Planning A Corporate Video Production
"If you forget to PLAN, your plan to FAIL" - Sadly, this well-worn quotation is considered the epitaph for many a relevant video project that fell pitifully lacking the expectations raised before work commenced.
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The absence of proper planning a company video production is rather like setting off on the 100 mile journey with an unknown destination, in a vehicle using a near-empty petrol tank, no Sat-Nav or guide, 2 bald tyres without any roadside cover. You're literally ASKING to perform into problems!
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... Yes I know you could call for help on your cell phone, but you get my point, right?
So, let's consider the following preparation essentials:
OBJECTIVES: : Purpose and Message
The first question ought to be "Precisely what do we want this video to accomplish? " What is its purpose, what is the message we wish to communicate? ...
and most importantly... WHO is our target market?
A business video should be an effective business tool that communicates clearly along with your audience, raises brand awareness, or helps you to increase sales revenue.
You need to have a really clear objective. The impact of your video production is likely to be blunted if not. So, "Maybe it's about time we had a new video" is NOT an objective. Simply replacing old for new is unlikely to dazzle your customers or inspire your employees, even though yes, that old video may well be dated or even embarrassing.
There are many tales of woe about videos that have left the viewer wondering what message is being conveyed, due to an ill-conceived and poorly structured storyline.
Start by making a list of the main points you want to get across. Then develop some detail for all the main points. Obtain some input from employees and stakeholders. Your video producer also need to be capable of add valuable input, as long as you decide on a professional professional.
YOUR Audience : : Whom are you addressing?
Ensure you consider each of the cultures you may be addressing in your video. Is your message aimed at a specific age group? Is your audience global? Alternatively, local? Will you need subtitles? Alternatively, even different language versions? And even more importantly, what do you want your audience to get free from your video?
The suggestions above considerations will help you to choose the communication style of your production, along with the personalities who will appear in the recording, for instance a presenter as well as other supporting cast.
Production Style: : TV-commercial? News report? Documentary?
There are many different approaches to tell a story. And that's just what your video production is - a tale.
It needs to be sufficiently well structured to take the viewer by way of a sequence of data, in much much the same way which a book is written, or even a feature film is produced. It must possess a beginning or opening sequence that will get the viewer's attention and leads them deeper in to the story (middle), and an ending sequence or conclusion. As in a product promotion, then you should have a clear 'call-to-action' sequence at the end, if your video calls for some kind of response from your audience.
So, structure is very important. But have you thought about the particular style of your production? Unless your video is the recording of your event for instance a conference, where the structure and design is frequently dependant on the event itself, you may want to take into account the various choices for presenting, or packaging your message. What production style would best satisfy your organization, your product or service you're your target market?
Consumer audiences have become more sophisticated. People seldom react to the type of blatant, in-your-face sales hype observed in TV commercials of 20 years ago, however you dress it up.
Nowadays, a much more subtle approach is frequently called for. As previously mentioned, people now want to be "edutained". They would like to be informed and educated about something, within an entertaining way.
Now I'm not suggesting that we dig out the stripy blazers and straw boaters and do a song & dance act. Alternatively, use a fake opera singer to annoy people into comparing various products. Although amazingly, some of these styles do actually get results!
Creative video producers today can offer a number of and successful production styles. So, whilst a typical 3 to 4 minute programme might be introduced by a professional TV presenter and feature shots of your products, include staff interviews and customer testimonials, the video could actually be produced in a news-report or documentary style, which comes across as impartial, and not a thinly disguised sales pitch. Ideal if you want to announce an excellent cool product range, or highlight the advantages of your service, from the eyes of your own customers. Remember, people want to BUY. They seldom enjoy being SOLD to.
Your video producer should possess the necessary skills and knowledge to give you advice regarding the flow, pace and style of your own production, included in the planning, or "pre-production" stage. You know your company, customers and product better than anyone, and it's YOUR video, so you must have the final say.
Content: : What has to be included?
Most productions will require additional content to keep the video interesting and informative. A basic "talking head" is unlikely to maintain your viewer's attention for too long. So, if the programme includes "cut-away" shots of static images such as photos and diagrams, as well as other related footage, you will stand a much better chance of holding your audience till the end of the video and secure that all-important direct response.
Your video producer will appreciate receiving high-resolution digital images of your own company logos, people and products to add on the post-production stage. It helps to ensure that your production is not delayed later on in the process if you can have these ready in advance.
You may also have previously recorded audio, video or even legacy film that you want to include, particularly if your programme contains historic content. Make certain you discuss this requirement along with your video producer at the pre-production planning meeting, to ensure your media can be successfully converted.
Shooting Locations: : Your company premises or in a studio?
Whilst most corporate videos are shot on the company's premises, there are situations when external locations really are a necessary a part of a production. Let's consider the four most common locations:
1. Your own business premises is by far the most obvious collection of location. You have everything to hand - yourshowrooms and offices, or manufacturing facility are all accessible and usually provide the most ideal backdrop and environment in which to carry out most of the filming. You also have quick access to your products along with your people - provided you can get some willing participants - but a little more about that later.
Be sure to find a suitably quiet room for shooting interviews or presentations. There's nothing more distracting than trying to film in the corner of a noisy office! Alternatively, a room adjoining the factory!
Also, do keep in mind that your video producer may require usage of nearby electrical sockets for powering cameras, lights as well as other equipment. A site survey may be needed prior to filming.
2. If they have your products on display, or equipment supplied by your company in situ, your customers' premises can often be the best choice for testimonials - especially. Do discuss this together with your clients earlier on, so that they are prepared, really know what they're going to say and have appropriate facilities arranged.
