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Celebrity Videography: Shooting Guy Fieri's Reel Cinemas Dubai Promo

Celebrity portrait and video sessions are an absolute blast, and it's something we love doing here. As is the case with most celebrity sessions due to NDA restrictions, it's been nearly a year since the Schneider Productions team had the opportunity to work with one of television's most well-known personalities: Guy Fieri. 

Guy was about to open a new movie theater/restaurant combo in Dubai and needed to put together a sizzle reel to advertise the coming attractions. Because it was a new concept, and also came together very quickly, we were tasked to produce a high-end deliverable with limited time and resources. 

This is the kind of task where the Schneider Productions team excels. We went to Guy's home town of Santa Rosa, CA and set up shop in a local hotel meeting room with everything we would need for our very limited time with the busy celebrity chef. 

Our extremely skilled cinematographer Karaminder pulled together the below setup in under an hour, and the result was bright and clean light that would provide a crisp image and avoid a green hue you might get when shooting in a cramped space by giving the shot enough separation despite the close quarters. 

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The client requested high quality video, but they didn't want the burden of a large cinema camera like a RED or an Alexa, the norm for something like this. Instead, they asked for a solid option that would be faster and more nimble to operate. For that, we opted to trust our Canon 1DX Mark II with the job which was able to provide high quality video without much setup or teardown time.

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We wired Guy with both a lavalier microphone and a boom microphone as backup to assure we accurately captured his booming voice. In the image above, the monitor to the right of our camera was specifically set up to allow the client to approve each shot.

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If you look closely, you might notice in the images above that we were oriented vertically rather than the traditional horizontal frame. Guy's team informed us that they wanted the option to use the footage for a wide array of purposes, and since Guy would be cut out of the green screen anyway and horizontal space wouldn't be necessary, we suggested this orientation so that the footage could be used from 6K to even 8K resolutions. 

But, we also made sure to capture it in traditional framing as well, as you can see below. 

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Guy was an absolute pleasure to work with, and his charisma you see on television is 100% genuine. On set, Guy joked and interacted with everyone and seemed to genuinely enjoy working with other professionals.

Guy, we wish you the best with your new restaurant! 

Redwood Credit Union Community Impact: From brief outline to finished project

For many projects, the vision for the completed project is in place well before the cameras come out of the bag. But sometimes, it's more about the feelings, emotions and vibe that you want to convey to the viewer more than the exact imagery and scripting. In a recently-completed project for my favorite Bay Area banking institution Redwood Credit Union, that's exactly the challenge with which we were met. 

Redwood Credit Union wanted to produce a video that would play in their newly-remodeled entry mall in their Santa Rosa administrative offices (that also doubles as a consumer bank location). After playing many of their customer stories produced by Schneider Productions, they realized that there was a missing piece to the story they wanted to tell about what they do for their members and their community. 

Redwood Credit Union invests an incredible amount of time and money back into the community, including raising funds for those devastated by the wildfires that rampaged through the north bay (millions were raised), invest in the county public school system, and donate their time and money to local food banks among a host of other involvements like their "Bite of Reality" series and their annual Shred-A-Thons. 

Over the course of four months, we were able to slowly evolve the desires of Redwood Credit Union from a concept into a completed project. We are very proud of this one, and are very happy with how we were able to combine the many skills we offer at Schneider Productions:

Timelapse: Much of what gives this video flow and movement is timelapse. When placed in a video alongside still photos, regular footage and slow motion footage, timelapse gives the viewer an idea of the passage of time, and also can show how many people are impacted by an event. In the case of this video, it serves all these purposes at different points in the edit. 

On-site video production: Originally tasked with just animating still photos, we eventually were asked to capture new, high-resolution videos to show Redwood Credit Union's involvement in the community. 

Custom graphics and animations: Whether it's the heart animation transition or custom infographics bringing life to titles, graphics and animations do a lot to add that extra special something to videos and better illustrate the impact of certain scenes. Our experience here allowed us to create graphics for Redwood Credit Union that are not just unique, but more importantly they are on-brand for the credit union. 

This was not an easy project, but it was fun in the challenges we faced with it. The Schneider Productions team was involved from start to finish, and the on-site, editing and graphics team all worked together to produce a the best video for Redwood Credit Union's administrative building. 

48 Hour Filmmaking Challenge: Sedona, AZ

I like to think back on how I first got interested in filmmaking, and I have to say the first time I ever really enjoyed the process was back in college. This was well before I became a professional videographer in San Francisco, CA and I was focused on my degree in marketing and business administration. But one of my hobbies was in Film Club, where we made short films for fun. For three years we took part in a very challenging local event in Spokane, WA: the 48 hour film festival. 

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This was, as you can imagine, a wild weekend of shooting. We were given 48 hours to write, shoot and edit a film with given parameters. Though we never won, we did come close two times. As you can imagine, it's not the most conducive environment for high-quality filmmaking, but rather forces you to make fast, tough decisions. A lot of what you want to do has to be thrown out, and even more gets left on the cutting room floor. 

Fast forward to 2017, and an opportunity presented itself to me at a Sony shooting event in Sedona, AZ. I was told at the onset that we had two days to make a video, and of course I wanted to win. I looked at who I was up against, and because there were so many dedicated YouTubers there I was a bit afraid of the competition. That's when I remembered my experiences doing 48 hour film festivals, and I thought that maybe that would give me the edge. 

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Turns out, it did. The video above was conceptualized, shot and edited in just 48 hours and was voted the best video produced at the event. We were given the opportunity to shoot out of a hot air balloon at dawn, and I took that time to make all of the aerial footage you'll see in the video. Though I normally use drones for much of this kind of thing, the balloon afforded me some unique advantages. Firstly, it moves very slow and deliberately, and it allowed me to mimic some of the more sought-after kinds of aerial shots (slow reveals, pans, and the straight-down clips). It certainly helps that my balloon pilot was excellent at his job, and was able to fly us into some really amazing scenes, and deftly skirted the tops of the brush at the crest of the mesa. 

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The timelapse shots were created using a mixture of a traditional intervelometer and my Cinetics Lynx rail. 

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It was extremely rewarding to not only produce something in so short a time, but something that I was happy with and so were others. It's absolutely not the idea situation for creating content, but it was a fun exercise that took me back to my early days.