New F11 Rentals Las Vegas Studio Cyclorama - Open for Business

The studio cyc game in Vegas isn't the easiest to navigate, especially for out of town productions that don't know the offerings.  Sure, there are some decent places but most are too small for many productions, don't deliver on amenities or are out of the way and not convenient for talent or crew.  That's all changed with the opening of F11 Rentals Studio Cyc.  This newly built stage offers a 3 sided cyclorama, 26'x35'x36' with 18' tall clearance.  The stage offers free wifi, a secured yard with 12x14 rollup door and ample parking.  The conditioned stage is open for business at this time and will continue to upgrade it's offering with new makeup/wardrobe space, green room, lofted production overlook and state of the art lighting grid, all of which are coming soon.

 

The space is large enough to accommodate vehicles, multiple talent productions, photo shoots, music videos and various types of large rehearsals for the entertainment industry.  The F11 network speed runs on fiber and offers plenty of upload and download speed for live streams productions.  The studio is situated next to the airport and is conveniently located not far from the strip.  To make things even more convenient F11 Rentals is one of the largest production rental houses in Las Vegas which makes it easy to add gear to any shoot in the studio before or during the shoot itself.  They also offer crew to fill out any production needs.

This studio, now open, will soon be the premiere cyclorama stage in Las Vegas and it's exciting to finally have a space of this quality in the city.  Contact F11 to arrange a visit if you're interested or to go their site to book it in 2020 or beyond.  This studio has the FiveSix stamp approval.

 


Shooting in a Green Room - No, Not that type of Green Room!

Corporate video production can have it's challenges.  One of these challenges is locations as we don't often get to choose where we shoot.  If we're lucky, we get a scout day or pictures of the location we're supposed to shoot in or we've been there before and already know what we're walking into.  In these cases, we are prepared with the correct lighting and grip set up to make everything look great.  But sometimes we go into a location blind as to what we'll be working with.  At these times it's best to bring a versatile lighting set up because sometimes a green room is exactly that.

Recently in Las Vegas, we walked into a room where the windows had such a strange tint on them that all the light coming into the room was an eerie green in color.  These were large floor to ceiling windows and there was no time or enough crew to gel them accordingly.  Luckily we had brought four Litepanel Gemini 1 x 1 LED panels.  With these lights we were able to dial in the amount of green to match the light coming in from the windows and then after that, it was simply white balancing the Canon C300 Mark II cameras accordingly.  The room, despite looking eerily haunted, looked perfect on camera and the subjects, instead of looking sickly, appeared vibrant.  It's a simple technique but would have been much more difficult to pull off without the right tools.   It's one of the things FiveSix is known for, everything turned out great in a less than ideal situation.  Effective video production is about being prepared, even if you're tossed into a glowing green room.

 


Andrea - Showing At The Best Dam Short Film Festival

Studio FiveSix was selected to show our first short film, Andrea, at the Best Dam Short Film Festival in Boulder City.  Andrea shows on Feb. 15th in the 8:15pm block of films.  We're very excited to be included and are happy that our premiere showing is going to be in neighboring Boulder City.  There was a good deal of work and planning that went into creating Andrea, mainly because it was our first narrative piece and we were finding our way through the process.  Since then we have shot a second short film called Maybe Tomorrow that is still in post production but will be out shortly.  We'll be at the festival this weekend so if you are there, stop by and say hi.


Render This - New Mac Pro Arrives at FiveSix

Sometimes you just need a little extra power to spice things up in the office.  Here at FiveSix Productions, we've been running a few different workstations for some time now, a couple mac trashcans from awhile back and a couple newer imac pro machines.  But with the new Mac Pro out, we decided our Edit 1 Bay could use an extra boost.  So far so good.  We run the Adobe Creative Cloud suite working primarily with Premiere Pro and After Effects but also DaVinci Resolve for some color correction.  This machine takes on video editing, real time 2D and 3D graphics creation and powers through the renders at a much better click than its predecessor, but I should hope so for the price tag.  We didn't load it up with all the extras and purchased most of the additions from outside of Apple, though we did opt for the afterburner card to help with quick encoding.  We're only a few weeks in but our editors can surely tell the difference.

