Tag Archives: audio

Our Most Recent Corporate Video Shoot

Top Corporate Video Production Shoot

Last Friday, SVG was on set to film a corporate video in collaboration with Wells Fargo. SVG was hired to shoot a series of videos for the company’s “Customer Business Stories,” which is meant to advertise the small businesses that Wells Fargo represents. For this particular video, the set was at a Boxborough veterinary clinic, where we interviewed the founder and owner, as well as shot extensive amounts of B-roll to layer over the footage. In order to produce a successful video, SVG brought in the help of a professional Boston video crew.

Professional Video Equipment

There were two Sony FS7 cameras set up, one for a wider shot, and one for a closer shot of the talent. They were the two primary cameras used on set. Then, in order to shoot the B-Roll, the professional videographers on set used shoulder rigs and mobile tripods to get shots of the animals at the clinic, the facilities, external shots of the building, and the doctor performing various actions, such as lecturing, performing checkups, and brushing the pet’s teeth. One of the plans for B-Roll footage was to attach a GoPro to one of the dogs in order to get a POV shot.

The Audio Equipment

For the audio setup during the interview, a shotgun microphone was placed above the talent just outside of the shot, which made sure that her voice was picked up clearly and in a reasonable decibel range. For extra coverage and clarity, a lavaliere microphone was attached to her clothing. An audio booth was set up towards the back of the room so that the crew member, with the use of headphones, was able to gauge the varying levels and clearness of the talent’s voice. Moreover, the audio had to be directed three ways, which is called a video village. The audio had to be sent to the two FS7 cameras, and then to the actual audio recording device.

Lighting for Production Shoots

For this particular interview, there was an extensive lighting setup. Several LED lights –Lite Softboxes — were used to counteract the backlight, which was coming in through the window behind the talent. The key and fill lights were strategically placed so that the interviewee was evenly lit, which gave the video a professional look. Since LED lights are quite harsh, it was important to diffuse some of the light and reflect it elsewhere. For the B-Roll, there was a battery powered mobile LED box, which was used as needed when moving around the hospital.

In order to produce a successful video, every element of the production process has to be harmonious and planned with great detail. While the set had not been seen until the actual day of shooting, and while there was some troubleshooting with regard to positioning certain lights, there was still a cohesive plan that coordinated with the schedule. Every member of the crew was aware of their respective on-set roles, which made for an incredibly adept day of filming.

Skillman Videography Group LLC specializes in Boston video marketing. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.

Different Types of Audio Equipment

While every video shoot is different, whether it be an independent project or a shoot that requires a team of videographers, recording sound is still one of the most important aspects to create a successful video. Whether it is a how-to, corporate, or entertainment video, there is an overwhelming amount of technology to choose from. Audio equipment is designed for recording, mixing, and reproducing sound, but the most important device on a video shoot is a microphone, which is solely responsible for picking up sound at an appropriate decibel, so that the footage is able to be heard and edited successfully. The most popular microphones are as follows:

Built-In Microphones

As the name implies, built in microphones are found in the camera. While there is a wide range of cameras to choose from, chances are that this type of microphone will be too far away from your subject, and the sound will not record as well as it could with a separate piece of audio equipment. Instead, this microphone will pick up every sound that occurs between your subject and the camera’s placement, which might be useful for ambience. This is why audio equipment, apart from the camera itself, is so important. In order for the video to resonate with the audience, they need to be able to hear it.

Audio

Lavalier Microphones

Perhaps the most useful for professional corporate videos, and most used by news anchors and interviewees, lavalier mics are small, portable microphones that can be attached to a person’s clothing, allowing them to speak and be heard clearly. When using this type of microphone, it is important to have a windscreen to protect against any frequency. Clothing is the most commonly used protection, but the subject may also use their body to deflect the wind or any background noise.

