Posts Tagged ‘video production’

As 2011 enters the mid point of the year, we at ADR Productions are pleased to welcome our newest additions to the ADR family, Southland Industries and Advanced Bioscience Laboratories!

Southland Industries made a decision to outsource their training videos for the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) move from it’s old location to the new facilities at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland site in 2011.  Southland Industries stated: “We want our training videos to look professional for our client.  After researching local production companies, we found ADR Productions to be our best choice for product quality and overall value.”

Advance Bioscience Laboratories needed a production company to come in and film their open house which included many prominent corporate leaders speaking at the event.

We look forward to our continued growth in 2011 with such companies as Southland Industries and Advanced Bioscience Laboratories.

Visit ADR Productions on the web at www.adr-productions.com

So you have an event coming up.  What is the best way to promote it?  Within the new world of social media, web video is one of the best ways to promote your event.  Web video is an excellent solution especially for yearly events.  I guarantee you that your investment of hiring a video production company to video your event is well worth your money.

There are several ways that a video production can be used.  First,  a video created about the event is uploaded to YouTube.  The link to the video is then shared with all of the participants through Facebook.  This is a great experience for them because they are able to see highlights of this wonderful event and they can share it with friends, family and co-workers.

The second way this video production can be used is to attract new sponsors and participants for next year’s event if it is an annual one.  We did this for the owner of Classic Homes of Maryland on the Extreme Makeover project.   He believes that his video is so moving that it will help him to attract new sponsors and participants for future projects.   It is great that he can let the DVD do the talking for him when showing it to potential clients.  There is no better way to give people an idea of an event or your business than through a video.

The third way that this video production can be be used is through promoting the event for next year.  We would use the same footage and use it to create a press release for the local TV stations.  This is a wonderful way for organizations to get some awesome press of their upcoming event for very little additional investment of both time and money.

The final way that this video production can be used is through the social media outlets.  The video footage can be used on Facebook, Twitter & YouTube to generate a lot of buzz for upcoming events.

The most important thing to understand is that this one time investment of hiring a video production company to cover your event or business can lead to so many opportunities to promote yourself in the future.  Without the video footage, none of it would be possible.  With that said, there is no better way to market your company or event than through the use of video.

Types of Videos Used for Your Business & Profitability

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Web Site Corporate Video
– This is type of video that once consumers get to your web site can understand your business, products or services offered in a short period of time, and whether you fit their consumer choice. Usually corporate videos are 2-3 minutes in length depending on content, products or business services. A web site corporate video will leave a lasting visual impression with its viewer, especially if the viewer is researching many businesses online. example video

Image Commercial Spot 30 /60 Second
– This form a video production is a tease or explains a brief summary about business services or one product offered. The spot is usually 30 seconds in duration but 60 seconds is necessary for more detailed services. (Festival or Event, Car Dealership, Retail shop, Travel attraction) example video

Concept Commercial Spot 30 /60 Second – The difference between a concept spot and an image spot is that a concept commercial involves actors, 2D-3D animation, provides more thought of themes, colors, slogans, and tag lines to bring the viewer to remember the commercial through emotion rather than just the facts. This commercial costs more because it takes more time to develop the concept and shoot specific shots to capture the emotion. This type of commercial spot is usually part of a lengthy marketing campaign. (Geico lizard, Coca-Cola, Budweiser Frogs) example video

Testimonial Video – This type of video is an interview style production which asks a consumer about a service or product. The testimonial video is used to relate to a new consumer evaluating and supporting a product or service. Testimonial videos can be found within corporate video productions, or on web site pages to support the product or service being sold. Testimonials can range from a couple of seconds to minutes in duration depending on how precise the persons’ answers are. example video

Documentary Style Video Segment – This video production is longer in duration and is used to present a mood or capture the essence of business through a common theme or slogan throughout. This type of video uses all the above styles combined into one segment such as interviews, testimonials, concepts, graphics, animation and more. In short it’s like creating a “mini-movie” about the subject of the business or what the business stands for.

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The incredibly compact microphones that get attached to a person’s clothing in order to pick up their speaking voice are called “lavalier” microphones. They’re also referred to as “lapel” microphones. These microphones can serve a number of purposes, but to capture someone’s voice inconspicuously is by far their most common use. Don’t let their small size fool you. The most important voices in broadcasting, politics, and the entertainment world all have to wear lavaliers. They have to sound good.

