Friday, February 4, 2011

Skipping Coins For Motion Stock

Capturing a super slow motion video clip of a coin skipping across water for a visual supporting financial and money concepts.
Visual Impact for Financial Themes Through Slow Motion Video
In attempting to come up with motion clips of a conceptual nature that would be appropriate for shooting in super slow motion, one of our ideas was to capture a coin, in this case, a silver dollar, being skipped across a body of water. The idea would be that such a video clip could be used to add visual impact to themes that include monetary or investment skill, risk, venture capital, savings and so forth. 

Ambiguity and Versatility In Still and Motion Stock
Hopefully this clip is ambiguous and versatile enough to work with a wide variety of concepts. It has always been interesting to me that one of the traits that makes a stock image work is ambiguity. But it has to be ambiguity in a way that facilitates variety and at the same time, when combined with text or headlines, transforms into a clear, concise and specific concept.  This has worked will with me for still imagery, but I do not yet have enough experience to speak with confidence about the world of motion stock.

A Bare Bones Video Production
Shooting this sliver dollar-skipping clip was a bare bones operation. For the water we filled a black plastic concrete mixing container, purchased at Home Depot, with water. The container was about two-feet by three-feet in size and maybe eight inches deep. We moved in tight enough to fill the frame with water. I placed a large piece of foam core directly behind the water and bounced a 5000-watt tungsten light onto it. We had fill cards on either side of the water with enough room for me to skip the coin. We had a bare-bones operation. The camera and recording was handled by my partner Stephanie Roeser and my intern, Tom Penpark played the role of grip. I had the key part…skipping the coin. Though after about twenty tries on my part, Stephanie took over the coin tossing nailed it on her second try…oh well! We spent about a total of an hour from set-up through capture on this clip, plus a spinning coin falling into the water, a bar of soap hitting the water, and a very intriguing image resulting from shooting compressed air into the water. I haven’t edited any of those ancillary clips yet, but will post them to my site as I do.

GVS 9000 VTR and Efficient Video Capture
Our efficiency in shooting was due in large part to the GVS 9000 VTR hardware and software that we used to capture, store and playback our video. Amazingly, within seconds of a capture we were able to view our clips and convert them on the fly to the Pro Res format that we use to edit in Final Cut Pro. GVS made the process simple and satisfying! We captured the “skip” at 1900 frames per second and play it back at sixty frames per second.  The biggest problem was getting a skip that clearly showed as a coin while having an impact placement that allowed for all of the action (OK…most of it) to be seen.

Success In Motion Stock
Hopefully we have produced an ambiguous, versatile, captivating and yet still specific enough, video clip to make some money with. But whether or not it produces the desired income, we had a blast producing it…and that is half the battle! I am convinced that success in motion stock requires an enjoyment of the process even more than so with still images.

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