10 things I learned from Interning at The WB

When I was in college we were encouraged to find a place to intern. We we’re told this was our ticket in the door. My first interview for an internship felt more like a job interview which made me hope it would offer to pay me in the future. The new employee wanted me to start right away.

When I arrived at the place I was a little disappointed as the office building was old and run down. They say not to judge a book by its cover but I was judging this place, from the empty parking lot, to the smell of the hallways. I asked myself, “Is this where I want to work?”
When the employer was two hours late, I finally was let into their office space. He had me start on logo designs right away. During the day I over heard conversations of the owners marriage problems, and slow business issues. I went home with a dead end feeling, since I was working for free and the internship wasn’t what I expected. The second day I showed up, the owners was no where to be found. They told me where to get the key and to keep working on those logos. This internship was a dead end. I figured if the owners didn’t want to be there, neither do I. I left the office that night and wrote a note that I was thankful for the opportunity but it’s not going to work out.

1. Be honest with yourself. Allowing yourself to be honest will help you discover what you like by seeing what you don’t like.

2. Work for a place that you find interesting and values you as a person. Doing research before on the place and job will give you a better idea on what to expect.

3. Be a good listener to your surroundings. Are the people around you happy? Do those who work there enjoy their job?

4. If you have a feeling the internship isn’t what you want to do, say something sooner and respectfully. Be careful not to burn a bridge that you might cross in the future. Letting the place of business know you are leaving instead of just disappearing shows courage and respect.

When I told my college councilor the internship didn’t work out she pulled me aside. “This just came in the morning and I think you’ll like it but you have to get your information to me today.” When I looked at the letter head I saw the Warner Brothers logo. I ran to my desk and filled out the application. Later that week I got a call, the interview would be in Burbank.

At the interview I realized they were looking for a team mate who would fit in with them. She didn’t seem to care about what school I went to, she wanted to see how well I would fit in with the team. The team was full of laid back thirty something creatives that were extremely different from one another. Everyone seemed friendly and excited to be working there. If I got this internship I would be driving an hour everyday to work not to mention morning traffic.

When I learned I got the internship I was so excited and getting paid for my time there was a big plus. I couldn’t wait to start working as a graphic designer. It was there that I learned how much work goes into a career. I had no life for the next six month. I was either in the office helping everyone out or on the 101 freeway trying to get home. Overall, the experience working at Warner Brothers was amazing. I knew it was God’s favor on my life because getting a job at a big production place like Warner Brothers is nearly impossible. I was excited when they asked if I wanted to extend my internship five more months.

It was neat to eat lunch on the lot where the cast of ER would be walking around in their scrubs. I was able to watch episodes of their newest shows before the season even came out. I was assisting and helping the office by doing the small office task for them as well as have creative freedom to solve problems on my own.

The more I worked in graphics, the more I saw I really wanted to learn how to edit videos. I knew if I was offered a job, it would be hard to go to school for editing. This was before learning how to edit was so accessible. There was still so much I wanted to do before I settled down with a full time job.

When the creative director asked what I wanted to do after interning, I told her I was going back to school. They threw me a good bye party and said to give them a call when I was done with school. Having such a great internship experience made me thankful I was honest with myself about the first one I had.

5. Figure out your goals and where you want your career to go during the internship. This is the best time to discover what is it you really want to do, what field of specialty would you like to work in. What you enjoy most.

6. Try to be helpful with everyone in the office. Develop new skills that you can brag about on your resume or that can land you a job.

7. Don’t complain. Be grateful for whatever task they give you. The better the attitude the more responsibilities they will give you. I did a coffee run once, and enjoyed the walk to Starbucks.

8. Make a good impression on everyone you meet. Be sure to remember names and shake hands with those you are introduce to. Having confidences goes a long way.

9. If its a non paid internship, make sure you are getting your pay though experience. Make it worth your time and effort. What you put into it, that is what you will get out of it.

10. Act like you belong there, as if you are a full time employee. Take your internship seriously, take advantage of the opportunities it might bring. 

Interning at The WB at the start of my career let me know God had my career in His hands. He was leading me I never thought was possible. People doubted I could make a living off being creative, but I knew being creative is what I was born to do.

Making a Video – Do it fast!!

You don’t have to be sloppy in order to edit fast, in fact, if done right, editing faster will force you be organized and even create better work. In order to speed up how fast you make a video, you gotta have a game plan. You have to know what to do next in order to keep your work pace going. Avoid the opportunities to get distracted, avoid repeating task, and avoid making mistakes that will take hours to fix.

Pre-production

Pre-production might as well be called “the fountain”. You must know what you’re going to do before you start. You can create thumbnails but they can be time consuming. What you need is a script of the timeline, this gives you an idea of the beginning, middle and end. Working out the details will help you in post. What questions are ask, who is in front of the camera, your audio, your white balance, and everything that goes into giving yourself or your editor good material to work with.

