Photo and Video Production: The Process Behind the Product | 5 Stones Academy LIVE

Written by SuperUser Account on 9/21/2017
Photo and Video Production: The Process Behind the Product | 5 Stones Academy LIVE

Have you ever wondered about all the work that goes into a photo/video shoot? Join JR for today's 5 Stones Academy LIVE class and find out.

 

Transcript:

 

Hey everybody, I'm J.R. and today I'm going to be talking about photo and video production, but specifically I'm going to be talking about the magic that makes the magic happen. The stuff behind the camera. A lot of times everybody gets focused on of course the final picture, but for us it's like a big iceberg where you know the tip is the very end of the finished product, but there's so much that goes into making a good photo or video happened. To me as the person here who oversees a lot of that stuff, that is way, way more important and the final picture can't happen with all of these steps and so I'm going to talk about that production process. Not so much about the types of cameras and stuff we use. That's another, another class sometime, but this is going to be about all the steps that we follow to make a good video or photo shoot happened.

So what makes a photo or a video great? I'm not talking about composition, or cameras, or programs, or software. I'm talking about the process. So for us, this is how most campaigns or a shoot will follow these, these stages. First is ideation or brainstorming. Ideation is a big fancy word, but it's basically that first thing when we start talking about an idea and this usually of course begins with a client coming to us and saying I need this or, we have a goal, we needed people to know more about us and if it becomes something which usually has a visual component to it, whether it's graphic design or something, we talk about what that will start looking like. So this is both talking to a client about what the ideas are and then us internally coming together and say, all right, we want to do this thing what, what are your ideas? And we'll have team meetings or strategy sessions with multiple people. Just snowballing ideas. That kind of classic marketing advertising thing that you think happens. Maybe not as glorious as Mad Men or anything but a lot of people sitting around the table saying, all right, well if this is their goal, what if we do a video that looks like this or we can interview someone who does this. I literally brought up an idea one time that involved nutria rats and I get made fun about it all the time. Usually we will come up with some of these ideas will present them to the client or the client will be part of that discussion and we narrow in on what we're going to do. And then it becomes a thing like, all right, here's our idea, now let's do this thing.

So ideation, storyboarding, production, shooting, postproduction, and debriefing. I'm going to go into each stage of what this means. So I just talked about ideation. So that's that client meeting, the brainstorming and the presentation of our ideas to the client and they'll, you know, sometimes it'll be three, sometimes it's just like this is what we should do and we narrow and then we move forward from there. So that's ideation and brainstorming. You know, there's random photo of us meeting. This happens to be with Ron Roberts, you know, that just sitting down and discussing the ideas. So next is storyboarding. Storyboarding can mean a couple of different things. He can meet literally drawing out frame by frame, the form of video is going to take or oftentimes for us it's a shot list or ideas of like, okay, if we're going to do this idea we need to get a shot, an establishing shot that looks like this or if it's a photo shoot, well we need this location. We start establishing the particulars of what's going to happen there.

So you start off with the grand fuzzy idea, but if you're going to make it happen like nutria rats, well then you've got to find a nutria rat. Well how do we find a nutria rat? And where are we going to shoot this thing and what kind of equipment do we need? And sometimes you find pretty quickly that an idea was a little too far fetched for your capabilities. So yeah, having a cool shot falling out of an airplane into a business with drone footage and whatever might be a little bit of a stretch and always those kinds of things have a dollar sign attached to them to. How do we pull that off, can we do that within our current capabilities? So that's kind of for us part of the story boarding process, but literally we will draw out oftentimes a sketch of an idea and I'm notoriously not the best writer or drawer, but this is kind of an example of some of the sketches we did for a campaign and some of the images I'll be showing you are for a campaign we're working on right now because it's fresh in our mind.

So this is for, for TRACC and you know, they came to us with an idea and we drew out some of the ideas, showed it to the client. They say, okay, go for it. And you know, so that's the start of it. And then we'll write down, you know, what's the location going to be, what kind of actors do we need, what kind of props do we need? And that for us part of the storyboarding process.

