From the Cutting Room Floor: Working with Video

Today on the Edge of Innovation, we are talking with Brian Gravel about Media Technology and working with video.

Introduction

From the Cutting Room Floor: Working with Video

Paul: So early on we talked about you were in your studio and in your video practice really, you shoot everything in 4k. Are you doing drone shots in 4K as well?

Brian: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Paul: Wow. So let’s just talk about that for some of our more geek listeners. You get 4K video. What do you record in? Is it MP4?

Brian: Yeah, yeah. We usually use MP4 format.

Paul: H.264?

Brian: Yeah. That’s the codec but the MP4 file size is—, usually it’s in the sweet spot of you have that quality but the file size itself is not really massive.

Paul: So you’re shooting at the compressed.

Brian: Yeah.

Paul: You, you don’t have the raw.

Brian: Right. We’re not getting that.

Paul: Yeah, because that’s crazy. It’s a lot of space. I mean, what is it? 2 gigs a second or something like that? It’s ridiculous.

Brian: I saw Canon just came out with a DSLR, the Mark V or VII.

Paul: Yeah…

Brian: I don’t know what version it’s on.

Paul: Yeah, the Mark IV, I think it’s called. Yeah.

Brian: And that’s shooting basically uncompressed 4K, and I think we figured it was like 10 minutes of footage was like 100 gigs of storage.

Paul: Wow.

Brian: Which is crazy.

Paul: I mean, it’s a lot of space. So you’re having it in-camera compressed.

Brian: Yeah. Correct. So we already have like a pretty digestible, usable format coming out of that.

Paul: So you take that and what do you do with it? It’s on an SD card or is it…?

Brian: Yep. It shoots the micro SD card.

Paul: Okay. So you got that. You bring it back to your shop and you plug that into a computer, and you copy those files to it. You’re backing it up, I imagine. You’re putting it online, or what are you doing? Just keeping it local in a sand or something?

Brian: Yeah. We have our own internal processes for storage and backing up. And yeah, for the most part, we’re just getting the footage off the drone, digesting it. A lot of clients are taking it raw, just need footage or pictures to use what they want to use of that. And then other times, we’re editing pieces together for them.

Paul: And what do you guys use for editing?

Brian: We use a range of tools. I’ve gone through the whole Avid, Final Cut, Adobe stack. And for me, it’s less about the tool and more about what people are comfortable on. So as we’ve grown as a company, we’ve evolved with those tools and we’re primarily in the Adobe product line.

Paul: It’s a broad suite where, you know, when you have Photoshop…

Brian: When they switched to Creative Cloud, you’re getting all the tools for a monthly cost, it made sense to use them because they really try to create a synergy between the products at that point. Whereas before, you were buying kind of the products piecemeal, which I think works out better when you have a whole array of tools vs. I have my editing tool for this, my color correction tool for this.

Paul: Right. Exactly. So I’m trying to paint a picture for our people at home. Alright. They go out and buy a drone, so now I’ve got to get Adobe Creative Cloud. Okay. I mean, it’s what? $60 a month. So it’s not terrible. But I’ve got to learn Premiere now, Adobe Premiere to edit.

Brian: Yeah. It’s the same thing. You know, there’s different ways to get around it. You can go buy a $400 drone from BestBuy and have something like iMovie and edit on.

Paul: Okay. So that’s fair.

Brian: Yeah. I mean, you can definitely do things. If you’re a budding professional or starting a business or something along those lines, there’s definitely ways you can get in at a low cost and work your tail off too.

Paul: I want to put this together. I’m just trying to give people a window into the process. We’re, not going to teach them how to do it. So, I edit it. I want to put some text in, things like that. Now, it’s never as easy as it seems. It seems, so you just put the text it. But now what do you guys do for that? Is that after effects or…?

Brian: Yeah. We’re using that Adobe product suite. So yeah, we use a ton of tools out of that. It’s really up to our editors. We have three fantastic editors on staff. So I leave it up to them as far as what they would do. If I was to go in and dust off my video production skills and get back into editing a project, I would be caught in a completely different league than our, our lead editor. So it really depends on the comfort level of what you’re using the tools for.

Paul: Right. So now, you bring up a good point. I mean, editing has two aspects. One is cutting it up but actually deciding where those cuts are for what you want the end user to experience. And so you have different people. How variant is that? You know, if you had three editors, are you going to get three different stories? In different subtle…?

Brian: You definitely could. Yeah. For sure. I look at our team as each person has their own kind of strength, and depending on the project is how we divvy up who’s doing what.

Paul: Sure. So you select the right person for the right task.

Brian: Yeah.

Paul: Yeah. Cool. So if you had one that was more of let’s say a school project. You know, you’re doing a university or something, you’d choose one of your editors over maybe a corporate project.

Brian: It’s even within projects.

Paul: Really?

Brian: Yeah. You lay out the rough cut, and the other person will finish the color correction and the titling and all that stuff. And while one person may be working aftereffects, creating templates for the assets, and the other person may be implementing them.

Paul: Yeah, and as you’re listening to this, don’t let what Brian said go by too quickly. The color correction. That’s probably one of the most under, or unknown, aspects for a normal consumer. You take a picture inside and you take a picture outside and then you come back and take it a different day. The color of the scene changes dramatically in all of those. And somebody has to make those all look good together. And that’s a lot of work.

Brian: It is. It’s very time consuming. We get budgets and projects that range quite dramatically. So, you know, I would say that’s probably one of the first things to go on a on smaller budget project, just because the general nature of time to put together even like a rough cut and eventually a final product is very time consuming. And then when you’re short on how much time you can actually put into the project because of the budget, you have to look at ways like, “Okay. You know, what can we do here to get the project done at what the customer can afford, essentially?”

Paul: Right. Now were you ever involved in film or tape editing?

Brian: Yes.

Paul: So we’ve seen a dramatic reduction in the amount of work it is to do that. So hopefully, you know, as things go on, it will be easier and easier.

Brian: Yeah, it’s definitely happening with tools and things like that. But, you know, there’s just so many…video is a very hard final product to convey to a person who’s never done anything with video or photos before because you’re so used to seeing it in media, TV, online.

Paul: And we’re very sophisticated consumers because we see good production.

Brian: Yeah. A lot of lead-ins are like, okay, we’ll shoot it in 4K video. Well, I can shoot 4K video on my iPhone.

Paul: That’s right. Exactly.

