Category Archives: Video Artisan

Welcome

Video Artisan pride themselves on producing cost-effective video communication tools for business clients.  They understand their clients’ needs – and how to achieve their video production goals. This is why more and more businesses are using them for their video production needs.

These articles will keep you up to date with what’s been happening at Video Artisan.  Short stories, news updates and comments are published by the company’s founder, Kevin Cook.  Kevin has been in the professional video industry since 1985 and always aims to provide his clients with exceptional levels of customer satisfaction.  The company motto is, “Under promise and over deliver”.   At Video Artisan they always go that extra mile to provide an excellent product at a competitive price.

For further details

In conclusion, the areas of expertise include corporate video, company films and all professional video services.  Please contact Kevin Cook for further advice on this website – kevin@video-artisan.com or call 020 83602 3356

 

Freelance Cameraman for hire

I’ve just finished packing the kit away after three fantastic days working for Dilip Patel of Double-Barrelled as a freelance cameraman at the European Congress on Epileptology at London’s Excel.

Dilip and Kevin on Set
Greenscreen Freelance Cameraman for Double-Barrelled at Excel

Apart from hearing many, many words I’ve never heard before (and still don’t understand), this was a really interesting and engaging few days.  The job at hand was filming presentations to camera delivered by various key people involved in the diagnosis, treatment and research of Epilepsy.  With around 4,000 delegates from all over the world this was a major event.  By the end of the three days we had over 20 presentations and promotional vox-pops about future events organised by the ILAE (International League Against Epilepsy) in the can – and of course a very happy client!

Dilip originally approached me about the job earlier on this year at which time the plan was not to necessarily use me as freelance cameraman but rather as the operator of the tele-prompt unit that was going to be used by many of the presenters.  I would of course be expected to jump on the camera if needed – but the original client brief did not include a 2-camera shoot. Whilst Dilip asked me to bring along my Canon 5D the original idea was that this was only there as a back-up for his 5D.

I have used various tele-prompt units in the past (and have my own tiny mobile phone prompter system) and each had its own peculiarity in the way it imported, edited and run scripts.  This didn’t really phase me as there would be time on site to get familiar with it, but the news that Dilip was going to be building his own system for this job did make me a little apprehensive.  I needn’t have worried though as Dilip’s engineering skills are way, way, way beyond that of your average DIYer!  I don’t think he has any plans of doing this but I think it’s only a few refinements away from being equal to any of the top-notch prompters on the market.  If you are looking to hire the services of a prompter system and operator then do give Dilip a call.

Tele-prompter from Double- Barrelled
Dilip and his brilliant prompter system

It was soon clear that most people were not going to need to use a prompter to deliver their presentations (they really were top people in their field – and very comfortable in front of camera). Others chose to run a PowerPoint presentation as a reminder which Dilip fed back through the prompter so they were still looking straight down the lens.  They were also being shot against a green-screen backdrop (also available from Dilip if you need one!) with the idea that when they referred to certain PowerPoint slides these could be keyed on the screen behind them.

Still, there were a few presenters that felt more comfortable running their entire script through the prompter but it was clear that my time would be better spent getting additional cutaway footage.  We also had a couple of guys on hand from the ILAE who were more than capable of operating the prompter.  This left me free to shoot some big “dirty” close-ups (“dirty” as they showed the lights and parts of the set in the background) that were shot on a Dutch tilt with an occasional pull-focus, light flare, zoom and pan. You know – that style that seems to annoy the old school TV boys!!!  This at least gave the editor something to use to break up the otherwise static ‘down-the-lens’ mid shot that could be anything up to 5-minutes long.

I do find this type of work tiring – but at the same time very rewarding.  I think some of the fatigue comes from spending three days stuck in an artificially lit box in the depths of a conference centre – not to mention the added tensions that comes from having to constantly think about backing up memory cards, keeping batteries charged and ensuring that we maintain a safe working environment for a constant stream of presenters.  However, the rewards come from continually having to think of how to create better and more engaging images – and from being able to work with some very talented and gifted individuals in front of and behind the camera.

