Matthew Zappile is a Video Producer for Men’s Health Magazine. He makes 30-60 second lifestyle videos as content for the magazine’s website and Facebook page. “We do food shoots, lifestyle and relationship videos, “ explained Matthew. “They’re fast-paced little self-contained pieces that are meant to be both entertaining and informative.”
For a series of food recipe videos, Matthew had one day to shoot in a large kitchen. “It’s a small crew, just myself, a grip/PA, our Food Editor, and our Social Media Editor. The Food Editor is the one doing the cooking and the Social Media Editor is there to get photos for Snapchat and Twitter. So on this shoot it was mostly me and our freelance grip to shoot the videos.”
Three cameras were used, two Sony A7RII cameras overhead pointing at the prep area and the cooktop, and a Canon C100 on a slider to one side catching close-up moments. The quick-paced videos focus on the food so only the Food Editor’s hands appear. All three cameras were fed to an Odyssey7Q+ running the Apollo Option, and were recorded in 1080p29.97 in the Quad-HD mode. Because all three cameras output over HDMI, inexpensive HDMI->SDI converters were used, which also ensured a secure connection.
“I mounted the Apollo on a lightstand and then on the opposite side I attached a big monitor so that they were back-to-back. The big monitor faced the Food Editor so that he could see where to position his hands as he prepped the ingredients. Sometimes he would view all three cameras at once using the Quad-Split and sometimes I would switch to a single camera full screen. Because the cameras are pointed straight down, it can be a task to keep focus as a person moves his hands. An example would be when we needed to see a pepperoni stuffed into a ball of mozzarella and then wrapped into a meatball, it gets pretty specific. I know I’m going to have to edit that footage later anyway, so we can pay close attention to keeping the food well-framed and in focus. The monitoring tools on Apollo helped a lot.”
“We used Apollo a few different ways,” explained Matthew. “For simple recipes I did a Live-Switch. A little prep on set meant that all I would need to do in post was add some graphics and music to finish the piece. For the more complicated recipes we used the Live-Switch as an on set way just to see the hero shots, but I planned to edit in post.”
Matthew noted how playback of the recorded files was also helpful on set. “During the shoot I could review the dailies and I could switch between the angles all in sync. That gave me a lot of confidence that I had my shots. When has anyone ever had the ability to view true multicam in sync for reviewing footage?”
Matthew edits the videos himself. “Basically we have three video producers, and right now I’m handling food and relationships. I used to use Premiere Pro to sync up the separate camera recordings. I had to go through the multicam syncing functions to align the shots and create a multicam clip. With Apollo it all dropped in already in sync. Since I was only shooting with three cameras, I was also happy to see there wasn’t a blank 4th camera recorded. That increased efficiency. Right on my timeline I had the Live-Switch edit first and then the individual camera ISOs. I use the Live-Switch as a reference to create my new edit master. I keep a lot of the edits but can trim and finesse as needed. I can quickly scrub through the whole shoot and figure out what I have.”
“Usually our turnaround is not too bad. I’ll take it back to the office and will need to deliver two short videos within two days. Today I brought in all the material, I quickly organized it and had cuts ready to go right away. Then I could let everyone know which videos are pretty much ready and which will take a few days. To get to that point used to take me a full day to evaluate but I did that this time in about two hours. We shot seven videos in one production day. All seven will be complete within about a week. We shot two and a half 256GB cards in ProRes LT, probably about six hours worth.”
More than speeding up production and post, Apollo has expanded the ways in which Matthew can produce videos. “With Apollo I can think about doing a shoot differently. It’s easier to think in terms of multicam because I can easily plug in an extra camera and have the ability to see what it’s doing while I’m at the main camera. That’s useful. I can monitor a second camera operator as well which means we can communicate for the best coverage, plus the safety factor of redundancy in recording. “
Adding Apollo to his arsenal wasn’t a difficult process for Matthew. “I bought my Odyssey7Q+ last year and you guys keep adding to it. I installed the Apollo Option the day before the shoot. It didn’t take me long to figure it out. Adding the Apollo Option multicam recording really ups my game. I can’t believe what you guys do!”
Matthew Zappile is an award-winning video producer and director. For over a decade, he has been the driving force behind many high-profile commercials, PSAs, museum experiences, and web videos. He currently produces video for Men’s Health Magazine. You can find him at matthewzappile.com and on Twitter @mmzappile.
Apollo is available as a standalone device or as an optional mode on the Odyssey7Q and Odyssey7Q+ monitor/recorders. In addition to Quad-HD recording, other functions available include an HD Live Switcher, recording of the Live-Switch as a fifth HD recording, and Dual-4K recording.