Brian: And you can. But it’s a whole different process once you start putting together a story. And it takes time to do that. And that’s where I think people see these final products, and if they’ve never edited a video before, they don’t understand a lot of times how much time goes into that product. So that’s one of the challenges of my aspect of doing sales and business development is to kind of convey, what a person could do at different levels of budget. It’s like, well I’m comfortable in this budget area. Well here’s some examples of different things you could do with this. So you’re like, let’s get creative with what you want to do and how could we tone it back a little bit so that we get that effect but don’t have hundreds and hundreds of hours into it.

Paul: So let, let me ask you. You sort of touched on something there, that there’s probably multiple aspects but there’s two aspects. There’s the technical —getting the pictures, getting the video, editing it, all that kind of stuff, color grading it. But then there’s the story. And which one do you think is more important? How do they mix? Is it 50/50? Is it 10…?

Brian: Yeah. I don’t know if there’s like a percentage balance. I mean, both are equally important. It’s kind of like you could shoot beautiful video, but if you have crappy sound, it could ruin a project. I think the technical aspect is: if you have people who are good technically capturing video and audio, then editing becomes a lot easier. You can dedicate more time to the story. Versus, if you are spending a lot of time in editing, cleaning up what, what should have, could have, been better onsite when you were doing production.
So the story part is important because you could have the greatest footage in the world. If you don’t have somebody who can tell the storyline and explain… You know, we ran into this with, a lot of profile pieces that we were doing a few years back. And we were shooting hours of footage and trying to reduce it to a five-minute snapshot of a company’s 100-year history and rolling it in a package with two other videos that were doing the same thing. How do you successfully recognize someone’s accolades and tell a company’s story of their innovation and their 100-year history in a 5-minute piece, you know?

Paul: The story becomes critical.

Brian: Yeah. So, you know, it depends on the project. And then we run into that too with customer testimonials. Like grabbing those parts that really encapsulate and excite people versus somebody just getting on camera and saying, “Well, I really like this company because…”

Paul: Right. Right. Right. So, you had also touched on something there. Sound. It seems like people are willing to sacrifice video quality — I mean, they consume YouTube. They do all these different things, and they sort of give it a pass. I mean, obviously, if you can have a high-quality image, it’s great to see that. But people aren’t going to stop watching something just because it’s not a high quality. But if the sound is bad, I’ve seen people won’t even engage. So, what’s with that? I mean, how do you talk about that at all? Is that true? Do you find that?

Brian: Yeah. I’ve found that because of things like the iPhone and us being a very camera-centric world, that getting quality video is not as difficult as getting quality sound and knowing how to get quality sound.

Paul: Yeah, that’s an art. I mean, it seems like, “Well, no, just put a microphone in front of somebody.” But it’s just not that.

Brian: No, it’s not at all. Especially when you go out and shooting on location. The studio is pretty simple if you have decent gear and it’s quiet, you’re going to get good sound. You go out and shoot in the city with traffic going by or even just doing an interview outside and a plane going overhead, you don’t realize… That’s where I think you can see the big difference between, if you watch something on TV versus something someone shot homegrown.

Paul: Well it was interesting. We had a video crew here, I think, in January. They were doing something on the Craigslist killer because one of the companies I was with, we helped catch him with the technology.

Brian: Oh, no kidding.

Paul: Yeah. And but what they did is they brought in two high-end Cannon cameras. They were dual. They had the interviewer-interviewee, and we’re in the middle of it, and they had me wired, a lapel mic, and I think the other person had a lapel mic, and they had a sound for the room, and in the middle of it, he said, “Wait.”
I’m like, what?
The water cooler went on.

Brian: Or the AC or something.

Paul: Yeah. And he said, because he says he didn’t care that it was there, but he didn’t want the change. It’s almost like color grading, you know. It’s like, imagine, if you will, in the middle of a shot, you turned on fluorescent lights. The color just changed dramatically, so it’s going to be disturbing to the viewer. But sound, you know, is something that people, I’ve found, just are not tolerant of bad sound because they can’t deal with it. There’s no way to fix it. With an image or a video, I can sort of imagine what it is. And so that’s interesting.

So sound is critical. So do you guys have… Are your editors doing sound as well or do you have different people for sound?

Brian: Yeah. Again, I’m fortunate. I have a lot of talented people in our group. And, they know what a good quality production is, and they know how to get that production value. And we’ve invested in equipment that helps it a lot.

Paul: Yeah. So you’ve got the best advantage. But it’s really taking… I think the critical thing you’re bringing out here is that the person sitting in the seat is what makes good or bad content really sing. You can only do so much with the content. And the person there making it all work together is critical.

Brian: Yeah. And from a business perspective, knowing what, what medium you’re playing to… I mean, most of our stuff is going online. And most of our clients have a finite budget of what they want to spend or can spend. So getting the best quality for that medium, for that project budget, I think, is a tricky thing to refine. You know, going back to your photography days, you know, you could put tons of time into editing photos, but at some point you need to say—

Paul: Print it.

Brian: Exactly. And I think for anyone in the creative space, there’s a perfectionist in them all. And finding the balance of time and how to do things quickly but efficiently, and with high production quality. We’ve gone in and nailed that down. And that’s why I think we’ve been successful.

Paul: Excellent. Now is there anything else you want to talk about, that we haven’t covered? Any areas you want to touch on?

Brian: I’m happy to talk about anything you want, really. I think we did cover a lot about the different pieces, of how we got into drones and, you know, came into this thinking, talking primarily about drones, but what I’ve enjoyed about this conversation is that you can see how the drone piece fits into the whole scope of what we’re doing, but it’s a lot—

Paul: It’s evolutionary.

Brian: Yeah. But there’s a lot of other components that go into creating the products that we’re putting out, one. And two, like, the reason why we’ve engaged in drone stuff is really at the epicenter of our company — technology. It’s a media. It’s all those things wrapped into one. That’s why the space for us is very exciting.

Paul: Yeah. Very cool. And I think that as we — I think we touched on earlier — if you’re using stock photos on your website, don’t do it. Stop. Go take them down. It’d be better to have a blank space, and nowadays, we need to have video. Gotta have good video.

Brian: Agreed. And to that point, we’ve been through an exercise with clients lately where because of the designs of websites now, the photo — or photos, I should say — and video are changing the whole look and feel of it. And we had this interesting project recently where we were tweaking all these style elements, fonts, and this, and colors, and, and really, like we changed a couple of different photos, and all of a sudden, it made sense. And then, then it became, alright, well, you know, the photos are driving the page, so, like this is kind of like the type of photo that you need to fit in. You can switch your photos up whenever you want, but, you know, certain ones are going to work with the other elements of the page a lot better then. And I think that’s a big… It’s not like something that’s just come about. This has been happening for years, but it’s one of those things that it’s changing the course of how you’re designing sites is that imagery is almost becoming… You almost need to put that first and then build around it versus the opposite way, which I think was kind of the way it was being done, which is you built the shell and you pop some photos in. And the photos helped it along but yeah, it’s very different now.

