Mark Adams discusses Rocketclips beginning

Artbeats’ customers and subscribers have evinced a lot of interest in learning more about our footage producers: e.g., how they started in the business, what challenges they met, what cameras are their favorites, what advice they would give when shooting stock footage, and so forth. What would be a better way to start off a series of producer interviews than to feature Mark Adams of Rocketclips?

rocketclips

Q: When did Rocketclips begin shooting?

A: I started as an assignment still photographer in 1978 and began shooting stock stills in 1984, by the mid-90’s shooting stock stills was my full-time living. I founded Rocketclips and picked up my first video camera in 1999, by 2001 the change-over to motion was complete.

 

Q: Your library is full of great shots of people doing various activities. What is your favorite setting for capturing this “lifestyle” footage?

A: I’ve been working a lot with a set we built. We can dress it for business and medical. Sometimes it’s a living room or a bedroom. We’ve even turned it into a clothing store and a spa.

Family connecting to social media

RC-FH183-024. – African American family using cellphone and tablets

 

Q: What are some of the challenges you face with doing studio shoots vs on location?

A: I prefer to shoot indoors. It’s easier to control the environment. Being on location allows the talent to interact with the real world, things can feel more natural but the trade off is just what you would expect; weather, dirt, sand, less than interesting backgrounds, police. Among the biggest challenges we face wherever we shoot are the logistics of managing props and wardrobe. Also camera movement is a huge challenge, especially on a budget. After years as a still stock shooter, working with talent comes very naturally. It’s all the gear necessary for shooting motion that makes us crazy.

Happy friends laughing and dancing

RC-FH234-083 – Happy business colleagues dancing

 

Q: What’s your favorite clip that you currently have represented in the Artbeats FootageHub?

A: I don’t have favorite clips. I have favorite shoots. Those are the shoots when I’m at my best and I’ve got terrific talent. I bring it, they bring it and the footage looks great.

RC-FH232-134 - Young couple making faces

RC-FH232-134 – Young couple making faces

 

Q: What¹s the best or worst thing that happened to you on a shoot?

A: The best was shooting childbirth. The worst, getting arrested for shooting with out permits.

Man being arrested

RC-FH177-2009 – Man with handcuffs

 

Q: What is the one thing you wished you¹d been able to capture?

A: One time I splurged and rented a helicopter to shoot the Las Vegas strip at twilight. I didn’t have the money for a stabilized camera mount, so they took the doors off for me and I hung out hand held, totally useless footage. I envy Phil; he does wonderful aerials.

RC-FH097-001 -  Las Vegas Boulevard at night

RC-FH097-001 – Las Vegas Boulevard at night

 

Q: Which camera(s) do you prefer for shooting stock footage?

A: Right now I’m shooting with a Red Epic and I love it. Shooting raw is like a dream come true.

 

Q: What advice can you give to shooters who are just getting started in the stock footage industry?

A: Anyone being honest will tell you that shooting stock has taken a hit from lowering prices. It’s tough to make a living solely from stock. My advice? Anyone with the skill to use a tool, whether it’s a law book, a wrench or a camera can make a living with that tool, if they are talented, committed and passionate.

Young woman doing homework and talking on smart phone

RC-FH208-104 – Young woman on cellphone and studying.

 

About Rocketclips:

Mark Adams, Rocketclips

Mark Adams, Rocketclips

Rocketclips, Inc was founded by Mark Adams in 1999.
Mark is an experienced professional photographer and videographer who lives with his family in Long Beach, CA.
He graduated in 1978 from the commercial photography program at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.
He began shooting stock stills in 1984 and migrated into motion with video in 1999.
Rocketclips always uses professional talent and specializes in lifestyle, business and nature imagery.

Encounter with a Tornado

eNews Headline Image June 2014wAuthor

I am not superstitious but I find it interesting that my first encounter with a tornado happened on Friday, June 13th near Devil’s Tower, Wyoming.

My storm chasing trip started June 9th when I flew to Minneapolis to meet up with partners, Skip Talbot, forecaster and professional chaser (http://www.skip.cc/), and Jennifer Brindley, also a chaser and professional photographer (http://jenniferbrindleyphotography.com/storms/). This was to be an amazing eight-day adventure where we would see no fewer than six tornados.

Jennifer Brindley and Skip Talbot in front of Devil’s Tower (the site of the Close Encounter’s close encounter)

Jennifer Brindley and Skip Talbot in front of Devil’s Tower (the site of the Close Encounter’s close encounter)

On this day, the storm we would chase was expected to initiate in the late afternoon, so we took some time to hike and take a sightseeing trip to Devil’s Tower. Sure enough, by 4pm, a large storm sprang to life just west of Hulett, Wyoming and the chase was on.

Tornados typically form under the updraft base of a supercell thunderstorm. This is typically seen as a cloud lowering on the southern portion of the storm. As the base begins to rotate, a “hook” shape often forms on radar. This is a radar image of the storm taken from my phone as we made our approach (Yes, there’s an app for that!).

