Video Examples: Intentional Movement
When you have your shot, you should be very precious about it, which is that you should, like, guard it and protect that shot and not mess it up by, like, you know, moving around. And within that, too, another big photography tendency is, as a photographer, I always want my exposure as perfect as can be and it only takes me, like, half of a second to change my exposure. Open up a stop or two more, close down a stop or two more. I'm constantly doing that to make it kind of just right. In video, unless that's like two stops or more wrong, leave it alone. You will fix it in post. Especially with these better sensors that give you a very wide range because when you change your exposure and you open up a stop or close down a stop or two in the middle of your shot, there is nothing in post that you can do to take that away. If the shot is good enough, you might decide you can live with it and deal with it, but you can't ever take that out and what you'll see is that, like, it's dark and then...
it goes boop-boop and it gets lighter or boop-boop and it goes darker and often it wasn't necessary. I've ruined shots by being just like, "oh, one stop too dark." Who cares? You just go into a post factory and they just take the whole shot and like lift it up by one stop and it will be fine. It will be great. So really try to not do these kind of micro adjustments, these little changes in exposure, these little changes in framing, all the time that we do in photography. Slow down with those. You might need to change your exposure, wait until you follow someone out of the room and you're kind of in something dark to be, like, "okay, now I'm gonna open up." Chu-chu. And you're like, "ha, I'm back." And everything's changed in kind of this off moment but in the middle of someone saying the most important thing, you'll ruin it. You'll totally ruin it. And again, you might decide to live with it but it'll suck and you'll be mad at yourself. So. Within all that, it's also really important - One of the things that I felt like I had a hard time kind of getting a hang of is I always wanted to compose everything first, wait until my shot was kind of just right and then press record and when you're only in that perfect space, as I said, it's kind of hard for your editor to move from shot to shot. When things are really static, it's hard to move from one very static shot to another. You need a little bit of this movement and often it's this really sloppy movement that's the best. Movement that you would never be able to do with - Is my camera shoulder rig still set up? It is. I'm gonna grab it in a second. Movement that you'd never really be able to mimic, like, you couldn't fake it, is stuff that your editor will use all the time and I'll show you real quick. Thank you. Thanks. Kay. So, if I was about to shoot a scene, what I would do, instead of being, like, "okay, this is what I wanna shoot." Get in position and then turn my camera on, is if I knew I was gonna shoot you guys I'd be like, alright, I'm gonna press record now and then I'm gonna go like this and it's this little thing, this, like, mwreh, that I probably, if I were to fake it and try to do it for an editor, I'd be like, whew, you know. I would over do it or it wouldn't feel natural but it's just this thing about turning your camera on and getting into position and this kind of little moment or sometimes something right across the room, again, if it's a small difference of changing your composition, I want you to float over to it. But if something all of the sudden is over there, you gotta get to it, you should just be like. And shoot it. But sometimes it's these big kind of camera movements, getting up, putting it down, being done with something. All of this stuff that, weirdly, your editor will really use and I'm gonna show you a couple of examples of the sloppy movements of camera work that can actually really be helpful so I encourage you to keep your camera rolling a lot. Not turn it on and off after every shot, just roll through scenes. Know that this stuff, this stuff, you know, this stuff, talking, being down, all of this stuff might eventually be useful. Especially at the beginning and tail ends of shots. So I'm gonna show you a sample real quick. I learned this because the very first thing I ever did, this music video for Moby, I didn't know better so I didn't know to not do that. I just kept my camera rolling by accident because I kinda didn't know not to do that and the editor used all of this, like, me just repositioning myself, I was still in that human tripod mode so all this, like, oh, I'm gonna reposition myself, I gotta scoot over, and my camera was still rolling. He used all of this stuff, all this kind of crap, that was just going through my camera but in a way that really, really worked. It made it emotional, it made it gritty and I was like, "oh." And then in the film that we made, he used all of that stuff, too, and I realized this kind of sloppy, haphazard thing that happens in your camera helps you feel like your in a certain situation and you can only give that to your editor if you were actually rolling. ("Wait for You" by Moby) ♪ Wait for me ♪ ♪ Wait for me ♪ ♪ Wait for me ♪ ♪ Wait, wait ♪ ♪ For, for me ♪ ♪ Wait ♪ ♪ Wait for me ♪ ♪ Wait for me ♪ ♪ Wait for me ♪ ♪ I'm gonna ask you to look away ♪ ♪ A broken life will never stay ♪ ♪ Tried too hard and I always lay ♪ ♪ Days are gray and the nights are black ♪ ♪ Wait for me ♪ ♪ Wait for me ♪ ♪ Wait ♪ ♪ For me ♪ ♪ Wait ♪ ♪ For me ♪ ♪ Wait for me ♪ ♪ Wait for me ♪ ♪ Wait for me ♪ ♪ For me ♪
So, some of it, I'm just kind of locked in right on her but a lot of it, especially in this moment when she's getting ready to leave this one bathroom and then she's in this other, a lot of that is literally just, we're in this tiny bathroom stall and I'm just scooting out of the way and I'm still shooting or I'd like, you know, have the camera in my hand and be like, oh, I've gotta get up, and there's all of this, like, they're really quick but they're just these little camera movements. They give you flashes of the environment that we're in. Not big moments, not me being, like, look at the toilet paper, we're in a bathroom, but just these little flashes of a toilet seat, a little bit of tile floor. There's this one moment, I wish I had pointed it out before the clip started 'cause I'm not gonna show the whole thing again, but there's this one moment at the very end when her back is towards you and she's in that sweater and I'm clearly just sitting on the floor and I stand up and the camera just goes like this and it just like, whish, pans across, you just see this flash of a toilet and it just lands on her and it's not just that the shot should start on her, it's that fweh, getting to her and finding her in this weird corner. That makes, in some ways, that shot. It's like seeing that in this expansive, not a huge space, but in this bigger bathroom, she's still kind of hovered off there in that little corner. In some ways, that's the moment. There's a reason that the editor basically used that as the last internal shot but it was having that stuff of the world that she was in kind of flying by that helps us there. So trust that your editor will know how to use some of this stuff and will have a good time with it and then really be able to incorporate it into this thing that's not just about information, which is what you can see, but also this emotional feeling and the emotional feeling comes from this kind of gritty, weird stuff that happens.
Couple of quick questions. I know we're gonna talk technical, a little bit more technical tomorrow, but in that particular scene are you focusing manually versus auto focus.
Uh-huh. Yeah, I'm totally focusing manually, which, truthfully, I always focus manually because I like that kind of, like, you know that thing that I said about don't worry about if you're out of focus because eventually it's gonna come in? In that scene she's totally out of focus. A, it helps with the subject matter. You can kinda get a sense of like, ugh, you know. It's this kind of heady, dopey kind of state so it works that it's all not tack sharp but also even if she's out of focus for a moment, either she is totally slipping away, which works, or she's out of focus for a moment and eventually she gets back in there and that's fine. So I like to kind of let it be for my own stuff.
And I think, oh, we have Karine Lavoie. I'm not sure, exactly, Karine, where you're tuning in from, but she does say that English isn't her first language but is asking about focus point not - It is not directly on the eye next to the camera. Is that a specific rule for video? I know you said we don't have to be perfectionists but is it the similar thing where you can break rules?
Oh, definitely. And some of that, like, in the earliest stuff, some of that was just by accident. Sometimes I would want the focus to be on something and it would end up on her ear. I remember, at certain point, also, just... I remember being in that bathroom with her and really kind of being drawn to, in all of this mess, there were something really slick and shiny about this one lock of hair that was still kind of coming out and so, you know, just trying to kind of break some rules and focus in on that. I mean, ultimately, I feel like that whole video was really just about the look in someone's eyes as they go through this act, you know, again and again. We never see - We know what she's doing. We never see needles, we never see any kind of paraphernalia, we never really even see hands, we just kind of watch. We're just kind of intent on her gaze and the look in her eyes and we kind of watch it go from a little detached to a little euphoric to kind of internal and sad again to a little bit more panicky and we just kind of stay in that thing but in order to not get totally boring, you've gotta shift it up a little bit. Great. So once I had, like, I don't think I would have known that, and this is what I think is so valuable about going out and experimenting and just doing, I don't think I would have known that that sloppy - 'Cause I don't think - That's not a thing that often is taught. I mean, I'm teaching it to you but I don't know if I would have been taught it, I don't know if someone else would teach this to you. I think that that was something I only kind of discovered because I went out and just did something to do it and then the editor I worked with used it and then I was like, oh, I don't ever wanna get rid of that. Maybe I don't wanna be quite that sloppy, 'cause a lot of that stuff is a little more sloppy than I'd want, but I should remember that these moments that I'm picking up my camera, moments that things are moving around 'cause I'm just repositioning, are valuable. I'm gonna show you where I use it in a more intentional way. I'm still doing it in the same way, I'm not faking it. I'm not like, "now I'm gonna look like "I'm putting my shoulder rig on." I just do it but I'm doing it a little bit more intentionally so that it can be kind of used and incorporated. I'm now thinking about the editor and I want the editor to use this. So this is a video that I also co-shot with Chris LaMarca for a band called Augustines which I know are very near and dear to the CreativeLive Team's heart. So we are both using all of this stuff and we just wanted to be able to use it within the video so I want you to kind of watch and pay attention to these, like, quick, kind of jerky movements and how that helps create this environment of this music video. ("Nothing To Lose But Your Head" by Augustines) ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ You gotta get me outta here ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ Runnin' circles in my brain ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ You gotta get me outta here ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ You got nothing to lose but your head ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ You gotta get me outta here ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ Runnin' circles in my brain ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ You gotta get me outta here ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ You got nothing to lose but your ♪ ♪ Nothing to lose but your ♪ ♪ Nothing to lose but your ♪ ♪ Nothing to lose but your ♪ ♪ Nothing to lose but your ♪ ♪ Nothing to lose but your ♪ ♪ Nothing to lose but your ♪ ♪ Nothing to lose but your head ♪
So, in that there are, like, a bunch of moments and they're so quick but there are literally a bunch of moments where it's not like a slow pan up to the musician, it's just like, vloop, vloop, vloop. It's just like the camera's moving and we encouraged the editor to just use all that, just help it create kind of an environment that we can be kind of living in that space. You wanna see that one again? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sure. I wish I had made this one longer. Tomorrow I'm gonna show longer clips now that I know how quickly they go. ("Nothing To Lose But Your Head" by Augustines) ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ You gotta get me outta here ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ Runnin' circles in my brain ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ You gotta get me outta here ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ You got nothing to lose but your head ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ You gotta get me outta here ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ Runnin' circles in my brain ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ You gotta get me outta here ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ You got nothing to lose but your ♪ ♪ Nothing to lose but your ♪ ♪ Nothing to lose but your head ♪ ♪ Nothing to lose but your ♪ ♪ Nothing to lose but your head ♪ ♪ Nothing to lose but your ♪ ♪ Nothing to lose but your head ♪ ♪ Nothing to lose but your ♪ ♪ Nothing to lose but your head ♪
Any questions? Yeah.
How many times are you having them go through the song?
That's a great question. So in that situation, we knew that it was going to be - And this is the great thing about stuff that kind of lives in the narrative world, which this kind of does, which is that you can just have people do it as many times as you need because you know in the edit you're going to, uh, you're gonna wanna really have as much material to work with. So what we did in that situation was we just got this one space, we got them to basically play that song 12 times and Billy, the lead singer, I mean he went - All of them, but Billy especially, he's never gonna like lip sync it. He really sings and he really sings his heart out, he really broke that string, you know. So he just kept on kind of going for it and we just floated around them and tried different things and tried changing perspective, getting up high, getting down low, having different things in focus, getting sloppier. Once we also knew we had it covered then we were like, alright, now we can be a little sloppier over here, sloppier over there. Let some, you know, shallow focus and let them just kind of come into the frame. So we probably had them do it like 10 times and that's all the video is is them just doing it over and over and over again just shot from a bunch of different perspectives.
So did you have another person?
Yes. So that one I did, I shot with Chris LaMarca and though I think that's a situation where we total - Like, one camera also could've achieved that by just floating around even more. With the two cameras we got to have two of our brains making slightly different creative decisions but we potentially could have done that just with one camera, too. Especially because we had so many opportunities to just say, "can you do it again?" And it was cold in there. You can kinda see their breath in one of the shots so I think no one kind of minded because it was cold but as long as they were performing no one was chilly. Yeah.
