Category Archives for "Cinematography"

The philosophy behind riveting story telling: ASMP SB Story telling in Motion

Story is the most important element of good video

Story trumps everything

Story is the most important part of any video. Great story trumps great visuals, amazing audio or an intricate edit every time. As a photographer you’ve been a visual storyteller for as long as you’ve captured still images, so I’m not gonna waste your time on how to craft visual content that tells a compelling story designed to change the viewers mind.

(If you want to learn more about that kind of story telling check out Alex Buono’s Visual Story Telling Tour that’s running through September 20th – don’t forget yourASMP member discount – or check out the How to Step Up Your Video talk I gave at WordCamp Miami this past May.)

3 ingredients necessary to create a powerful story

I believe the philosophy behind creating a powerful visual story is simple. It consists of three basic steps that, when followed, make your story irresistible. These three ingredients are simple to learn, yet difficult to execute. I discovered them when creating my first documentary in Afghanistan, shared them in my TEDx talk called The Art of Changing Minds and try to incorporate them into all of my video productions:

Step#1: Vision

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others – Jonathan Swift

Without vision you have no story. Without vision you are literally flying blind. How are you going to tell a story, if you don’t know how it ends, where it begins and what twists and turns there will be along the way? By the way, it was Aristotle who wrote that every story has a beginning, a middle and an end.

Your vision is imperative to transform your viewer. Without vision it’s the blind leading the blind. True vision can not be manufactured, it has to transform you first.

(As an aside, if all you have is vision – you’re a just dreamer. Someone with a great idea, who’s afraid of going out on a limb with his or her idea. You need the next step to get the driving force to help you get your dream off the ground.)

Step#2: Passion

If you don’t have a passion for what you do, any rational person is going to give up – Steve Jobs

Without passion your story is dull, boring, uninteresting and lame. Without passion your story is a carbon copy of someone else’s at best–a counterfeit clone at worst. How are you going to excite your audience, if you’re not sharing something that you deeply believe in? More importantly, where are you gonna get the strength to deal with the people who will discourage you from telling your story without having that fire in your belly? It’s easy to give up if all you hear is “No!” – unless you have passion driving your vision.

Your passion is vital to inspire your audience. Without passion you’re producing a story that’s gonna put everyone to sleep. True passion can not be faked. Passion has to inspire you first, before it inspires your audience.

(As an aside, if you have passion, without vision – you’re like a bull in a china shop. There’s a lot of noise, but nothing good is gonna come out of it. Shoot first and ask questions later does not work.)

Action

Your aspirations are in heaven, but your brains are in your feet – Afghan proverb

Without action your story is going to die. I don’t care how transforming your vision is and how inspirational your passion is; without taking action, you will fail. It’s as simple as that. Without action your story never gets told and an untold story is worth as much as an unprocessed piece of film.

Your action inspires, or breathes life into, your story. Without action your story remains lifeless and dead. It stays buried inside your head or entombed in some dusty screenplay or faded storyboard, that’s never gonna get shared. Great stories need you to get your head out of the clouds and get going.

The philosophy behind riveting storytelling

  • Be a true visionary and create a transformative story, by staying true to your vision.
  • Become a person of passion, who shares an inspirational story fueled by the burning passion in your gut.
  • Take action! Produce an inspiring story that follows your vision, and combine it with passion to let it rip …

Pascal wins award of excellence for “On Wings of Hope” cinematography

On Wings of Hope wins Award of Excellence

On Wings of Hope beautiful cinematography wins "Award of Excellence"

"On WIngs of Hope" the 2013 documentary film produced by Photography by Depuhl in Afghanistan won the Award for Excellence for cinematography. 

​Award of excellence!

Videographer Awards today announced winners for the 2015 international awards competition. Videoawards.com recognizes outstanding achievement by talented individuals and companies in the video production field.

Entrants include video production companies, advertising and public relations firms, corporate communication departments, cable and broadcast television operations, government agencies and other visual content producers.

