creative flagging

Creative Flagging

We here at FiveSix Productions, your favorite Las Vegas video production company, believe our clients to be the most important aspect of our company! That being said, we always try to offer the best production experience possible on every job, from crew, to gear, to total experience. When a client hires us, we try to maximize the product we deliver while staying within their budget.

On a recent shoot, we ran into a situation where some flags would have been really helpful to create the best lighting situation; unfortunately, during the planning process, the client didn't add them to their order. While we would love to bring our entire studio to each gig, that is unrealistic, so we run into these tricky situations from time to time. The key is to be able to adapt, and change on the fly. With a little creativity, calm demeanor, and some patience, we utilized what we had at hand, and were able to mimic a proper flag with some other gear. To the trained eye, the gear may have looked out of place, for the rest of the folks moving in and out, everything was ship-shape.

So, stay calm, take a deep breath, and those little speed bumps can be traversed with no trouble.

(I've included an old photo example of a time we used a soft box that wasn't in play to flag for one that was.)


Wedding Season? I Prefer Trade Show Season!

What's better than crashing a wedding? Being invited, because then you know someone out there likes you. Wedding season is a great time of year; love is in the air, great parties, and gosh-o-golly, plenty of cake and champagne to go around! We here at FiveSix Productions in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada prefer the Trade Show/Convention season. Don't get us wrong, we can chicken dance with the best of them, handle our share of fruit punch, and we look pretty dapper in bow ties and top hats; but there is just something special about that trade floor.

The ol' trade floor. The crossroads of any good convention. It's where you get to mix and mingle and get your hands on a lot of free merch'! When we are contacted about shooting conventions and trade shows, we make sure we know just what we're getting into. Is this a fast paced, high tech trade show? Or, is this a trade show about knitting turtle neck sweaters for turtles? (Please, never underestimate the ruckus world of turtle turtle neck knitting- we've lost a lot of good men at those events...) When we send crew out on the show floor, they have to be quick, clever, and able to work well on the fly. There are hundreds, sometimes thousands of people all around, and they have to be able to adapt to any changes. They also, like with "man on the street" interviews, have to be compact.

Man on the street doesn't necessarily only happen on the street, it can happen on the trade floor, or in a hall way, heck, you may be interviewing a woman in a vestibule, it's all the same. This is the crew that is going to seek out convention goers and get those awesome, exciting, and totally radical sound clips from convention goers who are literally bursting with joy. You need a team that is clever, durable, and out going- no shy kids who aren't going to be able to get strangers to talk to the scary camera. You also need your camera man and audio guy (with boom, and handheld mic) to be compact. They want the least amount of gear needed to get the job done. Lugging 80lbs of gear sounds like fun, and believe you me, it is... but maybe there's a better way. Customer testimonials are very similar, though usually you're going for quality over quantity. When doing this, have a good cameraman with a good eye for framing and background. That ficus in the corner is great- but I think we all know I mean played out... Listen to that creative voice in your head and unleash your inner Scorsese.

That is not the case with the ever popular and important "Green screen interviews". This is where the heavy hitters come to be interviewed by the experienced director or producer. This is where you need a director, producer or two, you're going to need a couple camera operators who can stay focused, along with an experienced audio mixer who isn't afraid to place a lavaliere mic down a shirt or two. You're going to want at least one grip (multiple for set up and tear down), makeup artist, and a p.a. or two. If you're doing a marathon of interviews, it is highly recommended to have a media manager- they will save the day if they're worth their salt. Be wary however, as to whether you're shooting in a ballroom or a hotel room/suite- this changes the game as far as lighting, and amount of bodies you can have on hand. Here, more is more, and you want all the gear and crew you can afford and have- you're usually interviewing field experts, CEOs, and all forms of important folk- this needs to be knocked out of the park.

Finally, any good convention or trade show ends with a great party- and we here in Vegas know how to do just that. If you hire a Las Vegas video production company or crew, you'll be sure to be covered on all the best ways to get down and have a great shoot, and a great time.

Canon USA Products

Canon's 8K and 120megapixel Reveal!

Yesterday, the Japanese imaging giant, Canon, our favorite company from The Land of the Rising Sun, announced the near-future release of an 8K cinema camera and 120 megapixel DSLR.

The cinema camera will have a Super 35mm equivalent CMOS sensor, capable of 60fps, and 13 stops of dynamic range. The camera will feature the awesome EF mount we've become so fond of, and the sensor will be 8,192 x 4,320 pixels (approximately 35.39 million effective pixels). Canon will also produce an 8K professional reference monitor, because, let's be honest, what's the point without it?

As for the DSLR, it will have 120 effective megapixels, capable of beautiful, clear, poster size images, and allow for cropping without compromising quality. Imagine your vacation photos with Mickey blown up to life size!

Canon hasn't said when the camera will be available, nor if it will even be unveiled at NAB, PhotoKina, or... maybe a random Taco Tuesday (or Sushi Sunday if you're in their neck of the woods).

Either way, what a surprise bomb-shell from Canon that's sure to get your motor running.

Canon L Series

Do you service your production gear?

The quick answer to this often asked question is a resounding yes! As former freelancers we have all been on shoots where you are hoping the gear you are working with that day operates like it should.

We pride ourselves with working with the best talent in Las Vegas. It important to us to know our gear is going to be working reliably on each and every shoot. An important aspect of a good production is having the equipment you use routinely serviced and cleaned. Here at FiveSix for instance, we send our Canon C300s out for an annual cleaning and "sprucing up"; that insures that everything is running correctly, all the nuts and bolts are tight, and everything is clean, especially deep down. By taking advantage of our Canon CPS account, we ensure all of our lenses as well as our cameras are in tip top shape.

