Posts Tagged ‘los ángeles video production’

Where in the world…?

September 5, 2012

Who know where today’s Photo of the Week was taken?

 

Canal, photography, curt fissel, voices and visions, new jersey video production, new york video production, los angeles video production, professional video production company

See last week’s photo.

Photo of the Week

August 27, 2012

 

Last year we went to Uganda with our nonprofit, Jem/Glo, to screen Delicious Peace for the Mirembe Kawomera coffee farmers, an interfaith cooperative that formed to build peace and economic development in the area. Afterward, we led a group of fellow travelers on a gorilla trek, where Curt snapped this photo of a silverback gorilla:

Gorilla, Curt Fissel, Voices and Visions, Jem/Glo, Uganda, Video production

 

It was also recently featured in an article by Wells Fargo. Has anyone else ever been on a gorilla trek?

See last week’s Photo of the Week.

 

Professional Videos Vs. DIY Videos

August 24, 2012
When Google bought YouTube in 2005, video on the web exploded, and sometimes it came in the form of pets walking across kitchen floors. For a short time, audiences became accustomed to amateur videos, which seemed to give license to uploading nonprofessional productions even as the face of companies and organizations. More recently, however, this impression has changed. Just as a DIY newsletter filled with grammatical errors and a disorganized presentation is not as effective as one created by professional writers, the viewing audience has come to appreciate the superior value brought by videos created by experts. There are several important details, often overlooked by amateurs, which separate a DIY video from one produced by a professional video production company.
new jersey video production, lighting, professional video production

The setup before our shoot with the Riverside Company

new jersey video production, lighting, professional video production

This is what the shot looked liked inside the camera

Lighting
Lighting is a delicate but crucial step in the interview process. Often shot in interviewees’ offices or corporate boardrooms, it is the Director of Photography’s job to “paint” with light, transforming a plain white room into an interesting and relevant interview space. For Curt Fissel, V&V’s seasoned DP with 30 years of experience, expert lighting is in his DNA. “I don’t like shots that are either over-lit or under-lit,” he says. “Poor lighting tenchniques will result in a longer time in post-production and even then may not yield the appearance sought.” Curt thinks proper lighting is often overlooked because today’s cameras can be so forgiving. Nonetheless, he believes lighting plays a vital role in separating a home movie appearance from a commercial video look.
Audio
When a video has good audio, most people don’t notice, but when sound is poor, it may be the most prominent aspect of the production that most people remember. While amateurs may become complacent with the abilities of editing equipment, professionals, like Curt, know a video is only as good as its audio. “Digital filters can help improve original audio recorded, but to ensure the sound is as pure as possible, it needs to be captured cleanly,” notes Curt.  This is the case whether one or multiple microphones are utilized on a particular shoot. To demonstrate the emphasis placed on audio amongst professionals, Curt recollected: “I went to a seminar years ago called Audio is more important than video, which I don’t quite agree with, but I do think they are close to being equally important.”
Depth of Storyline
The quality of an interview has a huge impact on the depth of the final video product. Writer and producer Ellen Friedland draws upon her journalistic background when preparing for an interview. “What’s crucial is to really understand the underlying concepts of what it is we’re videotaping,” Ellen begins. “If we go into a medical device company, I do a lot of research about that medical device. This way, even though I am not a scientist, I can prompt interviewees to share more profound points that will be reflected in the final piece.” Video production is, at its heart, storytelling.  Notes Ellen: “If the interviewer does not probe for a more multi-layered understanding of the subject, the story will have more of a superficial feel , often lacking a consistent thesis or message.“

Video Production Tip: Proper Lighting

August 21, 2012
curt, photography, video production, lighting, voices and visions, corporate video production, professional video productionThis week’s video production tip comes from our Director of Photography, Curt:

Proper lighting is an often-overlooked aspect of production because cameras can be forgiving, but this separates home movies from professional videos. You need a location that’s correctly lit. Poor lighting techniques will result in a longer time in post-production and even then may not yield the appearance you are seeking. Occasionally I keep the cameras rolling as I’m setting up so I can see the interplay between the lighting and the images I’m creating as they develop. There are many books and other reference sources about lighting techniques. Do your homework!

Tune in later this week for an in-depth discussion on some key differences between amateur video and those produced by professional video companies.

See last week’s tip on business travel.

Photo of the Week

August 17, 2012
Voices and Visions principal, Curt Fissel, took this photo while shooting Delicious Peace Grows in a Ugandan Coffee Bean with our nonprofit documentary production company, Jem/Glo:
Photo, Uganda, Sunset, Africa, Video Production, Documentary Production
Earlier this week, we sat down with Curt to discuss the art of photography.

Photography Q & A with Curt Fissel

August 15, 2012
To celebrate the launch of our new Instagram account (voicesvisions), we sat down with our director of photography, Curt Fissel, to talk about the art of the photograph.
What inspired you to go into photography in the first place?
My mother loved art. She exposed me to art from an early age and she gave me my first camera when I was five years old.

