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Monday, Sep 26, 2022

Married Couple Power Crystal Pyramid Productions

Crystal Pyramid Productions, the San Diego-based husband-and-wife team of Mark Schulze and Patty Mooney, has been capturing major San Diego events like Comic-Con, poignantly documenting the needs of area homeless veterans and producing corporate training videos since 1981.

Upgrading over the years to state-of-the-art camera systems, sound and grip gear, the videographer-writer couple’s company is now the longest-serving independent video production company in San Diego.

Schulze, a 1977 Crawford High graduate, started the company when he was attending UC San Diego in 1981. He met Mooney on Valentine’s Day in 1982 and the two have been inseparable since. They were married in 1987 in the Cleveland National Forest.

Mooney is an Illinois native who dreamed of living near the ocean. She drove to Seattle with a friend after a few years of taking writing and humanities classes at Michigan State University. She said she wound up in San Diego – “in the place I always wanted to be” – in 1977.

While running a business together isn’t for everyone, it works perfectly for the couple – Schulze concentrates on the cameras and lighting, Mooney on sound and editing.

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“Pat and I love being together and working and playing together,” Schulze said. “My definition of love is ‘When another person’s happiness is essential to your own.’ And that’s how we operate.”

The couple has also traveled the world several times over, typically charting new terrain via mountain biking, a sport they are both passionate about.

Mountain Biking as a Hobby Pays Off

Crystal Pyramid is widely heralded in the mountain biking community for producing some of the sport’s earliest and most enduring, highly referenced educational videos.

As part of their “New & Unique Videos” series, Schulze and Mooney produced and directed the award-winning “The Great Mountain Biking Video” in 1987 and “Ultimate Mountain Biking: Advanced Techniques & Winning Strategies” in 1989.

Later, they took a broader view of the biking world, teaming with U.S. Olympic champion road cyclist John Howard for the 1991 production “Lessons in Cycling.”

They followed that up with a 1993 video “Full Cycle World Odyssey: An Endless Summer on Mountain Bikes,” which features scenes of underwater mountain bikers off the coast of Costa Rica and the first known mountain bikers to ride into the Turrialba Volcano in Costa Rica.

Schulze is credited with being one of the earliest creators of the “helmet cam,” a video camera mounted atop a helmet. He created it while filming “The Great Mountain Biking Video,” stripping down a red motorcycle helmet and attaching a mounting on it for a camera. He ran a cable from the camera into a backpack that a rider was wearing. Inside the backpack was a portable video recorder and battery for power.

Since Crystal Pyramid’s beginnings, Schulze and Mooney have worked with everyone from Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight to PBS News Hour, UPS and Qualcomm.

“We have always been passionate about what we do,” Schulze said.

New & Unique Videos Notch Several ‘Firsts’

With four years under their belts, the couple also started an offshoot company in 1985, called New & Unique Videos, from which their cycling productions arose. New & Unique Videos pioneered several first-of-their-kind educational and instructional videos.

Their 2008 video documenting homeless combat veterans, “The Invisible Ones: Homeless Combat Veterans,” is an award-winning 43-minute film that made the rounds as far away as New York. Schulze and Mooney updated the video in 2018, which can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/644874840.

That film production began in 2007, via a contract with the VA San Diego Veterans Affairs office to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Stand Down San Diego. Stand Down is the annual event that provides medical treatment, meals, sleeping arrangement and more to veterans who are without shelter.

Mooney and Schulze took no money for the filming, allowing any revenue from DVD sales to go directly to the nonprofit Veterans Village of San Diego, a group that since 1981 has been providing job training, transitional housing, food and clothing to veterans.

Since 2017, Schulze and Mooney have been creating a documentary series called “Nectarball: Cannabis the Story,” which shares insight and interviews with cannabis farmers, seed purveyors, activists, attorneys and medical professionals.

Among those interviewed is actor Tommy Chong, well known for his starring roles with Cheech Marin in myriad “Cheech and Chong” films. Chong speaks eloquently about the healing process of cannabis during his time on camera.

Mooney and Schulze have rubbed elbows with hundreds of stars, including former NFL quarterback Drew Brees, country singer Brad Paisley, the late comedian and muscular dystrophy telethon king Jerry Lewis, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, comic book author Stan Lee and actress Lucy Liu. n

Crystal Pyramid Productions


CEO/Producer/Photography director: Mark Schulze

VP/Producer/Editor: Patty Mooney

HEADQUARTERS: San Carlos, San Diego

BUSINESS: Video production

EMPLOYEES: 2 and freelancers as needed

WEBSITES: sandiegovideoproduction.com, nectarball.com

CONTACT: (619) 644-3000

NOTABLE: The company’s offshoot New & Unique Videos produced “Full Cycle: A World Odyssey,” a mountain-bike travel adventure that earned 15 international awards


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