When Covid first came on the scene, it became clear pretty quickly that the way we went about things would change, and we just didn’t know quite how. But it went beyond just implementing health and safety protocols into our video shoots. As a video production company, we have witnessed first-hand how it has seeped into our marketing, advertising and television. Covid has changed not only how things are filmed and the precautions we take, but also what we are filming.
Major tv commercials from companies like Progressive and Apple have used the Zoom-call format to relate to our daily struggles, from tech-illiterate co-workers being muted to kids and pets causing a ruckus in the background. This format and focus on Covid has become the norm for not only commercials, but also podcasts, interviews, cast reunions and even events (we actually have a blog about the Rise of Virtual Events here). While they look like simple Zoom calls, behind the scenes these productions still require a lot of talent and cinema-level equipment.
Back in November we were able to work on a production for BET and DJ Cassidy on the ‘Soul Train Edition’ of the show “Pass the Mic”. Initially, starting as a YouTube web series to provide some fun jam sessions during the pandemic, its fourth episode is now airing on TV with the same mission. Originally the show was recorded over Zoom with the iconic cast of artists rallied by DJ Cassidy.
Because “Pass the Mic” started out on Zoom, the goal was to keep the same style of ‘remotely grooving with DJ Cassidy’ while also increasing the quality of the filming and audio. Everything was shot with only a one person crew using Director of Photographers local to each artist featured in the show.
We had the honor of working with George Clinton, who was a blast to film with and is as funky as ever. His home in Florida is spectacular, including his painting studio that made for a great set and matched his laid-back vibe. The cautions required for filming we extremely stringent, including pre-testing, constant mask wearing and zero talking while on set.
We had to film the video to like a Zoom call, which was achieved by using a wide angle lens (24mm) and shooting in a higher framerate. Most cinematic shows and movies are shot at 24 frames per second, but achieving a webcam look requires occasionally breaking some rules and tossing standard cinema best-practices out the window. We utilized the new Aputure Nova P300c as the keylight, a ‘4 Quasar tube as a soft backlight and finally a negative fill to absorb some bouncing light in the room for a more dramatic look. Check out the BTS video below to see how the final video turned out.
Similarly, we recently completed a simple animation for Suddath, who also opted for the Zoom format, only animated.
This year has been a lot of things, granted mostly bad things, but at the very least it reminds us that even during a global pandemic, people can still find ways to have fun, share stories and be together.