When Life Hands You Rainclouds, Change the Weather (But Don't Expect It to be Easy)
Over my career as a Swiss Army knife of video production, I've been faced with a number of daunting situations, but a recent project definitely stands out in my mind. The objective was simple: make a TV spot for Purdue Federal Credit Union aimed at promoting a new VISA® card featuring two veteran astronauts. Cake, right?
After the requisite head scratching, paper wad tossing, and (mostly) off-into-space staring, a script emerged from the abyss. Set on an idyllic day, our cosmic heroes would be observed enjoying a round of golf while 3D animations of space-themed objects materialize around them. With only a four-hour window on the course and a long list of specialized shots, we were already maxed out on obstacles for the shoot.
Until the day arrived with a toothy grin.
The bleakness of the forecast was trumped only by the dismalness of the day. As my car slipped beneath the dingy gray canopy that hovered above West Lafayette, Indiana, the weather worsened. After the shoot got underway, it seemed for a moment it would let up. And it did. Immediately after the very last shot was in the can.
Luckily, by using a handful of digital tricks such as sky replacement, color correction, lighting overlays, and literally deleting raindrops frame by frame, we were able to give the impression of a much prettier day.
So, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that it can be done. The bad news is that you pay for it in time. Some shots took up to eight hours to accomplish, when otherwise they would have taken half that. The post-production time was nearly doubled just because of the weather.
If there's a moral to the story, it's this: reschedule the shoot if you can! But if you can't, the good news is that with today's technology you can fix it in post. The catch is it probably won't save you time and money.
Word to the wise, if you do happen to be required to shoot a video on a muddy, sloppy day, don't wear your brand new pair of Chuck Taylors. On the flip side, if you do, a quick trip through the washer + air drying = good as new.
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