For our last shoot of 2017, we traveled out to the Grapevine lake to film a music video for Gospel singer VJ Traven. “Lord is my Shepherd” is a song about the Lord leading his people through a Christian life, so we decided to show VJ leading a group of dancers along a path by the lake and create a silhouette against the water using our B-camera, a Sony FS700. It’s great for capturing the contrast between the water and our dancers using its high powered sensor. The shot worked really well as an opener and ending to the video and ties it all back to the song’s message perfectly.
Our dancers came from a nearby church and brought a number of colored flags and other fabrics to dance with. Wearing their white gowns to signify a follower of Jesus, the dancers waved their flags in the air which gave a nice image against the blue sky. Our newest camera for everyday commercial video use, the Sony FS7 Mark II, captured the dancers and the many colors of their flags perfectly. The Sony FS7 Mark II’s sensor is better suited for capturing color due to its improved sensor. Another great feature of the camera is its slow motion capabilities. We are able to go as far down as 180 frames per second with the FS7 compared to just 120 frames per second on the FS700. This was great for this project because slow motion always adds drama, interest, and production value.
Even though we had cameras with exceptional capabilities, we had no control over the dead grass in the area of our shoot. It was ugly to see in the video, but almost completely unavoidable. To fix that, we took most of the shots where the grass was visible and blurred it out using Final Cut Pro X so it was unrecognizable to the viewer. We use this trick a lot to let the subject in the foreground stand out from the background and create a sharp, dramatic, image that stands out and creates a connection with the viewer. This was a simple trick that really helped the look of the video because it brought the ugly colors of the dead grass out of focus and therefore out of the viewer’s mindset.
Although the grass was dead because it was the heart of winter, it was a great day for the shoot because there was very little wind. When there’s little wind, it’s a great time for some drone shots! Using a Mavic Pro 2 , we were able to get some great overhead shots of the dancers and singer interacting together. Drones are amazing to have because they can simulate a jib arm rising above the set or give great overhead shots that you would need a whole crew to capture. What’s especially great about the Mavic Pro 2 is that it shoots in 4k, meaning that if we are too far from our subjects, we can zoom in during post production to see them as if we were right next to them. That’s especially helpful to have because it looks more professional and it’s always possible to get the exact shot you want even if you couldn’t get it during the actual shoot. There are a lot of options to make using the drone easier such as adjusting the speed at which the camera moves, which allows for a smoother camera motion and better quality picture.