The creative process is more than generating an arresting concept, or storyboarding a series of complex shots. It’s more than a witty voice over, or a dreamy color grade. There are series of technical considerations that go into each project that benefit the final product. Showing a few of these considerations will best articulate the technical properties, that lead to a specific creative outcome.
The camera is iconic, so naturally I wanted to start here. Many times we are tasked with creating a video that has dramatic elements. For instance, there are infinite creative ways to show the torment of a person who suffers from cluster headaches. Let us look at a slow motion version as our first test.
Slow motion sounds is ubiquitous in video productions, even so there are numerous choices camera-wise that we need to consider. Some cameras do extremely high frame rates but are prohibitively expensive, while others will downsample and create artifacts when the frame rate is increased; however, the image looks pristine at normal frame rates. A lot of the times, camera choice with respect to slow motion is really a factor of how much slow motion will need to be shot. If the production skews towards standard speed video, then using the camera that creates some artifacts may be the best choice.
Every now and then, we get projects that need to be turned around in a matter of a few days. So, there are a variety of things we need to look at in order to facilitate that request. The most important is the editing system. Final Cut Pro 7 typically requires some type of log and transfer step which gets the footage in an editable format. Ultimately, this will add time to the front end of the process. Adobe Premiere can edit footage natively, which means you can forgo the transcoding process providing you have a powerful enough computer. There are other factors that lead to a speedy turn around but that will be for another post.
The final area I wanted to touch upon is where the client wants to really emphasize a happy outcome or put their product in the best possible light. We would solve this particular issue creatively with color grading. With color grading, the largest technical consideration is the codec or fidelity of the recording format. For many projects, recording to the internal format is fine in most instances, but there are shortcoming to how far you can typically color the image. Adding an external recorder, which allows us to record a more pristine image, which gives us significantly more flexibility when we color the image. A second consideration we look at when we shoot for the grade is the latitude of the camera. All latitude means is how much detail will you see in the dark area, before it becomes totally black, and how much of the image you will see when shooting in very bright areas such as outside, before the images turns white and ghostly. Cost is always a consideration when looking for a camera that can give us a more gradable image. Disk Space has to be considered because, some of the best cameras on the market require an exorbitant amount of space to store the footage. But, typically better the fidelity the larger the file size.
All in all, there are a lot of technical considerations we take into account for each creative idea that we have. We spend a considerable amount of time understanding the relationships between the technology, and its practical application in our creative field.