A Good Corporate Video Sample

corporate video

The Lone Shooter: One day shoot, 2 day edit

I think this is a great example of a corporate video combining many of the chapters of Run ‘n Gun Videography–The Lone Shooter’s Survival Guide including:

  1. Message
  2. Using local talent
  3. Interviews
  4. B roll
  5. Music

The Message

The message is clear by the content of the narrative (which was distilled from about 40 minutes of interview), but also by choice of B roll. Yes, the use of relevant B roll shots is standard in editing this type of interview, but additionally there are shots in there one might not realise are important–unless you are in this business and know what you are looking for. And for those potential business clients, they will have seen what they are looking for: the top tier German machines in use at the plant. That’s why you see their names prominently in some of the shots.

Local Talent

As to local talent, in this case we used the co-managing directors who are brothers.

To my surprise, it was the younger brother (who appears first) who was the most put off by the camera. In fact, in looking at the footage I noticed his head appeared to be physically straining away from the camera as if to get as far away from it as possible. Correspondingly, there was a lot more to edit in his interview (pauses, ums, ahs, stumbles, etc.), all of which is hidden under the B roll. The end message of the video, however is carried entirely by him. And there’s a reason for that: He was asked the magic interview question at the end. I pointed out that they had a very successful and growing business in a niche market and that they had been at it for a very long time, growing all along the way. “So”, I asked him, “What makes you get up in the morning? What is your passion for this business?” (or words to that effect). His response is entirely uncut. I let it roll even despite a few long pauses because it was so obvious that he was completely sincere. And his message was in perfect alignment with the message of the video in its whole.  Who wouldn’t then want to do business with this guy?

B roll

It might appear, in some cases, that the B roll was shot after the interview to fit so nicely with a few bits that were being said, but no. It was all shot first. But I shot so much that I was able to fit shots very nicely to what was being said as if I had shot it afterwards or to a script.

Music

I must have spend an hour and 1/2 looking for a suitable piece of music for this video. Thanks to the search parameters of Audio Jungle (and now Audio Blocks) which allowed me to search for a pretty exact length, I was able to preview dozens of potential fits. Then I found this one. To my absolute amazement, I laid it down and didn’t have to do a thing to it. No editing. No adjusting. It’s entirely uncut. It fits the beginning and end titles, and, if you listen carefully, it even does several things along the way that would convince you that it was scored specifically for this video.

I liked this music so much that when I was editing a promo video for my sculptor wife I had it in the back of my head to see if it would work. Turns out the same thing happened. It just dropped right in as if it was written for that video too. That’s one magical piece of music.

Other Notes

It was a one day shoot and two day edit.

For those interested, it was shot on the Sony PXW X70 in AVCHD mode.

The interview lighting was done with 2 LED Flexlites which I reviewed in this blog. The ‘kick’ you see on the side of their faces would appear to be from the background windows, but was actually created by one of the Flexlites dialed way down. The frontal fill was another Flexlite opposite the backlight. Fill was simply ambient light in the room with the intensity of the key light being set to achieve a 2 1/2:1 contrast ratio with the ambient fill.

Edited on FCPX. Color balanced with Color Finale.

Oh, and did anyone notice I added the sky, clouds and sunbeams to the opening shot? (it was a lousy day in Leicester that day)

The following video was directed and produced by Leapfrog Marketing (Alan Myers – 0116 278 7788) in association with The Video Whisperer.

And just for a bit of fun, here’s the video I did for my wife with the same music:

More Bang for the Buck

I thought I had covered this in the book Run ‘n Gun Videography–The Lone Shooter’s Survival Guide, but on quick review, it appears that I didn’t.

So here we go.

If you’ve read the book, you know how I go about shooting corporate videos. In short, I do an extensive interview or interviews with the relevant people and then I shoot a lot of B roll of their business. A lot. Then, as a result of being thoroughly indoctrinated into the business (by reason of the interviews–which are usually with the Managing Director, other executives and sometimes staff), I edit the interviews down to a final length of about 3 minutes to forward the marketing message in the best way possible and then cover up the dozens of edits with relevant B roll. The ‘script’ is created from the narrative.

Producing Multiple Videos For Different Purposes (from the same content)

Anyway, in most cases it is quite possible to create multiple videos from the material obtained on a one or two day shoot. They don’t always ask for it, but I always point out that this can be done because I make sure to obtain adequate footage during the shoot day(s) to facilitate multiple videos. I’d do it anyway, because it’s always good to have lots of B roll to choose from, but of course, not all of it will get used.

