A Different Lens


It’s been a relief to see spring finally beginning to show itself in Northeast Ohio. It’s given me an excuse to stare at the blue sky for far too long and not be looked upon as a crazy person. I’ve been able to roll my window down on certain days and let the breeze and fresh air in. The birds are chirping again and the sun is up well past seven. It’s been refreshing to say the least.

Nowhere does spring feel quite the same as in my neighborhood in Akron, Ohio. Where I’m from we call it North Hill, the namesake being the hill that hangs over my street and the streets around me. In the next few weeks the trees on my street will sprout beautiful flowers. After a few days the petals will fall off, leaving trails and wind gusts of them in their wake. There’s nothing quite like home. One person who can relate to my love of North Hill is Think Media producer Josh Booth.

Josh used to live right up the street from me. Our parents were good friends so Josh was always around when I was young. In a lot of ways, Josh and I share similar life stories. I always looked up to him growing up. While I was at home putting together crude home movies Josh, who has some years on me, was already at Kent State getting a degree in Electronic Media. When I bought my first real video camera in high school, Josh was already working in production, and it fueled me to want to work harder. I’ll never forget the summer he let me tag along for a shoot of the Soap Box derby. It was one of the coolest experiences of my adolescent life.

So it’s only fitting that my first shoot with Josh as producer was in our hometown of Akron on the year’s first 60-degree day. That day we were shooting at Color Our Rainbow Academy, a full/part time educational and childcare center. We had Think Media DP, Caleb Crossen and freelancer Billy O’Boyle with us. We traveled pretty light. While we brought a Canon 5D and the FS700, we relied on natural lighting, the DEFY, and shoulder rigs to do the rest of the work.

Shooting a video centered on small children has unique challenges. Many of the kids don’t understand what’s going on or instinctively look directly into the camera. When doing interviews it can be difficult to get 4 year olds to follow a train of thought for too long. The neat thing about working with kids is that they’ll definitely give you some awesome, unexpected moments. When the shot is good, it’s really good! The key is to throw out expectations, and let the moments come to you.

Most of the morning was spent with the younger kids, Josh elicited adorable snippets of kid wisdom (confessions of favorite colors, flawed but heart melting attempts at the ABCs) and Caleb worked his magic with the Defy. My job was to make sure Caleb didn’t trip over blocks or other hazards while he did his thing. One little girl picked up a toy camera and turned it on us for a change.

The afternoon was spent with the older kids in the after-school program. We knew immediately when we got in there that the vibe was different. The kids in each room were running around and actively playing. It was like walking into a playtime war zone. Watching Caleb’s back while he ran the Defy suddenly became much more of a challenge. However, the scene certainly made for some awesome shots.

The day ended with some of the kids playing with a parachute. Gathered around the rainbow colored fabric they ran in a circle, lifting it up and down to inflate and deflate it. Josh hung back as Caleb and I hovered with the Defy. Caleb moved in and out, hovered under the parachute, and did everything he could to capture the moment. He nailed it and the resulting shots were beautiful.

When we went to pack up of course it was raining outside (typical Ohio) but it was warm. Sometimes you just have to be grateful for what you’re given, the lucky breaks. Josh has helped give me my fair share of lucky breaks over the years. From helping to fuel my passion as a kid, to helping me get this opportunity to intern at Think Media Studios, Josh has done a lot to help me reach my goals and dreams. It’s up to me to take that and make the most out of it.

As we finished putting all the gear in the car we stood around making jokes and small talk. The warm rain was welcomed as it washed away most of the glacier that remained from the harsh Ohio winter. It was the onset of another Akron Spring. Everyone was grateful for the reprieve, but Josh and I appreciated it in a way that only we could.

Mary Hipp
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