You step out of the van, and as the crisp morning air hits you you’re reminded that it’s 4:30am, you’re in the middle of nowhere, three hours from home, and not even the sun is awake to keep you company. But it doesn’t matter because you’ve got your gas station coffee, a stale donut, and you’re completely confident that today is going to be a great day. Why? Because it’s shoot day, and this is your biggest client yet. Your entire future hangs in the balance pending the success of this interview. It’s real life-or-death stuff here, folks. That’s why you decided to arrive two hours before the rest of the crew and you’re wearing your good jeans. You begin to set up your camera gear, in complete darkness, when it hits you - the batteries. The batteries are still on the charger. Right where you left them. At home.

We’ve all been there, and that’s why production checklists are a thing. They’re something to refer to when packing your gear and act as a fail-safe in your preparedness, so that an awful tragedy like that never happens again. In your checklist you’ve most likely included all of the essentials like your camera gear, lighting setup, audio gear, tripod, and you may have even remembered the tricky things like extra batteries and memory cards, or even a fresh roll of gaff tape. But there are several key items that may not be so obvious to pack, but are just as valuable and will certainly take your preparedness and professionalism to the next level.

Here are some things that I’m always sure to bring along on every interview shoot:

1. Flashlight. A good flashlight is probably my favorite tool to have around. Not just on set but for everyday life. You don’t realize how much you’ve needed a flashlight until you start carrying one everyday. I know it seems a little nerdy to carry one around everywhere, but trust me, they’re very handy. Strictly speaking in terms of on set, though, it definitely proves to be an invaluable tool to have on hand. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve had to rummage through a production bag in the dark, or forage under a string of desks for a power outlet in a dimly-lit office. Having a pocket light just makes everything easier, and their usefulness is immeasurable. You can even use them to point at things across a room!

2. Hairspray. One of the most annoying things for me as a filmmaker is getting to the editing floor and realizing that, though we spent countless hours sliding around plants and furniture to craft a flawless shot, positioning the microphone to cancel out distracting room echo, adjusting light placement to achieve the perfect catchlight in the eyes, and coaching the interviewee to feel as natural as possible, all I can pay attention to when watching the take are the little, frizzy, flyaway hairs of our subject that are made even more evident by the beaming backlight. It’s the worst. And it ruins every ounce of pride I have in the shot. For that reason, I always have a bottle of hairspray in my bag to tame this problem. And I’ve been known to use it quite liberally. Maybe a little too liberally.

3. Powder. Though you may not have the need to hire a full-time makeup artist, powder is definitely a staple to anyone’s production bag. Interviews can end up taking a lot of time, and lights get very hot. When your subject gets hot, they get sweaty, and that sweat likes to hang out on their forehead. And it’s obvious. Every time. Do your video and your subject a favor by being prepared, and (politely) asking them to powder up.

4. Water bottles. This one doesn’t even really need an explanation, especially if you’re shooting outdoors in the heat. Everybody gets thirsty, and dehydration can cause people on set to not function at the top of their game. It’s definitely great to have some room-temp bottles on hand for any talent or interviewees. If someone’s not used to being on camera, they’re likely to get nervous and have a dry throat and mouth, and that’s not good! Toss a case in your car for your next shoot. You can never have too much water!

AuthorTrevor Forbess

Are you a content creator? Are you looking for a way to expand your reach and increase your client base? Then look no further than StudioNow’s Creative Network.

The Creative Network is StudioNow’s roster of creative professionals. With more than 8,000 members, the Creative Network is on the front lines of the company, responsible for creating top of the line content for Fortune 500 companies, advertising agencies, brands and more.

Working with clients like Ogilvy, AOL, Yellow Pages, Coca-Cola, IBM, and Zillow the Creative Network has a lot of responsibility riding on its shoulders. That’s why we  thoroughly vet and curate membership and speak to every single applicant that comes through our system. We pride ourselves in paying special attention to your specialties and creative goals. 

We know our members are impressive, and impressive members deserve impressive benefits. The biggest benefit: we bring the work to you.

Our world-class sales team is constantly working for you. We do the legwork of finding and contacting clients with video production needs, and you just focus on creating stunning content.

Here’s the process: 1. We find a client in need of a video, 2. We contact a select group of Creative Network members to consider for the project based largely upon geography and project scope, 3. Members send in proposals, 4. The client chooses their favorite proposal, and 5. The selected member goes to work. It’s that simple!

Plus, you don’t even have to deal with the hassle of payment. We take that burden from you, handling all billing and payment between you and the client.

