VIsual Storytelling Seminar Can Help You Boost The Impact of Your Videos

While the technology used to produce films and videos is changing rapidly (putting more power in the hands of more people), the core principles of visual storytelling have not changed.

For an intense, educational overview of the artistic elements and core principles of cinematography, check out The Visual Storytelling Tour. This series of full-day seminars (9 am to 9 pm) will be presented in 31 cities from June 3 to August 4.


Oscar nominee and Director of Photography of the Saturday Night Live Film Unit Alex Buono will show you how to dramatically increase the impact of your films.

“I’ll show you how I deal with working in a fast turnaround environment like Saturday Night Live while still delivering my best work,” says Buono. He says you can do the same whether you shoot commercials, movies, documentaries, weddings, corporate videos, or live events.

Designed for both DSLR and Cine-style camera users, the workshop will teach you advanced techniques for lighting, lens selection, blocking, camera movement, audio, workflow, camera settings, visual structure, and more.

The seminar lasts from 9 am to 9 pm and covers topics such as

  • Scripts
  • Location Scouting
  • Shotlisting and Storyboarding
  • Equipment and Crew Lists
  • Camera Settings and Camera Movement
  • Microphone Types and Placement
  • The Media Management and Workflow
  • Getting a Cinematic Look with a DSLR Camera
  • Shooting with a Cine-Style Camera
  • Visual Design in Filmmaking
  • Visual Storytelling

 The Visual Storytelling Tour will be presented in the following cities:

  • Minneapolis, MN: June 3
  • St. Louis, MOi: June 5
  • Columbus, OH: June 7
  • Chicago, IL: June 9
  • Detroit, MI: June 13
  • Boston, MA: June 15
  • New York City: June 16
  • Newark, NJ: June 20
  • Philadelphia, PA: June 22
  • Washington, DC: June 23
  • Charlotte, NC: June 25
  • Ft. Lauderale, FL: June 27
  • Tampa, FL: June 28
  • Atlanta, GA: June 30
  • Baton Rouge, LA: July 7
  • Houston, TX: July 9
  • Austin, TX: July 11
  • Dallas, TX: July 12
  • Phoenix, AZ: July 14
  • San Diego, CA: July 16
  • Irvine, CA: July 20
  • Los Angeles, CA: July 21
  • Las Vegas, NV: July 23
  • Denver, CO: July 25
  • San Jose, CA: July 27
  • San Francisco, CA: July 28
  • Salt Lake City, UT: July 30
  • Portland, OR: August 1
  • Vancouver, BC: August 2
  • Seattle, WA: August 4

If you can’t enjoy the experience in person, you can order a set of DVDs that includes the entire content of the tour’s Cinematography Workshop and Visual Structure Seminar. The DVD set also includes the book “The Visual Story” by Bruce Block.


Visual Storytelling Tour with Alex Buono


New DVD Explains How to Plan and Direct Films and Videos

A new training DVD from Videomaker magazine can help aspiring movie directors make better films and videos. “How to: Directing and Pre-Production” is a complete resource for any director who wants to better understand the many decisions and actions that can affect the success of a movie.

Newcomers to video-production might not be aware of everything that goes into directing a film. Before shooting begins, you have to make all the decisions about every aspect of the movie—from scripting to lighting to sound. Then, you must coax stellar performances from an entire cast of actors, while keeping the behind-the-scenes crew under control and on the ball. And, you must do it all under budget.

This training DVD shows you some of the tricks experienced directors use to make sure the production never leaves their control. The DVD includes helpful advice on the six key areas listed below.

How to Break Down a Script. Learn how to “read between the lines” to turn scripted words on paper into compelling footage. Learn how to flesh out characters and discover the story of the next great production.

How to Cast a Production. To cast the best possible actors in your video, you’ll see tips for drawing out an actor’s potential during the audition process.

How to Organize a Shoot. This segment shows how to put together a storyboard so that actors know where to stand and the camera crew knows where to shoot. See how to manage a production schedule so the shoot doesn’t run wild!

