War Stories: Part 2
And I would say, there's, a couple of little techniques, his baseline things that you could do that our help you succeed in the audio world one is often as possible will actually have to might in every situation. So if we can hide a level ear mike, I've elavil ear on me right now, usually in the style of video that we're shooting will hide it so you don't see it. Number one number two will try to fly a shotgun mic over the top of them. So we have two channels of audio, so if I rub my shirt right now in laval, ear starts popping, then we can cut to the shot gun like that's over the top of them. So that's number one two channels it's redundancy gives you the opportunity to back up audio number two it's endanger started allude to this. You've really got to be paying attention that sound around you and you're wearing headphones the whole time like you're actually listening to that dog is out on the dock and you hear it through your head, you stop like you shut down the interview right at t...
hat moment because that won't be usable later that's gonna be a real problem for the plane flying overhead. Thie other thing that's really helpful is if you don't, you know again, it depends on the size of your audio kid, but I don't care how good the audio engineer is when that dogs barking, you're not going to get that out of the background, but if the wind is blowing wind is a big issue for audio, you can put a wind sock over you can take it to the next level, but a blimp over the top of that mike but tried rather than setting up your interview in such a way that the wind is blowing directly into the microphone try to get the wind behind you so it's blowing past you or even better try to get out of the wind. You know if there's a wall you can shoot behind even if you have to give up a great background if you don't have usable audio to move point so wind is big enemy and sew it back on always tried to get out of those situations you guys ever send your audio input like to an engineer in post like for compression or just way do it depends on the job. Yeah, if that budgets there I'm all for for that, but if you can get your audio fairly clean in the field, then you know there's a lot less work you have to do in post on it are you manually adjusting your levels as the videos were morning, you're riding the levels here and will often times, I mean, if it's really quick and dirty, we'll try to record directly to the camera so well, actually just feed the microphone right into the nikon cameras sometimes even with splitter. So we still institute to mike's going into the camera, but if we have a little more time, well, excuse me will still run the mikes through an external recorder. I showed you the task am yesterday, so we're actually recording to the task him and then we're pushing the signal into the nikon cameras so that we actually redundancy even in the recording of the audio. So, you know, again always if I can ever done been sealed for redundancy kind of saves you from really screwing up in the field because stuff fails. I mean, I think my my best audio story and this when I really need to protect the clients and those involved, but we're in france doing a interview with the ceo of a major television network in france, so this guy's time is valuable, I'm guessing, but I bet it it might be ten thousand dollars an hour to use this guy's time and so on hours a big chunk of time, but it was for a very important piece. And we're sitting there in forty five minutes into the interview in the guise of super smart, articulate, compelling guy stanford educated speaks fluent french fluent english and he's doing the interview in english and uh it was in english maybe he was maybe we have been asking I can't remember I think it was in english and we have this study french audio recordist you know with all the high tech gear I mean the guy's done everything been everywhere and he gets forty five minutes through the interview and I look over at him and he's like the distant shawn is from may and his face goes like as red as a fire hydrant just like absolutely dreams of color and sweat starts pouring off his brown and looks at man I'm making is this guy's about to die and many and he just stopped he says hold on stop stop he says them I haven't been recording and I have course I pause for how long and hisses at all he said I completely have not been recording for this entire interview in this ceo who's totally unflappable stops in his tracks and he says without without any hesitation he says okay well let's see we have fifteen minutes actually and then he's like no, I think we're down to fourteen and out in this boy there's like a party about the stuff there's like a hundred people ready to like talk to him and and he says so what do you want me to do in those fourteen minutes and of course instantly my client and I we had a quick conference and we said let's hit these five points and we would write to those five points and he like regurgitated the information it was less passionate that's for sure you know it's hard to like regurgitate with the same emotion and he nailed it on my you know, on the hour he walked out the door to his next engagement and it was just and I have to say what I walked away with was it was super impressive and really honorable but that audio engineer admitted it because I think what a lot of engineers would have done is never admit it and just I don't know I mean the equipment must have failed and maybe they start recording in that last but he salvaged the shoot because he actually admitted it so two lessons one like the guy was obviously he was just trying to be so prepared he just never pressed the door button like redundant recording device he's doing it all right just but you still got to get that red light flashing so and then the second lesson is admitted if you make a mistake um yeah wrong white balance you know you saw this almost happened today we started shooting today on the lake and one of the cameras that bly handed me I said, is it in daylight? And I think he said I think it is and then I looked at it and it just looked funny sure enough, it was sent to another kelvin temperature and so with video especially it's, not a raw file in a dslr, you've got to go into the cameras and make sure they're all