Chicago Film Video Production and Post Production Company
Cut To: Ext. Chicago- Day. Three days later, a Friday. The sun is out, the snow begins to melt, we shoot the snow pack melting off the car. When not shooting we book a crew, get permits to close and shoot downtown streets and hire a stunt driver.

Cut To: Ext. Chicago- Day. Saturday, the sun has melted almost all the snow and the streets are clean. We shoot a series of driving shots as the car races up and down the ramps of Chicago’s Wacker Drive and the rest of the Loop.
Cut To: Int. Film Transfer Suite-Day. Monday. The film has been processed and is transferred. We return to our editing room and assemble a rough cut. The six frame storyboard turns into about 40 different shots. We show it to the agency, they like it and decide to spend some money on sound design and music.

Cut To: Int. Living Room- Night, Watching the Chicago Bulls march towards another NBA Championship. At a commercial break the Z-28 commercials appears. Nice.

From concept to finish the process took less than two weeks and the finished spots aired in English and Spanish throughout the spring and were reprised the next year as well.

To see the spot and the original storyboard click here: Camaro Z-28 commercial "Thaw" | Storyboard.

Chapter 5 - Shooting Cutaways or B-Roll

In previous installments we described how we set up, shoot and conduct on-camera interviews for documentary and corporate films and videos. In this tale from the front we will discuss the importance of cutaway footage in any video production.

In 1999 our TV commercial business was hamstrung by a Screen Actors Guild strike. Looking for work we offered the opportunity to make a promotional film for a Chicago area not-for-profit, which worked in the inner city and helped families in need. The client hammered out a rough script and it was pretty much what one would expect of a typical fund-raising promotional video, people talking about how great they are and how much they help the communities they served. All of which is very nice, but painfully dull. When we looked at the script it was probably 75 percent talking head interview, 15 percent graphics (statistics) and maybe 10 percent moving pictures. To us this was all backwards and when we accepted the job asked the client if we could make some changes to their script.

We proceeded to turn the images to interview ratio upside down. We decided to shoot this promotional film as a documentary. We would show the good works they did, loose the statistics completely and tell the story with pictures. Our interview subjects would push the narrative along with the answers to our questions. Ideally, we hoped to not even use a voice over person, though it turned out there was too much historical information as well as hard facts that needed to be presented concisely to do that. The result is what we call an Infomentary- part informational, part documentary and NO part “industrial” or “corporate” film. Our goal was to make the film interesting to watch, believing, if we could get viewers hooked on the images, it would help open up their checkbooks. Sure enough it did. Recently we showed the film to a perspective new client, and seven years later it holds up.

The only reason we could make the film in this style was that we shot lots, LOTS of cutaway footage. Cutaways are those scenes (or even still pictures) that you use to cut away from a subject. In film and video productions you often cut away from an interview subject to condense a story or to make the subject sound better. Recently we were editing and by using a cutaway were able to change someone

(continued on page 10)

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