New Gear I Got, Part The First: Kessler® Second Shooter

May 22, 2017

This is the first of six brief videos showing some of the new gear I’ve acquired since the end of last year; this first one is all about the Kessler Second Shooter device. The video runs a little long (still less than 3 minutes), for which I am deeply and truly sorry, but I’ve made up for it by including an insanely helpful tip at the end about making “Cheat Sheets” for complex equipment you may use only infrequently. Check it.

 

Turn Clothes Hangers into a Sleep Aid

May 19, 2017

You probably already know that you’ll generally sleep better in a room that’s quiet, dark, and cool. There are a lot of tricks I use while traveling to make my room as dark as possible, which helps as I almost always seem to get the second-floor room with the mercury-vapor lamp three feet from the window. I use those trouser hangers, the ones with the clips, to hold the drapes securely closed. Like this:

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Get Me An Apple Box

May 17, 2017

Last autumn I got an iPhone 7 to replace my ancient and creaky 5, which reminded me of a story: was on a job last year for a Japanese-based company, where the client spoke little english. I was trying to elevate the camera on a tabletop for a better view, and mumbled to myself that I needed an “apple box” – these are wooden boxes that come in varying sizes for use on video and film shoots. They look like this:unnamed.jpg

The client disappeared for a few moments, then returned with an Apple box:

 

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Chris Fenwick on Working With Bill Rolland

May 15, 2017

Talented and experienced Editor/Director of SL/CE Editorial describes his appreciation for Bill Rolland’s ability to structure corporate videos as compelling narratives – complete with drama, sympathetic characters, and that all-important Third Act.

 

Out Of Ham

May 12, 2017

Not what you want to see. Ever.

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It’s vs. Its

May 11, 2017

Ever not completely sure when to use “it’s” versus “its”? I feel the same way when driving on a one-lane road, going up or down, and someone else pops up ahead. If I’m going up, and I supposed to go back down? Or am I supposed to back up? (spoiler alert: the vehicle facing downhill must yield the right-of-way by backing up until the vehicle going uphill can pass) The trick I use is the one who must back up, backs UP. Get it? Yeah, pretty awesome. Here’s my “its” “it’s” memory device: the word “it’s” is short for “it is” or “it has” – the apostrophe is doing the work of a letter or two. If you’re not replacing one or two letters, you don’t need the apostrophe.

Welcome Home

May 9, 2017

Returned recently from a job in New Zealand, landed around 6:00 am on a Sunday at SFO. I drove over the Bay Bridge toward home, paused a moment on Treasure Island, snapped this pic of the San Francisco skyline.

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QAD’s Alex Kemp on working with Bill Rolland

February 1, 2017

I sat down with Alex Kemp, Senior Manager at Santa Barbara-based QAD, and asked him about the experience of working with me on domestic and international locations. Total duration of the video is about a minute, so check it out. Also, kudos to QAD’s Director of Photography Jim Bob Barnett for the exceptional video and audio capture.

Shooting in green-screen

November 17, 2016
I was on a job last week where we were tasked with setting up a green-screen configuration to capture multiple “Video Data Sheet” – incidentally, a great way to generate lots of video assets at a low per-unit cost.
What I want you to see is how much space is required for the set up, and how much gear is involved – be sure to allow plenty of time for setup and take-down (this needed three hours to set up, two to “strike” and load out).
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Shooting in green-screen is not hugely complex or difficult, but it does have to be done precisely right – if not, plan on hour after hour of extra editing trying to fix a poor quality chroma key (the “key” is the critical zone where the speaker is composited onto the background). And, in the end, likely failing anyway.
But done carefully, the result can be an almost seamless composite of speaker and background. Here’s a sample of the final product where the “key” is so clean and crisp the individual hairs on the top of the speaker’s head stand out:
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Consider Video When Planning Your Live Event

September 6, 2016

Just returned from the Bay Area where I captured a live “Town Hall” presentation by a client’s top management.

The meeting took place in a huge, concrete-floored building with a giant white screen at the front, and minimal artificial lighting – probably the worst conditions imaginable for videotaping speakers. Fortunately, the client had the foresight to request that I bring a battery of powerful lights with me, which helped enormously.

What should that mean to you?

If you have a live presentation coming up soon that includes videotaping the speakers (a great idea, as there may be many times the number of viewers who watch online than are present in person), plan for the lighting requirements of video. Regardless of the size or configuration of the room, you should have a couple of lamps, more or less balanced to the lighting already in the room (artificial or daylight), each placed at about a 45 degree angle to the speaker. At the very least, your speaker should be brighter than the background.

town-hall-p66PROTIP: lots of speakers pace as they speak, so make sure your lights are placed where he or she will always be in the spotlight.


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