Graduation Run & Gun

Every September Edinburgh College hold their student graduation ceremony, which a great chance for the students and parents to celebrate in their achievements together. The Video Unit (the department I work in) is tasked with filming the day to create a highlights video so the students and the college have something to look back on relive the excitement of the day.

Having made several of these videos now we had decided to take a different approach this year, learning from the mistakes of the past. Previously we'd used three camera operators, with one assigned to either photography, gowning or reception and then all three positioned on tripods for the ceremony itself. Although this provided excellent coverage of all stages of the day we found ourselves drowning in a sea of footage when it came time for post-production.

This year we took a less-is-more approach. We used two shooters, both running Canon 5DmkIII's, handheld using stabilised lenses (the 24-70mm f/4 and the 24-105 f/2.8). This meant we were able to move quickly instead of being locked into our tripods, and the handheld footage provided a sense of movement and aliveness to the footage that we'd previously lacked.

We were more selective with our shooting, looking for opportunities to arise and then recording them as opposed to constant recording and then scouring through the content afterwards. This is essential as the video had a one-day turnaround deadline, which we were able to meet.  

We made good use of Premiere CC's Warp Stabiliser tool to smooth out any bumps or shakes in the footage. This tool has really changed the way I think about shooting run and gun videos, allowing me the freedom to be more experimental with movement in shots. Knowing that you don't need an expensive 3-axis gimbal to achieve nice tracking or sliding has allowed me to create more dynamic looking footage while keeping kit to a minimum.

I'm still on the search for more kit-minimising techniques as I believe that, now more than ever, it's possible to do much more with much less. Disruptive camera technology is constantly being introduced and changing the game, so I plan to keep a firm ear to the ground to be able to stay at the forefront of light and effective run and gun.

Below are two videos I've made recently, both utilising the techniques I've described above, and both featuring elephants.