“Cancer the Teacher” Video Blog with AVC Client–Laura Rennard

Laura chose East Bay video production company, Audio Visual Consultants, to help her produce a video blog of her journey through life after she received her cancer diagnosis. Laura initially contracted with AVC to visit her San Rafael studio for consultation on equipment purchase and to teach her how to make her own videos. We also produced video blogs for her, using our pro camera with our lights and microphones. AV Consultants’, Mitch Silver, performed the video editing and post production. Laura also contracted with a makeup artist and set designer.

Video Blogs—Engaging Outreach

As a psychotherapist, Laura worked with cancer survivors to help them live fully, to express themselves through various art mediums and to recognize the lessons they could deepen their paths to self-discovery. Facing cancer herself, Laura shared the work she did with herself in this video blog. Over the course of a year, Oakland video production company, Audio Visual Consultants, performed on-location videography and digital video editing to produce several videos for her video blog.

A video blog includes periodic video recording of your work. Through the absorbing medium of video, your story engages your viewers. Video marketing with blogs is an effective tool, and it can be used with individuals, small businesses and nonprofits. Storytelling with a video blog is an easy and fun way to engage your audience.

Scheduled Video Blogs Engage Your Audience

In this video, Laura says that the trees, the flowers, her feathers, the colors and her crystals inspire her and “show the power of purpose. When you are really living your soul purpose, the energy arises.”

As part of the series of professional videos that Bay Area video production company, Audio Visual Consultants produced for Laura, the video starts by explaining the intense pain she experienced that morning–it almost cancelled this video. She recovered, and we arrived at her home to film this. She says, “every time I shoot a video, the energy arrives!”

Between our professional video recording sessions in her San Rafael home studio, Laura sometimes recorded videos with her own equipment while she was alone, sometimes in the middle of the night. At her home, Stu Sweetow, owner and videographer at AVC Video, set up a room with her camera, lighting, microphones and a background so she could video record sessions on her own. Sometimes in the middle of the night, she would turn on the lights and camera and record a video documenting her condition at that moment.

Set Director, Makeup Artist, Professional Lighting and Wireless Microphone

Laura contracted with a set designer who created a beautiful setting with feathers and candles in Laura’s living room. 

East Bay video producer, Stu Sweetow, set up flattering lighting to complement the art direction. He also asked Laura to wear a wireless microphone and hide the cable. This all contributed to the viewer experience of being there with Laura. You don’t want your audience to be distracted by backgrounds or poorly planned composition.

In this video, Laura discusses the diagnosis of further cancers discovered in her body and the treatments she is receiving. According to Laura, “I don’t believe there is a universal cure for cancer. I believe each person and situation is unique. What works for one person, may not work for another. I share my journey because I have a need to, and because I hope it may benefit others in some way.”

Audio is Number One in Blogs

At Audio Visual Consultants, audio is our first name.  Video blogs focus on spoken content—rich information. What if your viewer missed a critical statement—one that might have an impact on their lives? It is important video blogs incorporate professional audio equipment and techniques so the viewer can clearly hear the presenter. One of the reasons that Oakland’s Audio Visual Consultants is one of the best video production companies is that we make sure that the audio is crisp and clear.

Laura talks about cancer being her teacher, and she shares how she appreciates life–something most of us take for granted. These are valuable statements; we don’t want any viewers to miss something she says or be distracted by background noise.

Notice the clip-on microphone on the right side of her top. We put a windscreen on it since we were filming outside. We hide the cables either behind or inside the subject’s clothing.

We use a high-quality clip-on wireless microphone, and we hide the cable and the belt-pack. We monitor the audio continuously during filming. When Laura does yoga or performs some movements that might interfere with the clip-on mic, we set up a shotgun microphone on a stand and place it just outside of camera range.

Titled From “Helpless to Empowerment,” this video is composed of six segments demonstrating a variety of therapies.

In this video, Laura discusses symptom management through medication, massage and salt baths. She demonstrates various movement therapies, including dance, yoga and rebounding on a mini trampoline. Laura explored alternative treatments that complement standard medical practices.

We used a shotgun microphone on a stand when Laura performed some yoga postures. We bring a kit of tools including AVC’s professional video camera, lighting and microphones for both interior and exterior filming.

When filming outside, we don’t just rely on the sun for illumination. As it dips behind clouds or trees, or as the day ends, the quality of natural light diminishes. We carry long extension cords and set up one or two professional video lights outside.  Sometimes we use reflectors to bounce the sunlight and a large diffuser screen called a “silk” to filter sunlight. We want smooth, even light with minimum shadows.

Titled “Healing Through Exuberance,” this video shows Laura after chemo, with short hair.

Laura discusses her treatment, and the camera follows her outside where she tries on different hats and dresses that reflect her feelings at the time. As both an artist and a psychotherapist, Laura appreciates color in her life, and that is reflected in her attire.

Sadly, this was Laura’s last video blog that we filmed. During nearly two years of treatment, Laura also recorded some video blogs on her own, sometimes in the middle of the night, while experiencing pain.  Her days switched between feeling well and energetic, to experiencing such extreme pain that she needed an ambulance to take her to the hospital. After her hard work and dedication to creating a video blog for people facing their own cancers, she died–at age 52.

Laura produced these video blogs so that other people facing cancer diagnoses could experience the value of life, explore art and movement as complementary therapies, and recognize that cancer can be a teacher.

Laura’s family called me to let me know of her passing. I went to their home to express my condolences, and they said that Laura wrote in her will that she wanted to give me her video equipment. Most of it I donated, but I keep a few items as a connection to her spirit.

Stu Sweetow


According to Laura, “All of the content featured in these videos represents the views and opinions of Laura Rennard. Laura is not a doctor, and she does not claim to be. She is not providing medical advice. She simply aims to discuss her journey in dealing with cancer and hopes to provide some light for those going through something similar.”

To learn more about Laura’s journey, go to http://cancer-theteacher.com

“It’s not how much time you have—
It’s how you live the time you have.”

—Laura Rennard

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