TAR Productions produces TEDx La Jolla

TED is a fantastic brand, institution and method for sharing ideas. Naturally, we were excited to produce the audio/visual live event for TEDxLa Jolla on April 12, 2014.
The event was put on by Amanda and Mitch Thrower on a beautiful rooftop deck over looking the La Jolla Cove.TEDx La Jolla 2014

If you’re familiar with any TED or TEDx event, they’re mostly held indoors. This was a problem and an opportunity for us. TED has strict brand standards to follow as guidelines, meaning we had to work within a set of preconceived lighting and video requirements. Brand guidelines are great, they make your job easier as it takes out some of the guess work, and you have the confidence that it will look great, and consistent to all other TED events.

TEDx La Jolla 2014

The challenge for us was that most TEDx events are held indoors. Herein lies the opportunity for us to do something unique, stand out and take advantage of the gorgeous view we had as a backdrop. We would have to deal with weather, sun, sunset and nighttime exteriors. La Jolla is notorious for marine layers being that it sits practically on the water. During sunset, our speakers would be facing directly into the sun- great for the audience and cameras as it produces great lighting from our vantage point. But, this can be tricky for the speakers and we really didn’t want them squinting or wearing sunglasses as that would take away from the connection we receive from them. The day, of course, had a hefty marine layer and an ocean breeze, making it kinda chilly on a rooftop. We had heaters on standby and scouted out the placement of each as to not interfere with the camera location.

TEDx La Jolla 2014TEDx La Jolla 2014When nightfall came, we turned on the lights and lit it up in beautiful TED fashion. Being California and outside, we had to light the palm trees across the way, of course. The event went on without a hitch thanks to our experienced, tried and true producers, Mitch and Amanda Thrower.

TEDx La Jolla 2014

We used a standard DMX LED lighting, these are great because they have fantastic range in color, produce no heat and are light on the power consumption. For the cameras, we chose Canon C100s and output via HDMI. The nice thing about HDMI cables is that the video and audio feed travel over one cable, but the range isn’t that long. So, we attached the HDMI to a BlackMagic converter to SDI. SDI has a much longer range and these plugged directly into our video switcher – the BlackMagic ATEM TV Studio. We actually ran the mic inputs from our presenters into our A-camera and used the camera to output audio into our board for the lifestream and recording.

 



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Hosting Your Video: YouTube vs Vimeo

There isn’t much of a difference, in terms of quality, between Vimeo and YouTube. They each have their advantages and disadvantages and we’ll look into a few of those. One thing I always recommend for our clients is to host with one of these these two options. Read on for more YouTube vs Vimeo.

YouTube vs Vimeo

Common Advantages
Both YouTube and Vimeo work pretty much everywhere. You have the option to embed these videos anywhere on the web and they both work great on mobile devices and multiple browsers. They both handle all the back end conversions and automatically show the best format & resolution depending on what type of device you’re watching it on. I cannot overstate the importance of this. Unless you have a dedicated team of web developers and IT support you’ll most likely want to upload your video and forget about any technical stuff. Certain browsers will only play certain video codecs. This is all based around licensing issues and some browsers simply don’t want to (or can’t) pay these royalties.
Both these communities have a built in audience. YouTube obviously have a larger audience, but Vimeo’s community is more artistic, creative and engaged overall.

YouTube Advantages
YouTube has the audience. Being the world’s 2nd largest search engine attracts a lot of eyeballs. It’s incorporated with your Google account and they have simple sharing and commenting options. There’s a lot of content on YouTube and if you know how to properly tag your video you can get it associated with some attractive videos (meaning videos with lots of views). YouTube supports pretty much any codec, meaning no matter what format you upload YouTube will convert it and make sure it plays. The big advantage here is that you can upload, and playback, material shot in 4K. 4K is the next video standard after 1080p, it’s 4x the pixels and you will only see more and more of it. We’ve uploaded a few 4K projects to YouTube here and here.

