Filming a Promo Video

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When preparing to upload my project at Kickstarter, I wrote, rewrote and polished the script for my promotional video. When I was satisfied, I did three takes using my Canon Elura 80, tripod and remote. I wasn’t happy with any of the shoots for different reasons: lighting was problematic, the sound was poor — the E-80 doesn’t have jack for an exterior mic — or my delivery just plain stunk. The one shoot that had the most promise, done outside with spring foliage in the background, I had to discard. I realized later that my dog Celeste had been in the frame, walking around the rear part of our yard, looking for squirrels to chase.

Turns out I’m not an actor nor a filmmaker, but I understand the importance of a promotional piece. So I was committed to getting it done. The biggest issue for me was memorizing the script. Index cards didn’t help. Yelling: “Line!” didn’t help either. Short term memory was not cooperating. So this is how I got around this problem:

I rigged up a “poor-man’s teleprompter.” I copied the script into an iMovie title, the one where the words roll up a la Star Wars. I then placed the laptop by the camera and with two remotes — one for the camera and the other for the computer — I could manage the speed of the script while turning the camera off when needed. Here’s the set-up:

and this is where I sat, opposite my camera:

I decided to go black and white for a couple of reasons. First, the lighting was not optimal and the color version was not complementary. Second, because ESPERANZA FARM is a historical novel, the black and white of the video adds a document quality that I preferred.

So there you have it. If you’re filming your own promo, I hope this makes it a bit easier. If you need more details on my “prompter,” drop me a line and I’ll be happy to give you the “specs” : )

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