Behind The Scenes Archives - SkEye Studios
St. Thomas More Capital Campaign

St. Thomas More Capital Campaign

As a creative company, we love working with clients who are excited to incorporate narratives into their messaging.  For the past year, Project LEAD, a task force of individuals in the St. Thomas More Catholic community, have been gathering information and starting plans for a capital campaign that will be initiated this year.  They invited us to help them craft their messages to the community at large through videos.  The historic church and school community in Portland is doing the capital campaign to raise significant funds for major renovations and additions to their school and community center.


Before initiating the big “ask” for donations, we wanted to help Project LEAD remind their community members what makes them all unique–remind them why some of the longest-standing families and individuals have remained active members of the community.  We designed a narrative video that told the story of St. Thomas More using a comparison and contrast of the past and present.  


We gathered photos from families and individuals who have been active in the St. Thomas More community for generations.  The video transforms these old polaroids and washed out photos into active, living memories.  Parishioners and parents who raised their children at St. Thomas More tell their own stories–bringing about the realization that their school and church community is and always has been one of the most central ties to their respective life-forming relationships and experiences.

The St. Thomas More “Honoring our past, building our future” video will be out later this spring!

Moon Seed

Moon Seed

At SkEye, we’re incredibly passionate about projects that push us to create awesome things.  In fact, we make a point to ensure that if we have an idea of a new technique or great story, we find ways to get our hands dirty and put it into action.

In mid-February, we took a weekend to film “Moon Seed,” an emotional, narrative short about a space-loving boy whose dreams take shape through his imagination.  This passion-project was written and directed by Margaret.

We partnered with Justin Alpern and MEE, LLC. from California.  Justin and Margaret were classmates in film school at Chapman University.  Justin was our director of photography for the weekend.  He not only brought his talent as a cinematographer, but he also brought an extensive amount of equipment for us to use to get the best quality shots possible.  One of my favorite pieces of equipment he brought was a single light that mimicked the sun.  Worth $10,000, it was used in a variety of ways on set to give us the most clean light possible.  My favorite was when he set it up to mimic the moonlight flooding through the window.  Ironically, higher in the sky, the real moon shone bright and clear as well.

Passion projects require a special group of people.  We are forever grateful and indebted and to our good friends Mark and Julee who opened their home to us.  It couldn’t have been more picturesque–not only was there plenty of space for all our gear and sets, but the white-picket fence and perpetual green of Western Oregon put Margaret’s vision over the top.

Our fearless actor, Rylie, was the best kid for the job!  Being “Tommy” for the production looked natural.  He took direction like a champ!  In the course of the weekend, we learned that he has always loved outer space, and he and his father even made their own space video once!

The first day of shooting included a green screen, a LOT of dirt to create the best version of the moon, “moon” rocks, and the coolest astronaut costume you’ve ever seen.  The second day was our first day on-site at Mark and Julee’s charming home.  Located in the Pacific Northwest, we’re used to early spring rain…however this was the one day we were praying for clear skies.  Luckily, the universe cooperated and we had clear shots for the times that we were shooting outdoors!  Finally, the last day began shooting later to use the waning light of the afternoon and evening.  We brought the neighborhood outside their homes to gawk at the “moon”light we created.

Post-production of the short is projected to be completed mid-April.  Custom graphics–including a rocket ship for the green screen and a custom score are currently being created.  

How To: Lighting a Video Interview

How To: Lighting a Video Interview


Videos require stories, stories require story-telling, and story-telling, well, it requires lighting. Wait? What? Let us explain, at SkEye Studios we ask a lot of questions: How do you make an interview stand out? What is the most important part of an on-camera interview with a subject? Does three-point lighting really matter? What is three-point lighting?

The Experiment

Who doesn’t like experiments? Besides, why take the advice from experienced greats like Errol Morris? He has only won several Academy Awards and Best Documentary Film a couple times 😉  Prior to the production of our latest project with iTech Painting (Lead Paint PSA), we decided to spend a few hours in the studio experimenting with lighting an interview. We asked ourselves, is three-point lighting really necessary? And, is one of the lights more important than another?

Key Light

  1. the main source of light in a photograph or film.
Key Light Example

Arguably one of the most important lights on an interview, this is the main source of light in an interview. If you don’t have a key light you probably won’t see too much of the subject. If you only have one light, this would be the place to use it.

Fill Light

  1. a supplementary light used in photography or filming that does not change the character of the main light and is used chiefly to lighten shadows.
Key Light Example

The fill light is more optional than the key light. It is used to reduce the amount of contrast on the subject’s face. It is typically set up directly opposite of the key light and farther away from the subject to evenly spread the light across the scene.

