Penny Earned: A Woman’s Aikido Journey

360 Visuals

Producer/Director: Jonathan Weiner
DP: Brett Mullen
1st AC: Leo Munday
2nd AC: Ben Tornesello
Sound Tech/ Boom Operator: Alex Thompson
Production Assistants: Jim Plunkett, Natasha Major & Kraig Corgan
Grip/BTS: Ben Tornesello
Animation: Leo Thomas Munday
Colorist: Steve Mondal
Sound Design: Alex Thompson
Hair & Make-Up: Danielle Maddox

Penny Earned: A Woman’s Aikido Journey

Over the past 20 years, we’ve had plenty of opportunities to produce longer-format video content such as short films, documentaries, and long form training module content. We are typically a short-form corporate video content & commercial video production agency; however, we do work on longer projects in special circumstances or when unique opportunities present themselves. So when my dear friend Penny Bernath was appointed to the United States Aikido Federation Technical Committee it made sense for us to collaborate once again, really for three main reasons. One, we are good friends & have produced a variety of aikido video content over the years together and work well together. Two, I wanted her to come teach an aikido seminar at our dojo, which happens to be one of the largest in the southeast. And three, her story is very unique. Not only has she reached one of the highest levels there is as as Aikido teacher but she did it as a woman which made it even more difficult & competitive for the simple fact that martial arts, including Aikido, is male-dominated.

Off we went.  Tackling this like any other production, we started with a series of pre-production meetings.  What do we want to convey?  What do we want to leave the viewer with?  Picture style, pacing, etc.  Luckily, Penny’s daytime gig is working with KidVision, a PBS affiliate in South Florida.  So she has a career in front of the camera.  She’s a natural.  It was important that we blended a mix of her past & present while leaving the viewer an important message for the future of Aikido.

So on the day of the production, we had a super full day consisting of picking her up at the airport, getting in in with Danielle, our Hair & Make-Up Artist, capturing dialogue, shooting some action sequences & pick-up shots while concluding with the capture of the Friday night class.  We not only finished ahead of schedule, but the shots we grabbed were superb thanks to our DP & Cinematographer, Brett.  The next day was event-style as we had 5 classes, a group photo & a party.  The last task, Sunday morning, we went back to the studio to set-up for the Portrait which was used for the movie poster.  That too came out terrific!  Penny & I had lunch in Birkdale and then off to the airport.  An action packed 3-days!

The following week consisted of archiving over 2 TB of A/Roll, B/Roll, BTS, Audio & various older footage & images that were going to be used to tell the story.  The team landed on an initial cut of just under 7 minutes and then Alex (Sound Design) & Steve (Colorist) took over as our Lead Animator, Leo, was finishing all the motion graphics.  Building the credit sequence was also fun for us in this format.
This doc really draws you in as Penny delivers her powerful story in conjunction with some beautiful contrast of her history & today with the soundtrack driving it all together.  Our editing team consisted of our Lead editor, Motion Graphics Designer, Sound Designer & Colorist collaborated nicely as the grade was vibrant, cinematic & warm.  Our Sound Designer, Alex did a very nice job mixing the backing track with a lot of different dialogue.

Each project really brings a high level of teamwork.  At 360 Visuals, our tenured crew has a special chemistry On Set & each time we are tasked with creating a super-high-quality video, we deliver.

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“Jonathan is a perfectionist & very good at what he does"
-Penny Bernath, 7th Dan, Shihan, USAF Technical Committee