Category: Live Event Filming

How to prepare for your video interview

Whether you are preparing for your first ever interview on camera or you’ve been filmed a few times before, the prospect of being interviewed, for some, can be a little daunting. Even if you do know what to expect, the most confident and experienced of people can still find themselves stumbling as soon as the camera rolls. If you find yourself a little nervous that’s OK, you’re not alone. However, filming doesn’t have to be a strenuous task and with our guidance we’ll have you speaking confidently on camera in no time.

The purpose of this article is to give you a few quick tips about the filming process so that you don’t just leave your shoot with engaging material but you also enjoy the experience.

First things first: eyeline

Talking head Most corporate, promotional and event video interviews are carried out with the interviewee looking away from the camera rather than into the lens. Unless you are delivering a presentation or presenting a show then this is usually the best way to do it. Without having to look down the lens your interview has already become much easier as you can look directly at the person asking the questions, whether that be the videographer or someone from your own organisation. This approach helps you to forget that the camera is even there. All that it’s really doing is documenting a conversation.

Talk about what you know

It should be safe to assume that you’re being interviewed about a subject that you’re highly knowledgeable about. You will probably be saying things that you regularly talk about in your day to day work. So if there are any questions you’re unsure about, speak up and let your videographer know. Some questions might be better for a colleague!

With these first two points you may find that the interview process is already much easier than you initially thought.

Full sentences please

Now this is where it gtalking head studentets a little trickier. Although we should treat your interview as the “documenting of a conversation” the truth is for most promotional videos this conversation is actually going to be quite one sided. To keep up the pace of your video and deliver the crucial information, we need to cut out the interviewer’s questions so that we only hear you. To make this work, you’ll need to answer the questions in full sentences so that your answer still makes sense when the question is removed. This may involve you repeating the question in your answer.

Here are some examples.

The incorrect method:

INTERVIEWER

Do you enjoy working in video production?

ME

Yes, I do.

This isn’t suitable because if we inserted this into a sequence nobody would know what I was saying yes to!

The correct method:

INTERVIEWER

Do you enjoy working in video production?

ME

I enjoy working in video production because it’s a fast moving industry. It can be competitive and challenging at times, but ultimately it’s very rewarding work.

This answer is much better. Notice how I’ve expanded on my original answer a little bit and as a result it is much more interesting.

Technical matters

There are a few other things to bear in mind before you start filming. If you’ve hired video professionals such as flycreative, you won’t need to worry about the technical side of things. That’s what we’re there for! However, it is good to have some awareness of what we will be doing so it doesn’t surprise you on the day.

We want you to look and sound your best. To achieve this and avoid a costly reshoot we aim to capture the best material possible whilst we’re there. From a technical standpoint there could be a number of reasons why we might need to stop, solve an issue and repeat the question again. Our lighting might need adjusting or our microphones may be picking up a loud conversation outside the room otalking head wwtwr humming from the air con. We may ask you to repeat your answer but shorten it slightly, rephrase it to avoid repetition of certain words or allow a slightly bigger gap between the question and your answer so nobody is talking over each other. Sometimes it’s good just to have options when it comes to the edit. If your videographer does intervene, don’t worry, this is perfectly normal.

 

Practice makes perfect

Because filming can require a bit of setup time, you can actually use this to your advantage. If you allow yourself enough time whilst the videographer is setting up you can actually practice what you’re going to say before the camera rolls. Even if they are operating alone and are asking the questions themselves, they will still need to test their audio levels, so this is your time to practice and to talk with them about your answers. You’ll soon feel at ease.

Example interviews

If you still need a bit of reassurance, why not see how others have done it? In our Signature Airlines promo we shot multiple interviews and achieved a fast paced, informative video through applying these techniques. It may not be obvious, but the majority of the people in this video had never been filmed before!

For the purposes of the edit (e.g. pacing) your full interview may not make it into the final video. This shouldn’t alarm you; usually there isn’t enough time to feature everything in a 3 minute video! Being concise and to the point is key and our Signature Airlines video demonstrates this perfectly.

Ready to do your interview?

Remember that the beauty of video production is that you can always stop and answer your question again. There’s no need to worry, even professional actors rarely nail it on the first take!

Now that you’re armed with these tips you can relax and go into your interview feeling like a pro.

To find out more about getting a professional video made for your business drop us a line today.

 

So you shoot video…but can you do stills?

Many times I have been on a shoot and the client has asked if I can do photos too. Now I imagine this is a popular question for the majority of other videographers too but for me it has always been a bit difficult to answer. I’ll explain why.

