Blake Barnett's Posts (13)

What does a video production company do?

In essence, a video production company is an organization of experienced creative and technical professionals who apply a diverse range of skills to take your product, song, event or script from inception to a finished video. This is not always as simple as it sounds and often takes a number of highly trained individuals a certain amount of time to execute properly: But when it works, it can be magic.

3-Step Production Process

Pre-production, or pre-pro, is the first phase and is where the video begins to take shape. By developing a script, and in some cases a storyboard, we create a road map containing the information necessary to produce the video. This is the phase when a number of important decisions are made, such as the production schedule, crew selection, shooting list, location options, casting choices, which props, wardrobe and picture vehicles will be needed. Basically anything which appears, as a noun in the script must be available on set in time for the shoot.

Production is the second phase: All the hard work, which can often last weeks in preparation and planning, is put into action at this time. Production is when the recording of visual and audio elements takes place and is typically the shortest and most intense phase of the video production process.

Post-production is the final phase: This is when all the various elements, footage, audio tracks, music scores, sound effects, animation, and graphics come together to form one cohesive piece. This is often a different team from the pre-pro and production crews. We depend on editors and audio engineers with in-depth knowledge of the editing and special effects process and technology to post the video. Post-production often takes just as long, if not longer, than the rest of the production process. It can also be quite costly if Computer Generate Imagery (CGI) is needed.

Following several rounds of revisions the client approves the video and the final product or “deliverables” are uploaded to the appropriate FTP servers, broadcast stations or websites as specified for delivery. The entire project and its elements are usually backed up for several years so that sometime down the line changes can be made to the video or the footage can be recycled for other uses.

For more information please contact one of our producers to discuss your next video production project further.

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TV Show Production

WE GOT A SHOW! We are excited to announce we are making a show called The Disappointing Life of Cassie Starr for #Candivan, a new social streaming platform for creator-centric web television series’. We are one of five Candivan Original Shows to be selected. Not only that, but we’re the first! Candivan is launching this summer and we’re pumped to be in on it.

This comedy deals with big expectations and dashed hopes – something we can all relate to. The team we have assembled for the series is all-star and has been part of many successful shows including Girl Code, Funny or Die, and Epic Meal Time, and been involved with UCB Los Angeles, and more.

We can’t wait for you to see this story of Cassie Starr a former star, who after moving back to her hometown, must decide what to do with her life. She used to be on Broadway. She used to be on Television. She was in two movies. But Cassie Starr is starting to realize that she’s no longer a star and maybe never was.

YESS! WOMEN CAN BE ANTI-HEROES TOO
The actress, writer, and comedian known best for her work on MTV’s Girl Code is Shalyah Evans. She is the wonderful series lead who plays Cassie Starr. Shalyah is excited to get personal with and tell the story of a female anti-hero.

“Cassie’s ego should make her unlikable,” she told Candivan, “but you still want her to succeed. I think it’s important to see women in that role. Not just the ingenue, or the villain, but as a complex person with flaws and unpleasantness who is still worthy of empathy and maybe some redemption.”

SAD BUT TRUE: DISAPPOINTMENT IS UNIVERSAL
We’ve all had moments in life when things just don’t work out the way they seem they should, right?

“Disappointment is just the other side of the coin of triumph,” says award-winning director and cinematographer Justin McAleece who is a creator and director of the show. “It’s going to not only be fun to see Cassie deal with that big old ball of emotion and comic landscape, but it will hopefully be cathartic for the audience as well.”

DON’T BE DISAPPOINTED, HELP CANDIVAN LAUNCH!
The Disappointing Life of Cassie Starr, and many other great series, will only exist if Candivan successfully launches. You can help make this happen! Subscribe to the Candivan mailing list here, and stay tuned for more trailers and the Candivan Kickstarter campaign, coming very soon!

HERE IT IS: THE TRAILER! LIKE IT, SHARE IT, LOVE IT, TELL YOUR FRIENDS

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Producing corporate videos is a means of driving revenue and telling stories that is still the backbone of many businesses worldwide. There is often the need to show new employees what they will be doing on the job, produce company profiles that have a mission statement and proposition or create a slick one-off video to highlight a new product or service. Broadcast and online commercials are two of the ways in which corporations convey their image to potential customers, and let them know about their services. Event documentation videos can give the viewer an exciting first-person view of a large trade show, or other informational conference. These are just a few of the ways in which companies can reach out to the world, but when you are creating content like this, there are plenty of mistakes you can make along the way.

