On-Location “Studio” Look


We do a lot of on-location interviews.  In the last year, we’ve done almost 100 interviews.  All were shot on-location. More than ever, clients want to shoot where they are.  People, at all levels within any company, just don’t have time to travel to a studio. That does not mean, however, that clients want to sacrifice quality.

Below are just two examples of what is possible on-location.  Each interview has its own distinct look and feel, but were both shot in the same size room. When shooting on location, the physical space limitation is the main obstacle.  Unfortunately, the reality is that the largest room most companies can offer is a conference room. Below you will see the results of shooting in a very small room, while still achieving a studio look. Both interviews were achieved using our standard camera package, lights and lenses – no special rental camera, light truck, gear or lens rentals were employed. For the two interviews below, we took advantage of our 85mm lens.  The lens imparts a cinematic effect, beautiful skin tone, and a shallow depth of field, which provides an infinite studio look. We have determined that we can achieve a studio look in a room as small as 16’ wide, 20’ long, with 9’ ceilings for standing subjects, 7 ½’ ceilings for seated subjects.  Anything larger is a bonus.

White Background approach:

Black Background approach:

Although shot in the same size room, the production and post-production approaches vary considerably, resulting in two very different interviews, each with their own distinct look and feel. What’s most exciting is that these are only two possibilities – there are infinite approaches.


Problem: Digital Media Provides Powerful Results, but Large File Transfer is a Problem


When we launched Kmotion Media, we challenged ourselves to ask, at all junctures, “How do we do this Much Better than it’s been done before?” We’ve let that guide us in setting up our systems, and our new client file management tool is one result. We’ve built a complicated tool that simplifies the “giant file transfer” process we’d been challenged with in the past. It allows the password protected transfer of video, animation, stills, PowerPoint, or any large file, both to and from clients and agency partners. The size capacity is unlimited and the transfer is secured. The tool is so powerful and intuitive, that several clients have asked us to create their own branded proprietary file management tool.


Chroma Key Footage with Interactive Graphics

Green Screen Thumbnails

Here’s more on-location footage shot in a small room. This time, we shot chroma key footage on a portable green screen. Here are the before and after images:


Since the movement was fast and youthful, we shot footage of lots of flailing arms and flipping hair (not the best source material for footage that we would later need to key).

We keyed the footage and then added graphics that appear to interact with the talent – moving around them, casting shadows on them and appearing to grow from their actions. The 3D motion graphic elements were rendered out in a manner which allowed us to move the graphic elements in front of and behind the actors seamlessly. We also motion tracked some of the shots allowing us to match the movement of the graphics to the actors movements.


Blurring the Lines Between Film and Video


Shooting video has always had its downsides. Mostly, in the past, video didn’t look like film. Then, a few years ago, came the ability to shoot video in 24p, the same speed rate as film is shot in, and suddenly you could shoot video that had that “film look”. The only thing missing was that most video cameras had a fixed lens, which meant not much depth of field. So unlike film, with video everything in your frame was in focus. To give video that “film style” you need to be able to shoot using a 35mm lens that will give you more depth of field in your shots. Now you can get adapters that will allow you to do just that.


There are numerous reasons to shoot with 35mm lens adapters, such as the power to achieve far shallower depth of field. Another less-cited reason is that most adapters soften the image just a touch; they can remove some of the harshness of HD video. But by far, my favorite reason for the use of 35mm adapters is the fact that they tend to make you work more in the “film style,” slowing down your work flow and compelling you to pay closer attention to framing and composition. Because focus is a critical element with a 35mm adapter rig, you tend to work more with your talent and skill—and it makes you a better shooter and director.



Trends in Post Production

Adding to the Emotional Experience: Color Grading and VFX (Visual Effects)

When a project reaches the post production phase, the visuals have been captured. If an exterior scene shows XYZ’s logo signage displayed outside of their corporate office, that’s the scene we will have to work with.
But what if it was shot on a gray overcast day?
What if the piece is supposed to highlight XYZ’s cutting edge new approaches?
What impression would that overcast shot impart?
The tools we work with at Kmotion allow us to use various techniques to develop that shot to strengthen the message and deliver the right emotional reaction.

Visual treatments to this one brief scene might include:

-Bringing up and adding color to the scene.
-Cutting out the gray overcast sky and adding a bright blue one with gorgeous optimistic clouds.
-A subtle cloud movement that would allow a ray of light to hit the logo/sign just right (and with the beat of the underlying musical score).
-A lens flare that grows out of that glint.

All of this might occur in a 3-second scene and might be quite subtle, but it would send a meaningful message to the viewer – one much stronger than the original overcast sky scene.

We use the Post Production Color Grading and VFX phase to not only correct, but also enhance a project.


Improve the overall look.
Correct subjects’ skin quality (Smooth out blemishes, wrinkles, redness, etc.).
Correct any issues in the scene (remove signs, shadows, reflections and other imperfections).
Correct any footage issues (over or under exposure, etc.).


Reinforce or develop a color palette.
Create a signature look.
Direct the movement of the viewer’s eye.
Add to the story.
Add elements to the scene.

Questions we frequently ask ourselves as we work through the process:

What are we communicating?
How do we support that visually?
How can we add meaning to the visuals?
Where do we need to focus the eye?
How can the image be improved?
Which color pallet and effects would best add to the emotional experience.


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