2015 went by in the blink of an eye. I had always planned on blogging regularly but business has been both exciting and incredibly busy and so blogging was one of the things that disappeared. I don’t believe in doing anything for the sake of it, so unless there is something worthwhile to say I don’t feel it has value (even for those precious Google rankings!).

2015 saw a change in the way we operate. Because capture devices are becoming smaller and less conspicuous, and because TV channels are starting to realise that engaging content is more valuable than just amazing technical quality footage I decided that we should “lighten up” and start using gear that was faster to set up, much less noticeable, and allowed more motion in the footage.

Struggling around icy slopes with the Bobsleigh team carrying heavy bulky cameras will now be a distant memory. Our systems are now modular, so I can adjust the size of the rig according to the needs. I can fit 2 cameras, lenses, batteries etc into a small rucksack that I can take as hand luggage on a plane. This reduces the risk of any breakages and means even if the main bag gets delayed/lost, I can still do the job.

We have also moved to 4K. Whilst this may seem like overkill at the moment, being able to crop in post and move the footage round, plus that level of detail for chroma-key has streamlined many of our jobs.
Computers are at a level now where they easily handle the footage (even laptops) and so the days of making proxies for editing most of our videos are over. We are not shooting RAW yet as I am hugely impressed with the grading potential that ProRes and DNxHR has, and they both go to crazy bitrates for 4K. I appreciate the benefits of RAW, and when we get the next storage size breakthrough I am sure that will become the norm, but right now I cannot offload that cost onto my current customer base. I guess it’s dependent on the market you serve.

So 2016?
I really like the whole guerrilla movie making concept. Over the years I have learnt that ultimately as long as the camera is half decent you will get a usable result – what is NOT fixable is bad acting/lighting/script – and this is where I would focus the budget. Some actors are so good you could have a static GoPro shot of them, and it would still be engaging.

Some 2015 takeaways are:

  • If your film is for marketing, shorter more frequently updated videos can be more effective than a huge masterpiece that stays unchanged for years. This need not cost any more if it is planned correctly.
  • Keep some budget for marketing – no good having the worlds greatest video if no-one can find it!
  • Keep everything relevant to your audience – there are videos on YouTube over an hour in length with millions of views. This is because the content is highly relevant to the viewer.
  • Be ruthless in the method you display information – don’t get emotional:  if film is efficient, use it.  If CGI is efficient, likewise, and also photos, text, drawings, animation etc.
  • Design your projects in a way they can be easily updated.
  • Try not to communicate with your clients re edits via email.  Either use an editing hosting platform, or have a shared spreadsheet that you can all access – keep the communication in 1 place with an auditable trail!