Paul: Yeah. I agree. You have the creative director of a magazine or even a video shoot, and they’re thinking of holistically how it works. And that’s magic in a lot of ways. And I think because of the ability now for just the average person to produce a website, they aren’t used to having to take all those things into account. And then they don’t know why. Why does mine not look as good as theirs? Well, because they’re taking in all these subtleties into account. And I think you’re absolutely spot on. And I think the same thing’s happening with video, but I think people are a lot more tolerate with video than they are with photos. Because a bad photo, just sitting there, not moving is a bad photo, and it just yells that at the top of its lungs. But a video, you know, boy, you get a connection with that person, and, it’d be nice to have it high quality, but even if it’s not, it’s better than not having it.

Brian: Yeah. Even in video, like video use as assets in sites versus just a click play video, you know. Like how it’s presented, how it’s formatted, and how it renders on a phone or a browser. We have people, believe it or not, who are still on things like Internet Explorer 9 or 8. And you…

Paul: They should have their internet taken away.

Brian: Amen to that. I should say the same thing, but you know, the whole experience changes if you can’t… If that video is not loading, and it’s your whole background to your page, yeah, it looks cool on that Mac that the 17 year old has on running Chrome or Safari, but to someone who’s making a decision about whether or not to engage your services or not, and is on an older browser or something that it’s not playing, they’re like why is this big black screen?

Paul: Reflects badly.

Brian: Yeah. It’s always part art, part function. Right?

Paul: Yeah. Absolutely. So anything else you want to cover? Any particular topics?

Brian: No. Thank you very much for having me.

Paul: Oh, yeah. Absolutely.

Brian: Any time you want to geek out, I’m happy to have a conversation.

Paul: It is a lot of fun. It is a lot of fun, and we’re also open. If you come up with something you want to talk about, we’ll put it out and talk about it and we tend to be a little eclectic, you know, and not just when we’re talking about this part of business or whatever. We love technology and it just sounds like just like you guys do. It’s a great time to be alive. I mean, 30 years ago… Well, let’s say 50 years ago, you couldn’t do all these things. You know, you had to be in a dark room. You had to do all these different things. You couldn’t even buy a video camera, you know. So, it’s a wonderful time to be alive.

Brian: Yeah. And I’ve been fortunate enough over my lifetime and my career to really go through these unique set of stages with technology. You know, I filmed on VHS tapes and eventually mini DV and then I was like, why are we recapturing DV tape when we could shoot the SD card? And so from a video standpoint, I’ve seen, even my freshman year of college, which I don’t want to date myself, but back in early 2000s, the cameras alone, like what you could do, with shooting on little Canon Elura that were shooting standard definition, and now, even like six years, seven years later, people are shooting high def video on their phones.

Paul: I know. It’s amazing. Isn’t it?

Brian: Crazy.

Paul: You couldn’t have predicted it. I just like wow. Just the storage needs of YouTube. It’s just incredible.

Brian: I remember we built this site. It was called Boston Nocturnal. It was a nightlife site, and the whole premise was we’d deliver a weekly video about bars and nightclubs and events going on in Boston. This was 2005, ’06 timeframe. So YouTube was just coming along, and we made a very conscious decision at the time that we did not want to put our videos on YouTube. We wanted to embed them in flash player on the site because it was more professional.

And I think about a decision like that at the time, not knowing, you know, where YouTube would go. And it’s eventual acquisition by Google and things like that is to, how different your mindset goes in just a short amount of time. And now if a client asks how we’re going to put it on our site, I’m like, “You’re going to put it on YouTube, and you’re going to embed it on your site because you’re getting more bang for your buck as far as getting it found and sharing it and so on.” So yeah. You’re right. It’s a neat time to be in technology and the creative space. And I’m just amazed by young people coming out of school and even, you know, stories of like 11-year-olds who are hacking and things.

Paul: No barrier. They’ve never seen a world where they didn’t have these tools.

Brian: Or even my two-and-a-half-year-old who, you know, consistently asks me for “his” iPad. I said…

Paul: Well, he has it right.

Brian: Yeah. It was like, okay. And he wants to watch his videos, and he can go through YouTube kids. And that’s just, to me, amazing. And I think the people who embrace technology and realize that it’s not everything but it is the way of the world, you know, those are the people who will end up having that good balance.

Paul: That’s right. I agree. Well, we’re here with Brian Gravel, and he’s with GraVoc in Peabody, Massachusetts. He’s the vice president of creative technology. And we’ve had a great talk. I think this will end up being a couple of different podcasts. So if you’re hearing this, go back and listen to the other episodes as well. So, Brian, thank you for coming. Really appreciate it.

Brian: Thank you for having me, Paul.

Paul: Absolutely. Thank you.

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The Amazing New World of Drones

Today on the Edge of Innovation, we are talking with Brian Gravel about The Amazing New World of Drones.

Introduction

Today on the Edge of Innovation, we are talking with Brian Gravel about The Amazing New World of Drones.

