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Archive for the ‘Digital Video Recording’ Category

The Future of the Video Experience – Part I: Drones

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

14012085485_239fe5c66aIn 2014, Primeau Productions began a blog series about how video creates an ‘experience’ for viewers. It is cleverly titled “The Video Experience”.  We have an update for that series, “What does the future have in store for video and the video experience with regard to Drone Video?” In this next series of blog posts, we’ll be discussing technologies, their functionality, and what these advancements will do to the way we ‘experience’ video.

In this first installment, we’ll be covering a technology that is growing in popularity every day:  Drones that record video. 

What are Drones?

Otherwise known as “Quadra-copters,” drones are similar to that of a remote controlled (RC) Helicopter. A drone has propellers, a remote control, and is operated just like other RC Helicopters. The biggest difference lies in its capabilities.

Essentially, drones have successfully taken the concept of an RC Helicopter and applied it to film making and cinematography. They now record video, some as high as 4k quality. Some drones have built in high quality cameras, and the ones that don’t have the ability to incorporate Go-Pros, mobile video devices, and, in some cases, even HDSLR cameras. Some drones can even be controlled from a smartphone!

Drone technology has been growing exponentially over the past few years. Now that Quadra-copters and the like are commercially available, filmmakers are finding new ways to utilize the technology every day.

The first time we were introduced to drone technology at Primeau Productions was when CNN paid us a visit during the 50th Anniversary of The Assassination of John F Kennedy. The camera operator, Mark Biello, a veteran camera operator from CNN, whose resume spans from Hurricane Katrina to the Middle East, showed us some footage of the new Quadra-copter drones they’d just received. The test footage showed the drone starting in a field in Washington, D.C. and propelling itself so high that you could see the top of the Washington Monument (that’s 555’!). 5 years ago, you’d need a helicopter to capture a shot like that. However, this technology is changing what is possible every day very affordably so more users can incorporate this high value experience into their video productions.

How could I use Drone Video? 

Drones are changing video technology in many ways. First, as it grows it will become more affordable. Imagine an over head or aerial video recording of your business. How much perceived value will that have on your companies reputation? Drones are putting out shots that use to cost in excess of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Drones are creating $100.000.00 film shots for budgets in the thousands. Not only is this due to a drone’s capability in height, but also their capabilities in stability. Drone technology is also allowing users to create ‘indoor moving shots’ that, before, could only be accomplished with a crane. This allows users to record ‘high perceived’ 4k video that a slider or steady-cam just can’t replicate. Drones are raising the bar and lowering the prices for your business use.

There are some models of Quadra-copters that are capable of holding HDSLR cameras, and even Sony RED cameras. These little copters are changing the horizon of video production, making high value video shots easier and more affordable.

Drone updates

These bad boys are already commercially available. We have seen them for sale at Costco! However, there has been some recent controversy over regulating these machines. As of now, it’s illegal to fly over 400 feet, along with flying over major highways, understandably. Due to the fact that drone technology is still so new, this is only the beginning of regulations regarding their use.

However, while the drone is consistently facing new regulations, the film community is heavily embracing it. Earlier this month, NYC had its first “Drone Film Festival,” a festival based solely on drone technology. Drone operators from all over the world had the opportunity to share their work from experimenting with drones. This included Taylor Chien, the drone operator responsible for the famous “Superman with a Go-Pro” video, which you can view below.

Though we can’t confirm what the future holds regarding regulations on these devices, we can assume that filmmakers will continue to find new, inventive ways to operate and utilize this sophisticated piece of equipment. The sky is (literally) the limit!

Check out what drone technology is capable of in the short film, “Superman with a Go-Pro,” embedded below. Also keep your eyes peeled for the next installment of our “Future of The Video Experience” series right here at PrimeauProductions.com.

 

photo credit: Farming via photopin (license)

How to Dress and Act for High Definition Video

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

9944082524_4456f8628cNot only have I experienced being recorded on high def video, I have consoled many clients who were shocked after the experience. They were shocked because they did not realize how BIG and magnified high definition video is until they saw a playback of their performance.

Everything is Magnified

Not only will your beautiful blue (or brown or green… or bloodshot!!) eyes be large and magnified on the high definition video, so will your imperfections. Rather than list them all, I’ll be polite and let you use your imagination. Think of wrinkles in your clothes, as well as on your face.

Consider having a wardrobe rehearsal and hiring a professional makeup artist and wardrobe consultant (often the same person) who specializes in preparing clients to be recorded in high definition. Yes, there is a process to high def makeup, and yes, it has become a specialty.

Men, if your shirt collar is a bit tight and you run the risk of the top button taking out an audience member’s eye, better get a larger shirt. That stretched collar will look ten times worse in high definition video than it does in person. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but if not me, who will tell you? Nobody. You will see for yourself after it’s too late.

Ladies, carefully check your hair before going on stage. A few ‘flyaway’ strands that are barely noticeable in the mirror will look like tree branches on high def video.

I always encourage our clients to have a rehearsal before going on stage. Record some video of your rehearsal and watch it before your formal performance. As painful as this sounds, it’s less painful than missing a perfectly good opportunity to get new demo video footage.

