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Howe Springs: New Engines


I am proud to say that the video is finally done! We started working on this project back in January when Howe Springs took delivery of the engines. I spent a couple of hours shooting footage that day. And once we found time on the schedule, we setup the interview and made the most of the day. Toward the beginning of May, we shot the interview and most of the B-Roll. After editing the video and having almost everything done, we decided to shoot more B-Roll to better support the interview. After the Chief approved the video we released it June 17th on Facebook. And as of this posting the video has over 18,000 views!

Production: Arrival

I spent a couple of hours capturing footage when the engines arrived. We were in contact with Virgil, he was bringing the engines, so I was able to send the drone up a couple of minutes before we expected them to arrive and waited for them to come into view. That is why you hear me say "there they are, I see 'em". There were high winds that day so I wasn't able to keep up with the engines to get the drone shots I had planned. The second shot in the video was my failed attempt to catch up as they were pulling in the station. But I thought it was a good shot once the graphic was added. I captured as much as I could of the guys opening compartments, pushing levers, climbing on the engines and loading hose. I used a couple of GoPro's to try to capture every angle of the engines pulling into the station but when I got them on the timeline I didn't like the composition.

Production: Interview and B-Roll

Mine and Bryan's schedule finally lined up toward the beginning of May so we setup time to do the interview and shoot some B-Roll. Bryan was nervous about doing the interview and even tried to get out of it. He didn't want to do a sit down interview, he wanted to walk around and talk about the engines which would allow him to put hands on and demonstrate some of the features. I thought there were more cons than pros to doing it that way, so I talked him out of it. I tried to help with his nerves by sitting next to the camera so he could just talk to me and I think that helped. His enthusiasm about the engines showed as he sat in front of the camera for almost an hour talking about them in great detail.

Once finished with the interview, we started working on capturing the B-Roll. Fortunately, Alan McCormick was at the station and we talked him into being a second driver. For the drone shots I sat at one of our sub stations and made Bryan drive by several times. Then we parked the engine at the station and from there it was just a matter of capturing as much B-Roll as possible. While I was doing that, Bryan grabbed the GoPro and got some really good shots, like the pump panel door closing and the switches being operated for the hose bed cover. Once it got dark enough to film the lighting package in action we got a call which delayed filming for little while. At the end of the day we had put in around sixteen hours.

Post Production: Editing

I had around 100Gb of data to create this video which included an hour of interview time both audio and video, three hours of B-Roll, royalty free audio and sound effects. Probably the hardest part of editing this video was narrowing down Bryan's interview. Everything he said was important and had purpose, but I went with information that highlighted the new/cool features to the department. I must offer kudos to Bryan as I showed him a close to final version and he told me that one section just wasn't good enough. So I took some time to capture more B-Roll and spent another several hours reworking that section and crafting the video into what you see now.

Technical Specs:

For those that are into gear...

Camera: Canon 80D, 50mm lens for interview and 18-135mm for B-Roll

Tripod: Manfrotto Befree

Image Stabilization: DJI Ronin-M

Drone: DJI Mavic Pro

Lighting: Amaran Aputure AL-H198 (2)

Light Tripods: Neewer Light Stands (2) Audio: Zoom H1 with Lav Mic

Editing Software: Final Cut X and Motion

Special Considerations: For the interview there were hard surfaces everywhere so I used several large blankets and a haz-mat absorbent type carpeting to help dampen the reverb. I also used a blanket on the other side of the bay to block light coming under the engine that was distracting. Bryan normally wears glasses but did the interview without them so I could put the lights where I wanted.

You made it to the end of the blog post...you amaze me every time you do that! Keep it up and let me know your thoughts

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