Videoing a Local Farmer Segment

A few weeks ago the owner of the company asked me to go on location to a local apple cider producer for our store and put together an interview-style video of the process of making apple cider. I have to say, I was a bit intimated by the idea of it. Up to now all of these types of videos have been made by an award-winning videographer who does incredible work for us. But after I set some expectations for everyone, I was excited to do this project.

Scouting it out.

The first step for any project like this is to scout it out. It’s important to get an idea of the following things:

  • Location & Facility. Where will the filming take place? What different angles can be imagined? What are the limitations of the location? How many different operations need to be captured?
  • Interviewees. Are they talkative? Do your questions need to be general or more specific to spur up the conversation? How many people should do the talking on camera? Are they flexible enough to go with the flow? Or are they annoyed that you’re there in the first place?
  • The process. What is the basic process that you’re going to be capturing? How many steps does it take to make the product?

Filming the interview.

Even with scouting out all of the above, I still didn’t quite have a complete picture of how everything was going to mesh together. I knew I wanted to grab the interview first so it could guide me in how the process worked. Plus, I wanted to get out of the owner’s hair as soon as possible so he could get back to work.

I filmed with my Cannon Rebel T1i using a zoom lens close in on the face of the person speaking while my colleague used the camcorder mentioned in this post, to get the fuller body shots. His camera also captured the audio parts.

My choice for the location was just ok. I really liked that we captured the apple trees and the house in the background. I thought the house just screamed “local”. If I were to do it again, though, two things I would do differently are:

  1. Get a light reflector. It was a nice sunny day, but I really needed to get some light on their faces. The shadows really hurt the quality.
  2. Keep the cameras closer together. Really, I think the cameras should be from almost exactly the same spot so the person speaking is looking right into the camera. On this one I went with more of a side view with the zoom so the speaker was not looking directly into the camera. It still turned out ok, but I think it could be better.

Filming the process and facilities.

I really messed up here. I completely underestimated the amount of different footage I would need of the process and facilities. What I realized was that I was going to be really bored just watching a guy talk to a camera about a process. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize it until I went back to the office to start editing it. When I went back I watched some of the videos produced by professional guy mentioned earlier and was simply amazed by how seldom we saw the person being interviewed. In his cuts, when the person being interviewed was on screen, it was literally for 1 second. Then we switched to something else – usually exactly what he is describing with words.

So, I called and asked to come back and get some more footage. Thankfully, the owner was gracious and let me come back for another half day the following week.


I’m still only using iMovie for these edits. That’s fine. I like iMovie. But I’m really starting to want something more advanced. I bet I’d be able to do alot more with a more professional software.

Like in my previous experience, the most difficult part was cutting. My 1st cut was almost 4 minutes. That’s just too long for the typical viewer. So, I started clipping out scenes. I was able to get it down to 2 minutes. I’m still keeping in mind that a commercial on the TV is only 30 seconds. I’m not sure how in the world I could get it down to that.

I’m happy with the way this came out. I think it accurately shows the process in an interesting way and genuinely helps both the vendor and our store.

Harvest Fest Time Lapse

Every year Adams has an extremely popular Harvest Fest at each of the store locations. It’s a huge production that takes weeks of preparation. The best part about it is that most of the activities are free. And the ones that cost money are really low in cost.

So for the past couple of years, I’ve put together a Time Lapse to show the vastness of the event.

I’m also proud to say that my 9-year-old daughter is the featured artist for the music! A couple months ago she was playing around with Garage Band on our computer and I impressed with what she was coming up with. I told her I would feature her work on an upcoming video that I was working on. And this is what came of it! Check it out.

Videoing a Food Seminar…Update

A few weeks back I mentioned that I got to get my feet wet with videoing a food seminar. I’ve been working on these videos and am pretty happy with the result.

The Videos

Seafood Summer Salad

And here’s the longer form of it.

Local Cheeses

There are a few more videos left to do, but these are a great start.

