Let Everyone Think You’re a Professional
Do you know how long it takes to make a Hollywood movie? Usually 45 days of shooting followed by 6 months to a year of editing. And aside from the occasional blockbuster, movies take a very long time to make their investment back, most never managing to do that at all.
Now I’m going to show you a way to do your shoot in 3 hours, take one day to edit and get a return in less than a week. Sound like fun? Well, here’s how it’s done.
You need to be good at these things:
- music selection
…not necessarily in that order. We’re going to make a 2.5 minute mini-documentary. Why? These days a commercial on the internet just isn’t necessary or desirable. We’re going to give your audience a little bit of you that we talked about in the previous article.
Start with your sticky premise. Remember the dentist who was looking for patients that liked to be valued? If that dentist is you, resolve that you are going to speak to that one person out there who needs to be your patient.
Sit down and speak to the camera, but not quite directly into the lens. Pull out the viewfinder and aim your eyes at it. Better yet, have a friend sit to the side of the camera and speak directly to them.
Want to make your shots look professional? You MUST do the following:
Get the noseroom right.
Here’s a simple chart that shows what proper noseroom looks like at various angles:
The right amount of noseroom will make your audience more comfortable.
Now we need to pay closer attention to the headroom.
Judge headroom by the eyeline.
Don’t let the top of the frame take over.
Make sure it looks right in proportion to the head.
As you see above, the talent’s eyes are on the top line. Keep the talent’s eyes there all the time and the headroom will take care of itself.
Expose the shot for maximum contrast.
That just means that no part of the shot is too light or too dark, but juuust right.
Make sure you’re on manual focus.
Otherwise, while you’re busy talking away, your camera will spend its time hunting for the right place to focus on but never quite find it. (see the picture below)
Backgrounds and Foregrounds
Pay close attention to your backgrounds and foregrounds. Backgrounds are supposed to make your audience feel comfortable. It shouldn’t bother you unless you’re a mother with eyes in the back of your head. Foregrounds are quite different and they do a couple of important things. They provide dimensionality to the flat picture plane and they give you something to play with.
Let’s look at two contrasting shots for this concept and everything else we’ve discussed so far:
Focus is soft, as the misbehaving autofocus is more interested in the sofa than Sean.
The color is unbalanced.
The exposure is dark.
The background, while uncluttered, doesn’t contribute to the message.
There is no foreground. Notice how uncomfortably close that makes you feel?
Eyeline is low, causing a little too much headroom.
Result? Message, while earnest, makes us work hard to receive it.
But with some attention to a few basics, how the picture changes!
A huge amount of progress.
Let us count the ways:
Exposure is correct.
Focus is sharp.
Eyeline at the right level, making headroom correct.
Background clean with a splash of color on the wall to make us feel comfortable.
Foreground says New Zealand
Props are right at hand.
Projects a calm, assured professionalism.
Everyone a winner!!
B-Roll is good
In the mini-documentary, you need lots and lots of b-roll. B-roll is video that isn’t part of the main action, so maybe it’s not really fair to call it b-roll now, because it’s about to be very important to the action.
You don’t say!
Well, if you don’t have b-roll, you might as well not say. In the interview portion of the mini-doc, you get answers to questions. Those answers form the basis of what you will shoot to support those answers. Let’s look at an example.
The Dentist’s Office
Looking back at our dentist who seeks patients who want to be valued, b-roll might be him spending time with his patients as he discusses them. It might be a warm and friendly staff making them feel welcome. It might be the building itself exuding its own personality. It might even be the patients themselves speaking about their experiences.
Yes, we should stop calling these shots b-roll and start calling them rolled gold, because without them, the video would be much poorer.
We’re about to see our dentist in action, but before we do, let’s make sure we get the sound just right. And it isn’t difficult if you know a few things. What few things? Click over to Part 3 right now and find out!
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©2011 BrainyVideo. All Rights Reserved.
Article written by Steven Washer
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