Six Channels of Awesome!!! #LasVegasVideoProduction #LasVegasAudio #AudioMixer #SoundsLikeLoveFeels

FiveSix Productions recently made a massive upgrade to it's audio department with the procurement of a Sound Devices 664 six-channel audio mixer. This state of the art audio mixer immediately doubles the workload capability of any other mixer in FiveSix' arsenal, and enables FiveSix to take on larger, more challenging audio tasks without outsourcing, therein strengthening the team as a whole. The primary feature is not the ability to record up to sixteen channels (with a future upgrade), but rather, to record sound internally, which provides liberty not yet experienced within the FiveSix realm.

FiveSix Productions has been consistently and successfully moving towards being one of the best and most sought after video production companies in Las Vegas. The addition of not only more equipment, but better quality equipment, not only enables FiveSix to provide everything a client needs, but also provides a Las Vegas video equipment rental solution for production audio, video, and more.

Don't stop believing, hold on to that feeling.

Red Dragon

Unleash the Dragon #EpicRedDragon #LasVegasVideoProduction #6K #We'veGotTheKs

FiveSix Productions just completed the upgrade of its Red Camera to the Epic Red Dragon giving FiveSix the ability to shoot 6K. 6K images provide detail that surpasses that of 35mm film and moves into the realm of 65mm film; or, with each frame being a 19 megapixel RAW image, it is nine times more detailed than 1080p HD footage.

These may seem like overwhelming figures, but even if you don't require 6K, outputting 6K footage to 4K or HD assures the product will be clearer, crisper, and way more awesome.

The Red Dragon upgrade also provides an incredible native dynamic range of 16.5+ stops on it's improved sensor. This will greatly expand the ability to successfully work in even more challenging lighting situations, and come out with the best, truest product possible.

Hopefully, 6K opportunities abound this coming year for the crew of FiveSix Productions.

Happy shooting.


Audio Odyssey pt.2: Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth? #audiodepartment #lasvegasvideoproduction

Do you remember that scene in the film The Godfather when Don Corleone is granting requests "... on this, the day of my daughter's wedding..."? Right off the bat, the film has you on the edge of your seat, and you are engulfed by the drama, they mystery, the characters. Or how about the scene in A Few Good Men when Lt. Kaffee has Col. Jessup on the witness stand and they have their famous exchange. "I want the truth!" "You can't handle the truth!" This difficult scene incorporates soft speaking, yelling, fast talking and multiple characters speaking at once- not a walk in the park. Or, what about in Saving Private Ryan when Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) is inching his way up Omaha Beach in Normandy with thousands of bullets screaming by, mortars exploding just feet away, the screams and sounds of war overwhelming everything. The audio starts off muted and dull, but is still definitive. Did you notice the audio in any of those instances? Did you stop and say, what did he say? No, no you didn't. Do you know why? Because it was done perfectly, and you don't notice it, which is the goal of every experienced, quality audio team.

All jokes and over-dramatization aside, the audio department is the most under-appreciated and over-looked department, despite being one of the most important and difficult. In October of 1927, the film The Jazz Singer was released as the first ever talkie, using Vitaphone's sound-on-disk technology to run concurrent with the motion picture. Floods of eager movie-goers flocked in droves to local theaters to witness one of the coolest and most fascinating achievements in motion arts to date; yet, nearly ninety years later, audio is the shunned sibling of the film/video world. So, as a friendly and professional recommendation, take a moment to study the art, and appreciate all the difficulties, subtle nuances, and awesome achievements of this necessary craft. Ninety-nine percent of the greatest and most memorable moments in cinematic history, include audio- I think that alone merits some serious respect.

FiveSix Productions employs the services of multiple brands of audio gear, from Wendt mixers to Sennheiser microphones. We have a phenomenal shotgun mic in the Schoeps CMIT 5 U that is tremendously effective at eliminating even the most annoying and unwanted ambient noise. We had it on a windy golf course here in Vegas shooting an instructional video and with a simple windscreen that looked like a furry Chipotle burrito, we were able to capture crisp, clear audio that needed minimal help in post.

FiveSix is hired frequently to capture interviews, especially in the corporate setting; for these situations, we rely not only on our awesome Scheops shotgun mic, but also our very awesome, durable, and versatile Sennheiser EK/SK 100 G3 receivers/transmitters and lavalier microphones. These situations can prove tricky however, as placement of the lavalier microphone comes with challenges. Properly placing the microphone in the most effective spot means avoiding the rustle of clothing (especially, freshly pressed and starched suits), being as inconspicuous as possible, and occasionally, hiding the microphone from view behind a tie, under a collar, or on the inside of a blouse.

