5 Day Music Festival, 2 Cameras

Chalabre, France

Hello.

I know. It’s been a while.

You’re looking at where I live when I’m not in England, home of the annual Chalabre en Sérénade music festival, now in its second year.

The founder, Vinx , lives two doors down, and we both live in the centre of the town where much of this takes place on our doorstep.

You may have seen videos I did of last year’s festival, mainly for promotional purposes to help increase sponsorship for this year’s festival and those to come.

This video tells the story of the festival in Vinx’s own words. It’s an interesting story because this festival has features not seen in any other festival in the world.

It’s my longest ever project (850 GB original material), 5 days to edit, 20 minutes final length.

I gave my Sony NX30 to a retired British local. I shot on my X70 and a bit on the Mavic Pro II drone.

And there were the usual run and gun challenges to overcome.

I’m not going to get into them all, but I do want to cover one of them: The lighting and shooting of Vinx’s interview. (that was a 45 minute interview)

I hadn’t planned to do that in the beginning. Actually, I didn’t have much of a plan at all–except to wait and see what I got and see what the footage might ‘tell me’ to do with it.

What you will see is what it told me to do.

Trouble was, I didn’t have any of my lighting kit with me, nor a tripod. That stuff was in England.

So I propped the camera up on a window sill and tilted it with a matchbook wedge.

I turned off his overhead lights to get light off the back wall and used a 50 watt halogen gooseneck reading lamp from my house to create a key on his face in the room that was otherwise lit by daylight from a small window behind me. That was enough to separate his face from the background both by light and by colour (mixing daylight and tungsten can be a good thing). Afterwards, in post, I used one of my favourite tools, the Slice X Vignette Shape Mask, to subtly vignette the background in a shape that wouldn’t be obvious. And voilà! I must say I was pleased with the result.

The other main challenge was, of course, music audio recording.

I pretty much knew at the outset that we wouldn’t be doing a ‘concert video’. For one, there were over 40 artists in multiple venues all around town. For two, I had no interest in even trying to do that.

I decided I’d do it the way I did last year: Establish one good track to tie together each of the single events into a montage.

That required at least getting some good recordings to which end I took a feed off the board at the main concert, and otherwise used the camera mic to record an act that sounded potentially good. When I was doing that, I kept still and let the other camera  guy move around getting additional B roll. Ironically, the feed off the mix board I mentioned was faulty, and much of that sound had crackle and hiss on it. But I got by with the skin of my teeth despite even that.

I also didn’t hang around long at most events. Sometimes I regretted that–such as at the church sequence at the end, but I took my chances knowing I’d have to edit with the best of what I had even if I missed some really good stuff. Of course, if it was a paid gig, I’d dutifully stick around for everything, but charity  shouldn’t have to kill me.

Sorry about any ads that might show up. Someone’s got a copyright claim on it and I’m trying to find out who it is so I can get permission on behalf of the festival, since we’re not trying to monetise it.

Finally, I think you might find that this 20 minutes goes by pretty quickly.

If it doesn’t, then for you, I have failed.

 

 

 

 

Staged vs Un-staged Action in a Corporate Shoot

I was wondering what to say about this one. Yea, I know, I said this blog has run its course and the next lot of stuff would be about drones.

I do have one waiting for approval that features drone shooting in a distribution centre warehouse, but meanwhile this one was approved.

It occurred to me that there is something I’ve never really mentioned in regards to run and gun corporate shoots.

I never stage action.

Everything you see here was shot in about 1 1/2 hours, not including the interview which was another 45 minutes.

Staging action is almost always a bust. The people get so introverted they either ham it up or act so silly you can’t use it.

So what I do is run around with the camera in my short allotted time and shoot just about everything that’s happening, as it happens–including all the bits I know I have to cover in terms of the machinery itself. But the working staff are always shot discretely just doing what they are doing.

Yes, they often notice I am there and maybe get a little introverted, or smile or something, but you know they are working and doing what they always do. If you staged it, you can always tell that too. So just don’t–unless it’s an emergency.

The key is to shoot a lot. You don’t know in the end how you’re going to use it or how it will fit in with the narrative from the interview, but if you want to show how something works, you just shoot all parts of it as much as you can. Later, in editing, you’ll find you have enough pieces to put together B roll that supports the narrative or tells the story of what the narrative is about.

 

My Town

 

My Town?

Frankly I think this blog has run its course. Couldn’t think of anything of much interest to post or comment on.

There is one tiny difference in this video though.

If you’ve followed me, you know I’ve often said that I shoot everything hand held (using both Sony PXW X70 and HXR NX30) except for sit down interviews. That’s the only thing I use a tripod for.

Well, this one has sit down and stand up interviews and they’re all hand-held–which means, except for the drone shots, and one locked-down camera shot during one of the concerts, the whole video is hand-held.

I shot about 98% of it. Ironically a couple of the ‘hand-helds” that weren’t so lovely were shot by someone else. But still, who cares? It is what it is. It’s a live music festival.

One guy who was shooting with an OSMO gave me his footage. I used one shot.

As far as my comment about this blog having run its course, I do expect to be posting more later this year on drones. That will be the next generation of Video Whisperer posts featuring the Mavic Pro II.

As to ‘my town’, well, this is where I live. My house is the one with blue shutters in the center of the photo above and is right across from the Market Square where the main night concert was held.

