Friday, July 30, 2010

Creating Television Show Credits

It’s not often one can boast that a video shoot went 100% perfect. But that’s exactly what happened when we set off to create our very own faux Saturday Night Live opening credits montage…

Over the years, we’ve leaned a lot on our friends and family to help us make our video productions that much better. Through acting, writing, catering and more, we certainly would never have had the success we enjoy without them. So when we finally hit the big time and won some video contests (and more importantly money), we decided one thing we had to do was throw an “appreciation party” for everyone who ever had anything to do with any of our shoots over the years.

We knew we wanted to shoot something new for the party, as we were pretty sure our friends were sick of watching the same old films we always trotted out whenever they were around. The problem was – what to shoot? Our requirements were vague but necessary – it needed to be clever but quick; cool looking but easy to shoot.

Not exactly the easiest thing to pull off.

But then, in a stroke of fate and possibly a lot of beers, we happened to catch a recent Tim & Eric show where they spoofed the opening of Saturday Night Live. We figured if they could do it, we could too.

First, here’s a look at the Saturday Night Live opening:

And now, here’s a look at our finished product:

So…how did we do it?

We struck out on a Tuesday night onto the streets of Philadelphia with a Canon 7d, one lens (the Canon EFS 18-135 MM) a few costume changes (consisting of different hats), and some hazy ideas of some locales where we wanted to shoot. You might notice that nowhere in that list does it mention lighting or even a tripod. That’s mostly because we’re lazy/stupid/insert your own adjective.

Obviously aware we had only the artificial light of the city, we decided to stay close to streetlights and other broadly lit areas. Of course, as you can see in the video, that plan was soon discarded and we veered off course into dimly lit alleyways and poorly lit bars. Shooting at an ISO of 3200 let us get away with doing stuff like that. We’re happy to report the 7D not only met all the challenges we gave it, it captured the exact look and feel of what we were going for.

What the Canon 7d also allowed us to do was travel light and move quickly through various locations in the city. We felt we needed a variety of locations to capture the essence of the opening credits, and the 7d made it all possible. What probably would have taken a couple days to shoot with more equipment, took us a little over three hours. And that includes dinner in a Chinese restaurant/drug den.

Post production was all done in Final Cut, and the graphics really add to the authenticity of the original credits. I can’t say enough about how the 7d performed.

Post Script…

In a stroke of bizarre fate, we found ourselves at the NAB Show in Las Vegas earlier this year, picking up an award for one of our films (and getting to meet Jason Reitman). However, that wasn’t the biggest thrill of the weekend for us, as we also got to meet (name of guy), the director of the Saturday Night Live credits and digital shorts. I can’t even begin to imagine the odds of that happening. Anyway, not only did we get to pick his brain about techie stuff, we also got to show him the actual credits, which I honestly believe he got a kick out of.


mndleftbod said...

that was really fucking cool...

Goose said...

thanks - feels good to know that people enjoy it!

Andrew said...

That's awesome, i didn't realize the digital SLRs took such cool video. Who was the main photo/videographer, or was it done by all?

Goose said...

All of us had the camera in our hands at some point during the night, but Shane and Evan did most of the shooting and then they cut it together.