I’m posting it in response to an email I just received from Leo Vital.
Here’s the email and my response:
I’m posting it in response to an email I just received from Leo Vital.
Here’s the email and my response:
Sorry, I heard that expression recently and just had to use it.
None of the videos shown here were turds really, but I did have some ‘issues’ to do with lighting. So this is really about color correcting and other image handling tools one can use.
As a note, the whole subject of ‘grading’ is popular today, particularly amongst an apparent group of ‘newbies’ who think it’s the next one-button solution to creating a ‘filmic look’. Nothing wrong with hoping for that, but it’s too often evident that they neglected to invest any time into basics such as ‘how to make a movie’. In short, I’m finding those forums a bit annoying. So to be clear, this isn’t really grading. It’s color correction with a couple extra tricks.
So let’s get practical, at least on the corporate video front. It’s simple: You make the guy or girl (or whatever other genders they have these days) look good. THAT’S ALL.
I’ll be covering two different videos I did recently.
On this first one I was having to solve a problem (I thought) of having forgotten my main LED interview lighting kit. Fortunately I had one back-up floor soft box with me and was forced to come up with something with the one light I had along with what was available in terms of room lighting. It was an interview with a Duchess on a tight schedule, so “oops, I forgot my lights…” as an excuse was out-of-the-question.
Needless to say, this was very naughty of me. It’s just one of those things that can happen so you have no choice but to carry on as if nothing has happened at all and make it all come off anyway.
For comparison, here’s a still from an interview with the Duchess last year in the same location when I didn’t forget where my lighting kit was:
Here’s what I managed more recently when I only had one light to work with:
Here’s how I polished the turd:
Not as punchy as the first correctly lit sample, but better than the camera original.
First I color corrected it using the FCPX color tools and ColorFinale Pro (to bring up her blue blouse). This was before FCPX 10.4 which can do the same thing.
Then I used a ‘make-up’ program to soften her face (which I typically use on females of her age). Subtle, but nothing she or anyone else would notice. (Someone’s going to ask: I used PixelFilmStudios ‘Skin’ plugin. I don’t buy from them anymore, but I had it and it works well. –Buy from Motion VFX instead)
Finally I used one of my favourite tools, a vignette shape mask from CoreMelt which allows you to completely control the size, shape and density of a vignette. I use it often, even when I have lit the scene to the best of my ability. It allows me to create further contrast from subject to background when I am not able to achieve it satisfactorily on site myself. You can get it here FREE in CoreMelt’s ‘Slice X’ package. Go ahead and get it. You’ll love it. (There’s even a Photoshop style ‘Object Remover’ for video and a few other clever tools). But I guarantee you’ll find yourself using the vignette shape mask often.
While that interview was done for several videos, here’s one of them that’s public now:
And here’s the next one:
P.S. (It turns out the LED flexlites were with me the whole time, tucked into an outer pocket of my camera case for a little shoot I had done recently. (they take up very little room)
Lesson learned: if you’re going to modify your kit bags for a particular shoot, PUT THINGS BACK to where they usually are directly thereafter)
Ok, this one was less my fault.
I was at our house in France where we are good friends with our American neighbours Vinx and Jennifer. Vinx is a musician who has performed with many famous musicians from Isaac Hayes to Sting and is currently doing his own thing touring around the world. He’s a vocalist and percussionist. (Vinx.com)
Anyway, they got married there in Chalabre last year, part of which was a big concert to thank the town. It was called ‘Night of Serenades’ and featured 20 different acts, professional and amateur, all performing serenades to someone in the audience who was seated in a special chair in the front row and presented with a large bouquet of roses before their serenade. It was so popular that the town asked that it be done again next year (and every year thereafter).
If you’d like to see the short wedding video I did featuring Vinx’s serenade to Jennifer (which took place in the covered market in front of our house), you can watch it here.
So…this years’ Night of Serenades will be over 3 days preceded by a few more days of music related workshops. The venue has expanded to 3 stages across the town and includes serenaders performing from balconies around the town’s main ring road and lots more. It’s a big deal.
So they asked me to do a video to pitch to potential local sponsors.
All I had with me was a Sony RX10ii (a down-version of something like the Sony A7, but a gorgeous camera that happens to have the same sensor as my X70–which is why I bought it). I had no lighting or audio equipment.
Of course we’re sitting in front of a mix board, but Vinx was busy with a deadline and setting up a mic and audio feed was going to be a bit of a problem. Since this was a small distribution video for some local vineyards and other businesses in the seeking of sponsorship, we decided to do the best we could with a little omnidirectional mic Vinx uses on his GoPro cameras.
Knowing that I would be using the vignette mask, I moved Jennifer forward so it would look ok with the background being a bit darker.
Similar to the last sample, I used a combination of FCPX’s shape mask and colour tools to correct colour and contrast followed by the vignette shape mask to create some depth to the background while spot lighting the main subject.
That, I’m afraid, is an example of ‘run and gun’ Emergency Room procedure. Or, in the U.K., A&E (Accident and Emergency).
