Dusting Off My Film Degree

By Andrew Davidson
on Feb 7, 2022

marie_aota2022_awardstill When my good friend Marie-Christine Potvin asked me to help her out by assisting her in shooting a video for the AOTA Awards and Recognitions Ceremony at 2022 INSPIRE, I looked forward to the opportunity to put my decades old Pratt film degree to good use. It looks like the pandemic had sidelined yet another 'personal appearance' conference for an internet-streamed event, and the ceremony had put the onus on the awards winners to submit short videos of themselves. The video submission request came with a Word Doc with plenty of helpful hints on how to turn your 'Zoom Room' into something presentable, along with new-agey inspirational guidelines on how to make your point quickly and succinctly. Always glad to help, the finished 36 second video is embedded below:

Technical Details: (i.e. What's Not Shown In The Video)

I came in prepared to do my own lighting, but found the set lighting to be suitable. We could also shut the door to cultivate a quiet set, and lose the hum of constant A/C in large industrial buildings like this one. The set background only need a bit of dressing, where we removed items from behind her head, and used props to accentuate others (someone might recognize that Jefferson Award behind her, right?). Marie did her own flattering wardrobe & makeup as well as writing her own script. She was easy to direct in pose, presentation and pacing - and we both wish she maintained her smile more throughout her performance.

Marie's original talking script was printed in large type and taped to the back of the phone/camera so she could read it and maintain eye contact with the camera. Alas, this low-budget method of teleprompters covered our on-board microphones and amplified the noise of my breathing, which infringed on the final performance. Since we can't do redubbing, we were stuck with set audio, including the heavily breathing camera operator!

The cramped set didn't give us much room for a tripod, so everything was shot by hand on my cell phone (in landscape format always!) using my Google Pixel 3 giving us 1920 x 1080 source files that I copied to my computer while I downloaded iMovie, and used my editors eye to cut this together.

While the organizers expected a single talking head shot, I am great at picking up B roll footage, and used it to subtly reinforce some talking points in the video, and used it to cut away from some obvious eye-scanning in the selected performance.