September 2017 - S-Films

Taking the Video Studio On Location

By | Corporate Video Production, Tips/Techniques, Video Production | No Comments

The Portable Video Studio This summer, we were fortunate enough to go shoot a commercial for Mattress Firm in San Diego.  We produced this spot through our partners Encore Live and Top Pup Media.  Stage Works in Fort Worth provided the sets.  We had a crew of about a dozen and used a very talented Mattress Firm employee as our actor.  Often, especially in commercial production, you have call to bring studio-like production value out onto location. The Scope We needed to do a live comparison video, showing a new Mattress Firm offering opposite a leading industry mattress.  The turn around was the extremely difficult factor in this spot.  From the two days we shot this, the first draft needed to be completed by the evening of the second day of shooting and the final had to be sent to the media buyers two days later.  Incredible fast turnaround.  But we love challenges like that! To pull this off, we needed to shoot studio quality out on location.  We rented a five ton grip truck,…

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File Management for Large Video Production Crews

By | Corporate Video Production, For the Crew, Tips/Techniques, Video Production | No Comments

Large Video Production Crew File Management We started this SFilms165 series on File Management for video production crews to do our part to stamp out horror stories of lost/missing footage from the video and film sets.  Yes, it’s happened to us.  In several different ways with different results.  Make sure you watch/read the Intro to File Management before watching this one.  Also, you can read Small Crew File Management here.   The Large Video Production Crews First let’s define large crew: Greater than 4 crew people.  This is a set that has many moving pieces and many crew people doing very specific tasked jobs.  In corporate video, it’s a little more rare to see large crews, but in commercial production, feature film making, and television, you can very easily have large crews.  Commercials can have 30 or more depending on the scope.  Feature films can easily have over a hundred, again depending on the scope.  Even a low budget feature film might have 30 or more crew people. With a crew of 5 or more,…

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Top 5 Things to Look For in Video Studios

By | Corporate Video Production, Tips/Techniques, Video Production | No Comments

Top 5 Attributes for Video Studios When you’re looking for a production company with a studio to handle your video production needs, to be able to compare apples to apples, it’s important to know a few things.  And while many companies use studios for many different things, this list is for businesses and corporations looking for video and film help in these areas: Commercials Training Social Media Marketing videos Informational This isn’t really about still photography, though the points do somewhat crossover.  It’s also not really about feature filmmaking where you’re going to build sets and have them for weeks or months at a time.  We have our own studios to use at SFilms, but we’ve also rented studios in many cities across the country.  (For a peek at the studios we have available, click here.)  What’s important to know when renting a studio for a corporate video shoot?  So let’s get to it. Quality of the Studios – Facilities When looking at video studios, take a look at the quality of the stages.  Did…

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Video Studios Dallas Fort Worth

By | Corporate Video Production, Tips/Techniques, Video Production | No Comments

Video Studios While a lot of our shooting for corporate video takes place on locations, often clients need video studios.  Serendipitous Films is fortunate to operate from studios offering 43,000 square feet of sound stages.  The studios are located in between Dallas and Fort Worth, 15 minutes from DFW airport.  Boasting three main stages, each one has extensive sound proofing, lighting grids, cycs and sets. The facility offers greenrooms, dressing rooms, makeup room, and offices for clients and producers. Studio A This large studio comes with several standing sets– news oriented programming and a car show backdrop.  These can be removed or covered with other sets.  Politicians and celebrities have used the studios for remotes to MSNBC, CNN and other news outlets.  Studio A is large enough to handle studio audiences and multicam recordings.  A control room is provided for the bigger jobs. While we used the A Stage for feature film shooting (featured in the movie “Rising Stars” with Barry Corbin and Fisher Stevens), it is a great place to shoot corporate interviews, press…

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File Management for Small Video Production Crew

By | Corporate Video Production, For the Crew, Tips/Techniques, Uncategorized, Video Production | No Comments

File Management Part 2 This continues our campaign to squash file mis-management once and for all.  In this part 2, we cover file management for the small video production crew.  As long as there’s been digital acquisition on the film and video sets, there’s been the need to ensure that digital content makes it back safe and sound to the edit room.  One time of losing a camera card is one time too many.  For Part 1, click here. Small Video Production Crew Okay, so first let’s define what we mean by a “small crew” for video production.  Sometimes, one person goes out with a camera and shoots all he or she can for the client.  Then maybe a second person is there to help carry the gear.  For interviews, a third person might be added to cover sound.  Or back to one person who does it all.  A small crew is one to three people.  So maybe you’re a one man band, or you’re the grip slash PA, but here’s our system for file…

