In our News & Technology segment with Mark and Derek, we talk about Warner’s involvement with YouTube… is this the beginning of the corporate squeeze for the small-time producer? We also look at the multi layer hi-def DVD announcements and follow Amanda Congdon’s new vidcast adventure traveling across the U.S.
In our Tips & Techniques segment Jennifer and Brian talk about the importance of Videomaker’s reader & viewer surveys, how they help US make a better product for YOU… and they look at some nice creative tips to shooting still pictures for your video production.
In this week’s “Take 20” Charlie and Jennifer analyze the PSA “Open Door Home,” which was produced as a classroom project by Elliott Yancey, Daniel Ramsey, Erika Bustamante and Amy Potts of Mount Berry Georgia.
In Matt York’s “Viewfinder” he and Mark talk about ITV, and how videos on the internet are now making their way into the living room.
Brian Peterson: Hi, I’m Brian Peterson.
Jennifer O'Rourke: And I’m Jennifer O’Rourke, and this is Tips and Techniques.
Brian Peterson: And we’ve got a lot of clutter here, but it’s a cute clutter.
Jennifer O'Rourke: A cute clutter. Of course, it’s a little tiny child, so that’s always cute.
Brian Peterson: Well, how about we start with this, because I think there’s no room to be going anywhere else.
Jennifer O'Rourke: What we had, a couple of weeks ago we had a workshop here, in Chico, and Jean, one of our attendees was asking about a different more creative ways of doing still shots. She’s doing some soccer videos, she’s a classic soccer mom, and she’s doing all the team, and she wants to do some still shots. And you know, everyone knows the classic pan and scan, the scan and pan shots. What they call Ken Burns effect.
And I want to show a couple of different effects as little more interesting, as little more depth to your piece, what they used to do in the old days when we were shooting and we weren’t scanning photos.
Brian Peterson: The old days where we actually shot the photos with the camera. And, this is a great setup. I’m, you’ve got the setup in a particular order, and I understand you actually shot some of them that we will see in a second.
Jennifer O'Rourke: Yeah, I shot the last night and we’ll show that in a moment.
Brian Peterson: But why did you have them set up this way?
Jennifer O'Rourke: Obviously they’re staggered by size, by height, and in this case also by the child age. This is newborn, the day she was born, and then going into her growth a little bit more, but there’s, we have her with her parents. It doesn’t really follow her growth, but this is something that I’m working on for my granddaughter’s third birthday that’s coming up.
Brian Peterson: All right.
Jennifer O'Rourke: Yeah. And I do a lot of memorials in commercial videos, and I would normally have something like this set up on with a cloth over the table. And I would balance some of these shots, some of these frames a little higher on just about anything. A Kleenex box will work, I’ve got-
Brian Peterson: Of course, underneath the cloth, so all that’s seen-
Jennifer O'Rourke: Right.
Brian Peterson: are different staggered levels.
Jennifer O'Rourke: if you do a right lighting light as nice,
Brian Peterson: Nice texturing.
Jennifer O'Rourke: texturing and paddling, and you know, you can use DVDs. I used my Star Wars box set last night. It worked pretty good. And my toaster. And it worked pretty good.
Brian Peterson: Your video toaster?
Jennifer O'Rourke: No, haha, my toaster toaster. My cat loves my toaster too, he’s got a thing about it, he’s kept- never mind. Anyway, what we have here is the distance between the pictures that will give us nice depth when we, we can rack focus from one picture to the other, or we can do what I call a slow fly over to the shot. Or we can dissolve to a pan from one shot to another.
Just getting a little bit of different depth and different dimension to your still pictures. What I would do, what I did with this was I made a 30 seconds sequence, and then I would probably fade black, and then bring up your typical scanned pictures. But this is just a way of introducing a whole group, whether it’s your family clan, your soccer group…
Again, the cover that you put underneath is the, I used a flag one time when I was doing something for a World War II veteran.
Brian Peterson: Okay, let’s just see what you’ve shot and then we can talk about it after the look at the scene.
Jennifer O'Rourke: Okay, open it up with a wide shot of all the pictures together. That looks kind of smashed, but then we zoom in on the first picture we were talking about, which is the little baby. And this is what I call the fly over, I like doing these shots. I had a little bit of problem with the lighting, I didn’t use pro lighting, and it kind of shows there.
And, again, I also didn’t use a really good tripod, so you can see a little bit of the movement here. See, a tripod is really important in a shot like this. This is a rack focus, very subtle, from the mother and the baby to the father and the baby. And then we finish it off with a zoom out that last shot that defocuses, so, really easy, 30 seconds, that’s all that takes.
Brian Peterson: All right, nice ending where you just kind of focused everything nice and soft. Great background for text or ending graphics of that sort.
Jennifer O'Rourke: Yeah, you can hold that shot up and keep that shot running, or you can freeze it because you’ve got a little bit of sparkling going on with out of focus shots. And role up your graphics, you know, someone’s age, someone’s, you know, if it’s in memoriam, or anything like that.
Brian Peterson: All right. Again, very cute and I’d love to leave this up here , but I need some room, so little boots will going to have to go back to-
Jennifer O'Rourke: Yeah, yeah, I’ve put the flowers and the little boots here to add just a little bit more dimension to it, because you can do that when you’re doing these kind of videos.
Brian Peterson: We’ll leave it in the back here.
Jennifer O'Rourke: Yes.
Brian Peterson: She’s showing up here tonight.
Jennifer O'Rourke: She’s going to come to Videomaker today, she’s going to be hanging out with us a little bit.
Brian Peterson: All right, very, very cute.
Jennifer O'Rourke: Thank you.
