Tips For Shooting Great Video With What You’ve Got – CSK Creative’s Craig Kotilinek (Ep.58)

craig-kotilinek - CSK Creative

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csk creativeCSK Creative Founder Craig Kotilinek

I’ve known Craig for 8 or 9 years now here in Orlando. He’s an extremely talented and accomplished videographer and business operator. CSK Creative is a video production agency boasting clients like Golf Digest, Mercedes, The US Coast Guard, Total Wine and Wakeboarding Magazine.

Craig’s shot famous figures like best selling author James Patterson, Jordan Spieth and Ms. Transworld Wake’s Amanda Lewis.

Videography for Dummies

In this podcast, I do my best to squeeze as much knowledge out of Craig as I can. He shares a bunch of tips on how to produce better videos using simple equipment like just your iPhone.

We cover a lot, but some major points were:

    1. Lighting is super important. Get your light source behind the photographer for best results. Use natural light where you can, rather than anything indoors.
    2. Don’t abuse the slow-mo feature. Trim up your videos to minimize the wait time, and dead space at the beginning and the end.
    3. Watch the sound. Find quiet places with minimal background noise. If you’re shooting indoors, be aware of air conditioning systems and other noises you may not otherwise notice.
    4. Consider a second camera for backup footage. This is a great way to fill in gaps or add some variety.
    5. Set up your background. Move your subject away from the background as well to push the back out of focus.
    6. Frame your shots horizontally where possible. Unless you’re shooting for a specific medium, horizontal is always best.
    7. Don’t shake. Mount your camera on a tripod when you can.
    8. Add some background music. Great royalty-free music can add so much to a video.

Contact Craig and CSK Creative

If you’re looking for some video work, or if you have any questions for Craig…I highly recommend reaching out. Craig Kotilinek CSK Creative – Orlando, Florida Website  |  Email Craig  |  (407) 718-1112

