Weekend Challenge: One-Shot Video
Here at Vimeo, we like a lot of different things: pizza, walking in big circles with a camera, videos, Handstick, parks and sunshine, videos, things that make us laugh, dancing, hula hooping, and videos. We're pretty easy to please. We chose a few of those things, tossed 'em in a theoretical mixing bowl, and theoretically cooked something up for you!
We wanted to really challenge ourselves (and you) this time, though, and we decided to make the whole video in just ONE shot! When you watch, you'll notice that we don't make any cuts at all; it's one steady, fluid motion. Think you can make something similar?
(PS- no Vimeo staff members were harmed in the making of this video, except for when I tripped when trying to walk backwards.)
To help you understand how to write, plan, rehearse, and shoot this video, I talked to our very own Laura Turner Garrison and Andrea Allen.
VVS: How do you approach writing a script for a one-shot / tracking shot video?
LTG: Try to keep the dialogue manageable. You certainly could give your actor a long, dramatic monologue, if you're into the whole cruel and unusual punishment thing. There's so much to remember for timing, make the dialogue easy for your actors to memorize and master. You want your scene to have a story, but make sure it's not a story that will be virtually impossible to get in one shot. A one-shot video is essentially about motion, so if you're looking for scene ideas, think of a scene that can only take place while covering distance.
VVS: What are the first things you should do to set up your video?
LTG: Map out the route before you shoot. At the very least, you should know exactly where the scene starts, and where you want it to end. In the case of the Video Jam, I used a literal map and marked where each person was supposed to enter and exit. This helped the core crew understand exactly where we needed to go for each beat of the scene, and helped us establish the right pace.
Remember, you can't cut away, so your actors need to know how they enter as well as when. Similarly, your crew needs to be prepared for these entrances and exits so they can capture it correctly. Try to make the actors actions interesting and dynamic!
VVS: How do you prepare everyone for the shoot?
LTG: It helps to do a walk through with at least the director & DP/shooter beforehand as well. We did a few walk throughs to make sure that the timing and pacing worked, and ended up changing the route a few times. You want to make sure the plan works before you start shooting, and maybe even before you get the actors on set.
AA: We also made sure people who had lines had plenty of time to read over the script. With the walkthrough, everyone could see where their roles played into the tone and knew that as things got weirder, they could get weirder. Encourage weirdness. If everyone acts like a crazy person, the only crazy person who is crazy is the one acting normal.
VVS: What about some tips for people who don't fancy themselves actors?
AA: Our video would not have happened without many people who never got any camera time! The crew is just as important and integral to making this type of shoot a success. Let people know what jobs are available or needed to be filled. Background acting is also a huge deal. The more interesting things happening in the background will make the viewer want to watch the video again and again just to catch it all!
Also, I made sure people were well fed and had a beer or two in them. Liquid courage is good for folks who are typically camera shy.
VVS: What technical tricks did you use for the shoot?
AA: To keep the camera moving smoothly, we used a wheelchair and pulled it backwards.
[SIDENOTE: If you don't have a wheelchair on hand, or you want to use other methods, you could build a dolly and shoulder rig or a snorricam. Or, you could use a flying camera stabilizer, like a glidecam!]
VVS: After all that planning, how flexible should you be?
AA: During the shoot, you'll know when it feels like you only have one or two shots left. It's not something you can really plan out. If someone has an idea, be open to it because it definitely can reinvigorate a tired/bored cast and crew. Just remember to be excited and excude your inner feelings (if they're positive) because fun is infectious!
Don't be afraid to screw it up. If you do screw it up, go with it. We screw up everyday in real life -- think of how you'd handle it then, and apply it to the shoot!
VVS: How do you keep the energy level up?
AA: It's the directors job to keep everyone excited and into the shoot. If the director is excited, it rubs off on the cast and crew. Be sure to encourage everyone and give lots of praise when you see someone do something you really liked. If you're inclined, as I was, make sure people feel they can make their performance their own. If they want to change a line, and it works, let 'em do it! Collaboration on shoots like this is awesome.
So, there you have it! Those are our insider tips and tricks for shooting a smooth one-shot video -- ready to try it yourself?
+ Shoot a video in a single shot, no cuts!
+ Keep your video under 2 minutes.
+ If you add music, use a song you've created or something from the Vimeo Music Store.
+ Upload and post your video to the Weekend Challenge Group by Tuesday, June 4th at 11:59 PM (EST).
Remember that only videos made specifically for this Challenge will be considered. All videos must be approved by the Vimeo Staff before appearing in the Group, so don't worry if your video doesn't show up at first; we'll get to it!
The winner of this Challenge will receive a free Vimeo Plus account for one year, and one of our stunning new trophies!
If you're already a Plus member, you'll get another year! The runner-up will receive an extra 3GB of upload space, Plus account or not.
Ready for a challenge?
Shoot a video in one shot, and have fun with it!Accept this challenge
Congrats guys, and see you next week!
Read about our process in making the one-shot wonder Vimeo Video Jam, and then make your very own!
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