As billionaires’ blast off to the edge of the final frontier, light and space move centre stage. These are the building blocks of a videographer’s craft, which when blended with technology create the video and photography used in sales and marketing.
By controlling space and light, from being pitch perfect in operating the lens of a camera to working in a location with equipment that enhances the basics, professionals are able to create their compositions to best effect.
This technical mastery, blended with an understanding of narrative (especially the narrative shortcuts understood by a mass, film literate public), is the holy grail of videography. And for marketers working with videographers, it’s useful to recognise how light, space and time add value to visual projects.
Whilst they might inform the DNA of videography and photography, these elements are rarely fortuitous. They are nearly always contrived. No-one can simply conjure up a magnificent sunset, but knowing where to film it for greatest impact, being there at the right time of day and having the correct kit, is part of location and scheduling management.
And certainty in film production is gold. Literally. Being able to rely on a location that is predictable, with all of the elements required for video and photography, means that practitioners and clients waste none of their precious budget waiting for the elements to change.
It’s why so many film and TV drama exteriors are constructed undercover. From Indiana Jones to Spaghetti Westerns to the BBC’s award-winning drama Poldark, which had 18th Century locations custom-built in a giant, ex-beer brewing warehouse at Bristol’s Bottle Yard Studios. In these cases, producers opted for certainty by filming over 50% of their script in a studio.
Of course, studio filming for video and photography is not for everyone.
The look and content of the piece might demand the real thing; an outdoor environment with authentic noise, weather, light and crowds to bring texture and realism to the piece. And there is the upfront cost of paying for the studio, but as a location choice it mitigates against a multitude of variables, including more outdoor spaces than ever charging facility fees for filming.
Indeed, a poor location choice for filming affects outcomes. When a videographer walks into a neon-lit, air-conditioned meeting room with polystyrene ceiling tiles, a wall of unopenable glass windows and a pot plant in one corner to interview the CEO of a corporation, their heart sinks. Whilst there are technical fixes such as defocussing the background, unless the interview is filmed against a drape with good floor lighting, it’s impossible to make the film location disappear.
When it comes to filming products (especially in multiples), pieces-to-camera, interviews, demonstrations and the like, a studio is the perfect choice. The alternative is hiring a house for the day, which might have the advantage of pre-existing domestic sets but also the drawback of generally not being able to supply the space, light and time elements that make all the difference to the technical quality of the footage.
Location matters. It’s one of the many aspects of video and photography that have to be weighed up when scheduling a project. Whether working in a field or in a studio, permission has to be sought, facility fees agreed, equipment sourced, props and costume brought to set with somewhere adequate for models to change, products for filming unpacked and kept clean, electricity sorted, catering dealt with, etc. Of themselves, these tasks might seem a million miles away from creative endeavour, but each one will have an affect on the quality of the video.
After many years of hiring out our 31ft by 22ft, 2-storey professional film space with its adjacent fully-equipped, food preparation kitchen, we have learned that when we let our studio to clients, who have included this year’s Lions Rugby team, Dyson, Aerial pods featuring Katherine Ryan and a host of other household brands, they are buying not just convenience and service. At a fundamental level, they are baking-in the certainty of light, space and time to create the best visuals possible.
For more information about Mendip Media Studios https://www.mendipmedia.co.uk/studio-hire/