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Shooting in Tongues, Vol. I: Help You Gab With the Crew (A-M)

Shooting in Tongues, Vol. I: Video Vocab to Help You Gab with the Crew

No question, the entire video production world shares a language all its own. At Bottle Rocket Media, we find ourselves constantly using words and phrases that most people outside the industry would cock their head at. So, for those interested in knowing just what-in-the-hell those crew members are saying on the set or in the edit of your next brand video, here’s part one of our ‘Shooting in Tongues’ series to help you gab with the crew.

ADR

“Let’s ADR that in post,” said many a director. It’s a nice, easy-to-remember abbreviation for additional dialogue recording, which usually gets inserted during the final editing stages. Not every line or sound is recorded cleanly—sometimes there are unexpected background noises or performances that require do-overs. AND sometimes swear words will need to be replaced for family-friendly platforms. We’re pretty sure “Yippee kay yay, Mr. Falcon!” was not the original line in ‘Die Hard 2.

B-roll

You’ve probably heard this term a few times in your life. In fact, you’ve most likely viewed b-roll hundreds of times without even knowing it. In a nutshell, b-roll is the secondary imagery within a given scene used to underscore the main messaging. For example, fast food commercials can use all the celebs they want as spokespeople (a-roll), but they would be ineffective without classic cutaways to flaming burgers on a grill or hungry dudes chomping down on overstuffed subs. Still, confused? Click here for a funny tutorial.

*Did you know? Back in the day, the term “b-roll” referred to a literal roll of film. Continue the history lesson at b-roll.net.

Depth of Field

First off, it’s not “depth of feel” as many out there seem to think (perverts). It’s a term extremely familiar to anyone shooting through a lens, from landscape photographers to movie directors. When all is in sharp focus, from foreground to background, we classify the frame as having a deep depth of field. However, when only one area of the frame is in focus compared to an otherwise out-of-focus frame, the depth is considered shallow.

Jump Cut

When we ‘cut to’ something in video, we are essentially just shifting our viewpoint from one source of imagery to another – from camera to camera, or from shot to shot. The general idea is for these transitions to be smooth. A jump cut, however, happens when two, back-to-back shots from the same perspective reveal a passage of time without any continuity; suddenly a shirt is unbuttoned, or a pair of legs have been crossed without any explanation. Generally, this is not a desirable outcome, and can really take the viewer out of the scene. Having secondary cameras or solid b-roll to cut to can really fill out and save a jumpy sequence.

Of course, if you are Wes Anderson making the ‘The Royal Tenenbaums,’ jump cuts could work to your benefit. Here’s Luke Wilson in a jump cut bonanza.

Martini Shot

Fitting that this term would conclude our first ‘Shooting in Tongues’ blog. At the end of a really, really long day, when your feet are aching and your mind is overloaded, there is practically nothing better than an ice-cold martini. No surprise, then, that the final shot before a production wraps for the day has become known as the ‘martini shot.’ According to film slang aficionado and author, Dave Knox, it was so dubbed because “the next shot is out of a glass.” Damnit, they’re onto us!

More video vocab on the way! In the meantime, click here for help with your next brand video.

Cutting a ‘Good’ Interview for Your Next Brand Video

If you’ve ever watched an unedited interview – yawn – you know how extremely helpful the editing process can be. Music, graphics, cutaways…  all of these elements help drive a compelling video. As far as Bottle Rocket Media’s Dave Sarno is concerned, a great brand video requires both a “relaxed subject” and a creative mind at the console.

How do interviews enhance brand videos?

Because you get to see faces. After all, brands are people, right? We all want to feel something when we watch a video—interviews help the audience get something emotional and passionate directly from the client. They create memories. If someone is excited about their products or services, it’s so much more impactful to see that excitement.

What video editing techniques help interviews come alive?

A relaxed interview subject is a great start. I have to rely mainly on the producers and directors to create the right atmosphere on set. Beyond that, there is only so much an editor can do with broll, music and graphics to add texture and mood to an interview. A great music track, for example, is a great way to set the pace. B-roll and active footage are also nice additions to balance out a monologue and keep the audience interested—matching words with product-related visuals can help emphasize the point and leave a lasting impact.

What constitutes a good interview?

Good interviews move quickly. They share important information, clearly. The composition is balanced, and multiple cameras provide variety. But most importantly, a good interview feels like an honest trip into the mind of the person and the brand.

It usually takes the combined efforts of a passionate subject, a seasoned producer or director, and a creative editor at the console to create the most honest, effective result. Again, it’s about finding and exploiting those compelling moments. At the end of the day, if the interview sticks in your head, it’s a success.

Interviewing sometimes takes skill Learn some tips on being a great interviewee.

Why is editing interviews a unique process?

It’s a specific balance between getting the best content and the best performance while staying true to the intended message. You have to scour the footage and find the most human moments to really underscore the message. The performances are what they are, so I try to make everything flow through the most honest quotes and authentic reactions I can find.

What are the main challenges?

