I thought I'd give you an insight into the production of my latest video release; the Soundbox studio opening!
The event took place before the summer, and I took along Sam to help me out with the gear and eat delicious cupcakes! We arrived with about an hour prior to the opening so I could capture some of the establishing shots and BTS of the final touches to the studio.
I had my standard video setup with me:
5D mkIII, Tamron 24-70, Sigma 70-200, Samyang 14, 35, 85.
Zoom H6, Roto-mic.
I also used the new Manfrotto Spectra LED lights, the bi-colour model is fantastic for a kick of soft light that can be easily controlled to daylight and tungsten colour temperature.
For the grip I had my trusty Manfrotto 755CX-3 and MVH-500AH as it is lightweight and easily maneuverable around small spaces, as well as the Manfrotto 681B monopod and MH054 ball head, Edelkrone slider plus and flycam nano.
Construction and tidying up was still under way when we arrived, so I captured some of the nerves and excitement leading up to the big launch. For the establishing shots I used the Edelkrone slider on the Manfrotto tripod, combined with the 14mm cine lens it gives a great moving perspective and shows off the space very well.
Natural light conditions
It was quite dark in the studio, so I struggled with aperture vs exposure and often shot very shallow to retain light. The beauty of the 35mm and 85mm cine lenses is that at T/1.5 they are extremely sharp and great for low light, however without image stabilization a tripod is recommended. I always have my 'go to' lenses on hand as they have good IS and are zoom, so for more run and gun style shooting it suits it much better than needing the time to set up and compose a shot.
The monopod became more useful when the eager visitors began arriving, and after a short and sweet speech, Matt and Jack opened Soundbox to the public!
I captured the buzz and excitement of the event, you could feel the anticipation in the air to see the hard work all finished! I worked with the 5D on the monopod and tripod for most of the time, and occasionally used the Flycam Nano for some moving shots through the studio. I did have to balance the camera and lens when I arrived, as it was set up for a different body when I last used it..
One important skill that I've learned is to become invisible to the guests at the event, or if that tactic doesn't work, being a photographer is a good one too! Acting professional and friendly keeps your subjects in a relaxed and candid manor, rather than adjusting their clothes, posing or avoiding the camera all together. If your subject can feel your good aura, they should respond positively :)
The lead artist of Soundbox is Rebecca James, who was there to perform and support the launch of the studio too! She belted out some great numbers, accompanied by a group of ace musicians on bass, electric guitar and percussion. The track in the background of the video is Rebecca's new one, and will be on her upcoming EP!
As you've probably noticed, I shot a large majority of the event in 50fps (slow motion).. This was purely a creative decision on the day, and also a chance to work in a different format presents it's own set of challenges to overcome.
Now, on the 5D mkIII it will record 1080p 25fps and 720p 50fps. When recording in 50fps the picture appears much softer, and a little darker too due to the shutter speed reduction. In an already darkly lit location, either shooting shallow or with a high ISO were my options as I don't like using a light on camera.
You can push the 5D mkIII very far with it's ISO in video mode, and I often shoot at ISO 2000 and above in certain circumstances.
Shooting with the Manfrotto gear made me discreet in my filming approach, and provided me with perfect grip and stability for capturing the video. I could rest easy also knowing I stored by camera gear in the Pro Backpack50, so if anything happened to it; kicked dropped, moved, liquid spillage.. My gear is safe.
Backing up the footage happened pretty much immediately after the shoot, onto both drives in my work station and a couple of EHD's. Then, in Premiere Pro I imported the footage, and split up the 25p and 50p into separate sequences so the slow mo footage can be slowed down to the right playback rate.
After cutting down the rushes to the best content, I imported the audio track which Matt from the studio sent over. It's Rebecca James' new track '1000 Roses', which will be on her new EP. To add to the rhythm and pace of the edit, I used the beat and some surprising cuts with the track, and adding in the slow mo shots of Rebecca's performance and the band playing looked good I thought!
Anyways, I added an S curve to an adjustment layer over the whole of the sequence, which limited the black level at 16 and the white at 235. This added a neutrality and a different look I was eager to try out.
So, what are your thoughts? Got any questions about the production? Hope you enjoyed this post!