P.P.S. Because I sort of stole the image, those are Unicorn Turds pictured at the top of the page. If you want to buy some, you can get them here: http://tetragrammatron.com/unicornturds.html
So how do you do a 60 edit for Instagram of the Duchess of Rutland whizzing around the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham where she’s been invited to give a 45 minute talk on the Capability Brown landscape at Belvoir Castle–and for which reason her intro, upon alighting from the Bentley, was about just that?
Well, you can’t.
Fortunately, she trusts me, so I axed most of that and picked out a few bits of dialogue to show that the Duchess is a regular person and juxtaposed a few shots with humour for good measure.
The whole Capability Brown thing will be extracted as a separate two-part video.
Apparently, the 60-second thing was seen 500 times the first day on Instagram.
I’m an Instagram neophyte. I have an account registered and that’s about it.
But apparently, it’s the best thing since sliced bread, and almost as good as the promised release of the new FCPX in a few weeks’s time.
No idea what they do with videos on Instagram.
But I’d better start finding out soon, eh? –Cuz I have a few things I’d like people to know about…
Run ‘n Gun Bootcamp in southern France, for example.
Note: When the Duchess mentions ‘the Engine Yard’ at the end, she’s referring to the Belvoir Castle Country Retail Village opening soon, a renovation of the old ‘engine yard’ where the various tradesmen that kept up the castle were based (carpentry shop, etc.) in buildings built in Victorian times.
I’m launching a new navigation tab on the Video Whisperer Blog called Run ‘n Gun Bootcamp of which this will be the first entry.
This is following up on my earlier post suggesting the idea and asking for feedback. It seems there are enough people interested to make it happen, so current plans are to do so by Spring or Summer next year (2018).
As the name implies, it will be a video boot camp based on the book Run ‘n Gun Videography–The Lone Shooter’s Survival Guide.
It will happen in Chalabre, France.
This post will be a very short summary of the types of things that I will keep updating and expanding in the new Boot Camp tab. It will include photos of the town, the house you will be staying in, the town’s fascinating history as well as the history and summary of the plentiful activities in the local area as far away as the Mediterranean (only 90 minutes away). We’re in the foothills of the Pyrenees, about an hour from Andorra and Spain and in the midst of Cathar country going back 1000 years. Spotted with Cathar castle ruins (castles built impossibly at the top of steep rocky mountain tops), sprawling with vineyards in one of Frances’ best wine regions, and with rivers, steep gorges, white water river rafting, not to mention mountain trails, skiing, horse-back riding and many social activities happening every day throughout the summer, Chalabre is what many of us here call “Frances’ Best Kept Secret”.
Chalabre itself is a medieval town founded in the late 11th century at the confluence of 3 rivers. Sometime in the 12th century and upriver dam burst and flooded the village. Consequently, the town was rebuilt on top of the old village. It’s interesting to note that when you buy property here there is small print in the contract which says that there ‘is nothing of any historical interest below (your) house”. Sure. Everyone knows the old town is down there.
The advantage of having a boot camp here is that there is SO much to see and do and film at almost any time of year, particularly in the summer.
As part of this new tab, I will create a calendar of events (give me some time as that alone is a huge undertaking) which may help you decide which time of year you’d like to come. Afterall, it will be a bit of a holiday at the same time–not all work and drudgery.
I’ll introduce you to the house which we are renovating and show some before and after pictures of the spaces we have been working on over the last two years. Currently, we are renovating the attic–which is probably where you run and gunners will be staying–though there’s plenty of space elsewhere in the house. It’s all a matter of scheduling this activity along with others that will be happening at this house (such as Air BnB and other events planned here). That’s why I’m sort of reserving the attic for this program. It will be a pretty cool space with two bedrooms and one crash loft along with a bathroom, kitchenette and lounge.
As time goes on I will finalise pricing and options, so feel free to feedback as I start posting all this stuff.
One thing for sure is that couples are welcome even if one of you are not going to be doing the video program. Like I mentioned earlier, it will be a great holiday with a video bonus for you video enthusiasts.
A quick photo tour:
Effective sometime over the next couple days the domain for this blog will be thevideowhisperer.blog.
It is currently thevideowhisperer.wordpress.com.
Hopefully this won’t mean that those of you who have book marked it won’t be able to find it anymore. I hope WordPress isn’t that dumb. (it was offered free as part of the upgrade to get rid of ads).
UPDATE: The new domain name is live. Old one seems to still be working too.
Many months ago I recall making mention of a project I was working on with Leapfrog Marketing that was particularly rewarding. But I wasn’t able to share it or any of the additional videos that resulted at the time because their public release was predicated on the culmination of a marketing strategy, including a new website.
On a hunch, I checked their website tonight (having done so several times over the past few months to no avail), and viola! Their new website is now up with a couple of the videos embedded on the home page that played very nicely. I was impressed. After a quick check I saw that all 9 videos were on the site.
So now that they’re public, it’s fair game and I’ll share them with you here.