Whilst it could appear that a digital professional who works in one visual medium would probably be competent in a similar one, the truth is that video and stills photography aren’t always as close to each other as many may think. In theory, anyone can take our their phone and take a picture and shoot some video with relatively no skill at all but most businesses wouldn’t choose this option if they wanted high quality content. Assuming that your photos and videos could be done by the same person is also not always the best thing if you want the highest quality from either, however it’s easy to see why those outside of the creative industries might pair the two up.

The reality is that the skills and experience required for the role of videographer and photographer are completely different, despite an overlap of certain techniques and equipment.

Hold on! There are some similarities..

Technically we – the video guys – can do your stills. The single biggest reason why is that we actually use DSLR cameras to shoot our videos! Using dedicated stills cameras for video may seem absurd but one of the main benefits can be that we have the ability get high quality images at excellent value. The Sony A7Sii and Panasonic GH4 are both good examples of DSLRs that offer 4K video capability at an affordable price and as 4K online video is still in it550D food filmings infancy it’s not economical for the majority of us to invest in top of the range 4K video or cinema cameras so these types of DSLRs are sensible purchases. Adding to this, many DSLRs have large sensors meaning that they are exceptional in low light which is great for event videos and can offer cinematic bokeh (background blur) which can make videos look stunning. DSLRs are also perfect for shooting high quality timelapses which can add another interesting element to video content. With these considerations it makes absolute sense that online content producers have DSLRs at their disposal.

Shot composition, framing and an understanding of the technology behind the respective crafts are essential regardless of whether someone shoots video, stills or both. Colour temperature, exposure and shutter speed (or angle) are further concepts that must be grasped by either professional.

A whole lotta’ differences..

Apart from the obvious one that videos are moving and stills are not, there are actually many other less obvious differences between the two which maybe mean no, us videographers can’t (or choose not to) do your stills.

Camera on slider

Motion from the camera or from the subject helps to make a sequence more engrossing.

It boils down to the key ingredients for each craft which are in turn, completely different. Video needs motion, whereas photography is all about light (well actually, premium video is about light, which I talked about in an earlier article but the absolute bare bones of video production is motion). Successful business videos engage with an audience, encouraging them to react (i.e. with a like, share or comment on social media) and to help with this motion is essential to keeping their attention. Even if the subject isn’t moving a cut to another angle can be enough to create at least an element of movement. Sound is the other key skill in video production that often gets overlooked but it really is an art in itself.

City of London

Landscape photography – being in the right place at the right time..and having a bit of patience!

Photography however is all about capturing perfect moments in the best light, whether that be using natural or artificial sources or a combination of the two. Capturing a single moment that’s sharp, interesting and exposed well is an entirely different art to shooting video and for a picture to paint a thousand words, it has to be something special. Landscape photography is a good example of how difficult it can be; to get the perfect image photographers may have to wait for hours to be in the right place at the right time in order to capture the best natural light.

The post production process can be drastically different too. Photographic editing often involves retouching, fine adjustment and layers upon layers of edits even just for a single image. Car photography in a studio is a good example; to make the various parts of a car look perfect all at once each part has to be lit separately and all of the images blended together in post production to only show the best bits from each setup. Whilst this can happen in video too it is much more time consuming and processor intensive as multiple layers of correction would require key framing (and bearing in mind that PAL video is made up of 25 frames per second, that’s a lot of frames to consider!) and so only suitable for the highest end projects.

“Could you take a still image from the video?”

Another question that I get asked often. Yes, this is possible, however as the majority of online content is shot in HD, not 4K, doing this means that you will have a smaller resolution image than you would have done if you had used a designated stills camera (and not in video mode). Megapixels are more important in photography than video for sure and as a result many camcorders will have a much lower pixel count, plus if there is any movement in your video taking a still frame might leave you with a subject that’s got a bit of motion blur. For some web purposes it may be fine extracting a smaller image from a video (including in a blog for instance) but if you wanted to zoom in, enlarge the image greatly or print it professionally then it wouldn’t be a suitable option.

So in practice yes, but if you want the best quality then no.

Wedding shooters: similar equipment, different style.

Wedding DSLR

5Dmkiii – a popular choice of camera for both wedding photographers and DSLR videographers

A good example of the differing styles of a videographer and a photographer would be at a typical wedding. The photographer will be capturing the key moments of the day but will also be herding the guests so they can set up and take memorable portraits that can be cherished forever. With only one opportunity to get these people together they are very much in the limelight during certain parts of the day. They would certainly need to be a people person!

The videographer however will be the complete opposite; rather than being noticeable and central to the day they will most likely be blending into the background so that they can go unnoticed. They would capture the day but not intervene with the order of events so that when the happy couple come to watch their video back they actually see the day from a whole new perspective. Events can be unpredictable so being able to foresee what’s coming and then be able to simultaneously capture the best audio and visuals is something that can take years of mastering.

C100 wedding

Canon C100 – where stills and motion overlap. A camcorder that uses interchangeable DSLR lenses.

The editing styles of each wedding shooter role differ immensely too; the photographer will spend days editing potentially hundreds of photos whereas the videographer will most likely be editing in camera, shooting as linearly as they can on the day to keep the editing time affordable and sustainable in the long term. This is especially important as data processing could take almost as much time as the editing itself due to the large file sizes involved and the process of burning the final (often hour long or more) videos onto multiple DVDs for clients.

The bottom line

Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely no harm in offering both video and photographic services but the point of this post is that there are different skills, workflows and to some extent, even personal qualities that can be applied to each craft and more often than not the best practice is to hire the relevant specialist. On the contrary, many experienced cinematographers in film production have backgrounds in stills photography, as do many photographers venture into video production, so there is no set rule. At the end of the day it certainly can’t hurt to have an interest in both fields but knowing and being honest about where your strengths and weaknesses lie is vital when it comes to maintaining strong working relationships, regardless of the industry you work in.

So if we were to answer to the original question: “Can you do stills?”, well yes; here at FlyCreative we rely on a trusted network of talented freelancers with a range of talents to assist us in fulfilling our moving image and other digital needs. If we can’t personally meet your requirements then we’ll certainly be able to recommend you a trusted professional.

Get in touch today to find out more about our services.

Video Production London

10 things they don’t tell you about working in video production

Universities, film schools, specialist courses – all can be a great place to start if you want to equip yourself with useful skills for a job working in video or film production. However, there are some things that just can’t be learned in an educational environment. Only by talking to those already working in the industry and gaining experience yourself will you learn some things that no book or lecture could ever prepare you for. So listen up, we’ve got a few industry insights here. Some are positive and some are not, but if you want to work in this industry you had better listen to the pros first before you dive in at the deep end.

Video Production Company Brighton

Fatboy Slim appreciated the gig!

1. Every new job you land, no matter how big or small, becomes a huge personal victory.

This is especially true to start ups and freelancers. It is much harder to get new clients than it is to get repeat business from an existing one. Even landing little jobs that only last a few hours can give you that warm feeling inside that something is working because people want to hire YOU. This in turn will help you stay driven and motivated. Enjoy it!

 

2. How tremendously adaptable you sometimes have to be.

To get where you want to be in your career you may find yourself sooner or later doing something that you don’t really want to do (well, that’s life!) but you’ll realise that it’s a necessity to making any sort of progress. Whether it be learning a new skill in an area you’re not confident in or taking on work in a completely different industry just so you can survive until your next video job comes in, if you really want to succeed you’ll do what it takes. You may just find it character building too.

3. Marketing is so incredibly, ridiculously important.

Whether you freelance or run your own business, you simply can’t avoid the subject of marketing or you will fail. Word of mouth is often described as one of the best ways of getting work in an industry as small as this, and this is true, but first impressions count and knowing who it is you are trying to work for and how to target them is key to starting new working relationships. Included in this is the ability to sell yourself, plus with growing demand for online video content the marketeers out there should be your best friends!

4. GAS.

Not the poisonous kind, unless you let it get the better of you. GAS stands for gear acquisition syndrome. It is actually a thing. In the western world we are suckers for consumerism and just love to own stuff but this is especially true in video production for cameras are sexy, lenses are bokehlicious and a DJI octocopter – well, who wouldn’t want one of those?

Video Production Brighton

I’ll take them all please

It’s very tempting to spend lots of money and think your career will instantly bloom but if you’re not careful you could get stuck in a never ending process of continually needing to buy stuff and never make any money as a result. For some of us of course it is important that you buy the right tools for the job but perhaps consider whether you really do need that new flashy gizmo or if hiring would be a more sensible option. And don’t forget, your talent counts for something too.

There’s some brilliant advice on the matter in this filmmaker magazine article by DOP Sean Porter including one bit that really stuck with me:

“We have to be very cognizant about the impact, however minute, we make when we mix our creative responsibilities with enterprise. Your gear is a powerful influence on your work, both good and bad. I think stepping up means knowing which is which, even if it’s not the answer you want to hear.”

Wise words.

5. How to balance multiple jobs.

This for me, and I’m sure many others, is probably one of the hardest things about starting off in this industry that’s on this list. I’m not just talking multiple film or video jobs; I’m referring to balancing the self employed work with the employed. The paid with the unpaid. The desirable with the reliable. The big question that nobody seems to have the answer to is:

How can you get experience without a job when you can’t get the job without experience?

You have to start somewhere. Maybe you’ll be working part time so many days a week so you can focus on the video work on your days off – if you can afford to live off part time wages. But then, what if your perfect job comes up while you’re at work and you could be potentially missing out on your big break? If you keep trying to get time off from your reliable work are you likely to keep that job for long? On the contrary if you always keep your diary open, how do you know that you’re definitely going to land more video work to pay the bills? Juggling the reliable and the desirable work can be an absolute nightmare and it’s one thing that no educational institution can ever prepare you for.

My advice is to keep your options open and explore the different possibilities available to you until you find something that works. Everybody needs to earn somehow but what ends up working for one person may not work for someone else. I recently wrote about how my non video job helped me learn new transferable skills but the most important thing to understand is you have to be prepared to work your socks off, whichever path you decide to tread.

Oh, and one more thing. Dealing with a clash of job offers never gets any easier.

6. When to say no.

I must refer again to the article mentioned earlier by DOP Sean Porter, who deals with this point in great detail. Knowing when to say no can be another one of the hardest things to deal with in this industry. Taking on too much work could leave your clients unsatisfied or affect your personal life and relationships in a negative way. It’s another thing that can only be learned through experience and through applying a good level of judgment every time an opportunity arises. We’ve all accepted those jobs we’d wished we’d declined but it’s all about learning from these mistakes so that our future selves won’t curse our present selves into oblivion!

money

Budgeting can be hard when your income fluctuates

7. Steady sources of income can disappear suddenly and you may not know why.

A client may go on sick leave or change premises, marketing budgets may be slashed or a competitor may offer your clients better value. In fact, there are a whole host of reasons why you might lose a steady client and it can be very hard and frustrating when this happens, especially if you don’t know why.

The answer? Don’t take it personally, avoid complacency and learn to be like a gecko – adapt! Don’t stress and remember that factors which are beyond your control can be a blessing as well as a curse in your work life. It also pays during busy times to save for a rainy day.

8. How to manage your taxes.

Tax returns, accounting, filing..yawn. It may be boring but unfortunately it’s something that none of us can avoid doing, whether we freelance or run a business. Not to suck the fun completely out of the creative industry at hand but the more you learn about tax returns and the like the earlier on in your career the easier it will be for you to stay on top of your money and make sensible decisions throughout. You wouldn’t want any nasty surprises now!

The first place to look for information on all things tax is the HMRC website.

9. Your competition may also be your friends.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Working in such a small industry means we often bump into familiar faces and that includes the competition. The beauty of this, unlike most industries, is your competition could not only help to keep you on your toes but they could potentially be a reliable stand in for you when you need a helping hand or could loan you equipment and vice versa. There’s also a thing called referral fees for the business minded among us!

Video Production Brighton

Time to take a break?

10. How to switch off and relax.

Last, but certainly not least. You spend so much of your time and energy hacking away at your career that no matter where you are on the ladder, it can be nigh on impossible to switch off from work when you’re worried about things like where your next pay cheque is, if your clients will like your work and what your competitors are up to. Whether running a business or working for yourself and with dangerous cross overs between work and play on your social media accounts, switching off from the world of work can be very difficult indeed. It could be viewed as a good thing as we are just that determined to succeed, but don’t let it consume you. Allow yourself some ‘me time’ and enjoy those rare opportunities to turn off your phone. Your other half will appreciate it!

There is no real single secret to a successful career in any of the creative industries, but hopefully these insights will help you make the right decisions early on. If you make mistakes along the way however, that’s OK, it is part of your professional development no matter what career you decide to embark on (except for the tax issues – we wouldn’t want you getting in trouble!).

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How to choose the right camera for the job

The C100's form factor and weight made it the perfect choice on a recent trip to Gibraltar

The C100’s form factor and weight made it the perfect choice for a day trip to Gibraltar

I’m terrible at making decisions sometimes. When presented with a multitude of options for anything in life it’s so easy to spend too much time overthinking which options to take that you end up wasting unforgivable amounts of time being indecisive and not actually getting anything done. The process of deciding on a camera to use is one of those tasks that I, and I’m sure many others in this field, have been guilty of in the past for spending far too long on. Many hours can be lost to Youtube comparison videos and the forums if you’re not careful. Sounding familiar? There are so many options available to us that it’s understandable why it would take so long to decide, but time is money after all and we’ll get left behind if we ‘oom’ and ‘ahh’ for too long.

And the award for most expensive wedding video ever goes to..