great conversation today with a really
good friend of mine Craig could till
Nick it’s been a long time I’ve been
trying to get him on the podcast finally
made it happen today
Craig runs CSK creative here in Orlando
he’s a professional videographer runs a
company with his wife Keely and they do
a killer business in the corporate
sports videography spaces he’s done a
lot of stuff in boating and aquatics
he’s done stuff with a lot of famous
people and today I’m asking them
questions about how us dummies using our
phones can shoot some better videos
really cool stuff this is the golf
essentials podcast with Casey Bourque
so Craig is I guess you could say an old
friend now right I mean we’ve known ya
since what 12 2012 something like yeah
2012 man when I moved out here actually
the long time ago now which is crazy
yeah yeah we don’t see each other we
should but we’re gonna change that 2019
damage yeah yeah we had you over and so
still waiting for the invite to come
over to your new your new song yeah
putting together it’s in the mail man
I’m telling you you can hail guys worst
more every week
besides yeah yeah I know well I checked
the box everyday so as soon as I get it
okay good yeah I want you to be waiting
with bated breath so Craig you and I we
we have some common ground we both are
small business owners we both work every
day with our wives in that endeavor you
know we’ve talked at length at that and
but so Craig Craig you run CSK creative
videography services a lot of corporate
work but why don’t I know I know you’re
big time but you know there might be a
couple people in my audience that don’t
know who you are already
why don’t you share a little bit of your
background and what you’re up to these
days I’m sorry that was just too
insulting I’m gonna have to end this
call everyone’s heard of me but there
might be one okay for the one guy out
there living in the cave and a band yeah
not Osama bin Laden so we shoot my wife
and I shoot a ton of corporate stuff but
we also shoot a lot of golf and a lot of
a lot of big name athletes so for
example going to this year’s masters
most likely for Mercedes-Benz this
coming Super Bowl I’m gonna hang out
with Joe Montana
apparently cool cool and yeah so as soon
as I said that to my wife she usually
doesn’t want to go on to shoots but as
soon as I said that’s my wife
well I want to go to Atlanta yeah like
it’s just because Joe Montana she’s like
I used to have a big crush on him I’m
like you’re staying home
because Joe can definitely beat me up I
don’t know what your what a D is but you
can definitely take yeah he’s still got
it I’m sure for sure for sure got
cannon-armed kidding me knowing it by
that is you know bank accounts matter
too but I do okay the point is Casey
Bourque’s audience I do okay we shoot a lot
of universities and if you’ve heard of a
place called Harvard
yeah most of the places in Florida UF I
still can’t get wrong yet
I’m Pepperdine UNE actually right by
your old stomping ground you yeah that’s
my own town in Maine awesome all kinds
of different universities so we shoot
all kinds of stuff yes so tell me about
a typical project so if you’re if you’re
going to say University of Central
Florida what kind of stuff are they
bringing you into nowadays I mean so
that’s the beauty of what I do is every
single day is so different so one day I
could be out on the boat in the middle
of a you know impending hurricane with
six foot waves coming over the bow and
because we also do a lot of marine stuff
so I have a photo boat and yeah and this
actually happened so one day I’m doing
that and then the next day I’m in the
board room you know having to act like
an adult like rational human who did not
cavemen and what I love it cuz every
single day is so so different you know I
might be doing After Effects doing
graphics one day on the next day it
might be shooting video next day it
might be editing next day it might be
writing I do a ton of writing as well so
but a typical shoot would be we do a lot
of green screen so we can kind of put
people wherever they want and we do a
lot of interviews so testimonials I say
are kind of like like a video
testimonial is is the best thing you can
really do for your clients because if a
if the boss just says this place is
great nobody believes them but if the
clients all say this place is great then
it’s a completely different thing and
it’s one thing to put you know Casey B says
GSK creative is awesome it’s a different
thing to have him say it on camera and
then be on your website saying it so
that’s a lot of what we do as
testimonials cool tell me about the
coolest project you’ve ever done whoo
that’s a tough one um we had a pretty
cool thing for JVC consumer division
where we had a big shoot that went from
Colorado to Florida to I think it was in
Minnesota to a bunch of different
locations which was really cool and then
it ended up showing in Times Square
which is really cool Wow cool
yeah and then the the coolest projects
though are the ones that make the most
money you’ve done some really cool stuff
I mean you’re a lot of your background
is in wakeboarding and watersports you
mentioned you got a photo boat so I mean
that’s pretty cool to me you know you’ve
had a lot of work with wakeboarding
