Just because wedding season is over doesn’t mean people aren’t getting married!
For this reason, in the “off season” you’ll see a lot of destination weddings, where couples travel to far more tropical/scenic locations with filmmakers (you!) in tow.
Now, if you’re a frequent reader of this blog you know that Stillmotion swears by the importance of pre-production (we even have this Vimeo Video School Series!)…
Destination weddings are no exception to our rigorous pre-production, but there are a few steps of preparation that we take extra time to focus on when traveling to film a wedding in a faraway place.
Specifically, there are 5 things we always want to know ahead of time…
1. Know Your Environment
What’s the weather like where you’re going? Is it dusty, sandy, humid?
Many destination weddings are in tropical locations, meaning you’ll need to keep a few things in mind when it comes to climate.
Lens condensation: In a humid environment you’ll find that lens condensation can become an issue if you don’t acclimate your lenses. The reason it happens is because your camera/lens is colder than the environment you’re in (because you’ve had it sitting in your air conditioned hotel room).
Our advice: Be sure to bring out your camera and lenses about 20 minutes before your shoot so that they can get used to the air and you won’t have to deal with lens condensation!
Dirty lens/sensor: Much like a long drive can lead to an increased level of dead bugs on your windshield, a weekend in Aruba can lead to dirtier-than-usual lenses and sensor issues. This is an obvious problem because it can destroy your image, and you’re really going to be screwed if you realize that in the middle of the wedding.
Our advice: Bring extra lens and sensor cleaners and prepare to use them!
Doesn’t it feel great to finally upload a project?
Come up with a catchy title, add a little description, and press upload… sweet, sweet satisfaction! Walk away from the computer knowing that your film is out there in the feed for the world to see…
But hold it right there: did you just let Vimeo choose your thumbnail for you?
You didn’t…. DID YOU?
Don’t you think that you, the storyteller, could choose something better?
Yes, you definitely could.
As the storyteller and someone who has seen the film 1000 times, you know all the shots and from them you can choose the best thumbnail that makes people want to “click.”
But does the thumbnail REALLY matter all that much?…
Yes, it does!
Whether you’re uploading on Vimeo, YouTube, or whatever platform — thumbnail choice plays a big role in people’s choice to press play or keep scrolling.
There are some factors that make thumbnails more enticing than others, and it’s important to know what those are for every upload.
So… what type of image makes for a “clickable” thumbnail?
It’s hard to put the answer to that one sentence, but here’s the short version: something compelling, interesting, and story relevant.
Now, don’t get it twisted: there is certainly a time and place for zoom lenses.
And because of their range and versatility, it can be tempting to just use zoom lenses all the time…
But if you’re looking to truly advance as a filmmaker, it’s important to get to a place where you feel comfortable leaving the zoom at home and shooting with only primes.
Why? Why is it so important to use primes?
Well, there are two main reasons:
1. Aesthetic beauty. Background blur, sharpness, contrast… all of these things look much more pleasing to the eye when shot with a prime lens.
2. It will make you a better filmmaker. Prime lenses require you to pay more attention to what is happening, because if you’re not paying enough attention you could miss a really great moment — you don’t have the ability to zoom when you spot something awesome happening. With prime lenses you’re forced to be more present on the shoot.
When should I be using prime lenses?
Hey y’all, Patrick here…
What a crazy couple of weeks we’ve had!
As some of you may know, Joyce and I have just returned from a 10-day safari in the Kalahari desert in Namibia — one of our very last shoots for #standwithme.
The trip to Namibia was all about capturing one of our film’s main characters — humanitarian photographer Lisa Kristine — in the field, photographing remote indigenous cultures. It was Lisa’s photo that originally sparked a fire in our film’s other main character, the 9-year-old lemonade activist Vivienne Harr.
We’ve put so much into this documentary these last six months, because we know that the story of Vivienne’s lemonade and where it falls in the grander scheme of the world is a story we absolutely have to tell.
But while we were there in the Kalahari with Lisa and the Bushmen, specifically the last remaining members of the indigenous San of South Africa… we found another beautiful story we just had to tell.
So right there in the middle of finishing up a massive project, we decided to take some extra time to do some interviews with Lisa and the San people.
Why? Because there are some stories you just can’t not tell.
We present to you, The Last of the San People:
Alright, we realize that release forms might not make for the most exciting blog post…
But we’re willing to take that risk.
Why? Because they matter!
If you’re not having people sign release forms, it’s only a matter of time before you’re removing your favorite shot from the film because an angry parent doesn’t want their child’s face floating around on Vimeo.
And rightfully so — would YOU want footage of yourself being used without first getting the opportunity to officially say “yes, I’m cool with it.”
Angry parents are just one of a whole number of messy scenarios that could come your way if you don’t have everyone in your films signing the appropriate release form….
An actor who doesn’t sign a release might later ask you not to use the footage if they land a new role that conflicts with your film in some way…
Someone might not like the way they’re portrayed and ask you to remove any scenes with them in it…
The coffee shop you shot that one scene in might decide they don’t want to be in your film anymore…
So what can you do to prevent any of these frightening potential circumstances?
Get them to sign a release form. Every time.
So what does this require from you, exactly?
- First and foremost, you must HAVE all the necessary forms.
- You also must BRING them to every shoot.
- You must ask nicely for people to sign!
- Last but not least… always try to get forms signed up front!
Once you get that down… it’ll be like old hat, and getting all your releases in order won’t even be much of a thought!