Imagine: behind the scenes

I plan to get into the Imagine Silicon Valley 2015 project.
I produced this video, in order to participate to the challenge :

Keep reading for the long story of the production :

The Imagine project is insanely cool, and making this video was 120% fun to.
Still, video is always a complex piece of content to produce, especially when you have to talk about you…
So enjoy my pain, have fun and please do vote for me if you think my profile is worth supporting.

The video I finally produced is based on all the shitty takes and mistakes I made.
It’s fresh, impacting and true to me. At first I planned for others formats and more complex storytelling, but nothing was really true to my heart and as engaging as the one above. Here’s the whole story.

Stage 01 : brainstorm phase

Let’s look into what’s needed and how to do it.
Imagine wants to know who you are and why they should pick you up for their project. So it’s about keywords brainstorming. Who am I ?
Gosh, I should have started my psychoanalysis sooner.

brainstorm

Stage 02 : the idea

Once the core is there, the main keywords, I started working on the story telling. How to tie these words together and give them meaning?
What would be a good intro, a nice climax and an impacting ending ?
Oh and let’s not forget the format. Scenery, rhythm, editing style.
Should I put some yellow in the video as reference to the brand ? OR some balloons ? It sounds like a lame gimmick no ?

script

At first I started with a version of me speaking face to the camera. But rapidly switch over day 2 into something more graphical. So I spent 2 days thinking about how to tell the story with a nice voice over and drawings.
I wrote 5 versions of the text and tested them live, to see which one was fitting better. Luckily my years in TV production helped. So the text length was nailed and lasted 1:33s. Just the max timing given for the video.

I then started the set-up of the drawing process. I rapidly realized my first idea to draw and talk at the same time and have a single continuous live shot would not be possible:
* It’s hard to focus on drawing AND speaking (especially when you are not a pro artist)
* I do not have the equipment (especially a mic to catch clearly my voice)

So I went on testing.
Outside on the terrace to try out the light, and finally I decided to settled in the living room. AND there is a nice hook on the roof to rig-up the camera, making the set-up easier.

The result, after 7 takes, 5 sheets of drawings and a first raw editing was a lengthy 2 min voice over with only 16s of me at the end, with a bad echo. Nothing that I was really proud of, even if the drawing exercise was cool.

That’s how it was done 🙂

IMG_4832

Stage 03 : let’s trash it all

Back to square one, the solution is not reliable, I have to find something else.
Let’s be positive, I am happy with the script, mainly.
Another brainstorm (mainly at night, not sleeping but thinking).
Let’s go out and make it dynamic, and start the pitch but introducing this struggle to create the video.

It’s catchier and funny enough. And I’d like the tone to be a bit less serious than in version one.

portrait

After a first day in the park and some hours editing, I have a first version out.
The truth is, I had real fun spending some hours there. BUT acting is really not my thing. I have to find the real thing that makes it true, not fake. And it’s not there.

Pre-Final stage : God help me

So I have to re-shoot again. Pain.
I try to ease the process and go for another morning in the park and put the camera on a fixed spot. Let’s forget the moving/traveling for a moment, in order to focus on my style and tone.
And do some impro, as I do not have to focus on framing myself.
that might be a good way to give a good boost through the editing part.
(Check this brilliant video as a reference for the idea behind.)

rigged

The result post-edit is better, I think. But I completely lose the momentum in the last part, where I was walking up the hill with the perspective on the city. A pity, this is a part I liked a lot. It was building up emotions and meaning and now it’s all gone.

Let’s keep working, and have faith in the – creative – process.

Refining editing at one nice place in Barcelona, between two appointments...
Refining editing at one nice place in Barcelona, between two appointments…

Final stage : alea jacta est

It’s friday 15th and the wind is blowing like hell over the city. I quickly process two takes in the late afternoon. Light in incredibly beautiful and soft but it won’t but usable. So no more recording today.
Not happy to lose half-day of production so close to the deadline (17th).
Mission for saturday: rework the last part in order to nail the momentum AND deliver a nice acting. Not too serious, but energetic, passionate and into it. I’ll get a palme d’or if I continue this way.

It’s harder that it might sound, especially when you are recording yourself, holding the camera at arm’s length (which gives this intimate style in the video but force you to focus both on the frame, the acting and the text).

Saturday morning, the sun raises over the sea, so it’s technically on my back when I record. Thus it’s impossible to produce clean images.
I use the morning and mid-day to aggregate some shots and improvise a spin-off video with “left-over”, funny stuff, mistakes and improvised takes from all the material I have.
It’s 4m and time to go for another recording session. I’ll spend 2 hours having fun on my last speech part, which I know by heart and believe in. The spin-off video is still encoding on the Mac.

Getting back home, uploading the spin-off to YouTube, and giving it a second look.
It’s funny, nervy, catchy, impacting and reflect well who I am.
Well in fact I can stop watching it in loop. Neither the few people I pass it to.
So that will be the video. We got it.

So here’s the final result (the one at the top of this post):

What has changed?

  • Cut editing. Snappy, dynamic.
  • Fresh tone, it’s funny
  • the ending holds on 2 words, but they are powerful
  • No more drawings
  • Balloons !

I hope you like it.
As said, this video needs to gather a max amount of Facebook like so I can be selected, so please help me out !

Some funny stats:
* 7 days of production
* 6 versions of videos edited
* 25€ spent on make-up to avoid the typical shiny skin
* 32,5 km walked in the park (according to FitBit)
* 230 pieces of rushes processed
* 32 GB of videos stored during production

I used a Sony RX–100 III for the recording, a MacBook Pro and Premiere Pro for editing and some Photoshop for image composition.

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