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Dominique at Miller Outdoor Theater

By March 16, 2010 Houston, KPRC, Photography

I’m trying to start posting more of my daily workflow on the blog, but since I don’t really have any shots of me pushing paper or sitting in meetings today, I’ll go with this image from Friday’s promo shoot at Miller Outdoor Theater. On that afternoon I had a chance to play with some wicked, new lighting equipment.

Dominique at Miller Outdoor Theater

For an impromptu still image (I was shooting video at the time) I think it came out rather well. Though I can’t take too much credit. Between Dominique and my Canon 5DII being awesome, all I had to do was push the button on top of the camera.

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“Dusk till Dawn” promo (:60)

By February 24, 2010 Houston, KPRC, Promos

It’s actually called the “10PM to AM” promo internally at the station, but somehow “Dusk till Dawn” stuck with me. (Unfortunately, the anchors don’t turn into vampires halfway through the promo)

KPRC – 10PM to AM News (#3 :60 version) from JL Watkins on Vimeo.

It’s like 99% shot with my 5D, except for like three shots. I’m not terribly happy with the encoding I did for this Vimeo upload, as it’s choppy and contrasty. But it’s a decent example of what I’ve been working on – the standard, thirty-second version of this spot is crazy fast compared to this extended promo.

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Today is Your Day (Houston Versions)

By November 17, 2009 Houston, KPRC, Promos

NBC sent the affiliates a video toolkit, so that we can join our local morning anchors with The Today Show brand. Here’s Local 2’s versions of the spot, which I shot….(wait for it)….on my Canon 5DII.

KPRC – “Your Day Is Today” (Houston Versions) from JL Watkins on Vimeo.

I only did one take of the paper falling in the studio, as there was no way we’d ever be able to duplicate how perfectly all the paper fell.

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no place for baby

By November 13, 2009 Photography

no place for baby

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Even more weather promos!

By November 5, 2009 Houston, KPRC, Promos

KPRC – Frank Weather Promos #2 from JL Watkins on Vimeo.

Here’s another round of spots in the latest weather campaign, all shot with the 5D2.

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Dr. Oz’s Houston Free Clinic event

By October 16, 2009 Houston, Photography

Here’s a quick video embed of how my still pics were incorporated into the “Dr. Oz Show” today. Basically I just cobbled together two quick photo-related segments, nothing fancy. If you want to see the actual segments from the show, you should check them out on the Oz website.

I ended up shooting a few hundred photos, and then narrowing those down to around 100ish. It was cool to see which photos they chose from both mine and Lewis’ (the other, stellar photographer) pools. There were a few that I knew would be used, and then some that I was surprised didn’t make it – though I’m sure they’ll have some eventual use. Also, I appreciated the “shout out” from Dr. Oz. Anyway, it was a great learning exercise, an awesome freelance paycheck, and an all-around memorable experience. I put a mini flickr slideshow of about a dozen random-ish pics from that day (below)…

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Houston – Jones Hall time lapse test

By October 12, 2009 Photography

Houston – Jones Hall time lapse from JL Watkins on Vimeo.

While working with the Houston Symphony on a video project, I recorded some sequences with thousands of sfolks attending some daytime performances. Basically this is video that’s sped-up – next time I plan on using a shutter timer an getting an actual time-lapse sequence (possibly with my new tilt-shift lens).

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BTS of “The Dr. Oz Show” in Houston

By September 28, 2009 Houston, Photography

BTS of "The Dr. Oz Show" in Houston

Here’s one of the shots I got while working as a freelance photographer for the “Dr. Oz Show” this weekend. The production came to Houston, holding a massive all-day free clinic in the Reliant Center (which broke records, I’m told). This photo is just one of the many captivating, heartbreaking stories we experienced during the event.

While I can’t reveal the circumstance behind this photo until the show airs, I can tell you how I got it. When all the camera crews from the show piled into the makeshift exam room, I was the only one left without an angle. With the help of some medical volunteers I jumped up on a nearby exam table and sorta fired blindly over the top of the curtain.

I have a reverse image with Oz and the patient in focus, but for some reason I felt like this version resonated more with me. And, as many folks have already asked me: Oz is a decent, cool guy.

photo (c) 2009 ZoCo l LLC./JL Wakins All rights reserved.

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Another creepy Houston billboard

By September 14, 2009 Houston

My morning/afternoon commutes never seem to lack excitement. I’m often maneuvering to save my life, or watching other people fall into obvious speed traps and avoid near-collisions. And when the drive is slow, I’m often entertained by all the creepy billboards…

another creepy billboard

Today’s selection is from an area chain of tanning salons called Darque Tan – which, honestly, have always seemed rather skanky to me (though, I’ve also heard that some locations are quite nice). Anyway, the billboard has some chick photoshopped into the chain’s silhouette logo – only leaving me to imagine what scenario this ‘scene’ is supposed to be depicting. Do women really love a man that has tanned himself into a charred corpse? Or perhaps she’s a groupie who stalks members of Blue Man Group. Or maybe it’s just all some lovely, horny dream. All I know is that “you’ll love getting Darque.”

