Las Vegas Video Production

High Demand for Independent Music Videos, #musicvideos

It's interesting to see the high amount of forms sent to us inquiring about producing music videos. Often times these are solo artists, with a song or two, who wish to break into the industry. They figure a video is a good way to show off their music as well as their style/look at the same time. They're right, it is. However, often times the idea is to shoot on the strip, in a grand suite, or in the middle of the desert with sweeping sand dunes. This all takes much more than what they envision. At FiveSix, when we do something, we like to do it right. Unfortunately, doing a music video right is expensive. With costs that include creative, pre-production, transportation and props as well as the time it takes for multiple locations, extras, crew members and hours of post including graphics and effects, doing a music video right isn't cheap. This is our conundrum. We want to help, music videos are fun to produce. But these solo artists often times are funding the video themselves and have a few hundred dollars to spend. Because of this, the video ends up as a cell phone video taken by their friend. This not only doesn't do justice to the music they've created but the visuals as well. Unless these artists can find someone to help fund a production, my suggestion would be to just stick to getting the music out and forget about the video until a budget has been established. A poorly shot video with weak sound and no editing, costs the artist credibility and rarely will launch anybody's career. We welcome all inquiries as far as music videos and will talk through costs and ideas and hopefully send an artist on the right path. There are ways to produce high quality and keep the costs down such as reducing locations and keeping it simple. But in my opinion, in regards to music videos, holding off on creating a video is better than a putting out a poorly produced one.


A Fun Look at a Couple Video Production Crew Positions, #cameraassistant, #videoediting

Sometimes it's enjoyable to take a look at a few of the positions in the production world and poke fun at what they have to go through.  Every position has its challenges and Camera Assistant is one in particular that has so many responsibilities they are bound to get frustrated at least once per shoot.  Over at theblackandblue, a great resource for camera assists, they put out a list of gifs that sums up some of these instances.  Take a look, we found them to be amusing.

And then there are the jobs that everybody assumes they understand and therefore can comment about and make judgements about quality of work.  Video editor sounds quite self explanatory but its tough to put into words what exactly these unsung heroes do for video production.  Insidetheedit made a great video that elegantly describes what an editor does and shows how they have more power over the final product than what people may believe. Check it out.

We here at FiveSix Productions appreciate all the crew positions and know a production doesn't go smoothly if the tools are in place for everyone.  Be in corporate videos, training videos, commercials, or green screen production, there is a lot that goes on with every job to make a video come out great.

 


Las Vegas Video Production

Modular Videos Cut Future Costs, #videoproduction, #corporatevideos

So, how do you make a video last, make it stand the test of time and show an incredible ROI.  You make it so that if one part of the video happens to become obsolete for any number of reasons, let's say due to upgraded product, new location, new spokesperson, a closure, a renovation or anything else, that portion can be simply removed and the gap closed or that section replaced.  What am I talking about?  Modular videos.

A video that covers more than one product, service, location, idea, training technique or whatever, often times are built so that it is very difficult to replace something if it changes.  Do we need to get the host again to say something, do we need to hire talent to repeat a new process, do we need to go in and maneuver shots around all over the timeline to cover up something that is no longer there.  All of these issues are time consuming in post production and thus are expensive changes to make.  Often times the expenses don't justify the small change and the video ends up being left as is without the poor visuals or information still reaching the consumer of the video.  There's a simple solution, these longer videos should be set up and shot as modular pieces.  In this fashion, when something isn't right, it's a simply lift and splice together and the web video is back up on-line without the poor information.  Then, with the video up and running, there is time to decide how to best replace the module that was taken out or if it even needs to be replaced.

FiveSix has been tasked to do a few of these and it's a great way to run a video that is supposed to stay relevant for long periods of time.  The video is treated like a dozen small videos strung together and the replacement is so simple that it barely takes any editing and thus any resources.  So don't let anyone talk you into a lengthy video without discussing the ability of making it modular, they're just trying to pad the change requests when they come in down the line.


Las Vegas Video Production

Web Videos, Quality Matters, #webvideos, #videoproduction

"Oh it's just going to the web."

