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  • Kevin Raichl

“Madras, OR, the center of the Universe”

As the second decade of the 2000s marched inexorably forward, the business of Visual Thinking Northwest settled into a more comfortable rhythm. Like any Oregon Production Company, we had to keep on upgrading our gear, adding LED lighting (no more blown fuses on shoots), a drone, and then another big jump: we went 4K! We acquired a Sony FS7, a broadcast-quality camera, and we were now working regularly as an Oregon 4K camera crew. The ways you could use this camera were almost infinite: any frame rate, NTSC or PAL, 4K, 2K, or “sad little 1080p”. With 4 times the resolution of regular HD, which barely 10 years earlier was billed as the “top of the mountain”, 4K allowed us to crop or blow up a shot in a regular 1080p edit with no loss in quality. In other words, you could get a wide shot and a tight shot of an interview with one camera, instead of paying for two. That went over very well with our clientele, and we embarked on some very remarkable and very cool projects. We did several videos for the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the builder of “Deadliest Catch” fishing boats in Reedsport, and a fabulous series for the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center in Newport. “Ebb & Flow-the history of the Yaquina Bay waterway” has been the most fun- to date we’ve done 12 segments on logging, fishing, tourism, and numerous other topics, told in first person by long-time residents and family members that actually experienced the last 100 years. Probably our most unique project though, was the total eclipse in 2017. Madras, OR was determined to be the optimum place to see the eclipse, and Visual Thinking Northwest handled crew and equipment for the world-wide broadcast on Discovery and Science Channels. TC Conway with Discovery directed, I technical directed, and we had local crew and AV people set up all the cameras and technical stuff. Took 3 days to prepare. When the sun went away that day, it was truly an astonishing moment!

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