Strong Island DoP Alan Jacobsen Uses Skills for Outlier.org College Courses – Below the Line


Director of Photography Alan jacobsen recently collaborated with Outlier.org, an online education platform aimed at increasing access to quality college education and reducing student debt, to shoot a series of outstanding courses in Psychology, Astronomy, Calculus, Philosophy, Microeconomics and Statistics .

Jacobsen, who shot the Oscar nominee Forte Island, said “Outlier.org is a dream customer as far as they came to me with science. They suggested that people learn more effectively and become more involved when interacting with high-quality cinematic visuals.

“As a director of photography, I have always believed that good visuals change lives. When Aaron Rasmussen of Outlier.org cited scientific studies, which show humans are emotionally predisposed to looking at the LEFT side of the human face – as evidenced by the majority of babies held to the left by their mothers – I took care to always orient our camera coverage to take advantage of this subtle biological preference.

Rasmussen also knew, from his experience with MasterClass, the power to have an immediately identifiable visual “look” in terms of branding. “It allowed me to help discover and execute a bold visual approach to sets and configurations”, Jacobsen said.

“Working with Alan has been one of the most successful artistic collaborations I have had as a director” says Rasmussen, who is both the founder and CEO of Outlier.org. “He’s not afraid to get into weeds or even aphids that hide on their stems, while still managing to stay efficient and on schedule. Alan’s gender-defining approach to credited teaching visuals has left its mark on both our brand and our students’ learning.

Hannah fry

Hannah Fry in studio

Jacobsen used three Cannon C300Mk2 cameras with Canon Cinema lenses to attract students to meticulously designed settings, which were dramatically illuminated by ARRI Skypanels and Choice of DOP SnapBags and SnapGrids. Light equipment Literibbon added moody accents.

“It became a trademark look that Rasmussen called ‘Hogwarts Meets Blade Runner’,” Jacobsen said.

“For the psychology course, we ventured into real-world locations with a user-friendly set of Litegear Spectrum Litemats, Litepanel Astras, Quasar Crossfades, and Astera Titans that allowed us to bring this bold visual look to some spectacular locations across the city. from New York.

“When the pandemic forced us to quickly switch to remote filming, we created a FedEx remote package focused on the RAW capture capability of the tiny 6K BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera, often positioned via the eMotimo Spectrum ST- motion control. 4 remotely controlled. robot.

“It allowed us to continue capturing high quality footage with a very, very small remote team, or even just the professors themselves. I am proud of the continuity and the quality that we have been able to maintain during a very difficult year. Again, with a daring client who understands and values ​​the educational power of cinematic visuals, big lessons are learned. “

Outlier.org has not failed to create new courses during the COVID-19 pandemic, making a greater variety of courses available online to anyone with an Internet connection. When the pandemic made it impossible to produce traditional films, the mission-oriented team came up with a safe production plan to match the quality of the courses previously filmed. To make the process more difficult, Jacobsen needed to direct the teachers at Outlier.org, who had no film experience, on how to illuminate, focus, and film themselves from a distance. With his advice, small local production teams assembled the sets and disinfected the area before leaving. Masterful film conferences speak for themselves.

Research shows that a great course isn’t all about lectures. Outlier.org has developed the world’s best credited online college courses, taught by some of the world’s most famous educators, at just $ 400 per course. Their students scored C or better at a rate that exceeded the national average for in-person classes, an unprecedented milestone in online education. Classes are immersive, cinematic, engaging, and use cutting-edge science-based teaching techniques as well as the latest production technologies that provide students with an affordable, high-quality online learning experience.

John urschell

John Urschell in studio


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