Directing a Music Video for Afton Prater

This creative one-day music video shoot reminds me of the importance of a creative and resourceful production crew.

Directing a Music Video for Afton Prater in Seabeck WA.

I had a unique opportunity to direct and co-DP for this music video featuring NW talent Afton Prater and an army of young line dancers from Kitsap County. Afton is a bright young star on the rise and with her talented band and supportive community I know she will go far!

The Dream Team

My producer Suzanne Finnell of Beverly Boy Productions did an amazing job helping me gather a solid crew, develop and adapt our shot list and deal with changing conditions in the field. March 26th, 2016 started out nicely but ended in pouring rain. A typical spring day here in the NW. We filmed on some the country roads near Seabeck Washington. Our dream team included co-DP Jeremiah Kaynor who did some amazing work on his gimbal.

Disaster! (averted)

You will notice one aerial shot of Afton walking along the road. Shortly after that Jeremiah’s DJI Inspire quadcopter experienced a mechanical malfunction and landed in the pond. Due to some quick work with towels, a blow dryer, and a big bag of rice the Inspire was mostly okay. While the quadcopter was getting repaired gaffer Casey Schmidt jumped onto a jeep and helped us gather a long tracking shot that really works well in the video. Our PA, Lucas Chapel went above and beyond to help make everything come together; allowing his vehicle to be used as a show car and doing work as an AC, sound mixer, and best boy to help keep our show on the road.

The Rains

Once the rains began to fall my team’s resourcefulness really came into play. Suzanne helped keep us going through shot after shot. And Afton was a real trooper singing and dancing for multiple shots and locations over a 10 hour day. No complaints from her,though. Her shining light helped show the way. This is only my second music video. But a real joy. I moved away from Kitsap County back in 2000 after 4 years working as a counselor at Kitsap Mental Health.  I’m glad to see that the folks there still have great compassion and creativity. I’m always impressed with the relaxed pace of life there, the warm, friendly people and the romantic countryside.

Heartstone Studios – Washington Access Fund

A collaboration between Kleven Creative and Heartstone for Washington Access Fund

The video “Opening Doors” was completed in the Fall of 2015. The project documents the amazing work WAF does to support access to assistive technology. In addition, WAF is regarded as a leader in financial literacy and business education for disabled individuals. Washington Access Fund Development and Communications Director Andrea Travis had an essential role in the creation of this video.

Washington Access Fund provides access to technology and financial education to disabled individuals in the Pacific Northwest. We were proud to have had the opportunity to work with them and to highlight the deep impact they have had in people’s lives. The video was created through Heartstone Studios. Michael Kleven and Elke Hautala were co-directors, co-producers and shared editing duties on this project. Kleven was DP and Sound Mixer on this project.

Heartstone is known for producing high-quality promotional videos and documentaries for non-profits, corporations, and professional artists. Ongoing projects include, I Missed my Train. This film tells the story of Dutch Holocaust survivor Ernst Van Gelderen. Heartstone clients have included, The Center for Wooden Boats, United Churches Emergency Fund, and Washington Access Fund. Current projects include a feature documentary “Finding Light” about Preston Singletary’s transformative work in music and glass.

Filming in Holland
Michael and Elke at the Oranjhotel at The Hague, Netherlands

In 2012, Michael Kleven and Elke Hautala began their collaboration. It began with a project for glass artist and musician Preston Singletary. In 2015, they founded Heartstone Studios LLC. Heartstone delivers high-quality video production for documentary and nonprofit clients.

Heartstone co-director and collaborator Elke Hautala with her baby at Kenmore’s Logboom Park.

Elke and her newborn son
Elke and baby Chance

Kleven and Hautala are excited about their continued collaboration focusing on nonprofits and long form documentary.

Gig Diary – Fruit of the Loom

Sometimes on my production sound gigs, I get to learn new things and meet very interesting people. Leatrice Eiseman is one of those.

Approaching Bainbridge looking East. Edited with On1 software and Lightroom.

I had the pleasure of working as a sound mixer for this Hue For You project for Fruit of the Loom featuring Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute. The project was produced by Plus Productions out of Boulder Colorado. We shot the videos all in one day at the Bainbridge Art Museum back on February 24th, 2016.

Dark Clouds. Edited with On1 and Lightroom.

Sometimes my job allows me to learn new things and meet people I otherwise might not meet. It is always a pleasure to visit Bainbridge.