Introduction

Paul: So, if you were to split up, or we’re talking sort of about media production here but you do a lot of websites. Do you do any book publishing or things like that? Or document creation?
Brian: I mean, we have done traditional print materials on the design side. We’ve sourced out printers and local artisans, if you will to do the actual physical creations. But most of our, our work ends up, is in the digital space, and then we outsource anything, you know. We’re not printing any materials really, in-house or anything like that.
Paul: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, we run a copy service. So, alright. Well, we’re here to talk about drones. And drones are, it seems like, everywhere in the news. And they certainly have—
Brian: It’s pretty crazy. Right?
Paul: Yeah, it’s just like, oh my gosh. So, I’ve been watching drones. I don’t own one. I don’t play one on TV. And you know, drones are anywhere from the tiny little things that you can go to Brookstone and buy, and they have bigger ones too, all the way up to military drones, that are 15, 20 feet long, 50 feet long. I’ve seen those. Recently went to the air and space museum, and they have some drones there. And they were like…well, these are huge. I mean, they’re like airplanes. It’s like a Cessna. First of all, what, what got you thinking about drones?
Brian: Yeah. I think probably in 2012, 2013, we consume a lot of media, through different sources online. And, our video team kind of had their eye on, like, wow, there’s a lot of drone footage popping up. And then, I think, the company DJI, which is the brand that we use, really, got out at the forefront of focusing on kind of this prosumer level style of drone. It wasn’t really, though, the one you’re buying at BestBuy now, but it also wasn’t your military style investment where you’re spending $100,000. They were, they made it kind of like the DSLR boom, with like Nikon and Canon and companies like Sony, that they made quality product affordable.
And when we started seeing that we took what we were doing video-wise, and we were thinking like, “Well, what can a drone replace?” It can replace a dolly. It can replace a crane shot. It can replace… It gave you all these tools in a fairly inexpensive package. We were already using GoPros at the time and their Phantom series interfaced with GoPro. So it made sense for us. Like, “Let’s get one and try it out and see what we can do.” And, it became a love affair after that.
Paul: Okay. So that was pretty much the Wild West, compared to where we are now. I mean, things have progressed quite a bit.
Brian: Things have happened fast.
Paul: So back then, there were no rules, per se.
Brian: There were rules, but it was very gray. Things were always changing. You know, there was no… There was- the process was very convoluted to how to do things by the book.
Paul: So let me as you this. How heavy is your drone?
Brian: Our drone…it’s probably the size of, like maybe a backpack, I guess I would liken it to. And it weighs probably about 10 pounds.
Paul: 10 pounds. Really. Okay.
Brian: Yeah. It’s not super heavy.
Paul: Alright. But it is over the limit.
Brian: What’s that?
Paul: So I was just reading an article about this. And apparently, if you have a drone that’s over five— 0.55 pounds up to 550 pounds, you have to have a license to fly it for commercial use. So taking pictures.
Brian: Hmmm. Are you talking about registering it?
Paul: Registering it. Yeah, you have to register anything over 0.55 pounds.
Brian: Right.
Paul: And then… I mean, you as a person, just as a, as a consumer. You can go out and buy a drone that’s 54 pounds. I can’t imagine buying a 54-pound drone. Like, how much money would I have to spend for that? But you have to register that. Over 55 pounds, there’s a whole bunch of, a whole different role.
Now, from what I understand, and I know we’re not experts on this, but I think it’s a good discussion for people to hear, if you go out and say, “Hey, I’m going to put up a sign and charge $5 for every drone shot I do. And I’m going to sell to my real estate people.” If you’re doing it commercially, you have to have a license from the FAA.
Brian: Yes. So there’s two… The, the history behind it is there was at first what was called the FA333 exemption, which was basically like, like, it was more or less a company exemption. So you had all these rules attached to it, specifically one that was very hindering was that the person flying the drone had to have a pilot’s license.
Paul: Wow, a real pilot.
Brian: Yes. I think the minimum requirement was a sport pilot certificate was basically like the minimum requirement you could have to film…well, to use it commercially, which was still 30 hours of flight school and X amount of time in a plane. So that became very challenging for people to really accommodate. And then last August, they released what’s called Part 107, which is more or less the new set of standards and rules. And in that, you can acquire a remote airman certificate, which is more or less you take a knowledge-based test and based on a passing score, you can get a certificate to fly commercially.
Paul: And do you have one of those?
Brian: We have both.
Paul: You have both of those? Wow.
Brian: We have FAA 333 exemption. And, we also have staff who are Part 107, are remote airman certified.
Paul: Cool. Now, just so our listeners are there. I mean, we’re not lawyers, and we’re not giving you legal advice. But you need to be careful about this stuff. If you go out and buy a drone today, and it weighs less than 0.55 pounds, you don’t need to do anything. You can just fly it. Do whatever you want.
Brian: Yeah. I mean, if you have that Brookstone drone, you’re pretty safe. But there’s a lot of drones that you can buy. I mean, you can buy a pretty decent drone at Best Buy and I just saw some stuff that may change that. If you’re flying as a hobbyist, you don’t have to register it.
Paul: Right. That’s the big loophole.
Brian: Yeah but as of right now, you’re right, if it’s over that weight, you’re supposed to register the drone regardless of if you’re flying it commercially or just for fun.
Paul: So if you do buy a drone that weights a pound you need to register with the FAA. It’s an easy process.
Brian: It’s an easy process. It’s like a $5 registration fee.
Paul: Right. Now there is a difference though between me, you know, just general citizen, and you, a company. I understand you guys actually have to file flight plans.
Brian: Flight plans, dependent… Like Boston and greater Boston are particularly tricky areas to film because there’s a lot of airports in close proximity to kind of like the places where people want to capture media. With the 333 exemption you had this blanket certificate of authorization.
Paul: Really. That’s cool.
Brian: And that gave you certain filming capabilities within X amount of miles from the airport. I think it was five or seven, depending on the space. Now, basically if we wanted to fly in Beverly, you file for a certificate of authorization to go along with the pilot in command’s remote airman’s certificate. So yeah, there’s some processes. Not to mention if you’re flying commercially, you definitely want to carry insurances, but for both the drone and for the company and liability so… Yeah, what I’ve seen is there’s a lot of people who are getting into the commercial aspect inside of it a little willy-nilly and not thinking through all these other things that go along with it.
But, you know, there are also a lot of people out there and you know, one-man shops and guys who are out there starting businesses just based on drone usage and flight, that are doing things the right way and really trying to take advantage of a market. We’re kind of somewhere in-between. You know, we’re using it as a tool in addition to our video production services.
Paul: Right. So you’re actually producing some sort of show or video — an end product. You’re not just coming in and saying, “Hey, I want you to…” Do you do real estate?
