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Portraits of Heroes at Home includes a 12-minute documentary and five social media selects for Facebook and YouTube.

The goal is to increase awareness of Heroes at Home, an ongoing program founded by the department store, Sears, to aid military families.

Sears hired two Getty photojournalists, John Moore and Shaul Schwarz, to document the soldiers' stories and MediaStorm to produce multimedia stories based on the original interviews and photography.

The result is a series of videos that convey the soldiers' harrowing injuries on the battlefield, their remarkable stories of physical and mental recovery, and their need for support.

Link: Portraits of Heroes at Home
Client: Sears
Published: December 27, 2010
The Challenge
The challenges in this project were driven by time constraints.

The reporting team had less than two days with each soldier. To capture intimate moments within a short time frame, the production team had two, sometimes three, people shooting video with the soldiers.

MediaStorm's challenge was to review and distill 1.5TB of footage under a tight deadline, and to produce the videos in time for key dates like Veteran's Day.

The production team shot on the Canon 5D Mark II using an external sound mixer to record sound, and they shot with different formats to achieve the slow motion effect seen in the 12-minute documentary.

MediaStorm's additional challenge was to convert all of the footage into compatible formats and to sync the sound with the video under deadline.

Screen Shot

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The Solution
MediaStorm's solution was to create a system to organize and prioritize the footage.

First, the videos were quickly reviewed and color coded by priority. We prioritized the interview footage so that we could build the narrative while the remaining footage was processed. We transcoded the interviews, connected the video with the sound using PluralEyes, and the resulting audio files were sent to a transcriber.

While the interview footage was being transcribed, we transcoded the remaining footage. We found PluralEyes doesn’t work as well on broll clips, particularly scenes shot outside. If there is background noise or camera handling noise, the camera’s native waveform will be different than the professional audio, making it difficult to sync.

From there we identified the key emotional moments for each soldier, and the social media elements were built around these moments. While editing the social media clips we simultaneously organized the footage to prepare for the 12-minute doc.

The Results
By staying well-organized and focused with all of the media assets, MediaStorm was able to deliver the 12-minute documentary ahead of schedule. It screened at the Sears headquarters, and we received great feedback from the management team.

The Executive Director of Rebuilding together writes, "From the bottom of my heart, thank you for letting me be a part of the project. It is one of the most incredible things I have ever had the opportunity to be a part of (and working at RTBC I have blessed with so many incredible opportunities). The final piece is AMAZING."

About the Client
Sears' Heroes at Home program provides support to military service members, veterans and their families through joint efforts with various non-profit organizations as well as through the Heroes at Home Wish Registry.

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