This was quite the fun challenge. We teamed up with Francis Parker School with the goal of delivering the latest campus renovation news to their community. They’ve been approved to renovate their Linda Vista campus and love keeping their alumni and community involved with the process. So, how can you deliver your message by video with a fun way of catching their attention, and engaging your viewer? Something different, might I add, than a traditional “talking head” video. In this instance, we decided by way of a “whiteboard” and stop-motion type of video. We all agreed that it would be a fun and different way to reach their community. So, lucky for them, they have a very talented Middle School teacher (DJ) who lent his talents to the project. Did I mention that we’ve never done a real whiteboard video? With a real (non animated) artist. I’m sure you’ve seen the fake, animated videos where there’s an arm moving over the already-completed photos, and it’s just computer and graphic animations and editing. Those are popular for simple generic messages and the whole video is done in the editing and effects programs.
This was the real deal.
First, we collaborated and met several times with Francis Parker to agree on the final message, the storyboard, and to test out what DJ is capable of doing. We quickly learned DJ could do just about anything.
Since we decided we would do this by shooting photos (time lapse), rather than video, we went with the Sony A7Rii camera due to the 8K sensor and 42 megapixels per photo. UUUGE photos. We’re talking very high resolution images which gives us the option to zoom in and out on the images while maintaining the sharpness and clarity. We soon found out while testing, that those high resolution settings gave the camera and SD card a fit while trying to write the huge images fast enough, even with the highest class and speed cards. It would chug along and not stay as consistent with the speed that we originally wanted (1 photo per second). So, we had to play with the speed of how often we wanted to take each photo in order to find the sweet spot with the remote, the camera, and card work flow. Fun.
So we turned on some music and spent the day filming DJ drawing all of the short segments. It was fun, we just let him do his thing. On average, DJ spent about 5-10 minutes for most of the simple drawings. “Simple”, ha. He made it look easy. It was impressive. The bigger pieces were 15-20 minutes. Unfortunately, for the sake of the final video, we often had to speed up past the beginning of each drawing and just show off some of his finishing touches. So you don’t get to see every image, from the very beginning, but you get the idea.
Finally, we threw it all in post, edited it down and added the camera movements, motion blur, and removed and added frames for the extra stop-motion effect on certain images.
Another fun fact, was that the voice over was recorded by one of their current middle school students, so that was great to incorporate to the project as well.
Total school and team effort.