Smarter Cliff Jumping
Whether chasing the love of his life to Boston or chasing the perfection of lighting from music videos into TV and feature films, Shane’s fearless approach to life and career changes may look like blind leaps of faith, but they are always carefully calculated risks. When his family’s $40,000 crop of red kidney beans lay under two feet of flood water, Shane couldn’t drive the tractor with its bean picker — so he hired a bulldozer to pull the tractor, despite the cost and possibility that the work-around might fail. The benefit merited the risk of an unconventional solution.
When seven HBO production heads interviewed Shane for the cinematographer position on 1998’s Emmy-winning film, "The Rat Pack," he had to fight not only against his youth but also his background as a technician rather than a narrative filmmaker. Almost no one had ever come into the cinematographer’s chair via the gaffer side, but Shane knew his objective. His passion and expertise and the support of director Rob Cohen swayed HBO into giving him the job. He’s been the cinematographer on over 20 films since then.
The odds of a successful cliff jump increase dramatically when a desired target is firmly in sight and the jumper’s tools are top-quality. (Having a failed come-a-long nearly snap your face off will drive this point home.) In 2009, Shane and his wife Lydia started the Hurlblog as a way to give back to the coming generation and share his two decades of deep knowledge with the world. From the blog soon emerged Hurlbut Visuals, a creation vehicle for shorts and commercials. Again, with no small amount of risk and lack of convention, Hurlbut Visuals emerged from Shane’s blog, then fed back into it. The more Shane shared and educated, including the latest addition of his membership-based Inner Circle, the more work his blog attracted, and the more tools he brought in for that work, the more he had to write about.
After shooting 16 or so movies on film, Shane committed to digital, and that meant finding the right digital workflow tools, especially for data storage. He asked every available post-production expert he could find. Despite there being plenty of external hard drive options on the market, one piece of feedback remained consistent: No one had ever seen a G-Technology drive fail. Shane gave the brand a try and confirmed his colleagues’ opinions first-hand. Today, all of the educational content that Hurlbut Visuals creates, and everything the firm’s DITs handle on-set, all backs up to various G-RAID® drives. The advantages extend across both data protection and improved workflow performance.
"We’ll be shooting," says Shane, "and the DIT will be backing up the footage as we shoot. Sometimes, all of a sudden, we’re losing the light, and we’ll just roll three or four cameras for 50 minutes straight, then wrap. Now, those four cameras with 50 minutes of 5K imagery get dumped on our DIT. If we have to work with slower, inferior drives, production will be looking at their watches and saying, ‘What’s taking you so long? Why don’t you have this backed up?’ Not having these guys sitting around waiting saves a lot of money."
Hurlbut Visuals currently uses several generations of G-RAIDÒ solutions, including 2TB, 4TB, 8TB, and 16TB models. For more portable needs, Shane recently started using 1TB G-DRIVEÒ ev RaW models, in part because of their rugged yet lightweight reinforcing bumpers for improved protection in the field. From PC workstations to the same real-time 5K HP machine that edited "Gone Girl," all of Hurlbut’s systems connect to G-Technology solutions via USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt™ connections. He looks forward to being one of G-Technology’s earliest adopters of even more scalable, high-performance solutions coming in 2016.
Keep the Light Alive
In a very real sense, choosing the right storage lies at the foundation of Hurlbut Visuals. Shane needs dependability and reliable protection for his assets. He also needs products able to meet his technical and performance needs, both for today’s work and where his sees his business going.
Of course, simply having the right tools at your fingertips is not enough. Professionals understand that a long-term career gets built on proper workflow and use strategies.
"Making one backup is never going to let you succeed," Shane says. "We often do four backups of everything. One we would hold with us. The second goes back to editorial via FedEx. A third we hand-carry everywhere we go, then deliver back to editorial. The fourth stays in a vault. All those backups are absolutely essential for success when you’re working in this digital age. So many times, I’ve reminded my creative director when he didn’t make a backup — he just saved it once then shipped the drive. He’ll say, ‘I was rushing, I didn’t have time.’ And I’m like, ‘Are you freaking kidding me?!’ That is the wrong way to jump off a cliff."