Lavalier microphones are used both wirelessly and with microphone cables. This article’s focus is on the nature of the microphones themselves, regardless of how they connect to their source. It should be noted that with wireless lavalier microphones, the type of connectors that attach the microphone to the transmitter of the wireless system vary greatly. If you’re curious about what kind of lavalier microphones you can use with your specific wireless system, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-947-9923.

The need for a lavalier arises when hands-free operation is required, and when the sound must be clearly picked up without the obtrusive visual presence of a larger microphone. These circumstances can also apply when a shotgun microphone is used, but lavalier microphones offer certain advantages shotguns cannot. Lavaliers are usually only a matter of inches away from a subject’s mouth, so the audio quality is often more present and consistent. A shotgun microphone usually requires an extra person to operate a boompole, but lavaliers function without manual assistance. Lavalier and shotgun microphones don’t necessarily replace one another; in fact, they’re commonly used in conjunction with one another during a production.

Lavalier Mic
Using a lavalier clip with two holders allows you to create a loop in the cable to cut down on vibration noise.

There are a few different pick-up patterns available in various lavalier microphones. The most popular pattern is omnidirectional. A common misconception about omnidirectional microphones is that they pick up the sound of an entire space, no matter how far away the microphone is from the person’s mouth. This is not so. Omnidirectional does not mean omnipotent-directional. Omnidirectional lavalier microphones are popular because they tend to sound the best. Also, when the person who is wearing the mic turns their head while they’re speaking, there is no dip in volume because there is no area in the pick-up pattern the microphone is trying to cancel out. Another reason for their popularity is that they are physically smaller than the cardioid lavaliers.

Cardioid lavaliers are really only used in high-noise environments, or when feedback from monitors in a live sound situation becomes an issue. In both of these cases it’s often a better idea to use a headset microphone as opposed to a cardioid lavalier.

Lavalier microphones are used universally in TV and film production, as well in live stage productions and houses of worship. In theater it’s common practice to conceal a lavalier microphone in the hair or the wig of the performer. In film production lavalier microphones are often hidden beneath clothing. This is done in situations where the microphone needs to go completely unseen.

When a lavalier is obscured behind hair or clothing, some of the high frequencies can get cut because the microphone is physically muffled. Manufacturers compensate for this by designing and building lavaliers with a boosted high frequency response. Because of its flat physical shape and its excellent sound quality, the Tram TR-50 is a popular choice for a microphone to conceal under clothing.

Voice Technology VT506
This Voice Technologies VT506 features a 6dB high frequency bump. It also includes various mic clips and a microphone cage.
Countryman B3
Due to its extremely small size and resistance to moisture, the Countryman B3 is widely used for hiding in a performer’s hair or wig.  Countryman also makes a lavalier with a high frequency boost that’s good for concealing, the EMW Peaked Frequency Response.
EMW Peaked Frequency Response.

Lavaliers can be used for a variety of purposes, in a number of different ways. From surveillance operations to sound effects creation, their miniature size finds its way where other microphones cannot. Musicians will sometimes use lavalier microphones on their instruments. The multi-tasking Audio Technica AT831B comes with one clip to attach the microphone to your clothing, and a second clip to attach the microphone to a musical instrument.

Below we have listed some popular accessories that work universally with all lavalier microphones:

Microcats – These are little fuzz balls that fit snuggly over lavalier microphones in order to cut down on wind noise. They enable you to use a lavalier in a high wind environment.

Undercovers – A disposable system from Rycote that enables you to mount the microphone under clothing (you don’t need a clip), and it prevents rustling and contact noise as well. This is an excellent solution for use with lavaliers that do not have a microphone “cage” accessory available.

Stickies – An adhesive pad from Rycote that allows you to easily mount a lavalier to clothing or skin.

Overcovers – A disposable system from Rycote that enables you to easily mount a lavalier microphone to clothing or skin, and protect the microphone from wind noise when used in high wind environments. Microcats.

RKR Micro – An inexpensive universal microphone clip solution.

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The complete history of the video camera is contained within only the last century or so, but as with many forms of modern technology, no one person is solely credited as having invented the video camera.  John Baird, a Scottish engineer, was one of the earliest pioneers in capturing moving images for television production.  However, his experiments were built upon others that had come before him and much of the technology employed in the evolution of the video camera was built upon his findings. So while it’s safe to say that Baird was a pioneer in video camera technology, it is unfair to say that Baird invented the video camera.

