Projects Archives - SkEye Studios
St. Thomas More Capital Campaign

St. Thomas More Capital Campaign

As a creative company, we love working with clients who are excited to incorporate narratives into their messaging.  For the past year, Project LEAD, a task force of individuals in the St. Thomas More Catholic community, have been gathering information and starting plans for a capital campaign that will be initiated this year.  They invited us to help them craft their messages to the community at large through videos.  The historic church and school community in Portland is doing the capital campaign to raise significant funds for major renovations and additions to their school and community center.


Before initiating the big “ask” for donations, we wanted to help Project LEAD remind their community members what makes them all unique-remind them why some of the longest-standing families and individuals have remained active members of the community.  We designed a narrative video that told the story of St. Thomas More using a comparison and contrast of the past and present.  


We gathered photos from families and individuals who have been active in the St. Thomas More community for generations.  The video transforms these old polaroids and washed out photos into active, living memories.  Parishioners and parents who raised their children at St. Thomas More tell their own stories-bringing about the realization that their school and church community is and always has been one of the most central ties to their respective life-forming relationships and experiences.

The St. Thomas More “Honoring our past, building our future” video will be out later this spring!

Moon Seed

Moon Seed

At SkEye, we’re incredibly passionate about projects that push us to create awesome things.  In fact, we make a point to ensure that if we have an idea of a new technique or great story, we find ways to get our hands dirty and put it into action.

In mid-February, we took a weekend to film “Moon Seed,” an emotional, narrative short about a space-loving boy whose dreams take shape through his imagination.  This passion-project was written and directed by Margaret.

We partnered with Justin Alpern and MEE, LLC. from California.  Justin and Margaret were classmates in film school at Chapman University.  Justin was our director of photography for the weekend.  He not only brought his talent as a cinematographer, but he also brought an extensive amount of equipment for us to use to get the best quality shots possible.  One of my favorite pieces of equipment he brought was a single light that mimicked the sun.  Worth $10,000, it was used in a variety of ways on set to give us the most clean light possible.  My favorite was when he set it up to mimic the moonlight flooding through the window.  Ironically, higher in the sky, the real moon shone bright and clear as well.

Passion projects require a special group of people.  We are forever grateful and indebted and to our good friends Mark and Julee who opened their home to us.  It couldn’t have been more picturesque-not only was there plenty of space for all our gear and sets, but the white-picket fence and perpetual green of Western Oregon put Margaret’s vision over the top.

Our fearless actor, Rylie, was the best kid for the job!  Being “Tommy” for the production looked natural.  He took direction like a champ!  In the course of the weekend, we learned that he has always loved outer space, and he and his father even made their own space video once!

The first day of shooting included a green screen, a LOT of dirt to create the best version of the moon, “moon” rocks, and the coolest astronaut costume you’ve ever seen.  The second day was our first day on-site at Mark and Julee’s charming home.  Located in the Pacific Northwest, we’re used to early spring rain…however this was the one day we were praying for clear skies.  Luckily, the universe cooperated and we had clear shots for the times that we were shooting outdoors!  Finally, the last day began shooting later to use the waning light of the afternoon and evening.  We brought the neighborhood outside their homes to gawk at the “moon”light we created.

Post-production of the short is projected to be completed mid-April.  Custom graphics-including a rocket ship for the green screen and a custom score are currently being created.  

How To: Lighting a Video Interview


Videos require stories, stories require story-telling, and story-telling, well, it requires lighting. Wait? What? Let us explain, at SkEye Studios we ask a lot of questions: How do you make an interview stand out? What is the most important part of an on-camera interview with a subject? Does three-point lighting really matter? What is three-point lighting?

The Experiment

Who doesn’t like experiments? Besides, why take the advice from experienced greats like Errol Morris? He has only won several Academy Awards and Best Documentary Film a couple times 😉  Prior to the production of our latest project with iTech Painting (Lead Paint PSA), we decided to spend a few hours in the studio experimenting with lighting an interview. We asked ourselves, is three-point lighting really necessary? And, is one of the lights more important than another?

Key Light

  1. the main source of light in a photograph or film.

Arguably one of the most important lights on an interview, this is the main source of light in an interview. If you don’t have a key light you probably won’t see too much of the subject. If you only have one light, this would be the place to use it.

Fill Light

  1. a supplementary light used in photography or filming that does not change the character of the main light and is used chiefly to lighten shadows.

The fill light is more optional than the key light. It is used to reduce the amount of contrast on the subject’s face. It is typically set up directly opposite of the key light and farther away from the subject to evenly spread the light across the scene.

Hair Light (also known as back light)

  1. illumination from behind.

The hair light (which is nearly synonymous with the term back light) is placed behind the subject around 3 feet above their head. It is arguably one of the coolest and most interesting lights on the set. It has the ability to make you look like an angel, but if it is not used properly it can cause an unwanted lens flare. It is also the light you would use if you are trying to keep someone’s identity secret…as you can see from our screenshot.

All of this aside, the hair light, when used in conjunction with the other lighting, provides a very nice silhouette around the subject and makes them pop off the background. This is a very nice added touch to an interview as it adds depth to the shot.

Hair light

Using only a hair light might seem a little humorous, but it is quite useful if you are trying to protect someone’s identity.