I want to talk a little bit about the difference between production and direction. So this is that next stage in the process that's the producing. So if we storyboard it out and we've gotten past the, you know, we've got our idea, we've got a little bit more of the particulars in storyboard and what it's gonna look like during the duration of the commercial or the shot. Then we need to know like we need to start arranging those things. We need to make it so that can actually happen. And you know in movies, you know, people talk about a producer, you can get an executive producer credit and I don't know about any of that, you know, that's just like someone donated some money or whatever. But for us we have two distinct sets of things that need to happen to make a shoot actually happen. Particularly with video because there's a lot of moving parts. So a producer to us here at 5 Stones is someone who's going to help figure out all the logistics of the shoot, down to the locations and often times you need to go scout the locations and get the permits and of course this person is talking to the artistic team as well. Figuring out the locations and the timing and the, you know, can we get there, do we ask for permission? Do we need to get something from the city or whatever or permitting? Talent outreach, know if it involves an actor, if it has anybody, a physical face in it, you have to start dealing with that person's schedule. And so much time goes into just figuring out people's schedules. Our scheduled as the people who shoot the talent schedule. If you have more than one person, if that person's famous or like as a manager, is a model, like you have to go through all these people. It's just a lot of communication that happens to make that happen. I call that producing and there's usually either an account manager or a part of the photo team who is specifically working on these things way before we even get to the shoot day. Props, you know, with these shoots that I was showing you before have a lot of props in them. We had one way it's a crawfish boil. Okay. Well, we all know about crawfish boils here in New Orleans, Louisiana, but we had to have a crawfish pot. We need to have someone's backyard. When you did one of those big paddles, we needed an apron with a crawfish on it.

We needed the cool hat. I mean we had an idea in our head and we storyboard it out, but then someone's got to be responsible for getting those things. Otherwise you get to the day of shooting like, "oh, we didn't think about this". Our job for photo and videos is to make sure all that stuff is ready so when the day of the shoot happens no one's having to, Oh man, we forgot this kind of stuff. So for me, production is way, way harder or way more important than the shooting and I do a lot of the shooting and, you know, it's a learned skill and stuff, but that production is so valuable. So being able to respect that when you're trying to create a product is really important. So all the details, you know, that's, that's what the producers involved with. The director for us as the person on the day of the shoot.

Of course the visual, he would probably have done the storyboarding and stuff, but making sure the equipment's in order and ready to do the thing. Who are the personnel who are going to be shooting it. You know, the actual day of the shoot, checking the weather and planning it out and stuff like that. The editing process. So the creative process, like the vision and making sure it actually, you know, technically becomes what it needs to be. And the producer and the director sometimes can be the same person. That's a very busy person, but usually we try and split those things up, whether it's an account manager or someone takes on the producing role so that makes sure all that stuff happens. So that's an important thing to understand there.

So when all those things happen and all this stuff was in place to get to the day of the shoot. Well that's, that's the fun part. We just did a shoot yesterday just down the street that I'll show you a picture of, but that's where the director or the person who's shooting it really, you know, knows has the confidence at all of the stuff is finally coming to fruition. Yeah. There's a lot of pressure that you know, you're doing a shoot in one hour and models are showing up. You're on a location and perhaps streets blocked off. Maybe you've rented something or this or that. There's things that can go wrong. But in general, most of the work to make that shoot day go well has already been done ahead of time. We want the production to have happened so that the people shooting or the director can really focus in on just making the thing happen.

And there's, you know, directing talent is a required skill. You don't want any loose ends so that you have to be scrambling around because there's a lot of pressure and the director's job is to make the talent or make whatever you're shooting just be able to focus in on that and be cool about it and focus on the technique of using the camera and getting it to happen. So on the day of the shoot, you know, the equipment should be prepped, you know, final whether check and just make sure, all right, we're ready to do this today. Model releases have already been taken care of by the producer. If they're not, you have model releases on site. It's really important. And just to note like, I'm not disclaimer, no legal advice here. I'm not an intellectual property lawyer or anything but um, model releases are really important and better, better safe than sorry. We have one that we keep on site that protects us in indemnifies everything so that you just want to make sure you're getting that kind of stuff if you have a face on there just to protect you, to protect yourself and your business. So this is the director's time to shine. I mean the person shooting where the director or the shooter, whoever is controlling the subjects, if there are subjects involved with the location you want them to be able to just focus on it and do what they do best to get the images necessary. This is a good opportunity to get behind the scenes stuff. People always forget that behind the scenes stuff. Even us, we forget sometimes as much as we shoot everything to get a photo or a video of us doing the thing.

