Within any organization, there are always those departments that get more attention and those that get less. At The Corning Museum of Glass, there is one small department that you wouldn’t normally think of when you consider a museum dedicated to the art and science of glass, but it does, nonetheless, have a very important role to play. That department is the Video Department.
For the time being, the Video Department is a team of one, Brad Patocka, but Brad is joined and supported by the larger Digital Team and together they are responsible for producing a variety of in-house video content for the Museum’s many needs. This includes promotional, marketing, event, and documentation content. The Video Department also manages the Museum’s YouTube page and maintains content on the Museum’s extensive video archive servers.
So that’s the nuts and bolts of it, but to tell us more, we talked with Brad to get an introduction into who he is and what he does that’s so important.
Who is the Brad Patocka?
“I first started with video my junior year at Ithaca College. I had been focused on photography for most of my life, but once I transferred to Ithaca, I jumped into the Documentary Studies program, which was a combination of photography/photojournalism, journalism, and documentary film. During that time and after, I worked on numerous film and photo documentary projects across the U.S. and internationally.
“After graduating from Ithaca College, I started at The Corning Museum of Glass, working for the AV/Events department, primarily focusing on the video needs of the department, before moving into my current position as Lead Video Production Specialist within the Museum’s Digital Team.”
What does the Video Dept. do?
“We work with teams from across the organization on exciting ideas for different programs or initiatives. We start with a concept and build from there. We work through the pre-production stages, which includes scheduling and coordinating shoots, budgeting, scouting locations, determining required personnel and time for shoots, storyboard development, scripts, interview questions, and recruitment of talent. And finally, we work through the logistics of video production within an often busy, loud, and bright public museum.
“We then move to the production phase. Shooting the project, whether that be on-site or traveling to a destination. We assess equipment needs, coordinate packing and transportation, and then set up and execute the shoot based on the project’s original concepts or storyboard.
“It’s then to post-production, where we import the raw material and work to edit out a final product using multiple different editing software and tools. We work with the project stakeholders and strive to meet their vision through updates and changes as we near the final product. We look at it as a collaborative transaction, where we provide the service and the other departments act as the customer.”
What sort of projects do you work on?
“Each year we take on new and exciting projects as the Museum continues to evolve, so it’s impossible to really know what’s coming next.
“Some of the reoccurring projects we work on include: Amphitheater, Studio, and Conservation live streams, Artist in Residence Profiles, Gaffer Profiles, Exhibition-related video content, Rakow Commission Artist Profiles, Specialty Glass Artist Profiles with Corning Inc., and any and all in-house trainings, recorded meetings, and coverage for events such as the 2300°.
“Some of the more unique projects we have done include the GlassBarge promotional content and documentation, and the 2018 Junior Curators exhibition documentation, where we encouraged the Junior Curators to also document themselves throughout the process. Event coverage such as the GAS Conference in 2016 and the annual Recycled Runway. Behind the Scenes video documentation and promotion of the Museum’s involvement in Blown Away. And we also, at times, produce content in-house for other productions: last summer we conducted an interview shoot for the History Channel with Rob Cassetti, former Senior Director of Creative Strategy and Audience Engagement.”
What has been your biggest project?
“It’s tough to define what makes a project the “biggest”. A few of the larger projects we have done include the GlassBarge documentation where we traveled extensively throughout New York State to create promotional content and capture every moment of the experience. With the Blown Away Behind-the-Scenes video in 2019, we traveled to Canada to film on the set of the show and interview the Museum’s hot glass team about their unique involvement. On the GlassApp Project, we produced over 120 greenscreen based videos with a host and guest discussing various pieces in the Museum’s new Contemporary Art + Design Wing prior to its opening in the spring of 2015.
What has been your favorite project so far?
“There have been a few projects that really come to mind, but for me, it was the 2018 Rakow Commission with Rui Sasaki (released in conjunction with the exhibition New Glass Now in 2019); and for so many reasons!
“The Rakow Commission supports one up-and-coming artist each year with the development of new work in glass. The Video Dept. does a short-form documentary on the artist and their commissioned work. Over time, we have expanded the video component to this series to really tell a story. We look at each artist’s life and work and how they are influenced by their culture and environment. Coming from a documentary background, this project really falls into my wheelhouse.
“After months of prep work, discussions, and logistical planning, I was finally on my way, with a huge bundle of equipment, to stay with Rui for two weeks in Kanazawa, Japan. The experience is something I’ll never forget! We really wanted to focus on the elements of her life and work that were influential in her project, so we found ourselves traveling the Ishikawa and Toyama prefectures of Japan to document aspects of Japanese culture, her work life as a glass artist, and the natural Japanese landscape and weather patterns that have influenced her. It remains one of the most challenging and rewarding projects I’ve ever done with the Museum.”
What is your favorite piece of equipment to use?
I would definitely have to say the Ronin Gimbal system. This piece of lightweight equipment works as a stabilizer for the camera. It’s so versatile and allows you to capture a wide variety of shots on the go. It can mimic the stability of a tripod and also be used to create compelling camera movement all with one set up.
What are you working on in 2021?
We are working on some very exciting projects to kick off 2021 but nothing I can really speak to at this time. I think above all, we’re just really excited to return to a more normal state and get back to the level of production we were doing prior to 2020.
Well, thank you to Brad and everyone in the Digital Team for all of the work they do that captures the objects, artists, and places we’ve all come to know and love at The Corning Museum of Glass. Don’t forget to check out the Museum’s YouTube channel to watch some of Brad’s work.