Brian Peterson: Let’s talk a little bit about why it’s important to fill out our surveys. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while.
Jennifer O'Rourke: Yeah.
Brian Peterson: You know, our surveys, we ask our readership regularly about how we can better make the magazine. But what we’re really looking for now is your input on what would make our vidcast better. And, our surveys are really taken very, very seriously.
And I’ve wanted to talk just a little bit about how we use the survey information, and if you’re at all worried that we’ll start to delusion do you with spam or anything, we don’t, we don’t want to do that. We really are using this information to change the way we work here on set.
Jennifer O'Rourke: Right. To give you a better experience for what we’re giving you.
Brian Peterson: Exactly. And right now we’re getting some trickling in information, I’d say it’s just a trickle. We need to have a little bit more. So, I’m hopeful that we’ll encourage you to do that.
You know, it’s really short. We’ve got 33 questions on our vidcast survey. Really, really short, you can do it in probably less than five minutes. So, hopefully that’s enough to at least entice you, but, let me tell you a little bit about how we change things already.
For those of you who have told us what you like and what you don’t like, we’re looking really closely at three segments. Of course, our news segment which is popular, and it’s interesting. It used to be the most popular segment, and it’s weighing a little bit with our Tips and Techniques. This segment actually has kind of pulled ahead.
And when we see more of that happen, we put more resources into this, we make the length, probably not shorten it, we put more tips in. If those are the types of questions we’re asking.
And in particular one of the changes we’ve made already is that if you recall, some of you that have been watching for a few episodes, we used to have, this was the readers’ letters, remember?
Jennifer O'Rourke: Right, letters from readers.
Brian Peterson: And sometimes they were tips, and sometimes they were just statements. But we asked the question whether or not you felt you wanted more of that, or more of the editors’ tips, and it was very, very clear that you wanted more editors’ tips. So, that’s why we’re not reading all that many real letters. It’s not that we stopped getting them, we certainly still do.
Jennifer O'Rourke: And of course, if they are discussed as good tips, we’ll share them with you.
Brian Peterson: Oh, yeah, absolutely. So, that’s just one example of a change.
The other is where we’re wondering if we should be doing more product reviews on camera, and we certainly could do that. It’s a different job than the magazine, of course. Few of people have said, yeah, they would really like to see that. But, you know, with a survey, we really need to see more than just a few people.
Jennifer O'Rourke: Yeah. If just only three or four people are saying yes, more reviews, we don’t know if everyone out there really wants the reviews, or just these three or four people who are really interested in it.
Brian Peterson: Exactly. Also the style in which we cover a lot of our topics. We’re doing everything in a studio here right now that’s just kind of way we’ve set things up. Is it important if you would like to see us on location? We’ve got a few of those, in fact, we had, Mark was back East last episode.
Jennifer O'Rourke: That’s right.
Brian Peterson: We certainly do a lot of travel in this company, and we could do a lot more of that. So, if that kind of thing appeals to you, we need to know that.
Jennifer O'Rourke: And it’s nice that the technology’s now there to do it really -
Brian Peterson: Just about everything.
Jennifer O'Rourke: Just about?
Brian Peterson: Yeah, there’s always a cable or two that doesn’t work right, so we have to change those every once in a while.
Jennifer O'Rourke: Yeah, yeah.
Brian Peterson: The other is, is it important to start interviewing more professionals from outside of our environment? We’ve done that a couple of times, and we’d like to get more feedback as well.
Jennifer O'Rourke: Do you want to hear more from them, and also from the manufacturers of the products that we use.
Brian Peterson: Right. We can certainly give an opportunity for those reps to come on and say their stuff. And who better to hear it from, of course, we try to provide more editorial context to that. We’re not going to slice anyone off of their knees, but we let to give our opinions pretty frankly, it’s what we always try to do here.
You know there’s another aspect of this, and we’ve talked about this in plenty of head calendar. We do something called cross tabulation, and if any of you were actually awake in your statistics class, you probably remember what this was. But it’s a way for us to develop new products without you even telling us. It’s kind of the, to almost tell you what you’re thinking without you telling us.
So, we’ll take two questions. Let’s take or example anybody who’s between ages of 18 and 24. Of those people who are that age, how many of you want to see longer Tips and Techniques segment? So, we’re taking two questions, putting them together and coming up with a whole new set of information.
So, it’s from that type of cross tabulation that we can get a lot more direction from just a very simple survey. That’s why there are 33 questions.
Jennifer O'Rourke: We have it set up, Brian’s been fine tuning it for quite some time, too, to get the questions just small enough that you’ll be able to go through it quickly. It’s not a long tedious moment.
Brian Peterson: Yeah, no more a 100 word, or a 100 sentence.
Jennifer O'Rourke: At least not on this. He may changed something we don’t know, hahaha.
Brian Peterson: No, no.
Jennifer O'Rourke: Yeah, really. Where do you find us?
Brian Peterson: That’s probably the most important thing. Please, it’s really, really simple, but you do have to look, so go to vidcast page, videomaker.com, vidcast, we got it right on our home page.
And then about a half way down, you’ll see a line, I think it’s got something like, Help us improve our vidcast! Take our survey!
Pretty straightforward. You could miss it if you scroll real quick. So scroll slow, but halfway down, and fill it out.
So, is that enough of a plea?
Jennifer O'Rourke: I think so. Just remember, we’re not sending anything back to you, we’re not going to respond to you, we just want to know what you want to hear, and what you want to see from us.
Brian Peterson: All right. Fill it out as soon as you can, we really appreciate hearing from you. And that’s it from Tips and Techniques. See you next week.