Audio – Audio can take forever to fix, so start off right with the best audio possible!!!!!

Post-production

When I am starting a new project I first, save my blank editing project right away, label all my bens, and gather all my footage placing them in a project folder with everything labeled. Misplacement and mislabeling can cause lots of wasted time, naming items will save hours and headache. I like labeling my items by date and subject.

(example: 061413_Blogpost)

Next, review your interview footage and label markers with titles. This way, you can scan and grab the parts that you want. Delete clips from your bens that are unusable. This will save time from thinking it can be used. (Example: Shots of the camera persons feet walking around.)

Audio- Pick your soundtrack before you edit, this will help set the tone, pace and style.

If your audio needs to be fixed, do it before you start cutting. If its an interview, you can lay your footage on the timeline, send to soundtrack pro, normalize and save.

My workflow —

-Script

-Book the filming

-Film

-Capture

-Find soundtrack music

-Fix Audio levels

-Edit

-Overlay footage

-Color Grading

-Graphics

-Render

-Export

-Upload

-Approve with some changes

-Changes made

-Approve!!!

Making your Shots Matter

I think we can all admit that no one is born with awesome camera skills. Most of my wisdom comes from times where I’ve failed horribly. I made a list for my team and would like to share it with all of you who are into production. Hope you can apply this knowledge to make every shot you film matter.

First things first –

Exposure – Before you take off and start shooting, you will need to pay attention to your exposure on your camera. You will notice there are two names, this is because the DSLR and Pro cameras use different terms. You will have to learn how to adjust your exposure to give you the right exposure to archive a shot that can be seen and also allow you to control the look and feel you want.

Iso / Gain – This will add noise to your footage but also will allow more light into your camera. I avoid high iso and high gain. If you are aren’t careful it can make your footage look like mud.

Aperture / Iris – You can control the look of your shots with a low aperture number. This also allows more light.  On a pro camera a low iris will make your shots really dark, so you will have to adjust your other settings to accommodate a low Iris number. For those who are new, a low aperture number will make the background blurry. Avoid changing your aperture while filming.
-a low aperture affects the focus, if you are filming with a DSLR and having trouble focusing, bring up that aperture and adjust your settings.

Shutter Speed – I adjust my shutter speed the most when it comes to getting my exposure. The goal is to keep this number 30, to give you a smooth film look but sometimes in order to get the exposure you want, you have to use a higher number. A shutter speed of 30 brings in a lot of light.

ND filter – A pro camera will have this on the side by the lens. You can turn this on when you are outside. You can buy a filter to put on a DSLR camera. This is like putting on sunglasses for your camera. One thing to remember, when filming inside make sure this is OFF!

White Balance – Your footage should never look blue or orange. It should look like what you are filming. You can leave the stylish tone to your editor to pick. Once you have your exposure correct, white balance on something white. Check your filming often to make sure the white balance doesn’t look strange. On the DLSR, it gives you presets of white balance, you can pick the best one that looks right for that moment. Sometimes putting on the sun preset looks better than a cloudy day preset even if its cloudy. Use your good judgement.

Remember, your exposure affects the amount of light that is going into the camera.

Exterior shooting – It took me years to finally realize how to film with the sun as my light source. I seemed to always return with footage I hated.

Lighting with the Sun – Look for a nice shaded away. Place the sun behind you, and in front of the subject. Avoid filming at noon because of harsh sunlight. You will find it will create shadows on the face, and even leave your talent making ugly faces trying to avoid the sun.

Sunrise or Sunset – Place it behind your subject to capture a glow on their shoulders.

Avoid a background that blows out your image. You don’t want the background to compete with the subject.

Interior shooting – If you don’t have a light on your camera, then you will be at the mercy of your camera settings to allow light into your shot.
– No ND filter
– low shutter speed
– low aperture
– high iso / gain (avoid gain due to lots of noise but sometimes you gotta use it)
– correct white balance

Movement – Adding movement to your shots is not only camera movement but also what is happening inside the frame.

Stabilizer – Always try to use a tripod, a monopod, or slider for your shots. If you are going handheld, you must know how to stand correct to avoid shaky shots. Make your body a human tripod. Place your feet apart form each other, bend your knees a little and tuck your shooting arm close to your body.

Point A to B – Start your shooting at one item then move to another. This will require knowing what you are going. If I am filming a kid playing pool, I would make point A the pool and point B the person playing.

Panning shot – Take a deep breath, point your foot to the direction you are headed towards.

Location – If you are filming a shot and it’s just not working, move your location to find a new perspective and angel.

Hold – If you are out shooting and find a beautiful shot, hold the shot for 30 seconds. This will give the editor time to pick which moment to pick from and how long we wants it on screen. Let the shot come alive, give it time for the subject to smile, laugh, think, wonder, move, embrace another person. etc.

