Two new tracks for the Corporate Video Producer

AK159 and AK160
Two more additions to your corporate video music library

Two new tracks for the Corporate Video Producer

AKM Music have added two new albums to their extensive collection lately – ‘Leisure Lifestyles’ and ‘Cut to the Beat Vol.8’. Whilst both albums are aimed at the corporate video producer they’re both going to have an application within other production types too. You simply can’t have too much choice when it comes to your corporate video copyright-free music collection so these two will fill in where other albums fall short.

AK159 Leisure Lifestyles

AK159 Leisure Lifestyles
AK159 Leisure Lifestyles

This album contains ten tracks, each with an additional alternate mix and short version. As the name suggests these tunes are for helping to portray a more leisurely lifestyle with their cool, relaxing rhythms and easy-going beats. The album description suggests they’ll be great for corporate video producer specialising in property or location documentaries and promotional films – and I can’t argue with that. If you are producing hotel or resort promos then this is certainly one to audition and add to your collection.

1. The Perfect Accommodation 2:30
Bubbling synth sounds take us off to a warmer place – certainly warmer than the day I’m looking out of the window at right now! A medium paced track that you can imagine twinkling away under a corporate video narration telling you all about the holiday destination you’re about to experience. Track 2 & 3 are the alternative mix (2:30) and a short edit (1:20)

4. By The Pool 2:36
Slow funky sound which didn’t conjure up visions of lounging by the pool to me, but rather a cool dude striding through a 70’s fancy dress party wearing a dodgy afro wig, moustache and flared trousers. Wouldn’t sound out of place on an episode of Starsky & Hutch. Track 5 & 6 are the alternative mix (2:36) and a short edit (0:56)

7. Dressed To Impress 2:14
Get down to that that funky beat guitar again. Quite similar to the previous track though a little more purposeful and upbeat. It doesn’t go too far without another funky guitar rift so quite nice to edit to. The alternate version is a little less descriptive so might suit as a corporate video underscore better. Track 8 & 9 are the alternative mix (2:14) and a short edit (0:45)

10. Immaculate Design 2:18
We whiz forward a few decades with this track with a more contemporary slant to the funky medium tempo sound of previous tracks. There are more musical breaks in this track with swishy, swirling sound effects to edit to. Note the alternate mix is short this time too. Track 11 & 12 are the alternative mix (0:29) and a short edit (0:29)

13. Shape of Things To Come 3:07
Again this track has a more contemporary feel with strong drum rhythm and bass percussion driving the score along. Piano provides the main chorus with occasional orchestral stabs. There’s a strange whale-call sound sequence towards the end of the alternate mix so I reckon this would work well with a film with any link to the ocean. Track 14 & 15 are the alternative mix (3:07) and a short edit (1:06)

16. Ahead of the Curve 2:27
I’d call this one medium fast paced with a bit more of an electro beat to it – but still along the lines of a 70’s TV cop show with its funk guitar rifts. I think the alternate mix is a bit more useful this time as it’s a little more nondescript and intrusive. Track 17 & 18 are the alternative mix (2:27) and a short edit (0:25)

19. Designer Shades 2:12
A much smoother love-ballad sound to this medium-slow track. I can imagine Barry White laying his silky voice down to this. Swirling synth sounds lift it here and there mixed with another funky guitar chorus – but generally a steady tune throughout. Track 20 & 21 are the alternative mix (2:12) and a short edit (0:25)

22. Custom Build 2:37
Barry is back in the mix again as we stick with a smooth funky sound with orchestral swirls. Finding it hard not to confuse this with the previous track though – apart from the occasional break into castanets. Once again the alternate version might be a little more useful for corporate video. Track 23 & 24 are the alternative mix (2:37) and a short edit (0:34)

25. Catwalk 2:14
Out and out swing funk in a snazzy, jazzy kind of way. I feel cool just listening to this one. The reference to ‘cats’ in the title must be down to it conjuring up images of a cool cat dude striding confidently through your scene. It’s the kind of track that has you tapping your feet even though you might not want to. Track 26 & 27 are the alternative mix (2:14) and a short edit (0:43)