The more natural the subject matter, the better. Oftentimes the performer isn’t relaxed in front of the camera. Most of us aren’t. Remember, these are usually real people behind the brands, not actors. So if the piece is feeling stiff or unemotional, I simply start with my personal favorite moments and go from there. Maybe it’s someone unexpectedly laughing or smiling during a serious monologue, or even a natural exchange between takes when we were still rolling. There is always a way in, if you look hard enough.

Can an editor help ensure a good interview before it arrives in post?

Yes. If you are on a collaborative team, like we are, you’ll definitely have a say during pre-production. It’s the best opportunity to offer ideas for provocative or message-driving questions, and that will influence the end result.

My team almost always conducts pre-interviews with our subjects to give all parties a sense of what to expect on set. This helps the subject become comfortable with the camera, while helping us prepare to capture, and cut around, their individual personalities.

How would you describe your editing style?

My goal is to offer whatever style best meets the piece. If it’s comedic, I try to push the pace. If it’s a music video, I look for visuals to match the nuances of the melody. If it’s a brand video, I aim for a little professional polish. The style should seamlessly match what the client wants. Editing at its best is invisible.

 

Ready to make a video for your brand? Click here to find out how Bottle Rocket Media can help.

Best Brand Videos From the Superbowl

As far as Bottle Rocket Media is concerned, it is never out of fashion to take a risk when creating your next brand video. With Super Bowl LIII coming up, it is the perfect time to shine a spotlight on a few impactful examples from brands that aren’t afraid to think outside the box.

One of the most important elements to a successful brand video, whether it’s a $1M commercial on network television or a $5K infomercial on YouTube, is memorability – and what could be more memorable than Cindy Crawford as a perspiring damsel in distress, a muddy Betty White playing tackle football, b-ball giants Michael Jordan and Larry Bird going head to head, or those famous Budweiser frogs croaking away (gone, but not missed)?

No matter which team wins, every February the Super Bowl gives sports fans an extra experience to remember by including ads from some of the world’s most well-known brands, who vie for the coveted opportunity to broadcast their latest wares in front of millions. In fact, the competition over the years has become so great, the annual event has corralled an extra audience of viewers who tune in primarily to watch commercials, and consider the game a secondary form of entertainment.

Here at Bottle Rocket Media we all have our personal favorites – classics and newcomers alike that have influenced our creativity through unconventionality and smart video production:

2018 Super Bowl “Tide Ad” Commercial Compilation

Just last year, on the heels of his newfound Stranger Things fame, David Harbour was brilliantly cast in a series of Tide ads that aired in succession throughout the Super Bowl. This was not your traditional, 30-something-mom-in-middle-America running-a-busy-household-but-can-barely-get-her-whites-white type of campaign. No, this was more like an acid trip through the head of a person both obsessed with bright clean clothes and, well, David Harbour; see him float on a cloud, dominate a group of senior citizens in tennis, and sit astraddle a horse next to the guy from the Old Spice commercials. Sound nutsy? It is. And memorable.

2000/2001 Super Bowl “Whassup?” Campaign from Budweiser

To be honest, we are not all in agreement on this one. Some of us find this concept absolutely irritating, while some of us still cannot get enough of this award-winning campaign that began in 1999, with a major airing during the next two following years’ Super Bowls. In case you missed it, the original, fairly low-budget commercials featured a bunch of “dudes” calling each other up and exclaiming “Whassup!!!” Yep. That’s about it—no boring dissertation on hops, barley or malt and no cheesy overacting by airbrushed models in a random bar. By having fun, showing a sense of humor, and specifically playing to the audience watching the game, the brand stepped away from tradition, and took a risk that paid off big time. No matter where you stand on the simple creativity of this idea, it is undoubtedly unforgettable.

Click here for a fun iteration you may have never seen:

2019 Super Bowl Ads for Stella Artois

Ok, so, technically we haven’t seen the Super Bowl versions yet (it’s still January), but the unprecedented pitting together of Sarah Jessica Parker and Jeff Bridges in the current TV and online teasers has already got the entire team at Bottle Rocket Media pumped to see what else “Carrie Bradshaw” and “The Dude” have in store. We all applaud this concept because it is ultimately a way for Stella to both sell beer and help those in the developing world gain access to clean water. As a video production team, we LOVE it because it appeals to two completely different fan cultures (Sex and the City and The Big Lebowski) simultaneously – neither of which are known to have a proclivity towards imported beer.

Yet, it is clearly another risk worth taking, already racking up hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. Who knows–maybe Stella will become the new White Russian or the new Tartini…

Click here for Stella’s new Sex and the City parody:

Getting creative with your next brand video…

Admittedly, the aforementioned brands have serious dollars behind them. But, creating an outside-the-box video merely requires a great idea that can be easily digested and remembered by viewers. AND since video has become an extremely versatile and cost-effective medium with the advent of digital techniques – including 360-Video, VR and drones – almost any message can be portrayed in powerful and unorthodox ways, without the need for a colossal budget.

But, don’t just take our word for it! Here’s a short video on making an impact in just five seconds

Ready to have some fun and show the world a different side of your brand?

Click to learn more about creating an outside-the-box video to remember.