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.
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 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 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.