The New Normal – How Our Production Community Is Adapting To Covid – Conversation With Koerner Camera

First Assistant Camera, Jerry Turner on the set of “Chad”. (Photo: @tysonwisbrock)

Like so many other businesses, the Oregon production community has been hit hard by the havoc that Covid-19 has wreaked.  Many community partners have come together to provide up-to-date information on safety procedures and new protocol guidelines that are being improved upon on all the time.  (OMPA has the latest here.) As production has slowly begun to come back we wanted to check in with some of our production support businesses to ask how they have been adapting to this new normal.

We will be making a series of blog posts on a variety of production businesses here in Oregon – we want to know what creative options have been put in place to offset the disruption that Covid-19 has caused.  We asked what aspects of doing business in this pandemic have been the most surprising, what have the successes been, what is the morale like, etc?  We first reached out to Koerner Camera Systems, “the Pacific Northwest’s premier digital cinema camera rental house” and this is what Michael Koerner (Owner, Koerner Camera Systems) had to say:

Oregon Film: What are the main modifications you have had to make to accommodate this new normal? Which ideas have worked or have been successful, which ones not so much…

Koerner Camera: The main modifications are quarantining gear, social separation, and wearing face masks.  Once we started up again it is not that much of an inconvenience just an irritation always wearing a mask and having to wait a day while the gear is in quarantine.  Not a big deal though, all you really have to do is have common sense and wear a mask.

OF: Are there any surprising areas of growth in your business since the pandemic started?

KC: The main area of growth for us being an equipment vendor, are solutions for remote streaming so the client does not have to be on location.  Other areas of growth are more on set video transmission and additional monitors which helps to keep crews separate.

OF: Have you had to implement new training for your staff?

KC: There has been Covid-19 training and procedures for safety and we have had learned a lot about it. On the technical side, remote streaming has been a steep learning curve which seems to always be a moving target at this moment.  We are watching to see where things will settle and what department will take the lead on remote streaming.  We offer some solutions but many of the more complex solutions will be handled by a technician like a DIT(Digital Imaging Technician) which makes more sense than us providing a box that won’t be suitable for the larger shows.

OF: If there has been any impact on staff morale, how have you successfully been able to mitigate this?

KC: Staff morale is high.  We were able to keep all staff full time in both offices for a few months before the PPP(Payroll Protection Program) money came through.  Initially, I didn’t want any Federal assistance but then realized I would need it to keep from reducing my staff.  Employees did research and worked on projects from home for a couple of months and then slowly came back to work half time and then full time.  By July we were pretty much full staff with Seattle being a little slower to come around but both offices are busy now.

OF: What are you most proud of doing well during this challenging time?

KC: The thing I am most proud of is being able to not layoff or furlough any employees.  This was very important to me to keep the team intact.  Our employees end up working here for many years and generally don’t leave.  The other thing I am proud of is transitioning the Pacific Northwest Lens Summit into the Virtual Lens Summit which happens on Fridays.  We have held 19 Virtual Lens Summits so far in the form of a Zoom Meeting and is attended by DPs, technicians, and filmmakers from countries throughout the world.  We plan to keep doing these events long after the pandemic is over, turning a bad situation into something positive, turning lemons into lemonade with lots of sugar!

To contact Koerner Camera:

M-F: 8:30am – 5:30pm
(503) 274-6533
[email protected]
2828 SE 14th AVE.
Portland, OR 97202

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NW Documentary Announces a New Online Community Space

During these difficult times, one of the things that has affected NW Documentary the most is feeling disconnected from their community. They miss the drop-in visitors, the edit-lab regulars, the event hosts, the podcasters, the busy working filmmakers, the curious first-timers, and everyone else.

So! They’ve tried to create a place where everyone can all come together at least a bit like they used to.

This virtual space is designed to recreate as much of the function of our in-person community space as possible, including:

  • Virtual Rooms: an edit lab for chatting and co-working, meeting rooms, and screening space
  • Virtual Events: weekly co-working time, casual film screenings every Thursday, and more to come as the space evolves and grows!

You can find all the details and get in here:
nwdocumentary.org/virtual-community-space

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Oregon Scream Week – Horror Short Film Festival

October 8-10 will bring screenings of over 100 short horror, dark sci fi, dark animation and horror comedy films at the Sunshine Mill Winery and Drive-Up Theater as part of the Oregon Scream Week.

This is a live outdoor screening you can enjoy from the comfort of your own vehicle. Masks are required if you enter the Winery building and bathrooms. Tickets are only $30 per car per session. Please bring friends and family. There are yummy food and drink options that will be available to order as well. Please check out our Eventbrite listing for showtimes and trailers.

Get more info and tickets here.

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Portland, Tillamook Coast, The Gorge, & Oregon Wine Country Is The Setting For 18th Season Of “Top Chef” !

The popular Bravo series, “Top Chef” will be mainly based in Portland for its 18th season.  They will also be making the most of Oregon’s varied culinary scene by visiting the Tillamook coast, the Columbia River Gorge, and the Tualatin and Willamette Valley wine country. The new season will feature Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons who will serve as the judging panel, as well as some former winners and finalists.  Kristi Turnquist (OregonLive) caught up with the Bravo production in its 18th season.  Read more about it here.

#OregonMade

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Northwest Film Center Announces PIFF 2.0

The Northwest Film Center announces PIFF 2.0, reimagining the final days of the 43rd Portland International Film Festival.

From October 1 to 3, 2020, PIFF 2.0 will present 10 films, talks, and happy hours from Northwest and International filmmakers, offered in virtual screening and events as well as new additions to the Film Center’s popular Cinema Unbound Drive-In series.