Creative Network membership also comes with valuable constructive feedback. If your video proposal doesn’t get chosen, you don’t have to sit there guessing what went wrong. We’ll give you tips to help your proposal get selected for the next opportunity. 

In addition, membership provides a platform to expand your reach as a video professional. Besides access to our client base, you will also have the chance to be a featured creative.

Each month, we do a Creative Network Story, sharing a selected member’s story on our website, blog and social media pages. If you have an interesting story or perspective on the video production industry, let us know. You never know which valuable contacts will be made when your name gets out on the web. You may even find your next big client!

All of these great perks are yours for the taking if only you fill out our online application. If you’re working in video, whether you’re a full-scale production company, independent filmmaker, editor, animator, voiceover artist, audio technician or post-production house, we have a place for you.

What are you waiting for? Sign up now!

AuthorCameron Gray

Panasonic's 4K Revolution

Over the past couple of months Panasonic has been flooding the market with a slew of affordable, impressive, and not to mention 4K capable cameras to line up alongside the already capable and popular GH4. Major players in the digital camera space like Canon and Nikon have been left in the dust when it comes to beefed up DSLR and Mirrorless cameras. Nikon still has not figured out the whole video thing, and Canon seems to be putting all it’s energy into their cinema line. Don’t get me wrong, I love the C100, C300, and C500. They are great cameras, but even the relatively low-priced C100 does not have internal 4K capabilities or high frame rate recording. Not to mention Canon released this atrocity this year. Is this their solution? We hope not. 

But back to Panasonic. Panasonic currently has 6 Cameras in their lineup that shoot 4K internally. Of course there is the ever popular GH4, and the recently added G7 and GX8. The GX8, Panasonic’s latest release, is a compact mirrorless camera with quite an impressive feature set, most notably internal 4K. The G7 is essentially the GH4’s little brother, only smaller, lighter, more compact, and almost half the price. The G7 comes in at 799.99 and that’s with a lens! Included is a Lumix vary 14-42mm lens. There is also the option of a 14-140, but this will cost you $1,099.99. 

Keep in mind, the G7 is no replacement for the GH4. It lacks the high frame rate shooting of the GH4, it does not have a head phone jack, and it is not currently able to shoot in the recently announced V-Log L format. This camera is definitely not as feature rich as the GH4 as a video camera, so don't expect it to meet all your needs. 

If you are a Panasonic GH4 shooter, and looking for a less expensive b-camera, then you may want to highly consider the G7. Considering the cost for what you get, and the extremely portable body, it’s a great deal. Even as a standalone camera, this thing seems pretty capable. We see it as a great option for traveling filmmakers who want to capture some high quality footage, but want to keep their gear to a minimum.  

Check out the test footage from Panasonic below, and let us know what you think about what Panasonic is doing with 4K!

AuthorCameron Gray

This blog was written by StudioNow Creative Network Intern, Alina Tichacek

When juggling a lot of projects at once, it is easy to throw creativity out the window, and follow a template for all your videos. Here are a few helpful hints to approaching each marketing video with a fresh point of view.   

We all know filmmaking is an art form, but sometimes we forget that when working on marketing videos. It’s easy to fall into a routine, relying on the same style and shortcuts for each video you create.

While the tried and true is a good starting point, especially when trying to maintain consistency across a series of videos for the same company, relying too much on past success can cause the video to lose its appeal for the viewer. Once the viewer is bored, all the time, money, and effort put into that marketing video is for naught.

The key to a viewer’s attention is artistry. You could have the most technically stunning video in history, but it will never attract or maintain viewer attention without artistry.

There are many ways to add artistry to your videos, but one of the most vital is artistically framing shots. When framing shots, it’s important to think of each frame as a series of photographs, or moving photography.

Each individual shot should be able to stand alone as a work of art. This means that not only do you need to capture the action in front of your camera lens, but you also need to capture the atmosphere.  A slightly different viewing angle can do wonders to increase a viewer’s emotional connection to the video.

Remember, the overarching purpose of artistic framing is to tell a story in the most expressive way possible. Don’t be afraid to take some risks. Whatever adjustments you need to make in order to give your marketing video that extra edge, do it.

Nonetheless, there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to artistry. A video that is so creative and groundbreaking that it alienates the target audience is useless to a marketer.

A marketing video is not the time or place to break all the rules, but it is crucial to break some of them. The key is to find a balance between the traditional and the revolutionary.

