Tips for Shooting Slow Motion


The technology in professional video cameras have come a long way since the days of the days of tape . Our trusty Sony PMW-FS5 is capable of shooting 240 frames per second at 2K resolution when paired with an external recorder, something that 10 years ago would be unimaginable in anything but the most high-end cinema cameras. It can open up a whole range of possibilities when it comes to shooting stunning product shots, or capturing the smallest details in dramatic slow motion. We’ve compiled a few tips for shooting beautiful slow motion.

Light it Up

The slower you want your slow motion to be, the more light you will need. Let’s say your standard is the 24 frames per second used by film cameras. At 240 frames per second, of which the FS5 is capable, you will need 10 times as much light to get the same exposure as real time. So if you plan on shooting indoors, you will need a controlled environment with plenty of lights just to get a correct exposure. You may also experience some pulsing effects if you are using fluorescent lights as a source as the refresh rate of fluorescents is 50hz, invisible to the human eye but will be picked up by a high frame rate. Shooting outdoors in sunlight should give you enough light to shoot 120fps at least, but be wary of changes in light conditions and clouds darkening the image.

Pick a Fast Lens

slow motion

Another tip that will make it easier to get enough light onto your sensor is by using a fast prime lens. Our .95 50mm lens is perfect for low light applications as it is a versatile focal length as well as being extremely fast. It does come with some drawbacks as shooting with such a wide aperture will mean that is can be very difficult to keep things in focus, so if you’re shooting something like sports, the best option is to sacrifice some light and shoot at f4, and up the ISO to compensate. This will result in some more visible grain, so if possible run some tests before the shoot to get your settings right for the conditions.

Steady and Stable

fs5

Because every moment will be stretched out by up to 10 times, movement in real time can might not be obvious when the shot is slowed down. For shorter shots it’s not always necessary to use a tripod, but for longer slow motion shots we recommend it for the best final product. If you are shooting at says, 60fps, or 100fps, shooting handheld can provide a dreamy, natural feel, especially when paired with some movement and tracking the subject. Using a stabiliser like the DJI-Ronin can also create a beautiful floating look that is ideal for dramatic tracking shots.

Choose Your Frame Rate to Match the Motion

How slow should we go? If you’re looking to capture something like a starters pistol going off, the slower the better. Capturing things that are moving fast already will benefit from the slower movement. However, you should take into consideration the end result of the shot. Is it just a small part of a finished product? If so then you don’t want to shoot 240fps for some B-roll of someone walking. You will fill up your storage media quickly and the extra slow speed won’t add anything apart from time. Many shots will benefit from just a slight change to 50 or 60fps as it can provide good B-roll and a can really emphasise the importance of a shot.

If you’re looking to shoot beautiful looking shots for your project, get in touch with us here.

Four Kinds of Video Your Business Needs


There are many different types of video you can create for your business. You can solve problems, introduce your new products or show off the culture you have developed in your business. In this article we will be looking at the broad types of video that nearly every business can use to improve their online marketing. Explainer videos are perfect for building content on your blog or website, or even acting as a brief tutorial if your product is simple enough. If you find that your customers have a recurring question about your business or products, why not make an explainer video to save you the hassle? You’ll know that an explainer video is successful when your support staff are less stressed from not answering the same questions again and again.

Product videos

Do you provide a service or sell a product that is difficult to explain in a succinct manner? Or maybe you’ve had some success with putting product videos on your website to entice visitors to learn more, hook them in and convert that into a sale.

Product videos show the benefits and special features of your product and they will often show a quick example of how it works, all while engaging the audience and keeping them on your site. Product videos are beneficial for customers who are perhaps considering buying from you, but they need to feel confident they’re choosing the right product.

Internal training videos

Every business has a training process, and of course every business has a unique way of doing things that can be a big adjustment for new staff. Even staff that have been with the company a long time can often need a refresher or a reminder about best practice. This is where the magic of training videos come in to play.  Here’s where video’s special powers come into play.

By creating an internal training video, you can lead your employees through a step by step process in the company’s operations, you can save time and make sure that it’s 100% best practise and all your employees are on the same page. Training videos also have the advantage of being more memorable than a pamphlet or slideshow, and diagrams simply can’t compete with a video of the real thing.