Hue for You – Energetic Colors

Hue for You – Colors of Confidence

Hue for You – Colors of Attraction

Leatrice is an amazingly informative woman. Although I was primarily focussed on recording great audio, it was great to think about color in a new and interesting way. It was a pleasure to work with director/DP Steve Capstick, producer Nathan Fulbrecht and fellow locals, gaffer Ryan Middleton and PA Katheryn Goddard. The trip over on the Washigton State Ferry was a joy.

Seattle Skyline with Yang Ming. On1 Perfect BW9.

Here is a link to Leatrice Eiseman’s website. If you need a sound mixer for your corporate, documentary or narrative project please get in touch. I have some state of the art sound gear, a nice resume, am a problem solver and a great addition to the community on set. At least in my own humble opinion, (I’m sure my mom would agree as well).

Mt Baker from Bainbridge Island. Edited with Nik Silver Effects Pro II.

Welcome to 2016

It is important that we allow our passions and commitment to lead us.

Ballard Locks Long Exposure

2016 has been an amazing year so far. When I graduated from film school I took on the risky proposition to not only attempt to make my living as a freelancer in the competitive film/video industry but also to continue to pursue a breadth of professional roles both in film and as a photographer. There is a pressure in all industries towards specialization. But particularly so in film/video. Yet I continue to hear anecdotal stories of people doing their own thing, such as directors who edit their films and others who have forged their own professional identity. In school, I had worked as a producer, a director of photography, a director, and an editor. It wasn’t until after school that I began to get hired regularly as a sound mixer. My first job was unpaid, but my second one was paid and others followed. People seemed to like my work and enjoy my personality on set and so I began to feel like maybe I had found my niche.

At the same time, I continued to pursue my other creative interests, gaining experience as a camera operator and DP on ultra low budget narrative projects, working as a one man band shooting and editing videos for local businesses and taking photographs at family events and of our unique NW environment. I have always worried and will probably continue to worry that practical career interests will compel me to focus on sound. It is the one thing I have the most experience at and the most specialized equipment for. But I continue to find that as long as you are passionate and committed to your craft, you can indeed forge your own unique path. I think it is important to young people and to those starting out in a new field, to consider what drove your interest there in the first place. We all must consider long-term financial impacts our decisions may have on our careers. But it is important also to consider what we love doing. It is that love, that passion, that will drive our careers forward. If you are charging for something, you must be very good at it. And to move forward we must continue to hone and improve our craft. By this, we reap the benefit of rare skills and unique abilities. The good money comes after we have committed ourselves to something or some “things” we truly love. Passion and commitment are the pathways to success

What I continue to find is that if you have passion and commitment for your craft, even if it is in multiple areas, you will succeed if you apply yourself seriously and continuously. If you are a young person or someone starting out in a new field, consider what drove your interest there and hold onto that above all else. I think the worsed thing you can do is to settle for doing something you don’t love, or don’t love doing all the time. A diversity of talents can lead, not only to synergy but to practical skills in communication and problem solving.

The good money will come after we have committed ourselves to become really good at doing things we truly love. Passion and commitment are the pathways to success

Mother Walking Through 100 Stones. Anchorage Alaska, Dec. 2015.

In 2016, (and 2015) I’ve found myself working not only as a sound mixer but also as a director, DP, camera operator, producer, editor, and photographer. My goal for 2016 is to not only advance my craft as a sound mixer but to push myself to bring my skills in other roles up to a similar level. If I can do that successfully I might add acting and screenwriting into the mix. If it stimulates me professionally I say why not. Hopefully my peers and those who hire me will feel the same way.


Zaxcom Wireless Camera Hop

I just purchased the Zaxcom ENG wireless system for sending broadcast quality sound and frame accurate timecode to camera. The audio signal is encrypted to ensure secure transmission of the signal for productions where security or secrecy are essential. On productions where time is of the essence, the high-quality signal sent from the sound mixer to the camera can allow syncing in post-production to be skipped. This can be essential in broadcast news and streaming applications. On narrative projects, the director and producers can review sound quality and performance on set  during video playback. This can provide the production with confidence that a scene is, “in the can”, thereby avoiding expensive and risky ADR. The units are the Zaxcom TRX900s and RX900. I’m looking forward to using these units in the field in 2015 and beyond.  (Photos by Travis Jordan).

Zaxcom ENG wireless.
Wireless camera hop for sending broadcast quality sound to camera.
Zaxcom ENG wireless kit.
Zaxcom ENG wireless kit.
Zaxcom wireless camera hop.
Zaxcom wireless camera hop.
Zaxcom TRX900s.
Zaxcom TRX900s.

