STOP!, before your read this post, go back and watch the clip in part 1 or watch it below and then read this post.
As I edited this, I realised that it was going to make things harder because I only interviewed Danny. Watch most things that are longer than 3-5 minutes and very rarely will they have only one person talking. It was going to be a real challenge to cut this in a way that would make it engaging and keep people’s interest for 10 minutes or so. But, as I always say, the best way to learn is to really challenge yourself and so on I went.
Cutting down the 30 minutes of interview to 10 was, as I expected, a challenge, and I really worried that I hadn’t manage to separate it into distinct sections within the whole story. That’s where the music came in. I spent about six hours finding just the right combination of tracks that I think struck the right notes and created the right moods for each “section” of the video. I know it’s far from perfect, but imagine how it would have been without any music or the wrong kind of music?
It’s amazing how the music made such a huge difference.
I was really excited that I had just gotten my shiny new Zeiss 35mm f1.4 lens and so I shot just about everything on it the whole day on the A7s at f1.4. It looks lovely in some shots, but not in all them. Sometimes it would have been better to have a little more depth of field for variety and detail.
For the interviews I shot at f2.8, so every time Danny leaned back or forward he would go out of focus. He’s a very passionate guy and not one for keeping still! I applied FilmConvert to the footage and it helped hide some of that, but you don’t have to look too closely in some of the shots to see that the shirt at his neck is more in focus than his face. I have asked subjects in the past not to move back and forth as they will go out of focus is I am shooting very wide open, but these people aren’t professional actors or presenters and they forget. Even professionals who are on camera all day long forget. The lesson I’ve taken from this experience is that, unless you know your subject isn’t going to move much, don’t go wider than f4.0 when shooting interviews.
The other thing I noticed as I cut it was that I didn’t get enough medium and wide shots to use as establishing shots for the lovely shallow depth of field close ups. I think those sort of shots work really well. For example, at 06:31, I have a wide of Danny separating some herbs and then cut to a close up of his hands doing it. I wish I had shot more sequences like that. Not necessarily for every one, but it’s nice to have a few options. The time lapses helped me get away with not having a lot of wides and I am pretty proud of myself that I thought to get them and use as establishing shots. Still, I will know for next time get get mediums or wides of more things.
This is also a good lesson in regards to planning. It is totally possible to just show up, shoot some footage and make something out of that. Every event that I shoot is pretty much that. Most times I haven’t been to the venue before and so it’s totally possible. BUT, if you have the option to plan things out, it’s going to make your life a lot easier when it comes to editing.
For example, the next passion project I am working on, I plan on shooting the next week, but I’ve been thinking about this shoot for a few weeks now and so, when I had some free time, I went to the location last week and shot some test footage. I now know what compositions are going to work, which ones aren’t going to work. The shots that I might need lights for and the ones I can get away with natural light with.
You don’t have to go to the extreme of going to the location and shooting footage before your shoot, but if you can just go and take some pictures or even check out on Google street view (far from ideal, but better than nothing) The more preparation you can do, the better.
I didn’t get a lot of shots of people and for that I need to grow a pair. I am super aware of not shooting people in public places as I am terrified of confrontation. I am sure most people would be cool about it, but I am just a bit of a coward and have to get over that. I suppose this was also a even more weird case because if people asked me what the video was for, I didn’t have a really good answer. I was just shooting and figured I’d do “something” with the footage later. Yeah, that doesn’t sound at all dodgy.
Another thing that I am getting better at, but still wasn’t 100%, is being more forceful. You’ll hear in some of the clips that the music in the cafe is so loud that it can be heard whilst Danny is talking. It took me about 10 minutes into the recording to ask Danny if he minded if we turned it down a bit. He was more than happy to oblige. So I really should have said something sooner.
There is a balance of course. The reason I didn’t ask sooner is that I was hyper aware of the fact that everyone in the cafe was helping me out of the kindness of their hearts and I don’t want to come across as a bossy douche when people are being so nice.
Having said that, as long as you ask nicely and politely, most of the time, people are happy to help.
Every time I re-watch this I see another thing that I am not 100% happy with and more bits that I want to change. There is a saying in the video production world “No job is ever finished, you just run out of time and money”
So even though I know this isn’t perfect, I’ve been working on it for a while and I am really excited about sharing it. I hope you enjoyed it and I really hope you find my insights and thoughts on the process helpful.