How to Block Shots. This important step involves making sure that the actors are in the right position so they don’t appear to be talking to thin air instead of each other. Blocking determines the direction of the shoot.

How to Get Good Performances. Learn what direction you can provide to help your actors give you their best work.

How to Manage a Crew. See how to manage your crew to keep your production moving efficiently.

The DVD is available on the Videomaker website for $24.95.

Videomaker magazine was founded in 1986 and was the first magazine to introduce video to a mass, non-industry audience.  As the video field has exploded, Videomaker remains dedicated to its mission of encouraging aspiring directors and documentarians to use video technology to find their own voices and tell their own stories.

Today, Videomaker is more than just a magazine. It has grown into a robust online community. In addition to offering training DVDs, Videomaker offers videos-on-demand, webinars, and hands-on video training workshops.  For example, you can learn skills such as:

Every month, more than 50,000 professional videographers, independent filmmakers, and home video hobbyists turn to Videomaker to get the latest news and ideas on video production.


Videomaker DVD: How to: Directing and Pre-Production

Videomaker Magazine

Learn DSLR Filmmaking at Four 2012 Photography Events

In a previous post on this blog, we explained some of the reasons the demand for professional video services is starting to explode. If you want to help meeting the burgeoning demand, make plans to attend one of the four major photography conferences planned this spring. All four conferences feature courses that can help you improve your ability to produce professional-quality videos with a DSLR camera.

January 8-9 at Bally’s
in Las Vegas, Nevada
(in conjunction with [email protected]: January 10-13)

Jeff Medford and Ross Hockrow of Cinestories will present a two-part “Get In Motion” session on DSLR filmmaking. During “Part 1: The Art of Storytelling with Moving Images,” you’ll learn fundamental principles of filmmaking and see examples of films you can make with tools you already have. In “Part 2: Post-Production Magic,” you will learn how to edit video using Adobe Premiere CS 5.5. Learn the art of the cut, when to cross-fade, how to add movement to static clips, color correction, how to add text and assemble audio, and how to add a soundtrack. By the end of the session you will be able to turn your footage into compelling films.

After the DIMA Conference wraps up, see the latest digital-imaging technology and consumer electronics at the massive Consumer Electronics Show. After visiting the booths of camera, video, and imaging-product manufacturers at [email protected] at the Venetian, take a shuttle to the Las Vegas Convention Center and explore thousands of exhibits showcasing innovations in 3D imaging, tablet computers, apps, connected TVs, audio equipment, and more.


DIMA Conference

[email protected]

January 15-17 in the
Ermest N. Morial Convention Center
New Orleans, Louisiana

The world’s longest-running professional photography conference includes three full days of artistic and business education for wedding, portrait, and sports photographers. Organized by Professional Photographers of America (PPA), the conference includes three sessions on DSLR filmmaking:

Transitioning from Stills to Motion
Canon Explorer of Light Ken Sklute will guide you through everything you need to know in order to capture moving images and present them to clients. You will learn about shooting video clips and capturing audio and see how to create techniques in movement and produce time-lapse films. Sklute will also cover DSLR workflow, asset management, editing techniques, and the latest grip gear for shooting moving images.

HDSLR Cinema 101: Shooting Video Like a Pro
As a 10-year veteran of the Saturday Night Live Film Unit, Alex Buono must deliver high-end commercial parodies and short films in as little as 24 hours. In this session, he shares how shooting with the Canon 5DmII and 7D has revolutionized the way he works. He will demonstrate everything you need to know to shoot videos with your DSLR. You’ll get an extensive list of setup necessities, including shutter speeds, frame rates, aspect ratios, camera settings and vital production gear. Alex will also suggest on-set and post-production workflows and discuss the advantages of Canon DSLRs versus other formats. Plus, he will explain how to transcode files into edit-friendly codecs, and how to create time-lapse sequences.

From Still to Motion
Cinestories’ Jeff Medford and Ross Hockrow will show how to use your artistic talent, training, and equipment to expand your business possibilities with HDSLR filmmaking. You will see specific examples of the types of films you can create, including Web commercials, wedding films, birth announcements, family films, and films for events such as conventions.


