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March 25, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

The Return

By Dayton from SLN More Blogs by This Author

I figured since I tore my video to little bite sized pieces, I would now show you why the entry that had the same, or, at the very least, a similar idea, won the top spot. 

In case you were wondering what on earth was going on, read my previous blog and you will be up to speed. The video that I will be referencing in this entry is HERE. It was masterfully executed by director David Carstens. Here is his page of awesomeness. Go there. Love it. 

Anyway! Onward! Here is everything that makes that dude what I aspire to be!

1. Great product placement...with the right product.

The first thing that I immediately noticed about most of the winners of this festival was that they all used a Chevy Spark. Chevrolet said that they would prefer a Spark, but if we couldn't get one, we could use a Chevy Sonic and it would be all good. So, because the Sonic is a longer standing model, thus more available, we ended up using one of those. Not only did they get the right car, but we see it over...

...and over...

and we see the freaking car a lot of freaking times! This made the car, and by extension the brand something that you get connected to through the course of the film. I know that these cars are absolutely awful and that they have no redeeming qualities for the kind of coin you need to shell out (I would much rather get a used car with 60,000 miles on it, that didn't suck, for the same price), but after watching his film, I was enticed to want to drive that car! Like it would be perfect for me if I were a traveling musician! And here's the funny part, I have lugged around amps and guitars to God knows where a few times myself, and I know I want more cargo space than a freakin' Chevy Spark is going to give me! In the regard of sheer marketing, this video was brilliant and highly effective, especially for someone of my demographic (which I'm pretty sure is who is being targeted). 

So, this tells me that we need to be more focused on marketing. We need to have not just completing the video in mind, but we need to ask ourselves how this will effect the viewer and how that changes the brand's view of the video. It may be advantageous to find the right product to advertise, and show it in a way that really makes the viewer connect.

2. They had really-real equipment. Like...really-real.

From the David Carstens website:


Soo....yeah....in case we were wondering I am pretty confident that what we are looking at is a RED Scarlet-X with a bunch of Zeiss cine lenses sitting around it...you know...no biggie. I am pretty sure the lenses alone are close to $20,000. So I think that may have helped with their production value.

Here is MY camera setup:

I am so cool that I can fit my camera AND my editing system into the picture. That is a Canon t4i with a 50mm f1.4 EF lens. The same camera that I used to shoot my video. Obviously we can see some pretty obvious differences between the two. I think if you threw all my camera gear together and priced it out you would mayyyyybeee get to $2,000. Maybe. 

I'm not writing these 2 blogs because I think I am a failure as a filmmaker. I am sharing the ways I am going to improve. I am not the type that sulks and stops pursuing my dreams. If at first what happens doesn't have the best outcome, so what. We can always try again. And try again we will. So, from this I can see that an equipment improvement is definitely necessary. But alas, I am poor! Luckily, I have stumbled across borrowlenses.com and have come to really appreciate the magic of renting equipment (see my blog here). So, the fancy equipment that is great in low light and makes everything look awesome is within our reach.

3. They had really good color correcting.


Granted, Mr. Carstens was likely using his RED powered, death camera, which means he has an incredible amount of color depth and flexibility. Because the Scarlet shoots in 4k and records in its red-raw format or whatever, the final product is going to be capable of being whatever the editor wants. Even further than that, they had beautifully saturated colors but it wasn't over-powering at all, it was bright where it needed to be bright and dark where it needed to be dark.

I think what we need to take away from this is that we need to find the better equipment and then take advantage of it. If we have the greatest stuff in the world and shoot in a disorganized manner, especially if we have continuity issues again, it may look pretty, but it might not make sense. Which leads me to...

4. It made a crap-ton of sense and was catchy.

This film starts out with him playing on the street. Then he works his way up through larger and larger venues. It has a music video feel because he was singing along to the track in the background and it was magic. MAGIC!


Throughout the entire thing he is driving a Spark. Because he needed to go places. Lots and lots of places. At the end of the video he gives some cash to a female musician that was in the same place he was when he started. It made sense, it had closure, and it was effective. 

We need to make some serious changes in the make-sense division. Because we don't make much sense some times. And if we did that same thing of making it all music video-y we may have had a better shot at placement, because that made it catchy! And, quite frankly, the soundtrack was better, so we may need to improve our in studio drafts, or just go with stock music.

5. They used real actors


AHHHH! I would love to use actual actors that actually acted. Maybe in the future we can post on craigslist for an actor/actress. Right now we are just using our friends as actors and they could use improvement...

And look at that hair! LOOK AT IT! That is envy worthy...but regardless, these are the lessons I have learned. Hope you learned something too!

 Happy filming! :D

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