Hair Light (also known as back light)

  1. illumination from behind.
Key Light Example

The hair light (which is nearly synonymous with the term back light) is placed behind the subject around 3 feet above their head. It is arguably one of the coolest and most interesting lights on the set. It has the ability to make you look like an angel, but if it is not used properly it can cause an unwanted lens flare. It is also the light you would use if you are trying to keep someone’s identity secret…as you can see from our screenshot.

All of this aside, the hair light, when used in conjunction with the other lighting, provides a very nice silhouette around the subject and makes them pop off the background. This is a very nice added touch to an interview as it adds depth to the shot.

Hair light

Using only a hair light might seem a little humorous, but it is quite useful if you are trying to protect someone’s identity.

No Hair light with Key Light

You can see in this picture that the set does not look as deep. The lack of light on the shoulders and hair makes the subject blend into the background more of the set.

Back Drop

  1. a painted cloth hung at the back of a theater stage as part of the scenery.
Key Light Example

Lighting the back drop is probably one of the most overlooked aspects when lighting an interview. This is because it is a very subtle addition to set. However, you will notice that it definitely adds another interesting element to the set of an interview. One common mistake when lighting the backdrop is letting some of the light spill onto the subject. It is very important that you use barn doors or flanges to focus the light onto only what you want to light.

SkEye Takes Up Office Space in Hillsboro

SkEye Takes Up Office Space in Hillsboro

In August, we moved into our new office space in Hillsboro, Oregon.  As much as we’ve loved editing at Chris’ dining room table, we think that this will be a space where our creative juices can flow a bit more freely.  Not only that, we like the idea of being able to have clients over for brainstorming and whiteboard sessions!

Just like any house, this new space didn’t feel like “home” until we had a chance to make it ours.  In order to do that, we asked the creative and talented Liz Kiefer to design an inspiring concept that would come to cultivate collaboration and genius in our office.  We hired iTech Painting, also based out of Hillsboro, to carry out this difficult task, and man did they deliver!

I would try to explain our new home, but it is so much easier to show it to you. One of our favorite new features is the nearly 50 feet of whiteboard-wall that we use for storyboarding, concept design, to-do lists, doodles, and motivational quotes.

Stay tuned…we’re currently editing an “MTV: Cribs” -style video to show you around the space.  We’ll be posting it after the new year!

Of the space, the front third is office-style.  The back two-thirds is the “editing suite” and studio.  We now have the space and capabilities to create full-scale sets as they’re needed.

Moving to such a great office space is a major point of growth for us.  Not only physically, but mentally.  On the road to creating a successful small business, it’s as though we’ve merged onto a bigger highway, maybe even an interstate.  Sure, there will probably be a few mountain passes to go through, and probably lots of dicey weather, but it’s nice to be on the open road.

SkEye Studios visits the Portland International Raceway!

SkEye Studios visits the Portland International Raceway!

A few months ago we talked to the Alfa Romeo Owners of Oregon, a club dedicated to driving and preserving a legendary race car. They asked if we would make a video about their track days, when they join dozens of other drivers at the Portland International Raceway, to drive their cars as fast as they can. Naturally, we jumped at the chance to film sports cars in their natural territory; the racetrack.

What’s great about these track days is that any driver, of any age or skill level, can bring any car to the racetrack. Honda Civics get to drive side-by-side with the most powerful, most valuable Ferraris, as long as they pass a preliminary tech inspection. We even heard rumors of a minivan that once braved the racetrack. We got to meet the drivers who allowed us to film from the passenger seat while they raced around the track at high speeds.

Learn more about the Alfa Romeo Owners of Oregon at their website:

Watch the videos we made for the Alfa club on our youtube channel.


SkEye Studios Goes International with “Carroll College Engineers Without Borders”

SkEye Studios Goes International with “Carroll College Engineers Without Borders”

First International Film Shoot? Check! We had a most excellent time shooting for Carroll College “Engineers without Borders” in Colon, Mexico. This adventure brought us to Santa Maria Orphanage where we captured footage of engineering students designing a bridge and finishing up a project on a brand new irrigation system. Their work is already having an enormous impact on the health and well-being of the children at the orphanage. The Carroll EWB team also had a chance to engage with Mexican culture while visiting the iconic town of San Miguel de Allende. Watch the Teaser from our day of sightseeing!

Un Dia en Mexico!


Enjoy some photos from our week in Mexico:

EWB Mexico - Group Shot EWB Mexico - GH4 Slider EWB Mexico - Church EWB Mexico - Cafe EWB Mexico - Audience Anthony Interview Mexico