Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Spotlight: Randall P. Dark

MediaTech Ventures Director, Paul O'Brien caught up with HD Pioneer, Randall Dark at a coffee shop in Austin, Texas. They talked about the longevity of Dark's storied career. Below is his interview found here.

If you’re old enough to have used a cassette tape, I’d be surprised if that photo isn’t imprinted on the back of your brain as it was one of the iconic images of the 1980’s. That anonymous man in the chair, who he was and what we were experiencing in that poster – music, speakers, print, early MusicTech – in many way exemplify, by inspiring, what you might think of as a MediaTech professional.
I sat in a local coffee shop in Austin, TX, months ago, and shared passions and possibilities with a now clean(er) cut and gray Randall Dark.

In meeting for the first time, I had no idea that the poster from my youth, a poster that got me excited about music and audio, had Dark so early in my life as to influence my path toward media innovation. He’s an exciting personality, visionary, passionate, and just what you’d expect from a Canadian: a person you just enjoy spending time with.

Today, Dark is a director, producer, writer, cinematographer, and media consultant who has not only embraced new camera technology, he is considered by the television industry to be one of the guiding thought leaders and adopters of the HD medium. Since seeing HD first in 1986, if you can believe, he has gone on to capture on the screen Julie Andrews, Bill Clinton, Willie Nelson, Harry Connick Jr., Leonard Nimoy, Lyle Lovett, Sting, and Stephen Hawking.

“Because high definition was so real and so vivid — the colours were perfect, you could see the tiniest detail — I believed that if you had a 65-inch TV in your home and you watched a documentary about starving children, it would touch your heart in a way that you would have to react,” says Dark. “I believed it was a technology that would have an impact on people and change their hearts. I honestly believed it would change humanity.”

Evidence of our vision that media cross pollinates throughout music, video, and other formats, Dark, found himself from Canada (he’s a native of Saskatchewan) to New York City, working out of the Ed Sullivan Theatre, where he worked with bands like Aerosmith and Crosby, Stills and Nash. He helped build one of the first multi-camera, high-definition production trucks and shot Victor-Victoria on Broadway with Julie Andrews. We all know the significance of the media in sports and Dark was behind the camera for Super Bowl XXX and NBA All-Star games as well as the first to broadcast in high definition a live sporting event to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. as the American Public looked to Congress and the FCC to determine if high definition was a viable new TV standard for the United States.

In 2013, he found himself collaborating with Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Harry Connick Jr., Connie Britten and Lyle Lovett as one of the executive producers of Angels Sing and of watching Nelson and Connick Jr. create a new song, he noted, “I got to watch these two geniuses at work. My life is so amazing. I have never been star-struck working with celebrities because people are just people. I think what happens is so many big name stars get worshipped and people go ‘I’m a big fan’ and it gets tiring after a while. I think, because I am an expert in my field I can sit down and say, ‘Hey, I know nothing about what you do but do you want to know about high definition?'”

I could relate. This is the guy who sat the chair of a poster on my wall for years when I was growing up. Yeah, I’m that much of a media geek that I had a Maxell cassette tape poster on my wall. I was a little star-struck, here I was having coffee with an inspiration of mine that I’d not even realized until I met him. Dark, pointedly, wasn’t in that original chair; his influence is such that he recreated it with Maxell.

Dark is a media personality that we want to spotlight not just because of my personal connection with him. He is known for taking the experimental approach that we want to challenge everyone to embrace. He’s long been digital technologies and as we all wonder at HOW we can afford quality media production, whether we’re advertising, producing a film, or in need of a music video, he just does it. For his 2012 documentary Seadrift vs The Big Guy, he used an Apple iPhone and a 4K camera. Whatever it takes.

Truly, embracing all forms of media. If you’re as inspired to write as am I, you can appreciate that bubbling in the back of such a brain are stories to be told, and not always through video. Dark wrote a children’s play some 25 years ago, Tale of Sasquatch, and found it later published by the Playwrights Guild of Canada. Today, it’s an animated mobile app, available now [android | apple].

What brought us together to share chairs in a coffee shop was our alignment on so many ideas for the future of media and it’s therein that I’d like to encourage you to get to know Randall Dark. Thinking globally and in the sense of how networking and education will drive forward our media economy, he co-founded the Macao China International Digital Camera Festival and serves today as its artistic director. He, as do we, works with companies and non-profit organizations on how to use technology to grow their businesses.