Things I Learned

Make quick cuts.

People have short attention spans. Cut as much as possible from the video. A colleague of mine saw my original cuts and advised me to cut it down…way down. So that’s what I did. I could probably have cut it down even more, but I didn’t want to lose any of the content. After cutting it down, I’m much happier with the work.

Keep it to 2 cameras, max 3.

For most of the seminars I used 3 cameras. One directly in front, one slightly to the side and a GoPro up close on the hands and cutting board. This was plenty. Since I’m only using iMovie for the edits, it can only handle two lines of video at a time. Getting three camera views on only two lines was at times challenging, and certainly tedious.

For a few of the seminars I had a friend bring in an extra camera. I’ve found the 4th camera to be just a bit too much. Perhaps if I had a more advanced software it would be a bit easier, but using only iMovie, it’s just too much.

Capture in the highest quality.

For the first seminar I videoed in HD, but it was the lowest setting of the HD options. I was very disappointed with the quality of the video. This was exasperated by the fact that my other cameras captured a much higher quality video. For the subsequent seminars, I cranked up the quality to the max and that had a serious effect.

Double check the Mics.

Ugh. There’s nothing worse than filming an entire seminar only to find out in the editing room that the mics were messed up. That’s exactly what happened with one of the seminars. The problem was that there were four people speaking and only two microphones. That meant we had to continue rearranging microphones depending on who was speaking. With all the setup and planning that it required, I think it just got too confusing. In the end, I accidentally disabled the microphone of the person speaking and activated the microphone of the “on-deck” person. For the entire video! What a waste.

Have backup equipment

I mentioned in my last post that I bought the ePhoto Pro Studio Video 4500W Digital Photography Studio 3 Softbox Lighting Kit Light Set and Carrying Case H9060S3 off of Amazon. I am very happy with what it did – especially for the price, however two of the head clamps actually stripped out on the second day of shooting. The heads are just too heavy for the clamps. I was able to get them replaced by the company, but I had to scramble to try and get the lights to stay pointed in the right direction. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about this in the future as I think it will just continue stripping out, but at least I have some backup pieces now.

All in all it was a great experience. I’ve already got another photo shoot scheduled. This one isn’t a food seminar, so it’ll be a whole new experience again.

Videoing a Food Seminar

Videoing a Seminar
Today I expanded my horizons a bit by videoing a food seminar. Having taken pictures at this location before, I knew it was going to be a tough place to video. The lighting is horrible and the sound…oh, the sound. The ambient noise from the neighboring science exhibit alone was enough to drive a sound man crazy. But when the boss says take a video, a video is going to be created one way or another.


My first task was to find lighting. I’ve had success with setting up a mobile studio for products shots by just looking around Adorama’s website. But I needed a bit more help with this since I haven’t had much experience with continuous lighting. So, I did a quick YouTube search and found this awesome video giving a great rundown of continuous lighting options.

So, here’s what I ended up with:

I bought it on Amazon for about $165. Not bad at all considering what you get. There a few quirks with some of the equipment, but I think it’s with the cost.


As mentioned, sound at this location was a pain. Remember, this is in a very busy venue with lots of different vendors. The only solution was to individually mic the person giving the seminar. This would mean that she would actually be wearing two microphones – one for speaker system and one for the recording.

My colleague had already done the research on this for a different project. So, I used it. This is what we used:


Again, my colleague had already researched and bought a camcorder. He bought this along with the before-mentioned microphone kit. Because of that, it worked greatly as the main audio source.

On the side I used my trusty Canon Rebel T1i DSLR. It was one of the first DSLRs to do video. It doesn’t have auto focus which can be a pain, but it’s great for taking short clips or using it as a secondary camera. I would provide a link, but it’s not in production anymore. But if I were to recommend a similar product, I’d recommend this one:

Just to throw in one more view, I also setup a GoPro for an up close shot. I have the Hero 3. There are newer models now, but the Hero 3 does the well enough.