Hey everyone. I want to start off by saying thank you to VMware. They have a program that allows someone to take a week off from work to take a class or certification that allows them to grow, but also business related. In looking for opportunities, I came across a Video Production Certification from Boulder Digital Arts. Video is something I’m extremely interested in learning. With being a trainer and mentor for work, I’m frequently creating instructional videos from voice overs to in camera.
Coming into the class, there was a bit of nervousness. I’m taking a class to learn how to shoot better video, yet the only camera I have is a phone. I emailed the instructor beforehand and asked if that was okay. Could I show up without a camera? Luckily, he said that wasn’t a problem and I could borrow one of his cameras.
Even knowing that when I walked into the door, there was still some nervousness. Some fear. The instructor had three different cameras out on the table for demonstrative purposes and the other two guys had all of their equipment. There I sat, with just a phone. When it came time to introduce ourselves, I explained my reasons for being there.
I want to understand what goes into shooting video. The thought process, the setup, the shoot, and the tear down. When we watch videos on YouTube, we just see the final product. Not what goes into it.
I also wanted to know what things I could do better when I’m in camera. Things that could make the life of the person shooting the video easier. Things that could make the post production/editing process better.
Shortly afterwards, one of the guys turned to me and said he could tell when he worked with people if they had an understanding of what goes into the process. It made his life so much easier. It was nice confirmation.
Getting into the fun parts, each morning we did four hours of lecture. Topics covered:
Camera basics (ISO, aperture, and exposure).
Lighting (Creating indoor or outdoor lighting inside).
Interviews. This area was beyond helpful for me. We covered prep work, clothing, coaching, question structure, angles, and interviewee’s job.
Sound. Another area that was super helpful. We talked about different types of microphones, configurations, and placements.
Production workflow. How to go from thought to raw footage.
Jobs on a set.
Then in the afternoon, we got to play. On the first day, we setup lighting for an interview. We also tried out different camera angles. After each day we had the opportunity to tear down the equipment. On the second day, we setup lighting, sound, and did camera angles. On the fourth day, we did all the same setup again, but in a place that wasn’t ideal. It was in a cramped lobby with a bank of windows and a lot of through traffic. Then on the last day, we setup everything again, but had the chance to Interview Rocky from the Golden Environmental Film Festival.
One of the days I didn’t mention was day three. That day was very impactful for me. In the afternoon we went to Medium Films & VFX in Boulder. We met with Pax (Director, Producer, and Supervisor) and talked shop. Afterwards, we were given a challenge. To go out and record street performers. About two blocks away from the studio is Pearl Street. It is the street to go for restaurants and shopping. I borrowed my instructors GH3, which I had used for maybe a total of a half an hour and started walking. As I walked up the street, I felt nervous to talk to someone. For me, a challenge is a challenge and it was something I needed to follow through. As I got to the top of Pearl Street, there was a busker. He was playing the guitar. He looked at me and gave a loud Woo. I said screw it, I’m going to talk to this guy.
I had the best conversation. We talked for about twenty minutes. He was a great guy. He is currently saving up so he can purchase a van to take a road trip across the US. He hadn’t been outside of Boulder before and wanted to go explore. He has been performing on Pearl Street since he was a sophomore in high school. After we talked, I asked if I could record him playing a song.
The interaction left me feeling amazing. I left with such a great feeling for the rest of the day. In the end, it really wasn’t that scary and I’m glad we met.
I’d like to challenge you. To talk to someone you don’t know. A really good person to start with, is someone who is paid to be nice. Think about people who work at grocery stores, coffee shops, etc. They are paid to be there and paid to be nice. That is an ideal person to strike up a thirty second conversation. I talk with every single one of those people now. There is a finite time you’ll be engaged with that person, so you don’t have to worry about getting stuck talking with them forever. When you are ready to take it to the next step, give them a high five on the way out. Let me know your thoughts and comments below.