>>>>but the skin tones especially right at the start put me off a bit.
I agree, but it wasn't so much the skin tone, although this does seriously affect it, as it is the exposure level of the faces. This, I think, goes back to the recent discussion regarding the "film look" we were all having. These exposure levels for faces are a good deal higher than optimum, and are the kinds of levels that are pretty common and give the "video look" a bad name. Overall, I thought the spot was well done and would probably please the client and really not warrant any comment at all, but aesthetically, with just a 25 to 30 point drop in levels on the faces... probably quite easy to achieve, as well. No extra work or equipment involved.
I thought it was well done Laurence. I had to go back and watch it again to see the skin tone issue... apparently it didn't stick out too bad to me on the first go around, but after watching it again, I definitely see the tonal issue. However, I don't think anyone outside of those who have a critical eye for those kind of things would notice.
Skin tones look better but now they're sort of lobster, it's the guy with the green shirt that's the problem for me. Marilyn is fine, that kind of china doll skin copes well.
The lip sync that Grazie mentions, I'm not 100% certain. I've had YT play tricks on me with sync so it could just be Vimeo doing the same.
[I]"The green shirt guy is pretty pale in real life."[/I]
Sure but there'll still be detail in that skin and you don't want to lose that or cause weird colour shifts by overexposing his skin.
From what I can see he was close to a big window. At a guess you were trying to keep some detail in the background. Without a big budget and crew that's a difficult call. Personally I always expose for skin and prefer a bit under than over. A bit under tends to look dramatic and can be graded up anyway, over risks looking plastic and difficult to impossible to fix in post.
For what the client paid he got excellent value for money. I've seen much worse from people with a lot more money to spend. The rest of it looks great and you've put a great deal of effort into making it entertaining.
I do a lot of stuff near big windows since that is the format of a lot of shops. I wonder if a sideways gradient filter might be a handy tool to have in my bag. That or like you said, I could just under expose a little while I was shooting and bring it up in post.
Underexposing a tad is the easiest. Your next option is to deal with your key to fill ratio and the cheapest option there is to choose the right time of day. My preference is early morning as there's usually no wind and hence no clouds to worry about.
If you wanted to try bringing up the fill I've seen it done. The low ceilings are a challenge so how it's done is to crank the lights up until they're just below the ceiling. Then where the bottom barn door is you put a 2x2 reflector. In the shoot I saw there was one light in each corner and they were at least 2K HMIs but it did work very well.
This way even if the place's fluro lights get in shot they're not blown out and there's enough soft light bounced down into the room to light everything with no harsh shadows.
>How did your client like the piece? And, more importantly, are there any metrics to gauge how has it helped his business? That's really all that matters (to clients).
The client loves it. It just went up the other day so there is no way to judge how it will perform in terms of attracting customers, but most of our other clients who have been with us over a year are quite happy and renewing and my schedule is full the rest of the year.
These are really low budget ads. I use a minimal amount of equipment: an unrigged GH3, a couple of lenses, a shotgun mic on a boom stand, a Beachtek preamp, a light tripod with a small fluid head, and two battery powered Z96 LED lights on stands. The whole setup is two tripod bags (tripod in one, light stands in the other), the camera case, the camera case, the mic stand, and a canvas tool bag for everything else. I walk into the place with all my equipment in one not too difficult trip.
These pay a limited amount of money so in order to make it profitable I need to be in and out quickly and be able to do an edit in a few hours.
The ads themselves are just playing at one movie theater. We want more, but all the large chains have their own pre-movie displays as part of the franchise. We are limited to privately owned theaters. In spite of having just one theater I have been surprisingly busy. At this point, only a handful of the ads in the loop aren't mine.
The theater is an old one that has recently been renovated and expanded. Ticket prices are about two dollars cheaper than the major chains and they actually serve good food and reasonably priced concessions. The theater has a pretty loyal following and my ads are a part of this
They are all local ads, low budget but lovingly crafted. I always meet with the client ahead of time to talk through what message we want the ad to convey. We schedule the shooting so that their people can dress up a bit. I try to get lots of local faces.
I believe this may be the only theater in the country where people go to the movies extra early just to see the ads.
This has been discussed (mostly by me I'm afraid) in various other threads, and mostly in discussions about Mercalli SAL, but...
Because Vegas still uses VFW, it inherits this thing where the levels of certain codecs and/or containers are expanded on the Vegas timeline. What Vegas users call sRGB levels of 16-235 are expanded to 0-255. Not everyone agrees with me that this happens but for me it is a practical reality that affects my day to day work.
This is why I use the AVCHD mode on the GH3 and not the higher bitrate MOV formats. Vegas deals with the AVCHD levels correctly but expands the MOV levels from the same camera.
Had I shot this same ad with the Gh3's 50Mbps MOV mode and edited it in Vegas, everything that was in the 235-255 range (as shot in AVCHD mode) would have been clipped and unrecoverable in Vegas. In a non-VFW editor such as Premiere Pro or Edius, the MOV modes would be fine. With my previous Nikon camera DSLR, there was no way around this but I didn't realize it at the time. I am pretty sure MOV footage from Canons has the same issue. Most people don't realize that this is the problem and just think that the dynamic range from these cameras is more limited than it actually is.
For now, I just get around this issue by using the AVCHD mode on my GH3, and by processing footage from my GoPros wiith ProDRENALIN which outputs in a format that doesn't have this problem.