To see articles written about Randall and the projects he has been involved in, check out his blog. Curious about listening to more of his story? Join him on Marsha Casper Cook’s podcast World Of Ink Network as they explore even writing books beyond producing movies.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

ANGELS SING Holiday Broadcasts

Relive the holiday magic and inspirational moments of "Angels Sing" on the Hallmark Channel starting this Saturday, November 18 through December 21. Executive produced by Randall P. Dark, the film has been a perennial favorite by the network.

dates and times

Saturday, November 18  - 1am/12c
Sunday, November 26 - 11am/10c
Friday, December 1 - 7am/6c
Thursday, December 7 - 7am/6c
Monday, December 11 - 11pm/10c
Tuesday, December 12 - 1pm/12c
Thursday, December 21 - 1am/12c

film synopsis and trailer

A father's holiday spirit was crushed by an accident when he was a child. When his son faces a tragedy, a mysterious man instills in him the courage to find the joy he lost. Stars Harry Connick Jr. and Connie Britton, with guest appearances by Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, and Kris Kristofferson.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Guest Speaker for Inmates

On October 4th, Randall Dark had the opportunity to mentor a group of young men being held in the Travis County jail in Austin, Texas.

As a filmmaker, Dark encouraged the inmates by offering a new perspective and equipping them with the tools needed for life-lasting change.

Nearly 10% of the county's inmate population is between the ages of 17 and 20.

source: Travis County Sheriff's Office

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

2017 Studio50 Honorees Revealed

Randall P. Dark was chosen as FILMMAKER in the category of THE INDEPENDENTS. Here is his interview:

Randall Dark is a long-standing innovator in digital video, having founded HD Vision in New York City in 1992, becoming one of the first specialists in the technology behind HDTV. More recently, he has been executive producer on films including Angels Sing, featuring Harry Connick Jr., Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, and the documentaries Makarios: A Rising Tide and Seadrift vs. the Big Guy. He also produced the trailer for the Howard Lukk-directed SMPTE documentary Moving Images. He runs Randall Dark Productions out of Austin, TX. 

What will be the biggest challenge of 2017 for the media industry?

The biggest challenge is finding funding for projects. Ideas are a dime a dozen. 

What do you like to do when you’re not working? 

I have said during my entire career that I have never worked a day in life. I love what I do therefore it doesn’t feel like work to me. That being said, I do like to play a round of golf once in awhile.

What movie, TV show, book, music, or other media would you most recommend to your colleagues? 

I recommend seeing or reading or listening to whatever is hot. Keeping your finger on the pulse is important. 

What’s your best advice for others in this business? 

Go big or go home.

See the entire list of StudioDaily's 2017 honorees here.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Video Didn’t Kill the Radio Star, It Just Gave It a New Platform

Recently, Randall Dark participated on a panel of video production professionals to discuss video and how it relates to start ups.

Held at Impact Hub Austin, the panel talked about how startups can use video – where it can bring them the most value to finding the resources to produce it.

With that shift to smartphones and VR, audiences have become increasingly harder to attract and keep interested in companies and products.

When creating video, Dark noted, “Our attention span has shrunk dramatically. I need to be compelling in the first 15 seconds."

Along with Dark on the panel were Lyn Graft, Carlana Stone and Pat 'Shaggy' Welsh.

Read an article on the event on mediatech VENTURES.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Dark Selected as Honoree

Randall P. Dark has been named a 2017 StudioDaily 50 Awards Honoree!

The StudioDaily 50 recognizes influential creatives and technologists whose leadership breaks new ground in media and entertainment.

The List is populated by executives and producers who make great work happen; directors, cinematographers and editors who push the creative envelope; and scientists, engineers, inventors and other innovators who keep pushing the state of the creative arts.

StudioDaily announces the 50 honorees on its inaugural list of the StudioDaily 50 — key creatives and technologists whose leadership and influence in all parts of the industry who are breaking new ground in media and entertainment.

The list honors executives from major corporations, visionary creative thinkers, technology mavens who make awe-inspiring images possible and specialists in advertising, B2B communications and more who do great work on a national, regional, or local scale. Through their leadership, expertise and execution, these are the people who make media and entertainment such a vibrant industry.

The complete list of StudioDaily 50 honorees and profiles will be announced on Tuesday, April 25. In recognition of his accomplishment, Dark will be honored during the StudioDaily 2017 Prime Awards presentation on the NAB show floor.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Dark to discuss new project on inspiration through music

Randall P. Dark will join Jeanette Arsenault for a live interview with Marsha Casper Cook on The World of Ink Radio Network, Wednesday January 4 at 4:30 EST/3:30 CST/2:30 MT/1:30 PST.

The discussion centers on the collaborative project about Arsenault’s brother Ron, who has cerebral palsy. He lives in Canada at St. Joseph Hospital Complex Care due to his particular needs.

Dark brings his skills as writer, producer/director to tell the heartfelt story of how Arsenault's music, inspired by her brother, motivates her to help others by touching their hearts through song.

Together they plan to explore the emotional subject many people face each day when a crisis strikes their family.

Listen to the interview here: