Video production; half science, half art. During a shoot, there’s a multitude of factors to be taken into consideration from lighting and environment to wireless frequencies and audio syncing. These pieces of the puzzle are all important and all require an expertise, however they mean nothing without the most important connection of all; the human connection. Here at SVG, it’s our labor of love to deliver our clients’ message, or better yet, their story – in its best form.
However, we all know being in front of a camera feels unnatural at first. This is why we strive to provide a filming experience for our clients that is smooth, relaxed, and stress free as possible. To do this, we make sure to have absolutely everything thought of and accounted for ahead of time. This is the key to a quality video shoot and ultimately the end result; communicating the best possible version of our clients’ story.
Our most recent video shoot with Hebrew in the Center exemplifies this point perfectly. For this shoot multiple people participate in the lecture series, and therefore along with three cameramen, multiple wireless mics are required for each speaker. Multitasking a shoot like this could make for possible set backs, so we brought on an additional audio tech help to focus solely on the mic application, wireless stationing, and audio quality. This then allows the cameramen to focus solely on setting up the lighting and getting the best shot possible.
Each piece of this puzzle has a dedicated person of expertise, and so the entire process is streamlined, smooth, and stress free. The speakers don’t ever need to think about anything else but the real reason that they’re there, telling their story.
As we mentioned in our last post, Skillman Video Group was recently hired to produce a marketing video for the Boston area non-profit, Teacher’s21. After what we call “the discovery process” which involves hours of on-site interviews and studying the client’s printed material (if pertinent) or other information, the producers at SVG will start the “pre-production” phase of developing the script. This phase is crucial for the success of the video project and will set the entire process on a good foundation that will ensure excellence in the finished product. It is during this phase of production where we take the massive block of information obtained at the discovery meeting and slowly but surely chisel it down as the video starts to take shape.
Next SVG successfully spent two days on location, 1st interviewing the “Aspiring Principals” (or participants in the program) at Teacher21′s offices in Wellesly MA, and the 2nd day visiting 2 schools in the Boston area where the Aspiring Principals are being apprenticed. To help tell the story visually, SVG wanted to capture the program in action so the viewers would have a sense for how it operates. In addition to shooting the Aspiring Principals in their day to day activities, we had the opportunity to interview the Schools’ current Head Principals on how the program has benefitted them personally, which we thought was a key perspective in the video’s message.
Currently the project is in post-production where SVG’s editors are working collaboratively with Teacher21′s staff to produce a video that will tell their story effectively and powerfully…in as little time as possible (a key to successful video marketing). It is a time consuming process to edit down hours of footage and can be difficult to choose which sound bites are the best of the best. However, this editing process is ultimately where the story – once and for all – comes together. Have a story worth telling? Call SVG today to see how our video marketing services can be of use to your company or organization!
In 2009 the United States Department of State and the New England Foundation of the Arts(NEFA) partnered to create a bold new approach to cultural diplomacy that cultivated into the “Center Stage” program. Whereas historically the State Department would export American artists over seas….for the 1st time they began importing foreign artists to small town USA. Over a 6-month period in 2012, over 10 ensembles from Pakistan, Indonesia and Haiti toured over 27 states, meeting countless “Main Street” Americans along the way.
NEFA is currently prepping for the 2nd round of performing artists, and understanding the power of video, hired Skillman Video Group (SVG) to produce a promotional video to raise public awareness of the program and help attract private investors. Given the size and scope of the project, SVG has very carefully crafted a game plan for the production. For starters, SVG professional held a two hour “discovery” meeting with the NEFA team to discuss the logistics of the video, as well as to learn the ins and outs of the program (how it came to be and why it is in existence) as well as to review the hundreds of hours of performance footage shot during the various tours. After the discovery meeting, SVG wrote an outline and script based off of the detailed notes, and forwarded it to NEFA for approval.
Since NEFA and SVG had decided to go for a more “documentary style” interview approach vs a scripted teleprompter approach, SVG principal, Christina Skillman, gave media training to the two NEFA principals appearing in the video (the Executive Director and the Center Stage Program Director). Two hours were spent on site coaching and directing the talent to help them think through their answers and look and sound their best. For those unaccustomed to speaking on camera (and it is an art) media training can be an invaluable tool in easing nerves and it can help the talent express themselves with clarity and confidence.
The next step in the production process was to book the shoot date. On January 7th 4 crew members arrived to set up lights, gel the windows and record the interviews. “B-roll” footage was also shot of the office and environs, mock meetings, etc. that will later be edited into the final video. Currently the video has enetered the post-production phase where SVG will edit all of the footage, including that of the 2012 performing artists where appropriate. Even after all these other steps – SVG’s work is just getting started!
