Video editing is hard work

So today I was given the opportunity to learn about using Adobe Premier Pro to edit a short video.

Most of the time that I have been editing videos, I have been shooting on the mobile phone and then using a mobile phone video editing software to edit and then produce the video. But today was different. I had already shot a couple of clips of an event last week. I had wanted to edit it on my mobile phone but I knew I had to try something different.

So today, I begin editing on Adobe Premier Pro. I think sometimes when beginners look at the panels on the editing plane, they kind of freak out. Where do I start? Which button do I press? Where do I click to upload why video clips? Those are questions that any video editor asks. I had the same feeling too. But the plan on self learning has always been to go to Youtube to learn from others. Thats the wonderful thing about YouTube. You can type the subject or the specific instruction and believe me, there is always someone out there who has covered it and has shared his/her knowledge through a video on the Youtube site.

So since lunch time today till this evening, I have been constantly swapping screens with YouTube and Adobe Premier Pro. I’m learning so much. Through this process, I have identified some mistakes that I have done when shooting like making sure my video shooting mode and photo shooting mode are the same. Or that sound and lighting still are important aspects of shooting because it will really help you when you are editing video and sound clips as well.

This is the panel on the editing plane of the Adobe Premier Pro dashboard.
This is what the editing dashboard on the Adobe Premier Pro looks like. As you can see, I am editing a short video using this software.

So Im hoping I complete the story and can share it online on my YouTube Channel. See you later.

Adding value through creative media – the LAKE Media way

“Put up the set lighting! Check aperture, check exposure setting. All good? Okay let me take that photo.”

These are the words of Jeremy Mark as he goes about his business during a photo shoot production at a 3-bedroom stylised apartment property at Lae’s central business district. Lopoki Inc. tagged along to see how Jeremy went about the thought process, techniques and workflow for a production shoot and hoped to learn some tricks of the trade off him. Jeremy runs LAKE Media, a small business operating out of his own home.

Jeremy begins the photo shoot in front of the four unit apartments
We move to the corners and back of the apartments
Jeremy shows me the photos he has taken
Jeremy takes some landscape and portrait photos as well of the backyard area.

Why LAKE media?

“Well LAKE is an acronyms taken from my childrens’ names,” Jeremy explained when I queried the origin of the business name. LAKE Media specializes in video production and other creative content. Since he started the business in 2019, he has been slowly building a portfolio of video and photography engagements with PNG organizations and even international companies. Today, LAKE Media was engaged by a real estate firm to photograph their refurbished apartments so that they could use the photos for their promotion and advertising purposes.

As I helped him carry the camera equipment and set up lighting, I could see a bit of the work that went into creating the appropriate images needed. It takes patience, dedication and most importantly a highly technical knowledge of how the camera works, lighting and other important principles too such as rule of thirds, depth of field, contrast, emphasis, proportion, etc. We went into the property around 12pm led by the real estate team who explained the different sections of the house. Then Jeremy explained to the real estate team the general outline of photos he would take around the property. He pointed out that in the afternoon when the sun gave a nice golden look, usually around 5pm, he would take the drone photos. Jeremy then started taking photos.

Interior photos

He started taking photographs outside. We started on the front, moved to the edges of the unit complex, then to the back of the house. He took mostly landscape photos of the area and building and also some portrait shots too. After that we moved into one of the units where the real estate team had already set up the house with white and brown goods. We set up the lighting set and then he meticulously took photos of the living room, kitchen, laundry, master bedroom and other rooms. The house was a two-storey building so we moved the photography equipment around a bit.

The tools of the trade

Jeremy used a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV camera with a 16-35mm lens on a tripod, with a lighting kit of four 24W LED lights providing plenty of lighting. He shot everything on a tripod, using slow shutter speeds of 1 to 5 seconds at high apertures (f6 to f8) for sharpness. We moved furniture and carpets to maximize the room and its features in the photographs. It took us around 2 hours to shoot photos of the exterior and interior of the house. After that, we left the property and would come back later in the afternoon to shoot the aerials with a DJI Mavic 2 drone.

