-year-old Tayler Saulnier-Ferguson from Sherwood Park poses for a photo with Mickey Mouse during a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Eight-year-olds Denise Clark-Sinclair, left, and Daniel Paradis ride the King Arthur Carrousel in Fantasyland during a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Seven-year-old Nayt Bedard sprays six-year-old Naomi Elgot with water during a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Six-year-old Naomi Elgot enjoys the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage in Tommorowland during a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Children ride Dumbo the Flying Elephant during a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Robert L'Hironvelle, 17, and Anthony Gahr, 16, sit back and enjoy the Mad Tea Party in Fantasyland during a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Ashley Crosty, left, and Jasmyn Bibby enjoy Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters in Tomorrowland during a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Ashley Crosty, left, and Jasmyn Bibby enjoy Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters in Tomorrowland during a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

12-year-old Bryanna Jansen and volunteer Kim Harvey ride the Matterhorn Bobsled in Fantasyland during a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Sarah Goguen, 10, left, and Bryanna Jansen ride "It's a Small World" in Fantasyland during a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Left to right. Volunteer Katelyn Semple, Mercedes Pattison, 9, and Adam Nesom, 6, from Leduc ride the Astro Orbitor in Tomorrowland during a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Volunteer Katelyn Semple has a water fight with Brandon Dorward, 9, from Leduc, Alta. during a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Light trails in Space Mountain in Tomorrowland during a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Journal photographer Ryan Jackson takes a picture while riding Space Mountain during a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011. More than 130 children from physically, mentally or socially challenged backgrounds took part in the Edmonton chapter of Dreams Take Flight, a national volunteer charitable organization that has taken more than 21,000 children to Disneyland over the last 19 years. More information at dreamstakeflight.ca. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Children walk back to the buses after a $50 shopping spree they were each given for free at the end of a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Walking back to the plane after a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Six-year-old Kaydence Taillon gets some much needed shuteye after a fun-filled day in Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

Left to right. Jessie Cardinal, 7, Denise Clark-Sinclair, 8, and Danielle Paradis, 8, get some much needed shuteye after a fun-filled day in Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011. More than 130 children from physically, mentally or socially challenged backgrounds took part in the Edmonton chapter of Dreams Take Flight, a national volunteer charitable organization that has taken more than 21,000 children to Disneyland over the last 19 years. More information at dreamstakeflight.ca. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton

Parents wait for their children to arrive at Edmonton International Airport after a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011.

A mother kisses her very tired child after a fun-filled day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on May 4, 2011. More than 130 children from physically, mentally or socially challenged backgrounds took part in the Edmonton chapter of Dreams Take Flight, a national volunteer charitable organization that has taken more than 21,000 children to Disneyland over the last 19 years. More information at dreamstakeflight.ca. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

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Interactive video portraits of election candidates

Posted by ryanjackson on Jun 20, 2011 in portrait, video

During the last federal election the idea was thrown around of interviewing all of the candidates and putting the videos online.

The problem with just throwing up entire interviews is that few people will watch the videos and the ones who do will be bored waiting to get some tidbit of information. Say you interview four people, seven questions, one minute each = 28 minutes of video. That is an eternity! Would you watch 28 minutes of video of your four local candidates in hopes of hearing one or two things that interest you?

A new philosophy I’ve been following is “Think Backwards”

Typically in the media we capture and present video and then expect viewers to consume it as we give it to them. But imagine you just moved to Edmonton. You want to vote but you don’t know your local candidates or how they compare on certain issues that matter to you.

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could watch four similar interviews at the same time and quickly jump to the information you want?

Well myself and data journalist Lucas Timmons did just that!

Watch an interactive video presentation of the federal election candidates in Edmonton-Centre.

I interviewed all the candidates and asked them the same seven questions. Lucas used the YouTube API and made hotlinks to each answer.  You can quickly jump to the information you are most interested in. You can watch one minute or 28 minutes. You are in control.

My big idea was to interview all of the candidates in all of the ridings but there simply wasn’t enough time so I only did Edmonton-Centre and Edmonton-Strathcona.

I wanted to have a consistent look and feel to the videos. I decided on a simple white background and black and white tones so that the video would only show the candidate and not have distracting backgrounds. The other advantage of shooting this way was that I could also do nice still portraits of each candidate after the interview was done.

