Design, Art, Film, Ideas

I’m not Making This Up

I really mean Makeup.  You’ve guessed it these are makeup bags.  Cost me $3.99 at Target.  I know this is not a new idea and I think I remember it back from my film school days.  Recently the wife had a couple extra little bags around so I repurposed them for my adapters.

The problem I couldn’t see what I had in the bag.  So on my last visit Target I took a look around.  With wife in tow of course.  Didn’t want to be seen in cosmetics by myself….

Anyway found these little gems clear and just the right size.  The great thing is they fit into my video and audio bags easily.  I also have my adapters divided up for different uses.  Now if I don’t need some of the adapters I can leave a bag or 2 behind.

Mini World

This effect has been getting some buzz lately because of this fantastic looking tilt shift time-lapse effect created by Keith Loutit.  There are a number of Photoshop Tutorials out there related to this, this one is great! so check it out.  I believe I even saw this explained in “Wired”…

But I figured if it can be done in Photoshop it can be done in After Effects.

It’s a pretty simple concept and so many other people have done a great job of explaining it, I figured why should I even bother.

But I figured I could do it one better by making an After Effects file you can use!  You can download it here.

In the file you’ll find a version for HD and SD.  You can drop in your own footage by just replacing the image I’ve included in the project file.


If you replace the footage un-parent the null object first, then do a replace footage command.( I used a null because I was using a digital image and I wanted to scale.)

You can adjust the blur of the image and the feather of the mask.

Keep in mind the band of focus should be narrow.  But with this technique you can move the mask around and make any part of the image have the miniature effect.

I hope this is useful.

Oh yeah, The photo is Downtown Kansas City, MO!

Thinking on your feet…

This is a good example of the kind of video projects I work on from time to time. It’s fun stuff and I’m always on the move. You always have to be ready to go when doing a productions like this. You never know what’s going to happen. There is some planning you can do but not much so here are some tips for getting the job done.

Equipment Check: Every production is going to be different and for these I’m packing lighter and lighter every trip. But here’s my short list.

  1. Camera
  2. Batteries
  3. Video Tapes!
  4. Camera light and Battery
  5. Firewire Cable (just in case) mini to mini and Large to mini
  6. Mic Cables plus a (Mic Adapter to go in camera depending on model)
  7. Mics, I have a Shotgun and Hand held. Someday I’ll go wireless…
  8. Batteries for the Mics if you need them.
  9. Lens cleaner
  10. LCD hood for outdoor shooting.
  11. I like bringing a still camera for extra web content.
  12. Yeah, I might even twitter about it when it’s slow.

Don’t for get a quick double check.

Story Check: My host and I like to do a brief check of the facts. Who is this person. What’s their story. Everyone has a story if you think they don’t you’re wrong, it’s up to you to help find it. For these types of videos we’ve established a system.

There are 3 elements we know we are going to need.

  1. Intro: It’s the introduction. We find what who’s who and what are we doing here.
  2. Middle Recap: By this time we have an idea of what’s going on and we’ve meet some of the players so it’s time to give more information. Most of the time this is made up on the spot because you really don’t know the all facts until you get there. One shooting style note: I’m a big fan of the walk and talk. That’s where the host walks toward the camera and the cameraman (ME) has to walk backwards or sideways… Visually I think it adds a lot of drama and makes it more interesting.
  3. Outtro. You guessed it this is where the host says see ya next time! You’re style may vary.

B-Roll: When things are quite and people are standing around talking or trying to figure out the next move this is your chance to get some shots that will fill in the story. You have to pay attention to what people are saying. You are the second set of ears. So you might catch something the Host didn’t and that’s your chance to speak up and say, “hey we need to get this shot or interview this person too”. That’s going to influence the images you take. But there are always some standards you need to get. These images also help in editing to cover mistakes, flubs and changes in storyline or any dialogue you might need to shorten.

  1. Establishing shots. Location, People, Prizes anything that was important or mentioned
  2. Logos ALWAYS, Always get shots of logos. If there are several groups involved with the event you need to be on the look out for logos. They can be on the backs of shirts, sleeves, hats, cars, store fronts. And this is the chance to so something clever with a camera move or angle. Those company names are going to get mentioned at some point so it’s just nice to have it in the can.
  3. People milling around looking over the prize or just at the event.
  4. Make sure to get the winner spending some alone time with the prize. Usually they playing with it either way there are all types of emotions running around which always makes for good video.
  5. Lot’s of footage of the prize. Another chance to get creative with the camera work and it covers creative editing

Since most of these videos are done on the road and I can’t run back to the office because I forgot something I always make sure I have the things I can’t buy while I’m there. I’m not going to buy a new camcorder, lights or sound gear. I can always pick up video tape, extension cords, pens and other little things when I get to my location. So it’s not always the end of the world if you forgot something.

What are your tips and what would you add to these lists of must haves on a video shoot?