magazine and other publications like
that right yeah tons and I mean like one
day this summer we go out and shoot
inflatables off of the boat and so I’m
shooting literally 14 foot high swamps
on a Saturday morning that these you
know they’re like inflatable swans that
people can play on that are gonna be
sold in Costco and that’s what we’re
shooting that day so it’s kind of funny
it’s just so different on every single
day and I used to one of my my like
full-time gig was I was a wake sir
tester for boats and so I just go out
through every inboard boat across the
country and test every single one so you
can see me talking about all kinds of
boats on the Internet wow that’s cool
and your and your I say photo boat your
photo boat is not a canoe that you’re
sitting out there with a camera it’s a
little jet ski boat right I mean it’s
pretty badass yeah it’s like an offshore
boat so it’s about 28 feet long that a
huge like scaffolding structure
with wings that come off the side about
eight feet so you can get that perfect
angle and funny story with that though
if the producer tells you to go from one
day to the next and hurricane
Irma might be on the way there by you
know kicking up the Seas and you still
have the wings on tell that producer
you’re not going to go I mean if you
find yourself making errors because I
feel like it’s pretty common I feel like
should happen don’t go because it’ll
feel like a good idea up until you get
six foot beads and then it’s not that
great of idea because of those wings
like to roll you over so we didn’t hit
ground but we uh we took on a lot of
Wow wow that’s scary I mean how far did
you have to how far did you have to go
and not far but in in seas that big yeah
I mean there buddy you know bigger than
six feet they were there pretty nasty
and then the problem is to the period of
the waves was so frequent that the wings
wanted to hit the next wave if you turn
sideways so you couldn’t turn sideways
in the way so it was just it was really
a bad scenario tell your producer you
won’t go okay well man
so my endeavor to deliver some value to
my audience in the selfish way I want to
talk about you know what can us idiots
who are strapped with iPhone 6s and not
a bunch of fancy cameras and equipment
and lighting and photo boats you know
for run-of-the-mill
shoots what are what are a couple of the
big picture bullet point items that you
would want to check off to to sort of
move above the fray and and produce
something half decent you know what I
mean yeah yeah absolutely so the first
thing is to not undersell an iPhone or
you know whatever Android you might have
or Samsung Galaxy or whatever because
they are pretty damn good it’s pretty
and I think one of your guests before
mr. size fear who’s a good friend of
mine would agree with that as well it’s
yeah pretty insane what you can take if
you follow the rules and that’s such a
big if
first rule before I forget it cuz I
hadn’t thought of this one earlier was
don’t use the selfie side if you can
avoid it try to use your your back
facing camera because it has typically
better resolution and also the sensor
seems to be a little bit better on that
side catch for it it uses a sensor
better now if you don’t know what the
sensor means it’s the difference between
a GoPro and which is like a little tiny
action camera or these big cameras that
we use the big cameras have these
massive sensors and they can gather all
kinds of light and they can make a
picture just beautiful and it almost I
don’t want to say it doesn’t matter but
I mean you you can challenge those
cameras much more and the sensor will
take it so you can put somebody in front
of a bright window for example and what
we call the dynamic range will allow you
to see both outside the window plus the
person in the room now if you do that
with your iPhone ain’t gonna work I see
yeah so the the biggest thing about an
iPhone or any most is called an iPhone
going forward is you can’t challenge
that sensor too much so anything backlit
so think of any light source behind the
person or behind the subject you’re
trying to pick picture of is gonna be a
little bit sketchy with an iPhone it’s
either one of you
it’s and we’re talking exposure right so
it’s going to be right am I wrong well
exposure but also just you just get this
horrible like banding kind of look out
of it it’s just it’s doing way too much
with it you know like you’re trying to
you’re trying to kill a rhino with the
22 it’s it’s not gonna work yeah or it’s
not going to work fast at least I’m not
going to work well so what you want to
do is keep everything as much as you can
with the light on the subject
not not behind it but between so you are
between the Sun
the subject gotcha so the sons at your
back yeah and now that this is a hard
and fast rule so once in a while you’re
gonna get a pretty nice like faculity
video but almost always you’re not so
just kind of avoid it yeah and then the
next thing would be to use slow motion
sparingly like people look you have 240
frames per second on their phone which
is crazy I mean we can’t even imagine
that five years ago or ten years ago but
you got to use sparingly because that’s
really slow and it’s super boring unless
you trim it to the right length so all
