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KPRC

Proof Reel: Broadcast News Image (KPRC)

By April 21, 2010 Houston, KPRC, Photography, Promos

Proof Reel: Broadcast News Image from JL Watkins on Vimeo.

If you’ve seen any of my promos in the past year, then chances are you’ll recognize some of this footage. Basically, I’m getting my various reels together for my (soon-to-be) upgraded photo/video site…and whatever future marketing needs I might have now that we’re moving. My intent is to demonstrate my digital cinematography skills for use in broadcast promos and related projects.

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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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hanging in my office

By January 20, 2010 KPRC

hanging in my office


Hanging above the door in my office is my photo mural of NBC managers: Ron Swanson, Michael Scott, Jack Donaghy, and my boss Gary Wann.

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Local 2 Mornings – Your Olympic Team

By December 18, 2009 KPRC, Promos

The morning team are quickly becoming my favorite people to shoot with. Here’s my latest fun promo, that’ll tie-in to the upcoming Olympic games.

Your Olympic Team from JL Watkins on Vimeo.

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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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KPRC – Frank B viewer promos #1

By October 14, 2009 Houston, Promos

KPRC – Severe Weather promos #1 from JL Watkins on Vimeo.

As a promo producer, I’m always working on new promos…and it’s highly likely that they’re weather-related. This newest round features the Chief Meteorologist, Frank Billingsley meeting with some of the viewers who have written the station over the past year. And there’s three more of these type of spots in the editing phase right now.

Everything was shot with my Canon 5D Mark 2 still camera (though this time I had a Zacuto rig and DAT recorder for audio) and composited in FCP and After Effects.

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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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the lonely football field

By August 14, 2009 KPRC

While editing a promo for KPRC’s high school football show, I got the urge to make a little montage of only the cutaway shots that were devoid of people and action.

the lonely football field from JL Watkins on Vimeo.

It ended up being a weird, little promo in itself.

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One of my new weather spots

By August 14, 2009 Promos

Here’s a quick embed of the first of a series in Local 2 weather coverage promos I’ve been producing. These spots use similar typography as the NBC network look, which was nicely rendered by Ginny Landers, my Adobe After Effects role model.

I’ll probably post the whole campaign in the next week or so, when all the spots get into rotation.

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“Local 2 Investigates is there.”

By June 25, 2009 Houston, KPRC, Promos

I’ve been doing a lot of promos at KPRC recently, but haven’t had any new video to post. Most of my stuff lately has had a lot of NBC footage, and is more ‘day turn’ sort of stuff anyway. Well, I finally have something blogworthy. Here’s one promo from a series of new spots promoting KPRC’s kick-ass investigative unit, Local 2 Investigates.

Did I mention this was all shot on my still camera? Aww yeah, 5D2 FTW!

Local 2 Investigates image promo from JL Watkins on Vimeo.

There’s also an alternate version of this spot, with just the announcer speaking (and a really-alternative version that I’m hoping gets approved), and also each of the reporters has their own shorter personalized promo.

With all the cool 3D animations and Lensbaby HD video aside, my favorite part has got to be the ‘street posters’ of the gang. My boss thought of it when we were out scouting locations for the shoot, and it worked out really well. Now I have three giant posters of the gang looming over me in my office, keeping watchful eye over my internet usage.

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“Stephen Dean is there.”

By June 25, 2009 Houston, KPRC, Photography

Stephen Dean

I’ve been snapping a ton of RAW photos, and I finally got the chance to shoot a project that can use some ‘high pass’ and bleach filtering that I’ve been dying to process some photos with. The investigative photos work better with this look than shots of my daughter playing with dolls, for sure.

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Shooting with the Canon 5D2

By June 25, 2009 KPRC, Promos

Here’s some semi-raw video shot with my Canon 5D Mark2 still camera that’ll be used for a promotional campaign. I have much more video – all these shots are done with my Lensbaby Composer lens attachment.

semi-raw video; my Lensbaby shots from JL Watkins on Vimeo.

Shooting with the 5D2 has its limitations, for sure, but the saturation and depth-of-field more than makes up for them. You just have to practice and come up with some of your own tricks to get exactly what you want. Actually, I can’t wait to see what my next project looks like now that I actually have full manual control over the exposure with the new firmware update. (For this project I only used audio as an enhancement, or to hear my shot markers. I have had some luck with audio on other projects — more on that in another post).

Anyway, I just wanted to show off some raw video before posting the actual promo spots with all the post-production enhancements. Not bad for a consumer camera sporting a toy lens, right?

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working in the studio this week

By May 14, 2009 Photography

Here’s a quick pic I snapped of the studio lighting setup that I’m working with this week, and carefully maneuvering around. I’m taking tons of headshots and publicity stills of the KPRC talent while trying not to trip over any cords and lighting stands.

this week's studio lighting setup

Of course, the real talent is Andy Patterson, the lighting director. Between him and the fabulous Canon 5DII, I’m just a guy pushing a button. I’ll be posting some of my work as soon as I get the shots processed (and I get the clearance).

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I finished a few Conan promos

By March 13, 2009 Houston, KPRC, Promos

Here’s a few of the quick, local promos for the Tonight Show countdown.

These don’t air for well over a month, but I was given the green light to post them on the blog. Plenty of time for me to obsess about one or two small things that I want to tweak before then.

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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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