The Art of the Business

A blog dedicated to artists who are serious about their business.

FLIP-ing out: Shooting October 14, 2009

This is the second in a series of posts dedicated to my new Flip video camera and how to use video to promote your business.

I spent an hour or so yesterday shooting footage for a Hallowe’en show that I am doing publicity for. One of the biggest challenges of using video to promote theatre is that theatre shot on film looks terrible. It never translates properly, the sound doesn’t work, and because the camera tells your eye where to go, you always feel like you’re missing something. One of the things I love the most about live theatre is the “live” aspect of it–each show is unique, and you never really know what’s going to happen. You can’t capture it on film.

So, the challenge when shooting video for theatre is, what do you shoot? There are a bunch of options. You can create a commercial for your show, do interviews with key people, or shoot behind-the-scenes footage.

The shoot I did yesterday consisted of me interviewing actors and key production people (the director, the musical director) about the show.

We did it simple: a room with an unbusy background (we just had a poster tacked up) and a director’s chair. You really need a tripod for this kind of work. I’ve been very impressed by how steady the Flip shoots, but you really can’t get away without a tripod for this. Then I sat behind the camera, and brought people in one by one and did short (under 5 minute) videos with each of them. I framed it simply–from the waist up–I like to shoot things closer rather than having the person who is the focus lost in the frame.

I asked them questions like:

  • Who are you, and what character do you play?
  • What’s your background?
  • What’s your favorite moment in the play, or if you play more than one character, what’s your favorite character?
  • What’s the best part of doing this play/role?
  • Why should people come and see the show?

When I got home and imported the raw footage to my computer, I was a bit concerned about the sound. The Flip does not have a plug-in microphone jack, so you can’t use a lavaliere (if you happen to have one). I was about 4 feet away from the subject I was shooting, and the volume is a bit low, so I’d encourage you, when shooting, to try to get as close to your subject as possible.

Here is one of the finished videos (apologies to Erik–I spelled his name wrong–will fix that in the next couple of days):

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One Response to “FLIP-ing out: Shooting”

  1. The Flip takes a standard tripod and I would suggest something like this:

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