Audio engineer w/ boom pole

Ken, boom mic operator

Shotgun Microphones

The most common piece of audio equipment, that can be found on almost any set, is the shotgun microphone. It is not attached to the camera or the subject, but operated by a boom operator. Due to its shape, and its directionality, shotgun microphones are able to pick up very specific sounds, ones that happen right in front of the blimp (the cage covered in fur, meant to mask any wind). This type of microphone is most effective on the sets of interviews, but are versatile enough to be used anywhere. The sound has to be constantly monitored in order to keep up with the ranging frequencies.

Handheld Microphones

Handheld microphones, for the most part, are used by news anchors, infomercials, or any talent lecturing or performing on stage. These microphones can also be used to pick up surrounding sounds in order to create ambience. Rarely, during an interview, if a lavaliler mic is not available, a handheld microphone can be placed out of frame. This is an innovative, successful way to pick up sound.

Skillman Video Group LLC specializes in video production Boston. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.

Terms for Every Boston Videographer

“Angle’s” isn’t just a geometry term, and is quite often used in Boston video production terms. Who would have thought we use geometry in video production. Well the truth is we use the term “angle” more than the actual mathematics. Options and angles work incoherently. As a Boston video company it is important to have more than one option of a particular scene, and even so having close-ups, medium shots, and wide angle shots of that scene (just to name a few). What is this point of all of this? Well, it’s simple all of these options are for our editing team in post-production.

As a Boston videographer for Skillman Video Group it isn’t just enough to have the top of the line equipment. Experience and a keen eye on detail makes the difference in an average marketing video and the best Boston marketing video. Although there is a lot of trial and error when first starting out as a professional videographer, knowing the types of shots and equipment needed to get the perfect shot.

Here is an overview of Boston Video Production Terms for Boston videographers just starting out:

  • Extreme Wide Shot (EWS)- Shot taken from far away where the subject isn’t visible.
  • Very Wide Shot (VWS)- The environment around the subject is still prominent and the subject is barely visible.
  • Wide Shot (WS)- The subject takes up the entire camera frame.
  • Medium Shot (MS)- Shows part of subject in more detail.
  • Medium Close-Up (MCU)- Closer than a medium shot but further away than a close-up on the subject.
  • Close-Up (CU)- A feature of the subject taking up the full frame.
  • Extreme Close-Up (ECU)- Shows extreme detail of the subject.
  • Cut-In (CI)- Shows other areas of the subject in extreme detail.
  • Cutaway (CA)- A shot of something that is not the subject.
  • Over-The-Shoulder Shot (OSS)- Focusing on the subject over the shoulder of another person.
  • Point-Of-View Shot (POV)- The view of the subject.

Besides types of Boston video company camera shots, here are some other terms a professional videographer should keep in mind while on set for a corporate video production company.

  • Color-Temperature- The red, blue, and yellow colors given off in the room. The different color temperatures from scene to scene must be consistent.
  • B-roll– Alternate footage to go with interviewees topic of discussion.
  • Depth of Field (DOF)- The distance between the nearest and furthest subjects that the camera must adjust to focus on.
  • Boom Microphone- A microphone attached to the end of the pole. This microphone is used to pick up more audio from the actors without getting into the camera’s frame. Used in conjunction with a lavaliere.
  • Lavaliere- A small microphone hidden under the actors or interviewees clothing.
  • Aspect Ratio-The size in which the film has been shot. 16:9 is most common.
  • Pan-Following the subject either vertically or horizontally
  • White Balance-The color balance on the camera. Before filming either make sure the white balance is on auto or it is adjusted using a blank white piece of paper

Being a Boston video company like SVG means having a production team that has experience and a great deal of knowledge surrounding everything from pre-production, producing, professional videography, and post-production editing. Although this is just a snippet of some of the most common corporate video production words, it will help any Boston videographer get started in the big city.

Jobs of a Crew Member

The job of all crew member’s on a Boston video marketing company set have a very specific skill set and importance to the video production method. Though it may seem like there are a lot of people walking around and directing just to get 30 seconds of a commercial completed, each person hired for the day of production is needed to ensure a professional and effective film. There are several categories that make a video production shoot run properly and none can be omitted if the project wants to run smoothly.