Probably half the time they think this is a good idea. They’re already spending the money, and it won’t be that much more to get multiple videos for different purposes out of the spend. And that’s good because it can double your income or more, depending on how much they want and what you can do. They’re essentially paying for additional editing time–and frankly, after the initial editing process, the creation of further videos goes much faster as much of the basic work has already been done.

Case in point and the reason for this post…

I recently posted a sample video from a shoot where I said 11 videos were produced. The purpose of that post was to give an example of the interview -style approach I just mentioned above. But this was also an example of the client realising the benefit of obtaining additional video content from the paid shoot days.

I did three different kinds of videos for this client.

1) From his interview I created several different narrative-driven videos about specific top selling products.

2) We created several more videos that were simple demos of these products.

3) I then created an ‘overall’ video for his Home Page or About US page which used music and graphics to get across all the things that they do.

As a note, for the first two types of video I created a template to massively speed up the editing process. When done with one edit, I could simply copy-paste it into a new project, change out the narrative bits, change the wording of the title or graphics, adjust a few shots if necessary and adjust the music to the length of the new video. Also, each of the narrative versions had the same ending (where he talks about branding and ‘UK made’). This is because those different products would never really be seen by the same audience. People will tend to watch the product they are looking for and won’t know several other videos have the same ending. And if they did watch other product videos, so what?

It might be a bit tedious, but I’m going to string all the videos out below. You don’t have to watch them all, but it might be of interest to watch a few to see what I mean about creating a template.

As a note, all 11 edits were approved as submitted with no changes required.

The ‘Interview-driven’ series

 

The ‘Product Demo’ series

 

The ‘Overall’ graphics/music driven summary of the business

Chapter 12 and 16 Supplement

This video is a good example for various aspects of corporate video production in the style described on the book Run ‘n Gun Videography–specifically the use of an interview to produce the narrative script and the selection and editing of stock music to make it appear more as if it was specifically scored for your video.

This was a case study, so was longer than the usual video–meant as part of an information package along with other videos and case studies for PTA UK.

The original interview in this case was 70 minutes long. From that I produced this 6 minute version and another 9 minute version, the difference being the longer one started off talking specifically about how the student body was transformed from incorrigible and low grades to one of the most productive student bodies in all of England.

Because there was a lot of history it required some documentation to be able to cover edits in the interview. All I had for this was a small collection of low quality photographs given to me by the school. I was able to make them work to fit my holes. As to the quality, that will be forgiven by most viewers–if not all– because it is obvious that they are old snap shots documenting parts of the history of the school.

The rest of the many edits done to produce this narrative were covered by my own B roll. Notice how the use of ‘walking shots’ B roll can be used to cover just about anything compared with other B roll shots that were more relevant to what was being said.

This was also one of a very few videos where I used two completely different pieces of music, the first covering the beginning of the video in which the ‘problem’ is discussed, and the second more upbeat piece covering the 2nd half of the video which covers the ‘solution’.

This was shot on the Sony PXW X70 in AVCHD mode and can be watched in 1080 HD.

Corporate Video Sample

This is another sample of utilizing royalty-free music in such a way that it appears to be scored specifically for the video as covered in Chapter 16 Notes on Music.

It is also an example of a different utilization of interview narrative by an end-user (testimonial) covered in Chapter 12 Corporate Shoot-outs. In this case I had 45 minutes of interview which could have been cut into a full description of the production line and all its benefits with further descriptions of how the contractor set up this massive production line while the facility was still in full production on the old line–an impressive feat.

That edit, however, would have been anywhere between 5 and 7 minutes–far longer than needed to get the marketing message across. So I opted to use the narrative as a book-end to the video (a good beginning piece and a good ending piece) with the full production line featured for most of the video using descriptive graphics suggested by me and then modified slightly by the client who loved the approach.

That gave us a 3 minute video which still accomplished it’s purpose for anyone who might be looking to invest in the automation of a large plant.

Notice that it is the choice of music and how it was used in the edit that makes it all work. This was shot on the Sony PXW X70 in AVCHD mode. It is also the first time I used the LED light panels that I will be doing a review on shortly.

The following video was directed and produced by Leapfrog Marketing (Alan Myers – 0116 278 7788) in association with The Video Whisperer.

B Roll, What it is and how it will save your bacon

B roll

First of all, what is it?

For a comprehensive definition and history, here’s the Wiki.

In short, in the early days of linear film editing (and tape editing) of documentaries, interviews or dramatic films, the main scene, master scene or main interview was strung together on one roll of film or tape called the A roll. Wherever that scene was to cut to another shot (a cut away, an insert or simply another scene not from the main scene) the A roll would get a piece of opaque leader and in the corresponding blank spot, the appropriate shot would be synced up on the ‘B roll’, itself separated by opaque leader which corresponded to those parts of the ‘A roll’ that were meant to be seen.