Tornados form under the updraft base of a supercell thunderstorm. This is typically seen as a cloud lowering on the southern portion of the storm. As the base begins to rotate, a “hook” shape often forms on radar. This is a radar image of the storm taken from my phone as we made our approach (Yes, there’s an app for that!).

Normally, when chasing storms in the Plain States, we are in open country, but this storm was maturing in the hilly country of the Bear Lodge Mountains. Very few highways intersect this area but we found a spot on Highway 24 about 15 miles southeast of Hulett. Our vantage point gave us a view to the northwest where the storm had just become Severe-Warned. The track of the storm was eastward, so it would likely make a close pass to our north.

Here I am filming the storm as it approached from the northwest. Skip Talbot is standing next to me. Photo by Jennifer Brindley.

Here I am filming the storm as it approached from the northwest. Skip Talbot is standing next to me. Photo by Jennifer Brindley.

The sky became dark and ominous, and the storm, which was now officially Tornado-Warned, showed obvious rotation at its base. Wind started gusting around us, and as the updraft base came closer  it became hidden by the foreground hills to our north. Little did we know that a strong tornado was at the heart of this rotating cloud. Soon it became obvious that the storm was becoming increasingly violent. White clouds were whipping across the ridge to our north. We felt a blast of hot air, then heard an unearthly crackling roar, both being signs that a tornado is very close. Strong winds forced me to move my camera to the shelter of the van.

Jennifer Brindley catches me moving the camera out of the wind.

Jennifer Brindley catches me moving the camera out of the wind.

 

This clip shows the rotating cloud to our north at its closest point.

Rotating Cloud (720p version)

We continued to be battered by winds that were as strong as any I have felt in my life, winds at our back that were attempting to draw us toward the storm. We felt another blast of hot air. Skip assured us that we were perfectly safe in this location.

Can you see the dark funnel shape in the center of this contrast-enhanced image?

Can you see the dark funnel shape in the center of this contrast-enhanced image?

This composite image shows our location southeast of Hulett, and the radar signature of the tornado at its beginning and at its end, with the white line connecting the two showing a possible path.

This composite image shows our location southeast of Hulett, and the radar signature of the tornado at its beginning and at its end, with the white line connecting the two showing a possible path.

Soon the winds died down as the storm passed to our northeast. As we drove away, Skip commented that we didn’t see a tornado, we experienced it. That sums it up nicely.  It was later classified as a strong EF-2 with winds of up to 120mph and a track of 18 miles. Fortunately it passed over sparsely populated country so there was no loss of life and only one injury. It did destroy a mobile home, several outbuildings, and mowed down a significant number of large ponderosa pine trees.

Damage photos from the Crook County Tornado

Damage photos from the Crook County Tornado

Damage photos from the Crook County Tornado

Damage photos from the Crook County Tornado

Damage photos from the Crook County Tornado

Damage photos from the Crook County Tornado

Damage photos from the Crook County Tornado

Damage photos from the Crook County Tornado

This was to be the first tornado encounter in an amazing storm chasing trip and was an experience I will never forget. Over the next few months, we’ll be doing the post work on the footage shot on the Epic, and we’ll make it available as soon as possible. There is so much I want to share, plus more tornado stories will be coming in future Artbeats eNewsletters, so stay tuned!

What’s the difference between Royalty-Free and Rights Managed stock footage?

Quite often we’re asked to explain the difference between Rights Managed and Royalty-Free stock footage. So many editors are accustomed to purchasing under the Rights Managed model. However, Royalty-Free can be an economical alternative. Here’s a quick overview to help you decide which footage license fits best for your needs.

Rights Managed, or “traditional” stock footage licensing, is typically a per second fee based on specific use. When you’re ready to license a Rights Managed clip, you’ll be required to disclose the intended use of the clip, including medium and geographical venue, as well as the length of time your project will be displayed. For instance, if the footage is to be used in a regional television ad spot for a three-month period, the fee would be much less than if it was to be used in a worldwide campaign for a full year. Once this pre-determined period has ended, you’ll have the option of renewing the license, therefore extending the length of time you are able to run your campaign. Keep in mind that any changes you make to the usage of the clip will change the price of the license.

Royalty-Free stock footage licensing allows for much more freedom in usage. In the case of Artbeats royalty-free footage, pricing is the same for nearly every use. Once you pay the initial license fee, the footage can be used in a local spot, a worldwide television broadcast, even a feature film, with no additional costs. In addition to that, you retain the right to use the footage in future projects as well. There are a few limitations to using Artbeats royalty-free footage, particularly our Low-Res footage, so be sure to read the license agreement before purchasing any stock footage for your projects.

With any stock footage, whether Rights Managed or Royalty-Free, it’s important to understand that you’re not purchasing the actual footage, instead you’re purchasing a license to use the footage.