Our video production team at ALSAC | St. Jude creates a short patient story each month for stjude.org. Director/DP responsibilities rotate, and the October patient story landed on my desk.
This video had some specific challenges. The biggest? We were not allowed to use any archived footage of Ian or his family. A little back story would help here: Our team had been documenting Ian's journey for several weeks. The plan is to produce a 15-minute documentary of Ian for use in our long-form Direct Response TV show. So, although we had plenty of footage to use in our monthly patient story, the client wanted to save that footage for the DRTV show. The same obstacle popped up when it came to on-camera interviews with the family. We weren't allowed to use any audio either. All of those assets are being saved for the documentary.
So, I wasn't allowed to use video or audio to create Ian's Patient of the Month story. What I did have at my disposal was family photos. The original thought was to create a photo slide show, set to music, with informative graphics superimposed to help tell the story.
I knew that I didn't want Ian's story to become a slide show. But I also knew that I had little time to turn this project around. By the time I received the assignment, it was already September 20. The finished video needed to be up on the website by October 4. That left me with little over a week to shoot, edit, submit for approval, and make revisions.
What the producer and I decided to do was to print out each picture and shoot each one in actual physical locations around the hospital. So, if there was a picture that showed Ian in a hospital bed, we would shoot that photo in one of our hospital rooms. It gave the video context, a sense of space, and some dimension. Add in slow slider moves throughout and the entire video felt more substantial than a video slide show wherein photos just fade up and fade out.
This was definitely a project with unique challenges, but I was proud of the way it turned out. You can watch Ian's story at stjude.org from now until the end of October.