The fine folks over at Canon are trained and able to clean all the intricate and difficult parts of the camera that we here would rather not mess with. We certainly take pride in taking the best care of our products while they're here in house, but definitely don't underestimate the trained professionals that help keep our machine running smoothly. Here in the desert, our production gear needs all the care we can give it!

Four Cameras

Last night, FiveSix Productions deployed three of it's smartest, most talented, and ruggedly handsome agents of greatness to tackle a project of momentous occasion. Four cameras, three operators, and one guy spinning inĀ  a hoop. We were offered a Texas size range of light temps, and a rainbow of colors that would excite a leprechaun- fortunately, for most of the talent, hardly any of the light hit their face (wouldn't want to bother their eyes). We however, pulled out all stops, after adjusting the F-stops, and did our best to give a very gracious client, a product that they loved. What's next on the Las Vegas video production horizon? Who knows, but I say: bring me the horizon (shout out to the band), and we'll see you on the other side.


Round Table Video

Yesterday, FiveSix Productions, your go-to Las Vegas video production company (or so the "top brass" hopes), shot a round table discussion that to me, seemed nearly identical to a certain scene in The Godfather. There were seven subjects that conversed for a little over an hour. In order to light everyone evenly, and not make it look like a scene out of a mafia film (example here), we suspended two China ball lights over the center of the table, and built a nice duvetyne cage (of sorts) to eliminate spill. The table was outfitted with a white table cloth (grey would probably be more advisable (that's circumstantial though)) which luckily provided good fill light, without being too "hot".

For our cameras, we used two of our trusty Canon C300s, and our awesome new Sony A7s (F11 Rentals has one if you need to borrow it). We locked off the Sony on a set of sticks, and put one Canon on our awesome Dana Dolly, and another on "Ol' Reliable" our cinedolly (I pushed!). One of our awesome audio amigos owned the hell out of the mighty 664 audio mixer, and ran eight channels of sweet-awesomeness like a boss! (It feels as weird typing that as it would to say it- my bad, enough of that.)

So, if you want to set up a round table discussion, (or a tea party with Teddy Bear and Strawberry Shortcake), and you'd like to film it for whatever reason, we're your trusted Las Vegas video production company, and we have plenty of friends and know a great video gear rental house to get the job done. (Run on sentence!!!)

Dana Dolly

The new Dana Dolly #Vegasvideo

The days of carting out our doorway dolly and track are few and far between now. With our acquisition of the new Dana Dolly we can now provide the same smooth dolly moves with a compact and portable rig. Our friends at F11 Rentals just posted a video of the Dana Dolly. Get ready to be informed and entertained.

las vegas video production

Lens Whacking #That'sWhatSheSaid #That'sWhatHeDid #ShootingDirty

So, my buddy Sunny from WeRWolvz put me on to a pretty interesting shooting technique called Lens Whacking or Free Lensing, where you shoot with the lens detached from the camera body. The effects produced are increased light leaks and lens flairs, as well as an organic tilt-shift focus effect. The resulting image has a dreamlike, vintage look to it and can be very fulfilling for adding a touch of art to your project. I have yet to give this whacking a try, but will definitely check it out on an upcoming music video project- results will be presented if successful.

Remember, you don't have to whack alone, friends are always just a snap chat away.

casino video production

Be Your Own Pit Boss #CasinoVideoProduction #ShootingInThePits

FiveSix Productions recently visited the ever-lavish, ever-dazzling, ever-hilarious Circus Circus Las Vegas where we had una muy bien tiempo y una grand fiesta shooting in the language of our downstairs neighbors. We threw some craps, rode a roller coaster, played some skeeball, and even went to a fancy dinner at the best steak restaurant in Las Vegas.

One of our locations included the craps and poker pits of the casino where we simulated some big-time winning! Given the nature of Las Vegas video production, we often find ourselves shooting commercials and corporate videos in such places, and have really found our niche. It may seem obvious and common sense, but always keep your eye to the pit boss, even with permission, there are definitely things you can't touch. Don't drool or whisper sweet nothings to the chips in the table safes- the eye in the sky frowns upon such things. There typically aren't a lot of electric outlets back there, so run electric wisely. There also isn't a lot of space, so build your stands in a tight, space-saving manor (so long as you can complete your job), and keep equipment to a minimum. Lastly, enjoy yourself; most of the weak, broke, common folk looking upon you with wanting, lonely eyes can only go back to Milwaukee or Little Rock or wherever they're from, day dreaming about the awesomeness that is radiating off you at that moment, because you're behind the velvet rope, and they're just eating cheese.

So, thereĀ  you have it, just some friendly, common sense reminders to help you next time you get to scale the mighty barricades of softness that keep safe the treasures that lie behind the royal flush you didn't get and the craps you didn't mean to throw.

audio boom

Creative Booming #ProductionAudio #BoomPool #CreativeBooming #BoomShakaLaka

Here we are, back where we said we'd never return... production audio. We've had a delicate relationship with the subject, as have some of our friends, such as F11 Rentals. However, we love audio and their people, we think highly of them, and have sacrificed many assorted fruits and veggies (we respect animals) in it's honor.

Audio is an unmanageable and unscrupulous harlot that often leaves you tired and torn- and sometimes broke. Capturing good audio takes a cunning, talented, and relentless soundsmith- especially in many of the environments we find ourselves in. Rarely is there moment while doing video production in Las Vegas that there aren't the booby trapping sounds of slots paying out and people being happy, however, those sounds are only there to muffle the soft sobbing of broke dreamers and the enraged drunkards.

The moral of this tale is to bring light to the creativity that often times flows out of our audio brothers and sisters as effortlessly as the salmon of Capistrano go upstream. Just sit back and enjoy the show. (Take a look at the accompanying photo to see an amateur's attempt at boom pole majesty.)