We’re doing it again this coming August, only bigger.

If any of you Sony owners fancy a little vacation to southern France and can get yourself here, I’ll put you up and feed you in exchange for being a second cameraman. I say Sony owners for ease of color matching in post.

Any takers?

Double interviews

Normally I hate double interview shots. I’ve even advised against it in my book I think.

The reason, of course, is because the guy who’s not talking is sitting there like a lump on a log.

So I told these guys they could stand side by side and chat and I’d feature one or the other as we went.

But I changed my mind.

They actually pulled it off.

I just held the camera and let them talk.

If you don’t know, Phil Burtt is the David Beckham of the shooting world. He’s known internationally and is also a very nice bloke.

So this whole video was done on the strength of his name. And he knew exactly what to say.

So I let it ride and with very little editing and some judicious B roll, I thought it came off very well.

Yes, it’s a bit long, but if you’re a soccer fan and the video features David Beckham, you’re going to watch the whole thing.

And so it is with this one for those in the world of shooting.

Drone Flying: Beware Old Lead Roofs

Drone over Belvoir Castle in the Fog

 

(whoops: when I first published, I forgot to add the video!)

It was only my second day flying the Phantom 3 Standard and my confidence was up enough to go for an early morning spooky fog shot over Belvoir Castle.

Fog turned out to be the least of my worries.

It didn’t occur to me that standing at the hulking base of that castle that the lead on the roofs would come between the controller and the drone and effectively cut transmission.

In fact, I wasn’t thinking about lead roofs at all.

But that’s what happened.

Yes, it crashed, but there’s a happy ending. Tough little bugger only suffered 3 broken props and lived to fly again.

So…if you fancy flying over old churches or buildings–keep line of sight with the drone. Those old buildings might have lead roofs.

Drones: The Video Whisperer Enters the Modern Age

Red Kites flying over Blackberry Hill at Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire, England

 

Well it’s true, but don’t worry, it doesn’t mean every shot is going to be a drone shot now.

But heck, it certainly was a lot of fun.

First and last shot in the video below were my first actual drone shots. I was practicing. Due to bad weather after that, it’s a good thing I did.

I know, I know, I flew over traffic and people. My bad.

But in the first instances of using this Phantom 3 Standard drone over empty fields just a few moments before, I was so amazed by the technology I couldn’t resist it.

You see, my introduction a few years back was with a Ghost Drone, supposedly just then introducing the technology of controlling drones through a smartphone. Problem was, I don’t think their IOS software (I use iPhone) was quite dialed in. It was a disaster.

I never got a decent shot and wound up crashing and destroying 3 of them.

This entry-level Phantom blew my mind.

Now I want the Mavic Pro 2.

Anyway, enough of that. This is not a review of drones. I think everyone reading this already knows a lot more than I do.

Instead, let’s talk about the video.

This video is meant to be an ‘update’ on a new facility opened up at Belvoir Castle in England. It’s the first video since the place was opened last summer, but I wasn’t here to do a video of it. My last updates showed it in quite a state of construction–like scenes out of movies during the reconstruction of Europe after WWII.

So we had some catching up to do.

It’s opening was a greater success than dreamed of, and more importantly, since then the parking lot is full every day of the week, even now in the cold bleak English almost Winter. So they must have done something right.

This video catches us up and shows all who haven’t come what is there and what’s to come (since it isn’t quite finished yet). It’s meant to be a hold-over at least until Christmas.

Then we’ll update again.

Eventually, when it’s done, we’ll do a finished posh version that can reside on their website.

What’s to tell?

Not much. The whole process is no different than I cover in my book Run ‘n Gun Videography–The Lone Shooter’s Survival Guide.

As usual, it’s all hand-held, except the interview.

It’s quite long, but that’s because there’s already a substantial following that will probably watch it all the way through.

It’s a local thing. So it was important to show what is there and a bit of the flavor of what is there.

It was shot mostly during part of one day with a few pick-ups. Edited over most of the next day.

It was all on my own in terms of narrative edit and content (no other input), which I prefer and which is 99% of the case with each of the 300 or so videos I’ve done in the past several years.

It was approved first time through.

It’s not perfect, and some of you eagle eyes will figure out why.

But I think it does the trick.

 

 

Music Festival Highlights Video

 

I haven’t posted anything here for a while. Sorry about that. I’ve been renovating an old forge (1652) which will see a new life as a 4 bedroom house with a beautiful walled private garden.

But I did have to put together a highlight video for a festival which I shot last August. It is targeted to local (French) government agencies and private businesses for the purpose of raising funds through sponsorship and grants for next year’s festival.

I crammed about a week’s worth of highlights into about 3 1/2 minutes. To keep a musical continuity I selected two songs from the festival to be the music score and used subtitles to get across the significance of the different events to potential new sponsors.

The idea was to show, 1) A lot of people came to this small town, 2) They all had a great time, 3) There were multiple events of all sorts all week long to interest and involved people in various ways. I didn’t even get it all in there, but enough to get the idea across.

That’s it really. Nothing fancy, but fun to throw together just the same.

All shot hand held on the Sony PXW X70 and NX30. Edited and color balanced in FCPX.

Here’s the English subtitled version: (the main one is in French)

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