Jessica are you going to be talking about how you organize and deliver your film?
Yes. Tomorrow at the half-way through or three-quarters of the way through - Segment three tomorrow is all about kind of organizing footage and how to -
It feels like it would be absolutely daunting.
It's a little daunting and then once you have a system for it, it's great. It's actually, it's not so bad and I think I'm more organized as a videographer then I am as a photographer. Infinitely, actually, which probably says more about me than anything else but it is kind of daunting but once you have a system for it, it's a very organized system and now I feel like I could, you know, I get requests for... Because I've worked on a bunch of photography projects, I get requests all the time for like, "oh, can we use this one image for this one magazine or these two images that we saw somewhere else, can we bring this into the story?" And with that stuff I'm like, "where is that? "I don't know what drive or I don't even know "how to put my fingers on it." With video, I feel like - I'm working with an editor right now who's cutting a short out of the, some material that was shown or cut - Sorry. Some material that was shot for The Pearl, I'm making a short film just about Esprit which is that first kind of conference you see so I shot there for three or four years and then this last year went and shot all this new material so I have tons of stuff and if he were to call me today and say, "I need this scene, where would I find it?" As long as I have my laptop, I couldn't just do it from memory, as long as I have my laptop, I could point him to where that specific thing was better than I could locate one of my photographs. And photographs are so much smaller in volume but because you have to be so organized in video that I just have an organizational system where I can point to that stuff quickly.
Just a question about that video from Augustines from Karine Lavoie. what type of lights were used in that video? Was it ambient light and LED light or anything else?
That's a great question. So for that, and a lot of things that Chris and I did over the course of making The Pearl, also using, um... Also for this music video, you know, I'm a very - I mean, you saw my kit. I go onto a plane with a pelican case barely full. We're gonna talk a lot about gear tomorrow, but I'm not a person that wants to have suitcases of gear and all the stuff tricked out and ready to go, I kind of am like a little bit of a scrappier shooter. So I often can be found, before a shoot, in the light bulb section of a supermarket where I'm like, okay. You know, maybe I want - If it's a dim place and they're only using 50 watt bulbs, maybe I want 100 watt bulbs. Maybe I wanna go to Home Depot and get some of those aluminum construction lights, especially for that video. That's basically what we lit the thing with. We just went to the hardware store and lit it from hardware equipment because that's what that environment should look like, you know. It's this industrial, scrappy, very metallic, very cold kind of environment. We wanted that kind of cold, tinny light and so rather than try to fake it, I tend to just lean into whatever things would really look like. If I'm gonna be in someone's house, I don't think most people have big beauty dishes in their homes, they tend to have little table lamps and side lamps, so I try to use those. I might just swap out some bulbs and boost up the voltage so that I can, like, you know, see a little bit more. You know, or boost up the watts, but other than that, I try to kind of keep it native to what the environment would be like. I try to not kind of over light and things like that.
So the question is do your subjects ever ask you to film something that they want to be featured and maybe this is going back to documentary scenario. How self-conscious are they about being filmed and does your presence effect the story? Do they try to make themselves look better? Do they stop themselves from saying something?
