Leslie, a librarian and the Liaison for the Architecture Department, approached me to create a video covering the Architecture Library.
Script and Concept
Leslie and I went over the concept and focus of the video and came to the following:
It was to inform viewers of the Architecture department’s library and briefly tell and overview of how it operates. Further details on how to find specific materials and books would be saved for a future video. The video would also help foster a relationship between the two departments.
To structure the video, I had Leslie write a list of points she wanted to cover and broke thepoints into groups. I then had her write a script for each points that I grouped into sections for the video. For example: the introduction, the who what where, how it functions, call to action.
To get an idea of our shooting location I scouted and spent time in the architecture building. The building had character; it was important to capture that and use it as the aesthetic of the video. Built in a modern architecture style, it was slick, open, and had clean lines and shapes running throughout. My next task was to choose the location I would shoot Leslie’s on camera narration. The library itself was an excellent choice, filled with modern couches and chairs that added splashes of red and blue to a mostly uniform wood colored background. Our work study lent a hand and I positioned him in various sections of the library to determine the best camera angles and setup. I decided on a basic two camera shot to cut between Leslie’s takes of the narration. The wider shot 35mm-50mm and the close up 100mm. I snapped a photo of each angle to reference later when I set up the actual shoot with Leslie. This would be beneficial for two reasons: one, being a one man crew, I would know the exact setup and what needed to be done when we arrived and be able to focus on her concerns and nervousness instead of equipment. Two, it would show confidence that I knew what I was doing as producer/director and ease her nervousness, resulting in her giving a better performance.
Visually, the shots would work, but what about the audio? Most rooms in the architecture building suffered from loud exhaust and cooling fans. Doing a test with the microphone (a shotgun attached to a C stand, plugged into a Zoom H4n) the audio was surprisingly very clean. Any noise that did exist could easily be taken out in post.
After setting the cameras I rigged a shotgun mic on a C stand pointing down at Leslie. I lit one Arri 650W Spot on a dimmer above her to camera right and angled down on her face. A second light was set behind her to the right as a hair light to separate her from the background, but the bulb had burned out since last use. To fix this situation, I raised the main light higher to hit her hair, and broadened the spot fallout. Combined with the windows above her, this mimicked a back/rim light as best as possible.
Each sentence from the script was printed in large text and held by my assistant above the camera for Leslie to read. Once ready I hit record on the cameras and had her say each line a few times and directed her when to pauses and emphasis certain beats. The energy and spirit needed to be high to encourage viewers take action and visit the library.
Both cameras and audio were synced with PluralEyes, and the audio was then brought into Audacity to remove the low background hum.
I laid out the best takes and sequence of Leslie’s narration. R roll of the building’s interior was placed when appropriate to cut out as much of her talking as possible and for the viewer to conceptualize the library.
The piece needed to flow, and also be to the point. The goal was to inform, not instruct. I edited it as short as possible but long enough to have a sense of pacing. The music ended up being the most difficult portion of the video due to the limitation of a budget. It needed to be free use and royalty free. I listened to over 100 tracks until I found a royalty free and free use track that fit the pacing and mood of the video.
All in all the project went very smoothly. I hope this “how to” write up of my experience with this project can help you with the production of your next project.