Case Study: Page (1) of 1 - 04/16/18

Pains Linger

The Young and Old Have a Common Ground ... Never Forget

By Miles Weston

The holocaust and the needless death of 17 youngsters at Stoneman Douglas High are almost 75 years and generations apart but they share a common bond ... survivors don't want the country and the world to forget.

Developing a living symbol was one of the driving forces behind noted architect Stanley Tigerman's design for the world-famous Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, IL.  

Remember - Renowned architect Stanley Tigerman designed the 65,000-square-foot Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center with historical and emotional symbolism as a response to the apocalyptic inhumanity that occurred and to shine a positive light on the future.  

Opened in 2009, the museum has been a destination for tens of thousands of visitors of every race and religion from around the world.  While the museum keeps the memories of those who were lost, it has also become the home of a more positive, constructive message ... Take A Stand.

To memorialize the essence and design concept of the Museum, executive producer Jonathan Towers, Towers TV, turned to Steve Eisen, Eisen Video Productions to create a documentary of the museum to tell the story of the Museum through the architect's eyes.  

Ariel Towers wrote the script based on Tigerman's interview transcriptions while Eisen shot most of the video footage as well as handled the entire production including video production, audio editing, post production, DIT and color correction. 

Steve also worked with Towers on several other projects.  

Towers, currently Executive Producer for Strange Inheritance on FOX Business Channel, Towers is more widely known for his work as producer for Biography, National Geographic: Inside 9/11 and American Justice.

Dark and Light - The museum's stark interior contains more than 500 artifacts, documents and photographs of what people faced during the holocaust such as the crematorium model replica shown above.

In diminished health and 88-years-old, Towers wanted to provide future Holocaust Museum visitors with a greater understanding and appreciation for the symbolism of the building's interior and exterior design.

Using the AJA Cion 4K cinema camera, Steve Eisen shot more than four hours of interview (320GB) with Tigerman in his cramped downtown Chicago office.

In addition, he captured an additional 320GB of video content with a Panasonic Lumix GH4, DJI Phantom 4 and DJI Osmo cameras of the Museums exterior and interior.  (Drone footage was shot by Fred Pfeifer).

"We had ProRes and MP4 content shot with four different cameras and on four-five different OWC drives," he added.

The first thing Eisen did was to inventory and consolidate all of the audio and video content onto his OWC 24TB ThunderBay4 RAID5 storage system. 

Once the content was in one location, Eisen found that key elements of the storyline were missing based on the interview tapes, so he had to go back to the Museum and reshoot exterior scenes and pick up interior "story" elements telling a visual story of the various theme rooms.  

Using Premiere Pro Native 4K ProRes laid out the audio and video tracks and began to piece the work together so the documentary would have a smooth, uninterrupted flow.

Cleansing - According to Tigerman, the curved lighted wall outside the museum was designed to give people an understanding of the hope and power that is possible when people unite and remember the past.

Towers was a great guide and interviewer for Tigerman," Eisen noted.  "The challenge was Stanley would begin one story and then jump to a second half way through and then come back to his original story.

Because of Tigerman's health situation, Eisen didn't want to tax him to reshoot/rerecord the segments so he searched the transcript and audio track for words and phrases to complete one story and move smoothly to the next story.

Using SmartSound for the music bed, Eisen found a royalty-free segment that had to undergo numerous revisions to fine tune the background for the visual story.  

"Along the way, I also added other music beds, so the audio wouldn't sound depressing," Eisen commented.  "It is often said that good audio is more than 50 percent of a visual story and we wanted a complete story that was accurate and factual while still showing the positive side of the living memorial.

Workflow - Watching the interview with Tigerman, Eisen matched dialogue and music to the images to produce a dramatic but enlightened image of what the Museum represents - or should represent - to everyone from his OWC ThunderBay 4 storage solution.  

While a little time consuming, Eisen noted that the edits, additions, rework and audio sync was relatively easy, since all of the RAW content and versions were centrally located on his ThunderBay4 storage system.

With good metadata, he was able to access original and versioned copies in minutes instead of days or more.  "And the great thing is with SoftRAID on the ThunderBay4, I knew all of the content and work was 100 percent safe and reliably stored," he added.  

"Towers - and I think Tigerman too - wanted a film about the museum that showed that something can and should come out of this horrific period. More importantly, he wanted a visual story that reflected the museum's goal for tomorrow--From Darkness to Light."

Steeped in both cultural and religious significance, the building includes both dark and light wings including the Legacy of Absence Gallery, Room of Remembrance and Hall of Reflection.

An area that was added just before the grand opening was a special Take a Stand Center, which has gained worldwide attention because it has a forward-looking emphasis on multiple areas of social justice, empowerment of all people and a reminder that people must stand together against hatred of all forms.  

For Eisen, the most difficult part of the project is one he shares with everyone in the production/post field ... feedback on the final cut.

He delivered the finished 20-minute documentary to the museum's executive director in late January of last year.  

At the end of the year, he was surprised to receive a review response from her:
"It has taken me 8 months to watch the wonderful Stanley T video, but I finally did - from Berlin (and post-TAS opening). You did an outstanding job of editing a lot of material down to just the right length with meaningful explanations. It was great to watch, and I learned a bit too.
Many thanks for the outstanding job. It is important for the Museum to have this content from Stanley."   

Living Memories - A visitor stops at the Take a Stand Center at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. The unique exhibit enables visitors to interact with 13 recorded Holocaust survivors via 3-D holography.

Now that the film is a prominent part of the Holocaust Museum, a number of people have asked Eisen why the facility is located in Skokie.

"Outside of Israel," Eisen explained, "The city has the largest per capita population of survivors.  And Skokie citizens wanted their lineage; and, in fact, everyone to experience pre-war European life, the ghettos, the concentration camps, liberation and peoples' resettlement.  

"Sometimes we forget how far we've come and how far we have to go," he emphasized, "It's important for people to understand why they have to take a stand."

Complete documentary can be viewed at -

Somber Entry - Near the Museum's entry stands an early 20th century German rail car of the type used to transport Jews to concentration camps.

Undercover author Miles Weston has spent more than 30 years in the storage, software and video industry, indulging in, among other things, marketing activities in promoting PC, CE, communications, content technology and their applications . Contact Miles through his editor by clicking here.

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