I have had the pleasure to work with Merrill L. Thomas Inc. recently doing more real estate videos for some amazing high end properties! Most are edited to music and are done mostly for social media use and promotion. (All of them live on the website for that properties listing too). Some however are more like mini-documentaries, telling the story of the property from a first person perspective. With my documentary background from working at PBS for 11 years, these are right in my swing zone! Below are some examples of both types that I have made with Nick Politi of Merrill Thomas.
If you have a great connection make sure and watch in 4K resolution!
This is a promotional video I recently made for a beautiful Inn dating back to the early 1800’s. Decided to try and do it more “Documentary style”. I actually shot the couples first visit and then at the end of the stay did an interview to capture their feelings about it. Was meant to be mostly from the female perspective. It really is selling unplugging, relaxing and reconnecting with a spouse as much as this particular place. That’s a little different than most promo videos but I think it worked overall. It tells a story and that is more interesting I think than just having a narrator tell stats and scripted material about the property. I also wanted it to be told mainly from the woman’s perspective, finding the song was a key part to giving me the idea on how to put this all together.
The owners of the Inn are friends of mine that I got to know by filming their wedding in lake Placid in 2010! The couple visiting are also friends of mine that didn’t know the owners or had ever stayed at the Inn before.
Tech details: Shot with the EOSHD Pro Color 3.0 Picture profile for the SONY A6500 and a SONY A6300 on a Zhiyun Crane gimbal. Also used a edlekrone motorized slider for several shots.
Last summer I had the pleasure to work on this series of videos for Northern Adirondack Board of Realtors. It was also a chance to work with my former colleague Kari Hoffman, who was the Producer on these. The idea was to highlight what select towns in the region are like to live and work in for potential home buyers. We shot the vast majority of it, but some select shots were supplied by ROOST. Kari did the rough editing in FCPX to flesh out the story lines, then I did the final edits by adding music and effects, B-roll and all graphics etc.
This is a video I worked on for adworkshop in Lake Placid (an advertising and marketing agency). They did all the concept and producing and directing, I was the videographer and editor. It’s nice to be a part of a team for projects like this one. It allows me to really focus on the shooting, and what is the best way to tell this story visually. I used a variety of cameras on it, my main camera the Canon C100 for the majority of it, but also set up a second camera for the interviews, the Canon 7D DSLR camera. I used the GoPro on a handheld gimble and the Inspire 1 for some aerial shots.
Editing is always a hidden craft, but it’s really driven by finding the right music. I usually piece the narrative together first (on this project from a script supplied by adworkshop), then find the right music to give it energy and convey the mood. That then drives all the edits of the cut away footage or Broll as we call it in the industry.
Check it out! Merrill L. Thomas Inc. is a great company and I am happy to get to know them better working on their video.
What’s it like to fly through the air at 80 miles an hour off a 120m tower on a pair of skis? It’s something I always wanted to know! The ski jumps in Lake Placid have always dominated the landscape since they were built for the 1980 Winter Olympic Games. I’ve been up to the top a few times covering corporate events up there, but was never fortunate enough to see it being used. The smaller 90m is used year around, but the 120m takes a lot of effort to get up and running and just one 45 degree day can melt the ramp surface. With the warming temperatures of the last decade or so of winter, it hasn’t been open…..until this year!
A friend of mine is a ski jumper and mentioned I should come get some shots of it in use. Luckily the technology of video has come so far so fast that there are now some new tools to show this sport in a way that wasnt possible just a couple years ago.
I just received my new DJI Inspire 1 aerial drone and its the perfect flying platform to get super stable shots! Couple that with the incredible GoPro action cameras and we were in business! I hope you enjoy the video, its the closest many of us will ever want to get to going off a massive ski hump like this!
I only shoot a couple weddings a year. (UPDATE 1/1/15- I have decided to no longer do any wedding videos, they are just too much work as described below). With my regular work of corporate videos, TV shows, and commercials, I just don’t have the time to do too many of these. Plus to be honest, they are probably the most stressful gigs to do!! There is no second takes. You can’t control the situation like with most shoots. Its purely capturing the events that unfold the best you can. And to do them to the level of what I like to work at, its downright exhausting! Most times its a 12 plus hour day. I shoot mostly with my new C100 camera. But during the actual ceremony, I set up 3 other cameras, one that my wife runs, and two locked off shots. This helps later when you edit to keep the shots cutting around to hold interest. On top of that is the audio to worry about! I use two wireless mics, one on the groom and one on the officiant. The bride is usually close enough to either of those two that I can pick her up audio up from them.
I start shooting around 9am for most weddings, getting the bride getting hair and makeup done. Then go over to the grooms location and get them getting ready, then back to brides place to get dress going on. I also do interviews during these times to use through out the video. I find you need some statements to give some kind of “story” and meaning to the finished video. Once I get that all done, it’s off to set up the four cameras and audio at the event location. I also try to get shots of people arriving, the nervousness of the groom etc…this is by far the most stressful time of the day! The clock is ticking and it can be a challenge to set up everything where you need to, get the camera settings correct for each location, find groom and officiant to put wireless mics on them, test those mics to the camera and still get shots of folks arriving! My wife is great and a big help at schlepping gear, but I need to do all the set ups because she doesn’t know much about cameras!
Once the ceremony is finished, I feel a bit relieved! The receptions have moments you have to capture, but I only use two cameras for most of that stuff. By the end of the night, I have over 80GB of camera footage to then sift through later on for the edit. This equates to about 6-7 hours of footage for an eventual 25-30 minute final video! Within two weeks, usually sooner, I edit one of these “Coming soon” preview trailers for the couple to show all their friends what the day was like. They usually post it on their facebook page. These little 3 minute videos can take up to 8 hours to edit! The actual video takes closer to 40 hours to edit! Now, you can begin to see why wedding videos can be expensive! It’s not your Uncle Louie in the back of the event with his handycam, these are full broadcast quality HD movies that could run on TV!
Sometimes I think “Is it too much that I’m doing for these?” “Do I REALLY need to be so fanatical about it all?” but in the long run, it’s a life event for the couple and it’s my job to make the video a treasured keepsake for them. Even more then photos, the video has the ability to REALLY capture the day. The sights, the locations, the sounds, the atmosphere, peoples voices…one bride lost her grandmother shortly after the video and said she was so thankful I got her talking on the video so she could always remember her voice! It’s these little moments in a video that can truly make all the effort worthwhile!
Maryann and Andrew were a wonderful couple to work with! So full of joy and passion that I knew right away this one would be special! The rainy summer decided to take a day off and the actual wedding day was just glorious! They picked the Whiteface Club and Resort in Lake Placid for their destination wedding (Andrews parents live there) and I can’t think of a prettier place to have an outdoor wedding.