Another award for "On Wings of Hope"

The Award of Excellence, the organization’s top honor, adds yet another award to the accolades this video production has received in the past years. On Wings of Hope was won the award for excellent cinematography.

On Wings of Hope wins Award of Excellence

5 Tips for Making a Killer Video From Your Phone

today's phones produce stunning videos

The August 7 deadline for sharing a 90-second (or less) video about your business as part of our ongoing Small Business Big Game contest is right around the corner — and it’s an amazing opportunity to showcase who you are and why you love running the show as a small business owner or self-employed professional. 

But what if you’re not sure where to start? 

We tapped OWN IT member and professional cinematographer Pascal Depuhl to share with us his top tips for creating a video you can be proud of — even if you only have a smartphone on hand.

Read on for Pascal’s great tips…

 

You’ve worked with a range of different small businesses to tell their stories in video. What are your go-to ideas or themes that work best?

The #1 thing you want to express in your video is the *why.* Why is your product the best? Why is your service better? Why is your small business the right choice for a potential customer or client?Once you nail the “why,” everything else will fall into place.
The story that comes out of the answers to these questions is the backbone of your video. That story is always simple:
  • Identify a problem your customer has
  • Show why your business offers the best solution
  • Finish with a call to action
I always start by putting myself in my audience’s shoes: What do they need that I can offer? Or, do I need to explain something new to them? If it’s necessary, how can I change their mind?
Do they want to hear from another customer? Make a testimonial video featuring one of your star customers.
Do they need to hear from an expert? Shoot an interview.
Do they need to experience your location? Take them behind the scenes with a guided video tour.
Do they want to learn how your service works? Film a short tutorial.
Remember, a good story will keep customers watching. A bad one (or worse, no story at all) and your viewers will drop like flies.
 

I know I want to tell a compelling story with my video, but I don’t want to leave anything to chance. What is the quickest way for me to create a script before I start filming?

Good luck on not leaving anything to chance! Actually, you want chance — unless you’re filming a movie with professional actors. Your video should be real. If you script what a client says in a testimonial, it’s gonna sound canned.
That being said, it is important — scratch that, it is *vital* — to plan. The good news is you’ve already started. You’ve figured out the problem your customer has, why your small business offers the best solution and how to convince the potential client to take action. You also know if you’re creating a testimonial, a behind-the-scenes tour or a tutorial.
Write out interview questions that you think will give you the answers you need for your story. Sketch out the order in which you want to walk through a behind-the-scenes tour, or lay out the steps you are going to cover in your tutorial.
It doesn’t have to be fancy. A few notes jotted down or a few stick figures in a story board will go a long way in keeping you on track. Don’t forget to also consider the location where you’ll be filming.

I only have a smartphone that can record video. Is that good enough for creating my video, or do I need to invest in expensive equipment first?

Craft your edit to step up your video

Editing puts it all together

Editing puts the final touches on your video

So you got a story, recorded sound and captured visuals. Editing puts them all together into the masterwork you’ve been working one (oh, and you can also hide some mistakes and goofs in the edit). Learn how to step up your video from the talk I gave at WordCamp Miami a few weeks ago.

I spoke at #WCMIA as part of a MarketingHack#6: Speak to influencers that your target market trusts.

Visuals are great to step up your video

Visuals are the glue that keep your viewers stuck to your video

Visuals can communicate so much in video

Visuals are what we all think about when we think about video. As photographers we already know how to create them–I’ve been in the visual content creation business since high school. We need to learn to work some new tools and understand that visuals in video are not a split second in time, but we now need to create the whole moment. Learn how to step up your video from the talk I gave at WordCamp Miami a few weeks ago.

Next weeks video is all about editing

Next week we’ll dive into the last step of “How to step up your video: Edit“. Editing is were the story, the sound and the visuals all come together. This is the final piece in creating your video.

