Prairie Musicians 2016 teaser

I produced, animated, and shot this teaser for the 2016 season of Prairie Musicians.

Code quilt

I sewed my first quilt recently, based on a design I made using custom software. After experimenting with several rules to limit color and form, I ran the software and saved several of my favorite designs. Then I picked out actual fabric to approximate the colors generated, and began sewing an actual quilt over the course of a few weeks.

This project was an experiment in different ways to approach creative processes. Using generative design meant I could define a system of graphic rules, then enjoy the spontaneity and variety of some psueudorandom output.

FFF 2016

Fargo Film FestivalMy favorite local event starts this week and I’m excited to be involved. This year I have 2 films screening and will be a guest on a panel discussion. Here’s a rundown:

Ashley and Doug of Main Street

Monday March 14th

I’ll be on Prairie Public’s radio show Main Street talking about my film Bill Brunton: Guitar Maker. Duluth filmmaker Mike Scholtz will also be on the show talking about his film “Lost Conquest,” a “deconstructionist documentary about why we believe the things we believe.”

Bill Brunton: Guitar Maker

Thursday, March 17th

The documentary Bill Brunton: Guitar Maker which I produced, edited, and shot is an official selection and will screen this Thursday, March 18 at 11am on the main screen. It’s a poetic, endearing look at a guitar builder’s process and philosophy.


CLEMENTINE poster frame

Friday, March 18th

On Friday, I’ll be on a lunch panel talking entitled “Filmmaking in North Dakota & Minnesota: Roadblocks and Solutions.”

Later that night, my film CLEMENTINE will screen at the 2 Minute Movie Contest.


One of my favorite things about living with Bree is seeing her illustrations come to life. Inspiration comes to her from many sources: fashion photography, floral arrangements, and color pallates in nature and I’m constantly in awe of her ability to combine all those inspirations into one beautiful illustration.

My vision for this video was for this to be a punchy, fast-paced look at her process for watercolor.  I rearranged our entire apartment and bought a new table from the antique store for a set. Everything was filmed in V-Log color space and 96fps which gave me more latitude for color and editing. My friend Cameron graciously provided a killer electronic music track which was a blast to edit with.

Official Selection – 2016 Fargo Film Festival

I’m pleased to announce that my feature documentary Bill Brunton: Guitar Maker is an Official Selection for the 2016 Fargo Film Fest (March 15-19).


Bill Brunton: Guitar Maker – Full Documentary

A pile of wood learns to sing. This is a feature documentary I shot, produced, and edited independently about anthropologist-turned-luthier Bill Brunton. Enjoy the whole thing for free right here.

Fargo Flag design

This is my design for The Arts Partnership’s Fargo Flag contest. The top 15 designs will be which will be presented to the City Commission for possible adoption as our official city flag. Voting is open until Sept 23rd at 5pm.

Having a city flag is important for several reasons, but most importantly a well-designed flag can become a graphic that unites us as a community. My design was inspired by our agriculture (wheat symbol), tech-industry (the wheat symbol has bold, modern lines), and cold winters (blue for the glacier that once covered Fargo, and lighter blue for the snow and ice every winter).

This contest was inspired by Roman Mars’ talk: “Why city flags may be the worst-designed thing you’ve never noticed.” Hilariously, my hometown of Bismarck makes an appearance in his talk as one of the worst examples of flag design. One of Roman’s most interesting points is that the basic guidelines of flag design apply to almost any kind of design. Those guidelines, as defined by the North American Vexillological Association, are:

1. Keep it Simple The flag should be so simple that a child can draw it from memory.
2. Use Meaningful Symbolism The flag’s images, colors, or patterns should relate to what it symbolizes.
3. Use 2-3 Basic Colors Limit the number of colors on the flag to three, which contrast well and come from the standard color set.
4. No Lettering or Seals Never use writing of any kind or an organization’s seal.
5. Be Distinctive or Be Related Avoid duplicating other flags, but use similarities to show connections.

Denmark and Inside Energy

Østkraft engineerThis summer I flew to Denmark as a videographer for Inside Energy and the PBS Newshour.

For a week, radio reporter Stephanie Joyce and I worked on this story. She gathered material for 3 radio stories and I gathered all the footage material for the TV piece. Rebecca Johnson, the video producer at Inside Energy, edited this version for PBS NewsHour.

Everything was shot on the Canon 5D Mk3 (Magic Lantern). I had a lot of fun working as a run-and-gun crew. All of our gear fit in 2 backpacks and we used public transportation almost exclusively navigating between Copenhagen, Bornholm, and Western Denmark. We quickly got in a groove and captured lots of great material.

Read/listen to all of the stories and see some of my photographs here.

This isn’t my first time shooting for Inside Energy. Below are two stories I filmed with reporter Emily Guerin.

SmartCamera paper published

SmartCamera systemThe paper I co-authored at NDSU just got published by Multimedia Tools and Applications! This was a really satisfying project to work on because it combined my professional video knowledge with programming and my Computer Science degree.

I worked with Dr. Jun Kong and Amin Roudaki to create this system to automatically direct video of a conference room meeting situation. The system uses 2 cameras: a static wide shot and a moveable PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) camera to automatically move the camera to film the current speaker, switch to the wide shot while that camera is moving, cut to the wide shot if many voices are speaking, etc. A Kinect is used for the wide shot because it also is used to detect who is speaking.

My role was to advise the project as a professional videographer who has experience directing multi-camera events, developing heuristic rules for the system which help it behave like a human director (telling it how long to stay on a particular shot, for example), building the motorized linear camera slide, and programming the Arduino, which received serial input from Amin’s software.

Prairie Musicians behind the scenes

Every year at Prairie Public, we produce a local music show. This year I pitched the idea of trying to get more social media presence by doing short behind the scenes videos of every band. These were super fun to shoot and edit because there’s lots of fun stuff to see like camera gear, lights, the bands prepping their instruments, and practicing. See all 8 of these videos here, and the other behind the scenes video about the set’s graffiti mural.