And Now for Something Completely Different: The Dutchtub
Things have been a bit crazy at PLP headquarters. We are jumping headlong into a ton of different bicycle themed video projects (more on those later). One of the short pieces we just completed was a short web video for Clever Cycles to advertise their Dutchtub rental service. It was great to work with Clever Cycles and our friend Brock from The Sprocket Podcast who provided his voice talent and burgeoning acting skills. What we’re slowly learning about video (neither of us were trained in this field) is that it’s A LOT of work for just a few seconds, but you sort of have to accept that. We’ve essentially been giving ourselves a crash course in video production the last few months with Laura taking on the producer/interviewer/sound recordist role and with me as DP/camera operator/editor. Perhaps the most satisfying thing about this Clever Cycles spot (aside from the fact it was absolutely hilarious to film) was seeing the storyboards come to life.
I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted it to look like (flat, 2D, tongue-in-cheek) and the visual setup for the punchline with Dean from Clever Cycles wearing a chef’s hat. To see it all come together was extremely gratifying (to make it flow in the edit was extremely time consuming ).
In typical Portland fashion it threatened to rain all day. We almost canceled the shoot, but it would have been too hard to reschedule everyone again so we just went for it. The weather held out as we shot all the b-roll of setting up the Dutchtub and getting it ready for Brock to step in. OF COURSE, a few minutes before we were about to start shooting Brock’s speaking parts on camera it starts raining! Once Brock was in the tub he was the warmest person on set while we were all in our rain jackets trying to complete the shoot. I had some scripted lines for the opening that we tried out and then just started to ad lib, feeding Brock lines. The one that made the edit (“Nine months out of the year, the weather in Portland, Oregon sucks..”) was actually the last line we tried and came out of the frustration of the rain that was soaking the camera equipment. Thankfully, it worked.
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Filming the closing sequence with Dean in the chef’s hat was hilarious. If you look really closely at the video, you can see Dean accidentally drop the shrimp in the tub. The ensuing laughter didn’t make the final edit, but I left in the falling shrimp as a little Easter egg for the eagle eyed. If this project has taught us anything in video production is it’s good to have a plan, but it’s also good to be able to break the plan if it feels right…and also, to bring an umbrella to cover the camera when it rains.
Technical: For the camera nerds out there, here’s what we used for the shoot. GH2, 20mm 1.7, 45mm 1.8, Genus Variable ND filter, Benro S4 Tripod, Zoom H1, Sennheiser MKE-400 and a Burley Travoy to carry all the gear to the site. When you buy the gear from the affiliate links it helps us keep doing these projects.
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