Vimeo Advantages
Vimeo has a great player. It looks nice, plays nice and is really robust and there are no pre-roll ads. They’ve had their fair share of outages over the years but I haven’t noticed one in a while. They offer 3 tiered services, Vimeo, Vimeo Plus and Vimeo Pro at free, $99/year, and $199/year respectively. This site outlines the differences, but with Plus or Pro you get HD embeds, no ads anywhere and with Pro a ton of control over how your player looks and acts. These are very important if you take video seriously and use it in a business environment. Vimeo also supports subtitling and close captioning.

Conclusion
Overall, I think Vimeo is a better solution. I prefer the control you have over how your video is displayed. We’re Vimeo Pro users and very happy with it. It’s up to you to decide which hosting solution makes the most sense for your situation.

Best of NAB 2014

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Here’s our best of NAB 2014. National Association of Broadcasters is held every year in Las Vegas, NV. It’s the biggest show of it’s kind and like Christmas morning for video gear junkies like us. If a company is going to make a major announcement this is the place to do it. Here’s our “best of” list for NAB 2014.

DJI Phantom 2+ – Improving on the first generation with some great new features. Remote control drones have never been so easy to use and feasible to get great imagery. Although I’ve never used one, and they’re not perfect, they are pretty darn good. I especially like the software from Adobe the fixes the fisheye distortion (Adobe Lens Profile Support).

AJA Cion 4k camera – Like Black Magic Design did a couple of years ago with their entry into the camera market, AJA is shaking things up and lowering the cost barrier to entry for professional cameras. They have a solid foundation and history in broadcast environments, like BlackMagic, and I’m really looking forward to see what they have to offer. No word yet on image quality but price is less than $9,000 for body. 4K video is everywhere now and, like CES 2014, at NAB 2014 it’s definitely a theme that’s not going away. Here’s a video from NoFilmSchool.com

Black Magic USRA – Black Magic announced a 4k camera last year, but this one is a “production” camera. Black Magic, makers of fantastic products, a true industry shaker and overall solid company, has a horrible track record for shipping cameras on time. This isn’t the same for their other products. We’ll have to see when this camera actually ships, hopefully it’s before NAB 2015.

Small HD monitor – Small HD makes great small, high definition field monitors. Anytime I’ve used one on set it’s always been immensely helpful and powerful. They’ve added the ability to create looks on your computer, save an LUT (look up table) and use it while shooting but record the raw or flat look so you retain all the details. When you bring in the flat material to post-production, you simply add your LUT and make changes from there. All non destructive and totally customizable. Pretty awesome. Here’s a fun video they made.

Zacuto Gratical – This looks amazing. A great eyecup, like the one Zacuto already makes, can make or break a shoot. Several times I’ve been in situations where I couldn’t see the image I was recording properly and really scared that I was doing something wrong. In short, these are incredibly valuable.

 

From time to time a few manufactures will release products or make announcements later on during the week so their announcements don’t get lost in every other one made first thing Monday morning. check back for more NAB 2014 news.

Monster Energy, Monster Girls, Bear Suit and a Pillow Fight

A few weeks ago I posted a photo and video from our shoot with Monster Energy Drink to our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook page that included Monster Girls and a Bear Suit. Here are the posts:

The shoot lasted 6-days and included scenes such as Weeman fighting a Ninja, taking over a grocery store, a convince store, coordinating with a professional stunt team, Monster Girls and lots of motion graphics in post. A 6-day shoot is never easy, especially when that includes taking over a grocery store just two weeks before the Superbowl. We ended up finding one that was going out of business and were able to shoot there and stage it so it looked live and open. We had a ton of green screen and blue screen work to do and lots of graphics in post. We also had a lot of fun. The bear suit was random, it’s been 4 years since we shot this video and I don’t recall how it actually ended up on set. But we were able to get creative with it during the credits roll.

Here’s the final video:

And a few more behind-the-scenes pictures:

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