green screen

From Behind The Camera

Have you ever wondered what it takes to create a fantastic-looking and effective internet video like the ones on our homepage? We write, film and produce the entire thing ourselves – and you can too! A lot of businesses, ourselves included, are turning to new media such as internet videos to build brand equity and drive sales. We’re almost finished producing our latest video and this article looks at the process we’ve gone through to bring it to fruition.

The starting point is obviously a script. This took us a few weeks of writing and editing. Once we were happy with it, the next logical step was to storyboard it out then have a dry run to get an idea of flow and duration. It’s at this stage any dialogue flaws were ironed out and prop ideas came to light. It may sound pretty straight forward, but to get an accurate idea of how filming would run the following day we needed to set up the ‘set’ as if we were filming ‘for real’.

Location
We located our set in the conference centre of our office as we could control the amount of natural light that flowed in. The set itself comprised a large green screen drop sheet, which was pegged to two poles.

kym

It was important that the screen was taught enough to have no wrinkles which would create shadows (and chaos for editing in post production) yet loose enough to have a gentle curve to the floor. This required a healthy serving of Gaffer tape.

Lights
There’s so much more to lighting a set than just flicking a switch. You need the right kind of lights and the know-how to arrange them as to give the best effect. Trust us, investing in some good quality lights & diffusers makes all the difference. The lights serve two purposes: to illuminate the subject and to eliminate shadows. This was the most time consuming part of the set up.

kym

Camera                                
Once the green screen and lights were set up, and our dry run complete, we were now ready for filming. The following day, our camera man & edit master arrived and set up the camera and autocue. (For those of you with iPads, check out this neat gadget which makes flawless speeches possible.) Kym arrived – sans Hollywood entourage – we got him in position and were ready to roll.

Action… sort of.
Now, I won’t go into detail about the filming process because our crew worked through from 7am until 2:30pm to film the entire thing! That’s approximately 7 hours to film what will in the end be a 2 minute video. A few things we learned during filming were:
• An autocue makes a world of difference, especially with long monologues
• Lights get extremely hot (Cheers Kym for being a sport about being roasted alive)
• A good storyboard streamlines the filming process by a good 2 hours
• Keeping a clipboard with notes as to which takes were best saves time searching in post production.

That’s a wrap folks! The video is about halfway through post production now and it’s looking fantastic. We can’t wait to show it to you, so keep an eye on our website over the coming weeks.

WARNING: Some Scenes May Shock!

It’s not often I get dressed up in women’s clothing and parade in front of a camera but I did just this a couple of weeks ago.

I donned a wig and endured an hour of make up application. My General Manager Kirrily lent me a dress and one of the other female staff offered me the bra they were wearing that day to ensure I looked as realistic a woman as a 49 year old male can. It was all in aid of a new Messages On Hold infomercial on Youtube.

kym

I must warn you, I appear completely nude in a later scene. MOH’s Admin Manager Tonya Allan agreed to do the camerawork for that scene on what was a “closed set”. It was shot against a green-screen background so the MOH graphic designers could go to work on the image in post-production.

Please, have a look at the video on youtube:www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjHVjdEDHw0. I’d love to hear your feedback.

P.S. Tonya was my first employee back in 1989. I married her in 1995 to secure her long-term tenure.