Lets face it – all of us techies would love to have the latest and greatest cameras for all of our projects. Wouldn’t it be great if we could shoot in 4K or 6K (or even greater) every time? Having the ability to shoot super slow motion on a full frame sensor with internal ND in a lightweight body would be pretty amazing right? Why would anyone want you shooting for them if you don’t have the most up to date technology possible?

We’d better stop dreaming I’m afraid.

Not to rain on the parade or anything but the fact of the matter is we can’t always have the most advanced technology every time. Most of the time this is down to money, but even if you had all of the money in the world to buy however many cameras you’d like, you’d probably reach the same conclusion as me eventually:

No camera is perfect. But, for each job there is a perfect camera. 

Think to yourself what your favourite film is. Why is it your favourite film? Did the choice of camera have anything to do with it?

Probably not.

You probably chose it for its story or maybe the acting. Perhaps you chose it for its cinematography, but remember the camera only did half the work. There was a person operating that camera and they would’ve probably made a conscious decision as to why that camera was the tool for the job in their current situation.

The right camera for the job

It’s very easy to get into the gear mindset and only think specs, but really if you want to be taken seriously as a professional then think of the equipment as merely tools. Cameras are obviously much more exciting than other tools in other industries, but realistically that’s what they are.  You are there to do a job and they are there to help you do that. The camera manufacturers want us to think differently, but then they want our hard earned cash! The key is finding the camera that will help you do your job, whatever it may be, as efficiently and effectively as possible whether you are buying or hiring.

So what is your situation? Do you have a short term brief to meet or a long term investment to consider? If you are stuck choosing a camera, here are some factors to consider before your dreaming becomes a money losing opportunity:

  • Price

The most obvious thing to consider. As with any other product the more features a camera has, the dearer it will be, whether you’re buying or hiring. Set yourself a budget.

  • Return on investment 

If you’re buying it’s sensible to think about how long it will take (or – gulp – if) you’ll make a return on your investment. We’d all like an Arri Alexa, but do we all earn that much in a year? Similarly if you’re shooting on a long project, would it make sense to hire a camera for that period when you could actually save money in the long run by buying?

  • Accessories

What do you actually need to make your camera perform how you want it to? Does it work straight out of the box or are there other bits required? Do these additional items cost much or take long to set up? Will these accessories remain useful if you decide to upgrade further down the line? Have you thought about which lenses you’re going to use? (that’s an entirely different subject in itself)

  • Target audience

Crucial, this one. What do you actually shoot? What are your clients asking for? Do you want to move into shooting something different? An Arri Alexa is probably going to be a bit overwhelming for talking heads!

  • Workflow

How quickly do your clients need their video? Do you need to shoot with edit friendly codecs for speed? Or do you require something more efficient for storage? Can your editing system handle 4K or do you plan to upgrade in the future? Do you need flexibility in the grade?

  • Image

It would be lovely to not have to worry about this but unfortunately in the world of business first impressions are made very quickly and this can mean the difference between landing a job or not. Whilst this is mostly attributed to personality, punctuality and presentation, the same can also be applied to the equipment you use. If your clients think you’re using cheap equipment are they likely to pay top dollar? If you shoot on a DSLR have you ever had someone ask you ‘Are you doing stills?’. What impression do you want to leave?

  • Style

OK, so we’re allowed to have a little bit of fun while we’re selecting our tools. Every camera out there has a distinct look and processes colours and skin tone slightly differently from the next. You might just simply prefer the look of one over the other, regardless of specs. Try some cameras out and see what you like. Are you Canon or Sony? Black Magic or Red?

Sony or Canon?

Are you Sony or Canon?

As you can see there is a lot to consider when choosing a camera and we would all want to know that we are making the right choice. Lets look at some examples, in this case some up to date 4K cameras, and think about when they could be used as effective tools and when they may just be a big fat waste of money:

Arri Amira

arri amiraEveryone knows that Arri is king when it comes to cameras, as was evident when cinematographer Roger Deakins commented that the Alexa was the first digital cinema camera to challenge 35mm film.

The Amira is essentially a slimmed down ‘documentary’ style version of the Alexa. With HD, 2K and 4K options, a range of Pro Res codecs, slow motion up to 200 fps, internal ND, interchangeable lenses and huge dynamic range, this camera really has everything I would love to have in a camera. Most importantly, the images it produces are superb. I mean they would have to be as this camera retails at over £20,000. Would probably be hiring this one me thinks.

20151020_093951

I was fortunate enough to spend some time recently with the Amira. An incredible camera but with the weight of accessories you might think twice about shooting on it entirely handheld.

