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Old July 17th, 2008, 04:08 AM   #1
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How Do You Brainstorm, Plan, Shoot, & Edit A "Save The Date" Teaser?

I just spent the last hour reading through the first page of search results for anything with "save the date" in it and I have yet to find a topic covering this.

I am planning my first STD shoot for this weekend and I thought I would share my work flow and see what ya'll think. Yes this STD is a freebee, also because it is my first STD). I already am pretty sure I'm trying to do too much ahead of time and that I should be a bit more "organic" when I film these..... however. I shooting two MIT engineers, I think the appreciate shot lists, scenes, takes, prop lists, etc.

Step #1: Bounce Ideas
I emailed the couple a few times over the past week to bounce ideas off them and see what they thought. I offered up some of the ideas I've seen used here (I hope I don't offend anyone by doing that). I gave them somewhere around 10 ideas, all of which I think would make great STDs.

Step #2: Meet & Plan
We kind of did a "what things do you both enjoy doing" brainstorming, as well as trying to tie in events from the engagement (because I also know this couple personally I was able to offer up some interesting suggestions to get the creative juices flowing). After bouncing some ideas around, we passed on the pure "plot" ideas (things like he is fighting traffic to meet her in the park, etc) and instead opted for a hybrid story based / hobby showcase theme.

We picked out the hobbies to be highlighted, and then bounced around ideas for how to present those hobbies. After deciding on the hobbies, I got down into the shoot details. They are both MIT engineers after all, so they like planning details. We did a start to finish scene list, with most major plot related sections spelled out in loose detail (ie how to transition between the activities).

Then I went over location options and we decided on a shoot order. Then we discussed props & wardrobe and made their homework lists so they can come with what they need for the shoot.

Lastly we discussed music ideas. I won't be restricting myself to the licensed tunes.... because I have come to the conclusion that it just is not feasible to do on the up and up. I think it would literally kill my business if I had to use Magnatune or Cinescore for everything. Who wants to listen to cinescores as the main themes? ugh.

And finally we discussed run time length. I think what we have planned will have lots of action so the potential ~3 minute run time will be acceptable, since there are lots of story elements and several locations / scenes.

Step #3: Story Boarding
On the drive back from the meeting, I visualized each scene and then decided in my head what I wanted to see, while I dictated to my ever patient wife (major shot out to her for humoring me on this one tonight).

I was deciding things like
  • Scene 1 - Shot 1: wide angle or fish eye - empty setting for the arrival"
  • Scene 1 - Shot 2: low angle wide - showing two cars pulling up to curb, license plates visible."

etc etc. Pretty detailed list of exactly what I thought I wanted to see and in what order.

Step #4: Location Shot Lists
Combine the shots that need to be taken


Step #5: Equipment
I plan to get a rough equipment list if I think any shots have unusual requirements (ie to fake having a jib, etc).


So if you read this far, then you must either be bored, or actually interested. Which leads me to my questions.....

1) Is this too much detail to plan out for "just a STD" shoot?

2) Is it just fine because I doing a STD that is somewhat story driven?

3) What process did YOU use for your STD shoots? Organic "show up and shoot them having fun? Some planning, but mostly go with the flow? Or plot driven, specific shots in mind? Or crazy like I am with story boards, shot lists, etc?

4) Will this even work for non-engineer type couples? Hek, I don't know how they will take a several hour shoot, though the good news is that they will be enjoying one of their favorite activities, just with a spy with a camera runnign around getting specific shots.


As far as how much time I think this will take, I think story boarding will take 3 hours, the meetings took 2 (all told), shooting could take 5hrs, and editing another 10 (possibly). I am going a little high on my estimates because I just don't know what to expect.

One thing is for sure, I can see how getting a good scripted & story boarded video plan written down and then using it later for other couples would be very, very helpful.

Thanks in advance for your input & ideas.

Last edited by Jason Robinson; July 18th, 2008 at 01:55 AM.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 04:45 AM   #2
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Hey Jason,

Looks pretty thorough to me. For your first one I don't think there's any such thing as over-planning it - you want it to be awesome if you're going to showcase it to potential clients in the future. Just make sure you leave room for spontaneity on the day of the shoot - you don't want to be 100% locked into your plan if something cooler presents itself on the day.