Starting with the camera department, while working with any video production services there clearly needs to be a camera operator. This person physically works the camera during filming and controls the shots framing and camera movements as instructed by the director of photography. Who is the D.P.? Well the director of photography is in charge of the visual look of the film as seen through the camera’s eyes. This person is not only in charge of what the camera needs to get but also the crew, lighting design, and communicating with the gaffer.

On the production side of the job, there is the director, producer, production assistant, Boston videographer and so on. All of these jobs run very specific departments that control the way the Boston video production will operate and ensure that they finish efficiently. Organizing the entire production, helping out with the script, keeping track of finances and overseeing the final distribution plans for the movie all fall under the job description of the producer. Its not an easy job but will definitely be rewarding.

Sound is a crucial part of any production, including Skillman Video Groups Boston video marketing company, so professionals have to make sure all the audio channels are coming in clearly. Jobs include a boom operator and a sound mixer. Leveling, monitoring, and recording audio during video production are the main reasons that the sound departments are so pivotal in any Boston video production.

Professional video productionSome jobs that people wouldn’t think about but are just as vital on the larger professional video production sets include transportation crews, food department, and the location department. Transportation crews quiet literally do what is in their title. They coordinated with the set and make sure all people are where they need to be at the right time. Going hungry isn’t and option when working with a ton of people, so the food department is the savior of any production day bringing in snacks and meals for all on set. Location scouts help to find the various filming locations that will be suitable for the day of filming which entails lots of traveling to find the perfect spot.

The jobs of each crew member on a video production set, whether it be a small production or a big one have an impact on how the film will turn out. The main goal is to stay on budget and have a fantastic finished product. SVG is a Boston video production company is dedicated to making each project and client a professional product.

Skillman Videography Group LLC specializes in Boston video production. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.

Boston video production

Intern Video Equipment

Two weeks ago, the summer interns at Skillman Video Group, Jason and Chloe, led the charge for their own Boston video production shoot. It was a tightly packed schedule with timing planned down to the wire, including everything from transitioning time to a lunch break, and they even gathered their own equipment. By the end of the shooting day, the interns had wrapped principal photography for two unique videos. One was a parody of “The Office,” and the other a parody of the popular Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man” commercial series. The shooting experience was essential to preparing them for the Boston video production industry, and their work will surely impress any Boston video company.

Camera/Lens

The camera used for both videos was the Canon C-100. We’ve mentioned this camera model in several recommendation blogs because of its versatility among the Canon brand. It is able to work with camera lenses from multiple generations and models of the Canon line. Three different fixed lenses were used throughout the day: the Canon 25mm, 35mm, and 85mm. Respectively, these lenses served the roles of a wide, normal, and telephoto lens. These three types of lenses are the standard for a Boston video production company.

Audio

The recording device for the day was the 702T compact flash field recorder from Sound Devices. This recorder required XLR cables to be plugged into an external microphone, and allowed the audio operator to monitor sound levels through a separate port for headphones. For scenes shot outside, a wind sock/ fuzzy was used to protect the microphone from windy background noise. Recording audio with the lowest gain possible is usually ideal for video production.

Other

The rest of the video production equipment was tangentially related to the camera (ex: tripod and shoulder rig).  The shoulder rig was the Red Rock F3 model, and the tripod was from Sachtler.

Skillman Videography Group LLC specializes in video production Boston. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.

Slate

Separate Audio and Video

This past week the Skillman Video Group interns, Jason and Chloe, created their own Boston marketing videos from the ground up. This included everything from scripting to shooting, and they used advanced Boston videographer and audio recording equipment. Let’s break down working on a video production set with separate audio and video equipment. This is often the case for high-end Boston video production shoots, and is a vital skill for entering the Boston video company industry. Here are 5 tips for running separate audio and video feeds.

  • Learn to control the boom mic.
    Audio engineer w/ boom pole

    Ken, SVG boom mic operator

    There is a running joke in the film industry about boom mics falling into frame (especially in older films), but this is because boom mic operators fight for every inch of proximity to the source of a sound. The audio operator must constantly coordinate with the director of photography to know the frame boundaries and where to safely place the microphone.

