So you want to shoot some video?

May 3, 2012

So you want to shoot some video? No problem.

I have a degree in Television producing, so surely we can figure something out. I know a friend whose parents still smother him with gifts (instead of love) and he just got a new Canon 5D – he probably knows how to use it by now too. While everyone else was studying Economics, another friend and I spent our senior high-school years ‘learning’ Film & TV. He used to have a pirated copy of Final Cut on his laptop, so he can probably edit some stuff to look real sexy.

Yeh, we can make you a video alright. Maybe it’ll even go viral – why not? As for remuneration, just buy us a case of beer and we’ll call it even. Easy.

…if only.

The art of film is exactly that – an art. Professionals exist for a reason, and have spent years refining their skills in one of the many particular and often excruciatingly specific roles that exist in the industry. You’ll find a guy on set whose only role is to change the focus of the camera during a shot (Focus Puller). Why? Because he is damn good at it.

As Razorfish moves further into the realm of creating great video content for its clients, we must accept that we aren’t traditionally the experts in this area. Luckily, the guys at Thinkbone are.

To set the scene (so to speak) this week Thinkbone’s crew turned our lobby into a live set in order to teach us a thing or two about production, budgets, and the different outcomes you can expect. They were to film the same scene (Pulp Fiction’s famous “$5 Milkshake”) three times – each with a different budget, and thus final product.  For the purpose of the exercise, let’s assume each budget is for 60 seconds of final video.

  • Low budget: For this we are looking at a stripped back pre-production (logistics, scripts, basically all the organizing), three days of post, a bare minimum crew (Producer/Director, Production Manager, Production Assistant, D.O.P), catering and a basic camera and tripod set-up. Oh, and your mate/Mum/cousin acting. Approximate total: $20,700.

For that you can expect to produce something resembling the quality of video below:

  • Medium budget: In addition to the above, we’d be looking to add an Art Department, props, wardrobe, casting, semi-professional Actors, make up, location costs, and a beefed up camera kit. Approximate total: $ 65,200.

And for the extra money and effort you’ll be looking at something of this quality (ignoring travel costs):

  • High budget: Let’s add more crew, professional actors, expert lighting, more location costs, more catering, and amongst other things, a better camera, a dolly (the thing on the train tracks), and a dolly operator. Approximate total: $97,000.

Now we are looking at some high-end video production capable of matching, or even improving on the original scene. This isn’t to say you need to spend big for every bit of video you create. Each grade of production serves a purpose, so it depends on the individual project and the objectives as to how much you should be budgeting.

Here is the final take of the day (sound is from the camera mic, so apologies). Thankfully, Thinkbone opted to waive the $97,000 – thanks guys. That case of Superdry should arrive any day now.



Learning the Lingo

February 15, 2012

Let’s face it: Advertisers love using lingo. And if that lingo happens to come in the form of an acronym – or is it an initialism? – then you’re really onto a winner. Now I’d like to think my degree taught me some useful things, however nothing prepared me for the assault of foreign letter combinations I was to be exposed to in my first week at Amnesia. CPA, SEO, SEM, CPM, CTR, UV, CR, CS – the list goes on. Most of these now sit within my brains glossary, defined and understood, but I know there will be many more additions in the coming months.

In fact a page on Pinterest circulated the office this week revealing rhyming pop-culture slang for agency jargon. Ronan Keating = Meeting; Dick Van Dyke = Cost Per Like; Kobe Bryant = Client etc. Way to throw me a curve ball guys! (See it here).

It’s exciting working in an industry that is developing at such a rate that it (seemingly) can invent its own language. But there is more to learn beyond the lingo.

I am of course a member of Gen Y, the generation of digital consumption and creation. We live, breathe, connect and even date (amongst other things) online, most of us without even realizing. Despite this, a majority of people I know stick to the safety net of their preferred social media – Facebook, with the odd dabble into YouTube. In time this will no doubt change, partly out of necessity, partly due to the younger generation kicking their ass at (digital) life.


Social Media Explained

For those working outside the world of digital media, stuck in an online social safety zone, I refer you to the picture above. Social media explained through America’s greatest pastry legacy: the donut. Fitting, considering the amount of candy and cake I consumed in my first week at Amnesia.

For now you will have to excuse me though. I have a lot more Charles Durning to do outside of this Snoop Dogg if I ever want to be a Darryl Hanner…if you know what I mean.


Little Fish, Big Pond

February 13, 2012

“I wish I could’ve done that when I started”

That is the standard response from most in the office who hear about my graduate program. Nine months of experience rotating through all of Amnesia’s departments, from Account Management to Creative, Strategy to Emerging Technology, and even a short stint with Finance (my apologies to the finance department in advance). Nine months of new and different. Nine months of digital, Amnesia style.

Of course it is an enviable program, and I intend to make the most of it. And whilst it may be all about learning the digital ropes, in a lot of ways it is a chance to show nine months worth of proof – proof that this little fish can swim.

So who am I? I am Dean, a new fish in the pond that is Amnesia Razorfish.
Seinfeld makes me laugh. I conduct limb transplants on gummy bears. I think great food is, well, great. A world map has pride of place on my wall. And I always “find the fun” in any situation.

I am a lover of media, both online and offline. My professional background lies within children’s television at Network Ten, where I worked as a Production Coordinator and freelance Scriptwriter, creating ‘riveting’ work such as this.

For me, it’s time for change and adaptation – from sleepy Brisbane to bustling Sydney, offline to online. I’ll be documenting my time at Amnesia Razorfish with a no holds barred look at agency and digital life. I have a lot to learn and you can read all about it here, or follow me on twitter.