— Ben Carmichael

I’ve been helping my my neighbor and good friend Rob Robillard make a new bumper for his carpentry videos. I’m pleased to share the final product. We worked with Oxbow on this, with me shooting the video and Oxbow editing and providing the animation. They did a truly fantastic job — as always!



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For the past few months we’ve been working on a new “About Concord Academy” video. We decided to highlight student voices and experiences over a traditional talking heads video. I’m etxremely pleased with how it turned out. Thanks again to Windy Films for this. As my old boss said, the first draft was a close to perfect as anything I’ve ever seen. We’ll be rolling this video out over the coming months.


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In telling Concord Academy’s story, one of the challenges has been how to talk about our senior chapel talks — a singular rite of passage with no religious connotations — without making it seem like at the heart of the CA education there is a religious tradition. With this video, Hans Mundhal and I hope to have captured the story and the spirit of this important tradition at CA.

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In preparing for CA’s centennial in 2022, I have been working with my team and with input from faculty, board members, and our students, on ensuring that CA’s brand is as clear and as strong as it can possibly be.

We are pleased to share the news that the window logo will be replaced by a refreshed version of the Haines House seal — a building that was the first building that comprised CA,. The seal itself is an updated version of the seal this school used on its earliest diplomas and admissions pamphlets, a seal that has been a part of our community for over 90 years.

This work was done in partnership with Might & Main of Portland, Maine. To unveil it to the community, we made the below video with Oxbow from Burlington, Vermont.


Concord Academy Haines House Seal

 

 

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For a little more than a year I’ve been experimenting with photography: how to to take good shots, how to edit them, and how to share them. I’ve learned a lot and gotten comfortable with a camera — comfortable enough, at least, to share with you some of my work.

To do that, I created a photography website, which you can find here on Smugmug. There, you can buy prints of photos or contact me to license photos. See below for two recent photos — there’s plenty more on the site!

bencarmichaelphotography

bencarmichaelphotography

 

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Courtesy of Wistia

Courtesy of Wistia

As you can probably tell, I’m a big fan of Wistia — a Cambridge-based video hosting company that’s doing awesome work. And so I was flattered when they asked me if they could interview me, and feature the work we’re doing at Concord Academy. Check out this link for the full interview!

 

 

 

 

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I’m fortunate to be at Concord Academy as we plan for the institution’s centennial — and to be planning for it with some incredibly talented, visionary colleagues. In my role, with my team, we were tasked with launching the plan publicly. We did that through a threefold effort: a microsite, a special issue of the CA magazine, and a beautiful video done by the guys at Windy Films. I’m really proud of all three. See below.

Website:
www.concord100.org
Design Partner: Might & Main, Portland, Maine.

 

Video:
Creative Partner: Windy Films

Special Issue of the CA Magazine
Interactive PDF Here
Design Partner: Might & Main, Portland, Maine.

concordacademyfall2014

 

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I’ve been teaching myself how to shoot and edit video lately, as it’s such an important (and expensive!) part of any marketing or communications efforts. In working for nonprofits, I’d like to be able to internalize some of these costs so I set out, with the help of my friends at Wistia, to teach myself. Here’s my first serious effort that I’m proud of, with the text from the original post to go with it.

My dad’s bamboo fly rod shop was always there, just out back. Some of my first memories are of the shop — the sounds of the compressor and the lathe, the smells of metal shavings and wood, the light angling in through the windows. As I grew older, I came to understand it had a time, and a provenance, all its own; it was from another age, and from the hands of two exceedingly talented bamboo fly rod makers: Everett Garrison and my dad, Hoagy B. Carmichael.

This past fall, my father gave the shop to the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum. It was generous of him, and very much like him: he cares about the history, and about the craft. He wants both to reach as many people as possible. I support this. But I also felt a sense of loss at not having the shop out back any more. I could sense he did too. (For past posts about the shop, read here and here.)

Before it was gone, I wanted to capture it, and its history. Over Thanksgiving, I shot a bunch of video of my dad talking about the shop, and have spent the past few months editing that video down to what you can see below. In my own way, it was my way of saying both how proud I am of my dad’s work, and of trying to help him fulfill his goal of making sure as many people as possible share an understanding of our beloved sport.

This one’s for you, Pops. For all that you’ve done: thank you.

Outtakes: Hoagy Carmichael Bamboo Rod Shop Interview

Photos of the Carmichael & Garrison bamboo fly rod shop before it was moved to CCFFCM.

fly fishing rod shop hoagy carmichael

bambooflyrodworkbench2

bambooflyrodworkbench

flyrodbuildinghoagycarmichael

mastersguidetocreatingbambooflyrod

carmichaelgarrisonflyrodshop

IMG_3177

carmichaelgarrisonflyrodshop

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In looking to students for content, we found inspiration in a talk given by a senior about the differences in the stereotypes of a geek versus a nerd. He was, himself, a self-professed nerd — and proud of it. In designing this infographic, we worked with Rodrigo Calderon, a really talented designer I had worked with before, to create a beautiful infographic / illustration. The idea was to help students, and people, own their labels, not be ashamed by them. From the reception this piece has received, I’m confident in the results.

BenCarmichaelgeekvnerdinfographic

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I’ve written before about how video is king. More and more that’s true. But for many — especially in non-profits — it’s also intimidating.

For one, nonprofits often don’t have the in-house expertise to concept, shoot, and edit video. They also often operate from a belief that they don’t have the budget. Prior to my arrival at Concord Academy, that certainly was the case: video had only been used sparingly, and without much success.

I’m a big believer in the engaging power of video. After some experimenting, some video projects at my old gig with CLF, and after watching a bunch of the video produced by Wistia (an awesome company if you don’t know it already!), I’ve either made or overseen the production of a few videos that have performed well.

This is true of the videos we produced for this admissions season at Concord Academy. Our thinking was simple: once we’ve admitted students, we want to convert them as quickly as possible into enrolled students, so we decided on sending them two videos: 1) an in-house upbeat video montage of people from CA congratulating them on their acceptance and 2) a higher end profile of the values and spirit of the school. Here are those videos.

Congratulations video:

Welcome to Concord Academy

 

“This is the Place” CA promotional video:

CA: This Is the Place

When we released these videos, I was proud of the work. I also knew we were sharing content with them at an important moment in their lives: which high school to attend is a big decision for a lot of students and parents. But we were sharing with them the right kind of content? This was my first year through the process; I didn’t know.

And so I was eager to see the engagement stats. They were better than I expected: the first video performed at about an 84% engagement rate, and the other at about 87%. That was much higher than any other video I had produced to date. I was stoked!

“Congratulations” video stats:

Welcome.video.3.25.14“This is the Place” video stats:

CA.ThisisthePlace.3.25.14

 

In the end, I think we hit them with the right kind of content at the right moment. They were emotionally primed to receive this message, this way.

I have to thank Wistia, for all of their awesome Learning Center videos, and Michelle Mizner of Field Work Media, for making the awesome “This is the Place” video.

I’m attending a conference at Wistia later this year, and am looking forward to learning a lot, as we plan to do a lot more video here at CA. Stay tuned for more!

 

 

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