Shooting the Footage - Blake McIntyre
Video Production Tips from Expert Blake McIntyre
Whether you're in the video industry, CEO, or a Marketing Manager wanting to put together a Marketing Strategy, our discussion with a world famous videographer will give you some great strategies to add into your marketing mix.
Blake McIntyre is the founder and creative director atBring Into Being (bringintobeing.tv), a video production company that offers affordable digital media solutions for big and small corporate companies. He has more than ten years of experience at Channel 9, Foxtel, Nine MSN, and Shine. Here, he offers tips on video production and editing.
What are the most important things to consider when sourcing a location?
Be aware of potential background noise. If there is heavy traffic, a school nearby or any noise, it will mess with your production. Sound is one of the hardest things to fix in post-production. You can try to clean it up through effects, but it’s hard to make it as clean as it is when you get it right the first time.
Control the lighting. If you don’t have professional lighting equipment and a scene must be shot outside at a certain time of day, make sure the sun will be out to sufficiently light your set. If you want to shoot with a sunrise, consider that you have a short period of time. Set your time and work within your boundaries.
Make sure you have sufficient power. If you’re working with batteries, be sure to have backups or a close power source.
Give yourself a lot of space to shoot. It’s best to shoot in large open spaces when indoors so you don’t have to be on top of the people you’re shooting. For big events like weddings, using big lenses will allow you to shoot them from a distance so you don’t have to chase them around.
What should you do before shooting?
Plan everything. Drama and even Reality TV both use storyboards before shooting. Know what you’re going for and talk to your editor to see what shots they want to work with to get your message and mood across.
Where do you see the videography industry going?
Online. Broadcast is having trouble competing with online video lately. Corporate companies are spending big money on Facebook and YouTube advertising. There is probably more money being spent on online video advertising now than there is on TV.
What do you recommend for people just starting out in the videography industry?
For video production, start with cheap tech. Start with a camera that shoots in 720p. You do not need a $10,000 camera. Buy some equipment secondhand. Production lighting is expensive. Get some LED lights. It does not have to be brand new. Work within your budget.
What is the process for video editing and what are the steps involved?
Always make sure your footage and materials are in one location when you start editing. Don’t have bits scattered across hard drives. Consolidate everything in case you lose things. Don’t be afraid to create a hierarchy in a project. It’s best not to rush into creating a project. Create folders, sort everything out and have a source directory. If you’re doing takes, make sure you name them correctly. A disorganized project will really slow you down.
At what stage should an editor get involved?
The very beginning. Because they have to deal with the content, they make the best producers. They don’t have to be involved with pre-production, but if you can work out how long a total piece of media is going to be and what you’re going to shoot, they can give you ideas about turnaround times and what to do to get the desired result. Ask an editor about what shots make sense to get. They may give you a list of shots to get the best out of your editing.
What should an editor know?
Definitely let them know the details of the camera you’re using and what you’re going for with the output. Hardcore? Action-packed? Emotional? What kind of music did you have in mind? Music can change the whole aspect of a video.
Any other advice?
Be flexible with clients. When starting out, if a client doesn’t have the right budget, work around their financial needs. You may have to work for a lower cost or for free at first, but if you build a reputation, customers will return and your business will expand.
Shooting the Footage - Greg Di Roma
Greg Di Roma
1. What are the essentials on a shoot day checklist?
1. First you need to evaluate what equipment you will need for a particular scene. The most basic equipment would be a camera, a tripod, a microphone and lights. Depending on what you’re filming, you may or may not need many lights especially if you’re shooting outdoors because you have natural light. Once you know what equipment you need, make a list of what you have so you won’t have to worry about forgetting anything. The last thing you want to do is waste more time finding more equipment when you should be filming especially when you’re on a budget.
The next thing you should be doing is scheduling the shoot, of course not everyone’s schedule is going to work out smoothly so it is really important to work with everyone involved and make sure everyone can find a time and day to commit.
Have all your scripts, storyboards, schedules, permits (if necessary) together and keep them with you at all times so you can keep your production on track.
2. What pre-preparation steps does a videographer take to set up a shot/scene?
2. The first thing you should always do is write out the scene, whether it is a screenplay or an outline. You always need a plan of action before you go out and film because if you were to go out and wing it, you end up taking risks for your production and chances are you will not have a good scene.
Keep in mind if you are planning to shoot a documentary or any type of non fiction production, you will most likely be improvising what you’re shooting. You don’t always know what you will be coming across, things can always change. It is always important to know what fits the narrative of your story. Make storyboards as well so you already know what you want the look of your film to be.
I recently shot a documentary in Cuba and throughout the whole pre-production process, we had no idea what exactly was going to happen. We had some sort of idea but when shooting a documentary, things can always change. As we were planning, we found out that President Obama would be visiting Cuba the same time we were and towards the end of our trip, The Rolling Stones would hold their first free concert ever in Havana. On top of that, the Tampa Bay Rays would play an exhibition game with the Cuban National Team. This news changed everything for us so we planned to focus heavily on Obama’s historic visit and the U.S. opening relations with Cuba and we would also make every effort to get to the Rolling Stones concert as early as possible so we had the best views and get many important shots.
3. What are some key tips when selecting the right location for your shoot?
3. When looking at a location you should ask yourself, “Does this fit the setting of the story?” Again the most important thing is that everything fits the narrative. Shooting a lot of b-roll in different locations is one of the best things to do because it gives you many options. The other thing to look for is how light travels in your location, depending on how you’re shooting, some places need lots of lights other can use mostly natural light. The other important thing is to know whether or not you need a permit to use a certain location. You don’t always need to have a permit but is always good to make sure.
Search online for potential locations to save time and travel you never know what you may come across.
Safety is also important, far too many times have we heard bad stories of how people have gotten injured on set because either the scene was not set up right or that safety was not considered.
Weather also plays a factor in not only safety of the people but of your equipment as well, it is definitely ideal to not be shooting somewhere stormy and wet.
Sometimes you may not be able to have the exact setting you want for your film because of budget reasons or it just may not be possible to shoot practically. In this case, you can emulate your setting by using green screen and visual effects, keep in mind emulating a scene this way is not just slapping everything in green and inserting a few props, you still have to focus on lighting and you can still use practical effects depending on what you’re shooting. You don’t want it to be obvious that the scene is not real.