Best for:

  • Broadcast and high end drama, documentary, commercial etc.

Worst for:

  • Event work and majority of online output (impractical and uneconomical)

 

 

 

Black Magic Cinema Camera

blackmagic_design_blackmagic_production_camera_4k_964119From my experience Black Magic seem to be a bit like marmite. Most people seem to either love them or hate them – there’s no in between. Why’s that? To start with, the specs for their production camera are very good with lots of frame rate options, huge dynamic range and popular lens mount options all within a small body. What’s more it comes at an unbelievable price for a 4K camera at just over £2000 currently. Where it falls short however is in its battery life, impractical screen and ergonomics. It sounds tempting but if you decide to invest in some accessories for it then suddenly it’s not so cheap.

BMPC: Ideal size and weight for a car rig.

BMPC: The ideal size and weight for a car rig.

Best for:

  • Low budget drama, commercials and music videos or 4K on a budget

Worst for:

  • Anytime you have to shoot quickly, as a lone shooter or in low light, i.e. documentaries & travel (impractical)

Sony A7S mkii

sony a7s iiThe A7S took the DSLR world by storm last year mostly due to its incredible low light capabilities attributed to its full frame sensor and it’s affordable price tag. Now the mkii is here and whereas previously you could only record 4K footage to an external recorder this new version offers internal 4K recording as well as some other nice features including frame rates up to 120fps and several variations of S-Log for greater dynamic range in the grade. At £2500 it is certainly an affordable 4K camera, but it may not be for everyone. As a DSLR it still lacks some features associated with professional video cameras including XLR inputs and is limited to recording no longer than 30 minutes. Its battery life is also not great and the Sony E mount offers far fewer lens options than EF or PL for example. If you decide to invest in accessories, then once again, it may not actually seem that cheap after all.

Best for:

  • Travel

Worst for:

  • Conferences, weddings and other long recordings (impractical)

C300 mkii 

canon_0635c002_eos_c300_mark_ii_1134579

A recent offering from Canon, the C300 mkii builds upon the success of the original C300 which became a widely recognised video production workhorse. The original camera was popular for broadcast, news gathering and corporate work and the C300 mkii looks set to improve on this build with new codecs and frame rates on offer, 4K recording, inbuilt ND, popular lens mount options and a form factor that makes it ideal for shooting as a single operator. But with only being able to shoot 4K at 30p, a heavier build than the previous model and a price tag far higher than the spec-tacular Sony FS7 (which is in the same league but does offer slow motion in 4K) this camera may be too much for some at £13500.

Best for:

  • Broadcast and online (anything that requires a single operator)

Worst for:

  • 4K slow motion requirements (non existent)
Video Production Companies London

The original C300 has dropped in price substantially since the mark ii release. Great if you don’t need 4K.

These are just a few examples to get you thinking and of course these are my own opinions, but as you can see it’s a bit of a minefield out there. There are so many factors to consider and what one person needs in a camera may be unnecessary for another. It also doesn’t help that new cameras are being thrown at us left, right and centre all the time and the old models are becoming obsolete quicker than ever (which hurts us financially for sure!). The plus side of this camera boom however is there are so many options available that there is something for every budget, whether you shoot HD or 4K.

Get what you need and concentrate on producing high quality work – remember it’s not just about the equipment but the people and the creativity behind it.

5 tips for shooting better interviews

Interviewing: an essential skill in video production

Interviewing: an essential skill in video production

Here at flycreative we know a thing or two about filming interviews. Interviews are the heart of many video productions and most corporate, event and documentary shoots will at some point involve someone speaking to the camera in depth about a subject. Whether the topic is eCommerce or the plains of Nebraska, it is our job as video production professionals to capture and create engaging content, regardless of our knowledge of the subject at hand. Whilst the subject may change however, our approach does not and there are some key considerations to be made whenever an interview is approaching.

Being able to conduct an interview is an essential skill for any videographer or producer, but are your skills up to scratch? Here are 5 top tips for shooting better interviews:

1. Location, location, location!

As they say in business, it’s all about location, location, location. This is important aesthetically as well as practically. Here are some things to consider when deciding on a location:

  • Background – What is it? Does it portray your subject in a positive light? Are there any brands or logos you should be avoiding?
  • Lighting – Where is the best available light? Do you need or want to bring in your own?
  • Sound – Are you likely to be disturbed? Is there likely to be music or interference here?
  • Practicalities – Do you need permission to film here? Are you causing an inconvenience to the public? Is it safe to be here?