Another hurdle of the audio world is mixing. Most subjects we encounter are not professional actors, so the volume and clarity of the dialogue generally isn't optimal; balancing levels and tending to fluctuating circumstances is a never ending task.

There is so much more to audio, please take time to learn about it so you too can appreciate the science and art behind it. And, of course, please go easy on those poor audio folk- even if they are sometimes weird, creepy, and just a bit south of sanity.

Las Vegas Video Production

Video Production Budgeting, #corporatevideo

We send out an incredible amount of estimates for video production here at FiveSix, ranging from a few thousand dollars to a few hundred thousand.  But when it comes to requests for corporate videos that will end up playing on the web, the question we get the most is, how are these prices decided upon?  How much should my video cost?  Now I was going to lay out the reasoning and prices behind the industry but I remembered a post I read awhile ago that was comprehensive and right on the money.  So why retype what was already done well.  It tackled this subject and even gave dollar amount ranges for specific jobs in the industry.  The guys over at OMM listed the 25 factors that affect video production costs, and they did a good job.

Of course things involving camera technology and equipment have changed a bit since 2010, but the main message of experience and professionalism has remained a constant.  Budget is often times the driving factor in the creation of a video when it should truly be what is the video supposed to accomplish, and then let's go ahead and see how that fits into a budget.




Las Vegas Video Production

Renting Video Production Gear

There are only two possible choices when deciding on gear for a shoot.  Own it or rent it.  Be it cameras like the C300, RED, Sony PMW 300 or Arri Alexa, cine lenses from Canon or Zeiss, or grip gear and lighting or even audio.  But who really cares about audio, right?  Renting gear is the way most productions tend to go.  This is because, first off, the gear is expensive and requires a good chunk of cash.  But there are other reasons too, you don't have upkeep costs as a renter or a depreciating asset and you can be more versatile and not locked into a single camera/format.  If you travel, you don't have to lug it around or keep up with firmware and updates.  These are all problems of the gear's owner.  But when renting, do you rent from a big rental house or a local production company or a local freelance owner/operator.  There are pros and cons to each of them.

Rental houses - They will usually have whatever you want in stock and available.  They will normally be a bit cheaper since they deal in bulk.  There is no negotiating on prices/dates, pick up times and drop off, they are locked in.  If something breaks on the shoot, it is difficult to get a replacement in a timely fashion. The gear has been highly used and is beaten up a bit.  Every add on is extra.  No real specific point of contact.

Local Production House - Depending on the size of the facility, camera availability may be an issue.  Prices are higher than big rental houses since they are only dealing in a few cameras.  Price/days/times are negotiable.  The gear is usually well taken care of and includes extra items in the package.  Add ons are negotiable and sometimes thrown in.  Replacements, if needed, are usually quick.  There is a known point of contact and someone is almost always available.

Local Owner/Operator - Camera availability can be an issue.  Prices are higher than rental houses and many times the owner will require they be on the shoot.  Price/days/times are negotiable.  The gear is well taken care of.  Add ons are negotiable, if they are available.  Replacements can be difficult.  There is a known point of contact but not always available since it is a single person.

With all this to take into account, when we here at FiveSix need to rent gear somewhere not in Las Vegas, we tend to try and find a local production company to help us out.  We like the upkeep on the gear, having a point of contact and the flexibility.  It may come with a slightly higher price tag but the benefits are worth it.

Las Vegas Video Production

Video Contests Serve a Real Purpose, #videoproduction, @videocontests

Who doesn't love a good contest?  I see this more and more where corporations and companies are deciding to turn to the public for advertising ideas by holding video contests, with cash prizes.  What they are hoping for is hundreds of good ideas that promote their product or service while using the contest as a marketing tool to help get those messages out.  It's actually a great way if they don't have the budget to head to an ad agency or production company to come up with creative ideas and execute on them.  We haven't entered any of these contest but I think it might be a fun way to entertain new production techniques and ideas in real situations.  When we have the time, it could be a good exercise, especially for those in training or looking to gain some experience.  There are a few good websites to check out that put together lists of all the contests.  Try http://www.onlinevideocontests.com/.  Good luck!