Imaging USA

WPPI 2012
Conference: February 16-23; Exhibits: February 20-22
MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada

Conducted by Wedding and Portrait Photographers International, this event offers a diverse mix of 90 platform classes, 50 master classes, 2-day PLUS classes, and a two-day WPPI U for emerging photographers. The filmmaking sessions include:

The Art and Business of DSLR Filmmaking
After describing top mistakes photographers make when adding DSLR filmmaking to their repertoire, inspirational filmmaker Ron Dawson will teach the basics of filmmaking, discuss audio and editing issues, and talk about what gear to use.

Storytelling with Video and Stills
Celebrity wedding photographers and digital-cinema leaders Charles Maring and Jennifer Maring will show why video is fast becoming a staple in studios around the world. Whether you want to use DLSR video for client projects or public relations, you will learn how to maximize the potential of your DSLR to increase profits, educate consumers, and tell visually captivating stories about your clients or your studio.

Photo Video Fusion
Wedding photographer Vanessa Joy and Rob Adams explain how to capture, edit, produce, and market films that still photographs with video footage.

Six Films to Make With Your HDSLR
Cinestores’ Jeff Medford explains how to add filmmaking products to your offerings. Topics include how to make Web commercials, wedding films, birth-announcement films, family music videos, senior music videos and films for events. He will discuss different camera movement techniques, what additional gear to acquire and how to edit it all in Adobe Premiere CS 5.5.


WPPI 2012

March 24-26 at the
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Washington, DC

Whether you’re brand new to photography or a seasoned pro, sessions at NAPP’s Photoshop, Photography and Lighting Conference can help take your work to the next level. Four sessions explain how to use DSLR and Adobe software to produce great-looking “motion graphics.”

Pre-Conference Workshop: On Location DSLR Video Workshop
During this seven-hour workshop at the Rhed Pixel video production studio in nearby Falls Church, Virginia, Richard Harrington will show how a real-world project comes to life. You’ll also get a hands-on lesson on executing your own video projects from start to finish, from acquiring footage to the post production process.

Creating Time-Lapse Movies
Richard Harrington (author of Photoshop for Video and Motion Graphics Studies Techniques) shares power-user techniques for creating time-lapse movies. Learn how to prepare Photoshop files for import into After Effects or a video-editing tools. Learn to use advanced options such as video layers, smart objects, and 3D objects for special uses.

Photographers Video Tool Kit
Rod Harlan of the Digital Video Professional Association, shows how to take your DSLR footage further with techniques available in Photoshop. Learn secrets for creating time-lapse videos.

Getting Started with Premiere Pro
Richard Harrington explains the essentials of video editing and working with video and audio. You’ll also see how to publish your results to the web.


Photoshop World


Six Reasons Photographers Should Learn to Shoot Video




Six Reasons Why Photographers Should Learn to Shoot Video

PHOTOGRAPHERS. This year, PhotoPlus Expo featured eight sessions designed to help professional photographers make the transition from shooting stills to shooting video. In the two seminars I attended, Vincent Laforet and Tyler Stableford showed excellent examples of the types of commercials and short films that have been produced with video-enabled DSLRs or hybrid video/still cameras.

BEHIND THE SCENES – “Neighborhood” from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.

In each seminar, attendees seemed primarily interested in learning more about what types of gear they might need, and how to get help with audio production and video editing. (I’m currently compiling a list of resources that can help answer some of these questions.)

Famous Footwear – “Neighborhood” Spot from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.

But first, it’s important to understand why you might want to consider adding video capabilities to your photography business. You may be surprised to see how diverse the opportunities will be (and why not every video production must be as elaborate as the set up Laforet used to shoot the Famous Footwear commercial shown above).

1. The demand for online video is starting to explode.

Now that high-quality video can be transmitted through the Internet to mobile devices, tablet computers, smartphones, digital signage, and wall displays in stores, museums, and homes, the demand for professionally produced content is really just starting to ramp up.

