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  • Video production at Microsoft (wow)

    About 20+ minute video that gives us viewers a behind-the-scene look at Microsoft's video production department(s).

    Wow!

    http://download.microsoft.com/downlo...ms_studios.wmv
    Intrigued

  • #2
    Thanks for sharing the link.
    Their facility is quite large. The camera guy must have been a prospective client who happened to catch the facility manager at a good time.
    Eric Darling
    eThree Media
    http://www.ethreemedia.com

    Comment


    • #3
      In the narration, the camera guy mentions he is someone who records MSDN videos there in Studio D so it's likely he is an MS employee...

      Comment


      • #4
        He is... he's from the Channel9 group (http://channel9.msdn.com/default.aspx)

        That show behind the scenes of M.S..

        I have been following it for a few weeks now.

        I like the video segments myself.
        Intrigued

        Comment


        • #5
          Video is everything nowadays. On the other hand it can backfire if your guy is no good and just reads from the poster.

          http://trio.harmony-central.com/ramg...ech-GNX2000.rm

          Comment


          • #6
            Man, that was bad.

            It's sad when the poster upstages you like that.
            Eric Darling
            eThree Media
            http://www.ethreemedia.com

            Comment


            • #7
              And actually that was one of his better ones. In the one for the Jimi Hendrix pedal he mispronounces, "Hendrix" 5 words in, can only cite the 4 (out of 7)voices listed on the poster, and refers to Electric Ladyland as "Electric Lady Studio".

              http://trio.harmony-central.com/ramg...ech-Hendrix.rm

              Classic example of corporate marketing gone horrible awry. Notice they even "cleaned up" the song's actual title, "Voodoo Chile" to read "Voodoo Child". Poor Jimi... Anyhow who do they think are buying these things, awkward guys in suits who don't even know who Jimi Hendrix is? THIS is the guy you hire to sell that pedal:

              http://www.classiqueproductions.com/pages/PAGE10J2.HTM

              Put him in your booth for $1K per week and not a single person will walk by without stopping to see what's going on. :yes

              Comment


              • #8
                Here's more background for you guys.

                These 5 Channel9 guys just use small cameras (like what I bought) to shoot video on the spot. They are not trained (that I know of) and are doing this just to get the word out on a little more inside-Microsoft activities. To help bond to the customer (us), etc.
                Intrigued

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hopefully we'll be doing something similar soon. :yes

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That would be neat!
                    Intrigued

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There's a place for run-and-gun video. Inevitably, as folks do it, they should get better at it, too. You can sort of tell there's no training in videography here - it looks like my Uncle Harold got ahold of a camera after he got ahold of a few drinks.

                      Little cameras are getting more and more capable all the time. It has led to an exciting revolution in production.
                      Eric Darling
                      eThree Media
                      http://www.ethreemedia.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Uncle Harold sounds like fun. :yes

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You have no idea.

                          Too bad he doesn't remember most of the "fun" he gets us into.
                          Eric Darling
                          eThree Media
                          http://www.ethreemedia.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm going to grab one of these for now to get started.

                            http://www.vistek.ca/details/detail_...&Specs=N&Box=N

                            Eric I need to ask you a question. We need a cheap lighting solution for 1-2 person interviews such as those seen on the MSDN 9 site. What would be our best bet if the budget is very low?

                            The whole idea is that it needs to be something Desmond can setup in 5 minutes. I realize this is way below optimal but, as you mentioned, we will grow as we go, and eventually I'll grab a GL2 and do some slicker stuff. For now I just want to get some videos online regularly, i.e. 1-2 per week in order to establish that line of communication. As those MSDN 9 videos sort of prove, *some* video is better than *no* video in terms of establishing a connection and offering some value.

                            I think once I can prove to everyone at IR that I'm on the money about this video thing becoming the most powerful single element in our online communications toolkit, I will be able to leverage a tad more resources but for now I just have to establish a working process for no money, i.e. proof of concept. Help.

                            Also any advice about which angles we should shoot/avoid would be greatly appreciated. I have a very generalized knowledge of shooting interviews but nothing great. Desmond will be the one running the vidcam on the Winnipeg end, and I'm sure he appreciates any tips also. The main thing is that we have to at least get something basic outlined to get started, I'm convinced that if we can just do that, the momentum will be on our side and everything will normalize after a few shoots. :yes

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The most basic of lighting kits contain three lights - one for key, one for backlight and another for throwing something nice on the background. Many production people light with more instruments, and they would say that a fourth light is necessary for fill. But, hear me out on this one:

                              Buy a large sheet of white foamcore - available from your local art supply depot or video/film service facility. Get a stand of some kind (you can improvise with this), and angle the foamcore so as to receive the key light directly and bounce it onto your subject's face. This will provide a nice, even and more flattering appearance to someone's face. The light will "wrap" more around their face and eliminate the need (if done properly) for a fill light instrument altogether. Foamcore is way cheaper than another instrument, plus you'll want that third light for throwing patterns and such on the background.

                              The foamcore should be on the same side of the camera as the interviewer. Of course, this means the key light itself will be on the opposite side.

                              To that end, buy a roll of what is called "black wrap." This is basically aluminum foil that is painted black. It's heat resistant, so it can serve as cheap barn door material to obstruct light, or holes can be cut in a sheet to place directly in front of a light for allowing only small dots of light to shine through - thus providing what is known in the industry as a "gobo" or "cookie" - short for "cookaloris." Using this technique, you can really make an otherwise flat or drab background much more interesting.

                              B&H Photo Video is probably the best place to find such kits at the most competitive prices. Look for fresnel or open-faced lighting solutions from companies like Lowell, Mole Richardson or Arri. Those guys make good kits. Stay away from the cheapest kits with lighting - I think stuff by Smith-Victor are fire hazards. You may elect to buy just two lights instead of a full kit, and thereby save some money. But don't go with anything less. Bare minimum for a reasonable lighting scenario is one light for key and one light for back.

                              Use the back light placed high on its stand behind the talent, and just out of frame. This helps to separate the talent from his/her background. You should see the light on their shoulders and back of their head. Special care should be taken with balding gentlemen and those with white/gray/light blonde hair to not overexpose those areas. To cut down on the intensity of the light, buy some Rosco diffusion material (tough spun or opal frost are the best). This helps you control the light, which is especially important in close quarters where moving the instrument may not be a good option.

                              For composition, pay attention to some TV. Most interviews are shot "third person." That's where the camera plays the role of the bystander. The interviewer sits next to the lens on either side, and the talent is told to look directly at the interviewer, pretending the camera doesn't exist. For interviews of this style, follow the "rule of thirds." This is where the head and shoulders of the talent are placed either in the right or left third of the screen. The bulk of the screen (the other two thirds, if you will) should be their "lookspace" - that is to say, they should be looking in the direction of that other two thirds. Experiment with this idea to get the best look for each situation.

                              For more direct on-camera bits, the talent may be talking directly to the audience. In these cases, the talent should look directly into the lens. This model works well for instructional videos where the viewer should be made to feel that the presenter is talking directly to them.

                              A couple of other random tips:

                              1) Never, ever, ever use auto focus. Always use manual focus mode. Zoom all the way into your subject, focus, and zoom out without touching the focus control again. This will ensure that your subject is sharp.

                              2) Check color and set your white balance appropriately.

                              3) Always use a tripod for anything but the roughest of field interviews. No one likes a shaky camera interview.

                              4) If all else fails, hire a pro!

                              Best of luck - I'm looking foward to seeing some of the work you guys create.
                              Eric Darling
                              eThree Media
                              http://www.ethreemedia.com

                              Comment

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