CBC Video Diary Part 1

Last year God put a crazy idea on my heart. I was in the middle of our church’s website redesign and it hit me…..

Since I’ve moved to GA, I have been really thinking about what matters. In pertains to everything. My time, my energy, my attention, my focus and of course church. Without going into details, I started to internally question what I could offer such an establishment.I just moved here. Im new in the church but that will never change the fact that God has done so much good for my family.

Anyways, I got to thinking what can I give back to the church and more importantly, to God. It’s a clear answer in my case. Im not very talented in many things, even in filming, i’m just not. But the truth is: filming is the only skill I possess to actually add something that Camden Baptist Church doesn’t have. Camden Baptist Church is lacking in some media departments, the biggest being a friendly online presence. Brother Edward and I sometimes take at length about how that issue can be fixed. I told him I really felt God laid it on my heart to film and finish a short 5 minute video about our church. For newcomers and church searchers to get a “accurate” feel for the church. He was extremely excited and agreed. We shook hands. And then…

I did what anyone in my position would do. I put it off and then put it off and then started, then stopped. Normal stuff really. But then I got serious. I starting doing gobs of research regarding professional videography. You see, I made a feature film before, but not an interview styled, 5 minute video of information driven by a narrative. When I get nervous or feel uncomfortable I try and understand the subject matter inside and out. Well, I did, then I did.

SHOOTING

Im happy to report earlier this month we shot a huge portion of the video in the Pastor’s office. It was an experience again to say the least. Just being around lights and actors (in this case subjects). Being in control of something creatively was so refreshing. It was nice to be back.

the set up w/ soft boxes
the set up w/ soft boxes

The shoot itself went pretty smooth. I credit all to God and a wee bit to research. Brother Edward was calm and collected. I wasn’t sure how he would come off on camera. He has such a caring, personable touch in person and I just knew if I could get 50% on camera, we would be in really good shape.

Bro. Edward getting loose.
Bro. Edward getting loose. He didn’t need much time.

Sound (as usual with me) was a real big concern. I did months of researching on best sound collecting through a DSLR. At the end of all that, either it was extremely expensive or not the results I strived for. So, I went back to the basics. One night at church it hit me, They already have a superb audio set up here. I just need to tap into that and record it on their mixer. Mrs. Faith informed that the only way to get a hard copy of this audio was on CD. At first I was nervous, but thankfully, my best friend, Jeremy had an external cd reader and was gracious enough to let me steal it for a little bit. All worked out perfectly, I was initially concerned about the bitrate the church was bringing in but I figured worst case scenario I could maneuver that in Logic on my mac. Luckily, that wasn’t the case. The sound was as clean as could be and super maneuverable in Final Cut Pro.

My partner in crime (who heads the church’s streaming service) brought along two soft boxes and his Canon 70d with bunch of lenses. I asked John to bring the 70d for b roll shots. Ha, more on that in a minute.

My shooting plan was to over-light Brother Edward and cool down highs in post mainly because my camera and kit lens (beloved Panasonic GH2, hacked 100mbps and 14-140 lens kit) does poorly in interiors with any inch of dark. But when I was framing John’s Canon for b-roll my mind blew. I mean blew. His picture was so great I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes. I immediately made the executive decision to switch. I ripped my (beloved?) Panasonic off my Manfrotto tripod and gently placed his 70d on. I relit the whole scene within 15 minutes for a completely different feel and look. The truth is, his canon handled dark supremely good and while the video’s final product will be overall bright, it was nice to gain some dimension instead of a washed out boring corporate look. My old and useless GH2(I kid, I kid)  was bumped to b roll production and it performed just fine. Although driving home I definitely felt it staring at me.

the beast 70d overshadowing my beloved GH2.
the beast 70d overshadowing my beloved GH2.

Our shooting locations was to be held in Brother Edward’s office. His wooden shelves and books really stood out and gave a rich texture. I’m really happy with our main interview framing.

Shot
Shot “A”. Our main interview shot relit for richer and deeper tones.

Only filmmakers know this, but it was one of those thing were you research forever and think you have the right path, then you get on scene and sometimes you have to just go with your gut feeling, I’m glad I did and so far I’m feeling like it will pay off.

Anyhow, i’m super thankful to John and his family for helping me, and Brother Edward for participating and his awesome wife, Mrs. Faith for making my life 1,000x’s easier by labeling every single take on her audio CD.

NOW AND NEXT

Currently, I have just finished synching audio and video to all 72 takes. (without a slate mind you!) I still got some Final Cut Pro skill left! I have told Brother Edward I hope to have a final edit by the first of the year. I’m hoping I can keep this timeline, I kind of pride myself on timelines and quick turn arounds. Although this project my prove to push into 2016.

the joys of being back in Final Cut Pro! Synching like a villain. 72 takes times 2 because of 2 camera set up. Yup, Do the math!
the joys of being back in Final Cut Pro! Synching like a villain. 72 takes times 2 because of 2 camera set up. Yup, Do the math!

I was talking to Lindsey yesterday and have been bouncing some ideas around and I feel the best way to move forward now since all the audio is synched, is to create a audio narrative. Basically before I actually go to the church and shoot in service footage. Already establish a complete audio narrative that makes sense. So if the narrative is locked and Bro Edward’s part about talking about the choir makes the cut, then I know “OK, I need choir shots”. This way I’m not wasting my time shooting stuff that will never make final cut. I think thats the best way to go about it moving forward. Im trying to work smarter not harder.

I will be posting updates and photos to the blog as they come.

In conclusion, It feels great to be doing something for God again. I know some people will laugh at that. But personally for me, it’s true. Maybe it means nothing to nobody, but maybe, just maybe. Someone will come visit the church because they watched this video. Truthfully, I rather fail trying for God, then succeeding at doing nothing for him.

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