Gear List for Kleven Creative-Feb 2015

Feb 2015: Gear list for Kleven Creative Services. As a creative freelancer working in film and video, I am constantly evaluating and upgrading my kit. I needed to upgrade my camera from the old 7D so I went with the new Canon 7D Mark II with it’s higher bit rate recording and 1080/60p slow motion ability. In the lens department, I’ve added the Canon 24-105 f/4L lens, a Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 Art lens, the Rokinon 8mm t/3.1, Rokinon 16mm f/2, Rokinon 24mm f/1.4, Rokinon 35 f/1.4, and a Rokinon 85mm f/1.4. I also picked up a Merlin II Steadicam and a car mount and cage for my BMPCC.

Much of my freelance work comes from my work as a production sound mixer. To better aid my work on set I’ve added a 3rd Sennheiser G3 transmitter/receiver and a Sennheiser MKE 2 Gold Series lav mic. I also added a Remote Audio breakout cable for sending sound and time code to high-end cinema and ENG type cameras. Here is a fairly complete list of the gear I have available at Kleven Creative Services. Please inquire re. current day rates and kit fee. Available for Cinematography, Sound Mixing .

Here is a fairly complete list of the gear I have available at Kleven Creative as of Feb 2015. Please inquire re. current day rates and kit fee. I am available for work as a sound mixer, DP and producer/director on smaller projects.

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Kleven Creative Services
Gear Inventory 02/24/2015
Canon 7D Mark II
Canon 7D
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera
Canon 24-105mm f/4L
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art
Canon 18-135mm 3.5-5.6 STM
Canon 18-135mm 3.5-5.6
Canon 28mm f/1.8
Canon 50mm f/1.4
Canon 85mm f/1.8
Rokinon 8mm t/3.1
Rokinon 16mm f/2.0
Rokinon 24mm f/1.4
Rokinon 35mm f/1.4
Rokinon 85mm f/1.4
Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 M43
Panasonic 14-45mm 3.5-5.6 M43
RJ Speed Booster For Canon EF to M43
FotodioX Vizelex ND Throttle Adapter for Canon EF to M43

Sound Devices 633 Mixer/Recorder
Rode NTG3 Shotgun
Audix SCX/HC1 (interior boom mic)
AKG Large Diaphragm Studio Mic
Electrovoice RE/50B handheld reporter mic
Sennheiser G3 transmitter/receiver (A band)
Sennheiser G3 transmitter/receiver (B band)
Sennheiser G3 transmitter/receiver (G band)
Sennheiser MKE 2 Gold Series Lav Mic
Voice technologies VT500 Lavalier Mic
Countryman B3 Lav Mic
Countryman EMW Lav Mic (XLR Type)
Gitzo 9′ Carbon Fiber Boom Pole
Rode 11′ Aluminum Boom Pole
Rode Wind Blimp
Rode Dead Cat
Remote Audio Breakout Cable with Timecode
Lemo 5 Pin to Lemo 4 Pin Timecode Cable
Lemo 5 Pin to Lemo 5 Pin Timecode Cable
Lemo 5 Pin to BNC Timecode Cable

Filmtools Deluxe Slate

ARRI 650 with Softbox
ARRI 300
ARRI 150
ARRI 150
Mole Richardson 2K Super Softlite

Ephoto 640 LED Ringlight (Daylight, high CRI rating “95”)

YN600 LED (Daylight, Battery)

Ephoto 320 LED (Daylight and Tungsten, Battery)

Fancier 500 LED (Daylight)
3x Impact C Stands

Matthews Combo Stand 11′


Macbook Air 2014
Zacuto Z-Finder EVFMerlin II Steadicam

Merlin II Steadicam

Manfrotto 561BHDV-1 Fluid Head Monopod
ePhoto skater-dolly

Indisystem Ultra Compact Shoulder Rig

Indisystem Jib

StudioFX 48” Camera Slider

Varavon Armor Cage for BMPCC (w/ high capacity battery, 6 hours)

Gripper 3025 – 6″ Suction / Vacuum Cup Car Camera Mount

Varavon Cage and Rokinon 8mm Lens on the BMPCC.
Varavon Cage and Rokinon 8mm Lens on the BMPCC.
Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 Art Lens. I like my lenses like I like my ladies: Fast and Wide.
Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 Art Lens. I like my lenses like I like my ladies: Fast and Wide.
Remote Audio Breakout Cable with Timecode
Remote Audio Breakout Cable with Timecode
My 3rd wireless kit for broadcast quality sound.
My 3rd wireless kit for broadcast quality sound.

For Our Fallen Vets on Memorial Day

Model Melinda Raebyne in this photograph by Michael Kleven honoring American veterans.
In reverence to those who have died while serving their country and heartfelt support for the loved ones they left behind.


