The Serv Pro was released a little under a year ago, and in that short time it’s already become a staple in many professional setups. Being able to monitor on a smartphone from anywhere on set is a game-changer for production crews, which typically rely on sharing monitors in video village to get the job done.
But while most crews have been using their iOS devices just to monitor, MAKE films has been utilizing the tools that come with Serv Pro’s companion app, VUER, to ensure their clients get the best results possible. We’re sharing how they’ve been using Frame Compare to make sure their shots are precisely lined up between each take.
“The Serv Pro has been incredible for giving everyone a wireless monitor on our sets. Gaffers, makeup, clients. Everyone loves the convenience it offers when you can see the shot from anywhere. But one thing we’ve been adding to our shoots recently that has saved us a ton of time is the frame compare tool,” says Derek Dienner, CEO and Creative Director at MAKE films.
What is Frame Compare?
Frame Compare is a feature on VUER that takes a screen grab of your camera source, exports it to your iOS device’s camera roll, and allows you to compare it with the current camera frame. It does this by overlaying the previous shot with the current shot, showing crew exactly how to position the camera, talent, objects and background to achieve the best precision.
Shopping for the Shot
MAKE films works with local and global brands to create visual storytelling videos. Recently, they worked with Pennsylvania-based grocer and home-goods company, Stauffers of Kissel Hill, for a promo video.
“The goal of the video was to re-release Stauffers’ updated Vision, Values, and Mission to their team, partners, and customers. It shows how Stauffers team members interact with their customers across all departments. Their caring customer interactions and expert knowledge are really what differentiates them from other brands.”
Here’s what they used to capture the video:
- Sony A7S
- DJI Ronin
- Paralinx Dart
- SmallHD monitor
- Teradek Serv Pro
- 2x iPad, 3x iPhones
“We chose to go with the A7S because we wanted to be as lightweight and mobile as possible. We had one day to capture all the footage, with multiple locations and talent. Because of these factors, getting the best footage in the shortest amount of time at each location was our main priority. Our gear was our best shot at accomplishing this.”
Mounted to the DJI Ronin was the Sony A7S camera, which had a Paralinx Dart sending zero-delay video wirelessly to the SmallHD monitor strapped to a light stand.
Mounted to the side of the SmallHD was the Teradek Serv Pro, which took the video output from the monitor and sent it to every iOS device on set. This included the iPads for the Director (Derek) and Producer (Catlin Williams), and iPhones for the gaffer, coordinating producer, and client. With the Director and Producer switching to iPhones as necessary.
How MAKE films Uses Frame Compare
Because so many crew members had an iOS device on set, they could each monitor the shot conveniently and on the go, reducing the need for additional video village monitors - which creates more set up and break down time - as well as keeping a low profile at the shoot locations.
In addition to monitoring, Derek used Frame Compare to save time and get a more accurate picture on set. Before cutting between each take, he was able to take a screen grab to have an image of the framing. After breaks, they used the overlay to get the exact framing again, ensuring everything was in the right position.
Also, Frame Compare helped Derek achieve a new kind of visual transition, which you can see below:
“The Frame Compare feature has changed the way we look at framing our shots. Before, we would spend lots of time figuring out how to frame after a break, doing comparisons between the main monitor and the camera. Now, we can achieve the exact look every time and speed up the whole shoot, all from my iPad. For projects where you only have a day to capture everything, these things really add up.”
“Our job as filmmakers in this space is to ensure our clients get the best results possible. At MAKE films, we handle all of the creative from start to finish. Oftentimes, we have tight deadlines to work with. Features like Frame Compare and devices like Serv Pro have really made our production more efficient and freed up our time to explore other ways to make our client’s video even better.”