A professionally produced video will be available to NEFA to present their story and visually explain to the public how powerfully the performing arts can bridge the gap between people and cultures. Check back soon for more details of the NEFA project on our blog!
Everything Is Illuminated… (How Lighting is the most important thing.)
Most videographers are taught the most basic form of lighting set up. The three-light method. We’re taught that this ideal lighting method separates the subject from the background, and everything does not look too dull. This is absolutely the most important first step in lighting, but it’s only the beginning. With such powerful cameras for cheaper and cheaper these days, we’re introduced to a world where we can give a beautiful contrast to a lighted image in even the most budget-restricting of company videos.
Light intensity, an often-overlooked part of lighting, is the second most important aspect that we must control. For instance, the ever-growing popularity of DSLRs has actually given us control of so many new aspects of video reserved only to film in the past! Without exaggeration, your company video has the capability of looking like a short scene of a film!
At SVG, we believe your audience’s retention is judged in how good something “Looks” before we get to the message. How the lighting is pre-planned, handled on-the-day of the shoot, and controlled in post-production is something we certainly do not overlook, and it pays off!
This is yet another aspect that Skillman Video Group takes control of. These details catch people’s attention, and help deliver your message clearer. Ultimately, these details bring your company to where it wants to go.
Last week we explored a few of the ways a company can use internalized videos to communicate with employees and current or prospective partners. This week we focus on a different, but immensely important aspect of the company video: the face-of-your-company teaser trailer!
Unlike internal videos, these teaser videos are used to showcase your product and philosophy to everyone who comes across. These videos are “the new business cards” if you will. They are often overlooked, due to cost or effectiveness of the message portrayed, BUT it is imperative that they are updated as often as possible.
The reason for this, we found, is that technology and social media means are changing so rapidly. A particular video can literally become obsolete within months! In fact, we’ve found that something as ubiquitous as HD 1080p is to become obsolete within two years! The next “it” thing will be 2K or 4K portable cameras, many predict. But I digress.
Skillman Video Group offers remarkable costs on videos such as these. Meanwhile, our SEO optimization ensures the exposure of your videos to all of the current and upcoming Internet media available! It’s the best of all worlds. Your company’s message will spread farther and quicker than Rome ever could!
SVG can help keep your company on track, expanding, and as current as ever. Call us or click us today!
This week, SVG was hired to produce a video at the New England Pro Wrestling Academy, home of Killer Kowalski’s school of pro wrestling. The shoot starred an 18-year-old contestant of the “TNA Gut Check” challenge that airs on Spike TV this year in late September. The shoot was a mostly handheld demonstration of this young wrestler who began his career at the very early age of 13, and it included interviews with his parents, trainers including Brian Fury, and then brief but sensational wrestling demonstration.
SVG chose a handheld camera on a stabilizing shoulder rig for this shoot to provide a certain action look that matches the pumped-up atmosphere of the wrestling center. Like many of our shoots, we used a combination of lavalier and shotgun microphones, but also a zoom microphone for ambient sound.
The promotional video for the young wrestler is now being sent off to the producers of the TNA Gut Check for final editing and distribution this month. The shoot was flawless, and the imagery was excellent due to the great amount of natural lighting that we had access to from the large windows of the center.
The producer was very pleased with our work, which he was able to see through an external Full-HD monitor that was attached to our camera for both focus pulling and for video previews to our clients. All in all, the shoot could not have gone more seamless. The director had a clear plan, and SVG had perfect execution.
Earlier this week we posted about a green screen shoot Skillman Video Group executed for Salt PR. We touched briefly upon the application of green screens, how they are becoming more the norm for current web based video production, as well as how essential it is to properly set up a green screen shoot. That being said, it only makes sense that we would actually show you some finished content to give you a better idea of what you can do with green screen footage.
In the video provided, we see a short clip (a small segment from the shoot earlier this week in fact!) that utilizes the Chroma Key editing features of Final Cut X. The first example is the basic footage, unedited. The next clip is that same footage, but with a background that has been “keyed out” (replaced for something else). The following clip is the original footage, this time with moving backgrounds, presenting a Ken Burns like effect. Moving forward, we have a “lower third” version of the segment, in which we reduced the size of our subject and added a subtitle. This particular style is similar to many documentaries or commercials you may see today. The last alteration is the lower third version once more, only this time over additional video footage – more structured like a newsworthy video piece.