28. Life Imitating Art 2:30
Tubular bells meets echo-drum beat and funk guitar in this medium paced track. Once again I think the alternate score will be more useful as it’s less dominant than the main track and leans more on the tubular bells sound. Track 29 & 30 are the alternative mix (2:30) and a short edit (0:44)

 

AK160 Cut to the Beat Vol.8

AK160 Cut to the Beat Vo.8
AK160 Cut to the Beat Vo.8

It’s no wonder ‘Cut to the Beat’ has reached volume 8 as these alums will be the first ones you’ll turn to when you’re looking for something upbeat and driving on a corporate video. AK160 is a worthy addition to this range and will be ideal for corporate films, sports docs and anything where you want to create an impression of movement. Each of the six main tracks has an alternate mix and a sting – which is really handy for editing purposes.

1. Bright Light 4:22
Slow building electronic keyboard sound which builds in tempo. Flute swirls combine with electronic voice effects to give the track a very positive feel. Guitar strumming leads you on and upwards. The alternate score is upbeat from the start but is about a minute shorter. Track 2 & 3 are the alternative mix (3:19) and the sting (0:09)

4. Flyaway 4:23
Fast upbeat sound with slow keyboard passage underneath and lots of electro-pop drumbeats and edit points within it. You could imagine a night club scene with lots of fast cuts, lens flairs and erratic camera movement. It will have you reaching for the ecstasy – especially the alternative mix! Track 5 & 6 are the alternative mix (3:21) and the sting (0:15)

7. Firefly 4:11
This one is rapid – possible too much so. I found it quite difficult to listen to this one as its confusing – and that’s exactly the kind of story it will help you try and tell. I can imagine someone dashing here and there, obviously lost. There’s a hint of Blade Runner in there too and has that kind of futuristic sound to it. Track 8 & 9 are the alternative mix (2:11) and the sting (0:15)

10. Bigspace 4:20
Out and out euro club mix with swirling intro leading to heavier repetitive beat section. I almost broke out into my ‘big box little box’ dance routine listening to it. The alternate version is softer and half the length – and is a bit like the morning after the track before. Track 11 & 12 are the alternative mix (1:55) and the sting (0:11)

13. Stairs to the Galaxy 4:37
This one is upbeat again but a little more serious and urgent this time. It is very repetitive but breaks into a quiet segment halfway through which ends with a bang and back into the repetitive dance beat. Track 14 & 15 are the alternative mix (2:48) and the sting (0:12)

16. Prolever 4:08
Soft upbeat track with breaks into voice-effect sections. I can imagine the sun setting over some Ibiza beach scene listening to this one. Quite repetitive again but I guess most club-beat tracks are. There’s a swirling underscore to this which appears more prevalent in the alternative mix version. I can imagine shots of a production line in a factory working well with this. Track 17 & 18 are the alternative mix (2:48) and the sting (0:13)

 

Notes: You can preview both these albums on the AKM Music website – www.akmmusic.co.uk

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Nipper Clipper Video Diary – Baby Show Olympia

We shot and edited another little film for Stylfile this week. This time it was a short video diary about their attendance at the Baby Show, Olympia, and the first-time public exhibition of their innovative Nipper Clipper baby and toddler nail clippers and associated Timmy Tickle Baby distraction app.

Nipper Clipper Video Diary
Filming the video diary at the Baby Show

The video diary was presented by 2011 BBC Apprentice winner, Tom Pellereau – inventor of the Nipper Clipper (and other amazing nail care products) and business partner of Lord Sugar. I think the video speaks for itself as to why it was commissioned…

What’s the point of a Video Diary?

Producing a video diary is a simple, fun and cost effective way of letting customers know what you are doing. Apart from giving you another platform for promoting your product and brand, these films work especially well with social networking platforms and blogs. It’s also incredibly easy to share them through your website and deliver to an audience whether they are mobile, desk-bound or through home-based viewing devices and smart TVs.

We’re very proud of just how cost effective we can be when commissioned to produce a video diary – especially when there’s the potential for multiple films or an ongoing series. If you think your business or organisation might be able to benefit from this type of video marketing then please do give us a call. We love a creative challenge!!!

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Event Documentary

Documentary on the Same-Sex Dance Festival

Why make a documentary?