Later it would all be married up. This procedure is what made editing ‘seamless’ (otherwise you’d see constant flashes every time two pieces of film were joined together with editing tape). It also allowed for seamless transitional treatments (such as dissolves, fade to black, etc.)

These days it’s all done on computer—even features shot on film. The film is transferred to video where it is edited and then output back to film. Computer editing programs, of course, are called non-liner editing systems where you can simply drag and drop shots, transitions, effects, etc. with impunity. It’s intrinsically seamless.

Anyway, while B roll retains its original meaning, it has also modernized itself through the magic of Time and Slang.

Today in corporate video work, wedding videos, events we generally mean B roll to be any shot that’s not part of the narrative (such as an interview) or story, such as a scripted film. In film they generally call this ‘coverage’, which means you shoot a bunch of detail shots (the clock on the wall, the leaves blowing on the trees, birds in flight, people walking down the street, etc, ad infinitum) that might come in handy for the editor if he’s in a tight spot. Great film makers with large crews usually plan their films to the nth degree and specify all these things. Even then, smart cameramen shoot more than was asked for even by a detailed script.

In the run and gun category, when you don’t have crew support (assistant directors, script supervisors, etc.) B roll is essential. It will be, in fact, the main pictorial content of your video.

Let’s say you have a 15 minute interview. Or even a 3 minute one (in final edited form).

Who wants to see a talking head for 3 minutes or 15 minutes straight?

More to the point, most interviews of any length have to be edited. How do you cover up the cuts?

B roll.

But the purpose of B roll isn’t just to cover up cuts. Yes, that’s where it can save your bacon when you found yourself forced to do an edit and have absolutely nothing relevant to cover it with. More importantly, B roll should help forward the story of the narrative. It should help forward the overall message of the video. It needs to be relevant to what’s being said.

Let’s say you’re planning a documentary which involves traveling across the United States and stopping in various cities to interview certain people on the same basic set of questions. One thing is for certain. You’re going to interview those people. That’s what you do know. But you’ve never been to these places and have no idea in advance what also should be shot in terms of B roll, so you’re going to ‘wing it’ and hope you’re covered.

Well actually, you already know more than that. You know you’re going to a particular city or town.

Most every city or town has a ‘Welcome to ___’ sign. Shoot it.

Mount your camera on the windshield or handhold it and shoot some traveling shots, highway signs, landmarks and anything of interest as you arrive. You may only wind up using one or two of those shots—or none—, but so what? You’re not doing anything but driving. (let me clarify that: If you’re alone, use a mount. If you’re with someone, have them hold the camera).

Shoot some establishment shots of the town and its landmarks. Long shots, medium shots, close shots, detail shots.

Shoot the bustling downtown–or the vacant one.

Shoot the exterior sign and buildings of the location you’re going to.

You know something else too. You know what the questions are and the subject material to be covered. So shoot stuff in that town that’s relevant to the subjects that will be discussed.

If relevant, shoot the interior of the establishment you’re going to. Not just long shots of interesting rooms, but detail shots of interesting details.

Yea, shoot atmospheric shots of flowers, trees, birds, lakes or whatever is there and may be relevant to what you’re doing.

And if it turns out you need a bird in flight for the Chicago edit and you didn’t shoot one, use the St. Louis bird you shot. Who will know?  It’s called ‘cheating’ and Hollywood has always gotten a kick out of cheating.

If you spend an hour or two on the interview, spend that much or much more on the B roll.

After the interview you may realize you need to shoot something else based on what was discussed.

So shoot that.

You get the idea.

For a video to be interesting, it should not only have interesting narrative or story content, it should also be rich in story-telling pictures (footage). You won’t use a fraction of what you shoot, but you will have so much latitude in editing for having shot it that you will be free to make a great video no matter the headaches you may have endured during the interview itself.

Chapter 12, Corporate Shootouts–Supplement

Chapter 12 covers various aspects of producing an interview-driven video. Specifically it covers a method of producing a corporate video without prior scripting.  For that to work, Chapter 12 puts a lot of attention on a workable approach to conducting interviews.

Good interview content, edited properly, can give you a much more sincere (and believable) narrative than any ‘scripted’ attempt because ‘scripts’ are best carried off by professional actors and presenters. The only problem there is that most people can spot them a mile away, so it’s a two-edged sword: Local talent are terrible at pulling off scripts and professional talent betray themselves as professional presenters reading script.

On this page I’m going to use an example of my latest corporate video done for a company called Axiom which was subcontracted by another company (Logistex) which was coordinating a number of construction activities on the Superdrug distribution site.