  • Always use a slate or simulated slate for organizational purposes. This will prove vital for post video production services. Essentially, you need to have the number of the scene, shot letter, the number of the take, and a snapping sound. You can also just clap with your hands in front of the camera. Be sure to clearly enunciate a term or word for each shot letter. For example: If the scene is marked as 1AT2, say “one alpha take two” before closing the slate.
  • Map out where the camera operator and audio operator should be at all times. If the camera has to move then the audio operator needs to be ready. This will prevent the boom mic (and operator) from being in the frame, casting a shadow, etc., especially for camera whips and pans.
  • Always keep an eye on wiring throughout the set. The audio equipment will add its own flurry of cables and cords, so keep these into account to ensure safety for everyone involved. A loose cable can lead to a falling injury, a fire, or worse for a video production company.
  • Audio levels must be monitored constantly. The last thing an editing team wants is to start working on footage that is accompanied by sub-par audio. This includes audio that is both too quiet and audio that keeps clipping on loud voices. Check in with the director of photography and the director to ensure satisfaction.

Skillman Videography Group LLC specializes in Boston video production. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.

How To Improve Audio Recordings

It is a challenge for many Boston video production sets to make sure the audio is set to the right levels and that the back ground noise isn’t picked up. This is a difficult thing for many technical production crews and producers to eliminate because let’s face it, unwanted noise can happen in even the smallest amounts. There are a few ways to help eliminate this undesirable noise while filming on a production set and as a Boston video company, Skillman Video Group is here to help with some tips.

  • Mount the Microphone

Figuring out the best way to configure a microphone to eliminate the background noise on a production shoot isn’t simple. One way to get rid of the vibration sound is to mount a microphone on a stand. By holding a microphone in ones hand, there is a possibility of picking up movement from the fingertips during a recording.

  • Pop Shield

    Pop Screen

Certain sounds are known to release a burst of air while being recorded during a video production. This can be extremely difficult to remove in post-production, but while on set there is a way to eliminate any excess noise. By using a pop shield that covers the microphone, unwanted sound can diminish. The pop shield is just a circular frame with a fine sheer material stretched across it, which eliminates the excess popping noise.

Pop ShieldCertain sounds are known to release a burst of air while being recorded during a shoot. This can be extremely difficult to remove in post-production but while on set there is a way to eliminate any excess noise. By using a pop shield that covers the microphone, unwanted sound can diminish. The pop shield is just a circular frame with a fine sheer material stretched across it, which eliminates the excess popping noise.

  • Room Environment

Room tone or room environment can be a huge contributor to and source of background noise. Recording environment needs to be quiet meaning any fans, electronics, and people are silent during production. Sometimes a video marketing company can be hired for a project that does not require sound to be recorded; in these cases the audio levels do not need to be monitored and the producer can focus on the shots needed. On the video production sites where sounds does matter, the producer and director have to pay close attention to the sound that is being emitted on set. Many editing programs have ways to manipulate the external noise in a room but it all comes down to what the raw footage captured.

Audio engineer w/ boom pole

Ken, boom mic operator

Audio is a difficult part of production because sometimes a set cannot control every aspect of the sound. It is the job of the producer and the director to problem solve and work to the best of their ability to obtain the shots and audio desired for a client. Through the use of these specific tips along with many other sources, audio can be controlled and mastered in most situations. The key is to come prepared and have all the equipment at the set just incase it is needed as part of the video production services.

Skillman Videography Group LLC specializes in Boston video production services. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.

Audio Pro-Tips for Boston Video Production

Thanks to the new drive of video production companies to acquire premium 4K cameras, it’s easy to focus solely on achieving the best visuals for a client. However, it’s important for both Boston video production and video marketing companies to treat audio as a top-tier priority. Audio can be just as (if not more) important than the video half, so here are 3 pro-tips from our Skillman Video Group specialists to ensure you record the best audio possible.

