Shooting Max's interview for the Formula 1 Car photo shoot video... making it work as a one-man-band.  Photo by Shannon Wright

Shooting Max's interview for the Formula 1 Car photo shoot video... making it work as a one-man-band.  Photo by Shannon Wright

Part of my job with the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences at RIT includes producing video content that features the photographic works and operations within the home I call "Building 7."

Its weird, crafting, shooting, and editing videos that deal primarily with the stills side of photographer, but presents the opportunity to do what I love most: tell cool stories.

Not too long ago, I had the joy of documenting a rather atypical event, moving a small car into the studios over from the Kate Gleason College of Engineering. One of a number of cars built by the Formula/SAE team was being photographed by Professor Don Cochran's Lighting Manipulation class and the event proved to be a small production in of itself.

While the challenges of clearing the car to be inside the building as well as health / safety checks are sheer "amazement" to me, my challenge was to communicate what could be strong visual still images, cool photo techniques, as well as the ongoing excellence of education in photography at RIT.

Via SPAS Youtube: The Lighting Control and Manipulation class in the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences worked within one of the lighting studios to paint a Formula SAE race car with light. Bringing a car into the building requires a lot of work, including meeting health and safety requirements, but the end photos were definitely worth it!

 I worked primarily with the B-Roll in mind, knowing that it might have to be a piece with no interview or voiceover due to time constraints. Thankfully, I was able to grab a quick "talking head" with a few key figures important to the event.


The dialog of the subjects helped drive the piece from "just a few cool shots" into something a bit more informational. Both were interviewed quickly with a monopod-mounted camera with wide lens (35mm f/1.4), simply handholding an on-camera shotgun mic a bit closer to the subject and just out of shot to gain better isolation from the ambient noise. Ideally, I'd be using a more specific shotgun or lavaliere / lapel microphone, but the latter tends to require a bit of time and comfort to "wire up" the subject, and the former tends to hinder a lightweight "run and gun" sort of setup (needing a second operator). Curious as to what that setup is? Guess you'll have to check back later this month!

As far as the end product, the change I've been adopting lately is using a low underlying bed of "driving" music to keep things moving forward upbeat. Even some of the most exciting or emotionally driven content can grow dry after :45 seconds to a minute without reprieve. The music (sourced via a stock-based site) keeps things moving and helped in replacing some of the NAT (natural audio) in clips where it wasn't as conducive.

In the end, the from shoot to to edit and export took about three days, intermixed with a full-time student workload as well as other assignments, and it's pretty neat I'd say.