As a photographer I’m increasingly asked if “I do video?” as well. The quick answer is “yes”, I’ve actually been involved with Internet video production and online advertising for nearly ten years (more in a digital media and marketing consulting role than pure hands on camera shooting and editing) – we produced hundreds of those online presenter videos way back when they were cool.
The digitial photography revolution, particularly over the last three years, has also impacted the video production industry. Today with just a smart phone we can all shoot, edit and distribute in near real time. Apps such as Vine feed directly into Twitter and Instagram (Facebook) now has video post functionality.
A step up from smart phone videos is the use of DSLR’s to produce more professional video productions.
With cameras such as the Canon 7D or 5DMkIII (amongst hundreds of others) combined with video editing programs like as Adobe Premier or Final Cut you can make some pretty cool, highly effective and professional quality video clips. The key thing to remember is that just because you’ve a fancy camera that shoots video doesn’t mean you’re a cinematographer. The skills required – both creative and technical are many.
I suppose the key thing to understand is that with video you’re dealing with a whole lot of new factors for example time; movement, sound, presentation skills and what sort of clips engage audiences and spread?
Following are some of the recent clips I’ve produced. I hope you like.
If interested in a video please contact me or call 0414 792 072.
As a small business you can no longer just place an ad in the local newspaper or yellow pages in the hope of getting new customers. In todays digital world then most customers will begin their search at Google or learn about your business from their friends social media posts on Facebook.
Today your potential new customers spends more time online then they do watching television or reading the paper.
Last night we launched the following cool timelapse video for my favourite local coffee shop at Sans Souci called Foodies.
The objective of the video was to increase their Facebook Page Likes through spreadable content and promote the coffee shop with their new Beat the Q online ordering system.
The Foodies Project Overview
Around 1/2 day spent chatting with Matt about the target customer; key messages, desired outcomes and channels.
Increase local awareness and revenue via local digital channels – Facebook; SEO via Youtube embeds in blogs.
1/2 day researching competition – both online and off.
1/2 day concept creation and agreement.
Site visits – video angles; look and feel etc
Production management and scheduling.
Timelapse – 5:30AM – 6PM (12,500 photos – a shot ever 20 seconds with an exposure of 6 seconds)
2 & 1/2 days editing; sound; effects.
1/2 day pick up shots.
1 day final editing
Marketing and Distribution
Video rendering for Youtube; Facebook.
1/2 day post production social media marketing assistance
Facebook Page Likes at launch of campaign (before video shooting commenced) was 573.
Within 12 hours the clip being launched it had been “Liked” over 100 times and shared 15 times – the total current “Likes” is 636.
Feedback – I had to smile – the only negative comment I’ve read to date (on the Foodies deli cafe page) was from a Surfie Hipster type dude who didn’t like the music choice – hmmmm – there’s so much time that goes into picking the right music for a clip as it’s an incredibly important element to the overall presentation style and message. The Foodie guys wanted something cool and funky that tied in with the atmosphere of the cafe and from a production point of view the music had to be technically a fast tempo with a strong beat for the cuts (as we were dealing with 12 hours of video into two minutes) and with a mid song punch to represent the peak at lunch time.
Yep, I’m certainly gaining a greater appreciation for music choice in any film or TV production as most of the time you don’t even realise it’s there.
From your smartphone, digital camera, to your new DSRL, nearly every new camera today has the ability to shoot video but, just because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean you should or that the end result will be any good. Personally I’ve found shooting good video is a lot harder than an Instagram snapshot with a snazzy filter posted to Facebook.
Following is the process I went through for shooting Elyse’s clip.
The other week I received a call asking if I’d be interested in doing some portrait shots for an new young singer songwriter – “sure no problem – that’s what we do” my reply. And would we also be interested in shooting a music video? – ahhhhh, well that’s a different story. As I learnt from our recent Tropfest Project there’s so many other elements to video that you don’t have to think about with shooting stills – the most obvious,
“time” – instead of trying to capture a single moment in time and deliver an instant, memorable message – you’re actually incorporating time into the viewer experience for the duration of the clip
“sound” – sound is one of the most powerful components to any video – your viewers will tolerate ordinary vision but not poor sound.
