Our customers are diverse in every sense of the word: culture, ethnicity, gender, and lifestyle. The unifying thread between them is a shared creative community and a deep desire for more realistic portrayals of everyday people, places, and experiences in stock media.

Over the past year, we’ve seen a significant increase in searches for diversity and connection to the human experience at a global scale. Snapshots of ordinary, authentic moments in our daily lives topped our library trends data.

So how do you capture high-quality footage that delivers a desired subject matter and feels authentic? We spoke with Roberto Fumagalli and Diego Cervo at Dualstock who have been creating lifestyle footage for seven years and recently contributed work to the VideoBlocks Authentic Collection.

Capture Authentic StockDiego Cervo and Roberto Fumagalli in Cuba

VideoBlocks:

When and how did you two begin working in media/video production?

DualStock:

We began working in video production in early 2009 after meeting by chance in 2008. We were both photographers with extensive experience — Diego as a stock photographer, Roberto as a photojournalist and travel photographer — but video production was completely new for us. We had to learn everything from scratch, as video is much more challenging than photography and shares only a few common rules. We soon figured out that we had to change our mindset when approaching direction and lighting. We enjoyed video so much that soon after we met, we started filming music videos and commercials. Nowadays, if we must choose whether to take a still or a clip, we choose the latter.

VideoBlocks:

Your footage has a very real, authentic feel to it. How do you direct your talent to get the most natural performances?

DualStock:

We have two basic rules when we shoot, and we always tell them to our talent: First, have fun. Second, be natural. Then we try to keep our directions as simple and clear as possible. All this, combined with an easygoing and friendly environment, works wonders even with talents who have little to no experience. We often rely on some sort of visual aid to help models understand our vision — either a simple drawing or a detailed storyboard. But the truth is that nothing works better than asking our talent to stand where the camera is and playing their role ourselves one or two times. They get a much clearer idea of timing, action and position on set. What we learned from working with different directors for TV commercials is that usually it takes much longer to get a good take when a director is sitting in his chair the whole time.

VideoBlocks:

There is a lot of diversity among your actors. Do you intentionally search for a diverse group of talent?

DualStock:

Definitely, yes. Many of our productions take place in Cuba and so diversity is not only a choice we intentionally make, but the reality of that place. When we work in other countries all over the world, we try to choose diverse talent to be consistent with our portfolio and because it has proven to be a good choice.

VideoBlocks:

Do you ever work with real professionals or real families for certain scenes instead of actors? (If yes, is this better or more challenging?)

DualStock:

Only in very few cases we work with real families — for example, when we have a mom and her little baby. This makes things much easier for obvious reasons. Otherwise, we hire professional actors or people with no experience at all and create a new family from scratch! Like we said, a friendly environment can turn almost anybody into great lifestyle talent.

VideoBlocks:

Why do you think media buyers are gravitating towards authentic stock footage?

DualStock:

We think that the search for authentic people and moments has been a consolidated trend in commercials for a few years. Stock photography and video soon mirrored that style and many producers cared to make their work look like it’s a real moment of life. Who wants a video with a female chef who looks more like a Vogue model than a real cook? It doesn’t make much sense. Media buyers are looking for something new and unique in a saturated market like this. We stress on the fact that authenticity doesn’t mean cheap. There is a lot of planning, model and location scouting going on behind the scenes. Good pre-production is as important as the actual shoot. Lighting must be motivated in a way that looks consistent with the mood of the scene and the location. Then, we try to put our best efforts to keep our quality and innovation standards as high as possible.

VideoBlocks:

The actors’ performances are important but so is maintaining a high level of quality in your shots. What are some of your technical tips for ensuring you get both? (Utilizing motion, stabilizers, varying shot angles, stylized color correction, etc.)

DualStock:

We try not to overuse a tool. Gimbals, cranes, dollies — every tool can make or break a clip so we choose carefully what to use with the camera. The general rule is that any choice must be justified by the story. Sometimes it’s hard to follow this rule because you get a new toy and you just want to play with it all the time on set! We try to plan our shoots as a short story that can be edited to make a 20- or 30-second video. It consists of one or more establishing shots, medium shots and close-ups from various angles. In addition to helping with sales, this method is quite efficient to get a group of clips that are technically and visually consistent with one another. As you start editing your own footage like it was a real project, you can easily see how any technical choice must be motivated by creative reasons. After all, if it doesn’t cut well for you, it won’t for an editor that buys your series. Talking about post production, on some occasions we do a proper grading, but most of the time we perform just a basic color correction to make the video look good and broadcast safe. If your clip is neutral enough, it can be adapted to any scenario, but not the other way around.

Want to see more of Dualstock’s work? Check out their portfolio on our Marketplace and dive into the Authentic Collection.

 

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