Recently in July I was asked to shoot a video piece for a client I have know for quite a few years. We first met up when she was involved in marketing with a firm in London. During that time I shot stills at events and various other promotions that were organised by the company. Now some years later she has progressed further and is her own boss and wanted me to make a short presentation to camera for her company.
I produce video for people who want to present themselves or have an explanation article for say a company meeting or conference. The web is a fascinating arena for displaying who and what you are, so having a video clip to help the viewer understand and engage with what you are trying to share on a site is all an add bonus.
The equipment I use for this is fairly straight foreword. I often use DSLR to record the video in HD that is very good quality for this use where the final production will be hosted by Vimeo or Youtube.There is no short cut to be had when we come to sound and lighting. This needs to be the same as if you were shooting for a more complex situation due to lighting a scene and the sound recorded has to be a good standard.
We did have fun producing this. It was quite a warm July day and though the room we used was cool at first after an hour or so of studio lighting the temperature grew. My client was determined to do all the sections of the video shoot in one take and actually nailed it with considerable ease. That made the edit process in FCP for me an easier task. Well she is a professional!
It’s four o’clock on a Friday afternoon.The mobile rings. A request to handle a project that needs to be completed by Monday 9 am without fail. This can be the challenging and darn right rewarding life of the professional corporate photographer. The brief is to photograph an Audi A1 for a conference that is being held the following Tuesday. The situation seems pretty straight foreword. Go out and photograph a car to the brief, there you have it.
The agency has been instructed that the car needs to be shot as a rear view. Just the boot area and this is going to be printed to full scale and displayed at the conference. The first thing to do here is start calling all local Audi dealerships to see who has a clean car and were they happy for me to photograph on site. After about one and a half hour calling around I had found some possibilities.
Early that Saturday morning I set out with cameras at the ready. What a lovely day! Though told it may have some bright spell by the weather channel the strong wind with horizontal rain patches was something to be desired. I travelled to the first location and managed to shoot a car out in the car park at a dealership.
All pretty pleased here called and reported the shoot was in the bag. But found the brief has now changed and that it’s been decide that the boot of the car needs to open to see the inside of the car. This was obviously not the initial brief. They can change like that! I’ve now outstayed my welcome at this dealer and need to find a new one to accommodate me. Later that morning a result and found a dealer that was a fair distance drive but had a car in a showroom out of the not so good weather conditions. Perfect. I shot the car using daylight and the lights from the dealership with just a small fill in flash and due to only the one angle needed here it was off back to the studio.
It had been decided that the image needed was to represent a car at the show. My goal here was to have a finished piece of artwork ready for the printer to produce a life size display. Yes life size! The conference set people were going to use the boot shelf area to display a particular product at the conference. The first stage was to do a cut out around the car to separate the background. Not an easy job cutting around smooth curvy lines especially when it’s ending up a life size image. Any imperfections would show here. The car interior was black so lightening was needed to give it some detail in the upholstery. Then I needed to replace the glass areas with cloud due to being able to see the car showroom within the front screen through the car as in image one. How best to do that, go outside and shoot the sky so you have a reality image to drop in.
Cloud Sky Mask
This then was a procedure of making various layers and also masking wanted areas to be able to compile the end result. All reflections had to be removed on the paintwork of the car and highlights painted in to give it the overall effect. The number plate was an actual shot to give its shape and colour and logo added later. Finally I had the all clear on the finished piece of artwork ready to be uploaded to the printers at 6pm Sunday evening. That was my weekend!
Audi A1 Conference Display
As a corporate photographer in London you are asked to attend many different venues and locations. At all of these you have to establish what lighting is going to be used and the limitations the location will give you.
At a conference where you would be shooting the speakers on stage I would utilise as much of the natural daylight or even more so the stage lighting that gives the shots a natural environmental feel. Less and less I use flash in these scenarios and shoot more as a fly on the wall and not be intrusive to the conference delegates.
With some clients wanting product shoots you need to use an array of studio lighting to obtain the right effect. It differs greatly between the types of shoots you are doing to what lighting style is needed for a particular shoot.
Some want hard direct lighting such as fashion shoots, ones to make a strong impact. Others have a complexity about them and can only be achieved in a certain way by using soft controlled lighting.
So when a studio shoot is required often the client goes to a photographer’s studio and the products are delivered to that location. This is a time and costly project for the client having to ship boxes from the stock supply and if possible have to then do a reverse procedure after the shoot to return again. Product can also be heavy and bulky items that produce even more problems.
But what if a Studio can come to your location!
This is where being able to supply at a venue or site such as a factory, warehouse or distribution centre a studio set up where all the items for a shoot are in one place. These products then can be more easily sourced without the complex administration and be brought to a studio set up location on site.
Often to make the whole process a more manageable affair for my client I bring a studio lighting set up that can be quite extensive for the desired shoot. This often comprises of backdrops being either paper rolls or materials. The lighting would often be soft boxes and over head boom arms with lamp attached. This makes a mini studio at your location. Being able to offer this service to my clients is just another way to make things run smoothly for them and makes their time more productive
If you attend a lot of networking event’s then this is probably a question that you are asked on a regular basis.
‘What is it that you do?’
And then you best describe what that is in a short paragraph.
‘I’m a photographer and video producer for corporate and medium sized businesses.’ I reply.
Of course there is more to what I do than that. Yes, I go to locations and take photographs for an interior or lifestyle publication. Or video where a director is explaining a procedure or showcase a company’s product or services. I put things together, I make things happen. I help businesses and people create the right image to promote their company.
But what else do I do? Apart from the obvious roles within my profession, what is it that I am also helping to achieve?
- I help businesses to grow by raising their profile and showcase what they do
- I create imagery that grabs people’s attention and gets them noticed
- I help people with the ideas for script and video storyboarding
- I help with presenting styles to camera on video shoots
- I also save clients costs by working with them as and when they need me on a project
But, what I strive to do above everything else is to supply a complete professional service to my clients. And because I love my job, I hope my passion, experience and enthusiasm comes through when people ask me, ‘What is it that you do?’