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Jay Leno is coming to Houston! (sorta)

By September 4, 2009 KPRC, Promos

Here’s one of Local 2’s new countdown promos for The Jay Leno Show, premiering in just over a week on KPRC. For my part, I was the producer who video’d and edited the spot.

KPRC Leno preview promo from JL Watkins on Vimeo.

Our CSD, Gary Wann (aka: TVPromoGuy) worked out the Leno stuff (shot in Burbank), and came up with the concept. Fun fact: He also plays the part of “guy who answers the phone”. I had this sprawling, epic sequence with him, but it had to be cut down in order to hit the :30 mark. (I’m still pusing for :32 second promos, but it hasn’t happened yet).

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3 new weather image promos

By September 1, 2009 Houston, KPRC, Promos

It seems like I’m always working on some kind of weather promo. Here’s the latest batch that I just produced and set loose upon the digiwaves.

KPRC – Weather Image Promos from JL Watkins on Vimeo.

Note: This epic battle was won with Ginny Landers playing After Effects Yoda to my Final Cut Pro Mace Windu. The force is strong with these two.

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Got any billboards?

By July 3, 2009 Houston, Photography

It’s an odd coincidence that on the same day my favorite roadside billboard vanishes, another interesting one appears along my commute in a completely different spot. I guess it’s true that advertising abhores a vacuum. I snapped this shot of my friend and colleague, Mia Gradney’s new billboard – even though I don’t work at that station.

her eyes follow your car along the road

You see, back when Hasser and I did that cross-country road trip back in 2005, we both thought it would be fun to take photos of every roadside billboard we saw featuring local TV news personalities. Unfortunately we thought of it in the last twp hours of our 36 hour drive, passing hundreds of them along the way. And I’ve been meaning to start a photo collection ever since.

So I’ve started my very own Flickr group called, “Local TV Personality Billboards” and I’m looking for folks to submit shots of their area TV news anchors on roadside billboards. Anyone can join/post, and I give bonus points to those who have the “Mount Rushmore” shots of anchors cut-n-pasted together, defying lighting and spacial composition. Anyone interested? It’s like a scavenger hunt!

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The Adventures of Danger Baby!

By April 28, 2009 Eliza

climbing the big slide

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very bad for you

By April 15, 2009 Houston, Uncategorized

very bad for you

I have a love/hate relationship with this Gossip Girl billboard that hangs over my commute home each day. It features a young couple that are perpetually about to “go at it”.

On some afternoons I look up there and think, “Aww yeah!” On other days, when I’m not in the mood for their foreplay, I think, “Get room already!” But they never get a room, nor do they ever stop. He just keeps kissing her neck over and over again, and she always looks as if she’s about to fall out of the billboard onto the 610E.

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Tuesday was Conan O’brien Day

By March 10, 2009 Houston, KPRC

This morning I rushed to work a little faster than usual (sorry traffic cops) becuase I just couldn’t wait to get there. And why is that? Well, because today Conan O’Brien was in town to check-in on his favorite Houston NBC affiliatte.

Conan and me

I was on-hand to witness all the action, and was lucky enough to produce some promos starring him and our anchors. Strictly from my point of view, here’s how the day went down:

8:30am – Got to work, and my boss updated me on some changes to our scripts, and we also added some copy for other affiliattes and a few other random ’shout outs’. Moments later I got to work making cue cards by printing out large-fonted scripts from MS Word. Feels like deja vous, after doing this just over a week ago with Mario Lopez.

9am – Half hour away from shooting, and I went with the photographer into the studio to get everything set up. I took over part of the Severe Weather center and made it home to my stacks of scripts and cue cards.

9:30-10am – During this period we all sorta waited around, and used the time to make minor script and lighting tweaks. Conan arrived in the building and did a newspaper interview. At one point, someone from our building ran up to me and asked if I had an electric razor and Splenda brand sweetener. I’ve learned from MacGuyver that these two elements, when combined, make a very powerful explosive.

10:05am – Went to my desk and emptied out my Splenda stash, so that Conan could have a sweet, delicious beverage to sip on.

10:30am – We got into the studio, and I snapped a few pics while one of the anchors did an interview with Conan. He’s really friendly and constantly cracks clever jokes as we maneuver through each new thing we have him do. He briefly talked about how the robotic newsroom cameras were “learning our ways and would someday rise up an murder us all’. With him today was also his show’s EP and a videographer (who was a really cool guy that works on his show, and may possibly be a producer on The Office and other way-too-cool stuff). Afterwards I quickly introduced myself, and then was told by the affiliatte relations person that I should calm down and talk slower – a difficult thing to do after drinking a venti Starbucks Cafe Americano.

The rest of my post got eaten in the database error…posting it soon…

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