Brian: We’ve done real estate. We’ve done all different markets. And we have gotten hired more than a handful of times just specifically to do drone stuff. But a lot of times, what it is is like — going back to the B-roll conversation — we’ll be shooting a piece and we’ll use the drone to to get accompanying shots for that specific piece. Maybe it’s a piece of the city of Peabody and we’re shooting, shots of downtown. That’s just one example, but that type of thing. We did these profile pieces all across the country a couple of years ago for a client, and we would just bring the drone out to get kind of like that establishing shot. You know, when you’re out in an oil field, out in, South Dakota, or if you’re out in wind turbines in Oklahoma, it’s to give that perspective of like flying in that, even at 200 feet, you get that…
Paul: It’s cool.
Brian: Yeah. It’s that shot you can’t see. You get the big picture. And it’s funny how mentally, you know, when you start that wide, like 200 feet looking down at something versus shooting something on the ground, it kind of tells that story of where you are.
Paul: Right. Yeah. I mean, I think it’s fascinating because we’ve never really… Roll back 20 years. You’d have to get, rent a helicopter, you know. Or maybe out of a plane. But it was unique. And there was very little time for normal citizens, normal consumers, to actually be at 200 feet. They just couldn’t see. You know, because when you take off, you go to 30,000 feet pretty instantly. So this is a very new view. And it’s cool. Do you think that will wear off?
Brian: Maybe a bit. It could be, it could be a little faddish. However, I think what I’ve seen in the drone market, at least, is people thinking of different ways to use them.
Paul: So what have you seen?
Brian: Surveying, mapping, inspections search and rescue, you know. I’ve seen… Take any industry, and people are finding ways to apply drones to it. When you mentioned Wild West, it really is that. That feeling that’s a bit of a Gold Rush in certain regards because people are just trying to find ways to take this device and apply it to a business.
There’s a company over in Danvers for a while that I thought had a really unique model. They were doing construction asset tracking with a drone. So basically, they were taking these RFID-type devices, embedding them into concrete, and then the drone would fly over, ping these devices, so they could figure out how much material they had on the ground at any given time at a construction site.
Paul: Oh, that’s a cool idea.
Brian: Yeah. So that’s the stuff that goes beyond just putting the drone up and getting that picture from 200 feet. Right?
Paul: Exactly. So you sort of should have a drone exploitation division. How can we better exploit the drone?
Brian: Yeah. For us, I think we’ll grow with the industry a bit. But, you know, I think it’s still going to be one of those things that we’re using in addition to our video production versus, “this is our primary service.”
Paul: Right. What do you think about Amazon using drones, potentially for delivery? I mean, they’re testing it. When it came out, it sounded like a joke, when the first announcement came. But it turns out, I think it’s going to be real. What’s your thought on that?
Brian: I don’t know. I mean, it’s hard to imagine seeing hundreds of drones in the air all moving at once. But if you think about it, in the ’30s and ’40s when commercial airlines were starting to bud, like the people must have thought it was so weird that, you know, “Oh, there will never be planes overhead.” And we don’t think twice about it, so…
Paul: But they are pretty far apart. I mean, they are a couple of miles apart, at least. So I mean, but I think the Wild West thing is this whole drone… Like, what if there are 10 drones in the area, and they hit each other, and they’re not really trackable on radar, certainly for the smaller ones?
Brian: I think that’s where one of the things that separates out… You know, the technology is just moving so fast. I mean, even, even a drone you buy off the shelf at Best Buy has avoidance collision and all these safety mechanisms built into it. Now, not saying that they’re foolproof. But I mean, the technology is really driving the product. So I think that crashing is less of a worry more. I think it’s going to be more of, in particular case of like Amazon, like, how much of a, of a noticeable nuisance is it to the people on the ground where that product… You know, specifically if they’re having like delivery drop-off points or something like that and you’re near one.
Paul: Yeah. All the time, All the buzzing.
Brian: Think about how many packages I get from Amazon just delivered by ground. I’m like, “Hmmm. I wonder if my neighbors would be really pissed if I had a drone coming to my house every other day.” So, yeah. I don’t know. I mean, I have mixed feelings on it. Our drone, it’s fairly quiet. It sounds like a really loud bee, I would say. But you know, there’s a noise factor involved. As you mentioned, they’re a lot different proximity to you than like a plane in the air. But, I don’t think it’s going to be like that commercial where the people are walking out of the building and all these drones are buzzing overhead. I think that’s a little extreme.
Paul: So… Alright. So we go out. We go to BestBuy. We buy a drone. How much is it going to cost me? A thousand dollars?
Brian: Yeah. I mean, a thousand dollars, you can get a pretty decent model drone. You, definitely can get them under that pricewise. But a thousand dollars, you’re really paying… There’s three parts of a drone that you’re really paying for. You’re paying for the, the drone itself, which is the, you know, the aircraft, and that’s going to, that’s going to have certain features and functionality, depending on your price, just like a camera would.
Then you’re paying for the camera itself. You know, the quality of the footage. Are there detachable lenses that go with it? The functionality of that. And then really, the unsung hero of it is the gimbal, which is the piece that attaches the camera to the drone. And depending on the quality of that and the functionality in that, that’s really what delivers the stabilization. So, you know, when a lightweight drone that weighs five, ten pounds like ours does is getting pushed around in the air, you know, that, that gimbal is holding that camera in place to give you that smooth shot and adjusting with it.
Paul: Okay. I imagine there’s like probably infinite numbers of those of you can buy, all different qualities.
Brian: Most people, if you’re going to BestBuy, you’re buying what’s most likely what’s called the ready-to-fly system, which is basically like all those pieces are going to be together. So you’re not really assembling it as much. You’re not, you’re not really swapping out parts. It’s kind of like, you know, get it, turn it on, register it, and you’re good to go.
Paul: Okay. Well that’s good to… I mean, I think that’s important. He said something there. You might have jumped over, but he registered it. And you’re not talking like warranty registration, you’re talking FAA registration. So that’s important because, you know, you’re going to be flying. And I have a good friend that’s an air traffic controller, and they’re special people. I mean, they have the attention of… I mean, they’re looking at so many pieces of information. And now drones have the potential of mixing that all up, you know. And you have a pilot flying and sees a drone and gets sort of, oh my gosh, and has to move. And then there’s this impact in the air traffic control world. And so you need to do all those things.
So okay. We go to Best Buy. We, we set it up. We charge it. We register it, and I go outside just for fun. What can I do? Can I just fly it over my neighbor’s house? Can I fly it up and down the street?
Brian: Yeah. You know, you bring up an interesting point and one that comes up in a lot of the legal discussions and privacy discussion is, you know, if I own a piece of property, what do I own? How far up?
Paul: How far up the atmosphere does it go?
Brian: Right. you know we, as a company and as a person, we’ve always taken the approach of best practices as much as possible as far as we realize that people are concerned about these things in that they don’t want it hitting their space or capturing their space in a lot of cases. So we try to be very respectful of that.
