A PSA for Zach Theatre's Show, "This Wonderful Life."

This Wonderful Life 2 hi res SQ from Kirk Tuck on Vimeo.

The folks at Zach Theatre needed a PSA for their one man play starring Martin Burke. Martin plays all 37 main Bedford Falls characters in this somewhat wacky play based on the Jimmy Stewart movie, It's a Wonderful Life. I had some free time on a Saturday afternoon just before one of Martin's first performances so I was happy to help out.

I used four of the Fotodiox 312AS LED light panels to light Martin on the stage. I stuck a Panasonic GH3 camera on a tripod, used a Rode NTG2 boom microphone and ran the audio straight into camera. Since Martin was moving off his mark I was able to set the microphone on a stand and aim it pretty precisely. I monitored his levels through a set of headphones plugged into the camera. The taking lens was an older Olympus 40mm 1.4 Pen manual focus lens used at around f2.8.

This was a classic "one man crew" project with me doing the grip work, the audio, the direction and at the end, the editing.

The folks at Zach had local radio talent, Dave Jarrett, do the voice over and we dropped that into the mix. The 30 second spot was edited in Final Cut Pro X running on an ancient Mac Pro laptop.

Every time we do one of these I realize that I need to move the camera more and I need to edit tighter. I'm sure friend Frank will have some good critiques for me. I listen to him because he knows what he's talking about. An even better idea would be to start with a script instead of just starting with a loose idea.

I promise. Next time I'll write a script. And the time after that I'll do a story board.....

edit: If you want to see the high res version click on one of the links under the video window and go see the HD version at Vimeo. 


Michael Matthews said...

Looks to me like the dissolve / fade up effect is perfect for the situation. And unless there are costume changes (hard to pull off in a one man play) or radical lighting changes moving the camera's point of view might prove disruptive.

When you gather material for this sort of project in a dress rehearsal, do you plug into the theater's sound board?

Tom Judd said...

OK, I'm not a video guy. And I don't even know what a 'PSA' is.
But what good would a script or storyboard do? This is 30 sec of 'throwaway' video whose purpose is to penetrate the consciousness of a viewer. If you can produce something this good by yourself with minimal overhead, you have just found a new niche market. Keep it simple!

Kirk Tuck said...

Hi Tom, Thanks for the nice feedback. PSA is Public Service Announcement. The Theatre is a non-profit supported by the local community. Stations run the spot for free or at a reduced rate.

Kirk Tuck said...

Hi Michael. Thank you. I don't do the documentary video for the dress rehearsals but that sounds like it would make great sense. You'd get a much cleaner (and pre-mixed) signal that way.

When I shot this we just had Martin come in, hit a mark and run lines.

Jorge Arturo said...

Mr. Tuck maybe it's my monitor but I thought I saw some banding on the video, really don't know why, maybe the issue is over here. By the way, really good audio quality, and fed straight to the camera

Racecar said...

Audio is excellent, video sharp as a tack. Thanks for sharing the technical aspects. Top notch production!