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Monthly Archives

January 2014

Time lapse photography and video techniques using DSLR’s

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As we’ve been brought on to shoot a lot of different construction and industrial projects that are large in scope, we’ve had the opportunity to really dive into shooting time lapse.

Timelapse photography is the use of cameras to take a series of “stills” that when played back at 24 frames or 30 frames a second, creates a “fast-forward” video effect.  Because they are only stills, not officially video, just about any camera can be used for timelapse.  And with the quality increase in cameras, the stills are usually a much higher quality than if it was shot at video.  It’s really a matter of math:  A high def video picture size might be 1920 by 1080 pixels or lines.  A still might be 5000 by 3000.  So you can shoot wide and zoom in potentially without any quality loss.

Our Time lapse Process

We shoot our time lapse scenes with DSLR’s like the Canon 5D mark 3 and the Canon 7D, T3i, etc.  We’ll use GoPro’s for time lapse and we’ve also used iPads and iPhones at times.  We pull the images into Premiere and frame it like we want, color and correct and then export.

Right now, we have several “long term” projects.  We have one camera that’s been shooting since early June (over 7 months).  Fortunately, this camera is inside an office building looking out the conference room window and is being controlled by a computer so that the pictures can be immediately uploaded to the cloud so we can grab them back at the studio.

Another camera is outside on a lamp pole, away from electricity and is being solar powered.  This one will be going for approximately 3 or 4 months.

Creating different time lapse effects

When shooting time lapse, you have to decide the interval between pictures.  A long interval will be a much faster timelapse effect. The camera doing 7 months is at one picture every 20 minutes.  Other cameras might be at one picture every 6 minutes.  When we’re on set doing a timelapse for 30 minutes, we might have the interval at one picture every 2 seconds or so.  The scene doesn’t move as quick.  But it’s great for seeing those clouds fly by the buildings.

Another relatively new trick is to move the camera while taking timelapse.  This relies on a motorized mount that slowly moves.  Everything has to be smooth.  While taking a series of pictures, if the camera is bumped or jostled, it can have a bad effect on the final sequence.

Other techniques involve speeding up or slowing down the interval to create cool effects or “bramping” which can help your exposure during sunrise and sunset.

Time Lapse comes in a variety of flavors.  It can be a lot of fun, but does require experience and knowledge to do it correctly.

The Power of a Viral Video Campaign

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Today, businesses and corporations are seeing the power that comes from a viral video campaign.  With sometimes minimal financial effort, companies can reach millions without spending millions.  There’s only one problem– a successful viral campaign can’t really be guaranteed.  You can spend the money and inflate the numbers somewhat, but at the end of the day, successful viral videos can be categorized into three styles and have one thing in common– compelling content.

Let’s define “compelling” in today’s computer age.  In a viral video campaign, the word means that a user readily and eagerly clicks the “play” button and more importantly, then clicks the “share” button.  This is what “compelling” means.  The audience is compelled to watch and share.  So for companies that feel it imperative to take a company powerpoint and turn it into a viral campaign often miss the mark.  Some of the best corporate viral videos only mention the company in the last five seconds.  JC Penney’s Beware The Doghouse, Pantene’s Violin story are classic examples of videos that only hit the company at the end.  Others might simply have a mention at the beginning.

So what are the three styles that lead to compelling content?  Comedy, Emotional, or Sensational.

Funny Videos get forwarded.  Dollar Shave Club has an executive who comes across incredibly well on camera as the spokesperson for his own company– and the script they wrote is awesome.

The Violin video mentioned above is an example of Emotional.  These videos tug at your heartstrings and your eyes mist up.  Then you click the Facebook share button so all your friends can be likewise touched.  By the way, puppies usually win the day.

A team blows up a whale on the beach– and blubber lands like fiery hail from heaven.  This Sensational approach garners views like a car wreck– people can’t turn away.  This is the center of the approach of reality shows like Jackass and others.  The problem is that people are having to go bigger and higher and scarier.  I wonder where that ceiling will end?

So for a successful viral video campaign– you will need a compelling video that either is funny, emotional or sensational.  The wonderful thing is that budgets can vary greatly.  Some of the most successful videos where produced for nothing.  And some have very healthy budgets.  And others will spend a lot of production dollars to appear that they had no budget.

A more personal approach to corporate video production

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Jeff Deyo ADR
A lot of corporate video companies have a “corporate” approach that may come across as too scripted or even fake at times. S-Films focuses on ensuring your company’s image looks professional while also allowing the personality of the individuals in the video to shine. Whether you need training videos, infomercials, or other type of video in a professional environment we have the expertise and team to make it happen.

While we help you craft a good script we also do encourage the freedom of fresh ideas and spontaneous thoughts. Corporate video production doesn’t need to be cold or boring or scripted all the time. We can help your company produce a creative and fun video that highlights each person’s individuality and aspects of their personality that people can remember and connect with. We can also help you find local talent if the people in your staff dont feel confident to be in front of the camera. We encourage using real staff and real customer experiences to make the stories credible and share worthy.

People follow other people so giving the audience a face and a voice to remember combined with the story will be much more powerful and have a bigger impact on them. It takes talent and creativity to create a compelling story that makes your message memorable. When the audience can identify with the story line and resonate with your message they are much more likely to take action and make that proposed phone call or visit that website. Contact us here to learn more about our corporate video production services.