The blog has been a bit quiet of late - never fear though, we have just had the busiest start to the year since we started.
We pulled off a bit of a feat over February, from a total of 6 shoot days (one last year, 5 at the beginning of Feb) we managed to produce 46 videos for Brighton based client California Shutters. In less than three weeks! So that's a total of 2 videos for every one of the 21 days. Needless to say it should take A LOT longer than that :)
We are also going on to duplicate these videos with different Voice Overs for three different regions, USA, Canada and Australia. With brings the total up to 184..!
All that coupled with further content for another website of theirs The Shutter Store, brings the total for one client up to nearly 200!
You can see more of these videos at the new California Shutter website here
Last month Gavin "Onions" O'Malley Richardson led a team which included director James and camera assistant Emma on the first of 4 days shooting for our new client California Blind Company. We are producing a series of "how to" videos for their new web presence. Here are some photos of the shoot.
Time for another return client, City College in Brighton, who asked us to shoot some promo videos for an event they are holding to attract new students. Also involved were the Prince's Trust, who run workshops to get school leavers into employment
After the success of producing the short film "Brighton" - which has now won four significant awards around the world in the film festival circuit - we have written a new short film which we'll be looking to produce in the first quarter of 2014. The big hook we have for this short is that it will be filmed entirely using helicopter drone cameras.
This is significant because (to our knowledge) this will be the first drama to use helicopter drones throughout. Also because about 30% of the script features indoor scenes!
Follow our journey into the technical unknown on this blog and on our social media channels.
Colour grading is no joke.There's a series of film and tv 'light bulb jokes, the best known being, how many soundies does it take to change a light bulb? 1....2, 1...2. One of my favourites though is: how many directors does it take to change a lightbulb? Don't worry we'll fix it in post.
The humour for this joke comes from the mocking of the less technically aware that post production could solve all shooting issues and therefore directors could be lazy when shooting. It was always instilled in to me that this was not the case and you should aim to shoot pretty much what you expected to end up with as invariably although post production could greatly improve the look of a film it couldn't just 'fix' fundamental mistakes. You couldn't just use post to turn a light bulb on in shot.
So, for years I have stuck to a strict discipline of shooting what I wanted to see in the final edit, only to be impressed with how post production has enhanced that.
Now, I believe, things have changed somewhat.
Don't get me wrong, I still stick to a strict discipline of not being lazy when shooting or making presumptions about the capabilities of post, but now I shoot, not only with a much more detailed awareness of what happens in post production but also specifically with certain techniques in mind. Here I'm not talking about 'effects shots' but basic fundamentals of camera and lighting work: colour, contrast, exposure. We're in an age where colour correction and colour grading have become an intended part of the production process, of 'production workflow'.
Basically this 'matches' different shots so there is lighting and colour continuity between them as well as (predominantly for skin tones) making the image look 'natural'. Traditionally, for example, 'fixing it in post' might occur if the cameras colour balance had been set for shooting in sunlight and then had filmed under artificial lights. This would make the picture too 'blue' and would therefore need to be 'corrected'.
However, modern technology developments mean settings on cameras (a batch or group setting being referred to as a Picture Profile (PP)) , often now lead to shooting a 'flat profile' with the intention that this will be 'corrected' or graded in the edit.
Why? Why not just shoot a 'baked in' look? I guess the simple answer is options. Is this directorial indecisiveness? No, it means that there is a lot more scope to fine tweak the image when sitting in the comfort of the edit, rather than on location with the sun coming in and out, or even in a studio with actors performances to concentrate on and all the other production 'business' that goes in to getting great shots, whether that be for film, tv or corporate. If colour, contrast etc is something that we can go back to and re-work in which ever direction we like outside of the constrained shooting schedule then that, in my view can only be a good thing.
This picture 1 shows a 'flat picture profile' as the image was recorded in camera, image 2 shows how this can be manipulated in post to give a much nicer finished result. Perhaps more importantly shooting a 'flat' PP allows a lot more scope for grading.
With colour correction
Colour grading is synonymous with colour correction. However it is more frequently now used when referring to the fact that a video image has been given a particular 'look'. There are various grading programmes that perform this function. Here I've just used a few pre-sets to illustrate how when shooting a 'flat' image you're providing scope for a whole range of possible looks in terms of style, they're all a bit extreme for the shot but it give an idea.
Warm and fuzzy
AG Film Stock
These looks then have an almost infinite possible variations in terms of gamma, colour, contrast, focus, pretty much every part of the image can be tweaked. It is important to remember though that the quality of the image is still dictated by the original footage shot. Filming a lit light bulb is still going to look better than lighting it in post production.
How many producers does it take to change a light bulb? I don't know, how much will it cost?
Here's our latest promo video for Maxell, this one promoting the launch of their Soundbar - one of Maxell's hero products. It features a play on the classic "Man in the Chair" advert of 1986 - one of the defining adverts of that decade. We employed Maya based 3D rendering and After Effects for the finished result.
Butchers Hook are currently working again with Hitachi Maxell on a product launch promo for their new flagship product - the Soundbar speaker. The promo will feature the return of the classic "Man in the Chair" advert from the 80's, which has been parodied by everyone from P Diddy to Jackass to Family Guy.
Apart from featuring "MITCH" as he's lovingly known at Maxell, the promo will be completely computer animated in Maya 3D graphics and After Effects.
After months spent in offices tinkering with foreign language versions of previous projects, looking outside in envy at the lovely weather; we were pretty chuffed to be taken to Drusillas with our pals at Bozboz for a day out!
Drusillas is a leading petting Zoo situated between Brighton and Eastbourne, in Alfrinston. This day out was to produce a testimonial video featuring the big wigs of Drusillas, for Bozboz's upcoming new website. We were very excited to be able to feed the Lemurs and parrots amongst other highlights of the visit.
Here are some pics.
Drusillas is what Dr. Evil would describe as a "petting zoo" (but not an evil one)
Peter and Selly Bozboz ready for the off - and holding our dolly tracks and dolly for the shoot
A very zen (and serious looking) ring-tailed Lemur.
Peter being overwhelmed
Evan's camera was man-handled (or lemus-handled) A LOT.
Lemurs are fantastic fun and very inquisitive - but careful - they like to nip!
They can see their reflection in the lens - thus the extreme close up!
Some parrots having a row on my hand over some grub
Mike, Selina and Peter of Bozboz chillaxing in the 30 degree heat
We're pleased to say that New York based film maker Pierre Stefanos has now finished the Brighton based film that we co-produced with him! We were involved with the weeks shoot almost exactly a year ago and now Pierre is presenting the film's World Premier at the Long Island International Film Expo.
"Brighton" is Butchers Hook's first foray away from commercial video production - we'll be sure to have more updates when the film has it's UK premier (we're hopeful it will be in Brighton!) keep checking for updates!
We've just finished our first project with leading hard drive manufactuerer Maxell, this new HDD allows you to stream info wirelessly (I for one know the problems involved when you trip over portable hard drive cables!)
We're quietly quite proud of the fact that Maxell, part of the Hitachi group of companies are now our 3rd Fortune 500 client!
SanDisk return to Butchers Hook for a series of 'How to' videos which will feature on their branded pages on Amazon.com.