Paul: Sure. Of course. Commercially, of course.
Brian: Yeah. Commercially. Even when I go out. I’ve done just test flights and stuff in my neighborhood, and you know, I try to be respectable, respectful of how close it is to anything, how low it is, you know, where it’s flying over, just because it’s a lot different if you’re in a field or a park than it is when you’re over a neighbor’s house or in a neighborhood.
Paul: Yeah. I’m not sure about this, but I think it’s the case that recently there was a ruling that you can shoot down a drone over your air space, if you will.
Brian: Yeah. I don’t know. I don’t know about the law or the ruling on it. But yeah, some people have taken it to that extreme.
Paul: Yeah. Or just a big net or just put big covers over everything.
Brian: I don’t know if that would be in the Boston area but, you know, you get somewhere out a little more rural, you probably run that risk.
Paul: Okay. So we’ve just bought this drone. We’ve registered it and there’s something cool going on in one of the small baseball teams, AAA is there, and there’s an event going on. Can you go and fly it there? I mean, I’m a normal person. I imagine I could. I can’t imagine I’d get in trouble. The police might be upset with me. I don’t know that they could do anything, but they could look and say, “Well, you know, you’re parked wrong, and we’ll give you a ticket for that.”
So it’s sort of the Wild West in that kind of stuff is that you need to — and I think it’s what Brian’s saying here is you need to respect the area, but we’re in a new world, you know.
Brian: The FAA has put out a lot of educational pieces for both hobbyist and commercial vendors on what to do, safety, rules and regulations.
Paul: There any good sites you could recommend?
Brian: Yeah. BeforeYouFly. I can give you the link. That one is a pretty good one. There’s a few out there that are just like good quick resources to get information. The FAA site is a government site.
Paul: Yeah, it’s hard to use.
Brian: A little bit difficult to navigate. But once you have those other links to the outside sites that they’ve partnered with, the information is pretty concise and clear and documentation on it is pretty good.
Paul: Right. So now, it used to be years ago that you’d go out and have your portrait taken as a family. You’d sit down with a professional photographer. They’d use professional equipment. They’d tell you to smile and the flashes would go off, and then they’d print these out for you professionally. That whole world has changed dramatically. First of all, with SLRs and there was still a big investment, and it wasn’t instant. And then digital came in, and now everybody can be a photographer. And I can take lots of pictures that I never print. I just have them in my computer. And the same thing, I think, is happening in the drone world, you know. So because we talk about a lot of people with their websites. And they’re using stock photos. And it’s, to me, it’s a death knell. You don’t want to use a lot of stock photos. Stock video is completely different than stock photos, but they just look like stock photos.
Brian: You mean guys shaking hands, corporate woman.
Paul: Yes. And so, you know, we say run. Let’s find a professional photographer that can take good photos of you and your team and your assets and things like that. And they make such a big difference. So I think the same goes for drones too. I mean, hey, my nephew has a drone. I’ll go and have him take a picture and well that’s going to be better than nothing. It’s nowhere near what some of the… sort of, intangibles of, I imagine what you do is staging it. Do you do storyboards? Do you do things like that?
Brian: Yeah, not for the drone stuff. It’s pretty much like a call up. “We have a location we want to film. You know, we’ve seen your demo reel. What’s the cost?” That’s kind of typical process of, of getting hired to do it. And then obviously presenting all of our documentation that we’re insured and we’re certified and the whole nine. But yeah. So storyboarding out isn’t as much of a thing. But I agree with you with the direction where you’re going with the sentiment is there’s a whole range. Putting a GoPro on a drone, like we did at first was cool but when you see the difference in quality when you have a good camera and someone who knows how to fly, you know, it goes from having that picture that looks nice on Facebook to someone that’s lit the shot and…
Paul: Yeah. Those are sort of intangibles and a lot of people don’t know what makes a good photo, but they know it when they see it. It’s like, “Wow. That’s incredible.” And I would imagine, you know, for the video, all those rules apply. So I would encourage our listeners, go ahead and play with a drone. Buy one yourself too. But that’s a hobby. If you’re in business, I would seriously talk to somebody like Brian or if you’re not in New England, talk to other people that are doing it and see their demo reels and see what kind of quality they’re doing and talk to their clients too.
Brian: Yeah, and I think anyone looking to get in the drone space should really go in with a clear vision of what they want to do with it because your investment, your life blood is what you invest in your equipment. And if you’re buying a drone and you want to get into, for example, like measurement points and surveying and stuff like that, an off-the-shelf drone at BestBuy is not going to do what you need to do. If you want to get into video stuff, how far are you going to take it? Is it good enough to just put the drone up or are you trying to get hired for feature films where you need to put a camera with a payload on it? You know, so yeah, that, equipment investment where you get like the DSLR movement where people can go and buy these things at BestBuy, it’s a great way for people to see if they like it and, and try it out and get good at it, if you will, but it’s like any profession. You’re going to need to invest in the right gear and the time and the training to get to where you want to be as far as growing it as a business.
Paul: Right. I guess it’s sort of similar to the, you know, anybody can build a WordPress website, so why do they hire professionals? Well, first of all it’s not your job. I mean, you know, if you’re a plumber, you gotta go out and plumb stuff. And what are you doing building a website? It might be fun. That’s great. Okay, that’s a good reason to do it if you want to enjoy it. But if you’re a business, you really need to think hard about where you’re spending your time. And, yeah, you could become a drone expert but is that the best use of your time? And there’s a lot of people out there who are doing the drone stuff. So I think it’s important to highlight the insurance, the registration, the licenses. Those are all critical because, I don’t know where the liability would be. But if something bad happened, and it were your company had hired company ABC to do a drone shoot, and something bad happened, that would be pretty sad.
Brian: Sure. We contacted our insurance company that we had for our business side—
Paul: They would say, “What are you talking about?”
Brian: Yeah. It was new. It was a new feat for them for sure. But, yeah. I mean, we did go out. We insured the, the drone itself. We had to have a separate rider for coverage as far as liability is concerned.
Paul: Now does your insurance company know what a drone is?
Brian: Yeah. Oh, yeah. And it’s funny. There’s companies — we just ran into one recently — it’s like an ad hoc insurance model basically like they’re paying like a per day. They’re insuring companies per day for, so you can get like… You know, I’m going out and flying in this location with these sort of parameters, and you can buy insurance for the day to supplement existing stuff. Yeah. So I think one of the interesting things about the drone industry is it’s not just using the drone. It’s the technology surrounding it. It’s the insurances. It’s all these other industries that are on the peripherals. You know, figuring out, well, I guess how they can make money off it. But you know, also figuring out how it’s applicable to what they do.

