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How to achieve consistent look with multiple videographers (and cameras)

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Drew KeoHow to achieve consistent look with multiple videographers (and cameras)
by on Nov 26, 2012 at 2:39:09 pm


I am producing a corporate video in which subjects will be interviewed across the country. For budgetary reasons, I will not be filming all of the interviews and it is unlikely that everyone will be using the same camera. I want to write a memo with instructions for all the videographers to ensure that each interview is consistent aesthetically (to the extent that we can). Does anyone have any experience with a situation like this.

Other then recommending everyone shoot in the same aspect ratio and frame rate, I am not sure what I should be asking of the videographers. Do I get very detail oriented (e.g. have subjects look to left of camera) or keep it general. Any bullets that you think I should include or any advice would be much appreciated.

Thank you,

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Emre TufekciogluRe: How to achieve consistent look with multiple videographers (and cameras)
by on Nov 26, 2012 at 3:57:32 pm

Here is how we approach this:

-We hire "qualified" contractors with the identical equipment. With all the rental houses it is very easy for them to get the same gear.

-We have our DIT create a master look file and email to each OP to customize their cameras. (Resolution, Frame rate, F-stop, Gamma Curves, Lens shading data etc...)

-We do a master interview, draw lighting diagrams and send them a sample video for consistent look.

-We storyboard the interviews for alignment and placement in the video and provide schedules to each crew. (Lets say bad guys look left, good guys look right).

So in a nutshell we get extremely detailed about the look and feel. While using same crews might be optimal it is possible to create a very consistent look with multiple shooters.

Hope this helps,

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Sareesh SudhakaranRe: How to achieve consistent look with multiple videographers (and cameras)
by on Nov 27, 2012 at 9:20:58 am

I did a project like this a few months ago. You want my honest answer? The only way you can theoretically guarantee an exact match is to ensure the same camera, settings and lights are used.

Since it's unlikely that will be the case, shoot test images with color chart and grey references. Assign a DOF and tell each camera person to use the corresponding f number for their sensor type. Make test images to show the look you are aiming for. Keep the lighting type and ratio similar.

All this is simple in theory, but be prepared for frustration. Even with the most precise instructions, some people don't just get it.

One idea I've used when a DP fell sick was to shoot an image of the lit scene and quickly email it to him. You could also stream the video live if matching is critical. One last idea is to keep an image directory online of each shoot as it progresses, so that the next DP can look at it. But don't mix conflicting shots, or it will lead to confusion.

Remember, each camera behaves differently regarding color and exposure, so written settings are only practical up to a point.

Hope this helps. - Workflow information and support for filmmakers, photographers, audiographers and videographers.

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Mark D'AgostinoRe: How to achieve consistent look with multiple videographers (and cameras)
by on Nov 28, 2012 at 9:23:25 pm

We've done this often over the years and I always start with contacting the videographer and viewing samples of his/her work. That discussion and viewing helps me know that I'm getting an experienced professional.
From there I send a video sample of the look I am going for. I have never sent a lighting diagram because a true professional will figure out the look on his/her own with his/her own tools. Equally important is audio. I tell them how I've miked my interviews and what mics I'm using. The hope here is to get as close a match as possible. Don't just concentrate on matching the video.
I do agree with the other posters that trying to get the same camera and being able to provide the technical specs;gamma curves,etc.,is important.

Mark D'Agostino

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Chris TompkinsRe: How to achieve consistent look with multiple videographers (and cameras)
by on Nov 29, 2012 at 12:49:07 pm

Then the rest is color correction in the edit.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC

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