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Old April 13th, 2016, 11:08 PM   #46
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Re: Was Asked to Shoot Commercial...

Second spot similar to the first. It's a decent spot, but trying to make a :30 out of four different locations of the same two guys talking to each other while wearing the same outfits is an exercise in futility.

I do video for a Fortune 50 company whose entire product line isn't tangible. All they have are offices all over the world with grey walls and tan desks and glass partitions. When shooting for them I have to be sure not to bring anything sharp, lest I give up mid-day and slit my wrists. You, sir, are shooting at a beautiful university with a student center and classrooms and football fields and pep rallies and dorms and pillow fights and whatever else uni students do. The story is that Mordecai and Eli forged a great relationship at UC, not that they only know each other. Eli has a right to do things outside of Mordecai. Show him studying. Partying. In class. Jogging. Running for class president. Moving in to the dorms. Graduating. Rooting for the football team. Still, show him and Mordecai having a great relationship, but show some other stuff too. You could even show Mordecai grading papers or something. Just something other than the two of them.

If you're going with the campus shot at the end of the soccer one, you can use the same campus shot at the end of this one. Consistency and all. Plus, it'd help diversify the visual storyline.

This is super duper minor but if I was titling them I'd call them by student name first. Eli and Mordecai.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brock Burwell View Post
I put the website and our logo on the bottom to see which one looks best. My boss likes them both, but I don't know if they both need to be included in the final version. Suggestions on that as well would be helpful.
One or the other, not both. If he insists on both, stack them on one side, don't put them on opposite sides. I prefer my bugs on the right.


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Old April 14th, 2016, 10:05 AM   #47
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Re: Was Asked to Shoot Commercial...

i have nothing to add to this thread, because this is already a great example of how excellent, helpful, and civil this forum is, and why its one that i frequent more often than most. Great work on both sides of the camera and computers.

cheers
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Old April 14th, 2016, 12:53 PM   #48
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Re: Was Asked to Shoot Commercial...

Regarding the two logos, I would give a strong, "No."

Why? Think of movie making as storytelling. And think of the best storytelling - around the campfire. A great storyteller gives a clear sequence of events, one at a time. At most, they will say, "meanwhile..." when they shift to a parallel line, but it's still one thing to perceive at a time. We hang on every word. A distraction (Squirrel!) kills the mood and lowers comprehension.

One "bug" is okay as it's static and brands the piece. Two bugs makes it hard to know where to look and threatens to distract from the piece.

Think of a great scene. One person talks at a time. A dog barks. The man looks away. The woman moves her hand slowly toward the gun. Lighting crashes. The lights go out. We hear a shot. One thing at a time. The director knows exactly what sequence of events that the viewer will perceive. They direct our attention with shallow DOF, lines of convergence, color, contrast, motion, framing, and sound.

Consider these two ways of writing a name:

charlie BROWN
cBhRaOrWlNie

One thing at a time.

If you really want people to notice the name of the university and the URL, tell the story with one small static bug, Zoom into the logo at the end. Transition from the logo to the URL over white. The viewer will see the story, the logo, and then the URL. Direct the attention to what you want them to see. On the other hand, with story, logo, and URL all sharing space and time, you have no idea of the viewer's train of thought. And if they read the URL and try to memorize it during your story, they will have missed the story.

Having shot promotional and instructional pieces here at a research lab, I'm often asked to put multiple charts, data, and text on the screen at one time. And I often have to persuade smart, well-intentioned, senior people not to do this. After explaining the single thread concept, I find it's effective to ask how important the item is...

If the URL really matters, show it alone at the end. If it's not important enough to warrant a few seconds as a focal point, then it's not important enough to have on the screen during the story.

This might be the most important lesson I've learned for effective storytelling. My challenge is to clearly implement it in video, comics, music, presentations, leading meetings, writing and even just speaking.

Best of luck!
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Old April 14th, 2016, 03:14 PM   #49
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Re: Was Asked to Shoot Commercial...

To punctuate Jon's point, there is no one who is sitting halfway through the spot, anxiously wondering "How on earth could I learn more about this fine learning institution?". They're waiting until the end.
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Old April 14th, 2016, 05:16 PM   #50
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Re: Was Asked to Shoot Commercial...

Learning quite a lot about story telling from this thread ! nice.
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Old April 15th, 2016, 07:04 PM   #51
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Re: Was Asked to Shoot Commercial...

James,

If you are interested in taking your Storytelling, get the book... Story, by Robert McKee. It breaks down all the elements, specifically for feature films.