sink. We shot on four to five different cameras today to d eight hundreds of d six hundred defore and act actually shot on six cameras today in two different nikon one cameras to j threes it's super important that they're all set of the same white balance or editing that content together it's gonna be pretty tough maybe you can correct the white balance, but if it's this off it's gonna be a problem making that look like you got it, you got to be in the ballpark with it. So if it is if you just need to do a quick and easy, then yeah, you said you set your camera to daylight or whatever condition you're in. Better yet is hit a white card and said it manually and said all the cameras manually because that's actually each camera is going to be a little different daylight's going to read a slightly different on each of these different types of cameras so better hit it with a white card or at least get out get all the cameras in the same you know ballpark with with having a mountain daylight fifty six hundred or indoors at thirty two hundred when you say white card I've seen like both great carter what is it? Everything great so it doesn't really matter, okay? And how about, like the time code like for video isn't important to seek all the cameras on the same time these ideas so lars you're gonna want to put them on like time a day that met it it is not really that readable in most of the program, so time codes a little less in smaller productions the timecode is less important. There is ways on big broadcast shows where they're sending timecode through an audio signal into the cell ours but most of these d s lars can't take a sink timecode um you can help yourself out with time of day because that's readable and finder like back anything but it's other than that you're starting that zero on all these do you ever use color checkers and mostly just the great card? Um I haven't much use in the colored checker yeah, I mean, I think you said it your cameras at a at a at the correct white balance or what you feel is right and let it go from there, you know that's the most important that in post production were using x right products to calibrate monitors and make sure what we're seeing is what the output will be and we'll show you that if we have time tomorrow during post but x right makes some really great products for for that piece of the equation, and it makes a certain man a huge difference when it comes to still in video. On the post side, on the still photo front, we will actually symptoms put a color, check her out in front of the camera so that we can then later in post it's much easier to get into the right color space. Our client's pretty good about having their monitor calibrated said that they're gonna know if they ever cry over me like this doesn't look right. I mean, ironically, I think we're far more critical likas photographers and film makers, we try to work in certain color spaces and a lot of our clients, I mean, look, a lot of our work goes on the web and so it's, you know, we're all looking at a mobile devices, anything from ipads, iphones, teo laptop computers and all the competition to apple products, so the reality is, you know, we just want to be consistent, at least on the front, and so that there is control but now I'm in most clients they're looking at it on some ibm computer sitting in their office that's really for writing email um your clippers too short this is another huge issue for stool I'm very guilty of this when dana and I were studying toe work together a lot years ago we would be sitting in the edit suite and you know I thought I just really nailed the shot and then I would realize dane would say well, yeah, but it's like a second half long that's really hard to cut that into a thirty minute piece so it's still photographers it's super important that you I like to use the rule of thumb it's just simple you always roll for at least ten seconds and then it's I mean I think that's just a good baseline I think dana as another way of analysing like you know how long you're old, but if you're doing anything less than ten seconds, you're probably not shooting enough that's like a great rule of thumb for stole photographer's going into the video world. Yeah, I think a lot of it is I think we've said this before was watching that moment unfold in the camera you want to put some had head around that and some tale you're giving your editor a little more on jen to play with that way you're getting the full moment depending on where they want to edit you know you're letting people go out of frame you're not like just intentionally panting with them the whole way hallway hallway you're giving your editor or something to cut with because this is the reality when you sit down in front of your premiere project and you just don't have enough timeto work with that's a problem that you know, those air it's kind of like that question of if you're missing shots that's a problem if your shots were just too short you know, unless you can sell your client on they wanted a minute long spot you convince him it needs to be a fifteen second spot but that's a hard sell usually so is there like an issue also like your client wants to put in so much information where you're like actually we need to cut it down because no one's gonna watch that long of a video like when you're I think that that depends on on client uh I think a lot of times when cory and I are doing it it's where we're shooting all the footage and then we're headed it our first cut usually turns out pretty bloated where and that's us way we've decided on that because we like the shots we know how much time went into these shots I think a lot of it is being able to ad it yourself and cutting things out and and gradually as an addict gets tighter and tighter tighter the attic it's better and better and better yeah, I agree with that. I can't think of a situation where a client came back to us and said they actually want more usually it's they're actually saying, wow, it's all really good, but I mean, this is seven minutes if we want a two minute piece or three minute piece there's a riel there's a really kind of mentality, I think people they just say I want a three minute piece, they don't know why they're saying it, somebody told them that nobody's gonna watch more in three