Riverside Central Mural Project- A dissection of the video.

Children create out of inspiration, rather than necessity.

Their creativity comes natural throughout this age. From the spark of an idea and the canvas of a building, this Mural will transform the school and surrounding neighborhood with a peek inside the mind of a child.

We were asked to create this video for Riverside Elementary to document why this mural is important.
To capture elements of action, smiles, hugs and even love through art.


There is a common thread with the projects I create and share.  Why do they always start like this…

“Hey Marie…”

Josh Banks, my right hand for this project, professional photographer and licensed drone operator was contacted by Lida Casper, Rochester Public Schools Community Schools Site Facilitator at Riverside Elementary in a partnership with Good Space Murals for a large project. This project highlights the cultural diversity within the school and will engage the community with a 1000 sq. ft. mural installed on the exterior of the school. The best part is, the children work directly with the artist to create elements of the mural which will be integrated into the finished piece.

This project is set to be completed in a 4 phases, finishing with installation scheduled for the fall of 2018:

  • Phase 1) Photos & Print portraits of each student

  • Phase 2) Children illustrate on photo prints

  • Phase 3) Community Engagement,  awareness and fundraising

  • Phase 4) Installation


In phase 1 of the project, we shot photos of 600+/- children on a white scoop background, image 1, with studio lights. Each class took approximately 25-30 minutes to shoot. They greeted us with apprehension and whispers. Some had never seen a camera system or studio set up like ours.  When their individual or group sessions were complete they left with laughter and were eager to give us high fives. They were awesome! It was remarkable to witness how most children don’t see their natural beauty. We captured unique images, and made it a priority for them to see their smiles. Surprisingly for us, they filled our hearts. We left that day exhausted but exhilarated knowing in some way we helped make them know they are each unique and beautiful.  

With 600+ kids shot and a staggering number of 1200+ images to process, my goal to was to present a collection. At 01:12:00, highlights a selection 55+ animated images, image 2. Some of the children were highly active. Switching to high-speed bursts to capture their movement; flipping hair/bodies and kicking balls. Each and every image was too amazing to not share. The 1200+ images were rated in Adobe Bridge and rated to the top 85. Then pulled into Lightroom for global adjustments and uniform cropping. For this layout comp, Photoshop was not fast or fluid enough to using in a grid layout. Indesign was a better option offering fluid changes to the linked graphics. Images were quickly processed to size and arranged in a pleasing layout as seen in the video on the backdrop. With the background exported as a graphic JPG file it was back to Adobe Premiere for further editing where images were stacked vertically and horizontally on the timeline.

Image 1:  Smile everyone! Impromptu capture using the Canon 6dMii with Canon 16-35 L/2.8 Lens.

Image 1: Smile everyone! Impromptu capture using the Canon 6dMii with Canon 16-35 L/2.8 Lens.


Image 2: Timestamp 01:12:00 Children on white block master timeline

Image 3: Individual images within Boy flip.

Image 4: Boy flip nested sequence


The white backdrop graphic was imported within into its’ own nested sequence within the master video. Additional images were added stacked vertically. When it’s all said and done, the white block children clip includes 9 nested groups, using 88 stills, lasting a mere 12 seconds. Digging deeper into the larger blocks, each nested group, for example, the flipping boy, image 3, is comprised of five images, and repeated 3 times within sequence, image 4.

Why was this done?  Because they are worth it!



Phase 2 of the project, children were asked to draw on their print depicting elements of their personalities, using their favorite colors and shapes which identify with their cultures, known as Mini-murals.  Our team supports and promotes the use of timelapse photography. Using a Brinno Time Lapse TLC200 Pro camera to capture this activity was the solution to document hours of work as seen at 00:54:00, image 5. Installed on a tripod and moving around to different angles allowed for unique perspectives. At plane for showcasing their hands and art details followed by “Eagle View”  for overview to engage at the table and full room view to showcase all the action.

Editing timelapse content is easy, set the camera to record, trim to what you want, delete what’s not interesting, adjust the speed and remember to keep it short, sweet and simple.

Image 5: Timeline shot 00:54:00 start of Timelapse content


A selection of the student’s mini-murals are featured at 01:32, image 6. Ninety-seven total scanned printed were submitted to me, for consideration, to use within the video. In the end, three images were selected and used. Using the image alone was not dynamic enough. Revealing the illustration after the photo was necessary. Therefore, the use of another nested sequence to keep the content organized. Each student illustration required masking. Masking in Premiere is kludgy. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Time is money”, right?  Masking in Photoshop was the best non-invasive approach and fastest method for the use of my time, image 7. Each image required multiple layers with masks imported into Premier as individual layers, image 7. Stacked into into the timeline, image 8, with the duration adjusted to satisfaction as viewed.


Image 6: MasterTimeline shot at 01:32:00 for Student Mini-mural.

Image 7: Mini-mural layers within photoshop with image masks.

Image 8: Mini-mural nested sequence of student art reveal stacked in timeline.


Image 9: Aerial drone shot and mask reveal using keyframes.

This project wouldn’t be complete without the Aerial drone photography shot by Josh then worked into the video as a still using key frames with a mask reveal. At 03:18:00 My question was, how can this mural be depicted on the building in nearly final form? Solution: zoom out and add overlay panels to the surface area on the building, image 9.



This video sparked off Phase 3, community awareness and fundraising. From June 6th – Sept 9th, in partnership with the Rochester Children’s Museum, all prints were on display and part of a silent auction available for purchase. On September 4th, the final mural design was unveiled in a closing ceremony along with the conclusion of the silent auction.


A teaser video was created to share “outakes”. These images were pulled from the action block at 0:1:15:00, mentioned earlier within this post.

Within the video this section last about 12 seconds. There is so much action a viewer can barely catch a glance to see their child. Stacking in a horizontal timeline, matched rhythmically with music

These are their smiles. This is THEIR energy.


Timelapse photography was part of Phase 3 documenting the Community Paint Party held at the Farmers Market on Saturday, September 8th. During this four hour event, tables were set with sections of the mural pre-marked with a 20+ paint by number coordinated scheme following the design. Attendees of the market could pick their number and paint as much as they wanted to.

This is what happens when armed with a couple of cameras. Unleashed creativity, capturing moments of unbridled color. These panels form the foundation of the mural design which will be installed in the spring of 2019.

Riverside Elementary Identity Mural painting party held at Rochester MN Farmers Market. Painting the Mural panels prior to installation. A work in progress collaboration with the Rochester Children's Art Museum and GoodSpace Murals.


Canon 5DMIV, Canon 6DMI, Canon 24-70/2.8 L  Lens, Canon 50/1.4 Lens

Inspire Drone, Brinno Time Lapse TLC 200 Pro Camera

Studio Lights

Adobe Bridge, Lightroom, Photoshop, Illustrator, Premier layered with Audio tracks

Music selected from YouTube Audio Free Library, After the Soft Rains by SouthLondon HiFi.

Marie Ferguson