During your rehearsal get used to the stage and how you move about during your presentation. Spy where the cameras are located and remember to periodically make eye contact with the cameras. Remember, these cameras represent the viewers at home.

The bottom line is high definition video is here to stay. This process is like any other process. You either adapt and embrace it or you will miss out and regret your mistakes. Evolve your performance into the new era of high definition video and business growth will follow.

photo credit: Dança via photopin (license)

How to Apply the Rule of Thirds

Friday, January 18th, 2013

4620433766_146683196e_bThe rule of thirds is a compositional guideline which suggests that you take an image and divide it into nine equal parts with two equally spaced vertical lines and two equally space horizontal lines.  By placing your subject on one of these intersecting lines, it’s thought to create a more pleasing visual than simply centering the shot.

Placing points of interest in the intersections or along the lines your subject becomes more balanced and allows the viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally. Studies have shown that, when viewing images, people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points most naturally rather than the center of the shot. 

For more examples like these, go to:

https://www.google.com/search?q=rule+of+thirds&hl=en&tbo=u&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS506US506&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ei=ENL2UIm-BsikqQGPz4CAAw&ved=0CE4QsAQ&biw=1683&bih=1292

The same principle can be applied when shooting video.  For instance, when shooting an interview with a stationary subject, be sure your subject is standing (or sitting) in a ‘Rule of Thirds’ position. And be sure to compose your shot applying the Rule of Thirds, creating space in front of your subject.  Make sure your background isn’t so busy that it’s distracting from the subject.  Find a simple background, or a background that doesn’t have a lot of activity behind it. For instance, if you’ve got someone in the background picking their nose or drinking a bottle of water, it doesn’t matter how great an interview you record, the audience is going to be looking at that instead of your subject matter.

So when you’re in the field and you have a camera and a tripod and you’re getting ready to set up your shot, what is one of the first things that you should do in order to apply the rule of thirds?

Look through the lens of your camera, place your subject matter off center so that it has some space around it, to the left and to the right – if you center it as in our first example of the rock, you see that it’s just not as interesting of a shot as the off center composition.

Bottom line, if you begin your video production with excellent digital video recordings you will save time and money in post and create a more pleasant video production.

How To: Get Great Video Footage with a “Tape-In” Method

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

13885876624_51f737675e_nThe traditional method for acquiring video footage is to hire a crew and pay their cost plus expenses. I hope to shed some light on alternative low-to-no cost methods of having your performance videotaped. “The Tape-In” is one of those ideas.

“The Tape-In.”
This method is used most often. Professional speakers and performers can organize an event with several of their colleagues and conduct mini-seminars or performances, invite the public and split the cost of the video crew to get footage. This works for bands too. Organize several good bands in your area and put on an event. Hire a video crew and split the cost with the other bands. You’ll all get professionally shot video at a fraction of the cost.

You might want to charge admission for the tape-in to create higher perceived-value. People see little value in a free performance. Unless, you have already made a name for yourself and the show is at a high-profile location.

Play to a crowd that loves you.
Use a gimmick or hook to get a large audience together for the tape-in. For example, I once knew of a couple of bands that organized a “battle-of-the-bands” event. They printed flyers and distributed them at gigs prior to the event and hired a video crew. Each band had twenty minutes to play, and the audience “voted” by applause. All the bands got great stage footage, and when it came time to vote, they had great footage of dozens of clapping, screaming fans (and the winner had their share of the video costs split between the losing bands).

These showcase events work for comedians as well as other performers. In fact, if your marketing is on-target, the organizer can make money off these events. When I was younger we used to get three bands together on a Saturday night and put on a Hall Party. We charged ten dollars at the door for the event, which included music, beer and one food item. We sold additional food and the bands sold their tapes and T-shirts. We recorded the show and closed when the beer was gone. And we actually made a profit! People had a great time and the bands got to perform, sell products and gain visibility that often turned into future gigs.

Get a little help from friends.
If you are having trouble marketing your “tape-in” event, you could require each participant or performer to bring 5 to 10 people for their admission fee so that there is a sizable audience in the video. It’s a good idea to invite prospects for future business to the tape-in so that you have a better chance to get future bookings.

But don’t limit yourself to these people. In the speaking business, these people are meeting planners and bureaus. In the music and entertainment world these people are booking agents, club owners and record companies. They tend to be more analytical and less enthusiastic about your performance because they have to anticipate what their customers want and will enjoy.

It’s also nice to have your greatest fans and supporters there. These people will help energize your performance. You might even hand pick the audience from your mailing list for a special invitation list and create an “invitation only” event. Then, you need the general public to help make this all affordable and profitable. I recommend the following to market your event:

1. Make flyers and pass them out everywhere (be careful not to litter). Do not put them on auto windshields because people will be annoyed.

2. Create press releases and send them to all of the local media. Newspapers have a “what’s happening” section they need to fill, and radio stations often have a spotlight for local events.

Interested in learning more about professional media services like audio/video? Contact me at 800-647-4281.

This information is taken from my book The Art of Production, which you can purchase from Amazon or you can purchase an e-book version from SmashWords.

photo credit: GuerillaBeam via photopin (license)

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