Testimonials

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Positive word of mouth is one of the key aspects to building your business. Positive encounters with your customers will lead to satisfied customers, which may lead to them giving you a recommendation. Facebook reviews, Google reviews, they all contribute to your company’s image. By creating a testimonial with real, satisfied customers or clients can give you an advantage over your competitors. Hearing about a real experience from a client or customer is much more valuable than a simple online review. If a customer is willing to put their name and face to your product to vouch for it, you have a powerful tool for your marketing.

Business Explainer Videos

explainer

Explainer videos are videos that show your viewers how to solve a problem. It could be a problem that your product solves or it could be a video about the service your company provides.

That problem could be something your product solves, or it could be a service you provide that saves time and money. Whatever it is, by the end of the video, your audience should fully understand your product or service and be able to take action based on what they’ve seen. When an audience understands you well, you build a rapport with them and they are more likely to enlist you to solve their problems.

 

If you’re looking to create a corporate video for your business, get in touch with us at Dream Engine today. 

Melbourne Cameraman: Deakin Waurn Ponds


Our latest assignment was for Washington based media company Websedge. We’ve done a few jobs for Websedge before and as usual, we were to be conducting interviews and shooting b-roll. This piece would eventually end up as an international conference video.

For this assignment we were being sent to Deakin University out at Wuarn Ponds.  A mere 1 and a half hour drive from Melbourne. Our subject was the Institute for Frontier Materials. Their research is based around creating new materials that will support the worlds rapidly advancing technology. Batteries that are lighter and faster, efficient carbon fibre and even silkworm silk that will repair a human ear – it’s all part of the Institute for Frontier Materials at Deakin.

Shooting Interviews

The main part of our assignment was capturing a range of interviews in different environments. They needed to look good, sound good and we needed to work quickly. The right tool for the job was our brand new Sony FS5. This little camera has everything we need for quick interview setups that look great. We can plug a microphone straight into it and it performs well without needing a lot of light.

B-Roll

When shooting for another client, you ideally want to be handing over all of your footage from the same camera. This just makes life easier for the editor because they don’t need to worry about trying to match different footage. This isn’t always possible as the same camera that is perfect for interviews might be too big for fast paced b-roll.

Our Fs5 solves this problem because it does everything we need to shoot an interview but is also perfect for running around chasing scientists.

Delivery

Like most of our clients, Websedge wanted the footage fast so that they could get to work cutting. In the past we would express ship a hard drive overseas but with cable internet we can beat the courier. With the country time difference working in our favour it meant by the time uploading had completed on our end, the editors were just waking up on the other side of the world.

Melbourne Cameraman – Social Media Video for Jenny Macklin


In September 2017 we headed to The Centre in Ivanhoe, Melbourne to film a community forum hosted by Jenny Macklin. The forum was an information session on Alzheimer’s.

The video we were making was being used for social media. Therefore it needed to get it’s message across quickly and it needed to look good. This is because people are in a browsing mindset when they’re using social media – they won’t invest much time in a video. They also have high expectations, especially coming from bigger brands or public figures. So videos that look good are more likely to get an audience.

The video was a way to leverage content from the event itself and promote the work Jenny is doing in the community. So showing Jenny interacting with the community and participating in the forum would be a big part of what we needed to capture.

Social Media Video

The Gear

The success of any video production comes down to planning and preparation. This job was no different. We packed the bags with the following challenges in mind:

  • The town hall would be dark and there would be no light on any of the attendees
  • We needed to be mobile, the event would only go for a few hours but we needed a lot of variety in the shots
  • We needed a backup camera that would always be filming the stage so we could roam with the second camera
  • Two interviews were required at the end of the event

We decided that the best camera for this job would be the Sony A7s. It’s strengths are that it’s tiny and it can record a very clean image in low light. This meant the cameraman could get around fast without worrying about how dark it would be during the presentation. It also has a nifty feature that lets you switch the sensor from full frame to APSC. This meant that our 70-200mm lens would become more like a 300mm lens. So we could zoom in really close to the speakers from all the way at the back of the room.

We also packed a Sony FS100 as our backup camera. This is a larger camera but a reliable workhorse. We knew we could set it up at the back of the room and let it record for a few hours without worrying about batteries or overheating. It also has XLR inputs that meant we could record sound straight from the audio desk behind the stage.