This was the second time Video Artisan has been commissioned by dance shoe manufacturer, Supadance, to make a film about this same-sex dance competition held in Blackpool. Last year’s film was a relatively straight-forward record of the event. It was well received, and has had thousands of plays online, but it did nothing to explain what same-sex dancing is all about or who it is aimed at. We were therefore really looking forward to making a more in-depth documentary and help tell the world why same-sex dance deserves much wider recognition.

Lady's Same-Sex dance
Lady’s Same-Sex dance

Before I move on to the making of the documentary itself, I have to admit that even after filming last year’s event I wasn’t totally convinced of the argument for same-sex dancing. I’m not the only one to feel this way though. We have made several films for Supadance about their shoes as well as other short films about mainstream dance events which they sponsor. During the making of these films it’s become obvious that certain sectors of the mainstream dance community would rather not see same-sex dancing at all – and would certainly be opposed to seeing it integrated into mainstream competitions.

Hopefully this new documentary will help change some of these opinions. It has certainly changed my point of view and made me appreciate the subtle but important differences of same-sex dance.

Like any documentary you’ve got to tell a story and at least present one side of an argument. This documentary is certainly presenting the argument from the same-sex dancer’s side but, in all honesty, I don’t believe there is a logical argument for continuing to exclude same-sex dance from mainstream dance competitions.

Whilst Supadance sponsored the production of this documentary I was very much under the guidance of the event organisers, Bradley and Soren Stauffer-Kruse (AKA The Sugar Dandies). You might be familiar with these guys from their appearance on Britain’s Got Talent. Prior to the event I got Bradley and Soren to list out the questions they get asked most often about same-sex dancing in general and the festival itself. This was like gold dust and gave me the main thread of the story and formed the basis for all the interviews we carried out over the two days.

Getting the answers to these questions then became the main focus of our documentary filming. To ensure we had all the points covered our first day of filming started with Bradley and Soren giving their answers to these questions. This day was actually just a practice day for the competitors so there wasn’t much real action taking place on the dance floor but it did give us a relevant background for their interview where dancers can be seen on the floor behind them.

The second day we set about gathering general scenes from the dance festival itself, but at the same time we worked out with Bradley and Soren which competitors would be good subjects for interviews. These were all recorded later on in the afternoon whilst the competition was still running which often meant grabbing couples as they left the dance floor. You will normally experience some resistance from people in these situations but thankfully the same-sex dance community all seem to be anything but camera shy. Still, part of the skill of the documentary maker is getting your subjects to relax in front of camera and I hope the film shows them as being that way. We certainly ended up with more content than we could fit in the film.

Men's same-sex dance
Men’s same-sex dance

The general shots of dancing were simply b-roll images to help tell the stories told within the interviews. We didn’t therefore film any dance in its entirety but were instead looking for fleeting moments within the dances that would look good on film and covered all the dance-types, costumes and characters taking part in the competition.

The final filming sequence was carried out at around 11pm once the competition was over and most of the contestants had left (a long day after a 9am start). This was with Bradley and Soren in all their finery doing a very professional job of opening and closing the documentary. It’s just so nice to work with people who shine on camera.

Documentary tools

All filming was carried out by two videographers (Martin Baker and myself) using two DSLRs – namely a Canon 5D MkII and a 550D. All the interviews were filmed on the 5D using a Canon 24-105mm f.4 lens. For much of the day Martin was using the 550D with a vintage Fujinon 55mm f1.8 lens to gather the shallow depth of field shots. There’s also one or two shots in there where the 550D was mounted on my iFootage Mini Crane and using a Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 super wide zoom – plus there’s also a slide using the Varavon Slidecam 900. Lighting was provided by two Lishuai LED lighting panels.

Shooting the same-sex event documentary
Shooting the same-sex

The majority of interview sound was recorded in-camera via the Tascam DR-60D recorder/mixer using a Sony ECM674 directional mic on phantom power. This was the first real field test for the Tascam and I have to say it was fantastic. There was however two interviews where we used our Sony tie-clip mic connected directly to the camera – namely the interview with Supadance Chairman, Barry Free and the vox-pop with Strictly Come Dancing’s Erin Boag. These came out OK – but I think you can tell the difference.

