2 Secrets For Crafting Beautiful Video

 

Context

I'm learning, and growing. With every new project I add one (or a thousand) new thing to my arsenal of knowledge and experience in the film making world. At this point in my career, I'm becoming well versed in the corporate video scene! Here are a few things I learned from my recent production for our local Spokane Church; Valley Real Life. 

These apply to all types of video (and photos for that matter)... whether you're in the church world, the corporate world, creating a Kickstarter video, or even feature film! 

 

1 // Shape The Light

At my core, I'm a portrait photographer. It's what I went to school for, it's what I've spent the last 7 years exploring and perfecting, and it's what drives my imagery in the film/video world. I look at every cinema shot as if it's a still photograph and shape my light to create a portrait.

 
 

For the interview/talking-head type shots in this production, I started with the natural window light in my studio. I always start with the natural light. We have giant windows with beautiful cool daylight coming from camera left. I sat Wayne and Bryan at about a 45 degree angle from the windows. The windows alone didn't fill their faces as softly as I wanted, this is where I "shaped" the light; using a Fiilex Q1000 LED light with a big softbox, color balanced to match that beautiful daylight, at about a 70 degree angle to wrap the light farther around the right side of their faces (camera right... if that makes sense).

Then there's a smaller light, color balanced a bit warmer, behind their shoulder, over head, camera right. This creates a bit more separation from the background and the difference in color temperature makes the image feel a bit more dramatic. I'm still playing with the concept of intentionally mixing color temperatures for different affects and moods; I'm pretty thrilled with the cool, complimentary, faded, almost retro color pallet created by the mix of color temperature in this shot.  

 
 

2 // Shoot 4k... Crop it later

This might already be known to most, and to me this tip was so simple and usable; it killed me when I realized how easy this is. 

I shoot interview scenes all the time, and I usually use two cameras to add variety to my shots and give me a way to cut out and hide unnecessary bits. I heard about a little trick Film Riot does that changed everything for me: set up one camera, frame up my wide shot, record 4k, and just crop in to fill a 1920x1080 frame for my tight shot, I get the same affect as setting up two cameras. My mind melted. Literally. I felt it sliming out my ears. You've got a wide and a tight shot all in one take. Simple tip, massive time saver. Most of the time, now, I only ever need one camera for talking head video setups, and over time I've saved myself and my clients massive amounts of time during production and especially in post production. 

 
 

There are so many more tips I could scrounge up from this simple video production, so please feel free to reach out, let's get coffee and talk cinematography. I'll always be learning and growing my craft, and I'd love to connect and see how I can help with your next big project.