There isn't much else to say.  We've cut a commercial, half a dozen corporate videos and a short film so far and haven't had any issues.  We'll update soon once we've really put it to the test and have some hard data of our own to report.  Until then, happy cutting!

 


Cast Away - Casting A Short Film

At FiveSix we do video productions of all types including corporate storytelling, commercial, reality, social media, political, event, documentary and short narrative films.  The last one in that list is fairly new to us and I'd like to chat about how the casting was done in a entirely different manner than our normal process.

For most of our productions in town we use local talent.  There is a good pool of models, actors and actresses in Las Vegas to choose from.  We normally utilize the local agencies and find a group that fit our demographics for each project.  Then, together with our client, we choose the talent that fits the look and feel we're going for.  We call the finalists in for an audition, all in one day, and then pick the final group.  This happens within a day or two.  It's a fairly simple process and one that we have become quite efficient in over the years.

Now, when we started casting for the short films, it was different in two main ways.  The first was that the entire production was financed by FiveSix.   We didn't have the budget to bring in talent agencies and pay the costs that go along with using their services.  A different route was needed.  With a little research we discovered that there are plenty of great resources on-line that give you access to thousands of talented actors and actresses.  Sites such as Backstage and Casting Networks are great communities that help both producers and talent match together on a project.  We ended up posting our projects on backstage.com and having a great pool of talent to choose from.  We were able to advertise our day rate for each role and get only those people willing to work for that rate.  It helped tremendously in budgeting for the films.

The second main difference in casting for the short films was that we searched over the entire country and not just locally.  This brought us a couple of challenges.  We ended up doing many auditions through recorded video and not in person.  One of the best parts about casting live is that you can ask questions and try giving different direction with lines.  You can get a general feeling of how the actor moves with you as you craft a role.  This isn't so easy with a recorded audition.  We found that we were able to quickly get a feeling about a particular role when auditioning in person but with recorded auditions it took many more views and lengthy discussions within our team.  I would always advocate for in-person auditions but when you're on a tight budget and quick timeline, that's not always possible.

Moving forward, due to our ability to find what we were looking for through the on-line talent sites, I think we'll utilize both local agencies and on-line communities for any future auditions.  On a last note, casting is fun but also difficult for all parties involved as it brings about more rejections than acceptance.  I admire anyone who is willing to put themselves out there like that and audition for a role.  Good luck!


An NBA MVP in Las Vegas...

James Harden, the bearded-master of the between the legs crossover - fadeaway.

Las Vegas in July means three things: massive 4th of July fireworks shows, inhumane daily temperatures, and the NBA Summer League. While the Summer League has wrapped up, we're still excited about having filmed with the reigning MVP of the league. James Harden, in all his bearded glory (second best beard, behind Charlie Blackmon of the Rockies), came through town, and as such, had a bouquet of events to attend. One event, which we were a part of, was a photo and video shoot. One interesting challenge we faced, was keeping the lavalier microphones on the basketball players, even while they were running and jumping around. Mixing levels was also a fun challenge, as there was a big difference between their speaking voices, and their in-game yelling and hollering.

 

We can't go into the details of the shoot, as those NDAs are no joke, but it was a great experience. Harden showed off his amazing on-court skills, and his fun, easy-going personality. We certainly hope that we have future opportunities to work with him and all the other NBA stars next year. If your Long Beach or Las Vegas video production calls for the best, look no further than FiveSix Productions.


NBA Summer League at Intrigue Nightclub in Las Vegas.

NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

Every July, "The Association" (the National Basketball Association), descends on Las Vegas, Nevada for the NBA Summer League. This eleven-day tournament gives teams the opportunity to evaluate their young players before the regular season begins in the fall. The action doesn't stop at the Thomas & Mack Center at UNLV, the event spreads all over town. FiveSix Productions had the opportunity, once again, to film two episodes of  the television show Open Court at Intrigue Nightclub at the Wynn Resort. Open Court always provides an exciting shooting scenario, with unique challenges and experiences. We always love packing our grip van as full as possible, and seeing how creative we can get. Our staff and amazing freelancers did a great job, and we can't wait to do it again next year. If you need the best Las Vegas video production company, look no further than FiveSix Productions.


Trekking Through Appalachia

Trekking Through Appalachia, a journey through the American South.

