Weekend Challenge 2: “A character study”

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A bit early for my weekend challenge, but I wanted it give you a few more days on this. The last one was a great success and I would love to see even better films as I want to add a new element to this challenge. Sound. I want sync baby!

Find someone, anyone and do a character study of them. Last time you did a study of an inanimate object. This time make a person but I want to hear from them, learn something about them. A great way of practicing your dual system sound or even in camera sound…

Here are the rules: It has to specifically shot for this challenge and say so in the credits at end. If it’s old where is the challenge in that? Secondly, it MUST have sync, not voiceover…sync. I can have voiceover but there must be some sync sound of the character speaking. Thirdly, one character per film only!

Length is totally up to you, but don’t let the video overstay it’s welcome is all I can say!

You have until next Sunday to do this, get it uploaded by 2359 Pacific USA time Sunday. Below is a great example of one of the entrants. Great visuals and great sound. PLEASE do not forget about how important sound is. People will forgive average or even bad images if the sound is clear and crisp. Shoot the most beautiful footage but if we cannot hear the person clearly we will stop watching!

Good luck to all!

Upload your videos to the Challenges 2 Vimeo group page!


Guitar Man from Simon Clark & Alison Farmer on Vimeo.

Although this is my first post, I have been following Philip’s blog for several years and it has been instrumental in helping me choose a direction and equipment to shoot with, so thank you.

This is the first (I hope) in a series I call Hands On. Its a personal series of short web video portraits on people who work with skilled hands. Something to keep me interested and to learn how to work fluently with DSLR.

I have been wanting to do a personal video series of ‘Portraits’ or character studies for a while. I had even made a couple of contacts. So when I saw this challenge on your blog I desided there was no better time to try one.

I spent a couple of hours with the subject as he worked.

It is shot Canon 5d Mark II. Sound is recorded on a Zoom H4n. I used a Sennheiser wireless mic on the subject and a Rode Videomic on the camera.

Most of it was hand held, however there are a couple of shots on a home made slider (dreaming of a Kessler).

It is edited in Premiere Pro CS5 and I have been testing a trial version of PlurylEyes for Premiere Pro as Philip has given it glowing reviews in the past. Unfortunately, it proved useless in this instance and I reverted to manually syncing the files. I will try it again with an interview before I reject it as to much hassle. I’m guessing it’s best on a Mac.

I am a professional photographer in real life but I have fallen for the moving image so I’m attempting to follow in Philips footsteps with my partner Alison (a real film maker).

I hope you enjoy, Simon. www.farmerclark.com


  1. Hi Philip,

    Nice challenge again. But what to do with other languages? Do you want the person to speak english? Or do I have to translate with undertiteling? 🙂

    Thanks, Corne

  2. BLURG! i ordered my zoom h1 last month and its still not here, and I am really wanting to do this challenge…oh well, i’ll use my old standby rode shotgun mic….

    I think i can’ find some pretty attractive characters too 🙂

  3. My Submission “Meet Joe” is up on the Weekend Challenge 2 page,
    Thank you Philip for doing this for all of us, it was fun, and kept me busy on a Sunday
    Afternoon 🙂

    1. Excellent challenge

      Totally Off Topic:

      The crossover continues: http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshoplightroom/

      Apparently Lightroom 3 will offer “support for DSLR video files”. No idea what this means, or if it is included in the free demo.

      Blog subject request: could you post your take on Picture Styles for Video – I know you recommend Neutral with Sharpness off and Contrast reduced, but could you also give us your take on the various flat and superflat etc pf2 files that are available online? Many thanks.

  4. Hey Philip!

    Firstly just want to say thanks for all the tips and inspiration you’ve given me and everyone else over the last few months! I check your blog daily and learn more and more.

    I just uploaded my weekend challenge video to the group.

    I know it’s a bit early but I had a 14 hour plane trip back to Australia so had some time to put it together.

    I think I might have been a bit lucky with my subject, she’s a real stunner.

    Thanks for the challenge, I can’t wait for a new one.


  5. Like the challenge.

    I know it is to be about one person, Can the one person be part of a group?

    My thought is a some cuts of wider shots showing this individual as part of a group at an event, but hearing from and cutting back to just him, our focus/subject of the piece.

  6. Phillip,

    Thanks for the reply.
    I’m getting my new DLSR tomorrow and your challenge looks like a good opportunity to break it in. I’ve had a question I have wanted to ask for some time.
    How do you get clearance to use the music you do? Isn’t there some copyright issue to use some of the songs beds you edit with? I ask just because I’ve always feared getting myself in trouble and loosing my shop over it. Is there a loophole I’m missing?

  7. Hey Philip-

    I am working on a slow motion part of my new short for this contest and had a question about earlier tutorial.

    Does it make a difference if you shoot at 60th of a sec vs 125? I have read that 125th will mimic 180 degree shutter and look more filimic. Thanks thomas

  8. I filmed this with one of my students that is a photographer. It was a challenge being the talent and the Director, but it was a fun challenge and I was able to create a video to share with my international YOGAmazing community.

    I have been using a Canon XH-A1 and recently purchased the Canon 7D. Still much to learn, but it was an excellent challenge and I was able to use it for my yoga family. Thanks Philip… if you need some yoga to help you de-stress let me know… it’s great for creativity and for relaxing…. it’s like a glass of wine after a hard day of working… only better.


  9. These entries are really impressive. I want to participate in one of these challenges sooner or later, but for now, I’ll just look and learn. The editing alone will take me more then a weekend 🙂

  10. What a great short by Simon!

    Mr. Bloom,
    Your candid manner and casual approach to explaining complicated things really helps people get off of the couch and make something special.

    I think it’s that damn accent!


  11. Meet Joe, is re-uploaded

    It had over 1100 views, and 13 likes and a few comments.
    I would love for all those who liked my video before it was deleted
    To “like it again” I don’t want to be that video with Zero likes 🙁

    yes this is a cry for help, so what! 🙂

    I would appreciate it,
    Thank you

    1. I’m truly in awe of your ability to network philip,
      Thank you for helping “Meet Joe” rise from the dead!
      and thanks to all PB Face bookers who responded,
      your comments and likes are truly appreciated
      you all have made my week!

      Thank you

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