Right, right, right. You know, I think people stop themselves, especially when people start to wear mics, which we're gonna talk about tomorrow, I think at the beginning people start to censor themselves. The great thing about a mic is that you totally forget you're wearing it, you know. I've been wearing one all day and I kind of forget about it. So there's a little bit of that self-consciousness but I think any time you're inserting yourself into a room with a camera, people kind of become aware and then they become less aware and then eventually, if they don't totally forget, at least they get very, very comfortable and that's kind of the goal is to be somewhere in that world. No one's ever gonna not see me with that thing on my shoulder, I mean, I can't genuinely become invisible but I can try to become emotionally invisible or as low impact as possible so that I can go ahead, do the things that I need to do and let them go on with their lives. In terms of people asking me to shoot things, that does happen and sometimes it might be because someone thinks that something is good for a story and that can be a little tricky where you're like, you know, I appreciate the gesture but I know what I'm doing and I just want to see you as you would naturally be. Sometimes it's worth just shooting a little of those things 'cause it makes it feel like more of a collaborative process and that can be a trust building thing. Also sometimes you just don't know, I mean, sometimes you're shooting this really boring stuff with people and then they're like, "well, you know, "every third Sunday of the month, "me and all of my brothers and sisters get together "and have a pie throwing contest." Like, whatever, like, there might be some crazy thing that you wouldn't necessarily think of but that your subjects, now that you have a camera and you're this documentarian of their lives are like, "hey, there's this weird thing we always do "and we've always wanted someone to shoot it. "Would you mind it being you?" And you're like "yeah, that would be great." Because it might be something, and especially in documentary, that you just like, you could never write, you could never anticipate. It'll be super weird and wonderful and out of the ordinary and all of the sudden you being this tool in their lives where they're like, hey, this person can document can be a really valuable thing. I mean, I've recently... I recently filmed at a memorial service and it's something that, I think, was a mutually agreed upon situation where, to the person whose memorial service - Well, not the person, but the, you know, for the family that was related to the woman that had passed away, was valuable for them to think that this celebration of this woman's life was being captured on camera and being memorialized further and for us it was, you know, it's a very poignant thing to be able to see how a family comes together in a time of loss and a time of grieving and so, like, that's the type of thing that without the camera, it may be really uncomfortable and in some ways even with just photography, it'd be like, you know, are you gonna photograph a memorial service? Would anyone ask you to photograph that? I don't know. But because there are eulogies and speeches and people come in and pay tribute to someone, for video it's a very natural thing, in some ways, to want that filmed and so we were totally willing to do that and I think that they were very comfortable with it. Yeah.
How emotionally involved do you get with the people you shoot and... Or do you have any rules about that?
I get extremely emotionally evolved with the people that I shoot. I love them a - You know, not across the board, not every single person, but, you know, the women of this film, I love those women a great deal. One of them, the oldest one, Amy, lives here in town and I will totally see her tonight or tomorrow night, as soon as I'm done. Like, she is the number one person I wanna see. A week ago she kind of had a little mini accident and she's fine but a week ago when I'd heard that she had a minor slip and fall, I was like, you know. "Amy, I'm coming. I'm coming to Seattle, don't move!" I feel very invested because you spend a ton of time in each others lives. Them in yours and yours in theirs and you kind of go on this weird, crazy journey with people, even with shorts. I mean, the woman that I showed you some footage of in Montana, the one that lives kind of out there, way in the hills, is wonderful. I really adore her and she sends me a card during my birthday or I think she sent me a t-shirt my last birthday and she sends me a card during Easter and I reach out to her. It's just this kind of wonderful, wonderful thing and so I get very close but especially the women that I spent all these years with. I mean, I just, I love them. Which is, I think, also a really great thing. I come from this belief that, in these long-term personal projects, that you know a lot about the people that you work with, in part because they know a lot about you too and it's not that you're sitting around and having kind of joint therapy sessions but that when you go into these situations, you're going very honest and open and somewhat vulnerable. That you don't just show up to do a job and get the stuff you need and get out of there, but that you're very open with yourself and who you are as a person and so it's very much a mutual exchange, so they come to know you a lot, too. And I always think that that's a really great thing. There's this thing that always happens, or almost always happens, during the course of a project, whether it's small or long. Maybe if it's a day long project, it might not happen but it might. But in long projects and short projects there's always this moment when someone that I'm filming with will turn around and be like, "so where did you grow up?" Or, "do you have any brothers or sisters?" Or they'll ask some personal question and I'm always like, "yes." And it's not because I need them to know that I am an only child or that I grew up in New York or whatever it is, it's that it's this moment when I'm like, "ah-hah! I just became a person to them." And I just went from being this person that's there with the camera, which is a totally normal reaction because that's on me, I've been doing that, I've put them in that position. But there's this moment when all of the sudden they're like, "huh, I wonder if Jessica likes spinach." And then they'll ask me a genuine, personal question and it's always this thing where I'm like, now we're getting somewhere. Now they know that I'm a real person, too. They know that I'm hopefully seeing them as a person and now we can kind of have this much more, mutually trusting relationship and I always really cherish that moment.