Recently I’ve been involved in a massive project, having to go around the country to visit some of the fastest growing companies, and gathering videos in the form of interviews and b-roll to represent them through this project.
Watch the vlog about it:
Now as you know, traveling is at the top of my favorite things to do list, and I enjoyed every part of this adventure, wherever we went, especially considering that at the end of that trip we had to do a full-on production for whatever the client was. All in all it was the ideal experience.
Among other towns, we also visited Mostar – which is a big town on the south, and it’s always warm there. I was just thinking “Man, if I already had a van, I could come here a few days in advance, find a place to park by the river, enjoy my life, and when the crew showed up I would just pop in, we do the filming, and then pop out and I’m back to my van – but that is story is for another day.
I’m going to be showing you examples from three different videos, which are all part of the same campaign, so they pretty much have the same concept, which is a lead speaker as the A-roll, then a second camera as the B-roll, but then we had a “B-roll B-roll” of shots from the companies and what they do. The key part here is obviously the interview shot, because that requires the most effort – each of these scenes was lit with three LED panels: they are pretty small and compact, you can change the temperature and brightness, they are very portable and also very on the budget side, which is what we talk about, obviously. They are perfect for these kinds of small or medium shot scenarios, where you don’t have to worry about distance.
Each of these interviews was also shot on two cameras – so we had a primary camera setup in the center, always facing the speaker, and a secondary camera, which I or my colleague would be holding either hand-held on a tripod or on a gimbal – to get some shots of details, maybe hands moving, closeups on the face. Usually we had a 50mm on the main camera, and an 85mm on the secondary camera.
So looking at the footage from the first video, we only used two lights for it – we had a keylight on one side and a hair light in the back, because we had a bunch of ambient light – we had big windows on the side, thanks to their amazing beautiful office, just perfectly suited for work. And there was this beautiful brick wall, as well as some other details, which we decided to leave in the shot to complement the entire story of the company and what they were talking about in the video.
As usual, the key light is about 45 degrees diagnal to the speaker, as well as 45 degrees from the top, making a nice kind of Rambrant style lighting, with a little light leak triangle on the cheek. It’s not precise mathematics, because the person will always move, turn their head – so it really depends. Then we put the back light as close and high above them as possible, to give the little light on the head and shoulders.
Now in the second company we were shooting in a little room, and they had a beautiful logo of their company in the back, so I pulled out the third light and I set it to light up the wall in the back, to make the logo pop. It’s not that obvious in the video, but if it wasn’t for the third light, the background would be really dark. And since they are also a software company, it was very similar in nature to the first one, aside from slightly different lighting. I put the subject in the opposite corner, just so that the videos aren’t repetitive. So in the first video the speaker was in the left third, while in the second they were in the right third.
Now the last video is slightly different – there wasn’t so much happening in the back to use a third light to light up the back, so what I did in stead is use a key light and a fill light from the opposite direction, as well as the backlight. The fill light helps the keylight not be so bright, and brings out the shadows in the opposite side of the face just a little bit. Now it would be great if we had softboxes for these, but softboxes are huge – a big hassle to set up and use, and also they would significantly diminish the power of the LED panels, which are not so strong to begin with.
While we were in Mostar, I also took some drone shots of their building and various elements around it, to add a little “cherry on top” of the video. Because in the cities we didn’t really have a chance to do that.
Speaking of which, just the other day I read that drone law policy is going to be much more strict in the upcoming year, so I’m going to have to revisit the whole drone piloting thing and how it will affect us filmmakers in the future.
Another thing that’s worth mentionting – I did grab this little photo of the lake while on my way to Mostar that day. It didn’t seem like anything special at the start, but it got pretty good engagement on my social media, so I just wanted to share that because I’m proud of little moments like that.
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