Knowing that we needed to do some quick vox pop style interviews just meant bringing a battery powered LED light. Lighting your subjects is always crucial to make sure they look their best and stand out on camera. We packed the Westcott Ice Light 2 because it gives out a soft flattering light and has a professional colour output (it won’t make skin look green or purple).

The Shoot

The shoot itself went without a hitch. Having packed our bag carefully we had every tool for the job and it was just a case of getting all the coverage we needed. Before the shoot started we made sure to introduce ourselves to the building manager and build a rapport. This came in handy because she agreed to unlock the balcony area just for us. This allowed us to get some shots from high up. Our small mobile setup also allowed us to be discreet and unobtrusive.

The Result

The final video turned out really well and captured the feeling of the day. It was used on Jenny Macklin’s Facebook page and quickly gained over 2000 views.

 

 

 

 

The Branding Videos You Need to Have on Your Website


Back in the day, video branding mostly meant a commercial, or maybe a recruitment video. Maybe it played before a movie at the local cinema. With the internet involved in almost every aspect of our lives now, the game has changed. Small startups and companies that might not have the budget for a big advertising campaign can still create video content to market themselves and can distribute it globally to a potentially massive audience, all pretty much instantaneously, it’s a remarkable step forward in technology. Video marketing doesn’t have to be bound by the strict rules and guidelines of TV anymore, so you are free to get creative with the videos you create. By the end of this year, it is expected that nearly 3 quarters of all internet traffic will be video, so don’t let your business fall behind.  Here are a few solid foundations for your online video presence.

Branding Video

branding

One of the most important videos you can have on your site is a “branding video.” This is like a digital business card. The story video needs to show the world why they should be choosing you over your competitors.

This will be your digital calling card, and it needs to show the world why your company exists, your values and why they should choose you over your competitors.

You should address your mission statement, your backstory, and what your company offers that no-one else does. Tell the human story at the heart of your company. Don’t approach it as a corporate necessity, take it as an opportunity to really express why you love your company. Audiences can see through corporate jargon and they can see through shallow fluff pieces. So be authentic and real!

The quick

Testimonial Videos

corporate

People are far more likely to listen to a recommendation from a friend than they are from you telling us about how good your company is. Customer testimonials are a brilliant way to spread your message and is a great nudge for customers who are thinking about using your company but just need a final push.

Use customers that have a some authority in their area to film a testimonial, it also helps if they are natural in front of camera. Make it as easy as possible for the person kindly giving you a testimonial, come to them and get it done quickly, they are volunteering for you after all. Testimonial videos will give your company a trustworthy appearance that transfers into sales and more happy customers to give you great feedback.

Educational Videos

If a potential customer is visiting your site, it is for one sole reason, to learn more. Whether they want to learn more about your product or just the company as a whole, we are driving by wanting to know more. Posting a video that can educate as well as show off your products is a holy grail of marketing as it is shareable, subtly promotes your business and the viewers are getting something out of it too.

Every business has their area of expertise, so use that knowledge to create an instructional video! You don’t have to give up all your trade secrets, but just a quick snapshot of something that people are interested in can do wonders for your marketing reach.

Conclusion

These three videos can form a powerful foundation for your companies online video marketing presence. And that is just the start! There are many branding options that can be tailored to each individual business, as every business has something to offer in the realm of video.

If you need to improve your online video presence, contact us today at Dream Engine.

Making Corporate Videos People Want to Watch


Corporate videos might conjure images of cheesy old VHS training videos, but the times have changed, and corporate videos can be something much more engaging and entertaining than in days gone by.

Set Out Your Goals

corporate

Before any shooting takes place, sit down and ask yourself what you want to get out of this video. Ask yourself who is watching, and why are they watching? What do they want, and what is the easiest way to provide that?

Once you have answered these questions you can put pen to paper and start writing your corporate video.

Stay Structured

Structure isn’t just something used in feature films, it can be used to great effect in corporate videos as well. Narrative gives the audience a sense of flow to the video and gives some clarity as you move between your points.

It also can make it easier for you to write your video, as you can give a brief introduction that covers the main points of your video, go into further detail, summarise and give the viewer a call to action, like a link to your website’s product or contact page.

Casting Call?

