Video Training by Josh and Michelle Mellicker

The Ganapati Kulam has invited Josh and Michelle Mellicker, the founders of, to come to Kauai to give the team a three-day intensive training in video production.

Before getting started we have a get-to-know-you meeting in the morning.

The Mellickers have a long history in digital production going all the way back to the early days of Apple Computer. Josh worked in the field of digital music for a decade then he foresaw the digital video revolution and turned his attention to training. When Apple introduced Final Cut Pro, their top-end video editing application, they chose the team to go around the world and teach people about the new desktop video production tools.

Check out their web site.

In the morning we get an overview of the stages of production and the subtleties of camera settings, lighting and framing.

Michelle is an expert in her own right, and she and her husband are a team. She’s busy taking her own pictures.

In the afternoon we go into phase one: acquisition, getting our footage. We start with some common situations, such as inside Kadavul Temple shooting Bodhinatha.

Our monks take turns acting as the subject. Paramacharya Palaniswami sits where Bodhinatha usually sits on Sun One.

Michelle gives us the fine points of framing the subject: never dead center, eyes one-third down from the top of the frame and subject a bit to one side. You want to leave “talk space” in front of the face, depending on which way the subject is facing. It looks odd to have a speaker talking into the edge of the frame. Similarly, if someone is walking, you leave space in front of them.

Next, we go off to brave intermittent showers to get some outdoor footage.

There’s a big discussion about the challenges of the bright sunlight overhead, and possible angles for probable future shoots.

We take turns running the camera. Josh has a small camcorder he takes footage with, and we will compare later on. The small cameras now take footage that is almost equal in quality to the big, expensive professional cameras.

Everyone starts taking shots of everyone else…

Kumarswami stands in the foliage with the sun behind us.

Next we turn the camera toward Mt. Waialeale. But we face the most difficult of photography challenges!

The light behind the subject is way too bright. His face is dark, so we try this reflector to get more light back into the face. This is called a bounce.

Hmmm, it’s not working, his face is still dark.

No… not really possible, we’ll have to wait until the sun moves down in the sky.

Next we go to the Orchid Mandapam to see if this might serve as a good place to shoot video of pilgrims giving testimony. The challenge will be the loud sound of the river behind us. It could overpower the voice of the interviewees, unless they happen to have booming voices.

Michelle holds up the reflector. If the person sits on the opposite side, away from the river, his voice will be stronger than the sound of the river.

It was a great day of training!

Thank you, Michelle!

A sudden downpour gives a mystical look at the Wailua River. It is the blessing of water flowing down all around us.

Nature’s beauties are all fresh in the sunlit showers.

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