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Shareability Helps Spoken Word Artist Prince Ea Challenge the Education System

AND Break Viewing and Sharing Records with URSA Mini 4.6K
Richard Williams, better known by his stage name Prince Ea, is an American rapper, spoken word artist, music video director and rights activist from St. Louis, Missouri. He's also a social media superstar with more than six million followers, hundreds of millions of views and climbing.

With activism close to his heart, Prince Ea became the face of and collaborator on Neste's Pre-order the Future campaign. Neste is a Finnish energy company, and together with Prince Ea they are finding innovative solutions to create a cleaner and more sustainable future. The campaign highlights a few different areas of the future, including education, specifically how to shake up the old ways of education in order to create an efficient, effective and better way of learning.

In creating a video for the campaign, Prince Ea turned to his friends at California-based social content studio Shareability. Shareability's core capability is creating branded content that explodes across the web. As Joel Bergvall, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, creative lead and partner at Shareability, put it: "You can make someone watch a video, but you can't make them share it. Prince Ea is an extraordinary human being who is passionate about igniting important social conversations, and if Shareability can help make that shareable, everybody wins."

Shareability believes that powerful branded content comes from giving consumers what they want, and the biggest indicator of what they want is what they will share. Shareability seeks to create and distribute shareable content that drives emotional connections between brands and their customers.

Together, Prince Ea and Shareability created "The People vs. the School System" for the Pre-order the Future campaign. In it, modern day schooling is on trial in a courtroom. Acting as prosecutor, Prince Ea calls school to the stand, delivering a riveting narrative about the flaws in our education system. Within two weeks of release, the video has well over 200 million views and, more importantly, over six million shares.

Shooting Film with Digital Advantages
"This was a DIY, passion project done at cost with every penny ending up on the screen. That's often how the good projects are made," explained Joel. "However, it still needed to be eye-catching, cinematic, professional and representative of Prince Ea and Neste's campaign, which is why we chose to shoot the video with two URSA Mini 4.6Ks and grade in DaVinci Resolve Studio."

He added, "Cinematography was an important part of the execution of the video, and I was very pleased with the results from the URSA Mini 4.6K. The highlight retention is enormous and roll off and skin tones are superb."

Joel shot with both URSA Mini 4.6Ks in film mode to retain highlights and to have options for color correction in post. One camera was mounted on sticks, while the other was mounted on a CamDolly running on rubber wheels across the floor and on tracks for the opening shot. "The lenses were all Zeiss Compact Primes and Zooms, and both cameras also had Letus Anamorphx adapters with mid-level flare coating," said Joel. 

"Overall, we wanted the look to be cinematic and anamorphic with great skin tones and excellent latitude, and we were able to achieve that thanks to the URSA Mini 4.6K's sensor," he continued. "The way that it captures skin tones is comparable to cameras many times its cost, and the latitude and roll off are phenomenal. We shot this entire video at 800 ISO with a 5.6/8 split, so the sensitivity is there as well. I also loved the ability to shoot at off-speeds, the weight and size of the body and the ease-of-use of the new 4.0 software in terms of menu."

Joel Bergvall
Photo Courtesy Daniel Saxlid Photography

Joel noted that there is no time to fidget around with deep menus and figure out the minutia of various configurations while on set. He enjoyed working with the URSA Mini's new camera operating software because, as he put it, "The settings are beautifully simple without compromising on choice. The fact that everything you need is available on the touch screen through shortcuts means  AC's and operators can pick up the camera and figure out how to use it in minutes."

Joel added that it also inspires confidence. "Unlike some cameras out there, you understand the URSA Mini's every setting and can maneuver with ease, trusting that what you see is what you get, and there isn't some weird hidden gamma setting that's going to cause you problems in post. It's as reliable as shooting film with all the digital advantages," he said.

Swiss Army Knife of Post
While challenges will pop up unexpectedly on any shoot, Joel and his team were able to quickly work around them thanks to the reliability of the URSA Mini 4.6K and DaVinci Resolve Studio. "Our lighting was fast and simple, and some G&E gear issues early in the day meant we had to move a mile a minute in order to catch up. Rushing usually means compromise, but knowing what the camera was capable of I could let things go that would have otherwise taken me several minutes to fix on the day, knowing that I could fix it in DaVinci Resolve Studio," he explained.

According to Joel, there is not a single shot that doesn't have numerous subtle Power Windows to help guide the audience's eye and make the footage look more natural. "And the tracker! There is nothing like Resolve's tracker to help streamline what is essentially a music video grade with multiple tracking Power Windows. Same shot eighteen times? No problem. Copy the grade, reposition the windows, re-track and move on," he said.

Overall, the tone of the video is very natural and close to the original, but with selective contrast and reduced saturations in the brights and lows.

"Resolve is most helpful in how straight forward it is and how it's the Swiss Army Knife of post," concluded Joel. "And it comes free with the URSA Mini 4.6K. The camera's affordability and feature set really made this video possible, and I am probably going to purchase a PL mount URSA Mini 4.6K and run the B4 adapter. I'll still only be out pocket change compared to any camera that comes close in terms of image quality."

About Shareability 
Shareability creates social content that cultivates deep emotional relationships between brands and their consumers. Their focus on the art and science of shareable social content has propelled them to a track record of over 1 Billion Organic Views, more than 30 Million shares and 50 thousand articles.

The odds of a video making it to the front page of YouTube on any given day is over one in 2 Million. Shareability has done it 25 times.

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Related Keywords:Blackmagic Design, DaVinci Resolve Studio, URSA Mini 4.6K


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