Camera person – Don’t get nervous if the person you are filming looks at you, just hold your position. If you are allowed to be there, then don’t worry about being seen.

Interacting – Saying hi to people you are filming can help them feel more comfortable with being filmed. Interaction shots are great, having them smile or wave at the camera, if they are having fun ask them to do it again for the camera.

Avoid tunnel vision – Avoid moving your camera looking for what to capture, stick your head out instead and move to what is interesting. Your camera movement to one item to another can be called a reset. Those reset shots can be used.

Pull focus – Attempt to find layers of action to film, focus on one item then move it to another thats in the distance. Attempt this three times to give the editor the best pull focus shot.

Tilt zooms – Give your editor an option to add some fun energetic shots of tilt zooms.

What to look for – It all depends what you are shooting and who you are shooting for. For an event I look for people having fun, smiles, laughing, talking with friends, anything of action, people engaging in the event, people listening if its a church event, the main speakers, avoid shots of too many babies or kids if its not a children’s event. Also avoid capturing people bending down. I don’t know why but it seems to happen a lot. haha.
If you are filming an interview always make sure to get some cutaways to cover up those jump cuts.

Terms
– Wide shots – head to toe
– Medium wide – knees and waist
– Medium shots – waist up
– Close ups – Chest up
– extreme close up – cutting off parts of the face

Questions to Answer when shooting –
Who – Shots of the person or people
Where – Shots of the location
What is happening – What action is taking place

Always review your footage and see what you can do better next time. If you took the time to read this, your footage the next time you shoot is going to look so good! 🙂 Feel free to add to the list.

Making a Video

Thank goodness we don’t live in the early 1900’s, other wise creating anything visual would be difficult. Making videos are easier than ever but you will still face some big obstacles. You won’t know how to make a video until you try, more than anything, you learn by doing and each video is different, with different challenges. You will get better after each one. The mistakes you learn in video #1, you will apply to video #2.

As I am teaching new people who are highly interested in creating videos at work, I often don’t know where to start, there is so much to learn.

Here are a few areas you should try to grow in.

-Graphic design
-Story telling
-Communication
-Marketing
-Editing Software
-Codec’s, Formats, Compression
-Files Organization
-How to work a Camera, tripod, etc.
-Lighting
-The history of the technology of TV, history of film

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The list looks a little like a school curriculum and if you can go to school to learn how to work in post-production, go. But like many of my co-workers, they learned by interning at church. Internships are great, if they allow you to be apart of the projects. Regardless on how you learn, you learn by investing time, focus, passion, and heart.

Here are some tips on how to create a video.

1. Know what kind of video you are making. (Commercial, comical, drama, short film, documentary, music, etc.)
2. Know what you want to say. (This product is the best, come to this awesome event, look how fun this event is, here is our history, etc)
3. Look to see how others have done it, and see how you can make it different.
4. Create the Script, know what needs to be said and what text has to be on screen.
5. Create story boards or thumb nails for animations. Layout your Graphic Design.
6. Gather your gear, and people who can help out with filming. Audio person is key if you need good audio.
7. Film – make sure your shots are steady and help tell the story. Watch your white balance, focus, whats in frame, exposure.
8. Edit – Capture your footage, (Make sure you know where your files are going; be organized!) know what format your will be editing in (h.264 or NTSC), what aspect ratio, widescreen or box TV screen (16×9 or 4×3),create your cut, lay down the story, put music to it. Have someone look at it to see if it makes sense. Ask for their input, even if they don’t know about videos.
9. Export your cut into a graphic software (After Effects), follow your animation thumbnails, if the animation doesn’t work out, try something else. Check out http://www.videocopilot.net/ for after effects tutorials. Avoid fancy fonts or colors that maybe hard to read.
10. Import back in to your editing software, fix any audio. Export.
11. Convert your file in to the correct format: .mp4 for web, .mov for DVD or to load up somewhere else.

Being organize will help you out so much in the end, never “Untitled” anything or save on the desktop! Some twitter friends gave a great suggestions to name the file with the date and what it is. At work we all do this now. Put the date on our file that it has to be played. ( 030913 Intro)

Hope this helps, feel free to ask questions if you have any.

VBlog: How to Interview

Some tips on how to interview.

1. Prepare
2. Eye Contact
3. Keep it Fresh
4. Don’t be Shy

Particle
-Audio
-Tape or Card
-Lighting
-Background

One last note: Make sure you know your gear before you show up for the interview, check your bags before you leave to see you have everything you need. And don’t forget your notes! 🙂

 

Audio: Editing and Ministry

Audio advice about editing and ministry. This could also apply for working at a company and not just a church.

Here is the 2011 year end video I did at The Rock. I wanted to give more than just number, I wanted to tell the story.