PRACTICAL makes films and videos that are the culmination of cameras, research, travel, sketchbooks, sleep, screen time, and running wild. Based out of Traverse City and Grand Rapids Michigan, we love sharing our work and process with those around the world.


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“When did this place become a part of you?”

Those words were recorded for The Next Muncie by Tatiana Crespo. They were read off a script written by Matthew Bouwense and myself. That script was based on an early edit of the film. That edit was cut together from footage from our 4 day shoot in Muncie, IN.  The footage was captured based on our shot-list, which was created nearly verbatim from our concept for the film.

It is so interesting to me how a film project like this starts and ends, with its birth in the imagination and it’s completion in pixels and waves. The story of making this film is a story about starting.

We started on a strong note. It was our task (Matthew Bouwense and I) to create a film for DWNTWN Muncie, a city revitalization campaign for Muncie, IN. Our production followed the release of the original campaign film created by Cam White (Roughnecks) 2 years ago which was, by any assessment, very successful. The first DWNTWN film was set a bar and now it was our job to raise it.


Creatively, the first thing we did was to make mental lists of what we liked about the original film and needed to keep and what we thought would be fitting to stray from, to change, or evolve for the campaign. Things we liked about the original film were how honest it was, it recognized challenges and turns for the worst. We liked the way it moved, and the youthful perspective of it. The main thing we needed to evolve for the campaign were the stories. Each character had to be more than an opportunity to see the city. We only had 2 minutes to fit a city’s story into so each character had to, in their own way, be the city. Muncie has a long history, a fresh present, and an optimistic future and instead of shooting B-roll of the streets and people doing random activities in beautiful light we created and filmed people who truly embody the city’s past, present and future.

All of our behind the scenes photos were shot on Kodak 35mm film and set to create a color and tone pallette for the piece that would emulate  those film scans. I graded the color for each story differently though, as well as a lot of the archival footage so each would have it’s own feeling. The dancer’s story is very filmic, dark and moody to emulate some of our favorite film stills from the shoot. The young couple was graded to have a filmic but very bright aesthetic with a lot of color to create a clear connection between colorful memories of the old family films. Our designers story was graded not to look like film but to appear sleek and smooth, to have the “milky” look that exists in so many new films the past few years. The milky look really embraces the best parts of a digital image and feels very new. It seemed like a proper nod to the work being done by the designers, our insanely talented friends at PROJECTiONE.

This was our first commercial project to be shot partially on motion picture film, which was ironic because it was also our first commercial project shooting on our new camera the RED Epic X Dragon, one of the most powerful digital cameras in the world. It would seem that shooting on a RED guarantee not needing to shot on motion picture film but the story of Muncie deals with so much history that mixing the film and digital mediums during production wasn’t just possible, it was necessary.

The workflow and time that had to be committed to working with both motion picture film and 6K r3d files was significant, but the clarity and beauty of the finished DWNTWN film is something we’re really proud of. Thanks for reading and for watching!