Issue #6 April 2005

Red Hat Speaks

Tim Kiernan, Digital Media Designer

You may have noticed that Red Hat Magazine is stocked with video content. And if you've been to a Red Hat event or tradeshow where we're speaking, you've seen the awesome short videos that tell our story.

Who is the man behind the camera? Red Hat Magazine interviewed Tim Kiernan, Digital Media Designer, to get the scoop on upcoming video productions from Red Hat.

How long have you been at Red Hat, and what is your role?

I've been here about 5 months now, but have been working on videos for Red Hat for more than a year and a half. I film, edit, animate, score... anything that needs to be done to complete a video.

How did you get started in digital media?

I double majored in Art & Design and Mass Communication at North Carolina State University (NCSU). While in school I worked to combine those two majors and develop as a digital filmmaker.

Briefly explain the video process you use from filming to end of production.

It begins with the concept for the video. I usually don't bother with storyboards in the initial stages because I tend to do more documentary-based work and the story is determined primarily in post-production. So after the idea is decided upon, we film, sort through (log) the footage, and put together an initial draft. Then we cut, cut, cut. At this stage, the graphics and sound are developed. When we put it all together we fine-tune each element so they all work together in conjunction with the story we are telling.

It sounds like there are many components to the process. Are you responsible for all of them or do you have help?

Luckily, I work with a number of talented designers, producers and digital filmmakers, who assist with each stage of the process. Collaboration is key.

After watching the videos, there seems to be a consistent style to them. How would you describe it?

I would have to say documentary style. At least the interview-based videos. I like to shoot hand-held; I feel it creates a more relaxed atmosphere. When editing the footage, I look for a rhythm that suits the subject. I would say it is a style that is constantly being refined and developed with each new project.

How do you decide on the topic of your next video?

First, it has to be current and relevant. Second, it has to be interesting to film. If it's not interesting to record, how could it possibly be interesting to watch?

Which video was the most fun to make and why?

I had a great time working on the recently-finished video detailing the upcoming Summit in June, primarily because I was on location in New Orleans filming it. What a city! Going there and seeing what Red Hat has planned started getting me really excited about the Summit, and I hope I was able to convey that in the video.

Which part of the process is the most challenging and why?

My least favorite part is logging the footage. It is a tedious but vital aspect. Logging consists of importing the footage in real-time, then naming and saving it in small editable chunks. The most challenging phase is editing. There are these creative humps throughout the process that you just have to get over, and sometimes it is midnight before you do.

For the techies out there, what kind of camera do you use?

A Panasonic agDVX-100p, mini DV, usually 24p and letterboxed.

For a still camera, do you prefer 35mm or digital?

I have yet to really get into digital photography. I love film too much. From the messy process of developing and printing from a negativeto the final look of film... I feel like nothing exists when I take a digital photo. In a flash it could all just disappear. I have reluctantly been looking at digital cameras out of pure convenience, but not to replace my 35mm.

What is your favorite movie and why?

It's a toss-up between Bladerunner, The Usual Suspects, and Chinatown. All film noir, films I could watch any time.

Films I'd recommend if you have not seen them are:
Searching for Bobby Fisher
All the Real Girls
Raising Victor Vargas
The Conversation
Gattaca
The Station Agent