header image

Enduring Trust

Enduring Trust – The History and Aspirations of The Cleveland Foundation

Airing Monday October 20th at 9pm on PBS/ideastream

TV Promo Click Here

At a moment when the fabulously wealthy Americans of the Gilded Age were creating private foundations, something unprecedented happened to revolutionize philanthropy. In 1914, Frederick Goff, a community-minded banker, was determined to solve the persistent problems of poverty in Cleveland. Enduring Trust: The History and Aspirations of The Cleveland Foundation explores Goff’s philanthropic innovation which sought to address the needs of coming generations by pooling numerous individual bequests into a community foundation.

The future-focused community foundation was groundbreaking, optimistic and contained what Goff himself described as a “nut radical” idea. It was only through the urging and persistence of his liberally-minded wife, Frances, that the additional innovation of a public board was included in his original concept. Goff’s pragmatic and studied approach, an enduring hallmark of the Progressive Era, led to a series of pioneering philanthropic practices, while also adapting to the community’s ever-changing social and economic challenges.

Enduring Trust, through in-depth interviews with nationally recognized scholars and historians, tells the story of The Cleveland Foundation; interwoven with the history of the city and nation. The essence of the Foundation, according to its current CEO, is courage. This program explores the Foundation’s dramatic and radical early history as it rose to the challenges of urban America in the Progressive Era. Then, for a period of about twenty years, the Foundation lost its edge. It became more a part of the status quo, responsive to the established community’s needs but absent its social activism. In the early 1960′s, through the commitment of a new generation of leadership, the Foundation made a dynamic turn around. It rediscovered its true purpose and returned to the original courageous spirit of its founders. Today, its history stands as a model to address the ever changing needs of communities everywhere.

add your comment

Leave a Reply

The Story of Root Candles

A still life of memorabilia from the Root Candles corporate archives was appropriately shot with only the light from candles.

One of my favorite films is Stanley Kubrick’s, Barry Lyndon. In addition to the glorious cinematography, there are a couple of production legends from the making of that film that often come to mind. The first is how Kubrick waited for just the right cloud formations during the filming of some of the exteriors. The second was how he talked his friend Carl Zeiss into making special extremely sensitive lenses so he could shoot in actual candle light.

Still from Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, Barry Lyndon. Kubrick worked with lens maker Carl Zeiss to design a lens that would allow him to film in candle light.

These two filmmaking production “legends” came to life  for me on a very low budget scale during the filming of a corporate history for the Medina-based Root Candles Company. Their company was founded in 1869 by Amos Ives Root who was a man obsessed with bees. More on him in a minute.  This project allowed me to use Commercial Sound and Image’s new Red Epic camera for the first time.

The Red Epic Camera is a twenty first century invention that epitomizes Digital Cinematography.

I was thrilled to use this camera. It has become its own Hollywood legend and is being used to film same. Peter Jackson is using 48 of these cameras to film this Christmas’ blockbuster, The Hobbit (in 3D). For an amazing behind the scenes tour of that production, including a brilliant technical overview of the Red Camera please check out this link: The Hobbit Blog #4

The A.I. Root Company was founded in Medina, Ohio in 1869.

An early morning shot of the Root Candle historic building reminded me of Stanley Kubrick waiting for cloud formations. The comparison is laughable, but I did think about Kubrick having the guts to keep hundreds of crew and actors waiting as the clouds drifted into the right spot. We failed miserably as the clouds came in to wreck our golden morning light, and unlike Kubrick, we moved on to the next shot.

I thought of him again as we set up a still life with photographs and memorabilia (shown above). I had read about the Red Camera’s ability to shoot in extremely low light and I thought why not put it to the test? It seemed totally appropriate to light a shot depicting the history of a Candle Company with candle light. Unlike Kubrick, we did not even need a specially designed lens. The Red Epic performed magnificently using nothing but the flickering candles!

Tapered dinner candles being dipped into pools of hot wax on the Root Candles production line.

The founder of Root Candles was a guy who loved gadgets and inventions. He was fascinated with electricity and honey bees. The attraction to bees first led to commercial success in the honey business and then later to candles as his descendants moved away from the honey business and into the mass production of high quality candles.