“skills” – editing is yet another new skill set to master.
So, with some initial hesitiation I said “yes”, my belief being that if you’re not constantly challenging your own status quo; learning and doing something new, then you submit to letting life happen to you instead of making it happen (if that makes sense?).
The Fundamental Sound
As mentioned earlier “sound” is very important. I’m very fortunate with this project that Elyse can sing (her music teacher is our Rachael – the singer in our Maxy band); the song is good (IMHO) and that the production quality from local music producer Derek from Quarterpipe Records is fantastic.
The first thing I do with the soundtrack is add a slate click track to the beginning of the song which we’ll play for every video take and use to sync the clips via my iPhone and a portable battery powered speaker. In hindsight I should have then coverted this music track into to a video slate for visual time sync as well – ie for cases where I couldn’t hear Elyse singing along – (long shots or the waves crashing on the beach).
Music videos are different than advertising and short films in that you’re not really trying to tell a story – usually the more abstract the better. That doesn’t mean you just film random shots for 3 minutes either. This clip is a bit like a show reel – what I wanted to show was Elyse, how beautiful she is and that she also plays guitar. The target audience are potential fans and music A&R Managers.
Canon 5D MkIII; $150 Canon EF 50mm f/1.8; my favorite Canon EF 24-105 L IS USM; 2 x 450mm LED lights and a couple of LED spots; Iphone and little audio docking station; a flecky.
I’ve also equipped my camera with a Kinotehnik LCD viewfinder – it’s practically impossible to shoot video on a DSLR without one of these.
The shoot – Saturday 9th March
The alarm rings at 4:30AM and take the dog for a walk to check the weather. Thankfully the weather bureaus forecast of rain looks like it’s wrong. At 5AM I text Karin – Elyse’s mum, to confirm our shoot is on and organise to meet at the local Sailing Club at 6AM.
6AM – it’s still dark, sunrise is not due to 6:45AM. I’ve decided to shoot our first takes in Foodies – my favourite local coffee shop. Owner Mat didn’t see my message from the previous night but he’s cool – it gives the locals and staff something different to talk about.
Our plan of attack is to have three locations over the next three hours – the coffee shop; the beach and some local forest – wrapping up at 9AM.
The first thing we do is set up our scene and lighting – a simple three point lighting setup
The camera is then manual white balanced for “better”/ correct colour correction.
Shoot a colour card image of the X-rite for referene and later grading.
Shoot our clips – without guitar; close ups; wide angles; with guitar. 10 takes later and everyone is the cafe knows the song!
7AM – the sun has just broken through the morning clouds so we speed off to our second location on the beach. Again – white balance; set the camera to custom white balance – shoot a colour card image for reference. Just as we’re ready to shoot the cloud comes over. I decide to just keep shooting and see if I can fix later. There’s a lot of movement in theses shots and a steady cam unit would be very advantageous.
8AM – we wrap on the beach and head up to the trees. I switch to the $150 50mm lens for some very shallow shots – for online video you just don’t need expensive glass.
9AM – we wrap – next stage editing
Import all the clips into Adobe Premiere CS6
The next thing I do is watch each take and take down a note of bits I like and don’t like.
In the source panel switch to audio track view and mark the clapper point for each of the clips.
Using the mark point I sync all the clips into a multi-camera track. The latest version of Premiers CS6 allows unlimited camera tracks – the limitation here your computers capabilities. I’m running a Quad Core with 16Gb of RAM and a Nvidia Quadro FX3800 and it’s really struggling with 9 tracks of 1080p HD video. I drop play back to 1/4 resolution and this helps.
On the multi camera sequence and colour correct each of the clips.
After about twelve hours of editing I’ve finished the rough edit. The next step is adding warp stabliser to some of the clips to try and smooth some of the shots out. This process can take 10 – 20 minutes just to analyse 10 seconds of video.
The next step was to then look at transitions and then finally rendering out for distribution – in this case Youtube – which took about 3 hours to render (258mb file) then another couple to upload.
All in all about 15 hours of editing (for a three minute clip)