I hope I’ll be working with Dilip again in the near future.

Freelance Cameraman for hire

If any other production houses are looking for a freelance cameraman then please do give me a call.  Happy to work with or without kit – and anywhere you care to send me.  For this particular job I was able to be at the London Excel conference centre in about 30-minutes using public transport from Loughton – so nice and light on the travel expenses!

 

 

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IOV Award Short-list x 2!

When I started Video Artisan back in February this year I had drawn up a list of personal as well as business aims and objectives.  One of my personal aims was to win an IOV Award. This wasn’t a short term goal by any stretch of the imagination and not something I was thinking could happen in my first year back in the craft – but I did hope to one day be back in amongst the winners.

You can imagine how pleased I was to get the news yesterday that two of my entries in the 2012 competition have been short-listed amongst the top five in the Open and Documentary Categories! Whilst this is still someway short of actually winning an IOV Award I’m still one happy bunny this morning and really looking forward to finding out their final places on 13th November.

IOV Awards Shortlisted entries
Video Artisan Short-listed in the Open and Documentary IOV Award Categories

Supadance – Shoes for Dance (Best Open Category)

This was one of my first commissions after going solo and is essentially a day in the life of the Supadance shoe factory set to music.  Whilst there is an underlying aim to further establish Supadance as world-leading, London-based manufacturer of ballroom and Latin dance shoes, it’s other objective was to create something eye catching and entertaining for them to use on their website and at exhibitions.  It’s what I like to refer to as ‘eye candy’.

Bees & Wasps (Best Documentary)

In case you have not picked up on this up so far, outside of the world of video production I’m also a keen apiarist (beekeeper).  This started about 7-years ago and I knew that one day these worlds would collide and I’d start making short films about beekeeping and the honey bee itself.  They are a fascinating creature and there’s so many aspects of keeping bees that lend themselves to making documentaries about them.  One of the first attempts (and part of the www.beemovies.net website) was to reveal the differences and relationship between the honey bee and wasps (AKA Leather Jacket).

IOV Awards Night

After having spent the last 17-years on the other side of the IOV awards as one of its main organisers I now understand the joy and anxiety the participants and recipients went through each year.  I know how tough the competition is so I really wasn’t expecting to get this far – but now I’m short-listed I’m really looking forward to the atmosphere 17th.  I want to win of course – but regardless of where I come in either category right now I think I’ve made an amazing achievement in a very short time.  Well done me!

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Shoot a Wedding Video… Me?

When I first launched Video Artisan I didn’t really expect to be asked to shoot a wedding video.  I have nothing against this avenue or work – and have total respect for those who can turn out a well crafted and original wedding video – but my eyes and creative desires are firmly fixed on my corporate and documentary work.  But as I often say to others… “never say never!”

And when the request comes from the boss (Mrs. C) it wasn’t really something I could say no to!  Having been invited to the wedding of one of her work colleagues (that of Clare & Tony) in Ibiza on 7th September we decided to make a short break of it and stay for the week in nearby Es Cana.  We hadn’t been back to Ibiza since our own honeymoon (nearly 20-years ago) so it was going to be a trip down memory lane for us too – as well as a fab place to celebrate the union of this lovely couple.

Clare and Tony Wedding Video
Fantastic couple – fantastic wedding video location

Anyhow, Mrs. C’s hints kept getting bigger and more frequent in the weeks leading up to the trip. “Are you taking your DSRL on holiday?”, “Don’t you think it might be nice to get some pictures, and maybe video of the trip?”  I knew where this was all heading and, to be honest, if it’s a “no pressure” deal and I can do what I like I actually enjoy making a wedding video for close friends and family.  I did warn them though that I’d not be shooting on a tripod and the final film would be less than 10-minutes.