The video camera as we know it today is able to record images and sound. The first demonstration of this capability took place on 14 April 1956.  Ray Dolby, Charles Ginsberg, and Charles Anderson invented the video camera that was the first machine to record both image and sound. This invention sold for approximately $75,000 US Dollars (USD) apiece.  Affordable only to major television broadcast studios such as CBS, who purchased three the same year, these machines remained professional devices for several years.

Video cameras designed for personal use, now called camcorders, became available to the general public in the 1980s.  These machines were bulky, heavy, and expensive, but proved to be efficient.  Building upon technology that had been developed for years, major electronics companies such as Sony and JVC began developing new technology.  These companies invented the video camera we now call camcorders.  These devices were capable of capturing image, sound, and recording to a storage device all in one machine.

n the late 1980s and early 1990s, those same companies who had invented the video camera for personal use began to miniaturize and digitize their machines.  The camcorder became smaller and more compact and by the late 1990s, digital camcorders were the most popular form of video camera. Today, video camera technology is inserted into numerous portable devices including cell phones, PDAs, and digital cameras, capable of taking both still images and moving images as well as recording sound.

Reprinted from One Market Media (Jimm Fox).  Visit them at http://onemarketmedia.com/

Visit ADR Productions on the web at www.adr-productions.com

Some people come into video production thinking it won’t cost very much and think it takes just a few hours to do. Sometimes it can be that way but most of the time it isn’t. Some of the factors that can determine the cost for digital video productions are:

* Experience
* Equipment
* Time
* Production Value

EXPERIENCE
Experience counts for a lot when choosing a producer/videographer/editor. They understand how to spend the
time wisely and efficiently. The less experience someone has the more likely mistakes will show up when you
start a production. Is there good audio, was there enough light on the subject, how slick does the
production look? Most of the high quality work that is done in videography/editing is never noticed even though you do see it. It just looks good. Lower quality work is more noticeable as unattractive or lacking something.
If you look around you can find some individuals out there who have plenty of good experience and creativity and not charge an arm and a leg for it. Whoever you look at, watch their clip reels, observe their work history and talk with them to get an idea of what they have to offer.

EQUIPMENT
Equipment is the next consideration. The type used can add a lot of quality and/or cost to a production. Do
you want the video production done in HD or SD? HD is going to cost more but that is where all production is
going. Though SD is still very good for web videos or internal company use. There are many tiers of HD and
SD equipment and you should be aware that the more sophisticated the stuff is, the more it will cost to use. Most companies have invested $15,000 for a camera, lights, and audio gear. Other have invested $30,000 to $100,000 or more. Get the camera/crew that fits your needs.

And it’s not just the camera. There are lights, microphones, teleprompter and other accessories that help with the creation but add to the cost, especially if more people are involved. So, how many people will be on site? Each person adds a significant amount to that total. Is the crew just 1 person or is it 2 or more? Location is something else that will dictate what is needed. Is it indoors or outdoors? Way out of town or in the suburbs?

The other half to this production is the video editor. They too have a lot of equipment that needs to be updated on a constant basis. New and better techniques are evolving which requires upgrades and further investments, again in the $5,000 to $20,000+ range. Some monitors for color correcting cost around $10,000 each.

One of the major stumbling blocks to having a pleasant production experience is the type of video format you choose to use. Be especially aware of the formats and codecs. Talk with your video production team and choose a format/codec that is compatible to both the videographer and editor. It is real important to talk with both before starting a production. Not just the videographer. Not just the editor. Both! There are a lot of new and evolving developments within the industry which changes the playing field on a regular basis. If you have both of these folks on the same page you can save yourself some money and lots of headaches.

TIME
This is a very important point: make most of your decisions during pre-production, making changes mid-production can be very costly. The decision making process is the most expensive part of any video production and eats up most of the time. Which is why the more time you spend on pre-production the less time is spent making last minute decisions during the actual production, therefore saving you money. Some items to focus on are: a script, location, if and who will be the on-camera person and preparing them for their appearance, any props you need, make sure they are ready by the day of the shoot. The more of these projects you do the better you will get. Experience of the crew will also show in the time spent during production. These are some time saving features during a shoot but what about in post? Sometimes changing a font is easy and doesn’t cost much, other times it almost means a complete rework of a video edit. It really depends on where in the process the change is made and how many other steps are affected by that change. This is with all aspects of post. Find out how many other things get changed when you ask for “your” one change. Where it lands in the process makes a huge difference.