It really is quite amazing how versatile your production can become when adding the element of green screen footage. Rather than just “talking to the camera,” we have a more engaging, vivid piece that pulls audiences in, allowing for a clearer message. This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what you can do with a green screen.
Do you have questions on how to make your next green screen shoot with Skillman Video Group? Let us know below! Or contact us by clicking here!
Videography has reached incredible heights in portraying messages. We can control absolutely every aspect of what we see in a video, but one thing might be overlooked due to budget, or simply because it is not readily accessible: Perception. At Skillman Video Group, we focus on big & small details to suit all of your needs; even those that you may not yet be aware of.
Say, a client wants to express their Architecture business through video. For a successful marketing video, the “Look” is one of the most important aspects to get the message across. It is important to make sure that the perception of a product does not get distorted in any negative way. However, at SVG we take this a step further:
The type of lenses in a video causes the image to be displayed in a very specific way. For example, architects showcasing their work would want to stay away from Wide-Angle lenses that are too “short.” This is because the shorter the lens, the more of a “fish-eye” distortion it may create. Everyone’s heard of the “Fish-Eye lens.” It is just a VERY wide mm (< than 10mm) lens that makes everything look as if it’s viewed from a fish’s perspective, hence the name.
What occurs with short lenses is that straight lines may become distorted, and that the beautiful building you are trying to get in the shot will look like the tower of Pisa were to be bending in the middle.
Sure, some may like this look for artistic reasons, or because it makes everything look BIGGER, but for pragmatic situations such as showcasing the straight lines of a work as being properly straight on camera, this is just another aspect that has to be considered. With a photograph, there are many ways around image distortion. But with video, it can get much more challenging. It is better to take care of the distortion challenges before shooting, than later on in post.
At SVG, clients can be assured that we cover all the angles and take every step during pre-production; meanwhile, the client can focus on the message they want to express, and confidently leave the technical aspect to SVG.
To get the kind of quality videos that Skillman Video Group provides its clients, using high end equipment is a must and using it effectively is essential. For most videos, SVG shoots with two high definition cameras, the Canon 7D and the Sony NXCAM. The combination of shooting with two cameras gives a dynamic and creative aesthetic to the videos. The 7D’s “film” look provides rich colors and complements the Sony’s beautiful picture quality when cutting between both formats. Last week’s shoot for our recurring client, Hebrew at the Center, was one of these instances where both cameras were used. Using the 7D for the close up shot softened the focus, creating a visually appealing and flattering look for this online lecture series.
The look and feel of the videos can vary with their content and style. Based on the type of video marketing the client needs, the creative team at SVG will determine how the video should look and what the viewing audience can take away from it. Whether it’s a videomercial, a marketing video, a product video, or anything in between, Skillman Video Group will successfully mesh all of the attributes necessary to create the perfect video to suit your needs.
Picture a time before YouTube; too difficult to remember that far back? Born in 2005, the video giant is only 6 years old. It grew up quickly and was bought for a cool $1.65 billion barely a year after its inception by a little company called Google. More video content is uploaded to YouTube in any given sixty day period than all 3 major US TV networks have created in 60 years. Large and small companies alike realize the importance for quality video content. Not only is the Web already saturated with video, it is equally saturated with articles about why video content is important.
Better search optimization, more intimate fan/customer engagement, and the ease of viewing vs. reading are only some of video’s selling points. These days, everybody wants a viral video. Is going viral the only thing that matters though, and more importantly, is YouTube the only destination? Not every video is going to go viral; by definition it is impossible. Viral videos are great, but they’re the junk food of the video world. Everyone loves them, they’re easy to consume, and often times they don’t have much substance behind them.
A fascinating lecture given by a brilliant astrophysicist probably won’t garner as many views as Lady Gaga’s latest hit, but does this mean that the lecture is of lesser value or quality? The two videos, simply put, contain different content with different intentions. As ostensibly easy as shooting and posting a video has become, it can be just as easy to forget that not all content is created equally, and that not all content serves the same purpose.
Anyone can shoot decent looking video on an iPhone, but can they add quality sound, smooth editing, and a concise story? Who is the audience? Is the video intended for the Web only or will it have internal purposes? Is its sole intention to make people laugh or to convey a serious message, or both? While it has become drastically easier to produce video content, it’s as hard as ever to make it good and worth watching, especially with all the competition. Skillman Video Group knows this, which is why we make sure everyone of our clients knows what they want and what their expectations are before any cameras start rolling. If viral is the goal, let’s make it, but if reaching a specific audience is the end game, we’ll make sure your video is worth their while, and more importantly, that they know it exists.