But what is this balance? You’ll find that it varies for each target audience and even from project to project for the same audience.

One helpful way to gauge the correct balance is to stay up-to-date on the latest video developments around you. This will help you decide what degree of innovation the marketplace is ready to consume.

Most important of all, trust your gut. If you want to engage the viewer, never leave your artistry at the door when creating a marketing video. 

AuthorCameron Gray

This blog was written by StudioNow Creative Network Intern, Alina Tichacek

Video is a passion, a way of life. It is a calling, consuming you like nothing else.

But what happens when your life calling begins to feel routine? What do you do when the creative spark and unquenchable thirst is, well, quenched?

No artist is immune to dry spells. Some days the ideas flow so fast you can barely keep up, but other times even the simplest of tasks can become an intense struggle.

A creative block is not the end of a career, but rather a turning point. It is how you respond to and learn from the dry spells that determines whether you are truly an artist or just a hobbyist.

I have no doubt that each of our creatives is an artist. It is inspiring to view the professionalism and creativity with which you tackle each of your projects. I know you are all more than capable of moving above and beyond the turning point of a creative block.

If you’re eager to learn how to get past your block, read on for some tips on rediscovering your passion for video.

1. Stop Working and Just Play 

When you first began making video, it was because you wanted to make a video, not because you had a deadline to meet. Sometimes all we need to do to reignite our creativity is to go back to roots of what made us choose video in the first place.

Take a step back from your “real” projects and work on a video just for fun again. Choose a subject that you’ve always dreamed of working on, and just go for it. Who knows, you just might end up with some of your best work.

2. Explore Your Hobbies

As a professional artist, it’s tempting to put aside the rest of your hobbies. That’s the worst thing you can do for your art.

Art is born of a diverse range of interests, inspirations, and experiences. To reinvigorate your passion for video, you need to explore your other passions as well.

Perhaps you love to read. Curl up with a good book and learn the fundamental building blocks of a good story, a crucial part of any art form.

Take a walk outside and stop to notice the beauty around you. Nature has a way of clearing the mind and allowing the ideas to flow, helping us to find our center and regain right perspectives.

Whatever it is that makes you happy and distressed, go do it. Nurture your inner artist by taking a step back to reenergize and refocus. 

3. Collaborate with Other Videographers

Working with the same people for too long can lead to stale ideas.  Without creative new ideas, video can start to feel routine.

Take a step outside of your comfort zone and collaborate with new videographers. If you usually work alone, try working with a team. If you work with the same team all the time, switch it up for a project or two and invite a new member to your crew. The fresh set of eyes may provide the perfect jumpstart you need.

Video is still the same medium you fell in love with years ago. Don’t let creative fatigue steal your passion away from you. Rediscover your passion and awaken the artist within.

AuthorStudio Now

Aputure DEC Lens Adapter

It's been almost two months since NAB 2015, yet we are still feeling the effects. New product videos are rolling out all the time and exciting new gear is popping up everywhere on film blogs. 

This month we caught word of the Aputure DEC Lens Adapter. This device not only acts as an adapter for EF to E mount and EF to MFT, but it also comes with a wireless remote that allows the user to control focus and aperture with the turn of a dial and a push of a button. 

Here's why we think the Aputure DEC Lens Adapter is awesome:

  1. There are 2 adapter options- Canon EF to Sony E mount, or Canon EF to MFT. In other words, you can attach Canon lenses to the hugely popular Sony a7s, Panasonic GH4, or Black Magic Pocket Camera. 
  2. You can pull focus without ever touching the lense using the fluid dial on the wireless remote. 
  3. The DEC remote allows you to set A and B focus points for quick and accurate pulls. 
  4. The adapter/remote also includes aperture adjustment, which means no more fiddling with dials on your camera. 
  5. The Aputure DEC remote is ergonomic and easily mountable to your rig. Because it is so lightweight we could see this being especially useful on a Gimbal system. 
  6. The Price: The Aputure DEC comes in at a price of $390, which is actually comparable to most lens adapters that don't have such capabilities.

The Aputure DEC is currently available from B&H for $390 for both EF to E mount and EF to MFT.

Check out No Film Schools first look at the Aputure DEC Lens Adapter below:

AuthorCameron Gray

In this month's Creative Network Story we chat with Sara Goehner. This talented animator has decided to take her life and work on the road in her airstream trailer. Going mobile has given Sara the freedom to see the country, get inspired, and still maintain her thriving freelance business. Click below to Read Sara's Story.

AuthorCameron Gray