Posts Tagged ‘studio’

Some of the Earliest Color Motion Pictures You Will Ever See

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Sometimes you can’t appreciate how far you’ve come until you take a look at the road behind you. With the rapid advancements in film and video technology, it’s sometimes hard to believe that the motion picture industry is barely over 100 years old. I really enjoy studying history, including film history. One of the items in my collection is Edison – The Invention of the Movies (1891-1918), a DVD set of early short films. To me, it’s fascinating to watch these motion pictures to get a glimpse of people and places long since gone. Thanks to film, they are preserved forever, including the people in this 1922 Kodachrome film test. Kodachrome was Kodak’s long-standing brand of color reversal film, and (as the video’s opening title says) this footage is some of the earliest color film you will see.

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Behind-the Scenes Production Stills – Posh Birmingham

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Here are a few production stills from one of our recent commercial shoots. The client is PoshBirmingham.com, a soon-to-be-launched website highlighting some of the best retailers and restaurants in the Birmingham area. We produced :30, :15, and :05 spots that will start airing mid June.

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Going Green

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

shoot_greenscreen2Many of our video projects are shot on location, but every so often we have an opportunity to so some green screen work for a client. Shooting a subject against a green screen will allow the video editor to remove the green background and replace it with another of his or her choosing. Green screens are used every day on the evening news when the weatherman delivers the forecast.

Working with a green screen can be tricky, because if not done correctly, you will have nightmares in post production as you try to key out the screen and insert your own background. My recommendation is to shoot some practice footage first before you start work with your client.  Here are a few things I’ve learned from my experiences:

  1. The green screen should have no wrinkles or folds. Any imperfections across the surface of the green screen will result in shadows and hard lines that will be difficult to key out in post.
  2. The green screen should be evenly lit. There should be no shadows and no fall off. The light should be soft and diffused. A light meter will help ensure accuracy.
  3. Create distance between the subject and the green screen. Any light reflecting off the green screen and onto the subject should be eliminated. If not, your subject’s edges will have a green glow when the screen is keyed out. Move your subject as far away from the screen as possible. Then use flags to block any reflected light coming from the screen.
  4. Shoot on a format with the highest-rated color space possible. MiniDV has a color space of 4:1:1. You can use it for green screen work, but it isn’t the best option. Just be aware that there will be some challenges in keying with MiniDV footage. The edges on your subject won’t be perfectly clean. However, if your video is intended only for the web, MiniDV will work for you. Consider this video we produced. It was shot on MiniDV and the client was satisfied with the green screen work. Formats like DVCPro and DVCProHD have a color space of 4:2:2, making them better for keying.

Learning the proper video production techniques takes practice. There’s always something new to learn and the more time you spend shooting and editing, the better your craft will be.

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Image Is Everything

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

As you market your services to potential clients, it’s important to remember that perception is everything. If people see you as knowledgeable and experienced, they will be more inclined to listen to what you are offering. Image is key.

I recently came across a website promising visitors that success can be found in a video production career. On the home page is a brief video, featuring a spokesperson who covers a few introductory items in a “how-to” lecture format. The spokesperson was well-prepared and, based on what he said, seemed knowledgeable.

But something wasn’t quite right with the image they were presenting. This is a site for a company that wants you, the viewer, to consider them as a valuable resource in your fledgling production career. However, the quality of the home page video was unimpressive.

It was shot with a standard consumer camcorder under flat lighting conditions. The camera was pointed at the spokesperson standing in front of a dry erase marker board, creating a presentation that failed to engage the viewer.

It seemed that the on-board camera mic was used, rather than a lavaliere or shotgun mic. Therefore, the audio sounded thin and the levels were too low. The auto-focus was left on, meaning that during the video the whole scene would fall out of focus as the camera tried to calibrate itself.

Visitors to the site might come away from watching this video with a little less respect for the company, because little consideration was given to the image being portrayed to potential clients. A more effective video would have included behind-the-scenes footage of the production process: on location shooting with high-end equipment, in the studio working with the lighting gear, in the edit suite putting everything together, etc. This would have given the viewer a general overview into the production world and would have been far more engaging than a single shot of a spokesperson in front of a marker board.

Remember, perception is everything when it comes to marketing. Position yourself as a knowledgeable expert in your field and constantly re-evaluate the image and brand you are communicating to potential clients.

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