Airdrie Baptist Church recently appointed Kirsty Lee as their new Youth Worker and I filmed a short interview to introduce her to the congregation.
These videos contribute to a broader role I perform of promoting the church, including administering their website and social media channels and producing leaflets and posters for groups and events.
With any video project three things need to be arranged:
- a date / time
- a location
- a set of questions.
I have filmed all the videos for Airdrie Baptist in the main sanctuary of the Church, due to its size and features (e.g. organ pipes and stained glass windows). The range of lighting options and sources is also a consideration.
Filming was conducted at the church on Monday 17 July 2017. Filming over the summer meant we didn’t interrupt other groups or meetings.
I supply questions to subjects ahead of filming so that they can prepare answers in advance if they want to. This helps put people at ease who aren’t comfortable in front of the camera. In general my interviews last between 30 and 60 minutes. The total duration, including set up, filming and breakdown averages just over two hours.
Being involved in a few recent filming projects at Edinburgh Napier University has allowed me to refine my approach and streamline the overall process. It has also encouraged me to develop more advanced video editing skills including colour-grading.
My standard kit for freelance jobs includes:
- GoPro Hero 3+ Black (generally used as an action camera but often utilised in programmes such as Top Gear)
- Homebase 500W work lamp (this serves as a key light)
- Neewer 5 in 1 reflector (I use this to diffuse the key light and set up the reflective cover as a fill light from the same light source)
- Lavalier mic (usually plugged into my iPhone 5 running the Rode app to capture audio)
- Lastolite White / Grey card (held up by the subject to ensure correct white balance during post-production).
I use the GoPro’s Protune setting which is the equivalent of shooting in RAW image format on a digital SLR camera. The source image appears flat in terms of colour and contrast but offers much more creative control in video editing packages.
Capturing this extra data meant that videos files are on average double the size of those shot using the standard setting.
For this interview I used a Sennheiser Lavalier mic connected to the Church sound desk and channelled into the Church PC. I used Audacity to capture the sound as we do to record Sunday sermons. While we usually export these as MP3s, I rendered the audio in AIFF format to preserve audio quality.
I use Adobe Creative Cloud tools like Premiere Pro and After Effects to edit videos. The suite works seamlessly using the Dynamic Link feature, meaning footage or titles can be edited in one programme and immediately update in others. This also extends to files created in Illustrator and Photoshop.
Compiling the footage
Adobe Premiere features several user workspaces featuring tools for different phases of the production workflow, including:
The first step of the editing process is to import all video and audio files into a project.
Once done I combine the video and audio tracks in a sequence that will then form the raw source clip for the final edit.
Syncing video and audio
When filming I usually ask the subject to clap their hands once in sight of the camera. This allows for recorded audio to be lined up precisely with the visuals in Premiere. In film and television productions a clapper board is used to achieve this.
Once the audio and video are synchronised, I mute the channel with the audio recorded on the GoPro so that only the higher quality sound can be heard.
Kirsty video raw timeline
As mentioned earlier, the footage from the GoPro appears flat and requires work in Premiere Pro. To do this I add an adjustment layer to the source sequence created earlier.
Using an adjustment layer means that the video footage itself is not being edited, and that effects can be turned on and off as required. Applying these changes to the source footage also means you don’t need to do it multiple times in the final edit.
The colour space allows for a wide range of basic corrections and creative effects, including selectable white balance, contrast and levels. You can either try to replicate the look and feel of when the footage was shot or apply a more cinematic look and feel at the touch of a button.
Telling a story
Once happy with how the footage looks I review the interview, taking extensive notes. I mark the start and end times of each question and write bulleted notes for each answer which allows for clips to be found quickly during the edit.
Once reviewed I identify themes that can form a story. I compile a structure in the same way I would an essay and tend to try and cover a few points in each video. In this case I included:
- a brief introduction to Kirsty
- a discussion about how her role at Airdrie Baptist came about, and
- a brief summary of her hopes for the time she’ll be working there.
With the story decided I create a new sequence in Adobe Premiere, naming it the same as the final video. The initial edit sees a large proportion of the content used to cover each point. This results in a lengthy video, usually over seven minutes.
When the usable footage is in place I watch it through and identify points that can be trimmed. These include hesitations and repeated content. As sections are deleted, the remaining content is moved towards the start of the sequence timeline.
I often go through a video at least twenty times before being completely satisfied with the final cut.
I use titles to guide the viewer, highlighting the topic being discussed or the question answered. I often start with a title slide featuring the Church logo followed by the name of the video.
As I’ve produced several videos for Airdrie Baptist I have existing templates for animated titles and a closing ident. These have been produced in After Effects and can be imported to Premiere Pro using the Dynamic Link function.
Exporting the final video
Once the edit is complete the video I render it as a high definition (HD) MPEG-4 (MP4) file using the H.264 codec. This is the standard format for online delivery and allows for a video to automatically adjust its quality for a range of delivery platforms, from TV to smart phone.
Sharing the video
The video is then uploaded to the Airdrie Baptist YouTube account where it can be shared easily. Generally I add a post with the video embedded on the Church website and will also share it on the Airdrie Baptist Facebook page and Twitter account.
Work with me
Need help with a video project? Get in touch.