Expect it to take a minimum of at least a half day for a simple video production shoot. The time needed will depend on how long the total piece is that you are creating and how much production value you want to invest in the video. The crew will need to set up their equipment and make sure everything is ready for the on-camera
person. Lights, audio and anything else required for the video will be included at this time. This process
can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour (or more) to complete. Again, how complicated and involved is the shoot? The more involved the longer it takes to set up. Higher quality requires more time to set up. Be prepared for this necessary prep time. It makes a big difference in how the final product looks. Then there is the on-camera person. Are they comfortable in front of a camera, are they experienced or is this their first time? Even the best of talent will need more than a couple of takes to get the “good one”. A newbie will require more takes but isn’t it better to spend an additional 15 minutes to get a good take then to try and edit around the mistake in post and still not be happy with it? Once the shoot is finished, all of the equipment needs to be packed up and removed. This tends to be faster than the set-up time. Keep in mind every time you need to change locations the whole tear-down/set-up process has to be done all over again.

Editing generally takes longer to complete than the actual shoot. First the video needs to be brought into
the computer which can take time. Is it tape based or file based video captured in the field? If an hour of video is shot on tape, it will take one hour of time to get it into the computer before editing can even begin. If it is file based it will take a shorter amount of time. Deciding which “takes” are the good ones requires listening to all of them. This in and of itself takes time. Most of the time a producer is responsible for this step. In other productions another person like a writer is the responsible person. It all depends on what type of production and where the duties lie for each individual. Do graphics need to be created? This takes time. Is everything all gathered together and ready to go? If not, this can cause delays in the middle of an edit. Once an edit is finished it still may need more work. Like audio sweetening, color correcting, etc. Then it will need to be rendered, exported and turned into whatever format is needed as a deliverable. This takes time. Sometimes hours. Also, how many proofs are needed before a final is agreed upon by the “decider”. Each redo takes time. Not all corrections take only a minute or two, some take an hours.

One time saver is to have all of these elements ready to go at the beginning of the edit. A script will really
help speed up the editing process. It makes it easier for the editor to follow along with the different takes and ensures that all elements are included in the edit. Having the script on hand will also help determine what graphics are needed. What music if any is wanted? Is there any animation? What are the names and titles of people shown in this video? Do you need them identified?

Other items to consider are; what final format is the product supposed to be? This can be a different format from the one used on the video shoot. What dimension size is needed? How will it be delivered? These bits of information are important to know from the beginning of the production to help save time in the long haul. Each process requires a certain amount of time. Be aware of how long it takes to do what you want in “production” and smart decisions will follow.

PRODUCTION VALUE
This is an intangible type of thing. This is the creativity of the people involved and how they go about
incorporating it into the video. Sometimes these are very well thought out methods and procedures, sometimes
quirky, on-the-spot changes and sometimes it’s trying to get things perfect and paying attention to detail.
There are many little things added together and they all add time to the production. Changing the audio level,
getting rid of a hiss, doing a take one more time to get the shot just right, changing the light just a
little, adding a filter, re-working the script, adding more graphic elements, adding music, adding animation, editing out something someone said because it is too late to have it re-shot, experimenting with several methods to reach a “best” solution, correcting color; all of this takes time. But this kind of time is well spent. This is your look and feel – your image.

COST
You can take all of the above mentioned factors into consideration to help you determine how much time it would take to create your video. The more involved it is the more time it will take. The more simple it is the less time it will take. One is not necessarily better than the other. However, how that time is spent is important.

If you think a completed video, shot and edited for you, can be done for $100 think again. Add another zero
to it and it will be closer to what needs to be spent to get a very basic video done. Different types of production will cost different amounts. If it is a simple talking head, either with a green screen are office background, then that doesn’t take too much time to shoot or edit. It still may take two to three hours of shoot time and depending on how many takes were done, it could take another 2, 3 or 4 hours to edit. You are still looking at a starting price of around $200 for a very simple one camera, no lights, mike on a camera shoot with not much editing done other than getting it ready for the web. A more realistic approach is to figure that a finished video will cost anywhere from $200 to $2000 for every finished minute. (That $200 is rock bottom by the way and is rarely met.) Given that range, a 3 minute video could cost anywhere from $600 to $6000. Some folks would even say that $6000 is too cheap for making a good production. To give you a different perspective; the average cost to produce a 30-second national television ad in 2001 was $358,000. You obviously don’t need to spend that much unless you are wanting to advertise nationally.

