Maryland's Videographers Doing Astronomical Work With STScI

Alex Fakeri | Jan 09

Video Production Company in Maryland

When it comes to an astronomical phenomenon known as “gravitational microlensing,” MOJO is a Video Production Company in Maryland that brings everything into perspective. The MOJO team has been working in videography for years. In fact, it’s our experience, love, and passion for creating video content that has enabled us to work with local Maryland companies like Charm City Trivia, as well as global brands like Vetus Maxwell. We believe that when it comes to videography, it’s not just about the equipment you have, but how well you can tell a story. The MOJO team is all about finding innovative approaches for telling our clients’ stories in creative, memorable, and engaging ways. 


Most recently, the MOJO team had the opportunity to tell our most “astronomical” story ever, during a videography project based right here in Baltimore, Maryland. In August, the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), in partnership with NASA, was looking for a Video Production Company in Maryland, and they decided to collaborate with MOJO for their videography project. The MOJO team and STScI scientists met for an initial kick-off meeting at the Johns Hopkins University campus in Baltimore. 

STSci Video Production Companies in Maryland“Working with the MOJO team was a great experience.  Not only were they professional, ontime, and well equiped, but their artistry, excitement and passion for our project ensured success.  Alex's team of creatives were the right team to join us on this journey of documenting this important subject that will effect the future of space exploration.” - Kailash Sahu

The Goal of the Videography Project

Our job was to collaborate with the STScI team to produce a documentary focused on the subject of gravitational microlensing, as well as the impact it’s had on confirming Albert Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. The team moved forward with an exciting and fascinating four-day video shoot on location at the Johns Hopkins University campus. MOJO worked closely with Project Science Leader, Kailash Sahu, and his team of astronomers on scripting, storyboarding, and scouting the Johns Hopkins campus for key locations that would assist in telling this compelling story about the impact and evolution of gravitational microlensing.  

As we worked with Kailash’s team, the importance of understanding the impact of gravitational microlensing and the powerful satellites like the HubbleJWST (James Webb Space Telescope) and WFIRST telescopes, that monitor the sky became even more apparent to us. 

Understanding the Universe

STScI and NASA use gravitational microlensing to better understand and measure white dwarves, black holes, and our galaxy. The invaluable information that gravitational microlensing provides is what we needed to capture in order to convey the story to our audience. We worked with Noé Kains, STScI’s producer and technical consultant, to script and interview the scientists about their findings, advancements, and their view on the future of gravitational microlensing. MOJO sat down for one-on-one interviews with the STScI’s team of scientists, comprised of Kailash Sahu, Jay Anderson, Stefano Casertano, Noé Kains, Howard Bond, and Annalisa Calamida.

The MOJO Video Production Team Came Prepared.

We knew that STScI and NASA needed MOJO, a growing and creative video production company in Maryland, to bring our top-notch production ability to the table. In order to capture the footage that would effectively convey the significance of this subject, the MOJO team needed to be prepared with the proper tools and instruction. After the initial collaboration for the video, we began our process of storyboarding the scenes and script, followed by equipment checks. From there it was lights, camera, action!

Video Production Companies in Maryland story boardOur videography and photography process:
  • Creative brief
  • Location Scouting
  • Research and Planning
  • Storyboard
  • Pre-Production (shot list, script presentation, assignments, scheduling, etc.)
  • Capture Photos and Videography at Shoot
  • Post-Production (video editing, music scores, animations, etc.)
  • Initial Draft Review
  • Revisions
  • Presentation of Final Video
  • Approval & Publishing

On the set of the video shoot, it was imperative that we remained nimble, responsive, and flexible to the demands of the location and the schedule of our interview subjects. We prepared our most dependable, tried-and-true video equipment.

Camera, Audio and Lighting Equipment

Our director and video crew were ready to roll with four Panasonic Lumix GH4 Cameras, a DJI Osmo, and to ensure each shot was smooth and precise, the GVM 48 inch Slider and a Zhiyun Crane gimbal/stabilizer. For our audio, we used a Sennheiser ME 64 Cardioid Mic Capsule and a Zoom H6 Recorder that gave us clear and uninterrupted audio from interviews and field footage. For lighting, we leveraged our Astra 3X Bi-Color LED Panel, our Aputure LED Light Kits and the CameTV - CN1200 LED lights.

Post-Production and Editing

Noé Kains with MOJO at the NASA command center for the JWST (James Web Space Telescope) in Baltimore MarylandWe spent four days on location at the Johns Hopkins University campus, which allowed us to work closely with Kailash Chandra Sahu and his team of astronomers.  Noé Kains, STScI’s producer and technical consultant, collaborated with us on the script and interviews with the scientists about their findings, advancements, and the future gravitational microlensing. In post-production, the MOJO team presented a draft for overall evaluations before the project was finalized. After we had shot our scenes and conducted the interviews, we began editing the footage and mixing in the audio. After several rounds of internal revisions and critiquing, the final draft was ready for submission. Once our project passed its last evaluation by the MOJO team and the STScI team, it was ready for publishing!

The Outcome

The final result was a well-produced, enlightening, and intelligible documentary about the gravity (pun intended) of gravitational microlensing—complete with excellent footage, clear voiceover work, and a collaborative script. Additionally, we designed and developed two websites that will be used in the promotion of the documentary.

At MOJO, we happily take on projects of any magnitude. But in this case, being able to tell an especially complex story in exactly the way we had anticipated was incredibly gratifying. Thanks to our meticulously-planned videography processes, experience in creating video content, and collaboration with the astronomers at STScI, the MOJO team was able to film and direct this epic video documentary.  MOJO is your next Video Production Company in Maryland!


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