Federal Conservative candidate for Edmonton-Centre Laurie Hawn poses for a photo at his campaign office in Edmonton on April 13, 2011. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

Edmonton-Strathcona Federal Conservative Candidate Ryan Hastman poses for a photo at his campaign office in Edmonton on April 21, 2011. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

Edmonton-Strathcona Federal Liberal Candidate Matthew Sinclair poses for a photo at the Journal office in Edmonton on April 22, 2011. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

Federal Liberal candidate for Edmonton-Centre Mary MacDonald poses for a photo at the Edmonton Journal office in Edmonton on April 13, 2011. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

Edmonton-Strathcona Federal NDP Candidate Linda Duncan poses for a photo at the Journal office in Edmonton on April 22, 2011. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

Federal NDP candidate for Edmonton-Centre Lewis Cardinal poses for a photo the Edmonton Journal office in Edmonton on April 13, 2011. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

Federal Green candidate for Edmonton-Centre David Parker poses for a photo at NAIT in Edmonton on April 13, 2011. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

Edmonton-Strathcona Federal Green Candidate Andrew Fehr poses for a photo at the University of Alberta in Edmonton on April 22, 2011. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal).

I had to be careful to ensure the framing, light and sound was consistent. I wouldn’t want to make any candidate look better or worse than the rest.

David Parker was at NAIT so we used a pulldown projector screen as a white background

I interviewed some of the canidates in the Journal studio which already has a nice white background

This was my basic setup. Three 500-LED video lights, a reflector and a white background.

I was able to fit my whole video studio on one dolly cart.

Each minute of video took about an hour to render in Final Cut Pro.

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Photography as a way of dealing with the loss of both my parents in a fatal crash

Posted by ryanjackson on Jun 20, 2011 in Ryan's Life

Of course I mounted a remote camera for my parents funeral

This is probably the longest I’ve ever gone without updating my blog. Though I did leave it on a high note.
February was a crazy month. It was my 28th birthday, My 360 Dodgeball video went viral, I had three new job opportunities open up for me, I was on cloud nine.

The night of my birthday I said to my good friend Kirk “you know things are going so good for me right now I’m afraid something bad is going to happen”
And then it did.
Guess I should have knocked on wood.
On February 12th, 2011 both of my parents were killed in a head-on collision in Saskatchewan. Ironically they driving back from a Funeral.

As a journalist I have covered countless tragedies. It's weird when it's your own.

I had a freelance job that morning. I was exhausted from shooting the 360-video and I just had to do this one job and then I could go home and nap all afternoon.
I still had to mark my MacEwan student‘s assignments and I was dreading the hours of time that it would take.

Then the phone rang. The number was blocked and usually when call display says Blocked I just ignore it but this time I answered for some reason.
It was an RCMP officer calling me to say that my parents were in an accident and my mother had been killed, my father was in an ambulance heading to Saskatoon and wasn’t expected to make it.

It’s an indescribable feeling when you get a phone call like that. The world almost stands still. Everything slows down. I went into shock.
The officer needed a contact in Saskatoon that he could call. I was the first number on their cell phone so they called me first but I was in Edmonton.
My Father was in an ambulance on the way to Saskatoon and he needed someone to come meet him.
I couldn’t think so I immediately went on my laptop and went online to look up Phone numbers.
I started packing. If we left right away we could be at the hospital by midnight.
As I threw random clothes into a suitcase the RCMP officer called again. My father had just died in the ambulance.

Home

Photography really helped me deal with this. It’s important to stay busy and have a purpose when you are going through tough times. I had two video cameras and mounted a remote camera at the back of the church. My good friend Liam Richards and Derek Mortensen were kind enough to setup a photo booth at the funeral. I’m sure a lot of people thought it was weird to have a photo booth but I wanted to have a visual record of everyone who was there. Something special. A funeral is a celebration of life.

It's okay to smile.

My brother Shawn and me.

It's amazing how far friends and family will fly to support you. Thank you all.

I captured hundreds of pictures and panoramas of everything that happened in those crazy days and this helped me understand why I need photography in my life. It freezes a moment in time so you can properly reflect and process what it means.

Panorama of the burial site.

360 view of everyone standing around the grave site.

My brother watching mom being carried out.

It doesn't matter if you have a cell phone camera or a $5,000 SLR. When you see a picture, snap it.

Understanding how my dad was an artist helps me in my photography.

My parents in 1980 being awesome.

Fathers day

It's amazing what photos you dig up when making a slide show.

My first front page at the Journal. This photo means a lot to me.

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