This is part two of my three part behind the scenes overview of a promotional real estate video project. This portion of the BTS will cover the actual days of shooting, what equipment was used, an overview of the locations that we shot at, and a breakdown of my lighting, camera and audio setups. For part one of the BTS, click here.
Scheduling Production Days & Locations
When working on a project with multiple individuals with busy schedules it’s critical that going into production you have all of your locations and dates firmly secured. During our pre-production, we scheduled two primary shooting dates, one at a model home in a high end, luxury development and the other was scheduled for a half day at various rooms at the corporate office of one of the clients.
With our two production days scheduled, we went into the first day of production at the model home with the real estate agents to shoot their interviews and B-Roll footage. The first interviews were scheduled for 10:00am, so it was a 7:30am equipment load-in, with the interview setup taking approx 45 minutes. By 8:30, we had our interview setup ready and performed a few quick tests, and then reviewed them on a laptop to ensure we had the look we wanted.
The location had very tall ceilings, with many large, tall windows and a skylight. This meant there would be an abundance of light, and I would have to work towards creating a strong key light to create a modeling effect and not have the natural ambient light overpower the lighting design.
I went with two DJ Aura 5300k florescent fixtures clamped together to create a 1k equivalent soft key light. I also added a piece of 1/2 tough white diffusion paper to this fixture, and used a 48″ circular reflector as a fill source. One additional DJ Aura fixture was placed behind the subjects and to camera right in order to create edge lighting.
For my audio setup, I went with my standard configuration these days: a Rode NTG2 mounted in a shock guard, on a 10′ LyxPro MPL-10 boom pole, secured with a Auray Boompole Holder and an Impact grip head. This was clamped onto a 12′ heavy duty light stand, and was secured with 15lb of weights for safety. Additionally, I also hung a 5lb weight from the rear end of the boompole in order to provide better stability and balance. The Rode NTG2 was fed into my A camera (Sony FS100) via a 25′ XLR cable, and audio was recorded internally on the FS100.
For the camera setup, the Sony FS100 was configured with the Rokinon 35mm T1.4, a mattebox with a .9ND, and I was shooting at ISO400, T/5.6, 1/48th shutter, with white balance set manually to 5300k. My B camera was the Lumix LX100, set to ISO200, F2.8, 1/50th shutter and also with a white balance to 5300k. The LX100 was recording UHD 4k at 3840×2160, while the FS100 was recording 1080p. The FS100 provided my wide master shot, while the LX100 provided a medium (at 50% scale in post) and a close up (at 80% scale in post).
The overall treatment for camera movement for this project was to have subtle, smooth fluid movement that accentuates the story being told and highlights the locations being shot in. I setup my A camera on a 12′ straight track, and used the ProAim DL-223 dolly, with a D&S 7518 Provista sticks. One particular series of shots that worked well was to do a slow push-in on each of the agents, and the idea was to use this with some titles as an introduction for each agent.
After completing the interview portion, we shot some additional B-Roll, making use of the location that we had at our disposal. Our primary BRoll shots were at a dining room table, in the model’s kitchen, and once we reset after the interviews, portions of the living room as well.
Day one of production was completely wrapped and loaded out by 3pm, as there was also a photo shoot scheduled with the group directly after our video shoot at the same location.
Day two of production was scheduled to be shot at the corporate office of Embrace Home Loans in Middletown, Rhode Island. We would utilize multiple areas within the building to shoot staged B-Roll shots of the realtors and lenders “in action” as well as some additional interview setups. We had an 8:30am load in, and were ready to shoot at approximately 9:15am.
Our first setup was in a conference room, with a large section of windows camera right, and overhead florescent lights. I again used my 5300k daylight balanced Aura DJ fixtures, with two setup clamped together camera right to create a 1,000 watt equivalent key light. I again used a piece of 1/2 tough white diffusion paper on this key. I also setup my 48″ reflector camera left for a fill light, and I bounced a third Aura DJ fixture into it.
For ambient light, I turned off half of the overhead florescent fixtures, and kept the other half on. With the large bank of windows, I closed two of the three blinds completely, while leaving the third blind open. This increased the overall ambient light level, while giving some directionality to the light entering from the window.
Our second setup was in a casual hallway meeting area, which had several large couches and chairs. For this I positioned my 1k watt key lightcamera right, with a 500w fill camera left. I was setup on an 8′ length of dolly track, and we had the agents do a mock meeting.
Our final setup of the day was in the main lobby, and consisted of natural light plus the 1k florescent. Again, I was setup on an 8′ section of dolly track and only shot the last two setups on the Sony FS100 (no B camera).
Footage Review & Re-shoots
Once the footage from the first two days of production had been completed, I assembled a long timeline which consisted of all of the good takes, cut down and positioned one after the other. After reviewing the footage with the clients, we agreed that there was a level of comfortableness and conversation like flow that was missing from the interviews. After a lengthy discussion, we agreed that a re-shoot was necessary, and with some specific goals in mind, we agreed to a re-shoot date and location in Providence, RI.
Our re-shoot consisted of three individuals who would give their spoken portions again. This consisted of the two primary real estate agents, as well as the gentleman from the mortgage company. We were in a warm, inviting home for this re-shoot, and we had a much more comfortable setting and the agents were much more relaxed and familiar with their talking points.
For a lighting setup, I went again with my DJ Aura’s, with two clamped together for a 1k key, and a third used as a 500w fill light. The audio setup was the same, and the B camera was a Canon T4i with a 50mm f1.8 lens. The A camera was again my Sony FS100 with the Rokinon 35mm T1.4.
Our re-shoot went very well, and it also allowed me to capture some additional B-Roll footage in this property, which was a historic brick home that had an amazing amount of restoration work done on it.
The re-shoot illustrated the level of commitment that’s necessary with commercial video projects. My only concern was making sure that the client was 100% happy with the results. For this type of client, it’s important that you understand the level of detail they are expecting, and make sure you build in enough padding into your price to accommodate any re-shoot requests, or for anything that doesn’t go exactly as planned. Commercial work is a completely different animal from narrative film, especially when it comes to making sure everyone is satisfied and happy with the end results.
With principal photography wrapped, I was able to now concentrate on creating the best edit possible with the footage I had. Make sure you stay tuned for next week’s blog post, which will detail the post-production process, handling client proofs and feedback and delivering the final video files to the client.
Full BTS photo gallery.