Constant Contact is a great international company headquartered in Massachusetts that specializes in email marketing. Now, when I first heard of Constant Contact, maybe like you I immediately thought “Spam.” Nobody likes spam email, or spam comments, or spam anything…that is, unless you like SPAM. What Constant Contact really does is provide an easy, customer centric service for people who are NOT email marketers. More than likely, you have gotten an email from Constant Contact but you didn’t even know it. They are basically taking over email lists that already exist going out to customers who have already expressed interest in them. Let me put it to you this way, if you have ever gotten an email from Rule Boston Camera telling you about the upcoming learning lab, you have gotten an email from Constant Contact.
These were a campaign of 5 x :15 national spots. There were 5 different personal coaches for each spot, and before you ask, yes, these were ACTUAL Constant Contact personal coaches. Their years of service are also accurate, in fact, those were something we changed along they way. These were pretty easy to edit, in fact the footage and keepers were digitized and cut by about 10am, not even enough time for me to get a second cup of coffee. After that was graphics which consisted of a single common end tag and a different doughnut hole, both of which were done in After Effects. The client supplied us with PDFs of email samples. The look was achieved by making everything 3D, applying a single light and then putting a simple move on them. I did each doughnut hole as the same length so that there was some consistency to the move, even though each spot had a different length for that. I did an 8 second move for all 5, that gave me enough pad on either end of the move to then cut into the spot in the Avid.
The end tag was also done in After Effects, although it could have easy been done in Avid as well. One thing I have been doing lately is using After Effects for what I am calling multi-color vignettes. A vignette is a technique where you put a soft shadow around the image to make everything else pop. Most of you have probably been doing it with Instagram for a while now, you just didn’t have a word for it. With multi-color vignettes, I take the two main colors in a company’s branding (in this case blue and yellow) and make a soft gradient on a solid, one color on the left and one on the right. I then use that to make the vignette, instead of the typical black, or sometimes white. It is one of the subtle things that most wouldn’t notice, but sometimes that is the motivation to do such things. They are small, unnoticeable, but yet they make things better.
The director and producer told me that the room the spots were shot in was about 100 ft deep, which is why the spots have great depth of field. While I can’t tell you what lens was used, I can tell you it was a zoom ENG type of lens on the Sony F900. So it begs the question, if you have the physical depth in the room, are prime lenses necessary compared to physical depth and great lighting? I will leave the argument to my DP friends, but I will tell you that these looked amazing on my Sony broadcast monitor. At this time I don’t have a side by side comparison, but I will tell you I did very little color grading on the image. This is basically right off tape. Little bit of luma, contrast and saturation.
Great post. Looks great. With footage that can look great pretty much right off the “tape” (which IS possible with most current pro cameras) I am at a loss to figure out why so many people are obsessed with shooting super flat. Let the camera do what it’s designed to do, I think, which is make nice pictures. My 2 cents.
Agreed Ben, while I do love the challenge of taking something that is flat and giving it a look, something coming right of tape that looks good is always a good situation. I mean, isn’t that what a DP is for? And yes, this did come right off tape since the camera was the F900 shooting on HDCAM tape, although I think we both know that those days are slowly but surely coming to an end.
I guess the advantage of shooting super flat is if the overall look of the piece hasn’t been decided yet you have the flexibility in post. Thanks for reading!