Posts Tagged ‘coverage’

Divide and Conquer Your Video Production

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Red Fox Media - Video Production - Birmingham, AL -Dual HVX SetupIn our experience as video production professionals, we’ve learned that one of the biggest factors in budgeting for a particular job is time.

  • How much time will be required to conceptualize and script a video project?
  • How much time will we need in-studio or on location?
  • How many shooting days will be required?
  • How much time will we need to put the whole video together and deliver a final product?

Of course there are other factors to consider as well, including the cost of on-camera talent, additional crew, equipment, travel, etc. However, a video’s budget will grow exponentially when a client needs additional days for shooting, post-production, etc. The budget for a five-day shoot will look very different from a budget for a half-day shoot.

Most projects we work on require multiple camera set-ups, which require the movement of camera, lights, people, additional gear, etc. All of those set-ups mean that we can only capture a certain amount of footage per day. However, one way to increase the amount that can be shot in one day is to use a 2nd unit camera.

From a budgeting stand point, it may seem like an unnecessary expense to use two camera packages and two camera operators for one job. However, employing the use of a 2nd camera unit may actually reduce the cost of the video, because you are accomplishing more in less time.

This strategy is the most effective when there is a long, complicated shot list with several different locations and a small window of time. Rather than have one camera unit spend four days shooting everything, why not invest in a second camera unit and get all of your shots completed in two days? The first camera unit can spend time at your main location, conducting interviews with your staff and shooting b-roll of your operation, while the 2nd camera unit shoots b-roll of satellite offices, off site installs, and conducts interviews with clients. And if your video calls for an on-camera panel discussion with two or more individuals, you can use both cameras to cross-shoot the scene and omit the need to reset one camera for multiple angles. It can be a very efficient way to tackle your project.

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How to Produce a Video With No Regrets

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Coverage is so important when creating a promotional video for your business or non-profit. The word “coverage,” when used in the context of video production, refers to the amount of footage needed to adequately “cover” the scene. So, for example, if you are creating a sales video that describes how your company makes potato chips, you would want the video production company to shoot enough footage to properly communicate what happens at every stage of the process (i.e. Unloading supplies, moving those supplies into the facility, potatoes moving across conveyor belts, potatoes being sliced, etc.).

Neglecting to get adequate coverage during the video shoot means that you cannot properly tell the story when you get everything back to the edit suite. “Well then,” you might ask, “why would anyone neglect to get the coverage they need?”

Most often, in my experience, lack of coverage comes from a lack of time. And a lack of time can be caused by:

-a failure to properly schedule the shoot.

-a failure to stay on schedule due to various circumstances (talent and/or crew arriving late, problems with the location, problems with the gear, multiple takes of a scene that weren’t accounted for, last-second script changes, etc.).

-failure to budget for an adequate amount of crew members.

-failure to invest an amount of money proportional to the size and scope of the project.

The last two points become especially important when creating a promotional video in which the content is documentary in nature. In other words, projects in which everything is dictated by events as they unfold, not by the video producer/director. For some video production projects, you will be able to coordinate all of the action for the camera. You will be able to set up lights, block out the scene, and shoot multiple takes. For other videos, you might only get one chance to shoot the action as it happens.

For the latter situation, you need to make sure that you budget enough to ensure that you have the right amount of crew on location and the right amount of time to shoot everything. Otherwise, you might not get a second chance, and you might find yourself without enough coverage for your video. This is especially true of live events, like trade shows, conferences, seminars, etc. Don’t budget for one camera, when you might need two or three to cover the event. One camera can capture interviews, one camera can capture keynote speakers and breakout sessions, and a third camera can cover the trade show floor. Don’t budget for one-half day, when the conference lasts one or two full days.

The last thing anyone wants (you, your video production crew, your marketing director) is to get into the editing suite only to realize that you have a video full of interviews, but not enough b-roll to flesh out the story. Carefully budget your time and your money and you won’t regret it.

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The Importance of Coverage

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Editors are happy when they have plenty of footage to work with in post-production. Shooting multiple angles of a particular scene is called coverage, and whether you are producing your own film, or shooting a long-format marketing video, getting good coverage has many benefits:

  1. Flexibility - Ample amounts of raw footage gives your editor many options for structuring the story.
  2. Variety - Staring at the same shot for too long can bore some viewers. You want your video or film project to engage and entertain and the right amount of coverage will offer fresh perspectives to your audience.
  3. Control – In your narrative film project, your main character picks up the newspaper and stares in horror at the headline. The information in the article is a vital part of your plot. So, did you remember to get a cutaway shot of the headline? Shooting the right amount of coverage gives you control over the story. It allows you to direct your audience’s attention to what you want them to see or to understand.

Here are some things to keep in mind about shooting coverage:

  1. Scout – Go to the location where you will be filming. Look around. Start blocking the scene. Figure out where you would like to place your camera. How many set-ups will you need? Once you have done your initial scout, make some time closer to the shooting date when you can conduct a tech scout. This is when you and your production team do a final walk-through of the location to discuss each set-up.
  2. Utilize Set-Ups – Consider how you can combine multiple coverage shots with one camera set up. For example, if the camera has been set up for a wide dolly shot, can you keep the camera where it is and shoot a lock-down close up as well? How about a pick-up shot of that file folder in your actor’s hand? Can you raise the camera up more on the tripod and get a high-angle establishing shot? Combining coverage shots into one set up will save a lot of time.
  3. Start Wide & Work In – It’s always a good idea to get the establishing shots first. Then you can push in and reset the camera for your close-ups and cutaways. That way, if your day runs too long and you lose the location, you will at least have establishing shots in the can. Imagine losing the location and all you have are extreme close-ups and cutaways. The viewer will be disoriented and won’t know the location, the characters in the scene, the time of day, etc.

Taking the time to prepare by scouting and creating a detailed shot list will ensure that you get the coverage you need for each scene. That will make you editor very happy. And it will give you a much better product.

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