Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Shot List for Art Videos

Peter Culos says, "I'm experimenting with video now and I was wondering what you use to produce video."

Peter, I shoot all the videos by myself while I'm painting. Sometimes I ask Jeanette to take a couple of shots, but she's usually busy painting. Shooting while you paint is a little distracting, but kind of fun once you get used to it.

My gear is pretty basic, nothing fancy or expensive. Here's some info, broken down into 1. Shot List, 2. Camera Gear, 3. Audio, and 4. Editing.

You don't need all this coverage, of course. This list is just a memory jogger. A variety of shots makes editing fun later.

• Walk into scene (watch 180 rule)
• Motif framed with hands + POV
• Reaction, explaining thinking
• Decision; Set down stuff

Painting in Wyoming with separate camera tripod
• Walk-on, walk-off
• Shoot the local signage
• Overall shot of setting
• Master shot of easel / setup
• 2-shot if I'm painting with a companion
• Super far away in crowd, talking

• Closeup shots of parts of scene
• Long hold of comparison for split screen (be sure action is center frame)
• Steadicam into scene
• Over the shoulder

• C/U of hands and feet for cutaway
• Artistic focus pull (use sparingly)
• Super-closeups of motif (LOCK-OFF)
• Tubes of color chosen
• Paint squeezing
• Paint mixing
• Choosing brush
• Brush POV (specialized shot with camera mounted on brush)

• “Here’s what I want to do”
• “My first step is to...”
• “Now I’m closing in on the finish..BUT”
• “I’m using this tool (show).”
• “I’ve got a problem…HOW TO FIX”

• Passersby
• Expert
• Reaction of owner
• “Tell me about this place”

• Looking over easel
• Looking up and down

• Who might stop me
• Time pressure
• Doubts
• Forgot materials
• Banter with painting companion

• POV of scene during painting
• Set up or takedown
• Dynamics of light, clouds, people

• Extended “room tone" of environment
• Selected sound cues: doors, etc.
• Lavalier mic clipped to drawing surface

• Location
• Step by step

Clockwise from upper left: camcorder, single-lens reflex, 
GoPro action camera, and point-and-shoot
I use a Canon Vixia camcorder for most of my videos, which gives me the necessary manual controls. If you get one video camera, a camcorder is the most versatile.
1. Focus lock.
2. Manual exposure.
3. Custom white balance. 
4. Fold-out LCD screen.
5. Input port for external audio. 

I also use a Canon EOS Rebel Digital SLR camera with the kit zoom lens, plus a 50mm f/1.8 lens (for bokeh) and a Canon 10-18mm wide angle lens. I use this camera for stop motion and occasionally for time lapse with an intervalometer.

I use a GoPro Hero mainly for time lapse. I combine those stills into a video clip using a free program called Time Lapse Assembler.

Canon PowerShot Elph pocket camera in a belt holster when I’m in the field. I rely on it for shooting stills and for getting extra video coverage when it’s not convenient to bring out the other cameras. In a pinch I often use this handheld and apply stabilization in post.
Ideally I put the camera on its own lightweight tripod, held out to the side on an extension bar, which keeps the tripod from getting in my way.

• Zoom H2n digital recorder
I use this both for field recording and for studio voiceover.
• Wired Lavalier microphone
Necessary for any on-camera talking. Don't rely on the camera's onboard mic.
Cuts wind noise. Better to make your own than buy an expensive one.

• WORKFLOW: 1. Visual edit, 2. Color correction, 3. Background audio, 4. Foley if necessary, 5. Voiceover, 6. Titles and Transitions
• Whenever possible, conceive of the piece as a 3-act story: Articulate goals, grapple with challenges, and figure out solutions.
• Use authentic sounds instead of music under time lapse. Use music only at the beginning and end if necessary for mood. Don't use music as an acoustic floor throughout.
• Edit to match the speed of viewer's mind, not real time.
• If you change speed in a shot, tell the viewer that you're doing it in VO.

• Check out my painting tutorials on Sellfy
• You can also get my videos on Gumroad
• Link for all my videos on DVD at Kunaki.
• You can also get my DVDs at Amazon
• Longer post on GJ: How to Video Your Art (goes into more detail about gear)
• Helpful filmmaking tutorials on the older uploads from Indy Mogul (YouTube channel)
• Also some good tutorials on Film Riot and Frugal Filmmaker


Margaret Mackie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Margaret Mackie said...

Wow, thanks for the brief but very informative post. Jeanette is a gem.
God bless you

Tobias Gembalski said...

Great list! I love how you achieve your insightful and rewatchable videos with standard tools most people can afford. Your personal presentation in picture and sound (voice) makes it very accessible. Thats what my already old first try Link lacks, I just don´t have the confidence to do any voice work. Do you have tips for shy artists?

Thanks for the post.

Fabio said...

Great material to study on, thanks James! Always a pro in everything you do :)

Unknown said...

How do you handle film permits for parks and other areas? Are they necessary when filming solo?

James Gurney said...

Margaret, I agree--Jeanette is a gem!

Tobias, most important tip for voice work is the proximity of the microphone. Generally I like to have notes but not a tight script. Do your voiceover in the editing program as you watch the video. (You can do that in iMovie with the Zoom H2N plugged in on the USB port). Pretend you're talking to an art friend.

Thanks, Fabio. Most of what I know I learned from other bloggers and YouTubers.

Denis, the answer to that question has a lot of variables attached to it, and I'm probably not the best person to ask. There are lots of web resources that would get you more authoritative answers.

Pete Culos said...

Thanks so much for expanding on your original answer! I should print this article out and stash it in the camera bag for reference. Great point on the audio too. I'm shooting on a cell phone and the audio is pretty bad. I have a wireless mic but I haven't worked out the technology yet!

Unknown said...

I'm a hobby artist, but my full-time job is television editor (and I've always been very impressed with your ability to shoot & edit your artistic adventures). I just wanted to note that "Edit to match the speed of viewer's mind, not real time" is one of the best pieces of editing advice I've ever heard. It's so important to think of the viewer's standpoint whenever we're engaged in making something, whether it be video or illustration. :)

Sal said...

Great post! I was wondering, do you edit the video before or after doing the voice-over narration?

James Gurney said...

Sal, most of the time I edit the visuals and then add voiceover and music last.