Dec 19, 2015 // DESIGN, SET DESIGN

This post first appeared on rivproductions.com.

For the Christmas series at Riverview Church this year, we decided to go with a wintry/Christmasy set rather than literal set tying to the topics being taught.

We wanted to maintain the Christmas feel with this set while also pushing the visual concept of a Christmas tree. On the stage we have two variations of a geometric tree. The first is a freestanding tree made from two flat plains intersecting to give it dimensionality. The second is simply the outline of half a tree on the back wall.

From the Credo set we had many, many extra 2x4s backstage so we repurposed them as the bases for the freestanding trees. Each piece had a trough cut down the middle as well as a cutout for the second 2×4 for fit into. The wooden sheets then slid into each 2×4 and were stapled together along the seam.

For the full photo set click here.

Emmanuel Set Build 01

Emmanuel Set Build 07

Emmanuel Set Build 09

Emmanuel Set Build 13

Emmanuel Set Build 16

Emmanuel Set Build 18

Emmanuel Set Build 24

Emmanuel Set Build 26

Emmanuel Set Build 33

For variety on the stage we made three sizes of the trees. Each template was traced with a projector and then used as the pattern for cutting the rest. All-in-all we build seven large trees, five mediums, and 18 smalls.

The outline on the wall is made from sheets of plywood sliced into eight inch boards and stapled to the wall. It was hit with a soft yellow wash with the projection to highlight the wood grain in contrast to the background imagery.

Holt Venue

Emmanuel Set Build 35

Emmanuel Set Build 37

Emmanuel Set Build 38

MSU Venue

Emmanuel Set Build 39

REO Town Venue

Emmanuel Set Build 42

Westside Venue

Emmanuel Set Build 43

Emmanuel Set Build 46

Emmanuel Set Build 53

Emmanuel Set Build 57

Emmanuel Set Build 63

All My Tears

Nov 14, 2015 // PERFORMANCE, VIDEO

One of Riverview’s bands “Elisha & The Bears” released their debut EP this fall and we released this video to coincide with its release.


Shot using a static Canon 5D with a prime 28mm lens on the lead vocalist. A static Canon 7D with a prime 50mm lens on the secondary vocalist. A Canon T2i with a prim 50mm lens on a slider in the main room. A Canon 60D with a fixed 50mm on a shoulder mount in the main room.

Lit using one 200w soft box lighting the lead vocalist with an Arri 650 pointed at the ceiling in the main room and a second 200w soft box lighting the secondary vocalist. Available light supplemented the environmental lighting.

Audio provided by sound producer.

Recorded in multiple takes with the bulk of the footage pulled from the chosen studio track, supplemented by non-track takes.


Working off a studio track is amazing in that you have super clean audio, but it proves difficult when the track has been edited beyond the live take. To cover up some of the overdubs in this video I had to splice together available footage to create the illusion of being a fully live video.

Video assistance by Ryne Weber.
Audio recorded by Ryan Wert at Elm Street Studios.

One Church. Four Venues.

Nov 14, 2015 // PROMOTION, VIDEO

This fall Riverview launched their fourth venue in the Greater Lansing Area. In an effort to stay connected with the Riv family, I put together a series of videos highlighting each venue and what’s been happening their over the recent months. I interviewed each Venue Director to summarize where their venue has been in the last year as well what things they’re looking forward to in the coming months.

These were the first videos shot in our new studio space. I experimented with a white background which varies from the usual “empty space” black background I employ.

Holt Venue

The first of Riv’s venues which is the most geographically diverse in it’s draw. It has much more of a regional feel rather than a specific Holt focus.

MSU Venue

This venue meets on Michigan State’s campus and is largely made up of college students and young professionals that have decided to stay in East Lansing post-graduation.

Westside Venue

This is the most recently launched venue and is unique in the fact that its location has had a church in it for over 130 years.

REO Town Venue

This venue is in a commercial district that has made drastic changes over the past five years. It was once a run-down corridor and is now filled with excitement and a strong focus on local businesses and arts.


Shot on Canon 5D and 60D with prime 50mm and 28mm lenses respectively.

Audio recorded via lavaliere hidden under the shirt with a stationary boom above the frame as a backup.

Lit with an Arri 650 through a soft box with a 200w light as fill. Two clamp lights acted as back lights from the lighting grid.


Creating a series of videos that function independently and collectively presents a unique set of challenges. The hope is to convey a singular message across the pieces but not be redundant in pushing that theme. I sought to reinforce the idea that Riv is one church, but contextualized each video to really highlight each independent community.

There’s a good reason colorists have full time jobs – it’s super difficult! Setting color on a white background is even less forgiving with maintaining consistency. This is the technical downfall of this project, and something I’m continually striving to improve.