Casting the right talent in your videos can go a long way to making your video and engaging and professional looking. Consider casting a professional presenter if possible, or otherwise use your most charismatic employees or people that are comfortable in front of a camera. Presenting is a lot more difficult than the professionals make it look, so make sure you allocate extra time if working with non-professionals.

Corporate Can Be Fun

Sometimes a sitting, “talking heads” interview is your best bet when covering serious topics that you also want your audience to take seriously. But if you’re doing a less serious video, have some fun with it! Move the camera, with a slider, a stabiliser like the DJI Ronin or even handheld (make sure it’s an appropriate video for handheld, this technique can look amateurish if not done well). You can also add a little spice to an otherwise plain interview by shooting with 2 cameras, this allows you to edit out sections with greater ease, improving your video’s pacing.

corporate

Add Some Polish

Once your video is shot, you can add some polish to the finished product by adding titles, graphics and lower thirds (Names and job titles beneath the video subjects). Titles and graphics in your company’s colours and style can really take your video up a notch in production values. You can also weave in some graphics to introduce different sections of the video which can also add structure to the video.

Edit Ruthlessly

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The hardest and most time consuming part of the film-making process is editing. It can be very difficult to delete some footage you really like. But if it slows the video down or doesn’t serve a purpose, it needs to go. Keeping your video short and fast paced goes a long way to keeping your corporate video exciting and entertaining.

Choosing the Right Production Company For you


Video is one of the best ways to show off you business to the world and really get to the heart of what makes your business tick. Whether you want to utilise video as a way to promote your products, communicate with staff or tell your company’s story, you will need to enlist the skills of professionals. Here are a few things you should establish before you set out on a video production for your business.

Green Screen TVC setup

Who do you Choose?

Advertising agencies will often have an in-house arm that produces video content, and smaller agencies will often outsource the video production to one of their favoured video production companies. If you have an agency that your brand has worked closely with before, it can be beneficial to maintain that relationship as they will already understand your brand. However, if you have not worked with an agency before, a video production company will have the expertise to create a custom built video that achieves exactly what you want it to.

Establish Your Budget

If it’s your first time making a corporate video, you may understandably not know what budget to set for your project, and that’s fine, a good video production company will help you with that. But it’s worth having a solid idea of what your budget will be as this will determine the size of the production, and to show you some of examples of what can be achieved in the same budget range. By setting a budget range before you go into a meeting, you will get a much clearer idea of what’s possible and what your limitations may be.

Check Their Reviews

You wouldn’t invest in a stock without knowing a little bit about it first would you? Well the same goes for choosing a video production company. Take a look at their website, look through their clients and see if they have worked with reputable businesses or companies with a similar approach. Showreels are all well and good but you should watch some full length videos as well, as this will give you a better idea of the quality you should expect when working with them.

Create a Production Plan

production

When you’re planning your video, most of the important stuff will be determined by your target audience. This will determine the look and feel of the video, the distribution method (e.g. YouTube, social media) and the tone and pacing. You should communicate with the production company the most during the planning phase, as this is where the foundation of your video is made. You also have to determine what is essential for the video to work and make sure that it is being considered at every stage of the production process. By knowing exactly who you’ll be addressing, your video will be pitched at the right people and be more effective as a result.

Watch their Testimonials

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Before choosing an agency or production company, you should find out what their clients say about them. This is probably the best guide to know what you’ll be working with when you enlist them for a video. Hearing from some clients and what they’ve experienced is a reliable way to determine if your business will be the right match. A good production company will have testimonials from clients on their website. Watch through and see what kind of experience they had throughout the production process. If companies that you respect are will to vouch for a production company, it’s a good sign that you’ll be happy to work with them too.

If you are looking to venture into creating a video, get in touch with Dream Engine today.

Melbourne Cameraman: La Trobe University


Websedge is a Washington based media company that creates videos for international conferences. In the past they’ve sent us on assignments to film intelligent traffic systems for Siemens, beachside windsurfers for a Melbourne Council and high tech laboratories at Monash University.

This time, we were sent to La Trobe university in Bundoora to interview staff at the Australian Centre for Evidence Based Care. The role of ACEBAC is to improve the quality of care given to older people living in aged care, especially with dementia. The purpose of the video being made was to represent ACEBAC at the IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics in San Franscisco.