Amos Ives Root was fascinated with honey bees and electricity. His inventive nineteenth century mind would have appreciated the innovative Red Epic camera developed by Jim Jannard in the twenty first century.

Amos Ives Root would have been all over the Red Epic camera. The Red was pioneered by a like-minded twenty first century tinkerer and inventor, Jim Jannard. This camera has taken over Hollywood and many of the films you see in theaters such as Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Prometheus, and The Amazing Spiderman were all shot with a Red.
The Red Epic Camera takes individual “prime” lenses in addition to the standard zoom. Prime lenses give a much more cinematic look.

For me, the best part about working with a Red Epic is the lenses. It was a complete joy to work with gorgeous “prime” lenses. Unlike the traditional zoom lens on most cameras that shoot video, prime lenses give a completely cinematic look. This is a look I am always trying to achieve but it takes so much work when you are not using the right tools. The combination of the Red’s ability to shoot with less light, coupled with its prime lenses create a look best defined by the terms digital cinematography.

add your comment

Mission in 4 Parts – Mt. Sinai 2010 Annual Report

The OMNI Quartet is composed of four superb musicians from The Cleveland Orchestra. All photos by David Turben

Almost every day, I begin my day with the music of string quartets. Breakfast with Mozart or Hayden is peaceful, and I never seem to get tired of it. Imagine my delight to recently have the opportunity to film a world class string quartet whose members are in the Cleveland Orchestra! It is something I have always wanted to do.

Tanya Ell, in a dreamy moment of sustained concentration, plays Cello for the OMNI Quartet.

Every other year or so, the Mt. Sinai Foundation hires TELOS to do a story for their annual meeting. These meetings are open to the public and take place in the Reinberger Chamber Hall inside Severance Hall. I suppose this peripheral connection to chamber music lead me down the road to develop this concept for them, but really it came from thinking hard about the number four. I was trying to come up with a way to emphasize the Foundation’s four part mission. Should we have four pillars? A rectangle? Four strands in a rope? And then it hit me.

The quartet concept felt somehow “right” to everyone as soon as it was presented. This year they are featuring the work they do for the Jewish community in Cleveland, but they also felt it was important to include the other three parts of their service. These include the health of the general community; medical research & bio-science; and their work with the Government and Health Care legislation.

The OMNI Quartet (from left to right) seated: Jung-Min Amy Lee – violin, Joanna Patterson – viola. Standing: Alicia Koelz – violin, Tanya Ell – cello.

With all of the musical arts in this region, I was pretty sure we could find a good quartet but I was unprepared to find an outstanding one. Joshua Smith, the Principal Flute of the Cleveland Orchestra, recommended a group of his colleagues and friends, the OMNI Quartet. We wanted to use a Jewish composer and we eventually decided upon Ravel’s String Quartet in F major. This is a gorgeous piece but it is really difficult and I was a bit nervous and knew the concept would succeed or fail based on the quartet’s ability. When I first heard the first movement in a rehearsal I almost burst into tears. The OMNI Quartet is superb and it is their technical skill, and musical talent which transformed a good concept into something almost magical. It was an honor to work with them.

Jung-Min Amy Lee caught in a fiery passage from the Ravel Quartet in F minor.

I wanted the sequence to be as visually interesting as it was musically sound. For some unknown reason, I thought it might be really attractive to see this young and sophisticated string quartet in the middle of forest. Thankfully, the President of the Mt. Sinai Foundation, Mitch Balk, who I’ve known for years trusts me. When I first suggested this he simply said, “Why?” I said I thought it would look amazing and he said, without any hesitation at all, “Go for it!” We were also extremely lucky that the OMNI Quartet is composed of four beautiful women; so once we found a perfect forest setting complete with dappled light and a nearby babbling stream we had an arresting visual impact to compliment one of the most gorgeous pieces of music composed for quartet.

The Ravel Quartet in F Major features fabulous pizzicato. Joanna Patterson, in stunning closeup, plucks the strings of her viola.

I had shot in Cleveland’s Metroparks before and I was not looking forward to the complications of permissions and insurance bonds and park rangers and bureaucracies. As I remember the Metroparks was pretty nice about it, but they have a process to protect themselves and I didn’t really want to go through their mill. Turns out, George Gates (who owns Commercial Recording Studios) had a better idea. His housing development in Richfield had the foresight to preserve an unspoiled and perfect forest area. It was private, accessible and stunning. Problem solved.