1) Minimize Gain

Aim for recording the 10-16 decibel range with the audio gain at the lowest level possible. To accomplish this volume range with low gain, the assigned audio person must have the microphone device as close to the subject as possible without entering the frame of the camera.

Audio engineer w/ boom pole

Ken, SVG boom mic operator

This is why old movies sometimes have boom mics fall into frame, because the boom operator is fighting to have the mic as close to the actors as possible. If Hollywood is the golden standard, there is no reason your Boston video production company shouldn’t be following a tried and true practice.

2) Bring the Appropriate Microphone

There is a time and place for various kinds of microphones. If a client shoot entails a controlled environment, hyper-cardioid mics (focused direction) or “shotgun mics” can suffice. If an interview is being taped, LAV mics may be more appropriate. However, when shooting live event videography, the client may want to capture the ambient sounds of an event, in which case an omni-directional microphone (one that captures sound from all directions) would be ideal.

Shotgun microphone

Shotgun mic

3) Plan for Recording Positions

Especially for high-end mics, it is important for the boom operator to remain as stable as possible. Recording devices can easily pick up sudden bounces from a boom pole or whips to a different direction. If the source of the sound (ex: person) has to move while audio is being recorded, consider strapping on a rig device to the boom operator’s waist so that maximum stabilization is ensured.

Regardless of your video production field, audio is a vital compliment to video. Use them both in conjunction, and your videos will be much more effective.

Skillman Videography Group LLC specializes in Boston video production services. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.

post-production

Intern: Post-Production

Knowledge and experience are the result of adversity and critiques. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but perfect practice makes perfect. Practicing video production is no different, and as Skillman Video Group’s intern, I was able to use my prior experience to produce dozens of articles on video production and video marketing.

Producing a video for Skillman Video Group can be intimidating, especially when working for a company that holds itself to the highest of standards. Although filming the video and interviewing our CEO and Creative Director Christina Skillman seemed like an easy task, the post-production editing proved to me that every little element makes a difference to the larger picture.

Color Correction

color-correction YouTube has proven to be a great video marketing tool, and when it came to learning about an unfamiliar program and color correction, YouTube again showed its worth. There are many different strategies for color correction in Adobe Premiere Pro. After tampering with a few, I found that the best color-correction workflow was to correct using RGB scopes. One problem that gave me the greatest difficulty in post-production was matching the color temperature of the b-roll shots to the interview’s. Again, I found that the RGB scopes gave me the best results and allowed me to better match the color temperature of the separate shots.

Also using the color scale is a handy tool when trying to match color temperatures. This gave me a better look at the RGB color data, so I knew which colors needed to be toned down and which ones needed to be increased. Overall, next time when filming I will make sure to better match the color temperature of the interviews and b-roll shots so it will make for less of a hassle in post-production.

B-roll

There is never too much b-roll. B-roll is an important element to a video especially when having to provide visuals for the interview topic. The audience doesn’t just want to look at the interviewee the whole time, so providing b-roll images that fits in with the dialogue. Going back through the b-roll shots I took, I wish that I had taken more. Having options is the greatest benefit of a video and will ultimately lead to its success. Although I had b-roll clips that worked, it wasn’t up to my standards nor SVG’s. SVG is all about high quality and though I had b-roll shots that would be considered as highly valuable, the rest were average.

B-roll

audio+ music

Deciding on background music can be tricky. I knew I wanted uplifting feel-good music in the background that wasn’t nostalgic or too aggressive. The video is meant to provide information to SVG’s clients on preparing for a video marketing meeting so the music should express the emotion of the video. After exploring different songs, and testing each in the video sequence, I finally found the right song on Premium Beat, which was uplifting and fit in perfectly with the video. When adding music into a sequence, the music audio and dialogue audio needs to be adjusted so that the music doesn’t overshadow the dialogue. Using keyframes allows the editor to adjust the audio in certain areas that are either to high or too low.