I could possibly imagine non-engineer couples being intimated by that much detail in the planning process. Plus, the other thing to consider for future ones is what you'd charge for a similar Save the Date video - i.e. Will you be able to charge what it is worth to put in that much time and effort?

Also make sure that the couple is aware of how long the shoot with take so that they are prepared. No point in having an awesome script/storyboard if they run out of puff after an hour of shooting.

Anyway, that's what popped into my head as I read your post. Can't wait to see it!

Cheers,

Matthew.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 05:55 AM   #3
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Hey Jason,

Looks pretty thorough to me. For your first one I don't think there's any such thing as over-planning it - you want it to be awesome if you're going to showcase it to potential clients in the future. Just make sure you leave room for spontaneity on the day of the shoot - you don't want to be 100% locked into your plan if something cooler presents itself on the day.

I could possibly imagine non-engineer couples being intimated by that much detail in the planning process. Plus, the other thing to consider for future ones is what you'd charge for a similar Save the Date video - i.e. Will you be able to charge what it is worth to put in that much time and effort?

Also make sure that the couple is aware of how long the shoot with take so that they are prepared. No point in having an awesome script/storyboard if they run out of puff after an hour of shooting.

Anyway, that's what popped into my head as I read your post. Can't wait to see it!

Cheers,

Matthew.
Yeah the groom is actually a good friend of mine. He ran a 1/2 marathon while juggling 3 balls.... the entire way. He isn't likely to run out of energy. Patience might be first, but not energy.

I figure I'll plan and shoot it this way, then see how that worked. As far as what to charge..... that is a tough question. Travis and I have talked many times about the problems our market has in selling video. I may just add it to my packages and raise them all a bit. OR just use it as a loss leader to bring in someone who wouldn't have otherwise booked.

I don't know what the market will bear because I have never had a sampel to show someone. It is kind of hard to sell something when there is no sample for them to check out.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 06:38 AM   #4
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He ran a 1/2 marathon while juggling 3 balls.... the entire way.
Ahhh...memories....
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Old July 17th, 2008, 01:34 PM   #5
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Ahhh...memories....
heh..... you are also crazy? :-) The only thing crazier, would have bee to run it beside him with a steadicam to record the entire process. THAT would be crazy.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 04:29 PM   #6
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Well the shoot is done and despite 110 degree temperatures (on a tennis court) I think it was a success. I story boarded the first scene pretty closely, the second very loosely, and the third not at all (it was designed to be pretty spontaneous any way). We cut the 4th scene due to time and fatigue (all three of us were starting to border on heat stroke)

Footage forth coming, though you can check out my first published use of the Glidecam 4000 at this thread. I had use of two GL2s for the weekend (rented one) so I left one on the Glidecam and the other on my tripod and switched as needed. The glidecam actually mandates two cameras (or QR plates & QR plate receivers) so that was the only way I was able to shoot both types of shots.
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Old July 24th, 2008, 06:12 PM   #7
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Well the shoot is done
Cool! Looking forward to seeing it.
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Old July 27th, 2008, 05:36 PM   #8
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Samples

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Cool! Looking forward to seeing it.
I've posted some clips completely uncut and untouched (Clip #1 & #2) and I am uploading a rough cut clip #3 with scenes 1 & 2 mostly in order. Don't view the clips if you don't want to spoil the plot. If you want to see a polished production, go here. If you want to see some real rough footage, then take a look. No CC work yet, no audio work yet, but some soundtracks are laid down (with tracks from Rosinni, Beethoven, Miller, & Anderson). I know no one will believe this but I cut ALL the audio before I touched any soundtrack and I promise you I did NOT time video cuts to the opening soundtrack. I only lined up the music to the first serve and parts before and after just lined up so well!

Only Scene 3 remains to get on the time line and it might be less than 1/4 the entire project.

At the request of the couple, I am making a long edit first. Potentially 5 minutes or more. They wanted as much of the footage included in as possible, so I'm not cutting it down near as much as I would for a normal Save The Date "Teaser" I'll have to call this one a Save The Date "Featurette" even through the term featurette is used in America to represent a production that is 20-40 minutes in length, instead of 5 minutes. As far as what I would charge for this, hard to say. I've put in easily 30 hrs of editing in the past 3 days (empty house for a weekend allows for lots of work), there was 6 hrs of driving, shooting, and driving, and about 15 hrs of planning & pre-production meetings. I doubt I'll ever see a client that would pay the ~$1000 I would want for a scripted & story boarded 5 minute production.