This blog post is our way of providing a blueprint to use as guidance when the task of corporate video production finally lands on your desk. Don’t lose too much sleep or get too worried, as the finished product is going to ultimately be a great sales and marketing tool that could last at least a few years. Here are some tips that will help you navigate the task, and hopefully lead you to an ideal corporate video for your target audience and target messaging.

1. Consider Age-appropriate Content At All Times


Many companies who are generally successful, have made the mistake of thinking that someone in their mid 20’s is going to be their best spokesperson for cosmetic appeal. If you feel that your target market is 50 and up, don’t be afraid to have someone in that age group as the talent. In the long run, the customers in your demographic will see you as more legitimate, and knowledgeable.

2. Speed Limits Sign ahead: From Concept To Reality


Pre-production is the part of the process where abstract ideas and messages are turned into actionable scripts and plans. Be sure not to shortchange yourself when it comes to the time needed to fully flesh out an idea and ensure that it will be successful across all platforms. If you allow just a few extra brainstorming sessions for your concept to breathe, you will have a much better chance of getting to the finish line without have to utter the dreaded, “oh yeah, I never thought of that.”

3. The Crowded Marketplace Vs. Your Vision


Let’s face it, there are production companies everywhere. (Well, maybe not as many as that one huge coffee chain we all partake from!) It is essential to find the one that can best evoke your story, without being too heavy-handed or missing the point of what you’re really trying to say. Take the time to look for the video production company that will hone in on your product or service and tell the story with depth.

4. To Drone, or not to Drone?


Aerial photography has become more and more popular over the last few years: gadgets such as the DJI Phantom have stepped up the game with what can be accomplished with a viewpoint from above. But before you jump in right away and run to the launch-pad, just take an extra minute to think. Telling the story you have to share may very well include a vision from overhead, but taking the time to decide how to incorporate aerial footage in a new and exciting way can be the difference between just another overhead view and something that allows your video to truly shine.

5. Keep Close Tabs on the Measuring Cup of Info


This is a variable where you definitely need a professional to guide you through the process. Experts will know just what to pack in and what not to: when you are the producer of a good that you are eager to get in customer’s hands, your angle could simply have too much to follow. Over the past two decades, consumers have developed even shorter attention spans, and this is one of the elements that corporate video producers should never overlook. Knowing what to cut, what to keep and most importantly… maintaining focus… is what good editors and storytellers do best.

6. Looking beyond Moods with Music


It’s a fact that good music is critical to the success of a video, but there is a very delicate balance of volume, repetition editing and equalization that will turn a great track into an even better storytelling device. Getting professional direction with music that supplements the video presentation instead of dominating the entire work is your desired effect.

7. Heed the Importance of Lighting


Megapixels and the latest in lenses don’t mean much if the lighting of your scene is poor. Good corporate lighting is not the hardest thing in the world to do, but a modicum of consistency and restraint is very important to the overall polish of a piece. Many amateurs think that technology alone will make their image look great, but any cinematographer will tell you that nothing will ever look good without good lighting. The human eye is able to selectively handle a large amount of contrast and distractions to focus in on a subject. This means that even though a bright window is behind your CEO, she might look fine to you while you’re standing in the room, but will look pretty dark and muddy to even the best camera. Choosing a company that has shown a long history of beautiful lighting in a variety of situations is a great way to ensure that your talent’s message comes across in a convincing and interesting manner.

8. The Need For Professional Audio


A well-known phrase in the industry is “sound is 70% of what you see.” Although this may not be an objectively provable thing, it does underscore the importance of a solid recording of anyone speaking on camera. From airplanes, to tricky wardrobe to AC vents to loud clothing and jewelry, a professional audio mixer will be your best ally in getting great sounding audio in myriad scenarios. A company that uses multiple mics distributed to multiple discreet channels is only the first step in being able to walk away from set with a “clean track.” Even if your presentation is for the web and not broadcast TV, a seasoned expert with a full kit is the best choice for audio for your story.

9. Put Extra Effort Into Not Being Dull


There are a multitude of corporate videos out there for nearly every industry. There are probably even some competitors with videos in your particular space. Finding a way to create a video that shines out above the rest is vital. A solid video production company with gifted storytellers will be able to listen to your needs and create a custom solution that not only employs a vast array of ever-changing technologies but finds new avenues to get your message across in a unique way. “Leave them wanting more” is a common axiom and is never more true than in video work today. A great production company will be able to lead the way with a snappy, polished video that is engaging and memorable.

