First thing you need to know about this piece is that it is a complete rip-off of the piece Andrew Breese put together last year. Our customer for this was CHINFO’s social media department. The customer sent me a link to last year’s piece (vimeo.com/23981915) and said he wanted a “bucketfull of this.” So, I lifted the concept and a lot of Breese’s shots outright.
MC2 Alexandra Snyder was my partner on this project. The two of us were slated to handle all the products for the sailors of the year (SOY) week. There were multiple products (print, video, multimedia, stills) and most of them were due under pretty tight deadlines. So, we did as much pre-production work as possible. For this multimedia piece, any shot that didn’t have the SOYs, we shot a week or two before the actual shoot day. Breese’s piece had the SOYs outdoors at the Navy Memorial, so we shot the pre-production shots on a clear morning and a cloudy morning. That way we’d be able to match the footage with the conditions on the morning of our scheduled Navy Memorial shoot with the SOYs. The morning of the shoot, it ended up raining cats and dogs, so we actually ended up shooting the SOYs inside the Navy Memorial’s Heritage center.
We shot the interviews the first day the SOYs were in town. Navy Visual News Services has a really small office that doubles as a studio. The Friday before the interviews MC2 Snyder went to NVNS to get the lights just right for the interviews. Jon Snyder, MC2’s husband works at NVNS. He’s a really talented videographer, and he knows a lot about setting up production lighting. I knew I wanted that dark, contrasty look to the interviews, and Jon helped us get that look. We set up 3-point lighting with a Lowell light kit and a couple of flags to keep the key light from lighting up the curtain in the background. MC2 asked the questions and I worked the cameras. We used a big Sony ENG cam as the main cam, and we also used my Canon 7D to shoot the side angle. The 7D’s footage is so much richer than the ENG, but I just bumped up the saturation a little in post, and the two pictures match up pretty well.
Like I said, this is just a knock off of last year’s piece. What we did different is the “messaging.” I put effort into making the piece revolve around the kool-aid dujour, which is the CNO’s three tenets (be ready, operate forward, warfighting first). I tried to weave the kool-aid in with out hitting the viewer over the head with it and while keeping the hooya-navy-good-feeling that I thought Breese’s piece did so well.
I did the final edit in Avid. This ended up tripping me up a little. Whenever I work in Avid, I export my final product as an MXF file. The thing about MXFs is that they support eight tracks of audio. Unfortunately, YouTube only supports two tracks of audio. I didn’t do an audio mixdown to two tracks, so most of my audio was on tracks 1 and 2, but my music and all my little extras were on 3, 4, and 5. I uploaded to CHINFO’s YouTube page, marked it “private,” sent out a delivery email to the customer, and I went home (it was about 2200 by that point). Long story shorter, by the time I realized what had happened, 1,500 people saw the version with no music or audio enhancements. That sucked. So, there’s a version out there with no music. Don’t watch it.
I’d like to give a special thanks to MCPON’s photographer, MC2 Thomas Rosprim. This dude helped us out so much. We used to be at West Coast Combat Camera together back in the day, and it was amazing to see what a polished public affairs guy he has become (and I mean that in a good way ;-> ) Thanks Rosey.