the blog

Rock Creek Emmy Nomination

Rock Creek Productions is proud to announce the nomination of our documentary film, Peace Through Education: Stealing the Light, for a 2016 Emmy Award in the Southeast region. The film, produced independently by Rock Creek and directed by our own Aimie Burns, tells the story of Dr. Mohammed Khan Kharoti, who strove for years to build a school in and bring education to his home village of Shin Kalay, in the war-torn Helmond province of Afghanistan.

The Emmy Awards gala is on June 11th in Atlanta, and though the competition is stiff, we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed that we come home with a trophy.

The film is available for viewing on iTunes:

Documentary Filmmaking

EPA Drought Guide

Rock Creek contributed nine videos to the Environmental Protection Agency’s comprehensive Drought Response and Recovery Guide.  Designed to assist small and medium-sized water utilities, the EPA’s recently published guide examines a variety of unique and successful solutions to drought-impacts across the country.  As part of the team that included environmental scientists from CSRA and water systems engineers from CH2M-Hill, Rock Creek visited communities in California, Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Kansas, and New Mexico to tell their stories though interview-driven videos.  Rock Creek also scripted and produced three additional videos on broader topics of Managing Water Supplies, Reducing Customer Demand, and Partnerships.

Here’s a link to the Guide:

EPA Drought Response

This is an example of our of our branded titles, designed and implemented by Craig Hirshberg, incorporated animated maps and motion graphic background elements.

Sony F5 CineAlta digital cinema camera
DJI Phantom 4K GoPro drone

FAA Praises Video

The FAA contracted with Rock Creek to field two video and still image crews to cover the Experimental Aircraft Association’s international fly-in convention in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and to interview experts and inventors regarding the Federal Aviation Administration’s initiative on revitalizing and streamlining the rules applied to general aviation.  This is an effort to help streamline the certification processes and approve innovative new technologies more quickly.

Here’s a link to FAA’s press release if you want to learn more:

Zoom Lens

Aimie Burns gets up close with her zoom lens.


We worked our magic and cut an eight minute video, which the FAA loved.


“Amazing job on the video – we truly appreciated your professionalism, creativity and responsiveness throughout this project!”

— Emily Harcum, FAA Communications Specialist

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