Earlier this Spring actress and model Melinda Raebyne contacted me about doing a photo shoot paying homage to the movie icon Marilyn Monroe to enhance our mutual portfolios. I’ve been trying to decide when I should share some of these creative images with the world. Then I recalled that one of our images might be especially meaningful to veterans and their families. This photograph was created at my home studio in Bothell Washington, a suburb of Seattle. Be on the lookout of more from this shoot here.

Melinda is currently seeking new projects as an actress. You can contact her through me if you like. She is great to work with and a true creative force.

Michael is currently seeking new photo projects for weddings, events, portraits and portfolios. He also is a freelance filmmaker producing projects for business and the arts. On set he works as a director, cinematographer and production sound mixer.

Contact me at 206-307-7588 or


New Sound Reel from Kleven Creative

Hello everyone. I’ve just created a new sound reel. Often producers request to see samples of my sound work. So I’ll go online, collect links and send them off. After another recent request I felt inspired to collect some recent samples of my work and cut them into a promotional video reel. Although we are all impressed with the stunning visuals, try watching them without the sound! I’ve been really excited to be doing more audio work in the past 12 months. Exciting projects have included Love in the Year 2000, The Painted Mara, f5 Lasercats, TEKsystems Thrift Shop parody and most recently A Damn Dirty Night. Next week I’m off to Roslyn Washington to record sound for Frink.

As the sound picked up I added a Tascam DR-680. My Zoom H4N is now there as a backup. I purchased the superior Rode NTG3 shotgun to my kit alongside my Rode NTG2. To me 9 foot carbon fiber boom pole I’ve added a 12 foot aluminum pole. The short one I use for indoors and the long one for out. I also purchased a windjammer and blimp for recording audio in high wind situations and a Petrol sound bag.

So this week added wireless. I pulled the trigger on the Sennheiser ew 100 ENG G3 Wireless Deluxe Kit which includes the Voice Technologies VT500 Lavalier Microphone, Electro Voice RE50/B Omni-Directional Handheld Mic and the plug in transmitter for handheld mic or transmission from a sound board.

Kleven Sound Reel 2013 from Michael Kleven on Vimeo.

This reel includes clips from Causality, f5 Lasercats, Love in the Year 2000 , The Painted Mara and TEKsystems Thrift Shop. Although I am certainly available as a production sound mixer and boom operator I am still active and working as a director, editor, cinematographer and photographer. All creative and professional inquiries are welcome!

A screenshot of my audio purchase from B and H.
A screenshot of my audio purchase from B and H.

Running Camera for Track Meets at UW’s Dempsey Center

Update: Feb 24- Brooks PR High School Invite Track Meet

Two weeks ago I was running camera at the Dempsey Indoor facility for the Huskey Indoor Classic. This weekend I continue the adventure for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation indoor Track and Field meet. The long shifts behind the camera are grueling. But the excitement of helping cover these talented young athletes is exhilarating. Some of the most talented in the country.

I’ve included some images from the event, taken with my iPhone 5 and edited with the Camera Awesome App from Smug Mug. Enjoy!

My new friend Scott setting up one of the additional cameras.



My professional Sony camcorder for streaming.



Some if the amazing athletes at the Dempsey. From one of the last races of the day. The Mixed Distance Relay.



Here is a link to find out more about the race. Or potentially view it live on Feb 23th. On Feb 24th I will also be helping stream the Brooks Invitational featuring some of the best High School track athletes in the Nation. Live video stream at and archives from Flotrack.

The project was set up by the folks at Northwest Audio Visual Productions out of Portland Oregon. You can like there Facebook page here. I took a few more fun photos. I have to get up early for day two on Saturday. But come back soon. They will be here.

Contact Michael Kleven if you need a camera operator, sound recordist or photographer.

I love the work I do!


Over Anchorage

On the second day of my December journey to my parent’s home on Anchorage, I borrowed the truck and trekked South onto the windy roads which snake into the Chugach Mountains South of town. The low slung mountains, once a haven for miners seeking gold, offer wide vistas from which to capture images of the Cook Inlet, Anchorage, The Alaska Range to the North and the valleys and ridges of the Chugachs. Here is a set of HDR images from that trek. They are available to purchase and enjoy from my sister website at Photoshelter.

All photos were taken with the Canon 7D and processed in Lightroom and Photoshop. Contact me for custom cropping of the images. I am also available for weddings, portraits and events. Contact Michael Kleven at 206-307-7588


Rugged Alaska Mountains
HDR image from the Chucach Mountains over Anchorage.




Over Anchorage – Images by Michael Kleven