Schimmel’s healthcare video focuses on 10 real people

EP/director Mark Schimmel, line producer David Spodak, DP Michael Huss

Director/executive producer Mark Schimmel admitted he had a challenge in the web video his production company, Once Upon a Time, recently produced for client Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) of Allentown, Pa.

The video’s objective was, he says, “to celebrate the Network’s achievements in healthcare and to congratulate their community partners through stories told by employees, patients, medical staff and community partners.”

The challenge was creating a sense of reality and authenticity from 10 diverse people on camera.  As with all web content, I wanted to maintain high-level professional quality.”  The 5-minute piece, “At Your Best,” was going to be posted on Network’s YouTube page after a monthlong showing throughout the Health Network in the Lehigh Valley region.

Noga Nir-Kistler Paralympic 2012 Bronze MedalistThe video is a collection of 10 emotionally-filled stories, told by a Paralympian swimmer(who later went on to win a bronze medal), child cancer survivor, ex-Army Ranger, MedEvac paramedics, doctors, nurses and Network community leaders in their own environments.

Schimmel had a tight five-day shooting schedule to cover a wide variety of 18 locations spread out over the Network’s large physical network of buildings and other facilities, like helicopter landing pads, swimming pools and inside the hospitals.

“The clients and I agreed that reality and web content doesn’t have to look bad, it just has to be lit right, shot right and in some ways, under-directed,” he says.

To achieve that objective, Schimmel and his New York-based DP, Michael Huss, worked with a basic crew, opting for three cameras, Sony F3, Sony FS100 and a tiny Go Pro, three variant lights lights per setup and stripped down grip and electric package.

“That left us with the bare essentials to accommodate all the company moves and still gave us lighting integrity and flexibility that was needed,” notes Schimmel.

“I wanted a YouTube feel without sacrificing the quality, it was a tough balance coming from the commercial world. I had to be the best director I could be without offering too many notes to real people, to let them be as authentic as possible.

“When it came time to edit, I was looking for only the bare essentials. To achieve the emotional heights, in this case, less was more,” he says.

“At Your Best” was first shown to LVHN’s 6,000 employees at its annual 30-day Employee Forum, and then posted on LVHN’s website and YouTube.  Other uses include integrated marketing campaigns directed at the Lehigh Valley Community.

It was Schimmel’s fifth consecutive project for the health network.