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Old May 15th, 2009, 12:03 PM   #1
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Promo Video for Local Company - Review Welcomed

We shot this short promo video for a local assisted living center. I'd love to hear any feedback (good or bad). Thanks!

Spring Creek Manor Promo Video on Vimeo
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Old May 15th, 2009, 01:37 PM   #2
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I think it was great travis! although assisted living is not the most "fun" subject matter, you did a great job of creating a relaxing and informative promo for the facility. I would probably put some contact info for the home in there as well maybe (phone #, address, email and website if applicable). I guess that depends on if it is just for their website or to be disseminated as an advertising tool. Interviews were good and well lit, audio was nice and clear. Shot choices were excellent, glide track shots were way cool. Color was nicely done as well, u using magic bullet??
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Old May 15th, 2009, 02:16 PM   #3
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Thanks Brendan. Glad you liked it. I've held off on the contact info because I want to clarify what the client wants on there, but it's good that you mentioned it. Thanks for watching and commenting!
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Old May 15th, 2009, 02:40 PM   #4
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Great work

Travis, you've set the bar really high as far as quality is concerned - so I'll give you a high level critique.
The glide shots are terrific (you've mastered these - something I've failed to do so far) and very atmospheric as is the coloring.
The clarity of the shots and pacing is great too.
I have just watched the film with the sound off - in order to concentrate on the visuals.
What struck me was 'why did you leave some of the great shots until last?'.
It's a story about old people (hey, I'm slowly turning into one myself!) not a very sexy subject - but you had some very appealing material with people enjoying themselves, interacting, playing card etc - and structurally I would have placed these at the top of the film, to grab attention.
I was also left with no real understanding of the layout or geography of the place - what would have helped, I think, would have been a wide establishing shot at the start - just to let me, the viewer, know where we are.
As I said, I didn't hear the content of the interviews but a. the main guy was shot in a slightly different manner and that looked a little out of place with the rest of the interview clips; b. are there no male residents (maybe it was exclusively a women only place)? and c. the interview clips looked a little too long. Unless they were saying something exceptional I would have been tempted to cut them back, or at least overlayed them with some shots of the facilities, building,residents etc.
And what you don't appear to have are any sequences - by that I mean a sequence of shots illustrating the same element - i.e. mid shot of women playing cards, close-up of her face, cut-away to a close-up of her hands, back to close shot (perhaps from a different angle) of her face.
Overall, the film looks stunning, but as a story or narrative there are a couple of things that could be improved/enhanced if time and resources allowed.
Keep in mind, I don't know what deadlines etc you were faced with, so you might in fact have done a brilliant piece of work considering the circumstances.
As I say overall, I think it looks great, and please take my comments in the spirit they are intended. Hey, all my shoots and edits could be significantly improved with hindsight (and a Hollywood budget!) - and I'm always striving to improve quality and story-telling (but not always succeeding).

Sean
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Old May 15th, 2009, 06:37 PM   #5
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Sean, thank you so much for an outstanding critique of the piece. I really can't say enough about the time you took and the detail that you went into. Much appreciated. I'm just going to take a minute to share why I made the decisions I did. Just keep in mind that I'm not saying that anything you said was wrong at all.

More than anything I wanted this to be a piece that was focused on people. This is why you didn't see more 'inanimate money shots' near the beginning. I wanted to get into a dialogue with people as soon as possible.

I avoided using an establishing shot of the building in the beginning for a few reasons, one of which is the simple fact that 'Spring Creek' is actually 8 different locations and they all look different. I didn't want to sell this one location too much. I also ran into some issues with timing that precluded the use of an establishing shot in the beginning. And honestly, part of me wanted to avoid that cliche of having to show the building, since this piece was meant to be about people and not a particular place. I can understand the issue you mentioned with wanting to know where you were, though.

I saved the shots of the ladies playing cards and whatnot until later in the video because that's where I used the activity director's clip. So that material fit well with her, and honestly her clip was a bit long at just over a minute so I wanted to break it up. I thought it would look odd to have the ladies playing games earlier in the video as well as later in the video. As for having more shots of the ladies playing games, you make a good point and it really just comes down to how the day went. That part of the shoot was impromptu and some of the ladies present hadn't signed releases so it was a tricky shoot (not to mention the space and lighting issues in that room). I was lucky I got what I got, lol.

The main guy was shot outdoors, in front of the location. I actually used 2 cameras with him as well, one being a beautiful wide shot that incorporated the Spring Creek stone sign. The trouble was that when I wanted to cut to him it just didn't look right to cut to a wide shot, because that destroyed the intimacy I was going for. Thus the close-up only shots.

Good question about male residents .. it's not a female-only place but there just weren't any males at this location. I guess it's true that we tend to die off first. d;-)

The interviews with the residents were DIFFICULT. I get that some of them were a bit long and maybe didn't have the most impactful information, but trust me when I say you saw the best of the best. Half of the ladies we interviewed didn't even understand what was going on, and others would just go on and on about their life history. To top it off, the lady who was supposed to conduct the interviews had to back out due to a family emergency, so I had to have an employee conduct the interviews .. and she didn't know what she was doing.

We actually had to re-shoot the owner interview a few days later because he refused to let us develop a script for the initial interview. Second time around, when he let us do our thing, it went much better.

Anyways, thanks again for an amazing critique. I really appreciate the time and energy you put into it. If you don't read all of what I just wrote, I won't blame you. d;-)
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Old May 15th, 2009, 06:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendan Donohue View Post
Color was nicely done as well, u using magic bullet??
I didn't realize I didn't answer this. Sorry! I just used the standard 3-way-color filter within Final Cut Pro for color grading.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 01:19 AM   #7
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Very nicely done indeed. I alsothought some of the resident interviews ran a tad ong... wonder how they would look fading into one another in a shortened version?

Was their any teleprompter used?

You ARE a master with the slider. Well set up and executed.

Very high production values. Good sound as well. Boomed or lav's ? Mind sharing which of either you used ?
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Old May 25th, 2009, 10:20 PM   #8
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Perhaps I should have just used a few less resident interviews to shorten that portion. I decided to err on the side of having more residents to build greater authenticity for the piece.

Thanks for the compliments, by the way.

Audio was recorded a few different ways. For the residents and the staff member I used an Azden boom mic on a stand, with a lav mic secured to the stand as well for backup. For the owner interview I did the same and also put a lav on the owner so we had triple sound. The owner interview was a huge challenge because we did it on a street corner and had to wait for breaks in traffic to get the lines. Ended up having to shoot it on two different days.

I've got a pic of the resident setup. I'll try and post it on here at some point.
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