While technical knowledge is important, good equipment is the lifeblood of a multimedia production business. I could see that Jeremy had invested in cameras, lenses, a drone, a softbox lighting kit, batteries, media storage devices, cleaning equipment and portable storage bags for all these items. He got a BSP loan of K47,000 to acquire these assets in 2020. While this seems a large amount of money for someone to do this as a microbusiness, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Jeremy had been able to pay back the loan through mostly video production jobs. When I asked him about how he has been getting jobs, he said, “Word of mouth!”

Jeremy’s valuable tools – the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV camera and two 16-35mm lenses
He begins the photo shoot inside one of the apartments with the camera placed on a tripod to provide stability.
The 24W LED lights provides plenty of lighting.
Later in the afternoon, we stop outside the property and Jeremy uses the DJI Mavic 2 drone to do a photo shoot showcasing the aerial views of the property.

Gaining clients

What he meant by ‘word of mouth’ is what we know as word of mouth marketing or referrals. He explained that early on in his business career, he used social media to advertise LAKE Media services. He used social media to advertise his services around 90% of the time and 10% of the jobs received were through his contacts. When he acquired the first three or four engagements, he worked really hard on them making sure the quality stood out. His quality of his work began to draw in clients outside of his regular circles. His clients appreciated the LAKE Media products and services and this began to build an extensive portfolio that now has provided for over 30 clients. While most of these clients are corporate entities, he has ventured into the tourism, events, health and development work too.

When queried about some of his ongoing jobs, he pointed out that LAKE Media currently provides video production support too. This includes an ongoing video time-lapse of the Nadzab Airport Redevelopment Project which will end in April 2023 when the new terminal is opened. Since he runs a one person operation, he explained that LAKE Media also engages other photographers and videographers too. For example, in Lae, when there is a high demand for video or photo production for events especially corporate functions and weddings, he gives these jobs to other media partners too.

Values in the business

Lopoki Inc. asked Jeremy what he attributed his success to. He said a lot of things including support from his family and having discipline but the one thing that anchors his business and personal life is a phrase he once heard spoken by one of his role models, Fr Jan Czuba, “Be a person of value, rather than a person of success.” He elaborated: “My day is about adding value in everything I do whether at work or home. I don’t concern myself with successes because it gets to your head and makes you too comfortable. Instead I focus on value. What is it that I can do to make a product or service better, or add to a conversation to find solutions?”

Challenges

What are his challenges? When COVID-19 came, the jobs diminished as travel was restricted, LAKE media couldn’t get jobs as other businesses stopped giving out jobs so as to save money. Even gaining jobs required going though the process of testing and isolation which was not business effective. Today, business is picking up slowly but other pressing matters still occupy the forefront of running a small business. There is also the issue where jobs can be intermittent so one has to be develop other streams of income too. One positive is that Jeremy has a permanent and formal job working in Lae city for the last 10 years so he does LAKE Media on the weekends and during his breaks.

When he cannot attend jobs during week days, he has a pool of talented creatives he sends to do the jobs. “That’s why I focus a lot of my time on training the young guys that work with me. Some run their own businesses so we’re always collaborating to find the right chemistry and people with great work ethic to deliver jobs that can be demanding. “Sometimes, I knock back job requests because no one is around to do them as the guys are always doing something every other week. We find a good work life balance most days so it’s a matter of planning for the best and worst so to speak.” he said.

A message to others

Does he have any words of advice to others who are contemplating their business ideas or starting out in their small business endeavors? “Well, my message to the young guns starting out in a photography or video making business, or any other field, is put your head down and get the work done. Stop stressing over likes and views and chasing clout. Strategize and distribute your content on your socials if you must on a regularly basis however market your skills face to face too. This is because networking with businesses and individuals in person is still the gold standard. Stop appealing for followers online rather focus on getting skilled up, show up, get the work done and then go home. Do that for one year straight and you’ll wake up one day and find your inbox is full of job requests.”

Lopoki Inc. supports the work of small business such as LAKE Media not only because it tells the story of being disciplined in growing your business through a good values system but also about being able to produce quality content that add value to organisations operating in PNG.

Amazing hot coffee at Yonki Dam

Usually when I travel on Public Motor Vehicles (PMVs) along the highways between provinces, I get to have drinks like kulau, soft drinks, water and even coffee at stops. For coffee, most often, it is served in a household ceramic cup and you drink from it. Once finished, the cup is returned to the owner before you leave and continue on your journey.