This is important in the day of the information age, social media. I mean these are great. People love to see behind the scenes stuff. So like we posted something yesterday that was us shooting and Dylan and I, one of us is usually behind the camera and the other one is responsible for remembering to get a picture of us doing it or a short clip because it's neat. It's neat to see behind the scenes of process because oftentimes you end up with the finished product, but what did it take to get there? So for a business who's doing this kind of stuff, you want to have some behind the scenes stuff and then turn that into a social collateral of some sort. So for example, this is a video of me directing, forgive me for the sweat. It was really, really humid yesterday. This is that like 8:30 in the morning and I was already dripping sweat. But you can see that I directed this shoot. What do we got here? We got a police car, we have a model who's pretending to get arrested. We have a sheriff's deputy. I'm directing the sheriff's deputy, and also shooting at the same time. So just this alone to get to this point took several weeks of arranging people locations and schedules just to make that happen. And so I was just focused on doing that and I was comfortable with it because I know all the pieces. I didn't do any of the production, which I'm so happy about it and that, you know, Dylan and Kim had taken care of everything to make it so that on that day literally for half an hour is all it took to shoot that. But getting all those pieces there, I can focus in on it and sweat while I was doing it. And then we turn some of this stuff into a social post which I'll show you later.

Alright. Post-production. After you do the shoot, okay, cool you've got it done but of course there's taking those photos or video and the whole editing process begins. And this is where usually as a handoff to different team members who are going to be responsible for the editing of the video or the graphic design team is going to take that still image and make it. It depends on your organization. A lot of photographers will do everything from production to direction to shooting to postproduction. It's all one person for us here at 5 Stones thankfully we have a bigger team so people can hone in on doing what they're really good at. And so I think it's awesome that I don't have to do it all. Like I can focus in on the parts that I do and each one of them and they can do it better than I can.

People, you know, what they say about focusing in on a talent, you able to expand that talent even more. Post-production activities involve editing, whether it's photo or video, narrowing in, on that image of choice. There's client communication here as well, of course, where they're like, all right, we shot 10,000 photos. Here's the ones we think are going to work. Do we need approval or not? You know, handing off from the people who were shooting the shooting team to the editing team and then sending the client for review. So here is an example of one of those, I just showed you the clip. I shouldn't say shooting the sheriff that's probably not a good thing to say, but that's kind of the raw photo. One of the ones we honed into like, oh this is good and this particular message is an anti-drug campaign about cramming.

We wanted that person to look really uncomfortable and that's like, you know me at while shooting, getting them into that position and getting, you know, making sure I can see everybody's faces and the position of everything. And then turning that into the final image, which is for this is going to be a number of things, but the graphic design piece. So that's it. And now when this shows up somewhere, people see that image and you've got half a second to make an impact with it. But this is the final piece. All of this stuff I just told you about that went into just getting that one image is the production, so that's the iceberg. 80 percent of it happened before the day of the shoot and then a little bit of on the day of the shoot, five percent and the rest post-production. And so that's an example of what it takes to get a single image like that.

We also have this last stage that we try and do is often we can, particularly on bigger productions and debrief. Sometimes we call it an after party, just getting back together and saying, all right, we spent months working on this or a week or whatever. We've never done this before or this was a client that we really want to make sure we hit it out of the park for. And just talking internally or also sometimes with the client, what did we do right? What did we do wrong, what could we do better next time? So, just making sure that you're constantly growing, that you're learning. I mean, with visual, like photography and videography, there's always a new piece of equipment editing software, etc. There's always new opportunities to expand like 360 video, something we shoot that's always brand new.

There's always a way to improve that. So this is an opportunity for us to slow down, look at something. Did and the next time make sure you don't make the same mistakes again. And also to give yourself a pat on the back, like, hey, this was a hard concept and we actually pulled it off like, nutria rats, not really. So this is an example of a social post that we made, you know, that would be maybe tied into debriefing. Are we going to write a case study about this? Did we pay attention to the numbers or the effect? And oftentimes these are part of a bigger campaign for us as marketing. This would just be part of something ongoing, whether it's social advertising or you know, Google or something like that on the website driving conversion.

So we would be paying attention to it anyway, but for video production, making sure it looked as good. And so this is as an example, we did that shoot yesterday and then we posted about it on social because you know, our fans want to see what we're working on. So I hope that is helpful. I'm going to recap the stages here. So what makes a great photo or video is the moral of the story here is pre production. is Making sure everything is in place before the time of the shoot and those stages for us or ideation or brainstorming, storyboarding, production, shooting, post-production, and the debrief process. If anybody has any questions, put them in a social comment. I hope you liked this video and stuff and let us know if there's any way we can help you with social and video. Thanks very much. Have a great day.

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