Posts Tagged ‘audio’
Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
Conducting on-camera interviews is always an important part of a corporate video or documentary film. They provide the viewer with context and help to round out the story by providing different perspectives and opinions on a particular topic. However, capturing the polished sound bites one hears in the final video is not an easy task. It takes the right kind of person, asking the right kind of questions, which helps the subject feel comfortable enough to answer while staring into a camera and bright lights.
If you find yourself conducting interviews for your next video project, here are two things to keep in mind, which should help in your next interview setting.
The most important thing is to make your subject feel comfortable. Always tell your subject is that it is okay to mess up. Remind him/her that everything he/she says will be edited. Your subject needs to know that it’s okay if he/she stumbles or loses his/her train of thought. It’s just par for the course. Those things will happen. If your subject understands that he/she will not ruin the entire video will a verbal misstep, it helps increase his/her comfort level and confidence. And that will help your subject appear more natural on camera.
However, as a follow-up to this first point, you should always make sure that the subject regains composure before continuing. This will help you when you are in the edit suite, putting your video together. For example, if the subject flubs a line and starts laughing as a result and then goes back to what he/she was saying while still chuckling, you won’t have a good point on which to edit. Your final video will have a sound bite that (for some reason inexplicable to the viewer) begins with someone laughing. Have your subject regain composure, get settled, and pause for just a moment before continuing.
Observing these two points will really help improve the quality of your interviews, because you will capture clean audio of a subject who is comfortable, natural, and confident.
Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
You’re set. You’ve hired a video production company to come into your place of business to shoot footage that will eventually be used in an online marketing piece. Everything is good to go. You and the Director have hammered out all the details. You have the talent scheduled. You have the script prepared and memorized. The shot list is ready. All that’s left is to shoot the video.
But have you really thought of everything? Could there be something that you overlooked?
If you work in a location with constant activity (i.e. a retail store, restaurant, salon, etc.), there are two main items on your pre-production checklist that need to be handled before the video production company arrives to set up.
- Audio – If you plan to record live audio while on set, background noise will be a major concern. You need to take proper steps to ensure that you can capture good, clean audio. Ideally, you will want to shoot the video on a day when your business is not open to the public. This will eliminate sounds like customer chatter, footsteps, doors opening/closing, etc. If you are forced to shoot during a normal business day, try to select non-peak hours in which to shoot. This way, customer traffic should be at a minimum. To help reduce the amount of background noise, try hanging sound blankets around your talent. You can also post a public notice to all customers that filming is in progress and that all chatter should be kept to a whisper. Also look for places within your location that may not have quite as much foot traffic.
- Release Forms – It’s important to lock down the area directly behind your talent, so that no one wanders into the background of your shot. If that isn’t possible, bear in mind that any customer that wanders into frame will need to give you his/her consent to be in the video. You will need to have release forms ready, in case this happens. If your business has a lot of foot traffic, it may not be feasible to stop every single customer and have each one sign a release form. In that case, you will need to place a public notice at the entrances to your business and around the camera crew which indicates that you are in the process of shooting a video. It will also need to clearly state to your customers that by walking throughout the store, their likeness may be captured on video.
Details are so important when it comes to producing a video for your business. Things that you normally take for granted (i.e. door chimes, customer traffic, electric appliances, chatter) can become distractions when trying to shoot. Talk with your video producer/director about your location and any potential logistical/legal problems you may face. Budget in the time for a tech scout with your video production team. The best way to handle these issues is to take care of them before they become bigger problems.
Friday, July 29th, 2011
A few months ago I was working on a video shoot for a client. As we moved our equipment inside and started setting up, my client said, “I had no idea this much was involved in producing a video.” This is a remark I often hear when producing videos. People will comment on the amount of gear we have to carry around with us and at the amount of time it takes to set up and shoot each scene. They talk about our attention to detail when it comes to lighting and blocking camera movements. They marvel at how much footage we shoot just for a thirty-second TV commercial or a three-minute corporate video. Producing high-quality videos is something we take great pride in, but it’s also something that demands a lot of our time and resources.