These sums probably don’t help much because it is such a wide range but that is part of the business. There is such an extensive variety of production styles and such a wildly different set of expectations that sometimes it’s just a simple jump into hard reality that will give you a number that works for you. If you are interested in creating a video for the web, launching a company product or making a training video then having a better idea on what is involved in making a video can help lead you into making a better budget for a video production. This in turn should give you a better product in the end and will make you much more pleased with the whole experience.

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Search & Win

There are currently (2011) three main frame rate standards in the TV and movie-making business: 24p, 25p, and 30p. However there are many variations on these as well as newer emerging standards.

  • 50i (50 interlaced fields = 25 frames) is the standard video field rate per second for PAL and SECAM television.
  • 60i (actually 59.94, or 60 x 1000/1001 to be more precise; 60 interlaced fields = 29.97 frames) is the standard video field rate per second for NTSC television (e.g. in the US), whether from a broadcast signal, DVD, or home camcorder. This interlaced field rate was developed separately by Farnsworth and Zworykin in 1934,[1] and was part of the NTSC television standards mandated by the FCC in 1941. When NTSC color was introduced in 1953, the older rate of 60 fields per second was reduced by a factor of 1000/1001 to avoid interference between the chroma subcarrier and the broadcast sound carrier.
  • 30p, or 30-frame progressive, is a noninterlaced format and produces video at 30 frames per second. Progressive (noninterlaced) scanning mimics a film camera’s frame-by-frame image capture. The effects of inter-frame judder are less noticeable than 24p yet retains a cinematic-like appearance. Shooting Video in 30p mode gives no interlace artifacts but can introduce judder on image movement and on some camera pans. The widescreen film process Todd-AO used this frame rate in 1954–1956.
  • The 24p frame rate is also a noninterlaced format, and is now widely adopted by those planning on transferring a video signal to film. Film and video makers use 24p even if their productions are not going to be transferred to film, simply because of the on-screen “look” of the (low) frame rate which matches native film. When transferred to NTSC television, the rate is effectively slowed to 23.976 frame/s, and when transferred to PAL or SECAM it is sped up to 25 frame/s. 35 mm movie cameras use a standard exposure rate of 24 frames per second, though many cameras offer rates of 23.976 frame/s for NTSC television and 25 frame/s for PAL/SECAM. The 24 frame/s rate became the de facto standard for sound motion pictures in the mid-1920s.
  • 25p is a video format that runs twenty-five progressive frames per second. This frame rate derives from the PAL television standard of 50i (or 50 interlaced fields per second). Film and Television companies use this rate in 50 Hz regions for direct compatibility with television field and frame rates. Conversion for 60 Hz countries is enabled by slowing down the media to 24p then converted to 60 Hz systems using pulldown. While 25p captures half the temporal resolution or motion that normal 50i PAL registers, it yields a higher vertical spacial resolution per frame. Like 24p, 25p is often used to achieve “cine”-look, albeit with virtually the same motion artifacts. It is also better suited to progressive-scan output (e.g., on LCD displays, computer monitors and projectors) because the interlacing is absent.
  • 50p and 60p is a progressive format used in high-end HDTV systems. While it is not technically part of the ATSC or DVB broadcast standards, it is rapidly gaining ground in the areas of set-top boxes and video recordings.
  • 72p is currently an experimental progressive scan format. Major institutions such as Snell & Wilcox have demonstrated 720p72 pictures as a result of earlier analogue experiments, where 768 line television at 75 Hz looked subjectively better than 1150 line 50 Hz progressive pictures with higher shutter speeds available (and a corresponding lower data rate).[4] Modern cameras such as the Red, can use this frame rate to produce slow motion replays at 24 frame/s. Douglas Trumbull who undertook experiments with different frame rates which led to the Showscan film format, found that 72 frame/s was the maximum frame rate at which emotional impact peaked for viewers.[5] 72 frame/s is the maximum rate available in the WMV video file format.

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Most video cameras have some sort of audio capture built-in. You can usually find a hole or a slot on some nub-like protrusion towards the front of the camera, behind which rests a tiny microphone. This microphone captures not only the noises your talent make in front of the camera, but also the noises the camera handler makes, the noises the wind makes, and the thump-thump noises the camera operator’s hand makes against the chassis. None of this makes for particularly good audio capture for your video or film project.  Let’s think beyond the camera-mounted microphone.