The series includes #OregonMade feature films “The Dark Divide” and “Young Hearts.”

“While we can’t go back to the way things were, in the spirit of PIFF, we’re offering ten films, talks and happy hours from Northwest and International filmmakers to bring some closure to the festival and open a door to next year’s festival.” – Amy Dotson, Director of the Northwest Film Center and Portland Art Museum Curator of Film and New Media.

But tickets here.

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Deep Sky Animates a Five-Part Series for The Smashing Pumpkins

Episodes 1 & 2 of The Smashing Pumpkins’ new five-part animated series “In Ashes,” animated by Portland’s Deep Sky, are now available.

Deep Sky collaborated directly with Billy Corgan over the last 6 months to translate his narrative vision into cinematic form, set to the soundtrack of the band’s newest song releases.

Episode 1 – As The Crow Flies (Set to the soundtrack of The Colour Of Love):

Episode 2 – Inspirations, Aspirations (Set to the soundtrack of Confessions of a Dopamine Addict):

All videos released on The Smashing Pumpkins YouTube Channel

About Deep Sky
Deep Sky is a creative studio, based in Portland, Oregon, focused on design-driven animation and live action. With some of the world’s best artists, Deep Sky specializes in producing narrative animation and complex visual content that pushes conventional boundaries. Known for partnering with some of the most influential IPs and brands, from local to Hollywood to Europe, Deep Sky makes magic happen.

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High Vis Film Fest: Celebrating BIPOC Cyclists & their Stories (Oct 3 on YouTube Live)

Tickets are pay-what-you-can and benefit Brown Hope and our BIPOC Filmmaker Grant, supporting new and emerging filmmakers to share their bike stories

Co-Produced by Courtney Williams of The Brown Bike Girl, the People’s Bike Mayor of NYC

Saturday, October 3
6:00-8:00 pm – Pacific Time
A YouTube livestream event. Watch live or later!

About the Event

Here at Filmed by Bike, we spend eight months of the year connecting with our global community of filmmakers and scouring the internet and social media for interesting independent bicycle films. Every year, we showcase the best of those films at our signature annual film festival.

We dig hard.

Though we prioritize showcasing the stories that often aren’t being told and we look for the work of filmmakers who are too often left out of the conversation, films by and about Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) are hard to come by. That’s why we’re excited to launch High Vis, a showcase of our festival faves from recent years combined with fresh new films, to celebrate this incredible work and these talented filmmakers.

Event includes a virtual Happy Hour on Oct 2 and a roundtable discussion after the films on Oct 3, including special guest Analise Cleopatra, director of Pedal Through.

*Tickets are pay-what-you-can and benefit Brown Hope and our BIPOC Filmmaker Grant*

Hope to see you there!

Event Details

Buy a Ticket

Spread the Word!

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2020 POW Film Fest – Local Edition – is ON!

The 2020 POW Film Fest – Local Edition will take place virtually Thursday October 1st! All proceeds from the ticket sales of this event will benefit The Clinton Street Theater.

POW Film Fest is Portland’s premiere film festival showcasing films directed by women and non-binary filmmakers. Now in its 13th year, the festival features the work of some of today’s top directors, while honoring the true pioneers and recognizing the next generation of leading women and non-binary filmmakers. Over the years POW has striven to encourage thoughtful and engaged discourse of the female perspective while heralding the need for greater parity in the film industry through the keen discerning eyes of women and non-binary film and media makers. POW was created, in part, to celebrate women in their quest to thrive and grow in the film industry.

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#OregonMade Feature Film “Alone” Releases Tomorrow (Sept. 18)

The #OregonMade feature film ALONE is releasing tomorrow on over 170 screens (roughly 50 drive-ins), as well as on VOD.

Set in the Pacific Northwest wilderness, the film follows recently widowed Jessica who, fleeing the city in a desperate attempt to cope, is kidnapped and locked away in a mysterious man’s cabin. Her escape from the clutches of this murderous captor land her in the heart of the untamed wilderness, with only her wits to rely on for survival as her pursuer closes in.

Find out more here.

ALONE will be appearing at these cinemas in Oregon:

Hood River 5 Hood River, OR
Independence Cinema 8 Independence, OR
Madras Cinema 5 Madras, OR
Roseburg Garden Valley Cinema 11 Roseburg, OR
Scappoose Cinemas 7 Scappoose, OR
Wildhorse Resort & Casino 5 Pendleton, OR

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alonemovie/

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“PHOENIX, OREGON” Movie’s Namesake, the City of Phoenix, OR, Wiped Out by Wildfire but the Producers Seek Funds to Rebuild

In the evening of Tuesday, September 8, 2020, a fast moving wildfire swept through the town of Phoenix, Oregon burning hundreds of homes and businesses, leaving almost the entire town flattened.

This is an especially monumental blow to the filmmaking team behind the 2020 theatrically-released comedy “Phoenix, Oregon”. Not only is the film named after the town, but several crew and family members of the producers lost homes.

Producer, Luis Rodriguez, who lives in Phoenix, Oregon saw family and friends lose everything and is still himself evacuated.

“It happened fast,” remembers Rodriguez. “I rushed to my mom’s house to help her evacuate, confused and unaware that we were leaving behind a home she’d never see again. Thousands were completely blindsided this way, losing it all from one moment to the next. It’s extremely heartbreaking to see the devastation left behind, and without the extra support from near and far, many families will have an extremely difficult time recovering unless we rally behind them.”

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