The last wedding video I produced was for my nephew Paul and Louise – which included a performance of the BBC’s version of ‘Perfect Day‘ – and that was great fun to do.  As this was a small wedding, in a really cool location (check it out.. Pura Vida Beachclub & Restaurant, Playa Niu Blau. Just outside Santa Eulalia) I knew this was going to be fun too.

Anyhow – here’s the short.  The final DVD we gave them had an additional chapter which just had the uncut speeches on it.  I apologise now to anyone who can actually play the guitar as they will immediately spot from my opening cameo performance that I can’t! The music track just seemed to cry out for some visuals to link it all together.

Do you want a Wedding Video?

Would I shoot another one???  Everybody has their price!  There’s a whole load of work that goes into making these things professionally (and iron out the corners in the above).  If this had been a proper commission I’d have taken out a whole load of additional kit with me, along with another camera person and probably someone to do the inevitable running around that Mrs. C was doing on the day.  I’d also have spent more than a couple of days putting it together.

So – yes I would happily take on the right commission at a fair rate of pay – and what that is would depend on what the couple wanted.  If you are interested to know what your wedding video might cost please get in touch.

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Another Video Artisan website video goes into action

One of my recently completed website video productions was put into action this week. It’s always nice to see your work at work – but even more so when it was produced for that very talented and charming bunch of guys at N2 Visual Communications.

Website video for N2
The website video takes pride of place at N2 Visual Communications

The making of a Video Artisan website video

Every website video job has its challenges but I think this is a good example of what we can shoot in one day and edit in two.  There was no script or storyboard to work to – but we did get a good brief from N2 with a clear idea of what they were trying to achieve.

The shoot basically started off with interviewing the MD and the heads of the three main divisions within N2 – namely N2 Print, N2 Display and N2 Digital. These formed the main narrative – and from there we shot various scenes and pieces around their two Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire factory sites (conveniently located a few doors away from each other).  It was a fair bit to cram into a one day shoot, and I don’t mind admitting that I was spent at the end of it – but they were more than happy with the end result.

This website video was shot in full HD (1080 25p) on a Canon DSLR and edited on our Edius Broadcast suite in Loughton. It took a day to log rushes, audition music score (see below), produce graphics and get a rough shot list on the timeline – and the second day to tidy things up and master.  There was a little additional work that went on after this but in total about two days in post production.

The music was chosen from AKM Music‘s range of copyright free tracks (Album: ‘Cut to the Beat 7’ Track: ‘Light Edition’). The reason I mention this is that clients will often ask to have specific “Commercial” music on their website video.  Without being rude, this is nearly always beyond most company’s budgets as the royalties demanded by the record company and the music publisher is normally astronomical – especially when used in broadcast or website video.  There is no hard and fast rules on these costs but they like to start talking around the £20,000 mark.  As I said – rarely a sensible way to blow your marketing budget.

Ballpark budget on this kind of job is around the £2k mark. Enjoy!

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Cine Film and Slides to DVD

Our marketing efforts on our cine film and slides to DVD services have really started kicking in now.  I know that some people don’t enjoy doing this kind of work but I think its a real honour to help preserve and restore my customer’s precious memories this way.  I also find it incredibly interesting!

Cine film converted to DVD
8mm and Super8 cine film are the most common types around

Cine Film and Slides to DVD

When I started Video Artisan I wasn’t going to be pushing this side to the business too hard, and don’t pretend to be the cheapest company around, but I’ve been finding a lot of customers that were initially interested in our VHS to DVD conversions were chuffed to find out that we can convert pretty much any format to any other format.

Anything and Everything Converted

Family collections of cine films are without doubt the most popular – but recently I’ve converted slides, camcorder hard drive contents, prints, PowerPoint slides, 8mm videotape, Betamax tapes, DV tapes, DVCAM tapes….  Having been in and around this industry for over 25-years now I’ve made many, many contacts and I don’t think there’s a video or film format that I couldn’t lay my hands on (or know a man that can) and get material converted to something more up to date.

Give me a try!

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