10. Keep The Company’s Image a Priority


Staying on brand is more important than ever, and a great video firm will have this as their number one goal. What is your product about, what are you about and most importantly, what is your whole company about? Asking these questions and identifying detailed answers is of utmost importance these days. Sometimes clients will see a trendy storytelling device being used or a song or palette that seems edgy and want to work it into the promotion of their product. It may work or it may not, but a solid production company with a strong pedigree in the business will be able to identify these trends and deliver a video that not only seems current but more importantly tells a story that is timeless… And when it comes to branding, what’s more important than that?

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Corporate Video Production

Corporate Video Production is an important part of many video business’ bottom line. It is the “bread and butter” as we often call it and as an industry is one of the more conservative parts of our business. Most productions are based around talking heads, b-roll of a product or facility, and some sort of narration and corporate sounding music. And while that might sound a little dull, there is actually a whole new world of possibilities out there for corporate videos. With the advent of sliders, brushless gimbals (think Steadicam but more versatile), aerial platforms and motion control time-lapse rigs, there are actually a multitude of options out there for a director or DP who wants to do more with his or her videos. There is a also a level of sophistication that is rising every year. We are no longer in the 80’s where cheesy spokesmen talking directly to the camera with bad tv news cinematography mentalities are sufficient. These days there is a crowded marketplace full of qualified producers and creatives that have extremely professional tools at unbelievably low costs at their disposal. Visually speaking, you can make a beautiful video pretty easily these days. So where does that leave us?

As always, story is king. How you tell the message and what you help the audience walk away with is always going to trump technology. The focus and specificity with which you deliver the message is also more important than ever. This is because with all these tools at hand we run the risk of doing things because “they look cool” or using a piece of gear just because we made an investment in it. The point is to know your audience, know your objective and deliver the goods as simply and effectively as possible. Technology will continue to provide endless creative possibilities, but without good creative, they will just be possibilities.

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As a better way for us to organize our production resources we recently (Last Friday) relaunched an online database on our geargator.net domain. When you get a chance please add your info & gear list to the site (If any).

http://www.crewgator.net

Thanks,

Blake Barnett

Project Manager

BLARE Media

CA 415-865-9811

WA 206-438-9788

TX 214-453-4868

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We’re taking our vendor contacts spreadsheet and turning it into an online gear-rental database — GearGator! GearGator makes it easy for anyone, anywhere in the world to find gear for rent, book support crew or rent their gear to others. You’ll get connected withprospective gear-renters simply by registering and adding your gear. 

When you get a chance, add your gear to the database by clicking on “Create a listing” on the home page. We made it Super Quick to add all of your gear by just clicking checkboxes. This will better help us know what gear you have and make it easier for us, and others, to book you in the future. Also don’t forget to add in the crew support roles (Director, Camera Operator, Grip, Audio Tech, PA, etc..) you’re able to handle as well! 

We're still in transition so the database still needs a little fine tuning. If you need us to add gear to the list, or anything else, please let us know and we’ll add it ASAP. 

Here’s a link to our new database: http://www.geargator.net 



If you have any questions please feel free to hit me up and we look forward to working with you on the next gig!

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The Art of the Interview

In this business, corporate videos are a large staple and continuing source of revenue for most video production companies. In most of these corporate/industrial videos there is a reliance on what we call “talking heads.” Interviews are exceedingly common but the problem is that there isn’t always room in the budget for a director and often no time in the schedule for anything but a simple conference room as the backdrop. It’s a question that has plagued producers since the first camera took the first footage in an office. “How do I make this interesting?” And “how do I help these people seem real?”

When you are working with non-actors there tends to be an uneasiness with the process, a self consciousness with the content and a reluctance to reveal much. This holds true for everything from documentaries to corporate videos. People aren’t used to being on camera, but it is our job to make them feel comfortable and hopefully that they forget that they’re doing anything other than just having a chat.

The key to a good interview is to establish a rapport and be conversational. No one wants to feel like they are up on the witness stand about to get badgered into testifying about something. Most people however do like “talking shop” with their friends or revealing their feelings to someone they trust. Getting that trust and keeping that conversational environment is key.

The best question you can ask is with your eyes while listening. Most people like to talk about what they know about and will do so freely if they think they’re talking to someone who cares about what they’re saying – and you should, after all it’s your job to care and in most cases the specific knowledge that the interviewee has is probably new to you anyway.

