A Trip to Buffalo, South Dakota

Why South Dakota?

I recently began working at Microsoft as a contract video producer through Scorch Agency, LLC. I help telling customer stories through video content - and it just so happened there was a customer in Buffalo South Dakota to visit! With a population of 314, Buffalo is a town where everyone knows each other, and being someone from larger cities, that was a cool experience. 

I was there with a team member from Microsoft filming a customer story around the local school's use of Skype. I encourage you to read the full blog here. Of the more unique elements you'll discover is the tie to an Author from Hawaii. That's where the story becomes magical. Be sure to read that article.

The people there were so warm and welcoming. My partner from Microsoft and I enjoyed a home-made steak dinner the night before the production and ended up staying till 10:30 at night just talking and learning more about each other. We then met at 6:00am the next day for production to begin. 

This was and still is the most memorable video project I've been a part of. From the production itself to the people we had the pleasure of interacting with. We stayed in the only hotel within 40+ miles. When the sun began to rise, it seemed the ends of the Earth had come in view in every direction. Also, I could not believe how quite it was along the freeway. Barley a sound other than the wind flowing through the grasslands. I plan to go back just to photograph the scene.

Behind the Project

On the backend side of this project came the challenge of packing just enough gear for one person (me) to fly and not leave anything behind. This was the first time I'd flown with production equipment. Thanks to my wife, one not unfamiliar to my over-packing ways, helped me in crafting a workable kit. All said and done I had 4 bags - a backpack, rolling suitcase, light stand bag, and a pelican 1510. 

The Essentials for my First Trip

2 cameras, lights kits, tripods, audio kits, lenses 

1 reflector

1 audio recorder

1 camera rig

2 sets of clothes

1 mobile editing kit

1 roll of gaff-tape 


I've since changed my kit, but this was the core of what I brought. Those bags were stuffed tight. It was awesome. 

I'll tell you too that upon arriving I discovered the wrong cable for my mic kit had been packed. This, my friends, is why backups exist. I had a spare shotgun mic on hand that saved the day. Always, and I mean always, have a backup. 

Sadly, upon searching my phone I didn't save any photos :( If I find them again I'll be sure to post them.

P.S. When you watch the video, keep in mind the cape sequences were not staged. The kids - they just couldn't help but fly around. You'll see what I mean.

The Video - A Customer Story for Skype

Third grade teacher Sue Ann Clanton has turned to technology to connect her students with the world from rural Buffalo, South Dakota. Through Skype, her students met author David Estes and worked with him on the fifth and sixth books in his Nikki Powergloves children's book series.