The Brief

“We need a Melbourne based producer and cameraman to shoot interviews with staff at La Trobe University. We also need footage of the staff at work and coverage of the University campus.”

With only 1 day to shoot, our approach to these kind of jobs is to be as nimble as possible while also being prepared for anything. This means having a car full of gear but packed in a very strategic way. We have a bag for interviews, a bag for b-roll and so on. This means we don’t have to make multiple trips to haul in bags of heavy equipment that we won’t actually use. 

Melbourne Cameraman Broll

Shooting Interviews

We needed to shoot 6 interviews in the morning and each interview needed a different background. To make this possible, we ensured we had plenty of lights at our disposal. The reason having more lights is helpful is it means that firstly: we can ensure the interviews look flattering for each subject and secondly: we can use the lights to make the background more interesting. This means that we can stay in one location and create many different looks – far less time consuming than finding six different locations. We find that Dedolights are a perfect light for creating different background effects.

We used our Sony F3 to shoot the interviews. A larger camera but a reliable workhorse that produces superb images. The F3 teamed with a set of cinema lenses meant that we could shoot with a very narrow depth of field. Take a look at the image below to see what I mean. The subject is nice and sharp but the background is soft and blurry. This is an advantage because it means the background doesn’t necessarily need to look good because on camera it shows up as an abstract colourful blur (instead of a footpath and some grass).

Mlebourne Cameraman Interview

Capturing B-Roll

Our next challenge was to shoot cutaway footage of staff doing there jobs. The requirement here is to be very fast (we needed as much footage as possible with staff only available for a short period) and the footage obviously needed to look good.

This was a job for our Sony A7s. It’s small size means it’s very light to carry but the large sensor gives a great image that can shoot in low light. This camera coupled with some battery powered LED lights meant that we could quickly and easily get around while capturing great footage.

Delivery

The footage we shot is being edited in London and needs to be completed for the conference in the next few weeks. To make sure that no time was wasted, we had a courier pick up the footage after the shoot to be express posted to the UK. Of course, we backed everything up at the office and offsite just to make sure that if something goes wrong in transit, it won’t be an issue.

If you’re looking for a Melbourne cameraman to shoot a project then contact us today.

Corporate Video for Social Media


If you aren’t using social media video to promote your brand, you are missing out on one of the biggest marketing opportunities at your disposal. It’s an invaluable resource that’s easy to get started with, and most importantly, it can expose your brand to an enormous worldwide audience. When it comes to using video in social media, it’s smart to uniquely tailor your videos to make the most of the strengths and weaknesses of each medium, Here are a few things you should know before you dive in.

Facebook

Facebook had humble beginnings as simple site for Harvard students to a global media superpower. Facebook has slowly introduced more video into news feeds, but the nature of the newsfeed means that you have about 5 seconds to reel in a viewer before they scroll down to something else. Videos will now autoplay with the sound off, so you need a striking opening image or descriptive title that gets across what the video is about. Remember, you have only a couple of seconds to grab someone as its all too easy to keep on scrolling if the video hasn’t grabbed the viewer’s attention.

First you must consider that Facebook videos, by default play on mute, the user has to actively unmute it. So videos that have bold titles, subtitles will perform better on Facebook. As with YouTube, you need to select an appropriate custom thumbnail that will give the viewer a fair idea of why the video is about.

So the key adjustments to make to your video for the Facebook audience is to make sure you can still get your point across without sound, use large, easily readable captions (or at least make captions available) and most importantly keep it brief!

YouTube

         social media

YouTube is the biggest video sharing site in the internet, with an estimated 300 hours of video content being uploaded every minute. Every minute! There are “channels” on YouTube with over 50 million subscribers, and regular viewing audiences that would be the envy of many major TV networks.

To take full advantage of this massive viewer base, you need to know the best ways to maximise your reach. The first thing to understand is that if a viewer isn’t interested in the first few seconds of a video, they won’t bother watching the rest. So you need to start off with the hook of your video right away. YouTube should be where you house the most comprehensive version of your video, as that’s what people are there for, after all it’s solely for sharing videos.