However, this time, as I travelled from Lae in Morobe Province to Goroka Eastern Highlands Province by PMV, I found an unexpected coffee encounter. We took off at around 5pm from Lae and by 7pm we were already past the Markham Valley and heading up the Kassam Pass – the gateway to the Highlands region of Papua New Guinea. We drove past the famous Yang Creek and once we reached Yonki Dam, we were knew we were already in Eastern Highlands Province territory as the air temperature began to drop. I had already began regretting my choice of wearing just a single shirt.

Yonki Dam, constructed in 1991, is located in the Arona Valley adjacent to the township of Yonki and generates around 18 megawatts of electricity to Morobe, Madang and Eastern Highlands provinces respectively. As the PMV zigzagged its way up the highway, we came to a stop just past the dam. It is a small roadside market with vendors selling items such as food, drinks, fruits, betelnuts, cigarettes, etc. Amongst all the usual items sold, I was pleasantly surprised to see a roadside vendor selling hot coffee in disposable paper cups with lids.

The smaller cups cost K2.00 while the larger ones cost K3.00

I paid K2.00 and the male vendor, who had a urn already filled with hot water, filled my cup, stirred the liquid and put the lid on . It wasn’t premium highlands coffee but the cheaper 3-in-1 ones that comes in sachets. It didn’t matter to me. The hot sweet coffee went easily down my throat and warmed by already cold hands.

I admire how Papua New Guineans like this vendor continue to hustle and bring innovation in his business providing convenience to travelling public on the highlands highway.
We stop on the roadside to get our stock of betelnuts, coffee and biscuits
So many Papua New Guineans travel on the highlands highway

It’s not something you see often on roadside markets along highways in PNG but I guess it’s all about stepping up and making the hustle cost effective and customer oriented. I never got to ask him about the cups as we only stopped for a few minutes before we took off again. I drank from a paper cup with a lid and as the bus took off, I held the cup and took sips from it until we reach Kainantu township.

If you ever travel along the highlands highway and stop at the Yonki Dam market, please purchase a K2.00 cup coffee and make the informal sector keep money in the pockets pf ordinary folks in Yonki!

Our rubber story goes on The National

Lopoki Inc. published the story on the rubber farmer in Liap village on our blog on the 31st of October, 2021. Here is a link to the story.

We are grateful to The National newspaper for giving us the privilege of have our story appear on their newspaper last week Friday 7th January 2022. Hopefully more people read our story and help him and multiple rubber farmers get Government or multilateral organizations to help. These rubber farmers in Manus need assistance in transporting their rubber to Lorengau. They also need assistance in terms of the supply of rubber cups as well.

The story appeared in the Weekender Magazine of The National newspaper

We shared this on our Facebook page too.

You can always follow us on our Facebook page as well.

Tranquil island, resilient people: The Nyapio islanders of Manus

Manus Province is around 2, 100 square kilometers in land area and amongst its vast open 220,00 square kilometer seas, lie many islands, some inhabited and others, not. While some of these islands are large and can sustain multiple villagers like Lou, Rambutso, Pak and Baluan; others like Nyapio island are so small no one would think Manusians lived on them. Nyapio island, more popularly known as Johnston Island, today, has fourteen (14) households. It also has a population of just under 50 or so people who call this remote island their home.

A young men fishing on his small canoe in front of Nyapio island
The beach in front of the community guest house
A young boys walks in the ‘main street’ of the village which is only roughly 100 meters long.
A typical Nyapio island house

The island, on the south coast of Manus is part of Ward 6 of the POBUMA local level government area.  Nyapio is around a kilometer long, around 400 meters wide and has sparse vegetation. These Titan language speaking people do not have a trade store, a school or an aidpost on the island. Their livelihood and major source of income is fishing. They fish from the sea and then sell their catch to villages along mainland Manus or to Lorengau for cash. Other times they exchange fish with the Lou islanders for fresh vegetables. On the island, they have coconuts, banana, pawpaw, taro and very few sago trees but apart from that there are not too many food crops. The island is just three to four metes above sea level and even water is scarce on this island. When the seasonal trade winds become harsh, food from the sea becomes even harder to find making hunger a real issue at times.

