F. Scott Schafer on Adding Motion Capture to Still Shoots

Schafer's image of Aziz Ansari for the MTV Movie Awards.

My latest assignments for MTV—including work for the 2010 Video Music Awards and the 2010 MTV Movie Awards—included requests to create simple video vignettes. Most often the request to create video content is included in the budget of the greater still campaign, so while it’s not lucrative yet, my ability to create this content quickly and economically has helped to land repeat business. Video work is here to stay, and it’s important to experiment and learn the craft now. The motion work I created for MTV ran online, live at the events and on television to promote the shows. We created the clips with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II in conjunction with the still assignment. These jobs are great because it’s not necessary to capture sound, and usually, there isn’t too much of a dramatic alteration to the lighting from the still capture to the motion capture set-ups. We can work pretty fast since my team of assistants and a digital tech can cover everything technically. We really prefer to work with the 5D Mark II for this type of work. In the past we have done the exact same thing for clients including HBO and Paramount Pictures with the RED camera and it’s a much slower process. The camera can’t capture low light like the Canon and it requires a separate crew to run it, which can be a hindrance. The RED is great for larger motion projects, but for these quick pieces, a DSLR is the way to go. It’s an exciting time and I feel it’s important that I understand the language of cinematography. I love shooting motion and I’ve been having fun experimenting and playing with Adobe Premiere and After Effects, just as I once did with Photoshop.





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