The editing took three days to complete and was all carried out on our Edius 6.5 edit suite. The only exception to this was the opening graphics and caption lower 3rds which were all created in PhotoShop and then imported into Edius as separate layers and animated.

Music is always a challenge with Supadance films as you have to avoid tracks which are obviously either ballroom or Latin. It simply doesn’t look right if there’s Latin music over the top of a couple ballroom dancing. It might not get spotted by the uninitiated but for anyone involved in the world of dance it’s going to look very odd indeed. Thankfully AKM Music came to my rescue again with the track ‘Celebration’ from the album AK157 ‘Positivity’.

Making a documentary go viral

There’s a lot of talk about videos going viral and how best to achieve it. The fact is that “viral” is a relative term and a documentary on what is a special interest subject is unlikely to ever reach the heady heights of films about cats and dogs doing funny things. Going viral is therefore really about getting your content shared by as many people within the target audience as possible. It’s never a one-man job and has to be a collaborative effort by all those with a vested interest in the film.

As the producer I’ve obviously got an interest in spreading the documentary about as much as I can and have tweeted, added to Facebook, blogged about it, added to my YouTube and Vimeo channels and took various Instagram pictures during the event and after. Bradley and Soren have since shared the video in various ways throughout the same-sex dance community whilst Supadance will be using the film as part of the media library on their website and will also be screening it at mainstream dance events they are involved in. It’s very early days as I write this blog but the documentary was watched over 700 times in the first day of going live. In my mind that’s gone viral!

Commissioning a documentary

Whether you are into same-sex dance or not doesn’t really matter, the point is that any organisation can commission a documentary that will engage with your target audience and help augment your brand. There must of course be a reason or aim of the video in commercial terms (this one was, “Buy more Supadance shoes”), but the art is making something that your audience will want to watch and share with others with a similar interest.

If you think you have a story to tell contact us today for a free consultation and we’ll go through the process and costs of getting your documentary out there.

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Are you after an easy voiceover recording solution?

Vocal Booth Pro 2
For all you voiceover recording peeps!

I’ve just added the following video review of the Vocal Booth Pro 2 & SL300 Mic bundle to my Kev’s Shed collection. If you’re not familiar with this voiceover recording solution then it’s time you were. If you’ve just got to have one after watching the video see the details at the foot of this post on a very special, one off, deal.

Who will love this voiceover recording solution?

The booth will appeal to a very wide spectrum of user. The video review was obviously produced from a videographer’s perspective but these are ideal for anyone needing a vocal artist or voiceover recording solution. It’s therefore going to appeal to musicians, bloggers, edit houses and pod casters – as well as those who need to record good quality telephone-on-hold messages and recorded public announcements.

Special Kev’s Shed price!

The guys at EditorsKeys funded this production and have offered a 10% discount to Kev’s Shed viewers.  Simply email me directly and I will pass your details on to them so you receive the special price – kevin@video-artisan.com.

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Producing a video review

Video review title
Tips on shooting a video review

I’ve just uploaded the latest instalment from Kev’s Shed which is a video review of the Tascam DR-60D audio recorder/mixer. Having already blogged about the product I was so impressed that it inspired me to turn the camera on myself and produce a video review telling you why I think Tascam have a smashing bit of kit on their hands. If you’ve got about 12 minutes to spare, and want to know how this little beauty is going to make your DSLR shooting life better, whiz down to the bottom of this blog and enjoy.

So what goes into making a video review like this?

The making of a video review

First of all, whoever is going to present the video review must have a good understand the key features of the product. Having already swatted up on the DR-60D whilst producing the written review I pretty much knew what I wanted to say about it on video. Whilst you wouldn’t always be supporting a video review with a written piece you must allow time as a producer/presenter to gather the facts and form opinions. There’s no point in just reading out the sales brochure.

Believe it or not, I did my entire presentation in one take. This is true, but not without stumbles, passages of pure nonsense, plenty of “erms” and a couple of coughing fits. All these breaks are skilfully plastered with b-roll footage – well maybe not all the “erms”! The idea is to get it all in the can in one go but at the same time understand where the editor can cut and repair. You need to think how you can link from one feature to the next and, if you can’t, make sure your viewer knows you are moving on to something else, “Another great feature I like….”

