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  • Writer's pictureFrederick Jewson

Christmas Lights!

It's that time of year again.... So let's get Festive with a wonderful video production at Oxford's one and only, Blenheim Palace!

This video production was broken down into a series of short (15 second) social media videos focusing on each section shown within the main commercial below. That way it can be targeted to certain audiences appropriately. There'll probably be a post about video campaigns in the future.

Looking at the shoot itself, it was oddly challenging in a way. Fairy lights are stunning and such a joy to behold in person... However, when on camera, it's very easy to make fairy lights look, well... bad. I think it's something to do with the fact that when you look at a light with your eye a slight glare is caused. Especially when you blink, a slight flare rushes its way around the light, making it flicker and shine. Whereas on camera, you don't get this, fairy lights, when in focus, look like a small sharp contrasting point, that's it. Again, it looks amazing in person, thousands of tiny glaring lights, but if you don't know what you're doing behind the camera, it's easy to make them look bad. That's why depth of field is our friend here. Lights look stunning when part of bokeh (the out of focus area), they spread out into huge colourful circles that take up the frame, helping to resemble that magical flaring feeling that you get when you see lights in situ. There are other sneaky tricks one can implement, however, in this circumstance, composition, depth of field and how the light fell on a subject were my main tools to play with.

As the video production is a trailer we wanted to tease the exhibit to entice people into booking a ticket. Therefore tight shots, where we could maximise bokeh, would work perfectly, both narratively and technically. Allowing us to make the most out of the production in every way.

When filming in well known locations, I like to shy away from showing the obvious and focus on the people within the scene. Such as the recent Oxford Made to Measure video where we were filming around some of Oxford's most iconic backdrops, but we didn't need to make it a big deal. We highlighted what needed to be shown and allowed the backdrop to do what it does best... subtly linger in the background, to be noticed and spoken about under breath, rather than be brandished forefront and centre making people think "oh, another postcard shot... seen it all before". With this Blenheim production I kept this in mind, ensuring the background (the Palace!) was hinted at and shown in glimpses in order to get people nosey and talking rather than swiping away because they've already seen the same shot 100 times before...

...Combining everything together produced a wonderfully magical, teasing trailer that allowed people to enjoy watching it and hopefully get in the Festive spirit!


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