This doesn’t just mean the first few seconds of your video however, this extends to everything from thumbnails, the description beneath the video, metadata and playlists all have to be managed and tailored to fit your business. If the viewer likes the first video they see from you, and you haven’t set up a playlist to AutoPlay another video from you, you have just lost a viewer. So make the most of Youtube’s features to make sure your video is getting the views it deserves. And YouTube comes with a handy closed captioning feature that you can input your script or transcript into and it will produce a .srt file that can be used elsewhere. It even has an auto-transcribe feature that uses intelligent tools to make a subtitle track automatically. But be sure to read through it first, it isn’t quite perfect just yet.

Instagram

Instagram began its life as a pure photo sharing app with vintage filters for smartphones but has now become a social media platform in and of itself. A few years ago, Instaram expanded into short videos. As with its parent company Facebook, Instagram videos will Autoplay as the user scrolls down, giving you just brief second to capture their attention. Instagram originally had a 15 second limit to it’s video length, but this was recently extended to 60 seconds. However, we would recommend staying closer to the original 15 second limit as shorter is usually better at keeping eyeballs on your video, especially as Instagram is very visually focused. Instagram is a smartphone app, so when cutting an Instagram version of your video, make sure that text is large enough to read on a small screen and close-ups will work better if you are filming a presenter. You should also lead with the most striking images first to grab attention.

Twitter

social media

Twitter can itself play videos natively, but often it relies on links to YouTube or other more full-time video hosting services. As with Facebook and Instagram, Twitter will also autoplay videos but remember they will be muted by default. Large, easily readable text is again a key to getting attention, as is having an option to have a video in a vertical orientation, as the majority of twitter users will be on a smartphone. Twitter videos can be up to 140 seconds long, although as is the case with all social media videos, the more concise the better.

Social Media Customisation

When planning a social media campaign with video, it is really worth making several versions uniquely tailored to each social media platform’s strengths and weaknesses, and being aware of the limitations. You’ll need to take this into account when you’re planning the video so you have the right content to edit unique versions of the one video. Each have their own demographics as well, so the content might be tweaked slightly for each different video.

If you are looking to improve your video skills for social media, get in touch with us today.

Drones For Corporate Video


Drones have opened up a whole new dimension in the video production industry. Whereas previously you would have had to fork out big money for a helicopter ride, now with a bit of training you can get dramatic aerial footage with two feet planted firmly on the ground. Drones, also known as quadcopters, can be a hugely valuable tool in your video production arsenal, from corporate work to documentary and narrative. They add a really dramatic and unique element to videos and they are the best tool to use to show scope and scale from above.

Establish Yourself

Most corporate videos will contain an establishing shot to give the viewer a sense of place and time. This could be a sweeping shot into your corporate headquarters, a convention centre, over an outdoor event, there are dozens of possibilities. Establishing shots are crucial for setting the tone and atmosphere of the video, and with a drone you can show an impressive aerial view of the space with very minimal set-up time required.

Make Everything Cinematic

drones

The use of drones extends far further than just establishing shots. Drones have the remarkable ability to add a cinematic, epic, high-production value look to any video (if done properly). Drones work especially well when filming events or videos with a lot of movement lot of movement, and some higher-end drones will allow you to track a subject with a GPS, which can be brilliant for sports and outdoor events, and they are commonly used by extreme sportspeople to capture their movements. Drones can also create many opportunities for memorable “wow” moments in videos. Slowly lowering down from the sky to reveal your new headquarters, or soaring up to show a beautiful cityscape can really add a unique perspective to your video.

Drone On and On

drones

The best part about including drones in your video is that drones are a new tool that has a huge amount of potential for creative uses. Many video production tools are quite fixed in what they are capable of, but drones can open up approaches and angles that would have been completely unattainable before. Want to follow someone through a crowd from above for an event video? You can do that. Want to show off the size of an event? You can do that. You can even set drones up to become something like a floating tripod, so they  hover for a shot, then you can zoom away and quickly set up another shot.

Stand Out From The Crowd

Drones can really set your corporate video apart from the pack, and that is their relative rarity in the corporate video space. Although they are rapidly becoming an essential part of any good video producer’s toolkit, they are still quite rare to find in many production companies, or they are only hired when requested on rare occasions. By using professionally shot drone footage in your video you can stand out from the pack a bit, and add a lot of production value.

If you are looking to add some high production value to your corporate video with drones, get in touch with us here at Dream Engine.