So Caroline comes home last Tuesday and announces that she has to produce a video for her Spanish class and it’s due in one week. Not only that, but she has to do this with two of her classmates which involves coordination of schedules so they can work on this project after school. If you’re familiar with the typical 12 year olds daily schedule you know that its filled with school, homework, sports, dance, and a lot more. This makes it almost impossible to coordinate any time together.
Uuuuugh!!! What's with these teachers and their group projects with short deadlines. Something just isn’t right.
Well after a couple emails to the teacher, I find out that the requirement is simply to do a live skit in class and they have al the time they need, IN CLASS, to write and prepare their skits; no video required. Where on earth did the video requirement come from? Like I had to ask. As you can guess, Caroline and her friends had their hearts set leaving me with the task of figuring out how we’re going to shoot video, edit, and have it ready in less than a week. Note that the only video equipment I have is an old analog 8mm Sony camcorder.
Then it came to me… My Droid X shoots 720p High Definition video. Yes my cell phone can do more than just make phone calls. For years I’ve been trying to figure out the practical use of camera’s on a cell phone and now I find myself readying a video shoot with of all things, a cell phone. When I told Caroline, she was more than skeptical and, as director of the project, pretty much ordered me to have the old camcorder ready to go just in case.
Video prep and preproduction: We managed to schedule about 2 hours Friday afternoon for all three kids to get together for the shoot. Oh my, only 2 hours. This aught to be interesting.
“Ok well Caroline for this to work you must have the script all worked out and your shot list and story board ready so when we get on location we know exactly what we are going to shoot.”
Of course I didn’t expect this to be done but to my shock and pleasure not only did she have it all written out but she told me that she went scouting locations with her mother and was all ready to go. Scouting locations? Really? How about that.
The shoot: Friday rolls around and I meet the kids at the school. First shooting location, The Tombs. A couple of test shots to get used to the Droid and then in two takes we’re done and ready to move on. Sure enough, the kids had it all thought out and written down. No need for rehearsals, just run it once and then once again.
Next location, Lafayette School and park near the house. With just a bit of rearranging because of the suns location, we managed two different shots in no time and were headed to the house for our last shot. Mind you we’re shooing in reverse order; thank god for Caroline’s preproduction work.
At the house we shoot the intro scene and a cutaway of Caroline and we’re done.
“We’re done!!! What time is it? Only 4:30? Well we have time to reshoot the last scene if you want. We can do it right up at Comet.”
We learned a few things while shooting the other scenes that would make the final scene better so up to Comet we went. In no time, we reshoot the final scene with a few script changes and now were really done.
Wow was I impressed. The entire video shot in an hour and a half. No way we could have done that if the kids didn’t do their home work before hand. Caroline did an excellent job of coordinating and directing. All I had to do was run the camera. Of course its up to me to get it all on the computer and edit it together.
Over all the Droid X did a pretty decent job. Easy enough to use with some preset modes for outdoors etc. I used AVS4YOU suite of software to edit and produce the final product. It took some learning over the weekend but its easy enough to use. It has some limitations but what do you expect for something that only cost $59 bucks.
It turned out to be a fun project and the Droid impressed me enough to try using it again for some more serious video shoots. Just have to come up with some cool ideas.