I have been in business for nearly 10 years now. 99% of my work has been in the wedding world, and then other family events and dance recitals. I have always wanted to expand into doing corporate video, but have not been able to in the past since I was still working a full time job. Now that I no longer work full time for someone else, I have the ability to take on corporate jobs.
My first of corporate videos were commissioned by a William Raveis for their new website launch. Here is on the videos that was created for them. Animation credits go to Anthony Santos.
You can see the rest of the videos (with more coming in the future) at their website raveis.com.
Do you have business that needs a video for your website to help reach your audience? Contact me to talk about your video needs for your business and I will work with you to create an affordable video option for your business.
Why am I writing about how I almost broke my fingers on my company's blog? Well, this blog is about my business and things that affect my business, and having broken fingers is one of them. It was the middle of the night, the dog had to go out. I was half awake, and when walking through the kitchen my foot kicked something and I tripped. My hand went in front of my me to brace my fall (which is not how you should brace yourself at all) and I bent my fingers backward. It happened too fast to do anything about it, but slow enough that I had the thought of praying that I didn't hear a snap as I watched my index and middle finger on my left hand bend backwards with my finger tips touching the back on my hand. I laid there in pain, and then I bent my fingers to ensure they weren't broken, but they really hurt. Two days later, they are still swollen and I have pain when bending them.
When you are a photographer, or a videographer, your hands and fingers are very important. Taking pictures requires two hands. The right hand holds the camera, the index finger and thumb adjust the exposure, shutter speed, and ISO settings, not to mention access the entire cameras menu structure and operate the shutter. The left hand steadies the camera and the fingers operate the zoom function of your lens. Two hands, working in concert together to take on great photo. When taking video with the same camera, volume control and focus control enter into the mix.
What happens if I had a serious injury to a finger, hand, wrist or arm? Well, I carry on in reality. I make adjustments like any good professional would. I have recording a wedding video with my right wrist in a soft cast. The cast actually made holding the camera easier at times because it took the burden off the wrist which at the time had a bruised tendon that I got while putting a roof on my grandmother's house (true story). Even though I can, I have, and I will still perform all of my commitments even while injured, it's still a relief to know I have time to recover before my next gig.
Wedding videos make up over 90% of my business. And as a result, the majority of my equipment is based around that. I like everything to be portable and ready to use at a moments notice. At a wedding, I am lucky if I have five minutes to set up. However, in recent months, I have been getting more and more corporate clients. It is essentially the exact opposite world of shooting an event. Events are scheduled, only happen once and go by pretty fast. There are no retakes, and no second chances. It can be a real rush to recording a live event. Corporate videos take much longer to film versus the amount of video used. I recently created a series of four videos for a real estate company. We recorded all of the talent on the same day, and each video was edited down to around two minutes. Six hours of being on location equaled about eight minutes worth of video in the end. But my biggest equipment problem for this shoot was the lighting itself. As I said earlier, all of my gear is set up for live event work. This means I use a small on camera light with my camera and don't have studio lighting. For this shoot, I borrowed lights form my friend. They are lights that have been around and I would trust to work anytime, but they are out dated, and in an enclosed room, they get VERY hot after only a minute or two. This leads me to my search for new lights.
There are three main types of lighting to look at when putting together a kit for portable use. There are Tungsten, Florescent and LED. Tungsten is the old technology, it works great but can be very HOT. The color temperature if a very pleasant 3200K giving a warm feel to the lighting. But, if you read the news, tungsten lighting is on its way out. On a residential level, these are the old school lightbulbs that are no longer being made. Besides, like I said, they are very hot.
Next are the florescent lights. To be honest, I don't have much experience with these. We have a bank of them at the TV studio I teach at, but as far as portable units I have never had the pleasure of trying them. One thing I know for sure is that they use up power much like the tungsten. These are not lights you are going to run off of batteries. Tungsten will use more power than florescent in the long run, but still not always practical for location shooting.
This bring me to my last option, LED! LED lights are the new sensation. I have an LED light for my camera that I can change from daylight (5600K) to tungsten (3200K) by simply turing a dial. It runs off a Sony L type battery and barely weighs anything. So for my light kit, I want to LED as well, but there are so many choices out there.
My first option is a light kit from Genaray. I don't know much about this company. In fact, wikipedia doesn't know anything about them, so they are pretty new. What I do know is that I use their on camera light. And of the three LED light kits I am looking at, they are the least expensive. They are currently listed on B&H for $758 (currently a mark down from $1204) for a three piece kit with stands and dimmers. These lights run off of AC power and are daylight balanced. The only way to change color temp with these is with a filter. The reviews seem to have great things to say about them. My main concern is that the fixtures are round, which can be awkward to pack inside the bag. Also, there is no bag included with this kit. I am not sure if the company is not including the bag as a way to make the price more attractive, but I would prefer a kit with a custom made bag. Maybe I should write them a letter.
