Last week a friend of the trakax team asked us if we could create a short video for the Powerscourt TownHouse Centre. The aim of the video was to capture their Customer Evening and the turning on of the “House Of Lights” for the Dublin Simon Community. The Powerscourt Centre is a shopping centre in the heart of Dublin City. Every year they support the Dublin Simon Community by hosting the Simon House of Lights show. The Simon Community works to prevent and address homelessness in Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow. The Powerscourt Centre looked magical and Santa flew in on his sleigh lighting up South William street. On the evening, there was singing by the Simon Community Choir and performances from the cast of the Wizard of Oz and Brian Kennedy. Here is the video Colm created:
To be honest, this was a bit of a last minute job and there wasn’t too much details on what type of footage was required. The shoot took place last Thursday and I only got the call on Wednesday. I knew there was going to be the light ceremony, as well as performances inside the centre, but I was unsure how things were going to pan out. The video would have to be ready for Friday, so I knew had to plan the video and edit it quickly.
As this was a large event, with different challenges, I took to YouTube and Vimeo for inspiration. I began looking up “Turning On Christmas Lights” and “Christmas Light Shows” for ideas. I had a notebook and as I watched the videos, I wrote down any shots that I thought looked interesting. In some of the videos, there was nice time-lapse footage. With this in mind, I captured some time-lapse videos myself using my Galaxy S5 and Framelapse Pro app, however, I ended up not using any of the footage. Despite this, I thought I would share below one of the time-lapse videos I captured.
Another element of a video production that can be quite time consuming is selecting the right soundtrack. Before I began the editing process, I wanted to have the audio file selected. I used a website called FreeMusicArchive.org and simply entered “Christmas” into the search bar. You can also refine your search to specific genres. I selected “Holiday” and “Folk” as this was the type of sound I was going for. If you use a song from a site like this, make sure you use the correct attribution (credits in layman terms). I found this useful link on best practices for attribution which will help you if you are unsure on how to correctly credit a song.
One aspect of filming I don’t think I have mentioned before is having confidence in yourself. This was going to be a busy shoot with a lot people coming and going, traffic on the street, as well as people watching the light show. I did not want to miss any opportunity to capture important footage. I did not want to regret not having the confidence to ask somebody to move position or not be willing to get into the right position myself. I think this is something that comes with experience but it also helps to be polite and charming from the get go. If you ask somebody a question respectfully, usually it will be received well and you can get the shot that you are after.
The Big Secret.
In truth, it’s not a secret at all. It is, though, a technique that will improve any video when combined correctly. Known as “WALLDO”, this technique stands for Wide, Angled, Low, Linking, Depth, and Opposite. These camera shots allow you to be creative and will keep the video interesting, as well as the attention of the viewer. Understanding this concept and having it in your locker will give you the confidence to take on any shoot.
Wide – This first shot is pretty simple. It is a wide shot which can take in a lot of information. This shot can set a scene or show scale. I used many wide shots in the video to highlight different scenarios. For example, capturing the performer (Brian Kennedy) in front of the Powerscourt building.
Angled – Having shots at different angles is the simplest way to keep the video interesting and adds a different perspective for the viewer.
Low – Having a camera in a low position can offer great variation. Having a person walking into the frame over the camera can create an interesting viewpoint. It also allows you to get down to the same level as children and see the world from their perspective.
Linking – Using a linking shot can help the viewer understand the context between the object and action. For example, I showed the outside of Santa’s Workshop before moving inside to Santa which helped link to the two scenes.
Depth – This shot distinguishes the foreground from the background and adds depth and character to your shot. You can use framing, depth of field, angles, lines and elements to separate your subject from the background.
Opposite – As it sounds, this is capturing a shot from an opposite direction. Try shooting off of a mirror or filming a subject from behind instead of in front it.
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