Like I said, this was experimental, in many ways.

Note that we ARE NOT aiming for a DVInfo targeted production (ie, like the high end modern wedding productions usually seen here). I left the visible tripod in a few background shots because they couple wanted a longer production, and because this is not a touchy feely overly romantic piece (not that I am against those sort of productions, just not my style).

This is very cheesy and very fun..... and that is my style. No one that uses a Leroy Anderson piece called The Waltzing Cat is overly concerned with style. :-)

Last edited by Jason Robinson; July 27th, 2008 at 06:38 PM.
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Old July 30th, 2008, 12:11 AM   #9
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Hey Jason,

I check out the videos you uploaded ... for some reason the longer clips only played for about a minute and then cut out just as the guy was about to serve the ball.

What I saw looked good, made me laugh and made me want to see more - your cutting between scenes was very seamless. I could really see all your planning showing through.

Totally know what you mean about figuring out what to charge for something like this. For the hours you've put in I'd have to charge $5K plus to justify it.

One idea could be to charge a premium price for this type of production so that it's worth your time to do it but offer a 2nd and much simpler 'Save the Date' product for a more realistic price. That way people at least can make the comparison and who knows ... someone might just pay the premium price one day for the premium 'Save the Date'.

Either way, this will be a cool thing to add to your portfolio - even if nobody purchases it - just putting it out there for people to see will make you look better.

I'd like to see the finished product once you're done.

Cheers,

Matthew.
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Old July 30th, 2008, 12:33 PM   #10
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Hey Jason,

I check out the videos you uploaded ... for some reason the longer clips only played for about a minute and then cut out just as the guy was about to serve the ball.
Thanks for checking it out (someone has been, the hit counter is up to 96 and I estimate that only 20-30 are me checking the hit counter.) :-)

I am working feverishly to prepare the finished version for hte bride's bridal shower tonight. Talk about my target market!

Also, the clips up on the site should have Scenes 1 & 2. I might have incorrectly named them and uploaded the wrong file, so I'll check again. I'm cutting scene 3 now and will hopefully have 1 & 2 uploaded shortly.

Now, how about color. I've been trying to figure out how to stylize this shoot visually. I have VASST Ultimate S pro so I could apply the "romance" filter for the rose garden scenes and get that look (it is a little cheesy and canned). I was also thinking it might be good to try some sort of slight blur and blowing out the whites a little...
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Old July 30th, 2008, 12:40 PM   #11
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Hey Jason,
I check out the videos you uploaded ... for some reason the longer clips only played for about a minute and then cut out just as the guy was about to serve the ball.
Clip (was #6, now correctly named #5) should have all of scenes 1 & 2.
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Old July 31st, 2008, 11:22 AM   #12
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Delivered - Clients Loved it

I delivered the long version (~5minutes) to the clients for the bride's bridal shower, which my wife happened to also be attending (I had her pass out lots of business cards naturally).

The client's liked it, so the production was a success. Now I just need to cut it down to around 2 minutes to be more suitable for internet viewing. I'm rendering the small frame WMV right now, and I'll post it to the site when it is completed.

I'm a little concerned about the CC work. I checked all the colors with my broadcast monitor and everything looked pretty good (some scenes had too much contrast). But when I watched it on my client's TV, the colors looked too saturated. I suppose that is the pitfall warned about with consumer TVs, that they tend to be overly saturated.

Is there any good way to compensate for this in post (I'm using Vegas)?
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Old August 1st, 2008, 12:31 PM   #13
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Full length version posted. Now to cut it down to 2-3 minutes. Comments on CC work very much appreciated. I did not apply any "looks" to the footage other than trying for accurate colors and a little bit more vibrant greens & reds in the rose garden.
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Old August 1st, 2008, 01:09 PM   #14
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Full length version posted.
doesn't seem to work for me but it sounds fantastic, cant wait to see it .
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Old August 1st, 2008, 01:12 PM   #15
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doesn't seem to work for me but it sounds fantastic, cant wait to see it .
what specifically doesn't work? Clip #6 link? or the page that forwards you on?

The entire clip is now up on Vimeo.com for maximum compatibility, and to save my bandwidth.

Last edited by Jason Robinson; August 2nd, 2008 at 01:59 AM.
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