minutes on the web so you usually have a hard time that they're they're gunning for anyways it's very rare where they just like yeah, that it go as long as the story needs to be it's usually the number one end of the deliver ble is this is a ninety second piece this is a two minute pieces three minute piece it's rare when we get toe, let it go longer and I have to say that's, what makes a great client is one when they're open minded, but to when they actually khun because they're not sitting in the trenches all day at it and these pieces where they can just take a fresh look at it they haven't seen the piece twenty five times in the last week and when you have a really sharp client that really loved storytelling and appreciates, you know, aesthetically beautiful shots and you can sit down with that client, they say, hey, this really great, but I don't think this scene is important and they can give you an explanation for why what's really constructive it's not just there telling you not. I mean, you're seven seconds over, you've got to cut something it's, constructive criticism, that's really fun and that's actually that's a great, you know, it's one, we build a team in the field, but too, when you have that great relationship with your client and they're really engaged that's a fantastic situation that's really? And that happens a lot like projects get better because of your client's feedback, you know, agencies are really good at that as well. At agencies, they're really smart folks, and they're thinking about that, you know, the creative piece when oftentimes their feedback really is wonderful, it makes a great spot. Um, there's this another good one for still photographers? I mean, I still find myself doing this, you know, again, everything that we're doing out here on beaver lake it's pretty quick and dirty. So you can't look at this and say, wow, that's how these guys operate you know the shots don't look that great, you know we're trying to move fast and just show you examples of how we work, but it's still photographers were just constantly looking through the camera and trying to make it perfect, right? We're paying attention to the upper right corner, the lower left corner, the top edge, the bottom edge, the sides compositionally then we're looking at the light and trying to make sure just the light is beautiful and we're waiting for that perfect moment we're paying attention to the background and in video it's pretty darn important that like once you've locked off that camera once it's on that slider, you need to let the action unfold in front of you you really need to like let it happen and I'm really guilty still to this day, but certainly I'm getting better. I'm sort of this scenes unfolding and starts bothering me that there's like a tree branch in the soul like an office and of course inevitably, if you jerk that camera over enough times, you do it at the wrong moment and then you ruin the shop because this great moments unfolding and I you know instead of just letting it hang kind of way like the lesson is when there's great stuff happening in the camera on the video from just let it play out and then you can adjust the camera and I'm ill for another take, you know? Yeah, that's, right? That's, right? I mean, it's it's amazing to look at footage from filmmakers that have spent a lot of time behind the camera. They'll make adjustments, but they do them really settle your they'll do it at just the right time where doesn't interfere? And when a still photographer is doing it it's exactly what? What? What was that? Oh, yes. So here I am, re composing that's. Probably what I was doing in that shot, by the way, this is great, like poor man's technique if you you know you're running and gunning, you're trying to shoot video and stills. You look like a total dork when you do this, but you can actually just tension the next draft against your neck and kind of pushed your arms out. And when you're not talking or you know, breathing hard, you can you can do a pretty darn unstable shot with that next draft. That's a super cool technique on they give you those next traps for free e I would imagine focusing and refocusing and pulling focus then. That while it's five battles myself doing that kind of excessively so I get tired of the shot waiting for the moment play out so I won't get creative in it do you find yourself maybe playing a little bit too much focus on here and yourself e I think you got it you want to be safe at least in that first shot and nail your focus now what you want people to look at, what you're focusing on is what you're trying to give the viewer you're trying to tell the viewer to look over here I would say, you know, there's a nice ecstatic with punch and focus around and letting things be floating just make sure that that was the aesthetic that you wanted to have in the first place and I have to say that I mean, sometimes I'm finding I get really nervous in the middle of like a long interview and I'm like she had is this actually and focus or not? And then I start searching for and then I can't even tell and so it's you know, check your focus before you started the interviewer before you start the shot and let it go someone earlier had suggested that you guys teach a crate of live course on just rack focus alone I struggle with that yeah it's tough it's and we're forcing year that's not really designed for doing like cinematic rack focusing but that's the world that most of us live in we're not working in hollywood we're using our dslr it's we're using our you know, seventy two, two hundred nikon lenses and while they're not designed for exactly that, we make them work and that's the beauty of it you just keep on trial and error trial by fire you do it several times and you're going to get a very cinematic beautiful shot yeah, the more you work on that you know you could get pretty good at roland focus on someone coming straight at you, it's just all about that muscle memory and working with it we couldn't see from today were you maintaining focus is you're coming in on the slider were you help so it looks like it looks like a couple of way hit it looks pretty well yeah that's an easy way to you can just throw a couple pieces of gaff tape on the lens one on the actual focus ring one on the other bit mark