Media Technology with Brian Gravel

Today on the Edge of Innovation, we are talking with Brian Gravel about Media Technology.

Show Notes

GraVoc’s Website
GraVoc Video Production and Design
How a Green Screen Works
What is 4K Video?
What is B-Roll?
How To Animate a Photo: The 2.5D Effect

Transcript

Paul: Today I’m meeting with Brian Gravel.

Brian: Hey, Paul. Thank you for having me here today.

“Media Technology with Brian Gravel”

Paul: Now you work at GraVoc?

Brian: Yes.

Paul: You’re one of the family members there from what I understand.

Brian: That’s true.

Paul: And it’s not like a mafia family, is it?

Brian: No. No, more of a technology family.

Paul: Alright. So GraVoc, you’re located in Peabody, Massachusetts. And you’re the vice president of creative tech. Now, what other vice presidents do you have, so we can just get a sort of holistic picture of what GraVoc is?

Brian: Yeah. So we’re a technology consulting company at heart. We have a traditional IT practice. We have the creative technology practice, which I head up. My brother heads up the information security practice, and then we have a software solutions practice, which is more like software customization, ERP system implementation, that type of thing. So it’s like a 360-degree technology approach to business consulting.

Paul: Okay. And, are all of those divisions the same age? Or are they different ages?

Brian: As far as when they started in the company? Yeah, so the creative technology group started in 2006 as a separate company that my business partner Matt and I founded. And in 2010, we merged into GraVoc.

Paul: Oh, okay. Cool.

Brian: So we’re the baby on the block as far as the longevity of each practice. The company really started kind of as a hybrid of the software solutions and IT group, by my dad back in 1993. And then information security practice, that came around kind of during the y2k time and the hysteria that came with that.

Paul: Well you’re dating yourself here. You know, you’re saying… A lot of people listening won’t have been alive during y2k, so what’s the big deal, you know? It all worked? But it was a crisis, unprecedented crisis of potential. There was all these doom and gloom stories. You know, New Year’s Day wasn’t going to happen.

Brian: That’s right. That’s right.

Paul: So you started the creative technology back in 2006?

Brian: Yeah. Correct.

Paul: Wow. So 11 years into this. This is pretty cool.

Brian: Yeah, the foundation of the company at that time, which was called Diverging Soul Media Production was film and music. And we quickly found out that there was a lot of film and music companies out there, and we really needed to expand our services. So we did. We were trying to do innovative things at the time. So we did stuff with digital signage and a whole slew of, of video-related technology products, and that eventually lead us into web development and Matt, my business partner, really took the reigns of that side of things. And then we saw the synergy, with YouTube budding and around that time as well, with video and, and web, and how we could kind of use that as a niche. And then our services have just really evolved from there.

Paul: Okay. So we’re here to talk with you about drones, but I love getting this backstory and sort of the context of what you brought you to drones. And we’ll get more into that. So, you guys must have done ColdFusion. Were you a ColdFusion shop or were you just HTML? Or what did you do? MicroSoft shop?

Brian: I’ll tell you our dirty secret. At first, it was iWeb. I don’t know if you remember that. Yeah. And then just HTML and to Dreamweaver. And then eventually, custom builds, WordPress development and all that stuff.

Paul: So that’s what you’re doing now is…? For the web segment of the creative, is it mostly WordPress stuff or custom or…?

Brian: It really depends on the situation, you know. We do have a lot of WordPress clients, great content management system, in my opinion. But we also do a lot of custom builds, depending on the situation. So Matt specifically likes to describe them as progressive web applications and products that are functioning like web, websites but really are applications as a whole.

Paul: Oh, cool. Excellent. Yeah, we’ve seen a lot of growth in that area, and you know, people wanting more functionality than just a blog, really. You know, our brochureware. And that’s really cool see.

Uh, okay. You know, I noticed at the North Shore Chamber of Commerce — so we’re here in Massachusetts, and we’re on the North Shore, north of Boston — We went to the business expo. And you guys offered to do videos of everybody, so you were going around. So that seems like that’s right in your wheelhouse, is going out and making corporate videos and all the creative that goes with that. Is that one of the things that people would call you for?

Brian: Yeah. We do a real, real mix with our video production. We do a lot of training videos, a lot of corporate video. We’ve done a lot with nonprofits in regards to kind of profile pieces and things like that. Once in a while, we get fun, kind of, Comcast 30-second spots where we’ve done some stuff with animation and just try to, when we get those opportunities, do stuff that’s a little bit outside the box.

Paul: Cool. So now can you give — I’m not asking for specifics — but can you give us an example of a project that you’ve done and how that worked out, what the client was trying to do and how you solved it? So that, you know, as people are listening, they can get an idea of both what you do and how to apply video, because everybody says video is critical for the web right now. I tend to agree with that. But I’d love to hear what you have to think.

Brian: Yeah, I mean, a lot of times when we have a customer come to us, they have a vision in mind, and we’re more on the execution side. So, but you’re right. Most of the stuff is going to web, and it’s really… It could be a delivery mechanism for their message and branding. It could be for training purposes. A significant part of what we do is we’ve essentially built a training portal for a large company on the North Shore and then are producing the videos that go alongside that.

Paul: Okay. Is this for employee training or customer training?

Brian: Yeah. It’s for insurance, safety training essentially.

Paul: Oh, okay. Yeah, that’s critical because it’s compliance.

Brian: So it’s for, for policyholders of theirs. So they’ve built kind of this conduit for people to login train. Eventually they’re bringing it to an e-learning level but really just a resource library of, of safety-style videos. Yeah.

Paul: Cool. That’s cool. And then do you track like who’s completed what and they get some benefit for having done that?

Brian: Yeah. There are components of that built into the system for sure. Yeah. So that’s a good example of kind of how we hit all sides of the project. You know, we built the portal. We built the brochureware, if you will. We built in the content.

Paul: Oh, that’s awesome. So a one-stop shop in a lot of ways.

Brian: Yeah. A lot of times. And, our services kind of talk to one another, and so there’s legacy database systems that know need frontend. So, you know, our software solutions team, which may handle and maintain that legacy system, helps us write API calls to talk to a web frontend.

Paul: Very cool. Yeah, it’s hard to find people that can take all pieces of it, or all facets of something. It’s, so that might, must be nice because you can’t point the finger at anybody. And that’s a benefit to the customer is that there’s no finger pointing. “Well, it was their fault.” “Well, yeah. That’s you.” So…

Brian: No, and it’s good because we… There’s a deep understanding of the different components of it. I think what we’ve run into a lot of times and where we, we see how the value of our company shines through is that you may get someone who is heavily into one side or the other, and they don’t understand how those pieces connect. And you know, based on various projects and hurdles, we don’t work with one particular market segment either. So, you know, the challenge of a manufacturer could be applied to the challenge of an insurance company in some weird way that you would never think. But, you know, we run into these situations where it’s like, “Oh, yeah, we did that on this, and you know, we can connect the dots here.” And so, that’s the part that, for me, that’s fun. And I think that also encapsulates the company as a whole.

Paul: Cool. Now you, as far as the creative side, I think you guys have a studio. Don’t you?

Brian: We do.

Paul: So, now like these training videos, were they done in studio or were they done on location or a mix?