That said, story in a comic strip or conversation is much simpler than for a feature. You don't need ten pages of introduction, a dramatic question, crucible, etc. All you really need is a sequence of events.

For instance, this isn't a story (except in the most abstract interpretation): Space ship. Toenail. Mountain. Paperclip. It's a sequence, but the items don't really relate or relate to the progression of time. Now add a voiceover that says, "These items seem unrelated, but are they?" Now we've added a dramatic question that can be answered. Maybe it is a story.

Time sequences are easier: A man walks into a corner store. The beer shelf is empty... Now we have time as well as a problem. (What? No beer!)

The story in Brock's first ad is: A foreign student arrives at the University of Charleston. The coach and university welcomes him. A friendship is forged. If you attend this school, the same can happen for you. The story is told a bit out of order - as a flashback, really, told from a first person perspective by the two participants. There's no real dramatic question and it's not in linear time. It really comes down to the message: "The University of Charleston is welcoming and friendly."

Thinking about it, we join the two subjects at the end of Act III. They look back and tell you about what happened from Act I (unsure about what school to attend), Act II (choosing and going to the school) and the climax (overcoming the transition), and then we get the resolution: they've made an enduring friendship. You can too.

Frankly, this is a brilliant little script. It boils the whole thing down to just a few clips and less than 30 seconds. It's clear, concise, and the message is on-point.

Anyway, check out that Robert McKee book. I've read it a few times and it's about time that I read it yet again.
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Old April 15th, 2016, 07:16 PM   #52
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Re: Was Asked to Shoot Commercial...

Brock: Regarding the audio...

There is a bit more work to do. I listened to it again closely. The coach's lines go from very full, "That's what makes the UoC a special place" to medium, "I'm able to go from...", to thin and quiet, "Everyday is a new chance..."

In addition to tweaking the gain from sentence to sentence, you'll want to adjust the EQ. The first range to reach for is around 200-250 Hz. (Use a smooth curve here, not sharp cuts or boosts.) This is the voice fundamental. It makes the difference between boomy and thin. In general, this is the first thing I reach for when mixing dialog. This can vary based on the placement or distance from the mic. In addition, it can vary based on different people. Sometimes, I need to thicken the voice of the weaker dialog and dial back the voice of the deeper speaker to get the two people to sound like they are on the same level and in the same place.

Fortunately, neither subject overpowers the other, but from line to line the coach varied quite a bit. The player had some variation too, but it was smaller. Oh, and there seemed to be a bit of HVAC noise during the coach's last line. Level it out, do a small touch of cleanup and it should sound great!
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Old April 17th, 2016, 08:28 AM   #53
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Re: Was Asked to Shoot Commercial...

Thanks Jon,

Do you have any suggestions on articles or videos to watch to better learn how to edit audio in FCPX? Because I'm not really sure where I would be using a "smooth curve" or HVAC noise.
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Old April 17th, 2016, 08:46 AM   #54
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Re: Was Asked to Shoot Commercial...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brock Burwell View Post
Do you have any suggestions on articles or videos to watch to better learn how to edit audio in FCPX? Because I'm not really sure where I would be using a "smooth curve" or HVAC noise.
Jon is just showing off. He means apply the EQ effect and makes sure it's smoothly curved, but really just add EQ and select a preset that sounds nice to you in a good pair of headphones. And HVAC is just a fancy term for the air conditioning noise, which I don't even think is noticible enough to be worth messing with and ultimately effecting the tonality of the voices.
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Old April 17th, 2016, 01:29 PM   #55
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Re: Was Asked to Shoot Commercial...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
James,

If you are interested in taking your Storytelling, get the book... Story, by Robert McKee. It breaks down all the elements, specifically for feature films.

That said, story in a comic strip or conversation is much simpler than for a feature. You don't need ten pages of introduction, a dramatic question, crucible, etc. All you really need is a sequence of events.

For instance, this isn't a story (except in the most abstract interpretation): Space ship. Toenail. Mountain. Paperclip. It's a sequence, but the items don't really relate or relate to the progression of time. Now add a voiceover that says, "These items seem unrelated, but are they?" Now we've added a dramatic question that can be answered. Maybe it is a story.

Time sequences are easier: A man walks into a corner store. The beer shelf is empty... Now we have time as well as a problem. (What? No beer!)

The story in Brock's first ad is: A foreign student arrives at the University of Charleston. The coach and university welcomes him. A friendship is forged. If you attend this school, the same can happen for you. The story is told a bit out of order - as a flashback, really, told from a first person perspective by the two participants. There's no real dramatic question and it's not in linear time. It really comes down to the message: "The University of Charleston is welcoming and friendly."

