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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FLIP-ing out October 12, 2009

Filed under: Flip cam,Marketing with YouTube — Rebecca Coleman @ 10:30 am
Tags: ,

Here in Canada, we are celebrating thanksgiving today. It’s also my dad’s birthday, so as I write this post, I’m running back and forth to the kitchen, checking on my pies and frosting the cake.

On Friday, I finally invested in a Flip video camera. Yes, I know, I’m a bit behind the times: the Flip was originally introduced in May of 2007, but I had some other tech tools (like a new Mac) that I needed to invest in before I got to a video camera. My plan for the next series of posts is to talk about the Flip, how it works, and how you can use it to create videos to market your work.

First off, a little about the camera. The Flip is the darling of bloggers everywhere because it is so uncomplicated. It’s small: only a little larger than my BB, and has 4 MB of storage (enough for 2 hours of video). It shoots at 5.6 ┬Ám pixels, and saves the video as MV4.


Why is all this important? Because you want video quality that is high enough so that you get good colours and resolution (read: no pixelization), but is not so high that it takes hours to download to your computer or upload to the web.

The coolest thing by far about the Flip is the pop-out USB connection. No more searching for cables! Anywhere you have your computer and an internet connection, you can shoot and have it on the web within minutes.


The other wonderful thing about this camera is its pricetag: my Flip Ultra cost $168. The HD model will run you about $250. Here in Canada, they are available only at Wal-Mart.

Stay tuned for more FLIP-ing out. I’ll document my experiments as I learn to use the camera, shoot and edit video, and use it to market your work.

In the mean time, my son lost his first tooth on Saturday, so I thought it only fitting that my first Flip cam video be devoted to that (I know, it has nothing to do with arts marketing, but the timing was right!).

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