Here we go again. Another year another Fox Music Holiday Card! This is the 8th year that I’ve shot an e-card. The productions keep getting bigger and “hopefully” better. Actually, last year was a huge production that took about 2 months to complete. This year was different but still a big project.
So I wanted to do slow motion. I really wanted to get a Phantom Miro camera and shoot at 1000fps. I found one for rent but I chickened out at the last minute. The camera is VERY expensive and to rent for 1 day is about $1,000. Plus you have to take a day to take a class on how to operate. I would have loved to learn that camera but I just couldn’t get past the price. When I do these videos any cost comes out of my pocket so $1,000 is real money and not an amount I was willing to part with.
I could have rented a lesser camera but I thought it would be fun and funny to actually use an iPhone to shoot this year. Last year, after we wrapped production for our card the joke was in 2015 we’d just take a shapshot with an iPhone and call it day. This was the next best thing.
The iPhone 6s shoots slow motion at 240fps at 720p. Not bad for a phone! I mean I could have rented a fancy camera that would have had the same specs. So I got a tripod adapter and secured my location.
My first concept was to shoot inside on a stage with a brightly lit white background. That quickly went out the window when I got access to the New York Street on the Fox lot. I was still hanging on to my white backdrop idea but I slept on it and finally realized that it was so cool to have the street as a backdrop and how lucky I was to get it, why not use it?! So I did.
We had two 1.5k HMI floods and a Kino Flo but I ended up not using them. The iPhone sensor was so great that we didnt need it. Actually, I could have used the lights on one of the shots but I didnt and it worked out.
So this was a 6 hour ordeal. An hour to get everything from Grip and Lighting then set it up and another 5 hours to shoot everyone (with a 1 hour break in there too). So actual shoot time was 4 hours – still a lot for me. I learned that when I shoot everyone in one spot I can crank it out. We also had a lot of takes for most of the set ups. I tried to stress that the real time of the action would be about 2 seconds – if that.
Contrary to how I normally work, I had picked out the music ahead of time. I chose “Making Water” by Harry Gregson-Williams from The Martian. It had just the feel I was looking for and lent itself to slo-mo. Timing it out I figured I had 15 four-second slots to fill before the ending.
Trying to fill the 15 slots was like putting a crossword puzzle together. We are 32 people so I needed people to try to shoot in groups. Of course there are always singles and I had two people who were not there the day of shooting so they were solos as well. It turned out perfect anyway so I didn’t have to burst anyone’s dreams of not doing something they wanted.
Shooting with the iPhone was pretty easy. I tried to set up a monitor system with an Apple TV but the wifi on the studio lot would not allow it. I then did a hard wire connection from the phone to a TV monitor and it worked. It was nice to see larger and for others to gather around and see what was shot. I will def work with a monitor going forward. I didnt use this time but for next time I would try and use an iOgrapher case. It looks cool and there are lenses to attach.
Editing was pretty easy. Importing the 240fps into Adobe Premier Pro CC was easy – you just need to interpret the footage to the frame rate you are editing on. In this case I went from 240fps to 24fps. Very easy.
I also used Adobe Premiere Pro and Photoshop which works great with Premiere because it all links and any updates in one are automatically sent to Premiere.
All in all I love the end result.