High End Real Estate Videos #realestate #videoproduction #realtor

We've all heard of the virtual tour, we've all seen and probably taken dozens of them.  They are wide, boring and show off a place that may or may not be picked up, cleaned, or shot in the best light.  Yet, they are standard practice now for realtors in order to try and sell a home.  So, the virtual tour used to set you apart, now if you don't have one, it sets you back.  But every time something becomes common place, as with virtual tours, how do you distance yourself from the crowd, how do you get noticed and gain that edge once again?

The high end of real estate has found an answer and it is something that is starting to catch on.  High end real estate videos spare no expense when shooting luxury homes.  They use the best cameras, like the Canon C500, RED Epic or ARRI Alexa.  They use the right tools like a dolly, slider, jib and even drones are now getting in on the action to show an aerial view of the property or even the neighborhood.  They use professional lighting and crews and take the time to do it right.

What this does is it makes the video an experience, it makes the viewer have to go see this home.  The high end real estate video isn't meant to just show you a property, it's meant to make you feel a property.  They give the video great music,  a color treatment and emotionally try and connect the viewer to the space.  This eventually equals more visits to the home and more potential buyers.

This high end treatment isn't for every home, though we wish it could be.  The home has to be luxurious and have a high price point or it wouldn't make sense to produce a costly high end video.  Even with that said, it wouldn't hurt to have a professional crew shoot any home for sale instead of having a guy with tablet shoot some video and post it.  The look and feel will translate to more buyers.

We'd like to see more of the real estate industry take advantage of what production company's can offer.  If they have a bunch of homes to shoot, I'm sure there's deal that could be struck that benefits everyone.

Making a Viral Video - On Demand #viral #viralvideo #videoproduction

I got an idea, let's make a viral video.  We hear this a bunch.  It's a noble endeavor, I too want to make a video that is so compelling it gets shared and viewed millions upon millions of times garnering publicity and spreading an effective message while all the while providing entertainment.  Much more difficult to do than to say.  Very few viral videos start out with the idea, let's make a viral video, don't get me wrong it happens but more often than not, the phrase let's make a viral video shouldn't be the starting point.

The starting point should be, let's make a video that serves a purpose to us.  Do we want to spread a message to our customers?  Do we want to spread awareness around an issue that isn't being served?  Do we want to just be funny and show all our friends how clever we are?  To start out saying let's make a viral video is akin to writing a book specifically to make money.  If that's your ultimate goal, it's probably not going to go very well and perhaps you shouldn't be writing a book.

Make a video to serve a purpose.  If it's done well, it will be shared within the circle you meant it for and I would consider that a viral success.  Now, one thing that blew my mind is when I heard that there were a couple instances where some video production companies charged viral rates.  Huh?  How does that even work?

Our viral video prices start at the same place as our regular prices, we use the same cameras in our viral videos as our normal videos, such as the C300, PMW 300 and HPX 500 oh and the most versatile viral camera, the Go Pro Hero.  Our viral editing rate is the same as our regular editing rate and we edit on the same AVID system.  Nobody can deliver a viral video on demand....yet.  We're working on that.

When  thinking about a video, please be sure the purpose isn't to go viral.  In the case that it does, it should be a very pleasant side effect.

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.

Saying Goodbye to the HDX 900 & HVX 200 #panasonic #cameras

We're saying good bye over here to a couple of our old workhorses.  Just sold a Panasonic  HDX 900 and a Panasonic HVX 200 and we'll be sending them off this week.  It's tough to see those two cameras go, we haven't had much call for them recently but they both made some incredible pictures and captured hours of great video.

The HDX 900 is still in use in many television productions as some old companies still prefer tape based archiving.  It's much more difficult to erase a tape they say.....I agree if you have no idea how to use a computer.  But that's for another conversation.  I understand it's a great camera but I think the time to upgrade to some of the more technologically superior formats.  We held onto it as long as we were getting calls but that time seems to be over.

The HVX 200 was a game changer when it came out.  It held up all these years and is still in use for indie productions all over the world.  We haven't had the calls for it due to upgrading our camera gear to the Panasonic HPX 500, Sony PMW 300 and Canon C300.  However, it was a valuable piece of equipment and no doubt has been for countless other individuals and companies.

So, thank you to Panasonic for these two great cameras and we're looking forward to more in the future.  They are going to good homes too!