This is the second part of my interview with John Fedele, a St. Louis commercial photographer making forays into video. Read the first part here.
3. Tell me a little about the post-production process. I would wager it was largely good light, and maybe some color grading and After Effects for the ending graphic.
You’re dead on for the most part. Post production on this was pretty much learn on the fly, though. I bought a Final Cut book and had shot some random footage to play with before this project but there’s absolutely no better way to learn software than to have a formal project to work on. After getting the entire piece edited to where I wanted, I then imported into Color for grading and then back to FCP for audio. The audio track was just an RF clip that came with Soundtrack Pro.
Yes, the ending shot was mostly natural light with one 6×6 bounce for fill and then some slight warming for effect. I used this light as part of the shoot plan as I wanted to begin in the back kitchen and then work our way to the front of the place in the afternoon when the light would be blasting in the windows giving a nice backlit, visceral quality to the scene. The ending graphic was done in Apple Motion adding in the particles to the wine glass clink and also revealing the shooting star in the logo. I thought it was a decent way to relate it and add some interest.
I wish I knew a bit more about Motion as I’d still love to work over the logo to add even more interest but ya gotta start somewhere, I guess… next time, for sure.
4. Finally, I know this was your first motion project. What surprised you the most? What did you like about it? What are some of your thoughts about branching into a new medium?
Oh, man I’ve had a LOT of surprises recently! As I mentioned before, the footage is unforgiving so you have to have it all nailed in-camera or the footage will look like crap and you’ll either be spending countless hours trying to fix it in post or, well, your footage will just look like crap.
It’s always best to study great technique and then to take the minutes to make sure you’re exposure is within dynamic range and your lights are all color-balanced correctly. As a still photographer I’ve gotten used to shooting RAW, beating the hell out of my files in Lightroom and still maintaining the technical quality my clients demand. Not with an HDSLR.
What also does not translate well is directing. In the still world, I shoot fast and direct quickly for shots that last 1/125 of a second where as in video you need to direct the entire clip from beginning to end adding in camera movements and making sure actors are hitting their marks. It does take some getting used to and will be one of those skills that can always be improved upon. Overall, I still like the approach to the piece along with most of the footage. Now that I’ve shot quite a bit more since this, I’m finding myself wanting to reshoot it with better lighting techniques and in retrospect, I wish I had nailed the hero shot of the food… there’s never really one shot where the food really sings. Considering it was my first formal motion project and there are plenty of things I’d change now still I am proud of it and it’s had a great response so far. As far as branching out into motion, well, it’s not to be taken lightly as it is an entirely new industry. Just because you can take some nice still images doesn’t mean you’re seamlessly going to be able to translate it into motion pictures so you need to be sponge for information and shoot, shoot, shoot. One of the main things that excites me is that there seems to be so much more freedom in shooting motion that with my stills. I love the documentary approach to a subject where I’m able to capture a wide range of imagery to communicate an idea within, say, a 30 second clip and then, of course, a great edit and inspiring audio to finish it off… it’s all very liberating.