Author: alexis

It’s All About the Glass

Rock Creek recently added a set of five Zeiss Compact Prime digital cinema lenses to our arsenal.

CP.2 prime lenses

In addition to our versatile Canon 30-105mm zoom lens, we now have five super-speed CP.2 prime lenses from wide-angle to longer focal lengths: 15mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 135mm. These lenses perfectly compliment our large-format 4K Sony F5 CineAlta digital cinema camera.

Zeiss Compact Primes

This set of Zeiss Compact Primes helps ensure that each and every image we capture makes our clients look good. Give us a call and let us know what we can do for you.

RCP Studio as Special Effects Archery Range

Dave Brown and Frank Hamilton of Weber Shandwick converted our studio into an archery range in order to capture high-speed images of arrows piercing and shattering a variety of objects for their client, the Archery Trade Association.  From electric lightbulbs to water balloons, from eggs to vases filled with colored liquid and glass jars of heavy dairy cream, their strobe splattered images captured in incredible detail the kinetic energy of arrows caught in the act of delightful destruction.

Special Effects Archery Range

Special Effects guru Hank Atterbury discusses his highly accurate compressed-air shooter with Dave and Frank.

Special Effects

Hank gets ready to shoot a glass vase full of blue liquid with a crossbow.

high-speed freeze frames

Raw high-speed freeze frames are downloaded directly to Frank’s laptop. We can’t wait to see the final results!


Mayor Merkel Visits Rock Creek

Town Mayor

From left to right: Steve Agnew and Tim Phillips of Rock Creek, Mayor Lisa Merkel. (But you already guessed that.)

Town of Herndon Mayor, Lisa Merkel, took time out of her busy schedule to come visit our studio.

The Town takes an active role in supporting and promoting its local businesses, and Mayor Merkel was interested to know more about Rock Creek, our capabilities and the services we offer, our clientele, and our future plans. People sometimes ask me why we’re located in Herndon, and it’s because it’s a great place to live and work!


Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!

Rock Creek Tapped to Shoot for Saturday Night Live.

Saturday Night Live

When SNL producers needed an exterior of Ford’s Theater in downtown Washington, DC to establish a sketch with Amy Schumer, Kenan Thompson, Taran Killiam, and Kyle Mooney, they called on Rock Creek Productions.  Tim Phillips and Jake Mosholder took our Sony F5 and a couple of lenses downtown to capture the Ford’s Theater façade.  We had to work around the construction site across the street and traffic and tourists, but gave SNL afternoon, golden hour, and post-cloudburst nighttime shots from several different angles.  We shot in 4K and uploaded three selects to SNL that evening in QT ProRes 4444 format.  SNL selected the daytime shot since that best met the requirements of their sketch.  Oh yeah, and that joker in the backpack … that’s Jake.  The shot was used twice to bookend the sketch.  Fun!

“Tim, thanks again for everything. Shots looked great and everyone was very pleased.”

— John MacDonald, SNL

EPA – Climate Ready Water Utilities

We just wrapped up a five-city tour with the EPA where were visited drinking water utilities to tell the stories of their efforts to be “Climate Ready” or resilient to climate change. This project took us to five cities in a span of three weeks, from Massachusetts to Minnesota to Missouri.

We were threatened with rain or experienced rain in each of our locations, but overall we had a lot of fun, getting to see parts of the country we would have never else had the opportunity to see, and we even managed to squeeze in a trip to go up the arch in St. Louis. Below are a few photographs from our efforts.

EPA Climate Ready

Another Fine Rock Creek Production

In a single day, Rock Creek created three completely different looks in our versatile production studio.

In this shot, we created a living room space complete with a hallway, a kitchen, and a front door.

Rock Creek Productions

In this shot we created a smaller space, a nightcrawler’s room in his apartment. Is he really plotting something dastardly or is he just kind of anti-social?

In the last scene of the day, we created an executive conference room in a skyscraper. By adding a 14′ x 8′ photograph outside the ‘window,’ all of a sudden we’re 20 floors up.

The crew for this work included Steve Agnew, Tim Phillips, and Jake Mosholder of Rock Creek and freelancers Donny Aros, Aaron Johnson, Jonathan Cohen, Wes Hunt, and Michele Mundel.

What can our team do for you?

TV Broadcast Premier!