you have to do is you know hit edit on
your video and trim it right link and
you’ll get a perfect video after that so
don’t expect your audience to keep
tuning in you know if you have a bunch
of setup and all kinds of garbage on the
front back just get rid of the tails and
keep only the meat and you’re good to go
and then along with the slow motion so
obviously in a golf course you’re going
to be outside but the your shutter speed
is 10 times faster because of the high
frame rate so with slow motion don’t use
it indoors because it has to have way
more light than regular video just go
back to regular video or it’s gonna look
like crap gotcha so you’ll lose a ton of
resolution that way ton a resolution
yeah and and just the quality will go
way way down so anytime you challenge
the sensor the quality goes really far
down gotcha so yeah I’ve seen a lot of
golf videos that that deploy slow motion
and they clearly left the slow motion in
play for you know four seconds in the
setup so they’re just standing over the
ball for 20 seconds in slow-mo yeah
exactly so just chop that up right
stop that off yeah it’s so easy I mean
and I thought it’s a joke how easy you
can edit that stuff and if you want to
do your own video editing iMovie for
iPhone is really good hidden once you
get used to it
it’s pretty damn intuitive and it’s
really nice make some really cool stuff
out of it
and then the final thing which I think
everybody should probably already know
by now but I still see it don’t put a
bunch of filters on things I mean
there’s just all these douchey filters
you should put on there and it’s really
tempting but just don’t do it yeah yeah
how about framing stuff you know I guess
that that’s the artistic side I guess it
depends yeah a lot of things right but
it does it does but one of the biggest
things would be most well depending on
what you’re going to post this on you
may not have a vertical frame to work
with so try to shoot things horizontal
as you can for video it’s hard to
remember I know for people because they
take stills in a vertical mode but try
to go horizontal as much as you can
because that’s gonna work everywhere and
vertical some places that’ll work great
some places a wall yeah like Instagram
it works but YouTube it kind of sucks
right exactly
totally Doc’s on YouTube yeah now one
thing I would go back to that v said was
the rule of thirds
so if you can keep things in one third
of the frame you’re gonna be off it’s
just kind of a nice artistic look but
you know sometimes it looks amazing
Center too so you kind of gotta you can
so easily move things around and you
know take it twice or whatever you want
and just delete the one that didn’t work
so I’ve got a project this I wanted to
talk with you about and I guess we could
talk about it in basic form but you know
a simple like you alluded to the
testimonial videos that are more sort of
like portrait style I get I don’t know
if you use the word portrait in video
but it’s more of a you know somebody
sitting in an office or right and yeah
you know there’s um if you don’t have
again you don’t have all the equipment
but to get the lighting the sound
background looking halfway decent you
know sure okay so the biggest thing is
add some more light
almost everything you’re going to have
indoors is going to look like crap until
you figure out how to light it somewhere
better so you might be able to move the
person near a window that always works
you might be able to add some more light
in through I mean even just turn on
lamps anything you can do to get away
from overhead fluorescent lighting and
just low lighting in general is bad so
and then I stay up nights thinking about
boring blank backgrounds that’s that’s a
kind of my nightmare situation so
whatever you can do to make that
background more interesting old trick
that I learned from mr. size here throw
a fake plant in there man fake plants
are awesome and yes every office
building and you know I mean it can be a
lamp it could be a fake plant it can be
whatever but it adds a loss and then
move your subject away from the
background everybody kind of wants the
tendency is to put them closer to the
background when they start doing the
complete opposite put them a little
closer to the camera put the background
farther away so you can hopefully pull
out the background a little bit yeah
that get that depth of field there right
yep yep exactly do you run any into any
issues on an iPhone where the focus
might jump and I guess maybe that helps
when the subject is closer right but
yeah yeah trigger yeah if you hit the if
you hit the screen while you’re
recording you can tell it where to focus
and work to expose for and it should
stay pretty good again a lot of this is
if you’re challenging the sensor by
using not enough light or things like
that it’s not going to work well that’s
any camera ever made but if you have
enough light and you’ve got a pretty
decent framing and it’s pretty steady it
should work pretty well if you just tap
that spot where the person is it should
stay there yeah I know that’s another
thing too is the biggest thing I guess
probably about any video is just try to
keep it steady unless you’re looking for
that Jason Bourne look which I really
thought you are right try to keep it as
