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Creatively displaying brochures and other documents

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Sean KendallCreatively displaying brochures and other documents
by on Apr 29, 2009 at 8:21:06 pm

I was wondering if any of you had any tips to showing brochures and/or pamphlets in corporate videos. We often get clients who want that brochure they paid thousands of dollars for to be shown at every opportunity, including their marketing video.

I've done a couple where I placed them on a small wicker table, stood them up, lit them and put a backdrop behind them, throwing it a little out of focus. I then did a pan slowing to a stop when they were in the middle of the frame.

I didn't know if there was a good rule-of-thumb for these types of shots. I've seen some I really like where some papers would be placed on a table, lit, and they would have a camera on a jib or something similar, slowly floating over them. That looked pretty good. Now if only I had a jib.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Creatively displaying brochures and other documents
by on Apr 29, 2009 at 10:27:53 pm

It is often difficult when the brochure is an awkward aspect ratio.

Some tricks I do (if I HAVE to show one) is to take the thing, or at least the logo of main title of it, and tile it across the back of the frame at an angle and emboss it, then blur that, to create an overall repeating themed background. Steal main colors from the brochure and lay down blocks and panels behind it. Break out smaller parts in PIP form laid over a soft blurred full-frame version. And tilt the thing in 3-d space, throw some edge effects and drop shadows on it, over a very zoomed-in and gaussian-blurred version of some recognizeable portion. Tilting it helps fit the TV aspect ratio and lets you blow it up a little bigger while staying in safe title.

In a more general sense, I avoid shots of brochures where possible. Doesn't mean I don't use some of the photography and layout ideas from it, but unless this brochure was designed by some master, you can generally build a better video version of the same data and not limit yourself to what the brochure was doing, in the brochure's format. Let each medium do what it is most powerful doing. Make the video version in similar style so everything looks unified, but don't slavishly ape the brochure on screen. You're not really making a video about a brochure, but about that the brochure's about.

If you can find some iconic props hat resonate with the themes, use them as backdrop. In a fire insurance brochure shot, stand mthe brochure up against a fireman;s helmet or boots, that kind of thing. A setting that resonates. Semiotics.

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Sean KendallRe: Creatively displaying brochures and other documents
by on Apr 30, 2009 at 2:40:10 pm

Thanks very much for the suggestions. I hadn't really thought about using props that relate to the subject matter.

Thanks again.

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Philip BoalRe: Creatively displaying brochures and other documents
by on May 1, 2009 at 8:02:50 pm

I often crop each brochure cover and fly in each cover over a BG, either a digital juice BG, or a shot that I roll focus on.
Then I fly in the inside pages of the parts I want to highlight.
In the end, you get the look of a stack of brochures & pages that have magically fanned out onto a BG.

Editor, Muscular Dystrophy Association

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Nick GriffinRe: Creatively displaying brochures and other documents
by on May 1, 2009 at 9:54:04 pm

We do a "Hall of Fame" show once a year that's co-sponsored by a magazine. That means we have to use a number of shots of the inside and covers from the magazine.

Problem is if the shot on a page is close at all you easily will get a moire pattern off the screens used to print the photos. (ie. - 133 lines per inch CMYK dots.)

My solution has been to scan the magazine pages and, whenever possible, obtain and scan the original UN-screened photos. Then in Photoshop I replace the magazine's photos with the clean, un-screened versions. The resulting image(s) are then taken into AfterEffects where do moves on the resulting "pages." It's clean and can be considerably easier than trying to do similar moves with a camera in macro mode. AfterEffects also provides CONSIDERABLY more versatility and options that one would ever get from just a camera.

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Sean KendallRe: Creatively displaying brochures and other documents
by on May 15, 2009 at 7:48:46 pm

I agree. I ended up using After Effects to create a background of full of the company's logos floating and slowly twisting/turning in 3d, some more out-of-focus than other and different opacity on each. I then flew the brochure from behind and the the lower-right of the camera and as it came into the frame it was out of focus, then came into focus once it stood upright in the shot. The result was pretty dynamic, so I wanted to thank all of you for the advice.

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Timothy J. AllenRe: Creatively displaying brochures and other documents
by on Jun 30, 2009 at 3:07:12 pm

I'm late on this thread, but as someone who produces brochures in addition to videos these days, I would add that you may be able to get the .pdf versions of the brochures and use that as your base media to manipulate rather than a scan from paper.

These days, I wouldn't think of producing a brochure without also providing a .pdf version of it for the client.

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