Reccie your location in advance if possible, whether that be a day before or 10 minutes before your client arrives. Any preparation time is useful and being prepared makes you look professional. If you can’t realistically reccie in advance then ask your client to send a couple of photos of the available space. The more you know in advance the more you will be able to select the right equipment for the job – there’s no point lugging around a full lighting kit if you only have 10 minutes with your subject. Food for thought.

It was definitely worth the climb for this background.

Sometimes you just get lucky with a view.

2. Be considerate with your composition.

Make your subject and the frame look flattering. Always shoot at the height of your subject and ensure that their eye line is level. Use the rule of thirds to create a nice composition, allowing space for text if necessary and have your subject angled slightly away from the camera. If your subject is not a professional actor or presenter then you’ll probably find you’ll get superior results having them speak off camera.

Office interview

Level, uncluttered and a suitable eye line. Bob’s your uncle.

Think about your depth of field – lenses with faster apertures will give you shallower depth of field and if shooting outside you will need to use ND so you can stop down your lens and retain a nice bokeh. Don’t let your depth of field get too small however as some people can be quite animated and you’ll want them to stay consistently sharp. If you can, shoot with a high quality prime over a zoom lens for often             increased sharpness, faster apertures and nicer bokeh although there are some excellent zoom lenses out there too.

Finally if you have time, change your framing and conduct the interview again (this works best for shorter interviews and is of course irrelevant if you are shooting 4K where you have the option to pan and scan if your output is downscaled). Giving yourself the option of a medium shot and a close up gives you options in the edit and can really bump up the professionalism of the final product that little bit more.

3. Think about lighting and make time for it.

Good lighting can hide the fact that you may not have the latest hi tech camera and the results can make you look very professional indeed. Even minor lighting adjustments can make a huge difference to the final image:

  • Daylight exteriors: On a sunny day where the lighting is high contrast, consider your subject’s position carefully in relation to where the sun is. Try to avoid flare and over exposure from shooting directly into the sun as well as having your subject squint into the sun! A 5 in 1 reflector can also be useful in many situations here.
  • Night time exteriors: Utilize any lighting fixtures at your disposal such as street lights. Set your white balance carefully and watch out for those street lights appearing too warm! It would also prove useful having a decent flicker free LED (and a twin hot shoe adaptor).
  • Interiors: For interiors you may be faced with certain difficulties such as low light, a mixture of colour temperatures and tight working environments. If you don’t have much lighting equipment or time at your disposal then you can use any incoming daylight to your advantage (although if the weather changes then this may prove difficult for longer interviews). If natural light is being used for your key light then you need to think about your colour temperature and balance to daylight if you require a warm ‘positive’ look to your footage. If tungsten or interior lighting is providing most of your ambient light then consider the use of practical lights to increase interest in the image and overall exposure. If shooting in someone’s home utilize any lamps that they may have.

The key to lighting is obtaining control. Whether that be removing, changing the colour or softening a light source the point is if you have some degree of control then you can stylize your footage in a way that compliments the product and your abilities too! In fact, lighting can sometimes be more important than the camera itself..

IMG_1596

If you want high production values, don’t forget to light.

4. Get good sound (for the love of God).

No one likes bad sound. It is usually the first tale tale sign of an amateur. Here are a few dos and don’ts regarding the matter:

Do:

  • Hire a sound recordist if your budget allows. Giving yourself less responsibility technically allows you to focus on getting results.
  • Use the best mic and cables you can afford.
  • Remember your windshield if filming outside
  • Record externally if you can, especially in studio environments. Quite often you can get cleaner audio on an external recorder than recording in to camera, due to noisy pre amps.
  • Generally aim for maximum levels between -12db and -18db when recording, although this is subject to individual preference. You can amplify somewhat in editing, but once a clip peaks it’s a goner.

Don’t:

  • Ever record using your inbuilt camera mic unless there is an exceptionally good reason. Always use a high quality radio mic or shotgun mic.
  • Record without headphones. Duh!
  • Record if you can hear music in the background. Some background noise at a consistent level can be useable and sometimes removable however.
  • Accept a take if you’re not 100% happy. If in doubt, do it again. You’ll thank yourself in the edit.
  • Let your clients walk off with your radio mics!

Remember, sound is half the picture. Don’t neglect it!

Sennheiser - one of the leading brands for audio equipment.

Sennheiser – money well spent.

5. Plan your questions & listen.

Whether you’re shooting an hour long interview or a dozen vox pops on the fly, you can still plan your questions in advance to achieve optimum results.

Speak to your subject about the question (s) you’ll be asking and find out what they would say in response before you roll the camera. Without the camera recording many people will find the pressure reduced slightly, resulting in more genuine answers (you can also sneakily use this time to do sound checks). When you do start recording your aim is now to get them to repeat what they’ve already said which makes it much easier.