I spoke at #WCMIA as part of a MarketingHack#6: Speak to influencers that your target market trusts.

Video Lighting Workshop Move2Motion

Move2Motion's workshop about video light sources

It’s all about the light

There are many components, that go into a successful motion shoot and as photographers the one we are most familiar with is the visual portion of video. We learn very quickly that we must master story telling, audio recording and editing as well, but we often take the visual crafting of an image for granted–until we turn on that first continuous light source and quickly realize, it has very little in common with the strobes we’re all used to.

Lighting plays a huge role in video as it does in photography - learn the basics of video lighting instrumentsGet to know your video lights

This Move2Motion Video Lighting workshop will focus on the most commonly used lighting instruments in video production.It’s not designed to teach you how to light–we’re assuming you already know how to do that.

  • Unsure of the difference between a open face par and a fresnel?
  • Want to learn more about why a tungsten light renders a much better color than LED?
  • Surprises that a fluorescent bulb can be have a color temperature of 3200ºK?
  • Wondering why an HMI needs to be flicker free?

Then this workshop is for you. Join us and get ready to learn some theory, basic terminology and a hands on comparison of a variety of different continuous light sources. Bring your gloves – ’cause the lights get hot and your color meter – you do still have that, right?

Move2Motion Video Lighting Workshop details:

We’re working on planning this workshop, but it will be held in Miami in the middle of October. Stay tuned for pricing info, exact time and location. Move2Motion is offering 3 events in October that will all focus on video productions for photographers:

  1. A panel discussion of photographers from different segments of our industry that talk about the role video plays in their space: commercial, advertising, weddings, press and corporate
  2. A seminar for photographers that want to make video. Better. This is part of PPA’s Super1Day educational series. The cost for this seminar is $99. All payments will be handled via PPA signup.
  3. Video Lighting Workshop – a workshop that gives you a hands on experience of continuous light sources used in video productions.

A huge shout out to our friends at Magic2Lighting, who are supplying the bulk of lighting and grip gear for this workshop. Special Thanks to BlueShape Batteries that are going to power all the portable lights. Stay tuned for more sponsors and event details.

Move2Motion video class coming to Miami again this October as part of PPA’s Super 1 day!

Video class PPA Super 1 Day Miami

Announcing the second Move2Motion workshop

Video class for photographers I’m excited to announce, that I’ll be teaching a second Move2Motion workshop for photographers on October 17, 2015 as part of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) educational event called: Super 1 Day

Video is becoming more and more prevalent online and you’re clients are looking to share the products and services of their businesses and personal events with their clients and friends in motion productions and no longer just stills.

Video is becoming more and more prevalent online and you’re clients are looking to share their businesses and events with their clients and friends in motion productions and no longer just stills.

Learn the basics of video for photographers

This Move2Motion workshops will give you a comprehensive foundation of video and film production. We’ll look at …

  • What makes compelling story and why you should care
  • Why audio is more important than video and how to record it
  • How great visuals can make your story shine and why video is not like shooting stills
  • Why you should edit your own footage and some basic tips on how to make it all work together

Who’s teaching me this course?

Pascal Depuhl video workshop with PPAPascal Depuhl is a photographer who’s added cinematography to his repertoire a few years ago.

He teaches a workshop series called Move2Motion, designed for professional photographers, who want to add video and motion capabilities to the services they offer to their clients. Pascal has taught about video at WordCamp Miami and local universities. He’s given a TEDx talk based on the short documentary he filmed in Afghanistan and spoken about video at a few online conferences.

Pascal’s short films have won international marketing and photo industry awards, they’ve been screened in film festivals and National Geographic, the BBC and PBS have bought his footage. Pascal has also helped Philip Bloom, Nino Leitner and others teach at their Filmmaking workshops.

If you haven’t made the switch to adding motion to your photography yet, don’t worry. He’s been in your shoes and remembers what it felt like, when he dipped his toe into video.

 

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