Even before we roll onto the location for the first day of shooting, our work has been going on, behind the scenes, for a few weeks. There is so much that has to be accomplished during pre-production to ensure that the actual shoot runs smoothly and efficiently. For articles on the importance of pre-production, you can browse through these articles, “Preparing for a Video Shoot,” “Scheduling Your Production,” and “If Only the Flux Capacitor Was Working.” Some of the tasks that demand our time and attention during pre-production include:
- Creative meetings with the client to go over conceptual ideas
- Writing a script
- Revising the script
- Scheduling the shoot
- Location scouting
- Securing locations
- Casting (if necessary)
- Hiring the crew
- Prepping and loading the gear
Depending on the size and complexity of the project, our time spent in pre-production may last as little as five hours, all the way up to forty hours. Once the shooting date arrives and we arrive on location, we have to:
- Unload the gear
- Conduct one final walk-through
- Move furniture to make room for the gear
- Set up and light
- Set up the camera
- Block camera movements
- Tweak background elements that are in each shot
- Direct the talent
- Prep the talent for audio
- Slate, shoot, and log each take
And this process will repeat itself for every location. Again, our time in production will vary depending on the size and scope of each video project. We might spend as little as 1/2 day on location, but we might spend as much as five to seven days to capture all the footage necessary for the final video.
Once the shoot wraps, we take all the assets back to our office to begin editing. This is a process that largely goes unnoticed, but here are some action items that we must accomplish throughout post-production:
- Transfer all footage from tapes or external hard drive to the editing system
- Set up the project and import all assets
- Go through all the raw footage, shot by shot, and make notes on what’s happening in each scene
- Mark shots as usable or unusable
- Begin rough assembly of the video to formulate the narrative structure
- Record a scratch track of the voice-over to be used temporarily throughout this initial phase
- Listen to any and all on-camera interviews for relevant and usable sound bites; mark these for use later
- Insert the interview segments and compile them with the b-roll segments
- Present the rough edit to the client for notes
- Make revisions; tighten the edit
- Make music selections
- Insert the music
- Direct the voice-over talent during the recording session
- Insert the voice-over
- Mix all audio
- Create and insert all graphics and titles
- Present to the client for notes
- Make additional revisions if necessary
- Color correct every shot to ensure optimum quality and color accuracy
- Render and export the final video
- Deliver to the client
Post-production can, by far, be the most time-consuming aspect of the production process. It’s not uncommon to spend as much as 40 hours on a 3-5 minute video for a client. To date, I believe, the most we have spent in post-production on a project has been 80 hours for a 7-minute promotional video.
I believe that video production is an artistic medium, and, as with all art, doing it well requires a certain amount of time and effort. So, the next time you want to work with a professional video production company, just know that the cameras, the lights, and the familiar call of “Action!” is only the tip of the iceberg.
Thursday, April 28th, 2011
Image via Wikipedia
Although we specialize in video production and website design, every so often we have the opportunity to branch out into other media as well. Take, for example, this case study from last year:
Southeast Urgent Care is a small, family medical clinic in Fultondale, AL. They approached us to see if we could work with them to write and produce a thirty-second radio commercial to advertise their grand opening on July 12, 2010. We had less than two weeks to conceptualize, write, produce, and deliver two radio spots to meet their deadline. Southeast Urgent Care prides itself on respecting the time of each patient, so we wrote a script focused on the idea that Dr. Paul Roberts doesn’t want the patient in his waiting room. He wants each patient back in the exam room as quickly as possible. A professional talent introduces the spot, followed by Dr. Roberts who provides information about the grand opening.
Click the link below to listen to the spot.
Waiting Room Expert_Grand Opening
Friday, March 11th, 2011
We were hired by an out-of-state production company to provide video production services for a one-day shoot in Hamilton, AL. Yesterday, we sent a DP and an audio tech up to Hamilton to a remote area of timber land. We shot b-roll and stand-up interviews for a piece highlighting a Memphis-based paper company and their ongoing attention to environmental and sustainability issues.