The Nyapio sail on outrigger canoes to mainland Manus or the surrounding islands of M’buke, Lou or Baluan. They even sail to the nearest health service provider at Patu Health Centre on the mainland of Manus, some two to four hours away. One person I talked to explained that once, he had to take two children who were very sick most probably with Malaria, with their mothers, and sail on his outrigger canoe all the way to Lorengau town. They begun the journey in the middle of the night using the stars as their guide. All along the journey, the mothers kept keeping a cold press on the children’s bodies just to keep their fever at bay for that three hour journey on the high open seas. They arrived in Lorengau, just as daylight broke out.      

While their story seems sad and difficult, it is what makes them resilient in the face of constant hardship and continued difficulties. I usually write on my blog lopoki.com about community initiatives in Manus. So I was pleasantly surprised when I was invited by the community in September to come see a small project they had started early this year. It was there that I saw a resilient community at work. You see, being resilient means that when everything seems to be going wrong or difficult, strong people emerge and stand up to provide solutions to the problems faced by their communities.

The Nyapio people are a resilient people. Firstly, they sat down and thought long and hard about how they could solve some of their community problems. They knew that the island would, in its simplest and mundane form, still provide the solution. Then, the leaders decided to build a community based resort of sorts that would provide a means of an income to support their livelihood on the island. Together, they had this understanding that through such an enterprise, much more would come and eventually a school or an aidpost would become viable on their little island. In that way, they wouldn’t have to send their kids away to the mainlaind of Manus for months on end to gain basic education or sail the high open seas just to have access to life saving medication.

The young elite of the village, who live in Port Moresby, supported this move and began by chipping in cash and kind. Around ten young men on the island eventually built two bungalows – one completed using traditional materials like wood, sago leaves, bamboo thatched walls, etc while the other, still to complete, had a roofing iron. They are also building a septic toilet and shower room too. They sourced the raw materials from mainland Manus and shipped the rest of the materials from Lorengau. The community resort is 10 minutes away from the main village.

One of the two beach side bungalows being constructed.
The two beachside bungalows nestled quietly among the trees, sand and sea.

In November, through my small not-for-profit non government organization called Lopoki Inc, I organized a three day Basic House Keeping training for ten (10) of the locals. The Nyapio Island Getaway Resort fully funded the three day training on their island. Lopoki Inc. worked in partnership with the Manus Provincial Government’s Commerce Division and the Manus Training Centre to carry out the training. The Division of Commerce through their Business Development Officer Mr. Pius Kuweh and Manus Training Centre’s Tourism and Hospitality Instructor Mr. Albert Pih were both at the island to conduct the sessions. The trainer Mr. Albert Pih focused his training on three main areas of housekeeping –  Storeroom and stock control; Accommodation and guest laundry; and Room Servicing. The training provided basic housekeeping skills to the participants and increased their knowledge and capacity to manage guests.

Mr. Pius Kuweh, in representing the Manus Provincial Government through its Commerce Division, officially opened the training program.
Trainer Mr. Albert Pih teaches the participants the art of preparing a clean and comfotable bed
The 10 participants listen as Mr. Pih goes through the concepts of basic housekeeping.
The participants practice folding linen correctly.
Mr. Pih goes through the methods of hanging and removing, folding and using the clothes line as a tool to help in managing linen and clothes.
The participants practice full room servicing and the results are amazing!
The ten participants receive their certificates of participation. Mr. Albert Pih (far right), Mr. Pius Kuweh (left) and Mr. Kingston Namun (far left) look on.

I can already see that the community has already taken the initiative to build two semi-permanent buildings housing four rooms for around eight (8) guests when they visit the community based resort. The Nyapio islanders have proven that they want to bring change to their community and so they worked with Lopoki Inc. to ensure this training occurred. The very fact that they do not have an aidpost or even an elementary school speaks volumes about the hardship that they have had to go through all these years. It is inspiring to see the islanders stand on their own two feet and build something that will sustain them as a community.

If you want to visit Nyapio Island Getaway Resort, please visit the website: https://nyapioislandgetawayresort.com/ for more information. You won’t regret your decision to visit. If you do visit, please commit yourself to give something back to the island with a program or session while you are there through your passion, education and work so that greater cultural learning is mutual.

