A Video Production Agency Must Please the Client

Part 2 of 2

November 10, 2021 | Andy Linda
Continued from our previous blog entry:

It took this video production agency months of discussion to turn our client’s wishes list into a viable, albeit very challenging short video script. We had children, we had animals, a limited amount of shooting time, no casting and no rehearsal, a budget that was tight as a drum, and the lingering threat of COVID in the air. It was time to turn our attention to the location which the client provided.

The firehouse facility which the City of San Francisco provided for this video was nice enough and the fire chief extremely supportive and accommodating. But the firetruck which we needed to be in the background of our shot was on call and there was no way to guarantee it would be in the station on shoot day. Oh and by the way, there’s construction across the street and it may get noisy. And we can’t take over the firehouse for more than a few hours. Besides, the kids have limited attention spans. None of these are a problem for the video production agency, are they?!

So we prepared for producing this City of San Francisco video the best we could: an ultra-detailed script, a shooting schedule with built-in flexibility to shoot around a missing firetruck in the background, fifteen minutes in which our director could rehearse with the children. Directing this potential firebomb fell into the hands of Daniel Gamburg, our most experienced member when it comes to directing actors. It’s truly his strength because he loves to do it. In this case he was rightfully nervous about the process.

Finally, the shoot!

On shoot day Daniel started the rehearsals with the children while the rest of our video production agency set up lights and camera. In a stroke of genius Daniel asked our sound man Chris Voltz to record the audio of the rehearsals. Just as the rehearsals ended, pile driving started in the construction across the street. It was a horrendous noise that was to continue the rest of the day and we had no way to stop it. We had to make do with what we had.

We lined up the first shot and… a buzzer went off, a group of firefighters piled into the firetruck in our background and they drove off. Our firehouse looked like an empty car repair garage. So we turned the camera around and started shooting the other angle, of the kids, in spite of the relentless pile driver making sound recording virtually useless. But lo and behold, by the time we were done with the kids’ lines, the fire truck came back and we could shoot the reverse angle.

The kids were great with a surprising amount of patience for their age. The firefighter bravely took on his role of a less-than-heroic character and this video production agency salutes him for that. We recorded what we could in the four hours we were allotted.

Children and parent with a fireman
Tough Post Production

Post production took a long time because I had to sync up the sound recorded during rehearsal into the video shots. Thank God for the pitch-shift function of Adobe’s Audition where I could re-time the rehearsal sound to match lip movement while keeping the pitch of the child’s voice constant. Thanks to careful planning we got what we needed, but just barely. This was a video production where our agency used every shot and every angle we captured. Nothing was wasted, there was no time to get any extra coverage.

The bottom line is that you’d never know any of this watching the final product. Just to give you a sense of the challenge, below is the edited project with the original audio. Compare it to the cleaned-up final. We’re very happy with the result of this City of San Francisco video… and we will try hard to never be the video production agency which has to struggle this hard to fulfill the client’s every wish.

Original Audio Version:

Make sure to check out the final cleaned-up version!

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