A few tips:

Ask questions that are easy to reply to with context intact.

Don’t ask multiple questions at a time.

Ask questions that are simple and to the point. You will be amazed at what great responses you’ll get from questions as simple as “do you like your job?” or “is this a good company?”

Do your homework so that you can come off as an expert while having them explain it to you as if you know nothing.

Always try to have one answer flow into another pertinent question. If this means asking questions out of order then that’s fine.

People don’t want to look stupid. Saying something like “making you look smart is the best way to make me look smart” is a good way to allay their fears.

In general, everything you do should be subtle and smooth and inconspicuous. The best interviewers are those who talk with someone for half an hour and at the end the interviewee says “We’re already done? I thought you were gonna ask me some questions.”

That’s when you know you’re doing something right.

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High Dynamic Range (HDR) in Video?

Is it possible to capture High Dynamic Range Imaging (HDRI or HDR) with a video camera?


HDR techniques have been used by photographers to reproduce an image with a greater range of luminosity than can be achieved by standard digital photographic techniques.

Dynamic range is essentially a measure of the ratio of light to dark in a photograph. Normally when taking a picture you have to set your exposure at a single point. Anything far above that stop will appear very bright or blown out, and something too far below that stop will look too dark. Basically you lose detail in areas that are too bright or too dark.

In a common HDR photographic technique, three pictures are taken at three different exposures (3 bracketed stops), and blended together with editing software that average out the best part of the picture. In a perfect world, your final picture will look like something closer to what your eyes see, rather then what the camera sees.

HDR in video started with tone mapped HDR time-lapse videos, which are essentially a sequence of still photographs in quick succession. Canon SLR cameras now allow you to set you timer and multiple exposure setting, thus generating multiple stills that you can string together in an HDR time-lapse. It’s a great effect, however, is this true HDR video? Not really.

Enter Red’s Scarlet and Epic Cameras along with their HDRx mode, which lets you film two adjacent exposures in order to give you real-time HDR moving images. This solves one of the hardest shots in terms of dynamic range, which is shooting in a dark interior with an opening to a bright exterior. With this function you can set your primary exposure (A frame) for your interior shot. The secondary exposure (X frame) should be set for highlight protection and uses an adjustable shutter speed that is 2-6 stops faster thus allowing you to get detail in the exterior shot. Both frames are then recorded as separate tracks within the same R3D file. What you get is two video streams that can be either used separately, or combined to create a higher dynamic range image than any film stock could deliver.

Other cameras are beginning to emerge but there is no denying that Red is a pioneer in the HDR Video world.

Hyperlapse TV Commercial

The above Hyper-Lapse TV commercial uses HDR clips from both the Canon 5D Mark III and the RED Epic.  In most cases three distinct frames from the Canon were shot at different shutter speeds whereas some are faux HDR where we processed them at 3 different ISO’s. All the RED HDR footage is done by a proprietary process utilizing HDRx.

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This was definitely a banner year for new cameras at NAB. The continuing evolution of computer as camera had brought another manufacturer into the mix – AJA. It has also meant that Blackmagic has continued to expand their line with the much talked about Ursa, which is a large, heavy and also diametrically opposed system to anything they’ve yet put out – except for the price – because it is a screaming deal at around $6K. The DSLR market also continues to be interesting with the introduction of the Panasonic GH4 and the Sony A7S. Not only are they both 4K but they are clearly purpose built for video. This may not be true when it comes to camcorder-like ergonomics, but certainly is when it comes to the picture they put out. Canon definitely has a bit of catching up to do if these two cameras deliver well at their very low price points.

On the high-end market there is one main player that seems to have been able to sink all the best technology into one amazing little machine. I’m of course speaking of the 6K, 16.5 stop DR, Raw, High Speed and very light and small Red Epic Dragon. It’s the camera every one has been waiting for and it is marvelous. Now some may see me as a fanboy because I have been using a RED camera for going on six years now and that I can’t deny, but this time RED seems to have finally delivered on all fronts.

Since the introduction of the Arri Alexa, DP’s have been talking about dynamic range and skin tones. These are two areas where the Dragon has improved in big ways. Not only is DR several stops better (which represents how much contrast the system can handle) but the color accuracy and range actually was the highest ever recorded by DXO Mark. This all means that no matter where you are and what you’re shooting, the Dragon should have you covered.