What is your continued source of inspiration?
I take hours of video and thousands of photographs a year. I’m always inspired for the perfect shot, and probably I still haven’t found it yet. There was one shot that came close, but I’m still searching for it.

Delicious Peace, Video Production, Documentary Production, Corporate Video, Nonprofit Video, Coffee farmers, Uganda

This photo was taken during the filming of Delicious Peace Grows in a Ugandan Coffee Bean

That’s the photograph that made me the happiest in the last many years.

If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring photographers, what would it be?
Really concentrate on composition. You need to take in all the elements of the frame; that’s your easel, so everything in that frame is important. Don’t be afraid to look at things from a different perspective. The angle of the shot and the lighting are important, but it all starts with composition. You have to pay attention to foreground and to the position of the frame. When you miss the composition, don’t use that shot. Also, be critical of your own work. If the shot is bad, figure out how to do it right the next time. You’re only fooling yourself if you can’t criticize your work.

How has technology like Photoshop changed photography as a business? As an art?
Digital has changed everything. Art has evolved along with the technology. It’s cool to use Photoshop for advertising and I do believe in adjusting levels and sharpening, but I don’t believe in manipulating the true image. I shoot full frame, I don’t crop. I know people do it, but I believe in the art of composition. I’m not trying to be a snob, but certainly there is something to taking a photo that stands on its own.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start learning Photoshop?
Lynda.com is a good tutorial website.

What is the first thing you do when you get a new piece of equipment?
I sit with the owner’s manual until I’m comfortable with the workings of my new camera. As soon as you think you know everything, you’re hosed. Problems generally can be solved, and those manuals are made for something. Make sure you know the camera you’re using, the limitations and the exceptional features.

If time and money were no issue, where would you go and what would you shoot?
I’d like to spend a few months traveling through Uganda and shoot a book on birds on Mount Elgon.

Some background on Curt: he began his career as a news cameraman with an NBC affiliate station, then moved to NJN (PBS) where he became Chief Photographer and Manager of News and Documentary Staff. He has also freelanced for outlets including HBO, CBS, ABC Nightline, CNN, YES Network, America’s Most Wanted, and Voice of America. For the past 15 years he has directed, photographed and edited eight documentaries for national PBS audiences, international film festivals and other global events as well as for multiple award-winning corporate video production company Voices & Visions Productions.

Business Travel Tip

August 13, 2012
Ellen Friedland, Voices and Visions, Business Travel, Video Production, Los Angeles Video Production, New Jersey video production, New York video production, corporate video productionWe travel all year round to videotape for our corporate video production clients, but this month marks the beginning of our busiest travel season, something Voices and Visions‘ senior producer, Ellen Friedland, has learned to manage with ease. Here are a few tips from her on business travel:
If you’re traveling for business, you need to plan to get there with enough time to make the meeting or, in our case, to ensure we arrive in time for the pre-arranged interview, even if that means a day early. If you’re traveling on a plane with equipment, make sure you bring essential items as carry-ons.
See last week’s tip on Video Editing.

Small Business Organization

August 10, 2012
We run two full-service video production companies from our offices in New Jersey and Los Angeles. One is a corporate video production company; the other is a nonprofit documentary production company, both of which come with unique sets of challenges. They are small businesses, requiring each of our dedicated team members to wear multiple hats on any given day.Voices and Visions, New Jersey Video Production, Organization, Small Business, New York Video Production, Corporate Video Production
It would be impossible to accomplish the multiplicity of responsibilities without the high level of organization that, in our office, begins with Krystal Sancho, our director of operations. “I like to prioritize by the week because the work is always changing,” she says. “That’s the thing about video production, it’s always exciting.” Ours is an industry in which each day brings new clients, stories, technologies, and challenges, the latter of which often require immediate attention. In this kind of environment, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Krystal has learned to manage the stress of constant change with these few tips: “Be patient. Communicate well. Believe that you will get the job done.”
Voices and Visions, New Jersey Video Production, Organization, Small Business, New York Video Production, Corporate Video ProductionOur senior producer, Ellen, always encourages her team to be open and forthcoming with any concerns or issues in the office. She firmly believes that a happy team is a productive team, and with the number of balls Ellen has in the air, she really doesn’t have room for an unproductive team. “There are a million jobs a producer does, so if you’re not completely organized, they begin to bleed together,” states Ellen, who encourages the members of her team to develop their own methods for effective organization. As for her, Ellen often keeps it old school, citing a pen and paper as her most important organizational tools. “I’m a list-maker,” she says. Curt Fissel, New Jersey Video Production, Small Business, Organization, New York Video Production, Corporate Video Production, Voices and Visions
Curt, as senior editor, makes lists too, but in a more modern way. These “lists 2.0” are of the hundreds of video files he manages for different projects. “You have to keep your files organized. You should keep your equipment organized, yes, but file management is paramount.” Curt is constantly juggling projects, an endeavor which requires super-organization. Says Curt, “We may have six projects going on at the same time, so if streams get crossed, it can really create a problem.” For a small business in an industry like ours, problems cost a lot, so organization is considered one of our most valuable resources.