Director, Tom Ball and Digital Cinematographer, Yoshi Andrego discuss the next shot.

We shot the sequence with a Cannon Mark 7 tricked out with all the bells and whistles of matte box, filters, great lenses, dolly, track, jib, and the kitchen sink. Commercial Recording did their usual outstanding job of making everything go smoothly.

Alicia Koelz, with perfect performance posture, gives dramatic and glamorous eye contact to her colleagues.

To round out the production team, David Turben, of Photos by Turben (PBT) was on set to take truly beautiful stills and Natasha Sharkarov did a wonderful job of making the beautiful performers look even more glamourous. David showed up with a giant rolling yellow “roadie” case filled with additional lenses and another Cannon Mark 7 which we used as a second wide angle camera. This cut our production time in half and really saved the day. We also were grateful for his 85mm f1.5 lens which added a dramatic mystique to an already impressive set up.

Sun-dappled light filtered through silk gave a naturally lit authenticity to the sequence.

Although ComRec had brought many sophisticated LED panels (which could be balanced for daylight) we ended up using the natural light dappled by the canopy of leaves. To bring the direct sun highlights down a bit they floated two 8 foot by 8 foot silks above the performers.

add your comment

Extreme Visions

A Telos program about architecture coming spring 2011

The argument is not new but it has never been so vociferous. The quarrel between the Ancients and the Moderns has erupted all over again. This time, the debate ensues on the campus of Princeton University, in big bold architectural statements by two world-class architects at the height of their powers. What is best for students? The comforting embrace of the familiar past or the provocative slap of the shock of the new?

Extreme Visions is an educational documentary project that explores the design and construction of the innovative Lewis Science Library, designed by Frank Gehry and the Collegiate Gothic Whitman College Dormitory Complex designed by Demetri Porphyrios. The documentary project is funded by a generous grant by Peter B. Lewis. This program contrasts the radically different architectural styles of the two buildings and also profiles the architectural philosophies and creative processes of the two designers.
The purpose of the program is to put these two world-class architects into the spotlight and compare their ideologies and their visions. The program will put the projects into oscillation with each other to raise issues of the traditional V.S. the modern and to give future generations of architecture students an overview of styles and approaches on the opposite ends of the architectural spectrum.

It struck me that having these two great architects designing two dramatically different buildings for the same institution at the same time; it was a fascinating idea to me. I bet that out of this process, and out of the documenting of this process, will come some interesting revelations about clients and architectures and institutions and that the contrast may even bring out more. I think it might wind up being an interesting story.”

Peter B. Lewis

“Collegiate Gothic are the buildings that Universities built all around the country over the years, probably in England somewhere too. I think it’s kind of a symbol of solidity and integrity and all that stuff that people just latch onto because it has that meaning from a lot of historic campuses. You wonder why you have to do it at a university that’s mission is to deal with the future, and you wonder what that says about them?”

Frank Gehry

“It is the value of the ephemeral, the value of the novelty, the value of the newness which are all modernist values as opposed to values of robustness, and values of longevity.”

Demetri Porphyrios

“There is kind of an astonishment that I sometimes get from people in Princeton when they talk about the Gehry building, I mean you’d think something from Mars was going to land on the campus. There are those who might argue that fifty years from now we’re going to look at the Gehry building as some sort of weird aberration of the turn of the 21st century, whereas the Porphyrios building will fit seamlessly into the larger historical fabric of Princeton. On the other hand, I do find it a little odd that one would design a building – knowing what we know about the way that students live and work and think today – that we would design a building intentionally anachronistically that way. I think that this debate is part of the larger urban imperative of architecture.”

Stan Allen, Dean of Architecture Princeton University

Vanessa the Dolly Grip with the 25 foot telescopic crane in the Frank Gehry designed lower lobby of the new Lewis Science Library at Princeton.

Do you need different skills to look at sculpture than you do to look at painting? Does it help for you to look at Architecture in the ways you appreciate sculpture? What can be learned from Dance in the appreciation of buildings? Can these skills be learned? If so, what is the benefit?

