WANT (noun)

Everyone has a want. Sometimes you have to choose between what you want or what someone else wants. But of course, most of us would prefer that want doesn't elicit a choice. While this may sound like a prelude to some philosophical musing, it's actually in reference to a recent Zillow video shoot. 

Our solar system's star reflected and refracted on a bright spring afternoon in Happy Valley, OR. The client wanted her interview shot against the distant green rolling hills. If I had placed her in the sun, the light spilled and wrapped in most awkward way. If I positioned her in the shade, the lighting would be even and flattering. But that picturesque backdrop would appear to be overexposed. The 500 watt light (illuminating the client's face), was no match for the luminosity of our sun. So how do I give the client what she want?

I took a photo of the background and planned to composite in After Effects. I knew the post work would not justify the budget, and I could have easily told the client that there's nothing I can do about the blown out background. But I would have felt incompetent - a failure and I wouldn't get what I want: the satisfaction of giving the client what they want. Oh but I didn't have After Effects at that time, and the edit is due within 48 hours from the shoot. So I made a mask in Photoshop and layered it over the video in Premiere. To compensate for the fine tuning that keyframing in After Effects would have allowed, I had to make the mask a bit blurry in the edges as well as the background itself and still keep it little bit overexposed so it didn't compete with the subject in the foreground.

The result isn't perfect, but for the time limit, I was content. The client has no idea about the process, but it didn't matter because she was happy with the result. So in the end, we both got what we wanted.