3. Public venues often require permission from the Local Authority. Your video producer are fully aware of who to approach and must be able to reach a mutually agreeable arrangement using the Authority, without incurring special license fees. There can often be exceptions to this rule, such as in certain areas of central London, where tight control of filming is operated.
4. A studio - fully built with lighting and sound recording, various backdrops, as well as a chroma key setup may be recommended by your producer. This is the perfect situation for shooting corporate pieces to presentations, interviews and camera. A presenter may be filmed facing an eco friendly screen, allowing alternative background imagery to get added. Most video production companies either have their own studios, or have access to studio facilities when the need arises.
Talent: : Your staff or even a professional presenter?
Filming your staff going about their normal daily duties, operating some equipment or assisting a client is one thing. But the topic of who to appoint as being a presenter or spokesperson always induces a wry smile from me. I actually have witnessed numerous times when a keen employee, who could be quite employed to doing the odd presentation, fluffs his lines for your twenty-seventh time, amid fits of laughter or deep frustration.
You will find a vast distinction between presenting your product and company to a group of seminar delegates, and addressing an invisible audience with a camera pointing at you. It's surprising how most, otherwise supremely confident people, create a stutter, or memory-loss, when under the pressure for being filmed.
So, unless you have a confident and experienced member of staff who is used to presenting to camera, its best to leave it to a professional presenter - unless of course, the speaking parts are short & sweet, or in cases when the message needs to come from the CEO.
Appointing professional talent, whether it's a presenter, actor or voice-over artist is best discussed together with your video producer, who should gain access to a great choice of freelance professionals.
PERMISSIONS: : Don't get caught out!
If you're likely to commission an expert video production, you want to actually obtain written permission from all of concerned, to utilize the captured footage (but still images) of people and places, as well as any intellectual property such as logo's that the company will not own.
This important factor is usually overlooked by people who are not familiar with professional video production and correct procedure for safeguarding against potential problems down the road. Nowadays, people have more civil rights than they utilized to and the very last thing you need is actually a disgruntled former-employee threatening court action until you remove his part inside the video.
If you have to re-shoot a scene, or if several hours of re-editing are required, such incidents can incur unwanted delays, as well as additional costs.
Your video producer should be able to furnish you with correctly worded "Release" forms for people and locations appearing inside your video.
Making a Script: : Is it really necessary?
You will get gathered at this point, that making a professional quality video is not really achieved simply by pointing a camera and pressing the button. You may get any keen amateur to achieve that.
The message has been lost in the ether due to a weak script, though you may have seen TV commercials where they've spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on a visually spectacular production. This basically means that a great deal of money continues to be flushed along the pan because somebody didn't bother to script the programme - and instead got carried away by the euphoria of producing exciting visuals.
On the other hand, you will possess seen low-budget adverts in the media using a powerful message fluently communicated, and yet the visuals are extremely basic. Mission accomplished!
If there's such a thing as "the perfect script", it's one where your target audience is watching and listening at the beginning, because you've engaged their attention. Then the smooth flow from the message carries them along, still watching and listening, directly to the final.
Certain productions could also need a storyboard. Storyboarding is really a separate process that puts the proposed visuals into the script. It needs to be something that all parties can understand and may include small details like where you may want graphics and captions, to a full pictorial list of shots and footage required. It may be simple, or quite complex, based on the length and type of the production.
Make no mistake. The script is definitely the single most important element of any corporate video. You can begin by drafting a fundamental outline of your own ideas and after that take a moment along with your video producer and creatively brainstorm just what the script needs to be. Your video producer should then be able to come back using a fully documented script that actually makes your programme work for you - and for your audience.
PRE-SHOOT MEETING: :
Once you've approved the script, you're able to proceed to the next stage. Your final discussion involving all parties should happen just before shooting. You need to walk around the proposed filming locations to make certain that things are in place, including adequate 13-amp power that will be needed for lighting along with other equipment. Make arrangements for access, parking and safety, in addition to making sure all persons involved are well informed about where and once they are needed.
Timescales: : Promptly, on schedule and also on budget!
If you want a truly professional result, it's important to have realistic timescales. Allow lots of time for planning and making arrangements with parties concerned. Don't forget to enable for holidays as well as the accessibility to people outside your organization.
Check on whether there are any planned road works or construction work in the vicinity of the proposed filming locations that may potentially hinder your deadline.
It's worth mentioning that individuals who are not familiar with professional video production often underestimate the amount of time required for the post-production stage. More on the editing process later, but for now, do bear in mind that a lot of work needs to be completed, even before a "rough-cut" is ready for your inspection.
The bottom line - The inconvenience and potential extra cost of re-shoots and additional editing can be avoided if you allow sufficient time for all the elements of your production to be completed with proper attention to detail. There's really no requirement to have to suffer the effects of the proverbial "rush job".
Budgeting: : Cost versus value
By identifying the need to produce a professional video, you have already reached the starting point. Among the first questions that most clients ask is "Exactly how much could it cost? " For your corporate video producer, this is a difficult question to answer until some proper consultation is taking place.
Video is a creative medium, and therefore you will have various ways and way of making a successful programme. Each video production company may have their very own ideas of methods this could be achieved, which often will lead to another proposal and cost.
The complete cost to produce a video can differ considerably between one video producer and another.
But so can the caliber of the end result!
As with almost any purchasing decision, you will get what you pay for.
As an INVESTMENT, even though a truly professional video production however, should not be viewed as a COST. Therefore, as opposed to simply seeking a cost (particularly before a full consultation has brought place) it's preferable to consider what a carefully planned and professionally executed production could be WORTH in your business.
The return on your investment should far outweigh the amount of money paid to your video producer, in return for a job well done, if the end result generates more opportunities for your company in terms of new customers and sales.