7 TAKEAWAYS FROM BVE 2017
I have been to BVE (Broadcasting Video Expo) many times, but this year’s event exceeded and surpassed all others. BVE is a well estabished UK based Entertainment and Media Tech event. It is dedicated to the broadcast, production and post production sectors. It runs over 3 days at the Excel London.
Visitors have a chance to learn about the latest products, services and trends from over 300 leading manufacturers, distributors and services. There is also a full programme of free lectures, demonstrations and seminars running back to back in each of the six theatres. So you pick and choose them carefully and visit the stands in between.
Here are my 7 or more takeaways from BVE 2017
# BVE TAKEAWAY 1: Inside the Edit: Masterclass of the craft
Editing is the least understood aspect of filmmaking and videography. It is a hidden art form. Most professional editors are self-taught and many would argue that it is 10% technical and 90% creative. Others of us are often equipped technically but lack knowledge of the inside trade secrets.
Paddy Bird, founder of www.insidetheedit.com shared some of those hidden secrets. During an hour long demonstration he edited an interview and B roll footage into a compelling, broadcast edit. Phrases such as “breakdown and filter,” “compartmentalising into sub structures,” “sync. reconstruction,” “compression,” “non verbal communication,” “pace and timing” were banded around, during his excellent presentation.
Paddy was obviously touting for business because he offers a unique first class package of online, streamed editing tutorials. With a code for a 50% discount, I have a few days left to decide whether to sign up for his service. I am sorely tempted!
# BVE TAKEAWAY 2: Virtual Reality – 360 degree video
Most of us have visited a hotel, school or English Heritage website where we can look at a 360 degree panoramic still view of the building and its surrounds. Last Wednesday I sat on a bar stool, wearing some virtual reality glasses and headphones. I was completely blown away by my first virtual reality experience. I visited both an African village school and the former Calias “Jungle” refugee camp. I could look from left to right, tilt up and down and go in a full circle. Words fail me here – it is almost the “God” shot. You feel as though you are in the centre and looking down on the action, feeling part of it, but unseen. Spooky or what?
I had a great chat with the film maker and editor afterwards, who told me about the set up arrangements with the 8 or so, Go-pro cameras and the stitching involved in the final edit. The biggest problem currently is the virtual reality glasses technology. They create a bottleneck. The iPhone used is currently simply not powerful enough for the 4K resolution. Even so, it was an amazing experience and a sign of things to come.
# BVE TAKEAWAY 3: Bristol VFX – Green Screen Technology
I didn’t stop at many of the stalls this year. My kit is great. But I did chat with Mark Chapman, the managing director of Bristol Paint. I had always understood that you needed a really large space to set up a green screen and lighting kit for it to work professionally. But there he was, standing a yard away from the green screen and the visuals were amazing on the screen. It has set me thinking. How would a screen take my work and business to the next level? I have the lighting, but can I justify the £3000 price tag?
# BVE TAKEAWAY 4: Adobe Premier Pro Advanced Editing techniques
I made my way to the Adobe Theatre after lunch and sat in on a demonstration of Premier Pro advanced editing techniques. The focus here, was help to speed up the 10% technical side of editing. I hadn’t signed up for one of the computers so didn’t experience the full “hands-on” experience. Rather like the first demo, the presenter was on a mission to sign up punters for his editing courses in Salford – Media City. He spoke just like Garry Neville.
Watching the guys in front of me edit convinced me of two things: I need to get my hands (fingers) on a Logickeyboard and start learning the short cuts. I need to start using the mouse in my left hand and the keyboard in the other.
The presenter shared the following insights with us concerning:
– the value of the Alt key (to expand a window and restore by hovering over it; to copy a clip in the timeline by holding down the Alt key and moving the clip up to the next track; using the Alt shift e to link and unlink clips).
– the importance of using different coloured clips (for interviews, B roll etc) by right clicking on the clip and choosing “label colours”
– the advantage of turning off the sync lock for music when using insert edits
– the need to save time by using the ripple, rolling and edit tools
– the different trim colours (red and yellow) and their different uses.
# BVE TAKEAWAY 5: The Secrets of the Self Shooter
I first met the last keynote speaker, Rick Young (@Moviemachine.tv ), at Soho Studios over 12 years ago when Truro School paid for some in service training, to equip me to make better videos for the them. When I recently invested in my latest kit, I got back in touch with Rick and he gave me some sound advice.
For the first time in the day I came across someone who was not seeking to sell something to me. Rick’s brief was to share his experiences and some ideas that would help us differentiate ourselves from our competitors. Taking things to the next level. I wasn’t expecting much but took away the following advice:
a) Always have a back-up (extra camera, battery, light, microphone, cards, XLR cables) when on location . There’s nothing worse than looking amateurish in front of your client when something breaks down.
b) Know your camera back to front and inside out e.g. know how to dial in for white balance. (Reminder to self to look out that Doug Jensen DVD series on the Sony PMW F3.)
c) Take your filter off when filming in the dark.
d) Just go for it. Don’t ask for permission to film in Trafalgar Square – get it in the can and then apologise profusely when confronted and admonished. Shoot first, ask questions later.
e) Go for the “Holy Trinity” of zoom lenses if you can afford it: 17-35mm; 24-70mm 70-200mm and more prime lenses for macro and maximum telephoto.
f) When using wireless microphones – use the right, legal frequencies or risk a high penalty charge. `Rick also demonstrated the value of a Rycote omnidirectional microphone mount.
g) Invest in equipment that will enable greater movement of camera without camera shake and get some awesome shots. A dolly can be used in places other than a studio. Rick cited a modern hotel, theatre, dance hall and even some paved areas as examples he’d not considered before. He also suggested a Glidecam or equivalent for my Sony EX 1. Finally the purchase of a DSLR with a wide angle lens and accompanying gimbal and monopod. The combination of the two would be like a crane and result in some amazing footage.
# BVE TAKEAWAY 6: My Brexit Beliefs Challenged
One of the great things about BVE is that you are sure to bump into people you know in the trade. Visiting one of the lighting kit stalls, I met up with Jonathan Harrison (@Lightingmatters.com), who had just given a keynote demonstration earlier. Last year he visited our house and gave Melody and me a full day’s training in the theory and practice of lighting Once again, courtesy of Truro School.
Any way, whilst I was at the stand I was introduced to Dedo Weigert, the venerable cinematographer and inventor of the Dedolight lighting system. He must be well into his 70s and still sporting his famous hat. I said how much I was enjoying the Dedo kit that I purchased last year.
Then somehow we got on to talking Brexit, after he provocatively stated that he wouldn’t be accepted into the UK in a couple of years time. In characteristic Fawtyesque style, he did mention the war(s) and the EU as a bastion of peace for the past 70 years. He spoke of how, as West Germans, they were happy to financially support the East Germans after re-unification. Dedo said that the same is true today vis-a-vis Hungarians, Bulgarians and others of the 27 EU countries. Dedo finished by saying that many of the current Syrian refugees who have entered Germany are well educated, talented professionals. They would bring something extra to the German table. I was rather mute in my response!
BVE TAKEAWAY 7: Vertical Filming
On the way back, travelling on the Dockland Railway to Tower Hill Gateway, I found myself sitting in the front seat and was reminded of something Den Lennie had said in one of his webinars the previous week. “Go with the flow and don’t fight the market.” So I got out my iPhone and filmed some of the journey back, using the vertical format for the very first time. The scene seemed to lend itself to it, as you can see below.