If Architecture is really all about space, what is the best way to capture Architecture for a documentary? The secret probably lies in the way we experience buildings – we move through them. It is sort of like the difference between looking at paintings and looking at sculpture. The third dimension requires changing the point of view to get the full effect. You usually can’t walk around a painting and see it from the other side, but if you don’t do that with sculpture it will not be fully revealed. To make buildings come alive on Film, you need to move the camera – and, in order to not make you seasick, it needs to be camera movement as controlled and carefully choreographed as Dance.

Recently, at Princeton, I was thrilled to use two amazing contraptions to bring this about.

The crane is poised to do a swooping camera move at Whitman College at Princeton.

We came to Princeton to do “beauty shots” of two very different buildings. One is the Collegiate Gothic dormitory complex designed by Demetri Porphyrios and the other is the new the new Science Library designed by Frank Gehry. Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay, was the donor of the dormitory complex which is appropriately called, Whitman College. The new Science Library at Princeton is named for Peter B. Lewis, former CEO of Progressive Insurance and former Chairman of the Guggenheim Museum. We are examining these two very different buildings for a new documentary I’ve been telling you about, called Extreme Visions.

Why does moving the camera give you a better sense of how a building actually “feels?” I learned a great truth, a few years ago, from one of the giants of 20th Century architecture, Philip Johnson. He told me, “Architecture is all about your peripheral vision.” He said this after looking at some footage I had shot of one of Frank Gehry’s models. We had used a special snorkel lens and moved the camera and the lens with a dolly to give you the feeling that you were walking through the space (even though it was only a model). Philip Johnson was delighted with what he saw on the screen and thanks to his keen observation about peripheral vision, I’ve trained myself to try and better “see” buildings in this way.

Peripheral vision can be developed and learned. Bill Bradley, the Senator and former Basketball Forward for the NY Knicks talked about how he practiced seeing players out of the corner of his eye to make himself a better player. I’m suggesting the same sort of awareness – of what is at the edge of your vision – can enhance your enjoyment of architecture. If you are practicing this while you are walking through a space, as odd as it sounds, sometimes it helps to close one eye. This is one of the ways moving shots are designed and rehearsed by the Director and the Cameraman when planning dolly shots for movies.

Steadicam operator, Tom Upton, prepares to shoot with Director of Photography ,Ted Sikora and Sound Recordist, George Gates at Princeton’s Graduate College.

To make the buildings at Princeton come alive on the screen we first used Steadicam, which is a carefully-balanced stabilizing harness, which the cameraman wears. This allows the camera to float through spaces without the need for a camera dolly and track. One famous Steadicam operator I worked with described himself as, the Dolly that Bleeds. The Steadicam’s first big popular success was in the movie Rocky. You remember the famous shot with Rocky running up the museum steps and jumping around? That was shot with a Steadicam. The first big artistic success, of this device, was in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. You probably recall those shots as well. Remember those very smooth low angle shots of Danny riding his big wheel through the hotel? Or remember following Danny running through the maze? Those were all done by Garret Brown who invented the Steadicam. Kubrick was notorious for totally exhausting Garret Brown on that set.

The camera and the rig weighs over 60 pounds so you had better be in shape (like a great gymnast or dancer) if you are planning to operate a Steadicam. I felt terrible exhausting our very patient Steadicam operator, Tom Upton, as we put him through a grueling day covering three enormous buildings at Princeton. (We also shot Princeton’s Graduate College, a stunningly beautiful Collegiate Gothic complex designed by Ralph Adams Cram in 1913 which inspired some of the details of the new Whitman College.)

Vanessa the dolly grip and the crane outside the new Lewis Science Library at Princeton.

The second device we used was a 25 foot telescopic crane. Who would have thought “Dance” was the way to shoot buildings? Although I have used camera cranes on many occasions in the past, I never felt the camera dance as much as it did in the arms of the two talented crane operators we used on this shoot. “Vanessa the dancing Dolly Grip” and “Scotty the Telescopic Crane Designer” had a camera ballet going which needs to be seen to be believed. Scotty’s favorite movie is Brazil and his obsession with the movie showed in the design of his crane.