Getting from the provincial township of Lorengau to Nyapio island (Johnston islands)

Ends//

Lopoki Inc. improves its networking opportunities on social media spaces

So we have finally created our LinkedIn page and our Facebook page as well!

The Lopoki Inc. linkedIn page is now online. We are pleased to see three (3) followers already.

We hope that through such pages on this social media space, we will be able to reach out and form greater partnerships with those that have similar values as us. We also hope that through these connections, we can reach out to more people and help local communities in Manus and the rest of the country as well. So if you are also on LinkedIn, then please do not hesitate to follow our page and help us reach more people.

We are also reaching out and showcasing our work through our Facebook page as well. Its a small start as we begin to utilize the most popular social media app in the world by building our brand on thee platform too.

Our Facebook page has gained just over 100 followers already since its creation mid-way through the year.

So join our social media pages if you are on both these platforms. Otherwise, you can always come here to our website and read our stories just the same!

Lopoki Inc. training receives essential coverage on national television

Lopoki Inc. recently completed the Basic Housekeeping training a Nyapio Island in Manus Province so we were pleased to see that the mass media give us some coverage.

Although the television coverage was less than four minutes, we take courage in the fact that the training on Nyapio was put on national TV. This, itself, provided us the footprint to follow in future dealings with the media and improve our messaging as well. Our news on the training appeared on two national TV stations at their respective nightly news bulletin.

The first one was on EMTV News on the 28th November, 2021 while the second time for the same story appeared was on the NBC News on 7th December, 2021. Here are the respective news stories:

We’d like to thank Mr. Bradley Valenaki of EMTV and Ms. Sinivar Kasimani and Mr. Cashmir Waken of NBC for taking their time to put the story together and air it on their respective television stations.

It is the very first television news for Lopoki Inc. and its a small step for us as we begin to initiate and create contacts in the media industry here in Papua New Guinea. We hope to work with the mass media more to promote the work of Lopoki Inc. and eventually reach those who are willing to support our work across local communities.

Whuroh!!

Lopoki Inc. conducts a basic ‘housekeeping’ training on Nyapio Island in Manus Province

A rural and remote community in Manus province has just completed a three-day training on Basic Housekeeping.
Nyapio island, widely known as Johnson island, on the south coast of Manus, Ward 6 of the POBUMA local level government area had ten (10) of its locals trained in three main areas of housekeeping – Storeroom and stock control; Accommodation and guest laundry; and Room Servicing. The rural and remote island of Nyapio has a community guest house called the Nyapio Island Getaway Resort that will get its first guests in December. The Resort reached out to Lopoki Inc., a not-for-profit non-government organization who then organized the training.

Trainer Mr. Albert Pih goes through with the participants the process of bed making in one of the rooms of the guest accommodation at Nyapio Island Getaway Resort.

Founder of Lopoki Inc. Mr. Kingston Namun said that the three day training was to empower the locals on the island to effectively take care of tourists and visitors when they arrived on their island and experience the tour packages they have on offer in December, 2021.
He said: “The community has already taken the initiative to build two semi-permanent buildings housing four rooms for around eight (8) guests when they visit the community based resort. The Nyapio islanders have proven that they want to bring change to their community and so they worked with Lopoki Inc. to ensure this training occurred.”
“This training provides basic housekeeping skills to the participants and increases their knowledge and capacity to manage guests who will travel by boat to the island. Lopoki Inc.’s focus is helping empower local communities in Manus who are willing to help themselves,” said Mr. Namun.

The ten (10) participants and their trainer Mr. Albert Pih (far right) and Mr. Pius Kuweh (left) and Mr. Kingston Namun (far left) after receiving their laminated certificates

Lopoki Inc. worked in partnership with the Manus Provincial Government’s Commerce Division and the Manus Training Centre to carry out the training. The Division of Commerce through their Business Development Officer Mr. Pius Kuweh and Manus Training Centre’s Tourism and Hospitality Instructor Mr. Albert Pih were both at the island to conduct the sessions.
The Nyapio Island Getaway Resort funded the three-day training and ten participants (9 females and 1 male) received certificates of participation.
Mr. Namun thanked the Nyapio island community for their hospitality and hoped to collaborate with local partners in province to deliver similar trainings to Manus communities who needed such trainings.