As most of you who follow me probably know, I’m a video guy firstly. Marketing is not actually my strong suit. But since video is all about MESSAGE and marketing is all about MESSAGE, it is inevitable that even I can turn one video commission into multiple ones.
So I called this post ‘Upselling’.
Honestly, it’s something any sales person would do in almost any circumstance. And many of us find that quite annoying.
But this is really about educating a client who may not fully realise how unique or valuable his product or service is and offering him a way to maximise the value of a video commission. It’s a win-win situation.
In this case, the client wasn’t actually my own. It was the client of a marketing firm, Leapfrog Marketing, that uses my services. But no matter if it’s my client or the client of a Marketing firm, (and I do this in both cases) if the initial brief for video services indicates to me that multiple properties can be obtained from the main shoot for the benefit of the client, I would be remiss to not mention it and the potential economy and benefits in doing so right at the outset.
In my experience, in most cases, the client goes for it.
The math is simple.
One shoot day, one video.
Or one shoot day, 3 videos obtained from the same original shoot material at a considerable discount.
It requires planning, and the additional cost of the additional editing, but offered up front as a package discount, suddenly your one video becomes 3 and your $2000 becomes $3000 for an additional two days work. (Those numbers are completely arbitrary, but give you the idea…)
In this case, with Leapfrog’s client Total Community Care, it became evident to me almost immediately that their brief had the potential of multiple video products from the requested shoot of a single video that would be to THEIR benefit.
I don’t remember if I mentioned this straight off, but certainly once I shot the initial video (several interviews and relevant B roll), it became evident to me that at least 3 more testimonial videos could be edited from the same material.
So one video became 4.
They were so pleased they requested a second video; this time at their corporate headquarters featuring the executives.
This time I noted that they had enough material from the executives for the initial video they requested PLUS 4 more videos from those same interviews that answered Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS).
One video commission grew into 9 videos.
So that’s it on how to increase your income.
Now back to ‘video guy’.
The reason this project was so enjoyable was because the people were so interesting, and interesting people make for an interesting story.
As in almost all my videos, they are interview driven.
I (or we, in the case of Leapfrog Marketing) go there with no preconceptions of what should be said and we just interview the people.
It is my job to take the hours of interview and distill them down into the marketing story.
These videos were mainly about a Care Company that specialises in caring for paralysed patients with spinal or brain injuries.
My only opportunity for B roll was to shoot as much footage as I could of the interviewees whenever I could in the limited time they were there. That was made slightly difficult since they were often arriving during another interview (and all I could really shoot was arrivals, departures and whatever activity occurred in the lounge when I was not shooting an interview). So whenever I was between interviews I ran around like a banshee shooting whatever I could. In the end, I used every last scrap of it.
The primary video (the original one asked for) was 7 minutes long.
Might seem a bit long, but here’s where you just don’t get stuck on some arbitrary time limit like you read about on internet forums? Consider your intended audience.
If you’re paralysed and are looking for a care company, the length of a video has absolutely NO BEARING on whether you are going to watch it or not. It’s the content that matters. You have nothing but time.
It’s not that I made it unnecessarily long. I feel I made it long enough to get the point across with clarity, conviction and emotional impact. I made it for the potential new client for Total Community Care.
Marketing is a subject designed to CREATE WANT. Time (‘videos must be 2 minutes or less due to attention span, blah, blah, blah’) is irrelevant.
Make up your own mind. If you were paralysed and unable to get out of bed or go to the toilet without assistance, much less go shopping or go to the pub, would you watch this?
All of the following videos were directed and produced by Leapfrog Marketing (Alan Myers – 0116 278 7788) in association with The Video Whisperer.
(Shot on Sony PXW X70/Sony HXR NX30, Edited on FCPX, with Color Finale)
And the videos derived from the two shoots:
Just noticed I forgot to include the video itself in the original blog. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
Last September I put up a blog post on this video called Out of Thin Air, which was in reference to the two day time span that particular video was shot in to make a publishing deadline. There was a national tv programme on Belvoir Castle scheduled to broadcast on the subject of Capability Brown and one of the shoot guests, a marketing man, suggested to the Duchess that she capitalise on the exposure and interest it would generate by getting a video up on the Guns and Pegs website to promote the Belvoir shoot.
Well, that was a good call. They just had a record year at the Belvoir shoot.
I can only say the video probably had something to do with that. All I have are the video’s analytics look at. I’m not able to do any correlation to Belvoir’s income at this time.
But at this…
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I’m in China currently with my wife who is working on several sculpture commissions which I’m documenting. Won’t be publishing anything new until I get back in January.
I’ll be finally updating my X70 to 4k for a London project then, so over the following weeks I’ll have some stuff to share–including notes on the Mac Pro which I recently got and haven’t had much of a chance to use, though I did wrap up one project on it. Seems about 10X faster than my iMac.
Will also upload a review of Morphcut which is a fantastic plug-in I used on my last corporate video.
Till then, I wish you all a happy holiday season.