Last week I blogged about all the planning and preparation that goes in to a day of shooting How-To videos. We shot the videos on Friday, so I thought it only right that now I should let you know what goes in to an actual shoot day.
Get in for 8am. We start an hour earlier in the winter months because it gets dark in the afternoon, and we rely on natural light to light the scenes. It’s all about consistency – if any scenes are shot when it’s dark outside, they’d look very different on screen.
Say hello to the warehouse staff. These guys are early birds too. We go make coffee (in the coffee maker I cleaned out in another video), and start to talk about what we’ll be filming that day. This particular day, we’ll be focusing on a Hotpoint washing machine. Gabe’s already set aside the spare parts we’ll need for the shoot from the rest of the warehouse stock. Today it’s the a few door parts: the bowl, shield and seal, as well as the element.
Armed with coffee and a sarnie from the sandwich shop round the corner, we start having a look inside the washing machine. Gabe starts taking me through exactly how everything in there is put together. Cue ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ of dawning realisation from myself.
Decide to get started by replacing the door bowl and shield as one video, and start working on ‘the beats’ of the intro. It’s an important part of the video as we need to establish both the symptoms and the cause of the problem, and what you can do to rectify it. Typically this section is between 45 and 60 seconds long – it doesn’t sound much, but it can mean remembering a fair amount of information! We don’t write a script, as we prefer the video to sound conversational, so I just jot down, in chronological order, the main points I need to get across.
Filming begins! I usually take 3 or 4 takes to get in to it and actually make it to the end of the intro scene having remembered everything I needed to say, but it’s not long before I’m feeling (relatively) comfortable in front of camera.
Intro in the can, we move in to the nitty gritty stuff. This video is not one of the most technical ones, but you’d be surprised how hard it is to get everything to run smoothly. This is where Gabe comes in to his own, experimenting with angles, techie stuff and the like. It’s actually very hard to make separating two door trims apart look photogenic! While the vast majority of the Fix-It tasks we shoot are really simple, it’s a little more difficult trying to do that task whilst presenting too.
Having managed to accidentally smash the original door bowl whilst filming, we finally nail it and shoot the sign off. Cue a well earned coffee break.
More ‘beats’, this time for the door seal video.
Get cracking on the door seal video. This one’s a lot more involved than the first video, as we have to take the front and top panels of the machine.
A mammoth video, but we get there in the end. We usually shoot the big ones in the middle of the day – that way we’re well in to the swing of things, but not yet too fatigued. Yet another coffee break, this time accompanied by a spot of lunch. Today it’s salt beef sandwiches. More ‘beats’, for the element video, and a spot of Monk on the break room TV.
Back under way with the element video. Not half as difficult as you’d expect as there’s a handy access panel round the back of the washing machine. During one scene a shaft of light beams right on to the middle of the washing machine, so we have to stop for 10 minutes to refix the bubble wrap light diffusers to the windows.
That is a wrap. Just as nightfall starts rearing its head, we finish up the final video of the day. It’s been pretty exhausting, but we’re satisfied we’ve got some great videos in the bag.
After a quick tidy up, we make for the pub.
Tags: eSpares How To Videos