steady as you possibly can even as you’re
slamming beers and trying to take it all
apart right got that
with Katy and if you’ve got some sort of
a microphone like a lavalier mic or
something like that if you can grab the
audio what would you recommend that or
yeah those quarters if there’s not a lot
of background iPhone does okay but yeah
if that’s okay
yeah I mean again this is where you just
don’t don’t challenge it and you’re
going to be okay
this is with almost any audio equipment
out there too I mean you can have the
stuff that we used on the size of the
Super Bowl or you can have something you
buy off a Walmart and for five bucks is
the point is you just don’t challenge it
too much so try to get to a room that’s
quieter if you have a little bit of AC
noise or something like that not the end
of the world as long as it’s not I can
continuous kind of like a if somebody’s
hitting a hammer or something and it’s
every once in a while it’s gonna be
really really distracting it’s just a
little bit of background noise that’s
more like white noise and it’s
continuous it’s alright
no I think that’s that’s super helpful
if if you’re doing a video will you do
sort of I don’t know what the word would
be like b-roll or like like a secondary
camera getting a different angle that
you could sort of cut it in and spice it
up that way a little bit
or yes so what we do is we’ll either use
two cameras or will use one camera in 4k
which is double the resolution of
typical HD video and then we’ll punch in
and out so you frame it a little bit
more loose a little bit wider mm-hmm
look 4k and then you’ve got a wide shot
and a tight shot cuz you can push into
your tight shot from your wide shot
because you get double the resolution if
that makes sense
oh I got you I got you so you’ll move
the camera back but use a high
resolution that you can you can so yeah
you the end to bring it out yup and you
digitally do it in post then that’s
that’s one way to do it the other way to
do is have another camera going no
problem at all and then yep if you
really want to get cool with it there’s
a program that will let you sync
everything up and it happens
really quick so back in the day we used
to have to do an audio slate and it was
a big pain in the butt and now all you
do is put it in this program called
PluralEyes mm-hmm and it’ll just do it
for you it just you just throw all your
crappy footage in there and then you
stare I think segments that you want
yeah exactly and then you’ve got two
cameras all set ready to go really cool
yeah and then typically what we’ll do is
afterwards we’ll get the person in their
natural environment so we you know if we
were doing a golf interview did David
Leadbetter for Golf Digest a little
while back um I’d get him walking into
his Academy and sitting at his desk or
hitting some balls or you know we did
some slow-motion with him as well and
then you can layer that stuff in when
he’s talking about whatever he’s talking
or when you need to do a cut so
typically you’re gonna hear this a lot
in this interview especially with
meaning people are not going to say the
right things and so you just cut it out
you just take out that complete section
and cover it up with b-roll which is
just footage of someone doing their
everyday stuff or doing whatever they’re
talking about yeah I guess you’ve
obviously um you know a master of your
craft and you can get as deep down that
rabbit hole as as you want but I mean
that’s super cool that’s like that’s
perfect stuff that I think all of us can
benefit from you know that that little
10-minute chunk of advice
I think is is gonna be a real value to a
lot of people so my so good that’s
really cool that’s great and I think the
other thing I would say is add in some
some music underneath we call it a music
bed mm-hmm that can take a video it’s
just insane
sometimes like if I showed you some of
our videos or anybody’s videos without
the score it’s just crazy how bad it is
there’s something missing you know you
watch a movie without a score and it’s
just odd and so when you add that music
that in and you add a royalty-free song
in or if you’re doing it for yourself
you can kind of use whatever songs you
want yeah but like you know soft soft
music real
yeah ever compete with the person
speaking it’s got to be in the
background love that but it just it
makes such a difference it’s crazy and
then another thing too is if you’re
really getting into shooting worry about
white balance and aperture and things
like that and shutter speed but if
you’re not just let the camera do it
just let it take care of it and you’re
gonna have much better results so don’t
don’t try to throw everything on manual
it’s probably not gonna work out very
well just throw it on auto and call it a
day yep yep don’t overthink it yeah now
the one exception with that is if you do
have a nice little camera and it has a
focus ring on it and you can get it in
perfect focus and you’re not going to
move then keep it there just keep it on
manual focus instead of the auto focus
that might might jump on yeah exactly
gotcha mm-hmm hey guys I’m all about
bringing value so shoot me all of the
questions that you have
if you like the stuff be sure to
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