Details

After reviewing the video with Christina Skillman, there were areas of the video that I could improve editing wise, but and as a video producer I learned to look at the smaller elements of video production. Even a scrunched up shirt and messy hair can cause a distraction to the audience and can offset the video. Looking at every detail and making adjustments is what separates the high quality videos from the average. Though I am proud of the video I produced I learned that there are always areas to improve whether it be as a video producer or an editor in post-production

Skillman Video Group LLC is a Boston video production company. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.

SVG on set

2016 Doctoral Research Forum

SVG at MITShooting live events is nothing new for Skillman Video Group, and neither is working with MIT. Recently, SVG was hired to shoot the 2016 Doctoral Research Forum held at one of MIT’s campuses in Boston. The forum was based around 8 presentations that would last about 20 minutes each. It always feels good for SVG knowing that we continuously provide the best videos for our clients, and so much so that they keep us on speed dial for other projects or events.

Although we have worked with MIT before, our approach and protocol stay’s the same. SVG’s videographer, producer, and audio crew arrived at the filming location an hour and a half before the presentations began to set up the equipment. Seeing that we would be filming a live event, it was important to arrive at the location early to test the audio, soundboard, lighting, and camera angles.

Audio

Audio crewWhen filming live presentations it’s important that the camera is able to pick up all the audio from each presenter. By bringing in our audio team it allowed us to hook our camera up to the sound board so any dialogue coming through over the rooms speakers would also be directly sent to the camera. Three presenters were set-up with wireless lavalieres. When it was one presenter’s turns to speak the sound crew would turn down the audio from the prior presenter and turn up the audio for the next. This allowed for an easier transition from one presenter to the next without having to slow the day down due to micing up the next presenter each time. Having three wireless lavalieres not only made for an easier transitions but also kept the presentations flowing. Our audio crew also set-up two wireless microphones. One was set at the podium for introductions into the next presenter, and another at the judge’s table for questions. The audio from these two microphones was also sent to the soundboard and then into the camera. Although audio can be difficult to understand if we are talking logistics, as long as you have the right equipment and audio professionals, the task is easier done than said. All it takes is one wire to connect the soundboard to the video camera.

Camera Set-UpCamera Set-Up

Camera set-up can be tricky when filming live events especially because the videographer must anticipate where the presenters will be walking. In order to ensure that our video cameras would capture the presenter the projector screen, we added tape on the floor so the presenters would know what areas he or she were permitted to walk. Although you will have some presenters who wander off past the black tape, our wide camera angle made sure to capture all movement.

Camera set-up is always important during live events. Seeing that the presenters would be using a projector with slides to show their research we needed to include a close up shot of the presenter, a wide angle shot of the projector and the presenter, as well as a shot of just the projection screen. As stated before we assembled one camera toward the back of the room. We raised the camera up on the tripod to avoid the audience members sitting at the tables in front of the presenter. Having audience heads at the bottom of the screen takes away from the video and is a distraction visually. Another video camera was set-up at the front of the room, but out of the way of audience members. This camera was solely to focus on the presenter and pan to the judges during questions. Finally, a third camera sat on one of the tables at the front of the room. This camera was only set-up to capture the presenters slides. The slides from the presentations were sent to our editor to include into the video. By filming the projector screen it would help the editor in post-production know where each slide is to go.

Natural Lighting

Lighting Although the tape on the floor was to stop the presenters from moving outside of the camera shot, it was also to ensure the presenters would not walk in front of the projector screen and cast a shadow. Shadows would ultimately be the problem to avoid throughout filming. The room we were in brought in a lot of natural lighting, which illuminated the room beautifully but can also cause a lot of unwanted shadows across the background and floor. To avoid the shadows, our professional videographer assembled two LED lights (One small and one larger). The LED lights would add extra light but would also offset the shadows. One thing to keep in mind when working with natural lighting is the suns movement through the course of the day. However, having extra LED lights set-up can be adjusted as the natural lighting comes in through different directions, and again can offset the shadows.

On a side note: when filming indoors with natural lighting always make sure to reset the white balance on the camera.

It’s always a pleasure working with MIT, and we hope to continue our relationship with the University down the road. Though there are always some problems that come up when shooting a live event, our crews preparation only makes those problems minimal.