No Hair light with Key Light

You can see in this picture that the set does not look as deep. The lack of light on the shoulders and hair makes the subject blend into the background more of the set.

Back Drop

  1. a painted cloth hung at the back of a theater stage as part of the scenery.

Lighting the back drop is probably one of the most overlooked aspects when lighting an interview. This is because it is a very subtle addition to set. However, you will notice that it definitely adds another interesting element to the set of an interview. One common mistake when lighting the backdrop is letting some of the light spill onto the subject. It is very important that you use barn doors or flanges to focus the light onto only what you want to light.

Beat Feet Documentary Premiere – Spokane, Wash.

Beat Feet Documentary Premiere - Spokane, Wash.

As many of you know, our company decided to begin following Scotty Smiley on his journey to becoming an Ironman last March. But what some of you didn’t know is that last week we premiered our first documentary, Beat Feet: Scotty Smiley’s Blind Journey to the Ironman, to a packed house at the Bing Crosby Theater in Spokane, Washington.  We had 550 people join us for the first private screening of the film.  The most popular question of the night was “When can we see it again?” The answer to that depends on where you live. However, our goal is to have it available to people all over the world as soon as possible.

The evening featured appetizers by Black Tie Catering, craft beers by River City Brewing, photos by our own Patrick and Jacob, and impeccable hosting by the Bing Theater staff.

Showing several months of intense work is a bag of mixed feelings.  Proud, nervous, excited, anticipation, crazy, whirlwind, fulfilling, and relief are all words that describe how the SkEye team felt before, during, and after that evening.

This documentary has found a home in our hearts and the hearts of many who have had the opportunity to see it.  You can’t help but feel inspired by Scotty and Andy’s accomplishment and the unwavering support of their friends and family.  Finding the strength to “beat feet” and to go the extra mile is a challenge that has energized us, individually and as a team.  It is evidenced in the long hours spent organizing footage, meticulously melding sound to shots and antagonizing over crafting Scotty’s story into something that resonates with many.  

Beat Feet is a not-for-profit project.  Rather, it was the fulfillment of a dream and the start of what we hope to be a long-standing tradition of telling stories that inspire and speak to the soul.  The evening of the premiere, we raised over $6,000 alone.  We are still accepting donations that will fund the post-production and additional screenings of the documentary.  Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Beat Feet Foundation, the sponsor of this project.  Online donations are possible through the crowd-funding platform, Generosity.  We also check our mailbox regularly and love finding checks!

SkEye Finds Kirsten in Honduras

SkEye Finds Kirsten in Honduras

Kirsten is our most recent addition.  She comes to us from Carroll College with degrees in Communications and Public Relations.  She would have joined our team earlier, but she was busy traveling the world.  She recently returned from a year-long volunteer opportunity in Honduras and is now relatively fluent in Spanish.  She brings to the table a much needed organizational passion that is already proved to be extremely valuable.

Originally from Idaho, Kirsten also calls Montana home.  Her favorite places to explore are Paradise Valley, Helena, and hometown breweries, and the Portland metro area.  She loves pretending to be “outdoors-y” by hiking with friends, window shopping through small town downtowns, cooking and baking, reading, and medium-length car rides.  

Before entering the film industry, Kirsten’s background lay in hospitality and experiential marketing.  She is passionate about helping others realize their full potential and the joys that come from travel and doing things outside their comfort zones.  After one or two film and media classes in college, she never dreamed she would come to join the industry.

Kirsten has always wanted a career in which her abilities and passions meet a need.  While living in a third-world country, she realized that she would never be comfortable returning to the States only to have some average job that she might feel indifferent towards.  Rather, Kirsten knew she wanted to be in an energizing and challenging role that would allow her desire to help others in a positive environment to flourish.

Margaret the Rockstar Joins the Team

Margaret the Rockstar Joins the Team

Margaret Anderson is a creative mastermind who graduated from Chapman University last year with a Master in Fine Arts in film production with an emphasis in directing.  She provides a huge boost in production value on all of our projects by helping us put our clients’ story into compelling visual experiences.  In fact, she has already made a huge impact on our biggest project yet, Beat Feet: Scotty Smiley’s Blind Journey to the Ironman.

Margaret grew up in Oregon where her love of stories brought her to OSU where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English.  After landing a job at a radio and television station, Margaret was able to combine her love of stories with media.

Using skills in writing, editing and collaboration, Margaret completed an independent feature film which was the impetus for her journey to Chapman University to study directing.  She was accepted to Chapman as an editor and spent her first year not only developing her skills as an editor, but learning to love the whole process of filmmaking, including directing.  The next year, she was accepted into the directing program and since has had the opportunity to make a variety of short films, write a feature script, direct a television pilot and even direct a film in Burkina Faso, Africa.  In 2014, Margaret was accepted into the Halsell Scholarship program where she spent the year under the mentorship of Women in Film President and Oscar-winner Cathy Schulman.

Margaret’s awards and accolades include the Meredith McCrae award for outstanding direction in film by the Women in Film Society and the Directors’ Guild Student Film Award for Women and Minorities, first place.  Her thesis film premiered in the Portland Film Festival in 2015.

Margaret enjoys Humphrey Bogart flicks, obscure board games, and flannel.