LONDON, United Kingdom – With total hits heading towards a million, Conversations’ video team returned from CES in Las Vegas triumphant after an intense few days’ work.
The world’s largest consumer tech show is all about news and impact. Videos play a major part of the package.
And with a hotly-anticipated piece of kit like the Nokia Lumia 900 being unveiled, it’s no time to forget to charge your camera batteries or be bothered by jet-lag.
Our videographers Joe Patrick and Tim Bunn hit the ground running on the strip in Vegas and shot three videos on the Sunday before the show opened.
But how do they manage to turn it around so quickly?
Film production graduate Joe, 27, says: “It’s no secret that the recent advances in digital technology have really streamlined the whole process. We have a very simple workflow when it comes to creating video for the Web.
“We shoot; we edit; we upload. If we were shooting for television it would be a very different story.”
And 28-year-old fellow film production graduate Tim adds: “We shoot on Canon DSLRs which have made achieving a ‘cinematic’ look more accessible to projects that don’t have a million-dollar budget. However, it still pays to know how to get the best out of your equipment and the more you shoot, the more you learn.”
And we’re not talking rough, live-show shots of a new device, these are quality views from inside Nokia.
Watching them absorbed in their work in a hotel room at the Venetian, you couldn’t fail to be impressed.
First up was the hands-on with the Nokia Lumia 900 which notched up 700,000 hits in 48 hours. One of the biggest headlines at CES 2012, the video was presented by Chanse Arrington, Head of Developer & Content Marketing at Nokia.
Big, loud and laid-back, Chanse is exactly how he sums himself up and that’s how he comes across in the video, along with his boyish enthusiasm for a great product. The overall effect of the clip is one of a friend showing off his new toy in his living room.
For Joe and Tim, this was the first time they had set eyes on the new device.
“Often we don’t actually know that we’ll be filming a world exclusive,” says Joe. “These things are kept secret until the very last minute. But there are tell-tale signs that what we’ll be shooting is exciting – when you’re booking a flight to Las Vegas during CES, you know that what we’re filming must be a pretty big deal.
“The hard part is not telling anyone.”
Next up was an interview with Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, so no pressure lads, just try not to take up too much of his time, eh!
“With the Stephen Elop shoot, the pressure was all in the preparation,” says Joe. “Mr Elop is a very busy man, so we had to make sure everything was in place for him to come in, do his thing and leave.
“He’s actually a really friendly, down-to-earth guy so the shoot itself was pretty relaxed.”
Stephen Elop was followed by Nokia’s chief in America Chris Weber and then hours of editing back at Joe and Tim’s hotel Treasure Island.
“When we know that the video we’re shooting needs to be turned around very quickly, we do what’s known as “shooting for the edit,” says Joe.
“You have to try and visualise the whole video and work out exactly what shots you’ll need to tell the right story. Sometimes if you’re shooting a reportage film/video, you’ll end up with hours of footage that you have no idea what to do with.
“You really can’t measure the amount of work that goes into a video based on how long the finished video will be.
“If we’re shooting a video of someone talking for three minutes in one take, we can upload the footage straight to YouTube. But if the video needs to be scripted, planned, heavily edited, with motion graphics and exterior shots on a beach in Hawaii, the editing process can take weeks.
So what tips do London-based Joe and Tim have for anyone who wants to shoot decent video?
“I think the best piece of advice I can give is: think about what you want to do with your footage before you’ve shot it. If you want to make a film, make sure what you are filming is entertaining and tells a story.
“Techinical ability isn’t so important if you’re making something that people actually want to watch. If you’ve spent an hour filming your dog hiccuping, keep it on your hard drive – no one else wants to see it!”
Joe and Tim also shot the Free Las Vegas rides (above) and have worked with Office and Sherlock star Martin Freeman.