Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The making of "The Question"

A wedding proposal video? Sign me up!

I've gotten tons of ideas and requests for special video projects and the majority fall through the cracks. Some clients don't realize all the work that goes into the project and will expect me to take the role of director, producer, cameraman, and editor. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as long as i'm being compensated in some form to handle those roles. That's usually not the case. Another problem is when the idea is not completely fleshed out. That brings a whole new challenge to the table because then you have to make their idea yours, and figure out if you can fill in the blanks with your creativity while still presenting something that fits the clients idea. Why mention this? Well as Hannibal would say, "I love it when a plan comes together!" (Ya'll remember that?... from A-Team?... you know!... nevermind...)


Enter James Darnell, my latest client, interested in creating a spy movie themed trailer. He planned on proposing at The Senator theater in Baltimore, MD. As his girlfriend took her seat he wanted movie trailers to play and then have a special trailer play which would culminate in him entering the theater and proposing. The idea was solid. A storyboard immediately started flowing as the two of us brainstormed ideas and concepts. There wasn't much time to make this work. I was 100% confident that I could edit, render, and process a 4 to 5 minute video in less than 24 hours. If you've watched any of my wedding teasers you'd know it's kinda a thing I do. The main worry I had was the filming. This project was going to need on-location shots. James wanted her future father-in-law as well as sisters-in-law to be a part of the video so scheduling everyone to be at certain locations for filming could have been a nightmare. Then there was the music. I knew I wanted our video to end up on YouTube so I wanted to stay royalty free with everything I used. Did I need to worry? Not at all because James was on top of everything.

During our first meeting, I immediately went to my favorite source of royalty free music, did a basic search and we listened to the first track on the results page. It was perfect! It felt way too easy so we ended up listening to 3 more pages of songs but the first was still the best. Once I had the music in my head then my creative juices began to flow. For the next few days I was binge watching spy and action movies, looking at other movie trailers and grabbing clips that I wanted to use to fill in blanks between what we couldn't film in the time we had. While I was busy with this, James was busy on the script.

With the script finished and promptly received by me, it was time to start filming. My original ideas focused around night scenes but the locations that came to mind were emptier during the day. Day filming turned out not to be a problem as James was able to accommodate. The first scenes we filmed was the garage scenes. James picked me up and we all met at the shooting location. It wasn't long before I had all the shots I needed. That was especially good because as we finished our last take security asked us to leave. Next was the telephone voice work. I guess you can say both sisters auditioned for that role and we had some pretty funny outtakes. Throughout the day I found another royalty free song that fit the theme and James found some excellent title cards and music from an app on his phone. By the end of the day I had 75% of the movie trailer completed. All that was left was a few placeholders for the father-in-law's part as well as a few small scenes i thought up.

The next day filming resumed and things once again was like clockwork. My biggest worry of the day was making sure the father-in-law scenes weren't too dark. We wanted a setting like that and an office was going to be our second option, but it turned out nice. By noon the ball was completely in my court. By that night the trailer was done, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Congrats once again to James and Tina! I'm so glad I could help in making their event a memorable one. Check out the final draft here:

As for technical info:
Camera: Canon HF G10 with shotgun mic
Editing software: Final Cut X with title cards from iMovie (phone version)
"Evening of Chaos" and "Black Vortex"
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

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