This next kit that I am looking at does have a bag, and I think that's a good thing. This is the Lowel Blender Kit. Is the that trusted brand I used when I borrowed my friend's lights. Lowel is a brand that has been around and usually their stuff works. Why is it called blender? Well, these lights are able to be either 3200K, 5600K, or anywhere in the middle. You can blend color temperatures to match your location, or to create interesting lighting effects. The kit also comes with diffusors for each light. These are also AC powered (no batteries here). Where as the Genaray was a good price, the Lowel kit is double the price at $1399. But for something at that price point, and with a name like theirs to back it up, there are not a lot of reviews on this product and it has been out for over a year. Some say that the lights are too under powered when trying to use natural window lighting as part of the mix. This was going to be my first choice, but after reading reviews, I have to thing some more.
This brings us to the third choice in this buying process. The ikan IFB576-s. Like the Lowel, the ikan can adjust color temp. Dimmer control is also included. And yes, it has a case. In fact it has two cases, because these lights are bigger. These lights can be controlled on the back by either a LED touch screen or control knobs. The readings are always displayed so you know exactly what color temp you are at. What set these lights apart? For one, they have barn doors to control the spill of light. Also, the price. They are bigger lights and they come with a bigger price tag. These lights will set you back $1619, but at least you get two bags.
And for my last selection, lights from a company that is better know for their motion backgrounds than their lighting. Digital Juice has a light kit called the MiniBurst. There are lot of things that I seem to like about these lights. They are small, so they can go anywhere. The demo video actually shows them using these with suction cup mounts in a car. They are also battery powered! They are powered by the Sony L type battery for up to 6 hours (at least they claim 6 hours). They are again, balanced to daylight but they have included a warming filter to try and get down to tungsten. And yes, they have included a carrying case. They are also nicely priced at $799 (marked down from $929). These lights are a strong contender to become part of my equipment stash.
There are of course many more lights out their than these four. Bescor makes really inexpensive LED lights, but I have seen them and they look and feel as cheap as they cost. Their are also other light kits that go far beyond the $2k mark. These are the lights that I feel are the strongest with in this price range when comparing the features that are offered and the versatility of the lights.
This post has honestly been, a way for me to think about what lights I want to pick. Hopefully it can help you as well.
About a year ago, I made a choice to change over my camera gear in a very drastic way. For almost a decade, I have always used Panasonic camcorders to record video, and I still have one right now. But then I wanted to do photography and I went with Canon, first buying a used 30D, and then a brand new 60D and even ending up with a used 5D MkII. The 5D MkII is of course the camera that brought HD video to the HDSLR market place and changed the game for the industry. But it, and it's successors, as well as those made by Nikon all have their limitations. Yes, they record amazing video, when in the hands of a skilled operator. And in a controlled environment, like on a set, they are made a huge impact. But for the run and gun style of wedding and event work, I was always hesitant to jump in. My two main reasons were always focus and record time. Manual focus was your only choice. Again, great in controlled situations, but can be a bit much when capturing things live. And then their is the record time. Because they are recording to memory cards that are FAT formatted and using the MOV codec, each clip was limited to being between 12 and 29 minutes. When the file gets to the file size limitation of a FAT32 formatted card, the camera would complete the file write and stop recording. You then have to force the record to continue and deal with this lapse of time later on. And, these cameras also had a problem of over heating, rendering the camera useless until they cooled down. This is all because these are still cameras that were given the ability to record video.
Enter the Panasonic Lumix GH3. This is the camera that I sold off all of my Canon gear for. Panasonic made conscious decision to design this around great video recording. They engineered it in such a way that the camera does not overheat while recording, boasting that you can record over 250 minutes straight without a heating issue. That is most likely longer than a single battery will last. They have also allowed the camera to record in multiple codecs from the very compressed and great for long recordings AVCHD format to full size MOV in a variety of frame rates. The small size is a plus as well for recording videos on a 10 hour day because it is so light. With the micro 4/3 sensor, the lenses are also smaller, lending to less gear to carry around at busy wedding. And each of their lenses has stabilization built in!
Then there is focusing. It has more than one auto focus mode that works while recording. You can do zone focus, touch to focus, tracking focus and of course manual focus. All great for different scenarios and all controlled form the touch screen, along with the audio control for the microphone.
I went into last wedding season after buying this camera a little nervous about using it as my main camera. I still carried my AG90 with me and would set it up on a tripod during ceremonies as a second camera. But not this year. This year I know that the GH3 is my main shooter for all of my video needs. The down side is I can't plug my wireless mic right into it, but that is what my Zoom H4 is for. As a run and gun style shooter, I am always looking for bringing the smallest camera bag while capturing the biggest image I can, and this camera really lets me do that. I can't say enough good things about this camera. And what is even better is that Panasonic is releasing the GH4 next month which will allow for the recording of 4K video. I can see clearly that my style of shooting and Panasonic's business model are inline with each other and I will continue to be loyal to them. While Canon and Nikon keep putting out DSLRs, it's companies like Panasonic that are doing away with the lens reflux, and going mirror less, allowing for smaller camera bodies with the same quality that are going to make a real impact.