While FiveSix Productions' motley crew call either Las Vegas, Nevada or Long Beach, California home, we certainly love to travel. We are no strangers to jet streams and interstates. We travel throughout the year, but late spring and early summer seem to have us gone more than not. While I'm writing this, we have a crew down in Laughlin, Nevada, filming along the Colorado River. Later this week, we'll be taking our talents to Baltimore, Maryland for some crab cakes and football, (Apparently, that's what Maryland does.). Last week however, we had the pleasure of going all Clark Griswold, and road tripped till the wheels fell off. After a quick flight into Dallas, we hit the road and spent time in charming cities like Shreveport, the always fun and unique New Orleans, and up in the beautiful hills of North Carolina. Southern Charm is real, and we were charmed from the bayou to Appalachia. We said our goodbyes to Dixie in Atlanta (couldn't find Donald Glover, unfortunately), and returned back to our west coast homes. We certainly can't wait for our next trip down south, but have plenty of work to do- so, we're out. For your next Las Vegas or Long Beach video production, or anywhere you find yourself in this crazy world of ours, let us know, and we'll be ready to roll!


Canon 5D Mark IV

New Canon 5D Mark IV!

Canon 5D Mark IV.

The Canon 5D Mark IV line of DSLRs from Canon is one of their finest product lines. The newest edition is the 5D Mark IV, and it definitely doesn't disappoint. Our 5D Mark II was a great camera, and we definitely had some amazing times together, like that one-time lapse we did, or that time we took a bunch of great still images. Alas, the gods didn't see fit for us to be together forever- as it was stolen away by a thief in the night.

We found the courage to put the broken pieces of our hearts back together, and upgrade to a 30.4 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, with a DIGIC 6+ image processor. Our fingertips have found warmth on the 3.2" touchscreen LCD monitor with 1.62m-Dot resolution. We have found renewed purpose knowing that the Mark IV records DCI 4K video at 30fps, and provides 8.8MP still grabs.

The Mark II definitely left a hole in our hearts, but, with time, the Mark IV can perhaps fill that void with its awesomeness. It's already on its way to film in the beautiful and mysterious state of Michigan, childhood home of Dumb and Dumber co-star Jeff Daniels. We hope we can be a part of your next Las Vegas video production and Long Beach video production soon.


Wu-Tang

Audio Recording. Don't let the noise monster get you...

Let's talk about Audio Recording.

No, let's talk about money. I believe RZA and his Wu-Tang Clan said it best in 1994, when they taught us about C.R.E.A.M. Cash rules everything around me- that's a lesson that applies far beyond the confines of the 36 Chambers of Staten Island. What does this mean here in the world of video production? It means the same thing it does in the music industry, and the same thing as it does in the world of professional sand sculpting. Money moves, and money rules. Nothing is cheap in this world- especially producing beautiful sounding and looking motion pictures. That being said, what's worse than your expensive video being ruined by unexpected and uncontrollable noise? The answer is having a rabid grizzly bear loose on set- but, after that, it's the noise. Now how to have a good audio recording session.

When you film on the Las Vegas strip, you're thinking "Oh, gee, this will be so dope! We're going to have so much fun and make so many nice pictures, and everything will be perfect, and nothing will distract us!" That's 99.9% correct- with a large margin of error. While much can be done to control the environment in the local hotel rooms and conference rooms, there are some things that just come with the territory. There is an airport of international proportion nearby- in which, airplanes fly. Airplanes make noise, so- if you are anywhere on the strip, chances are, at some point throughout the day, those metal birds will make their presence known. There are also a lot of folks in loud sports cars and motorcycles cruising up and down L.V. Boulevard- you'll hear those too. There's an Air Force base here in town- those brave men and women who defend our liberties practice swooping, rolling, and diving in their jets from time to time... believe, you, me, you'll hear those too. Let's say you go and hide down in the very back corner of the back corner of the convention hall... SERVICE HALLWAY!!!! Hahahahaha!

Now, before you give up and call it quits- remember: with a little patience, and a little trust- we can work around those noises, and your audio recording will sound amazing! You may have to wait thirty seconds or so, every hour, on the hour, for some bells, but, then it's all good. Also, remember the fine folks, the good hearted folks, folks like our good friends at Dog & Pony Show here in Vegas can do miracles in their studio for production and post-production. Oh, sound blankets work too... also- silent films.

Good luck!