"This is only going to live on the internet."

"It's just for our website."

"We'll probably put it up on youtube or something."

These comments are a bit dismissive of the power of web video and we hear it a lot. Video put up on the internet is available to be seen every day by every demographic, every potential new partner, every competitor, every client, customer and team member.  Perhaps the reach and impact of web video is a bit undervalued by most businesses.

It can be difficult to try and think what industry or business wouldn't benefit from some type of video living on their site.  There are so many different ways to show off who you are, what you do, what is your potential, or simply to say hello.  A video can hit personally better than just about any other form of medium.  We've discussed some examples previously such as convention videos, real estate videos, social media videos, non-profit videos, and training videos.  But there are many more and each of those can be tweaked creatively to whatever would work best for a specific business.

Since these videos can be used to display any part of a business, they need to look authentic and professional.  So don't dismiss the quality by saying, "it's only for the web."  Quality matters, if this video is the only touchpoint that a consumer has of a particular brand or product, then it should represent the best of that brand.

More and more, videos are being created specifically for web display.  Production companies like FiveSix use all the same gear on web videos as we do on the other videos we shoot.  We understand that quality matters.  This is a transition that's been happening for ten years, and it is opening avenues for all businesses of all sizes to use video effectively.


Green Screen - Perfect for Corporate Video Production #greenscreen #videoproduction

St Patrick's Day, almost over, but I thought it might be a good time to talk about green screen.  The video equivalent of a blank slate oozing with imaginative possibilities.  Appropriate?  When most people think of green screens, they think of big budget movies where the actors are flying around, destroying things or doing unbelievable super acts in fantasy worlds.  They're used for that but they are used far more often in corporate video production and corporate storytelling than most people realize.  We do a good amount of corporate video production and there aren't too many weeks that go by where we aren't either shooting with a green screen or sending out an estimate for green screen production.

In Las Vegas, there are so many conventions coming through town and it's a great place for corporations to either show off products, grab customer testimonials or gather together executives to speak on camera.  Instead of using a boring convention room with blah coloring and no dimension, a green screen offers so many more options, it's tough to pass up.  We key out the green and boom, you're creativity runs wild but mostly simple wild, nothing crazy.  We have a few on hand from a simple pop out 6x6 to a paper roll 10 foot wide to a full on 10x20 wraparound fabric.  These can all be taken on location and built to whatever specs the client is looking for.  It's an effective and creative solution.

Green screen is not out of anyone's budget.  That's another misnomer that people tend to have.  It's an additional cost for sure but the quality and flexibility of post production because of it is far more valuable than saving a few dollars.  If for your next production you haven't thought about it, ask us about green screen and you'll be glad you have fun options to play with down the line.  If all else fails, you can always put the CEO talking about EBITDA in the middle of a corn field.

Now, in honor of St. Patrick's Day I leave you with one of my favorite themed commercials, even though it's a couple years old.


FiveSix Video Production

Ping Pong Master vs Kuka Robot - Video Production Steals the Show

Just cause you can do it, doesn't mean you should.

The premise of matching a man vs machine is a compelling storyline, in just about any competition.  In the case of table tennis, this advertisement made the rounds seemingly to tease a future video of the game. We never got that, unfortunately.  Technically the video was sound.  The lighting was dramatic and interesting, the camera movement was smooth, the angles and framing were dynamic.  But even though they pulled everything off, it felt like a video production case of we got it so let's use it.

We have high speed frame rates, let's use it to show a dive from a low angle with sweat flying through the air.   (seen it before)

We have 4K, let's pan and scan a couple hits across the table.  (jarring, kind of annoying, rather see a wide shot)

We have a jib/crane, let's do a high angle really wide while he's running around.

It just felt like they were throwing video production elements in because they could, not because it helped the spot.  I think it could have turned out better without all the jazz.  The use of the rapid cutting and having every shot trying to speak to the dramatics of the situation, pulled us to focus more on the video production rather than the robot.  This is an ad after all and it felt like it.  After seeing the close up of Kuka on the ball twice for no particular reason and never seeing a 'real' point played, I think the ad made me feel like I was watching an ad, a quarter way through.  If I wasn't into the production side of things, I would have closed out.  If the ad did it's job, I should be talking how cool robotics is going to be for videographers as prices come down and we can get robots like that to create precision moves on our shoots that call for it.  Instead I'm saying, how cool for the production team that got to play with all their gear on a shoot that didn't call for it.  But I wrote about it so maybe it did it's job after all.