You will notice that no person from Axiom appears in the video. This is, in fact, a testimonial-type video whereby the end user (Superdrug) and the prime contractor (Logistex) are giving testimony on Axiom’s behalf.

For those interested, this is a training exercise, so is therefore presented as a case study for the corporate video model laid out in Chapter 12 of Run ‘n Gun Videography.

I will first link to the video itself so that you can watch it and then follow up with some screen shots of the editing timeline to illustrate a few points along with some additional comments.

Let me start off with a comment about something you will notice in the first 15 seconds of the video: You will notice that you’ll hear the narrative content (voice) a full 15 seconds before you ever hear the person talking. That’s longer than I would normally do, but in this case the specific reason you don’t see the person is that the first 15 seconds of narrative had 8 edits in it–mainly cutting out ‘ums’, ‘ahhs’ and longer than desirable pauses. That was necessary to build an introduction from the interview material available.

Here’s a screen shot of the beginning of the timeline showing the 8 edits in the first 15 seconds.

Narrative edit sample 1 (1)

The real key to seamless editing of interviews is to do it in such a way that no one would know there were any edits there by listening. It should sound to the listener as if that’s exactly how it was spoken live in the first place.

Here’s the video:

As described in the chapter, the first step after importing the full interview content is to mix the audio if necessary. That’s because you’re about to cut it up into a lot of pieces. If you mix the audio afterwards, you’re going to have to apply the mix to all the individual pieces, so this is an elementary time-saving step. In the case of this video, there were two interviews totaling about 25 minutes of material.

(for some reason I notice that the audio of the second person sounds very sibilant on this upload–something I’m going to have to look into when I get home)

After mixing the sound on the two interviews I then went through each and cut out all of the extraneous and unusable or irrelevant material (such as all my questions and bantering) leaving only the material that I would be drawing from to construct the narrative.

While I did each interview in separate projects, I’ve combined them here on the same timeline for ease of illustration. That’s the 17 minutes of material I would be working with to create the narrative.

interview bites

The next series of steps are a process of moving those pieces around into an order that will tell the story you want to tell. For example, you’ll find certain things suitable for possible beginning bits and others for possible ending bits. You just shuffle them around roughly in this fashion.

Once you’ve got things more or less in order, now start deciding what the best and most relevant material is and what the worst or least relevant material is. Once you’re certain you won’t be using certain bits, start deleting them.

Now you may find your 17 minutes of material is down to 9 minutes. But you’re going for a 3 minute video, so there’s lot’s more to do.

In this fashion, you start building your narrative out of the most relevant pieces. At this point you’re not concerned with any flaws in delivery such as um’s and ahs or other peculiarities such as always starting a sentence with ‘yeah…’ or any number of other quirks. You just was to see if you can put together a cohesive story that gets the point across. In other words, you’re concerned with message.

Sometimes you will find the same thing was said in two different ways at different times. Take the best of the two and delete the other.

Keep paring it down and clarifying the message.

Finally, when you’ve got your content down to the right length for your video (there’s no hard and fast rule except that the content should maintain interest for the prospective target viewer–in this case, someone looking for an industrial sortation system), now you can start fine-tuning it.

If you haven’t already, decide where you want to guy to absolutely appear on camera. The rest of the interview is fair game for editing. Now you can start slicing and dicing to remove the unwanted pauses, the self-corrections (happens a lot–they’ll start talking and then start over repeating what they just said, they’ll say a word wrong and correct themselves, etc.). You can freely trim all that stuff out and pace it all nicely together (even if you have to add small gaps in the narrative when things seem to run together too quickly).

By the time you’re done with that, you’ve probably cut out another 10, 15, or 20 seconds or more. You haven’t changed the content, but you’ve cleaned it up and clarified it.

Naturally when you get to the step of covering up all those edits with B roll, you will have to have some relevant B roll to cover those points so that it too is contributing to the flow of the story.

In this video you can probably tell that the first person who speaks was at ease with the process and interested in telling the story. The second person was more self-conscious and required more editing to smooth out his narrative. You can see it in the following screen grab from the timeline:

Narrative edit sample 2 (1)

Incidentally you can also see a place where I added in a small gap in the narrative for reasons I can’t remember, but which improved the overall narrative. You’ll also notice at the very bottom a piece of track in there which overlaps the gap. That’s room ambience that I recorded (which contained the factory noise in the background) so that the gap wouldn’t suddenly go ‘quiet’ and betray itself.

And while the subject of a different chapter in the book, you can also see where I extended the music track by finding a phrase of music that I could repeat at this point in the video so the music ending would correspond with the end of the video.

There’s nothing particularly novel or revolutionary about this approach. Editors have been doing this for a long time, but for those of you working on your chops, I hope you will have found this to be useful.

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