Scotty rotates the dials on his control panel which tilts, pans, zooms and rotates the camera as he choreographs the dolly moves from his seat behind the monitor.

A giant umbilical cord connects the crane controls to his remote-on-wheels operating panel which has more rotating dials and funky readouts than a U-Boat. He spins the camera in all directions as he watches a monitor, while Vanessa, with a trim dancer’s body and lithe athletic grace, moves the 25 foot carefully counter-balanced crane arm to Scotty’s instructions relayed to her through a wireless headset. The “Vanessa and Scotty Ballet” created breathtaking, carefully choreographed shots, which fly, spin, pan, tilt, float, rotate, swoop and otherwise defy gravity. I can’t wait for you to see this on a big screen.

The High Definition camera on the end of the 25 foot crane can tilt, pan, swivel and zoom as it flies through space.

All of this effort comes down to graceful fluid camera movement and delivering the “motion” part of motion pictures. A static image is one thing, the moving image is another. For Architecture, the building doesn’t move but you move through it. Using the concentration skills of a Dancer and becoming more aware of the space while you are moving through it, is a great way to more fully experience the art of Architecture. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts about all this.

add your comment

Jones Day China

Some projects just seem to come together organically and the Jones Day China project is happily one of those lucky ones. Shot on location in Hong Kong and Beijing the project would eventually involve contributors from all over the world. There are four, deceptively simple, three minute stories in this project but when you break them down into all the component parts it is fascinating how so many talented people around the globe collaborated to make these short films soar.

The project began with a visa hassle which threatened to derail us before we got started. I got the green light to work on these when I was in Italy and it is not so easy to get permission to visit China when you are traveling outside your home country. Thankfully, since it turned out we needed to stop in Hong Kong to get the visas for the mainland, we decided to shoot there as well. What an amazingly beautiful city, full of energy and fascinating history.

Our camera and crew was hired out of Beijing. The Jones Day liason, Ana FlorCruz, who is the Beijing Business Development and Communications Manager,  had great contacts in the media since her husband is bureau chief of CNN in Beijing. She suggested we take a look at a company called Asia Works and after five minutes on the phone with one of their top cameramen and Beijing Bureau Chief, Andrew Clark, I knew we were going to get along famously.

Andrew Clark, shown here holding his latest creation, Tiana who was born just a few weeks ago, is one of the founding partners of the company. He and his talented sound man, Qiao Xin, flew in to meet us in Hong Kong and after two days of shooting there with dolly and track and HK rented lighting gear we flew to Beijing which Andrew likes to call, “the Jing.”  Andrew and I were on the same page from our first half hour Italy-to-Beijing Skype call. I love his can do attitude and his articulate Australian-accented charm. We wanted a film look and Andrew achieved this through the use of recently developed digi-prime lenses manufactured by Carl Zeiss. These are lenses with a fixed focal length (instead of a zoom) and they gave our interviews a great soft focus background and a dramatic flair.


The great thing about this time lapse shot is that it dollys from right to left, revealing the highway traffic from behind the foreground building curtain wall.

This amazing shot was take by Tony Kern who is an American living in Singapore and has contributed to several Telos projects. Tony and I became friends a couple of years ago when I was facing a deadline and he trusted me to pay him belatedly because of a PayPal glitch. At that point, we did not know each other at all, and for him to trust a total stranger over the internet and help them out let me know he was not only talented but also generous.

Tony Kern is the director for Mythopolis Pictures and the stock footage portal TK Time-Lapse.   His work includes the feature length documentary A MONTH OF HUNGRY GHOSTS, which captures the sights and sounds of the annual ghost month festival in Singapore, and the horror film HAUNTED CHANGI, which focuses on one of the most haunted locations in the world.
Clips from TK Time-Lapse have been used in many independent and Hollywood productions and by networks including Discovery channel, NBC, CBS, BBC, MTV and so forth.  Kern’s short time-lapse film STEEL SKIES was screened at the Shanghai World Expo 2010.

Tony’s new  production  is a supernatural thriller with the great title, THIRD EYE OPEN, in which a series of ghostly tales unfold in Singapore when a detective opens his third eye in order to solve a case of the occult.

This shot taken in New York City shows  fast moving stormclounds over Manhatten as the sun sets.