Once the camera starts rolling listen carefully to the answers provided and work with your subject to make sure that what they are saying is relevant and efficiently worded. It’s OK to help them rephrase a sentence if it’s proving to be a bit of a tongue twister. Take notes if you can so that nothing gets repeated. You may get some ideas for cutaways here too.

Don’t forget – if your subject is looking off camera and there is no presenter as such then their answers must always be in full sentences. Make sure they allow a second of silence between your question and their answer and look out for potential cutting points within their answer. If you like the sound of an individual phrase within a sentence get them to repeat it as a standalone line. The beauty of video making is that we can often go for a second take; if in doubt go for it. Give yourself options in the edit!

This interview had all the right ingredients.

This interview had all the right ingredients.

If all of this seems a bit daunting at first, don’t worry. With a bit of practice and application of these techniques the quality of your interviews will increase over time and will gradually become second nature to you. For some inspiration, take a look at some of the interviews we have conducted over the years..

Video Production London

How to Choose Your Style of Video

One of the great things about creating a corporate video for your company is the flexibility you have over choosing a style and a format. From micro-documentaries to animated short films, there is a style that will suit your ideal audience and corporate video goals. 

Below are just a few examples that we can help you with:

Micro Documentary

You can read this blog post to find out more about micro-documentaries but in a nutshell it tells the story of your business in a 15-20 minute style of documentary. Instead of being purely promotional it is shot in a style that engages the viewer as a regular documentary is designed to do.

Read More

Ovingdean Diamond Jubilee Street Party 2012

Some of the team have recently moved on the outskirts of Brighton to bring up chickens and live off the land (kinda).
We were invited to our local street party by some of the new friends we have made in the village and thought it might be nice to film the even for the locals (“You’ll never prize this 7D out my hand I tells ya”)

Music:
I Like Bananas Because They Have No Bones
Hossier Hot Shots

Filmed on Canon EOS 7D, 24-70mm f2.8 & 70-200mm f2.8 IS with Manfrotto monopod

If you like then you should have put a ♥ on it!

Photo Booth Boutique – Fatboyslim Amex Stadium 2012

We produced a short film for the company ‘Photobooth Boutique’ to show off their new look booth and sponsorship from ‘Fatboy’.

The booth was situated in the new Brighton Amex Stadium in the VIP area of the Fatboyslim gig, we produced a time-lapse of the stand for the whole 8 hours using a Canon 7D with 24-70mm f2.8 and canon remote shooting every 5 seconds.. 400ISO, f7 at 1/100.

If you like then you should have put a ♥ on it!

Brighton Festival Opening Film

Brighton Festival is the largest arts festival in England and one of the major milestones in international cultural calendar.
We were shortlisted from over 20 companies to produce a launch film to be shown to the worlds media, at the press launch and at the opening night at Brighton Dome.

The film was also streamed to over 5,000 viewers on the website as part of the festivals opening night.

We worked with Chris Challis the Press Officer for Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival 2012 to produce a eye catching video brochure of everything to look forward to in the Festival in May.

A Bit about Premiere
This was the first corporate job we have used solely Adobe Premiere on and have to say we were very impressed with the new (Freddie) Mercury playback engine.. Everything ran on the fly whether it was low quality AVI formats to High quality R3D files they handles them like a dream. Another part of the video that would have taken a lifetime to edit using Final Cut 7 and After Effects was the lines which divide the footage and move it around the screen, they ran incredibly smoothly with the footage and high quality images.

Finally the Light Leaks that came up in the transitions would also require a render every time you wanted to playback in FC7 but again in Premiere they were a charm to work with.

We have been reluctant in the studio to move over to Premiere as it didn’t seem to be professional enough for what we needed it for, there is still a slow integration between AE and Premiere but I think it is getting better and it was a joy to work with on this project.

Brighton Patch – Timelapse

Since the early 2000’s we have wanted to produce more time=lapse and integrate it into our work more, then in 2008 Bathtub by Keith Loutit was created and blew our ruddy socks off:

Since then he has released a series of new videos, each one as awesome and breath taking as the last.

Our office is based in Brighton (London by the sea some call it) so it would have been rude to not get out there in the sun and get some sexy time-lapse, we don’t have a Tilt-shift lens and don’t think the post production works as well so were happy to mess about with some straight forward time-lapse which we also used in a few of our local video productions.

We will be posting a lot more tutorials soon so please keep an eye out for Tilt-shift tutorials and Time-lapse tutorials when we get them up on our blog.