Online video is being used not just for entertainment and gaming, but also for advertising, training seminars, product demonstrations, customer testimonials, resumes, facility tours, corporate events, book promotion, and much more.

Some applications listed on the Cinestories website include: corporate meetings, 5- to 7-minute wedding storybook films, bar/bat mitzvahs, cultural performances, sporting events, festivals, concerts, birth announcements, family music videos, senior music videos, vacation films, day-in-the-life videos, government and corporate training, documentaries, and short films.

2. Traditional buyers of photography services will be spending money on video.

Advertisers, corporations, and publishers are becoming increasingly interested in the economics and targeted reach of “Web TV” for which lower-budget, high-quality content will be produced to attract niche audiences with special interests. The rise of Web TV is opening up a vast, new middle ground between the low-budget/low-quality user-generated content we watch on YouTube and the big-budget, premium-quality Hollywood productions we see in movie theatres or on network TV.

Here are just a few random examples and statistics that help explain why the demand for video services will grow:

  • According to JWT Intelligence, magazine publishers will expand into broadcasting. In addition to producing video for the iPad versions of the magazines, publishers such as Hearst, Time Inc., and Meredith will be supplying content to the 100 new channels of original content that YouTube soon will be launching. Content will range from 30-second clips to 30-minute episodes.
  • The number of people who watch online videos has been increasing. According to comScore, 180 million U.S. Internet users watched online video content in August, 2011 for an average of 18 hours per viewer. An October 2011 survey conducted by Burst Media found that 71.6% of web users watch online video content in a typical week, with 39% watching between one and five hours per week. In their Visual Networking Index Forecast, Cisco predicts that by the year 2015, online video will account for two-thirds of all consumer data traffic.
  • The Burst Media survey showed that 18% of online video viewers took some kind of action after seeing an online video ad. A survey by Internet Researcher showed that online customers who view product videos are much more likely to buy than visitors who don’t watch videos. A Forrester Research study found that having video on your website substantially increases the likelihood that your site will appear on the front page of Google search results.
  • According to e-Marketer, spending on online video ads is expected to rise from $1.5 billion in 2010 to $5.5 billion in 2014.

3. Individuals are being encouraged to have videos professionally produced.

A recent article in More magazine (for women over 40) emphasized the need for job-seekers to get a professionally produced video resume. According to Catharine Fennell, CEO of VideoBIO, “Filming a video shows that you’re confident, innovative, and an early adopter. A great video is about making a personal connection with your audience, sharing experience, and establishing credibility.”

Authors, consultants, and conference speakers are being advised to add video to their websites as well. Perhaps the same people who hire portrait photographers for head shots will want to have web video “portraits” shot during the same session.

4. Filmmakers are adopting motion-picture cameras that can shoot stills.

One of the hybrid motion/still cameras that filmmakers have quickly embraced is the $50,000 RED Epic camera, which captures 14 megapixel raw frames at 120 frames per second. The camera was used to shoot feature films such as “The Social Network” and “Contagion”and is currently being used to shoot “The Hobbit.” (The camera has also been used by photographers Bruce Weber and Greg Williams to shoot covers and spreads for fashion magazines.)

In an article in the September 2011 issue of Rangefinder magazine, John Rettie notes that high-end cinematographers have also “responded enthusiastically to the high-quality video that can be obtained from a DSLR at a fraction of the cost of a sophisticated movie camera.”

Based on the successful use of the ground-breaking EOS 5D Mark II DLSR in Hollywood movies and TV shows, Canon has announced the Cinema EOS System for use in the motion-picture production industry. The announcement, which was made on November 3, includes seven new models of Cinema lenses that are compatible with Super 35 mm-equivalent sensors, an all-new digital cinema camera for high-resolution movie production, and the development of a new Digital SLR camera with 4K movie function.

5. Eventually, lower-cost, higher-resolution cameras may empower everyone to “capture the moment.”

One advantage of shooting high-res video is that you won’t miss capturing that perfect, decisive moment that can make a great photograph so memorable. As powerful hybrid cameras inevitably become more affordable, more and more of your current clients will be able to grab terrific still shots from their video footage.