Tascam DR-1 Recording Device

Even otherwise high-quality consumer-level cameras don’t have many features when it comes to audio. Sure, an accessory hot-shoe may support bolting on a higher-quality microphone than what’s already embedded, but that doesn’t solve all your audio problems. An external microphone connection jack is probably only a tiny 3.5mm terminal suitable only for attaching low-power lavaliere microphones. For great audio, you want a guy with a wind-muff-wrapped shotgun microphone bolted to a boom, pointed right at the talent’s mouth.

The first questions to answer once you decide to graduate from on-camera audio to a separate microphone are: What kind of microphone do you use? What do you plug the microphone into?

The answer to the first question is “a shotgun microphone,” which is recognizable by its long tubular structure and is renowned for its highly directional performance. Because it (mostly) captures only the sounds that you point it at, you can capture high-quality recordings of dialogue without inadvertently recording ambient noise. This means that your microphone needs quickly escalate if you want to also capture environmental/ambient sounds in your scene. A good entry-level shotgun microphone costs between $150 and $300. Higher-end microphones quickly escalate in price.

What you plug your microphone into, if it’s not your camera, is also important. Microphones traditionally attach with a 3-pin XLR connector, which provides an electrically balanced signal path that eliminates noise interference over long cables. It’s possible to use an XLR-to-minijack cable to plug your microphone directly into your camera, but it’s not recommended and probably won’t work. Instead, a microphone should plug into a preamplifier, which takes a low signal from a microphone and turns it into a “line level” signal suitable for mixing, recording, or editing. You’ll need a preamp that can provide 48 volts of “phantom power” to the microphone if you’re using a condenser mic (most good shotgun mics are condenser mics).

If you don’t plug a microphone into your camera, you’ll plug it into some kind of recorder, ideally a computer (a laptop if you’re doing a field recording). The bridge between a microphone and the computer is the “audio interface” which takes care of converting the analog microphone input to a digital output the computer can manipulate and store. Audio interfaces usually include one or more built-in preamps for microphones and use USB or Firewire (IEEE 1394) to connect to the computer. Audio interfaces range from inexpensive USB units ($100) with two preamps to expensive multi-channel rack-mount units with as many as 8 preamps ($400 and up). You’ll need a preamp for every microphone you use, so a two-channel interface is a good place to start if you use a shotgun microphone together with an ambience mic.

The computer needs software to capture the incoming digital audio and mix, manipulate, and save it. Recording software ranges from the free (like Audacity) to the cheap (Garageband, which is not only for garage bands) to the expensive (Apple’s Logic or Adobe’s Soundbooth).

Once a microphone is selected and attached to an audio interface, you must decide what recording settings to use. Digital audio is described in terms of sample rate (the number of “samples” taken each second to represent an analog sound wave) and word size (the number of bits used to describe each sample). For reference, standard CD audio has 44,100 samples per second (44.1 khz) and a 16-bit word size. There’s no magic recording setting, but the higher the numbers the better the audio quality. Even the least expensive audio interfaces from M-Audio or Presonus are capable of providing 24-bits of resolution at 48,000 samples per second. The best rule is to capture the audio at a level at or higher than the settings you’ll use in your postproduction workflow. For most DV or better sequences that will be 48 khz. Most NLEs (including Final Cut and Premiere Pro) use 32-bit floating-point for the audio, so capture at 24-bits if you can and 16-bits if you have to. Do not capture to a compressed file type like MP3. Instead record your audio in uncompressed WAV or AIFF format.

The last big question to answer concerning capturing audio separate from your camera’s microphone is how to sync the audio to the video. The easiest way is to start rolling both the camera and the recorder and use a clapper board to create a sync point. This gives you both a visual (the top of the clapper hitting the bottom) and an audible (the sound of the clapper) cue. Make sure the clapper is audible on all the microphones you’re using. Later, in the editing suite, you can use the clapper as a cue point to synchronize the audio to the video. Remember to use the clapper any time you stop rolling either the camera or the recorder. A timecode break in either means a break in sync.

If you capture a scene with a separate microphone, you don’t necessarily have to disable your camera’s onboard mic. In fact, it can be useful to keep that audio as a reference track in your project — maybe you missed the clapper board or it was at a weird angle, in which case the reference audio from the camera can be used to sync with the good audio from the recorder. Be sure in this case that the camera and the recorder are using the same sample rate to record (any camera you use ought to support 48khz rates, since it’s a DV standard).

Recording separate audio can complicate a shoot. You’ll need at least one more set of hands on your crew; ideally at least two more — one to hold the boom and another to man the mixer/audio interface/recorder, set input levels, and overall ensure a good audio capture. And of course, you need someone to operate the clapper board. You’re the director — it may as well be you!