With all these new camera systems on the market it’s easy to get technology dependent, but one must remind themselves that they are only tools. Phenomenally advanced tools – but still just cinematic hammers. So go out and swing those hammers the best ways you can. The potential of any camera is only as high as the craftsman’s who is using it. So go out and shoot! Make images and convey emotions! I’m just glad I’ll be using a Red Dragon when I go to do it.

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We're currently casting for a female spokesperson in the San Jose area. Below are some additional details:

- Be 21 or older but be able to play a teenager in the age rage of 15-19.
- Bilingual in Spanish or Vietnamese is a plus but not required.
- Pay is $300-$900 based on talent, experience and a few other factors.

Below is an example of what we have produced for the client previously.

http://www.blaremedia.net/portfolio/san-jose-corporate-video-production/


If you are interested in this role then please contact me at randy(at)blaremedia.net for additional details.

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What's Cool about the EPIC Camera

What's cool about the EPIC Camera: 

The EPIC Camera is a hugely evolutionary and perhaps revolutionary step in the digital cinema camera world. RED took the best things about their original camera - put the specs on steroids - and the body on a diet - and kept it at a very reasonable price. For a base price of around $30K without a lens you can be up and shooting (although pretty stripped down). The camera is beautifully small, expandable and elegant. Now to the big 5: 

Resolution - The Epic currently has the highest resolution recording availability of any player on the market. At 5K the Bayer sensor on the Epic has been highly optimized and provides a much better picture than the same sensor on the RED One MX. This high amount of resolution provides advanced capabilities to reframe, stabilize, hide noise and repurpose footage in post production. If you have never used an oversampled image in post than you really don't know what you have been missing. It's amazing to be able to have a Raw image that you can zoom into nearly 300% in post and still have enough detail for 1080p. 

Dynamic Range - The Epic camera has all the detail in the world but if it can't handle contrasty situations then what is it worth? Fortunately for users the Epic has a built in Dynamic Range of about 13.5 stops. This doesn't quite do what film can do under certain situations but it certainly has brought it within striking distance. Under those situations where contrast is uncontrollable or it's not practical there is HDR-X. This is is truly revolutionary by the way it uses a simple concept in multiple exposures, and finds a way to mix everything together and approximate motion blur between the two streams to make a really organic feeling image. 

Image Feel - This one will always be debatable but the images that you can get from the Epic camera have certainly excited a lot of people. According to John Schwartzman, Director of photography of The Amazing Spiderman "This is the best footage I have ever seen from any camera. Ever." The holy grail of film is how it deals with skin tones and many people believe that the Epic has finally found a way to give us the type of face reproductions that we've always been looking for in a digital camera. 

RAW Flexibility in post - With the introduction of REDCODE nearly a decade ago the world was introduced to an amazingly robust 'raw' format that made extensive coloring and manipulation in post with very small file sizes a true reality. The latest versions of Redcode only improve on this and make the footage that more malleable and amazing. 

Sensitivity - The RED One MX sensor helped to finally push the boundaries of what you could record with very low light on a cinema camera. Although 35mm film has continued to advance over its lifespan it has basically hit its limits with respect to sensitivity. This is far from true with digital sensors. The Epic gives its users the ability to take a fast lens set and finally shoot in actual candlelight. A thing that was once nearly unreachable and the thing of legend on films such as Barry Lyndon is now quite attainable and at very low noise levels. In fact the Epic can be reliably shot at ISO's of 2000 or higher with a very low grain image which opens up brand-new creative possibilities. 

Resources: 

EPIC Camera Rental 

Video Production Contacts 

Sacramento Video Production

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Talent & Crew Resource Directory

We recently developed  software for us to manage all of our video production resources. I don't know about you guys but is was hard for us to manage crew and other resources in other Cities & States. Therefore we created software where you can manage crew by City, talent/crew type and preference. We used to keep spreadsheets of all our contacts, but it was hard for us to know who we preferred and why we preferred them. With our new system it easy for us to rate the vendors we like and insert notes about them.

Feel free to do a search for camera operators, directors, actors, audio technicians, grips and editors on our database. However our site does not reveal who entered them as contacts. We pride ourselves on keeping this information private. We welcome you to take a test drive at:

http://www.contactsquid.com

Other Features:

1. Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) – How do you currently keep track of all your clients and vendor resources? We made it easy for you to manage your leads and set reminders to follow up with them. If you don’t already have an online CRM this is definitely a step in the right direction to get you and your team more organized.

2. Referral System – Do you like receiving referrals from other people and businesses? We sure do and that is why we created this system that encourages members to send each other referrals in exchange for liking their page (Social exposure).