Sev Florin runs HD Timelapse.net and is located in Bucharest, Romania. He shot the stunning footage of the New York Skyline at sunset from the rooftop of a public building in midtown. Sev has been know to wait for 11 hours in one spot just to make sure he got the right shot. He says, “I love to travel and to make time lapse. Best part about my job is when I travel …when I come back home to much work processing all the pictures into timelapse clips….but I like what I’m doing. When I am home I enjoy to make timelapse of my plants, flowers (seeding, growing, blooming).”

Seppe van Grieken, who took many of the China time lapse sequences, including the one of the massive CCTV building shown above,  moved from his native Belgium to attend to the Beijing Film Academy’s Advanced course in photography. He swiftly evolved from a studio photographer’s assistant to a photojournalist and is now working as the Asia based cameraman for VRT, Belgian national TV. He is fascinated with the combination of still photography and video in the challenging media of Time-lapse photography. He says, “My goal is to use a visual language in the mutual understanding between China and the West.” His first production, a short documentary on the World Expo in Shanghai is soon to be released


Michelle Moehler, Tim Lachina and Jim Peto do all of the Telos graphic design including the web site. The animated titles for these stories were conceived by Michelle who  is an independent designer and creative strategist in Cleveland, Ohio. She is also an adjunct professor in the Visual Communication Design department at Kent State University. Michelle, Tim, Jim and I all love typefaces, great graphics and design.

One of the best things about working with them is the intellectual camaraderie. Great graphics connect conceptually. This is where much of the fun happens. Michelle had sent me a very slick video based on the famous Jazz album covers from the classic Bluenote jazz albums of the sixties. A recent Arts blog showcased the label’s top graphic designer, Reid Miles. (Pretty cool that a designer for a Jazz label was named Miles!) They said, “Reid Miles’s inventive use of type, moody photography and a minimalist colour palette helped Blue Note establish itself as the hippest of all jazz labels.” We liked the way the type was handled and used the clean retro feel of those album covers to inspire how these graphics would look and feel. The typefaces all connect with the Jones Day identity standards but Michelle was able to translate the content of the quotes into a design and animation concept which expressed the subject matter of the quotations themselves.

Zach Wills at Commercial Recording, who got his degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, then animated the designs in the sophisticated software system After Effects. He credits the Institute with the development of his technical abilities and was glad to go to an institution which emphasized practical skills instead of just the theoretical. Of After Effects software he says, “It is the gold standard for effects and compositing – it is versatile, powerful and scalable.” The animations for the China stories are simple and mostly two dimensional (by design) but After Effects is capable of full blown 3D animation, in which Zach is also trained.


Jeff Gates, of Commercial Recording Studios mixes all of the Telos projects. He is incredibly patient and talented and really shines in both dialog editing and Dolby 5.1 surround sound editing. This project was mixed on a brand new upgrade of the Fairlight audio system which was able to seamlessly and quickly import both audio and video files from the Apple editing program Final Cut which is the platform we use for editing.


Randy Harper currently lives in Atlanta but works all over the world. A frequent contributor to many touring live bands, he says, “I played my first song on the piano at age four… I’ve never stopped.” He has played on, arranged, produced, orchestrated, engineered, sound designed, and post-produced thousands of  projects for video and audio commercials, documentaries, web-based media, corporations, songwriters, singers, and bands.

Randy has toured with country superstar, Ricky Skaggs and has produced and/or played on several Addy award-winning television commercials. He played keyboards with The Cheiftans, on their Grammy winning album Another Country. He also worked on two Grammy-nominated records (Make Me An Instrument and Sing A Song), which he co-produced with John Sussewell for Candi Staton.

Randy says, “I was trained classically, but had a rebellious attraction for every other style of music I could listen to and analyze – much to the chagrin of some very fine teachers. My favorite part of the soundtrack composing process comes when we sync the finished audio with the video. I typically don’t watch the video between the composition phase and the final mix phase. I then hopefully enjoy the ebb and flow of the music with the visual, whether it’s action, graphic or even interview based.”

View from the 37th floor of the building where Jones Day has its Beijing offices. This same view of bumper to bumper rush hour traffic was featured recently in the Financial Times about the automobile glut in China.

add your comment