“Lots of communication, calm, and quick decision making are what makes every show a success. The key is relying on your team. You have to trust that everyone will do their job and be their best.”- Michael Hamilton
If you don’t already know, the award-winning team at Lime Crane is a force to be reckoned with. This talented group has 25+ years of experience creating magic for organizations that range from Fortune 500 to small nonprofits. But how much do you really know about them? Each individual here has their own unique story to tell, so we have decided to pull back the curtain and showcase members of our extraordinary team by interviewing them. In this post, we’re shining the spotlight on our Director extraordinaire, Michael Hamilton.
Michael grew up in Snellville, GA where he attended Parkview High School, graduating in 2010. Michael went on to get his Bachelor’s Degree in Film Theory from Emory University with a minor from the Goizueta Business School. His focus was on documentary filmmaking and the entertainment industry, but began working in sports television as an audio engineer, eventually moving to live sports directing. He met Nate Haskell and Shane Higgins in 2015 and transitioned to corporate communications.
Michael and his wife Claudia are activists and have used their interviewing and filmmaking talents to create several mini-docs for Georgia State’s social justice programs. They also work with ACLU of Georgia to take food and water to polling locations with long lines on election days.
LC: How did you get started in this industry and what brought you to it?
MH: I worked through college putting high school sports on TV. I worked with Channel 2 in Atlanta for several years inside production trucks. The environment is fast-paced and high stress. After five years in that industry, I was looking for something that would be more of a creative outlet. Lime Crane makes documentaries and scripted video as well as live shows, so it was a perfect fit. I love how our work combines all of my interests to give the client awesome content. It is so rewarding when the client loves the final product.
LC: How would the 10-year-old you react to what you do for a living now?
MH: My younger self was always into technology. I’m pretty sure at ten years old, I evaluated everything in terms of video games. I think I’d be blown away that now I have a literal television studio in my office. My five gaming computers would make 10 year old me explode with joy.
LC: What was the last show you binge-watched?
MH: Homicide Hunter with retired detective Lt. Joe Kenda. He’s a crotchety old detective recounting his thirty years of cases in Colorado. He is amazingly smart and fabulously sassy. My wife and I love to watch one or two episodes every night.
LC: What does a typical day at Lime Crane look like for you?
MH: No two days are the same. Usually, our day begins with a production meeting followed by a few hours of emailing clients, sending links, organizing schedules, etc. The afternoon usually has Shane (Higgins) and myself testing and building live shows, which can be using several different platforms. No two shows are ever the same. We spend hours picking apart Zoom, Teams, Webex, and Google to make sure our shows always go off without a hitch.
Show days, when we are doing full live streams with live presenters and huge audiences, are a total blur. When you get into live productions, you just let go and let your experience take over. Lots of communication, calm, and quick decision making are what makes every show a success. The key is relying on your team. You have to trust that everyone will do their job and be their best. The sure fire way to mess up is to try and do too much by yourself.
LC: Tell us one of your real hobbies, and then tell us a hobby that you wish you had.
MH: I shoot and develop my own film on vintage cameras and lenses. I’ve been doing it for about 3 years now. I love capturing our modern world with these rich, analog, non-digital technologies.
What I wish I did? I have started learning jazz piano about 15 times. I bought a keyboard with headphones so I won’t drive my wife crazy. There just hasn’t ever been time to put the time into it. But I’ll get there one of these days.
LC: What was the technology like when you first began and how has it changed through the years?
MH: Everything has gotten so much better so quickly. There are always a bunch of new cutting-edge technologies, but lately, we have seen an incredible increase in computing power. Standard definition video is now 4k, cameras are 20% the size. The biggest change has been mobile devices. When I started, we would add “mobile streaming” as a nice add-on to streaming to laptops. Five years later, we design for mobile devices first. Most of our audiences stream on phones or tablets. Computers are the afterthought these days.
LC: What’s your favorite thing about your current job?
MH: I’ve always loved the “travel” aspect of filmmaking. Now that we are stuck at home, I am so grateful to have a job where I get to meet so many new people every day. I love working with the folks at the companies, nonprofits, and organizations we work with. It’s so rewarding to get these peeks into the different lives of all these really interesting people.
LC: What do you think makes Lime Crane different from other webcasting companies?
MH: Technology is changing every single day, especially now that teleworking has exploded. Every week, the virtual meeting platforms have new features and new rules. The real secret to Lime Crane is being able to keep up with all these changes and make adjustments in real-time. So many AV companies find their niche and stay there for years. The business world is too agile for that model to work anymore.
At Lime Crane, it isn’t the technology that makes us successful, it’s the crew. We are all experienced, imaginative, and fearless with the changing technology landscape. It means lots of work to keep up, but we owe it to our clients to always have a solution for their ideas. Our philosophy is that technology should never get in the way of the client’s communication needs.
LC: Would you rather someone be honest and hurt your feelings or lie to protect them?
MH: Always be honest. But be honest in private. Ben Franklin said it’s perfectly acceptable to insult someone in private, they may even thank you for it, but if you do it in public…they tend to think you’re serious.