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Shooting and editing video is easy, right? After all, everyone is doing it, plans on doing it, or wants to do it. So what’s the problem? Why are there so many poor videos out there? YouTube, GoogleVideo, Liveleak, and other websites have loads of them. You’ll find them on DVDs, and even on some television broadcasts. Why is this happening?

Because basic rules of editing are often violated or ignored altogether. True, art has no “rules” yet there are some basic practices to which viewers have become accustomed and even expect.

Following these small tips will help you to make better DVD’s and web video. You’ll note that the first few tips are related to camera work and not the computer/editing aspect of the project.  Great video begins before you get it into your computer.  Great editing is much easier with good camera work.

Shoot for the edit
When you’re shooting your video, be peripherally aware of how you’ll be editing the story. This can be difficult with family/vacation videos etc, but shooting with some idea of how you want to tell the story will help. For example, you might consider starting each shot by tilting down from the sky, and finishing each shot tilting up towards the sky. Perhaps there is an element in the shot to the left or right that could be panned to/from at the beginning of each shot, or perhaps even the panning itself can be incorporated as part of a transitional element.

This technique like any other, may be over used if there are several scenes to be cut, so think about how many scenes you may be shooting. If it’s a lengthy vacation video, you won’t want to be panning to the sky every couple of minutes for half an hour. Also for family/vacation type footage, be aware of changing the camera position or angle.  Move yourself around every minute or two. Go from a wide angle to a tighter shot. This will provide more flexibility when editing.

Give Yourself Some TIME
One error many shooters make improperly is to begin shooting when they press the “Record” button. Do your best to get at least five seconds of pre-roll and five seconds of post roll. Not only will this provide some “head/tails” for the editing process, but it also might mean you catch some blooper or other fun content. Also, it gives your tape time to wind around the head so you’re not clipping off part of the action. If you’re in one of those “WHERE IS MY PICTURE/CAMERA???” (WIMP) situations, start the camera rolling before you remove the lens cap or start pointing the camera. Just get it rolling and worry about everything else later.

Get Stable
Nothing is more difficult to watch or edit as jerky, zoomy footage. Nothing screams “AMATEUR” more loudly than jerky or zoomy footage. Use the zoom quickly or not at all when the camera is recording. Try to avoid holding the camera at eye level; this is where the small LCD monitor panels are very useful, but be aware that using the LCD monitor also means faster battery drainage. Try to hold the camera steady at chest level, digging elbows into your sides, forming a crude tripod with hands on camera and elbows against the body. Monopods or tripods make shooting with stability easier, but also makes for a less portable shooting solution when shooting those quick moments.

When you do pan or zoom, be sure to hold on the subject for at least a few seconds. For example, if you are zooming in or panning on a tree to show a bird’s nest in the tree, make sure you hold on the nest before panning/zooming away.

Now Hear This
Audio is usually forgotten in the heat of the moment, and in those “WIMP?!” moments, that’s OK. But in situations where you’re calling the shot, audio is much more important than the picture. Viewers can forgive and even not notice poor framing, exposure, or even focus if the audio is good. Audiences “see” differently when good audio is present, and by the same rule, see differently when audio is poor. If it’s a challenge to hear what’s taking place, the senses attempt to process the audio as best as possible. We’re predominantly aural animals, so do what you can to have great audio. That might mean a better microphone on your camera or subject, or even going as far as acquiring an inexpensive wireless to allow for roving camera while keeping audio sources in one location.

If you’re doing an interview, prior to hitting the Record button you might want to ask your subject to speak up, particularly if you’re using an on-camera mic. If your voice will be heard on the recording too, consider speaking less loudly than you might normally speak, because you’re closer to the camera than your subject is. Use good judgment when choosing music. Your favorite Nickelback tune probably won’t work well with that cut of your son or daughter hitting a home run.

Take Two
When possible, shoot the same scene twice from two different angles or focal lengths. Shoot wide and then get in close, taking one high shot and then one low shot, or whatever other creative angles you might find. Get some “B-roll,” shots you can cut away to/from. For instance, you might shoot the winning field goal at the end of the game with a wide angle, but don’t be afraid of asking someone to kick the ball into the net again after the game, or better yet, shoot medium or close shots from time to time during the game. These can be used to prolong the moment, or provide more information.