3. Internet Marketing – Sometimes it is easier to show rather than explain the technical jargon. To see a good example of the internet marketing portion please type in “Video Production Contacts” on Google and my profile shows up #1 in the organic search results.

Also, we display the top 25 contacts on our home page!

Please feel free to contact me with questions and on ways to make our website more useful for your needs.


Thanks,


Blake Barnett

Project Manager

Sacramento Video Production

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DSLR Video Production Gear

The majority of dSLR shooters require a light gear load as we usually do not have the luxury of a full crew to help carry our stuff. We also might move to several locations in a single day, and more equipment means slower set ups and breakdowns which can make a tight video production schedule even tighter. There are, however, a few things that I recommend even one-man-band shooters to carry around due to their light weight, small size and tremendous utility.

Zoom H4N or TASCAM DR-100
These little devices are indispensable as video production field recorders, thanks to their low $300 price tags and stunning stereo sound quality. You can use the onboard mics, which do a great job on their own, or attach external microphones, each of which can be recorded onto its own separate track in 4-Channel recording mode on the H4N. The sound quality of these affordable devices adds a tremendous amount of production value to a low-budget dSLR shoot, as dSLR onboard mics sound pretty terrible. Even if you have a higher-end field recorder and mics for your main capture, the H4N can be used to capture ambient sounds to layer in during post or do quick ADR sessions while your actors are on set. Have an assistant take your actors to a quiet area and re-record all their lines while you continue shooting. These takes can then be used to replace any garbled lines recorded by your main unit. One note: the units lack Time Code generators, meaning all syncing has to be done visually using waveforms.

Monopod
Having a lightweight, collapsible monopod tucked into my gear bag has come in extremely handy when I least expected it on dSLR video productions. A decent monopod costs around 20 bucks and is way lighter than any tripod. In addition to allowing me to shoot smooth pans with my dSLR with a much smaller footprint than a tripod, I have also used my monopod as a boom pole which I attach my H4N to directly. For shoots in nature, I have used my monopod as a walking stick. A bonus is the security felt by having a six-foot pole with which to potentially beat off wild animals! In a festive mood? Instant limbo-stick! Seriously though, it’s a very versatile tool which can even be used as a stabilization device as I explain in this other ShutterDown article on Cheap or Free Stabilization/Steadicam Tricks.

18% Grey Card
Setting proper exposure is best done with a professional light meter. If you find yourself without one (they can be a bit pricey), then another solution for setting exposure quickly in the field is an 18% gray card. This is a card with a neutral color cast that contains 18% black (on a scale where 0% is pure white and 100% is pure black). You can use the card to set the exposure on your dSLR and avoid blowing out your whites. A secondary use of the card is to set your white balance. For most dSLRs it works just as well as a white card without having to carry something else in your gear kit. For even more accurate color correction in post, invest in a three-card set containing pure white, 18% gray and pure black. After you frame your shot and set exposure, shoot a few seconds of the cards and use this footage in post to adjust your white, grey and black levels in your color corrector using the eye-dropper tool. Need a free card? Wilsonart will send you FREE samples of their laminate which will come in handy in a pinch. I ordered a black, white and grey card from them in 3 x 5 sizes (choose “matte” finish for low reflectivity), and used a brass binder to hold them all together. The gray is quite close to a pro gray card, close enough to neutral to do the trick for most shooters on a budget.

Collapsible Reflector
When on a dSLR shoot, I like to travel as lightly as possible. For this reason, I prefer collapsible reflectors as opposed to carrying Styrofoam boards around. In addition to being inconvenient, large boards have a tendency to act like sails when not in use and fly around, potentially whacking your actors or your gear. The collapsible reflector I use shrinks to 12” when folded and put in its case, making it much less of a hazard and easy to carry around. It’s great to bounce a little fill on an actor’s face or to reduce harsh light by acting as a shade.

Extra Media Cards
Media cards, such as SD or P2 cards, can die at the worst possible moment. This unfortunate event happened to me once while setting up to shoot a live theater performance. I had tested the camera earlier and all was well. For some inexplicable reason, however, when I turned the camera on to start recording, my camera reported an SD card error. Thankfully, I had a spare, which I quickly formatted and used to record the show without further problems. What would I have done without this extra card? I shudder to think of the disappointing conversation with my clients that would have occurred had I not had that spare little card in my gear bag. p.s. While buying an extra media card, pick up at least one spare battery for your camera as well.

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