5 lessons learned from shooting an owl.

Ever so often a new technology comes along that completely changes a whole industry. Recently, forestry crane manufacturer Jonsered did just that when launching HiVision, code named: Bubo bubo (Latin for eagle owl).

Looking a bit deeper into the production, Smart Cocktail will take you through the basics of shooting a 2-minute commercial. The film currently has more than 400,000 views on Facebook and has been shared over 8,000 times, and more importantly, customers are placing orders!

Bubo bubo?
Working in the forest is sometimes a wonderful thing. Especially those early summer mornings after a light rain. On the other hand, there’s the kind of conditions that you associate with going to the dentist on a Tuesday morning. Rain, snow, gray. Those days you would rather stack logs from inside the truck cabin. But how do you deal with the fact that you can't see what’s around the crane? A system of mirrors? Don't think so, especially since we are living in a world of “not being there,” as discuss in last month’s post.

Taking the next leap in forestry.

The solution
HiVision works by having a set of Oculus Rift goggles connected to cameras mounted next to the crane. The operator uses joysticks in the passenger seat together with a live camera feed to control the crane movement. Just like an owl, the vision is extended beyond the normal human field of view, so that the driver can see exactly what's going on outside. Since no extra cabin is needed, total truck weight is reduced, which means that more logs can be loaded each stacking round.

Let’s make a movie!

A film project needs to start with a brief outlining the goals of the project, and by goals, we don't mean just to produce a movie and release it on YouTube. You need to decide what target group to address and what tone of voice is best suited for that specific group. For example, if your target group are highly skilled tech experts, don’t spend too much time explaining the obvious, you will only have seconds to prove that your film is worth spending time on. Also, consider the length of your movie. As a simple rule, keep it below 2:30 minutes for use in social media.

1

Outlining the idea

Don’t get stuck trying to draw the perfect storyboard. If you have the basic idea, it is better to try to find inspiration at Getty Images or some other image site. It’s no big deal if the characters in the image aren’t the right typecast or if the equipment shown is slightly off. At this point, it’s just about the basic concept. You can place the images in Powerpoint and use the slide sorter to move around the frames; it will be a huge time saver. Write some simple lines to describe the purpose of each frame.

Example from the HiVision storyboard:

1)
The film starts from inside a truck on an open road. Logo and title blends in: “A BRAND NEW WAY TO OPERATE CRANES ”.  Music plays… A voice from the driver is heard: “I always wanted to work with this…my father, etc.”

2)
The truck drives by the camera.

3)
Driver (young male) is introduced. He continues to talk (English) about his view on quality, the need to challenge the norm, the importance of speedy deliveries, etc... Mentioning his father was also moving into new things back in his days.

2

Are you ready?

By now you should have a solid script with every detail written down. This will be your guide to making sure that every scene is actually filmed! It will also help with the planning if you have several locations to shoot at, especially when it comes to having the same light conditions if you are shooting outside.

3

Technical toys

Many photographers are deeply in love with their newly bought gyro-stabilized-drone-blinking-iPhone-connected gizmos and will do anything to use them in your film. Too many of these and your precious film will look like a funfair.

4

Filming

Finally, it's time to hit the REC button. Be prepared that things will go wrong! The idea that looked so great on paper didn't work out on location. The actor employee who was supposed to talk about quality shows up with a “Beer built this body” t-shirt. However, with a flexible camera team and the proper planning in step 2, most of these issues can be resolved.

5

Launching

There are roughly 300 hours of video content added every minute on the web so a strategy on how your audience is going to find your masterpiece is needed! This could include paid advertising or make the best use of your and your colleagues’ networks in social media. In the end, you want an interaction to happen between you and your customer.

The final film.

We hope that you enjoyed this extremely simplified run through when it comes to filmmaking. If you want to seize a micro-moment from you audience busy digital life its really about the good old value of content.

Some words to through around:

Storyboard – A sequence of images used to visualize what is going to happen in the film
Previz –  A pre-visualization of more complex shots or 3D effects
Rough cut – An early version of the finished film
Steady cam – A stabilized camera rig that allows a fluid motion without camera shake
Grading – Adjustment process of the colors so that every shot have the same look
Post production – All that happens after the filming is done such as sounds and effects

Check out Jonsered and their website for other ideas related to cranes and forest equipment.

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SmartCocktail is a monthly blog celebrating Swedish innovation
and engineering within the fields of industry and biotech.