Basic point is, we're all guilty of this from time to time and it's always good to check yourself and make sure you're not using a piece of gear just because it's available or it's cool and you want to use it.  Gear is used to enhance the shot/piece, not create it.

Here's the Kuka robot video if you haven't seen it.

 

 

 

 

 


What the Adoption of Adobe's Premiere Means for FiveSix Productions

In two words: Flexibility and Control

For the past few years, AVID and especially Final Cut Pro have been our NLE platforms of choice; with Avid as our high-end editing application and Final Cut as the everyday, workhorse solution.  Adobe products have always been a part of our post-production arsenal, such as After Effects, Photoshop, and Illustrator, but in terms of an NLE, the ease of use and familiarity of the FCP platform (prior to X) was what we always fell back on.  UNTIL NOW.

With the release of Final Cut X, we noticed some concerns within the industry.  This was primarily attributed to, what appeared to be an emphasis place on the amateur consumer market and a departure away from professional editors, in terms of features.  Also, FiveSix relies heavily on our ability to refer to our archives, which were all cut on early versions of FCP, which X initially did not support.

When Walter Murch, a highly decorated editor, with such credits as Godfather II and Apocolypse Now, viewed X for the first time, he stated, "I can't use this" (Macaulay, 2011).  In a Boston seminar speaking about the new FCP release, he listed several disappointing, underachieving elements that Apple failed to include and felt as if FCP was turning their back on the professional editors that had been loyal to the software for years.

Even with the recent fixes in the FCP platform, including the ability to work with edits that were cut in previous versions of the software, the damage had been done for us.  As soon as we identified the limitations of the new FCP, we sought other options.  One such option was Adobe Premiere, which was a NLE that we had experimented in the past but never considered migrating to.

When the commitment to make a change was made, we decided to continue editing with FCP 7 but beta test Premiere for a couple editing jobs to ensure that Adobe's offering was going to be the right fit for our company.  We knew immediately that we made the right decision.  First and foremost, the bridging capabilities with other Adobe Products that compliment the editing process is exponentially beneficial.  Also, the elimination of the transcoding of footage that was so bothersome with FCP, makes life incredibly easier.  We shoot a lot in Panasonic's P2 format and what would have taken FCP hours, depending on the job, only takes Premiere a fraction of the time.  FInally, Premiere offers a level of control that appears unmatched.  Because of the inherent creative capabilites that can be found in Adobe's flagship Photoshop and Illustrator software, an application like Premiere has acquired the same ability to manipulate and sculpt images like no other program.

All in all, FiveSix's migration to Adobe Premiere has been a great success.  In our opinion, the missteps of Apple's Final Cut X has given our organization the ability to offer our clients better quality and the ability to expand our creative horizons.

 

Sources:

Macaulay, S. (2011, October 29). Walter murch on fcp x: “what is the ‘pro’ part of it?”. Retrieved from http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/news/2011/10/walter-murch-on-fcp-x-what-is-the-pro-part-of-it/


Color Correcting Red footage

Over the weekend I had a Davinci Resolve session. The footage brought in was all shot on the Red in 4K. The clips were all green screen that had a lot of spill on the sctor and set. Now the big question. Do you correct pre or post keying? We decided to help the animators out and remove the green spill from the talent and set. With different nodes and tracking we were able to seperate the talent from the background and even had time left over to smooth out the green for the animators. We processed 19 clips in 3 hours.  We outputted 4K ProRes 444 files at the animators request.

The Davinci Resolve steps up again, I'll let you know when the spot hits the airwaives in a couple months.

The client told me after the fact, that he had booked a full day session out in LA to do the color corection. He was able to cancel his trip and session and was very grateful to have this capability in Las Vegas.