This video review was filmed in my edit suite, which is a room measuring about 3m x 4m. That’s enough space for my camera set up (see Tech Bits below) and for me to present to camera seated about 2m from the lens. It is a little too small for a standing presentation but I have another room to do these in with a greenscreen backdrop for keying.

Presenting a video review
Presenting a video review

There would have been room in my edit suite for a camera operator but in this instance I wanted to create the entire film single-handed. I had a volunteer to sit in shot whilst I checked focus but after that I managed everything on my own. The framing choice was intentionally off to the left slightly as I knew I’d also want to introduce a few captions in places where I thought the viewer would like more detail.

I then set about cutting this take into a logical story but not worrying at this stage about continuity between the shots as I would be covering these with b-roll footage of the DR-60D. This sometimes meant cutting words from one section into another, changing the order of some sections completely and cutting out about 70% of the “erms”. I had to leave at least some “erms” in as that’s what I’m like in real life!

With the narrative in place I was now at a stage of knowing exactly what I needed b-roll wise to cover the cracks and help tell the story. This consisted of a range of action shots demonstrating features that I was talking about, general pack shots and macro shots of switches etc. Again these were all shot single-handed in the edit suite plus one outdoor shot in the garden of me and the unit in action (this time using a tree as my focus marker).

Me shooting me
Me shooting me

That was day one over. With everything in the can I spent the following day adding b-roll and refining the main take to make sure the video review was telling the story that I wanted it to tell. Allowing for a bit of research time, encoding and uploading to Vimeo and YouTube, the entire film took two days or about 20-man hours to produce. I also put together a short teaser trailer too which only took a couple of hours on top of this.

Financing a video review

Whilst Proactive had supported me to write the original written piece (thanks again Neil – and buy your DR-60D here) I self-funded the production of the video review. I am genuinely impressed with the DR-60D but it’s obviously not my only motivation for making the video. I hope there are other manufacturers and distributors out there who would also like me to do something similar about their products – but obviously on a commercial basis. At least I can now show them something.

Applying my normal rate card to this job I would do something similar for around the £1,000 mark. On less complicated products I could see me turning the whole thing round in a single day – and maybe even get more than one product done in this time. That’s a fair price in my mind but happy to talk “bulk” with anyone : )

Technical Bits of the video review

Presenting a video review
The subject of the review

I filmed all content using my trusty old Canon 550D running ML (Magic Lantern). I could have used my 5Dmkii but wanted to show this being used on screen with the DR-60D as that’ll be my normal combination. It was mounted on my Sachtler Ace whilst the DR-60D rig was mounted on my Vinten Vision 3 (note the nice smooth rotation shot).

Lens wise I opted to use my vintage Fujinon 55mm f1.8 lens. On a 550D, with its cropped sensor, this gives an effective focal length of 83mm. I wanted to use this lens as its fast and I like its look. I wanted to create a fair bit of separation between me and the edit suite itself but at the same time didn’t want to struggle keeping myself in focus with having too shallower depth of field. I was therefore running the lens at f.4 and the camera set to 320 iso using ML’s controls. For the extreme close-up shots I used my cheap-as-chips eBay macro tube.

Canon 550D
Video review shot with Canon 550D

The only lighting was provided by my two Lishuai LED lighting panels (also available from Proactive). I’ve got a blackout screen on the edit suite window so could eliminate any natural light falling on the set and also turned off all house lighting. The LEDs were set to 3200k and placed just out of shot left and right and faded to give a little shaping to my already perfectly shaped body. I used my edit suite programme monitor as a practical back light source by getting a bright picture up on my Edius timeline.

Audio, and here’s the irony, was not recorded through the DR-60D as I wanted to have it in hand during my presentation. I didn’t have another one to use on the shoot so had to resort to attaching my Sony radio mic directly into the 550D and tweaking the levels within ML. Whilst I am used to working this way I have to say it only just emphasised just how much easier the DR-60D is going to make my audio recording in the future.

The cut and shut was done on Edius 6.5. I hope you enjoy the film and, if you’re in the market for a video review yourself, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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