your, uh your long focus and then you're close focus and that could give you a good gauge, especially when you're doing a push in or something like that um for what you're what you're racking between do you tell your interview subjects to stay put for the interview I've had this problem myself for sometimes somebody leans back or sits forward another one thing I would advise is china to do your interviews at half two point eight if you wanna one point four lines don't do the interview one point for which it turns out if you move this much like they just went completely out of focus and so there's nothing worse and it takes like screwing up a few interviews to realising wow, that whole interview I shot with just their ear lobe yeah so it's like, you know, five six faa somewhere in that zone if you really want to have them depending on the focal length of your lens but yeah, you really do not want ultra ultra shallow depth of field and if you do notice that your interview subject is you know they have some like twitch for they do this the whole time or you know they're just constantly while going back in for you kind of have to just gracefully say and I have really help if you actually sat still although you also don't want to drain their emotion out of their their responses deeper you guys shooting those tight shots of jim's face to that wasn't to eight I think I think we're on a one on one for lens that eighty five but we're shooting it to wait on that so we might have a shot anything way but it's also if if the aesthetic you're going for is the super shallow focus interview we've I've done plenty of those you just need there needs to be an operator on camera, you can't be conducting the interview and expect do you know, nail focus like that and you get sorry more? You guys were standing, you were having the subject talk across the lens that right? You're across the frame there he wasn't talking, he was just looking across the frames, who's looking across that dead space right vs just here's a great example, the way alex honnold is looking across the friend or works aesthetically if you were standing there with facing off the frame, it's just kind of awkward you're thinking to yourself what you know what's all that dead space there for so when your position him life, you're doing an interview for a position him and would you stand like to the opposite side of the lens so that he's talking towards you across? They're not going to be looking into the lens that's typically how you want to set up your interview there's plain anytime you see plenty interviews people on purpose don't have to do that that I think a lot of that's more people just wanting to break the rule because that's the rule that you you have them cross their eyes, cross the frame, sometimes it works, sometimes it works that day and and you're excited about that and then you watch that a year later and you're like why did I shoot that interview like that? That was really cool when I originally did it but it doesn't make a lot of sense you know? Perhaps we're going to get to this tomorrow but you have seen some of your other videos you it looks like you've got two cameras rolling on the interview at once that you could bounce to kind of off camera view right? Well really said the reason we almost never do an interview with the sellers that isn't two cameras and the reason we're using two cameras you said that if what you say on the interview he and you say cory what did you have for lunch? And I say I had a burrito and um um um and a taco and then you don't want all of um so then the reason you we can cut that we can cut what I said but the only way you can do that is if you can actually switch to another shot otherwise you see this jump cut and it's the same shot so too is kind of the minimum that's you know way do plenty of one camera interviews but it just makes it pretty tough to do at it means if you want to do a voice that you have to lay b roll over the top or stylistically have to accept that which doesn't look very good. You're just gonna do a cut on that one. Visual and often towns will use a bunch of cameras and why that you saw we used three cameras and in every interview, so we had kind of two classic camera angles I am being then we had a c angle, which I think jane was operating a lot and it was like an eighty five one four style lens. He was just right on someone's eyeball, so we had something cool to cut two from another angle, but you would never shoot that with one camera and reset the camera mid interview try to myself around all the time, but I have one camera moving ask questions, then move it. I mean, what one advice I would give there is remember, you don't have to have they don't all have to be a high end dslr cameras. You could go on by an icon, one or a muralist camera, you can still put your regular lenses on it. So you put a fifty millimeter lens on your nikon one is your second camera, and then you have your main cameras. You're operating because the reality is, every time you do that, camera moves like you're also losing focus on the questions and benefits and intelligent interview like you're burning time number one and you're also like it's hard to shut the talent down and then turned them back on and get them back into the dialogues. So, um and also like when you are like cropping for an interview, do you give a bit more space own post if you need to you crop in or like, what is the standard for video like for head space or worried? I think that has to do with the subject matter that you're talking about if something's dramatic or someone's talking about something that really passionate about it. So I think it's important to have a tighter, really punchy angle that being said, you kind of wanted establishing angles well, which is, you know, mid shot so that you could throw a lower third it's hard to throw a lower third over somebody's chin lower third is tax driving like their name is gonna pop up on the screen, so I think that that has to do with the content that you're shooting if you're shooting that third angle like we're talking about where it's you know profile angle again, that's that's just giving you a little more leeway in the edit and you can kind of play with that a little more you experiment a little more with those angles