Shooting Live Action

On the set for House Hunters International. The tables were turned when Jen and I were being filmed for an episode.

Most of the video you see is Live Action. Think Network TV, Netflix, HBO, movies and TV Commercials. When we think video this is what we think of.

Each type of live action video has it’s own set of nuance, style and needs. Having worked in Hollywood for 20 years I can tell you there is a huge difference between a TV commercial, A movie and an HBO comedy special. All are live action but the thought and pre planning is very different.

Each business video has different needs, budgets and expectations. Knowing what the achievable goal is and working backwards to get the right content to achieve those goals is one of our strengths. 

There are so many variables in doing live action video. This is where experience is everything when it comes to getting the right shots for the intended purpose. Having someone who has been there and done that is invaluable. So much of creating live action videos is solving the problems to get the shot just right. What separates the pros from the others is not compromising. 

For an interactive app we wanted to do an explainer video but not an animated one like many other tech companies do.

We still had to do all of the tech work to make the app look real in the actors hands and direct them to move their fingers on a blank screen etc. We were able to pull if off easily buy knowing what we needed to shoot, having a storyboard to follow and hiring professional actors. 
Our cameraman on this is also proficient in working on shoots that require more than lighting one person and making them look beautiful.

When you hire a video crew you need to know they can accomplish what you need to convey the right message  both visually and to acheive your business goals.

This was an elaborate 2 day shoot. The owner of the shop is a bit wack in a good way. (one of my favorite clients). She is always looking for fun and interesting ways to promote her business.

In addition to a bizarre video she put the word out around town looking for specific animals, talents etc so the town was buzzing before the shoot happened. Therefore promoting her business in a not spammy yet interesting way. We played up the fact that a Super Bowl commercial  video guy from LA would be doing the shooting and directing. That brought in more people. 
Using your assets can be a great way to build buzz while creating a video asset you can use for years to come. 

This was a video we shot for an interactive app. The style is more TV or movie like than a series of quick cuts and beautiful images or a talking head. 
Getting the location, actors and crew all assembled was the easy part. Getting the chemistry for the actors to work in a short amount of time was the real challenge. 

Many people can use a camera and edit but getting a performance and knowing how to tell the story with camera angles, focus and screen direction are what make a great video. 

You will notice that the shots of Aldus differ from the rest of the teenagers. He is the one who is unique and we wanted to show that.

Talking head videos as they are often referred, can be hard to make interesting. Often the person talking rambles and tells you what they want you to hear. 

We spent about an hour working on her message to be concise and to let the viewer know we care about them. We also found a nice place in the office (art directed) to make this Dr. seem friendly and relatable to teens and her core demographic. 

I don’t remember exactly how may takes we did this to get the flow right but it was more than three. Don’t be in a hurry.  This series of videos we shot in an afternoon several years ago are still being used and bringing in business.  

While Green Screen offers a lot of flexibility you also have to be prepared. In this shot we had to know what the background was going to be so we could light the model with the same quality and direction to match her surroundings.  This whole video was storyboarded for each scene and approve by the client and agency before we began filming.

This is the raw behind the scenes of a Green Screen shoot. One of the hardest things about Green Screen is making sure there are no unwanted reflections or that “green pollution” spills onto the subject. You see this often in fine details and hair. Always double check what hits the lens. Proper lighting a screen also yields a faster workflow and better results.

We had some fun with this one. The subject is not very interesting to a lot of people so we created a clever way using stock images, text and simple animation to get a video that is engaging to watch. We shot this in our basement studio with 7′ ceilings and a Green Screen backdrop. Just proof that a fancy studio isn’t always needed.