View Full Version : how to spice these up?

04-16-2005, 01:53 AM
I'm going into university labs, shooting 2-3 minute video clips that feature inventions in areas like biomedicine and engineering. Some are so new that they're only written formulas or samples in test tubes.

The clips need to be serious and not glitzy...they're for businesses thinking of licensing the patents... but I'd like to make them more interesting than old high school science films. Any ideas beyond the talking head in a white coat?

Aaron Koolen
04-16-2005, 02:06 AM
Hmm. What about adding some interesting production values. Obviously you'll have product/invention shots but maybe add in jib or dolly shots. Might add a little "flashiness" to the whole thing


04-16-2005, 02:52 AM
Problem is that there's generally not much of a product to see. Unless there's a prototype, it could be nothing but an idea written on a white board. I'm thinking of maybe cutting away to still shots representing the industry or application for the invention. (New surgical invention, I show 3 seconds of an operating room, for example.)

04-16-2005, 09:27 AM
Potential uses or problems solved, get a hot lab assistant, pictures at micro-level of test-tube samples, some footage of testing (for engineering products, destructive testing can be exciting). Blow one up or melt it down.

You could just go for "fun" or whimsical at same time you do the serious techie stuff. Dress the presenter in a silly costume related to product. Or do a Dr. Frankenstein spoof with scary music. It will be okay if the viewer comes away thinking, "these guys are nuts but they're really smart...". If you go this way, you might do two comeplete productions, with a goofy one "for fun". Theymight just go for it when they see the end result.

04-17-2005, 08:50 AM
Also, lighting these things might help out. I know on that show "Nova" they sometimes take seemingly boring material, but when lit the right way it can look rather dramatic. If it's an idea written on a white board, maybe try using a dolly to capture someone actually writing the content on the board. Sometimes using pure black backgrounds, and subtle camera moves can make worlds of difference. Using cutaways is a good idea. Is it possible to interview these people that come up with the ideas? Possibly showing some clips of them at work?

04-17-2005, 09:13 AM
Yes, interviews and clips of them at work are definite possiblities. Altering the environment is less likely, because they'll want to be shot where they work (labs) and they'll be in a hurry. I probably can't take more than an hour after I set up.

04-17-2005, 10:30 AM
It's not completely necessary to alter the environments I suppose, but a little lighting can go a long way. I think the creative cutaways are going to be key in breaking up the piece and keeping the attention of your audience.

04-17-2005, 12:17 PM
Yes, I agree. I've been looking at some Ken Burns-type software, so I can pan and zoom photos. I'm pretty sure I'll have access to lots of photos from the univ. departments and the medical school, but video clips would be tough to find -- or expensive.

04-19-2005, 09:15 AM
If you want to spice it up a bit, add music. a nice strong energetic type of music in the background will make it alot more interesting. I shoot personal interest stories for a local tv station and adding background music behind it just totally makes it alot more interesting. Also add in some interviews, again with a good flowing music behind it. And another thing I can stress when doing something like this...get creative. Put the camera in places, and get angles that people will not expect. For example ifthry are opening a cupboard to take out a bottle of something..tell them to wait...put your camera in the cupboard...start recording....close it..and let them open it and take out what they need. You need to imerse your audience in the content as if they were actually there and experiencing it for themselves. Like...put your camera on a steel cart and push it in through the action. Trust me, if you add some background music and get some really creative shots...your audience will not be bored, because there will always be something different up next. Good luck, let me know how it goes.