For example, the new Scarlet-X camera from RED Digital Cinema is designed to further “democratize superlative cinema and professional photography.” Priced at under $10,000, the Scarlet-X allows professional photographers and cinematographers to simultaneously capture true 4K motion footage and 5K RAW still content and “never miss a shot.”

In his session on “Cinematography with a DSLR” at the PhotoPlus Conference, Vincent Laforet showed some of the breathtakingly detailed still photographs that he grabbed from video footage shot on the the RED Epic camera.

When Laforet asked photographers to imagine what type of imaging power might be in the hands of consumers five years from now, someone in the audience piped up, “What’s next? A RED Epic smartphone?”

6. Continuing advances in technology will alter existing markets.

In his Rangefinder magazine article, Rettie describes learning to shoot DSLR video from Canon Explorer of Light Bruce Dorn. His article includes this quote from Dorn: “In a perfect world, photographers could easily create a profitable livelihood by simply developing their own unique style, and delivering it to an endless stream of well-heeled and breathlessly excited fans. We would each spend our days effortlessly doing our thing, being appreciated, and never worrying about the relentless evolution of image-making. In reality, the delivery medium is constantly changing, and so is demand.”

In my next video-related post, I will list some of the videography-related sessions that will be presented during the major photography conventions in January and February, 2012. If you have additional training resources that you would like me to include in future posts, send me an e-mail at: eileen.fritsch (at) creativesatworkblog (dot) com.


Rangefinder Magazine: Learning How to Capture DSLR Video by John Rettie


JWT Intelligence: Magazines Moving to More Platforms

RED Digital Cinema: Scarlet-X

About RED Digital Cinema

Canon Press Release: Lights! Camera! Action! Canon Makes Hollywood Debut with Launch of Cinema EOS System


Seminar Teaches Photographers Fundamentals of Filmmaking

PHOTOGRAPHERS. If you want to learn the fundamentals of filmmaking, check out the “Get In Motion” tour conducted by CineStories. Led by Jeff Medford and Ross Hockrow, the seminar will teach you how to use your artistic talent, training, and equipment to also make moving images.

Get in Motion Tour LogoWhether you want to learn how to make films yourself for your clients, or plan to hire someone else to make them for you, understanding the fundamental principles will allow you to contribute to the final finished film and filmmaking process.

The Get in Motion Seminar Tour kicked off Sept. 19 and is scheduled to make stops in more than 35 cities until the end of November.

During the 4-1/2 hour seminar, the instructors show examples of specific films you can make right now, including:

  • web commercials
  • wedding films
  • birth-announcement films
  • family films
  • senior music videos
  • films for events

They will also discuss fundamental filmmaking techniques, what gear to acquire, and how to use it. Some of the specifics you will learn include:

  • Why purposeful storytelling is the most important aspect of filmmaking
  • Techniques that can enhance the story and move it forward.
  • How to “see the story” before you start shooting.
  • How to create the intrigue necessary to keep viewers engaged.
  • How to choose lenses, camera movements, and cuts that lead back to the point of your story.
  • Techniques for creating the types of emotions you intend your viewers to feel.
  • Why your camera moves tell the viewer how to interpret the scene.
  • Why the proper selection of lenses will enhance your ability to create emotion.
  • How to record clean audio and mix it properly during post-production so viewers can pay attention to your story and not be distracted by an imperfect soundtrack.
  • Why the quality of your audio should make the quality of your footage.
  • Why editing doesn’t have to be as complicated as you think.
  • How to use cut points and transitions, line up audio, add text and graphic elements, make basic motion enhancements, add a music soundtrack, and correct color.

If your clients haven’t asked you to provide video services yet, chances are they will soon. Over the next three years, spending on video advertising is expected to swell from $1.97 billion to $4.71 billion. Plus, tens of thousands of companies (big and small) will be using video content on their websites, to tell the stories behind their products and services.

To see examples of the types of films CineStories has produced, visit their website. And don’t forget to watch the very amusing trailer on the Get in Motion Tour website.


About CineStories

Get in Motion Tour