We have some very exciting news! Our documentary film Peace Through Education: Stealing the Light will have it’s TV broadcast premier this week! If you live in North Carolina and have Time Warner Cable – be sure to tune into UNC MX – Channel 1276 – February 25th at 8pm.

NC – Time Warner Cable

Channel – UNC MX – 1276

February 25th at 8pm.

Documentary Filmmaking


Rock Creek’s On-set Jargon

If you’re ever on set with Rock Creek, you might hear some strange or curious terms.  To alleviate any confusion, here are a few definitions you might enjoy.

Skōsh – a little bit; as in “move that light a skōsh to the right.”

Woof – stop; enough; as in, “move that light a skōsh to the right.  Woof!”

Apple Box – multipurpose wooden boxes, e.g. useful for sitting on, raising the plant in the background a bit, or making a shorter actor taller; e.g. “Put Tom Cruise on an apple box.”

Pancake – Apple boxes come in a variety of sizes:  full, one-half, one-quarter, and, yep, you guessed it….

Diva – a personal sized florescent lighting fixture, just right for an actress’s face.

Boy/Girl – an even mix of daylight and tungsten color balanced florescent tubes in a fixture.

Salt and Pepper to Taste – an uneven mixture of daylight and tungsten color balanced florescent tubes in a fixture; used to warm or cool a scene.

Stick-ups – small, battery-powered LED lighting fixtures that one can ‘stick up’ onto anything.

Floppy – a 4’ by 4’ black flag with extendable fabric used to block light.

C-47 – A wooden clothespin; used to secure diffusion and colored gels to lights (the name originates from its catalog designation)

Pigtail – a short bundle of audio signal and monitoring cables that attach to the camera ending in a quick release attachment

“Uno mas, por favor” – “one more take, please” (but not really just one, probably several; anyway, let’s go again….)

Grip – the name for a broad category of hardware and fixtures used to control light, or the person who deals with it

Gag – any device placed in front of a light and used to change or control the way light is striking an object, or to create shadows.

Schmutz – typically diffusion that we place in front of a light to soften it; or, alternately, dirt on the lens or on a monitor; as in, “Wipe that schmutz off the lens, man!”

C-Stand – a sturdy, multi-purpose stand to hold lighting and grip equipment; named for the Century company, an old Hollywood establishment.  C-stands come with arms and knuckles for attaching all manner of stuff.

Gary Coleman – a half-height C-stand.  Enough said.

Stingers – heavy-duty electrical extension cords

Crafty – Food!  Snacks, drinks, etc.  In our case typically coffee, juice, sodas, bagels, Odwalla protein drinks, granola bars, beef jerky, chocolate … and yes, fruit.

Martini Shot – the last shot of the day, right before Martini time.

“This has been another fine Rock Creek production” – that goes without saying…, but typically our Martini shot.

(As always, thanks to Donny Aros for keeping the verbiage lively on set.)

The Rock Creek Family is growing!

Our Rock Creek Family is growing!

2014 was an exciting year for us here at Rock Creek Productions. We were fortunate to have two new additions!

Editor, Jacob Mosholder, welcomed his second child, daughter Zoya Joan Mosholder.

Rock Creek Family


Birthday: September 16, 2014

Current Age: 4 months old

Favorite Activity: Laughing at everyone who makes eye contact.

New Skill: Standing on one foot (with support of her father)

Next Goal: Uneven bars … or maybe she’ll start with crawling first … hard to say

Producer and Editor, Aimie Burns, welcomed her second son – Alexander Louis Burns.


Birthday: October 13, 2014

Current Age: 3 months

Favorite Activity: Watching his big brother, Christopher be silly

New Skill: Making spit bubbles and laughing out loud

Next Goal: Figuring out how to crawl and walk – must explore now

Rock Creek Productions Launches Rock Creek Studios

It’s official! We’ve moved into new video production and still photography studio space in Herndon, VA. Rock Creek Studios offers nearly 5,000 square feet of space centered around a large and flexible studio with full amenities including make-up and green rooms, client work spaces, a kitchen and workshop. And when our build-out is complete we’ll have and a large 20′ wide cyc, too. Here’s our new layout!

rock creek studio

Give us a call or drop us a line to come see it!


Tim Phillips
Rock Creek Productions/Studios
1145 Herndon Parkway
Suite 500
Herndon, VA  20170