Name That Tape
Label tapes. Label them by date, order, or Ovaltine Secret Code, but label those tapes. And when you capture those tapes, use the name of the tape as part of the capture folder. If you’re not using tape, such as with the newer AVCHD camcorders, then label a file folder with a unique name prior to transfer. You might even consider putting a text file in the folder describing the contents, as this will help you in the sorting of tapes. Some NLE’s such as Sony Vegas (professional version) offer searchable media managers that will help locate a specific file when you need to find it quickly. At the end of the day, if the file isn’t labeled, it doesn’t exist in the digital sense. Computers are for making life easier; help the computer do its job by labeling that information.

Picture This
Use graphics, title cards, or still photos to illustrate a shot or to cover a difficult edit point. Title cards or graphics can also be used to stretch a scene where the camera might not have been pointed at the subject just yet, or was turned away too quickly. They also come in handy during a focus or exposure shift due to auto settings on the camera. Cutting to a graphic or title card also provides a way to literally tell the audience what they’re going to see, are seeing, or have just seen if the video wasn’t completely compelling. “Will Johnny make the goal?” or “What Happens Next?” are two examples of title cards. These worked for years in the era of silent film, and can still be used to good advantage.

Edit for the Story
If you’re telling a story, cut out everything that isn’t related to the story. I recommend considering the audio first, so that the audio has a good rhythm and flow, and the picture will generally follow as a result. If the picture doesn’t follow, then B-roll, graphics, or title cards can be used to help carry the story along as long as the audio is in good rhythm. B-roll and graphics are good for transitional elements as well.

Speaking of Transitions
Every video editing package comes with at least a hundred transitions. That doesn’t mean each one needs to be used. In fact, 95% of them shouldn’t be used. Fly-away cubes, bouncing balls, shatters, etc should all be relegated to the deep dark corners where only the dust kitties play. There are instances where they may be considered tasteful, however rare they may be. Wipes and dissolves are very common for a reason; they’re not incredibly noticeable, and more importantly, they’re expected. Long dissolves are great for showing passage of time, flash transitions can be used to grab attention or create a transition to a flashback, wipes are great for going from location to location or from one distinct scene to another.

Hustle n’ Flow
Just like great music has a rhythm you can dance to, good video editing has a rhythm that can be sensed by the audience. Learning to edit to a rhythm isn’t hard to learn, but it can be difficult to learn to do it well. Cutting to musical beats is a good way to get started. Tools like Ultimate S or StillMotion for Sony Vegas can also help in this learning curve.

At the end of the day, editing is a series of cuts that remove parts of the story that don’t pertain to the clean, clear presentation of the story. Editing involves creating elements that help move the story along, whether they’re transitional, informational, directional, or clarifiers. Audio elements are cut so the story moves along and is clear and comprehensible.  Just as you would cut out “uh, um, oh by the way. . . ” from your audio, think of the video cuts as being the removal of the video equivalent of “uh, um, oh by the way. . . ” Cut  shaky footage, focus changes, just plain boring bit and any other shots that take away from your film.

Finally, practice. Like anything else worth doing, it takes practice to be a good editor, learning the rhythm and flow of a good video production that compels the audience to watch through to the end.  With this in mind, go shoot AND edit some great video!

As always, ADR Productions will work with you on any project you feel is beyond your production skills.

 

Visit us on the web at:  www.adr-productions.com

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Advantages of Online Video Production

Online video production offers numerous benefits to businesses looking to increase their brand recognition and gain a competitive edge. Let us have a look at these benefits:

1. Sense of belonging: Through videos, people come into contact with the real person instead of text and pictures. This creates a sense of belonging between the company and its clients, and it is an opportunity to enhance customer loyalty.

2. More appealing: There is a famous adage, “Seeing is believing”. When people hear something said by a person, they tend to believe it faster than they do after reading information.

3. Wide audience: YouTube states that people view 2 billion videos regularly. You can also reach a huge audience with the help of videos and create your brand awareness.

4. Interesting: Some people find videos more interesting than text. Even if the video is little longer, people may view it patiently.

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6. Client feedback: By putting your video on YouTube or other media website, you can actually involve viewers. They can put their comments, which will help you to adapt your offerings according to your customers’ preferences.

Online video production can result in growing sales and building the reputation of your business. Video marketing is a powerful way of gaining online visibility because it is cost effective and appealing to customers. If you have an online business, it is favorable to adopt this strategy along with other marketing strategies.

ADR Productions strives to create powerful and convincing videos for your business.