Brian: You know, a lot of have been done on location. A lot of OSHA style, so you need the warehouse or a, or a ladder or something along those lines. But we do have a green screen room where we do a lot of our kind of talking-head profile pieces. The stuff that the studio space, what we moved into a new space in October. And that space, ultimately, gave us the opportunity to bring clients in at lower cost for a project, more or less because we had the space for it, which was all pre-rigged, ready to go versus dragging all the gear out, location to location, you know. So, for, for us, it’s been one of those things where we’re trying to take advantage of giving customers a little bit more flexibility on their budget to get a quality, studio-quality piece.

Paul: So now, just for our listeners who may not know, a green screen is basically a wall that’s painted with a bright lime-green almost?

Brian: Yeah, it’s like it’s…

Paul: It’s an unnatural green.

Brian: That’s right. That’s a good way to describe it. Yeah.

Paul: And what you do is you, you stand in front of it, and you shoot a camera with that and, uh, so you take a video of it. It’s like, what? If you watched the weather on the news, it’s the same way. And afterwards, you can use something called Chroma Key to put a new picture behind that. And you know, it’s not always perfect. It’s getting better and better. But you can see it when maybe somebody moves and you’ll notice that they don’t wear anything green. But that allows you to, you know, effectively have somebody standing on the shore of the Atlantic without having to be at the Atlantic. And so that’s cool. So you’ve got one that’s actually built out and lit. See, the biggest things with green screen is you have to uniformally — uniformally, is that a word?

Brian: I don’t know, but it sounded right.

Paul: You have to uniformally light the green because it has to be the same color all the way throughout.

Brian: Yeah. Shadows are the biggest trip-up in that process. And then when you get to more advanced stages of it, you know, like you look at like maybe an ESPN piece where they do like the 30 for 30s or something along those lines where they have that, really like one side of the face is dark and the other is lit. Uh, that’s where, you know, skillsets really shine through is that, if you know what you’re doing or not. And yeah, that’s the tough part.

And with the studio, for us, it gives us a lot more variables over— a lot more control over those variables. Yeah, so we’ve got a lot of lighting pre-rigged, and then we have flexible lighting on the floor that we can move around and kind of get the look and feel that we want.

Paul: And this is all, you know, you, our listeners… Having been a professional photographer myself, all of these things sound like labor and laborious and like, “Oh, man, that’s, that’s such a hassle.” But it makes the difference between things looking okay and things looking fantastic. Good lighting, good cameras, angles, lenses, all of these stuff adds up to just, you know, knock your socks off. And that’s why you can tell… This is why you go to the movies and you pay all this money — you know, $15 to sit in a sit and watch a movies — because they took all of this into account.

So, what kind of cameras do you guys use?

Brian: We use an array of cameras. I mean, I like to call them small form factor cameras. But it depends on the situation. But I’m, we’re shooting entirely 4k now, so…

Paul: Okay. All 4k. So high, high resolution. That’s four times the normal HiDef of Blue-ray. So that’s a lot of data. So, okay. So…

Brian: So I mean, the trick for us has been to find, 4k cameras that shoot at a bit rate and compress the video enough to where we’re not losing the quality but we’re not having these massive file sizes, because as a photography professional, you probably know, you get into those raw files, and all of a sudden, you know, it became…

Paul: Where do you store them?

Brian: Yeah. Exactly. Where do you store them? How do you back them up and, and that whole process? So yeah. I mean, we’ve been very cautious of that and selective in our decision making when it comes to purchases as far as new technology is concerned. And we also have to work quickly with a lot of files. You know, most of the time, we don’t have a cinematic film-like timeline and budget where you have, you can have these media bays and things like that. And you know, you have to make sure that a project size, the files are, are easy enough to work with quickly and turn out a final product.

And a lot of times, you know, we’re shooting high quality, but eventually, it’s getting down res-ed too, something that’s going to be able to play smoothly on a, on a website. So…

Paul: So you, but you still… So, I mean, that’s a great point. So you’re shooting hundreds of times better quality then is going to be rendered on the web.

Brian: Most likely.

Paul: But you’re doing it. And, and so if you were… Somebody were to come in and say, “Gee, I want a project done — X, Y, and Z,” just on average, how long does it take, start to finish? So, you know, I come in and I say, “This is what I want. I want a talking head video for my company so people can get to know me.” Is that a week? Is that 10 weeks. I know it varies by how busy you are, but let’s say you didn’t have anything else to do. Come in. How much does that take?

Brian: Yeah. No, I mean, it’s a good question. It depends, really, on a number of factors. Obviously like what’s involved with the shooting, how their location shoots… Is it in studio? How much editing is involved. If it’s a quick talking head, those can get knocked out pretty quick, but if you have a lot of B-roll that has to go along with it, the project might be staggered out, depending on when you’re doing pickups or aggregating media.

Paul: Let me interrupt you. What’s B-roll. I mean, let’s educate some of the people. So, is it rolls of bees?

Brian: Yeah, so if someone was filming our conversation right now and we were talking about cameras for example, they might show a picture of the cameras we were talking about.

Paul:: Cut away to that.

Brian: Yeah. Exactly. That cutaway footage and that footage on top of your main dialog or interview is what’s called B-roll.

Paul: Okay. And so you have to shoot that.

Brian: Shoot that, acquire it. You can purchase stock clips. You can use motion kind of effects on pictures sometimes works. We use 2.5D effect a lot of time, which I don’t know if you’re familiar with.

Paul: Well, tell me.

Brian: It kind of looks like you take a still photo and you isolate layers of it and kind of to make it… A lot of PBS-like.

Paul: Yeah. Ken Burns — did he do any of that?

Brian: It’s a little— it’s almost like Ken Burns on steroids a little bit. So it’s that motion of the Ken Burns effect of it panning into a picture or zooming into a picture. But you’re isolating different layers of, of the photo in Photoshop so you have more depth to it.

Paul: I see. So that must be a picture that you’re creating. You couldn’t take that from a…

Brian: Yeah. I mean, sometimes, sometimes media is, you know, only available in picture format, you know. Or a customer may not have a budget to go out and shoot specific things. So with that being said, I mean, every project’s a little different. And I think there’s also a degree of, you know, how much the client knows they want upfront versus, you know, how much are they involved in the creative process, and that, that can draw out a timeline too.

Paul: Cool. Well, I just want to tell our listeners, we, in the show notes, we’ll have some links to examples of the 2.5D effect. Hopefully you can give us one and, and show us that. And links to all the things we talk about as we’re going through this. And, and of course, to GraVoc.

© 2017 Paul Parisi

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