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File Management for Production Companies

By | Corporate Video Production, For the Crew, Info, Tips/Techniques, Video Production | No Comments

On Set File Management Production Companies Problems One of the biggest “gotchas” that production companies can encounter is lost or corrupted footage.  It sounds simple: “Copy camera cards over to hard drive.”  But it’s the most critical job on the set.  You mess this up, and you can lose that great performance, that wonderful camera work, those awesome sets.  So to avoid this pitfall, let’s look at the tools you need. File Management Tools First of all you need a computer and hard drives.  Preferably two (or more).  Industry best practice is to take the camera card, copy it over to two different hard drives.  And make sure you copy to each hard drive from the card—don’t copy to a hard drive, eject the card, and copy from the first hard drive over to your back up hard drive.  If you have anything corrupt, you just copied that over.  Always copy from the camera card to your primary hard drive and your backup hard drive. Software and Apps to Use Now when you copy, you…

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History of the Camera Part 2

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History of the Camera Part 2 For part 1, click here.  The importance of this information is in giving you, the new camera production person, background into why things are the way that they are.  We discussed progressive film rate and interlace film rate in part 1. The 1990’s The call was out for quality.  For decades, the television signals and standards stayed exactly the same.  But technology was starting to improve and though the television industry resisted change, eventually it to caved.  Why did they resist?  They have millions of dollars invested in equipment.  You change to HD and all that expensive gear would become garage sale material. But eventually, the call for quality started to overcome the call for everything to stay the same.  Everyone agreed it would be called “High Definition” or HD, compared to Standard Definition or SD.  Again, just like the RCA/Philco battles of the 1930’s, Sony and Panasonic squared off, each pushing their own standard.  Sony wanted to double the NTSC quality– instead of 525 lines, they picked 1080….

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History of the Camera, Part 1

By | Corporate Video Production, For the Crew, Tips/Techniques, Video Production | No Comments

Intro to the Camera For incoming interns and new students of corporate film and video, we cover the basics of the camera and answer questions such as “what is progressive scanning?” and “what’s the difference between component and composite video?” and more. Brief History of the Camera Cameras were created in the 19th Century by utilizing glass to focus light onto a chemically treated surface.  As technology improved, glass got better and the chemically treated surfaces were improved.  By the early 20th Century, the cameras had become somewhat standardized.    Then motion picture cameras came along.  Same principle- but instead of taking one frame or picture, now a motor was created to speed the chemically treated surface (film) through the housing to enable taking many pictures each second.  This started by hand cranking the film through (resulting in variable speed– notice in those old movies all the action is sped up).  But motors eventually were added which led to a standard of 24 frames per second.  Each image was exposed in it’s entirety, creating a “progressive”…

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Harvey Cleanup Continues in Houston

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Along with clients, we also have friends in Houston who were hit hard by Harvey.  The SFilms crew put away the video cameras and put on boots and gloves and got work for a couple days.  One friend’s mother’s house was a total loss.  The 89 year old woman was safe (rescued by boat), but her belongings were pretty much gone.  Among the antique furniture, we found her photo albums from the forties, fifties and sixties– they had been under the flood water.  We’ve done our best to save them. To read about our arrival, click here.  The work is incredibly difficult.  There’s the physical part– and it’s brutal.  The Houston humidity mixed with the August heat and it zaps you quickly.  One of our team members had some heat exhaustion.  But it’s not the physical that drains you the most, it’s the emotional.  Right now in Houston and Beaumont, there are hundreds of thousands of stories just like this 89-year old woman.  Across the street from her, an older couple was struggling.  The woman…

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Houston Harvey Aftermath

By | Corporate Video Production, Tips/Techniques, Uncategorized, Video Production | No Comments

Houston Harvey Hurricane With the exception of one fast food worker in Fort Worth, most people have heard about what the hurricane Harvey has done to Houston.  We’re reporting today from Houston where we’ve spent the last few days doing some filming and lending some helping hands. Driving Down The drive from Fort Worth Dallas was pretty much a non-event.  On Thursday morning when we left, there were some gas stations in the DFW area that were closed.  So we drove with the philosophy of refilling when we got down to 3/4’s of a tank.  But we never had any issues.  As we neared Houston, we still couldn’t see any of the devastation we were seeing on the news.  And fuel was fine and actually cheaper than DFW prices. As we headed to our clients headquarters near the NRG Stadium, the only clue was a shut down of the Sam Houston Tollway as it went into Sugarland– we could just make out the water over the highway.  We arrived at our clients building and got…

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