Thinking about it, we join the two subjects at the end of Act III. They look back and tell you about what happened from Act I (unsure about what school to attend), Act II (choosing and going to the school) and the climax (overcoming the transition), and then we get the resolution: they've made an enduring friendship. You can too.

Frankly, this is a brilliant little script. It boils the whole thing down to just a few clips and less than 30 seconds. It's clear, concise, and the message is on-point.

Anyway, check out that Robert McKee book. I've read it a few times and it's about time that I read it yet again.
Thank you for recommending that book. Will buy it very soon!
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Old April 17th, 2016, 03:21 PM   #56
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Re: Was Asked to Shoot Commercial...

What a great thread. These guys are spot on with all of the advise. My two cents:

In Chris and Will the black background shots fall flat. they need back lighting from both sides for separation. These days that back lighting should be there but not to dramatic. If its dramatic people will say you lit it like a video guy. They have that slightly under exposed look. Yet later you shot a black gentleman in a dark coat against the same background and nailed the exposure. I suspect they weren't shot on the same day and you set up twice?

To add something not mentioned yet, as soon as you said you were going to shoot in a studio I had a concern I should have mentioned. With the lowball budget they gave you I figured you would not have a hair and makeup artist. And with your experience level you might not understand their important role. The second Eli hit the screen for his interview shot the first place my eye went was to the highlight on his early receding hairline. The eye often goes to the brightest spot in an image. And in this case you highlighted something he maybe self conscience about. An experienced hair and makeup person would have spotted that highlight even if you did not. They would have knocked that highlight back in a heartbeat. The importance of a good hair and makeup artist is often misunderstood. No one should have to shoot in a studio without one. The misunderstanding is that they are there to make people look "pretty", the reality is they are also there to make your lighting work. Lights, cameras, and nerves make people sweat. Lighting that may have looked good at set up can dramatically fall apart as the shoot goes on. Your hair and makeup person is there to help you deal with that. Sweat or oily skin can make the most confident person in the world look nervous and ruin their delivery. Also keep in mind a cosmetology licence does not qualify one to be a video set hair and makeup artist. Their is a big difference between a cosmetologist and someone with experience working as a crew member on live video shoots. The good news is that they are not really very expensive, especially considering their worth there weight in gold.

Both videos need a pass where your looking at nothing but exposure and making adjustments for consistency in contrast and saturation. I am not talking about major color grading. I am talking about the basics of keeping the look consistent from one shot to the next. Consistency in the "look" from one shot to the next is the sign of a professional. When you make those passes turn the audio OFF so you can concentrate on the look.

Great job Brock. It has been fun to watch your career develop over the last couple of years. As hard as you try to learn you will come out of these four reels a much better producer. I know guys that would kill to be gaining this kind of experience and collecting a paycheck for it.

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Old April 17th, 2016, 05:18 PM   #57
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Re: Was Asked to Shoot Commercial...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
Brock: Regarding the audio...

There is a bit more work to do. I listened to it again closely. The coach's lines go from very full, "That's what makes the UoC a special place" to medium, "I'm able to go from...", to thin and quiet, "Everyday is a new chance..."

In addition to tweaking the gain from sentence to sentence, you'll want to adjust the EQ. The first range to reach for is around 200-250 Hz. (Use a smooth curve here, not sharp cuts or boosts.) This is the voice fundamental. It makes the difference between boomy and thin. In general, this is the first thing I reach for when mixing dialog. This can vary based on the placement or distance from the mic. In addition, it can vary based on different people. Sometimes, I need to thicken the voice of the weaker dialog and dial back the voice of the deeper speaker to get the two people to sound like they are on the same level and in the same place.

Fortunately, neither subject overpowers the other, but from line to line the coach varied quite a bit. The player had some variation too, but it was smaller. Oh, and there seemed to be a bit of HVAC noise during the coach's last line. Level it out, do a small touch of cleanup and it should sound great!
Turns out everything was the exact same on both audio clips so I was very confused about why it sounded that way. I heard it too. But, go figure, I had the audio on the second clip turned down -4, which was giving it that thin sound. I adjusted it and it sounds normal now.

I also put on my headphones, muted the music and listened to it and I did hear the background noise you were referring to. I think it was actually one of the big soft boxes we were using. I used the background noise removal tool in FCPX and that took it away nicely. I didn't notice much, if at all, a difference between the voice before and after doing that, so I'm keeping it as is. Good advice
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