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:

Out of Thin Air

Belvoir Castle, on which estate I live, has been the subject of a 2 year project to bring into being the recently found 200 year old plans of Capability Brown, probably the most famous landscape architect in England. In the last year a TV program has been in the making which airs its first of 3 parts tonight.

Quite aside from all that, Belvoir Castle has become a world-class shooting estate with people coming the world over to shoot here during the season. It has been being run by Phill Burtt, the David Beckham of the shooting world.

It was decided just a few days ago that a Belvoir Shoot video should be done and gotten onto the Guns and Pegs website, the largest shooting related website in the world for both those seeking venues and those looking for them. This was to coincide with the airing of the Capability Brown program.

Luckily I had some footage shot last year to add to the mix.

It turns out now that this is my favorite marketing video to date– shot completely off-the-cuff, mainly with the Sony PXW X70 and some NX30 footage.

It’s a long and interesting story that I may detail in an update of Run and Gun Videography–The Lone Shooter’s Survival Guide, but for now, just a couple of notes.

  1. I probably take the ‘don’t use tripods much’ to an extreme. The only tripod shot in the video was the Phil Burtt interview. But look closely at the opening and ending shots of Belvoir Castle with the titles. I amazed even myself, because, believe it or not, that was hand-held standing a mile away from the castle.
  2. Notice the echo in the Duchess interview. I actually recorded it with two mics, one lapel (rather sloppily attached I note) and one rifle. It is a real echoey room to begin with. The rifle picked up too much echo so I didn’t use it. The lapel picked up none. So I mixed the lapel and then added echo from the FCPX audio effects–ironic, because I’m usually trying to get rid of it. In this case, it sounded really dumb without echo.

Anyway, I’ll leave it at that for now.

You Americans might not understand what you’re looking at. It’s just the time-honored tradition of English shooting, right on down to wearing the right outfit, with breaks for champagne and sloe gin, bacon or sausage sandwiches, ending up with drinks and a dinner.

 

 

Getting Marketing Mileage out of Seminar, Workshop or Training Video

I recently covered a 90 minute seminar by a Lettings Specialist who has come up with an innovative, sensible and effective approach to get landlords to switch lettings agents. It’s all rather obtuse unless you’re in that industry, but in short lettings agents want more and more properties to manage and properties are owned by landlords. Landlords presumably (unless they’re brand new) already have agents representing their properties. So why change? You have a bank. Can you be bothered to change banks if another comes along touting their services? No. –and that’s the conundrum all lettings agents face.

Anyway it was a fascinating seminar. I covered the whole thing with two cameras, one locked off and one hand-held. I then broke it down into 9 parts which the client will release one by one.

I knew he wanted at least one testimonial video in addition to the whole series, but I saw the potential to produce a couple more ‘teaser’ videos to promote the series in addition to the testimonials video.

This is an example of taking some interesting bits out of a long seminar–or similar event–and producing a video that can be used to promote it. It’s short enough to watch ( a 9 or 10 minute video might put one off in terms of time), and if it contains the ‘go buttons’ (the sort of thing that the guy is interested in), he’ll then want to watch the series.

The main point is, it’s really easy and fast to put together and is a great marketing tool for the client. In this case, it was more than he asked for (I did a couple of these covering different aspects of the seminar in addition to the one he asked for–which was a video with testimonials). In all I gave him 3 different videos to promote his seminar series instead of 1. And I didn’t fleece him either. In fact, having done work with him before, he was so impressed with the result and confident in me, he didn’t even ask for a quote for the job. He knew I’d be fair and would produce a good result. In return, I always give him better value for the money–all of which leads to certain repeat business.

Anyway, here’s one of the ‘teaser videos’ I pulled from the material  followed by the testimonial one–both of which achieve the same purpose.

Even if you’re not in this industry, I think you’ll see that these would effectively interest someone who was to watch the video series being referred to.

( I just checked–he’s released the first 4 videos over the last 3 weeks with 1000 views so far.  That’s better than a kick up the bum.)

Extreme Run and Gun

run-and-gun

I was happily working in the bright sunshine atop a hillside doing some preparatory work on a steel peacock sculpture my wife made that will be raised next week for a BBC program on Belvoir Castle.

The castle itself looked down on me from a mile away across rolling fields and lakes.

About an hour into my project, hands partially covered in sticky black mastic,  I heard the rumble of our Landrover approaching. My wife arrived to tell me there was an emergency at the castle. There was a lavish Hindu wedding ongoing and the videographer hadn’t shown up.

Naturally I explained why I had to say no. No preps. No 2nd or 3rd cameraman arranged. Simply too risky. And besides, I was already having fun.

She left.

20 minutes later I heard the rumble of the Landrover again. This time she popped out with the castle events manager who pleaded with me.

The ceremony was scheduled to begin in 90 minutes.

Great.

30 minutes later I was there, one hour before the ceremony.

The bride and groom explained that they wanted the whole ceremony and all the speeches that would occur afterwards at lakeside the reception dinner. Since the traditional Hindu ceremony itself was going to be two hours, that meant it was likely going to be a 2 1/2 hour program.

Normally, for a wedding,  I’d hire an additional cameraman or two in addition to planting a couple of additional static cameras of my own and use my X70 hand-held for all the interesting shots.

I only had time to hang one additional camera on a long shot of the ceremony.

I stayed close to the action with the radio receiver for the priest on the X70.

So far, no big deal, right?

In fact it was going rather well despite it all being unfamiliar to me–that is until 20 minutes from the end of the ceremony my battery died (wasn’t paying attention). I swapped it out quick to be greeted with a warning that the camera was unable to save the recording. It asked me a dumb question: Did I want to recover the file?

So I answered the dumb question and then it told me that there was a data-base error and asked me another dumb question: Did I want to re-build the data-base? Anyway, I spent a few seconds chatting back and forth with the camera in this fashion and a few seconds later everything seemed to be back-to-battery.

When the ceremony was over I changed both cards.

I wasn’t sure if it was a problem with one card or both. It didn’t tell me that. So naturally I was a bit concerned the rest of the evening.

It got worse.

The same thing happened toward the end of the speeches on the new cards. And this time it wasn’t because the battery had died.

I had smartly routed the audio to the receiver on the other camera (NX30), so at least if it happened again (as it did), I’d have the good sound.

But now I was really freaked.

They specifically wanted the whole ceremony and all the speeches.

All the B roll was fine (drinks in the rose garden, cannons being fired, long shot of the venue from atop the hill where I was so rudely interrupted only hours before. But the meat of the whole wedding was in severe jeopardy.

When I got home I put in the first of the cards that reported the error. Heart sank. The main chunk of the ceremony (with the good sound) wasn’t there. Same with the second card, though there were more files on that one, but the important bit was gone.

Strangely, the reception speeches and stuff seemed to all be there.

Long story short and twelve hours later after a lot of research (and purchase of) card recovery software (that reported “0” volumes on card), I tried rebuilding the data base in the camera again. (It said everything appears to be fine).

Stuck it back in the computer again (as one does) and suddenly there were a lot more files. Was the important one there? YES! In fact, they were all there.

(somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but apparently sticking the card in and out a few times can have this result–and that’s honestly the only thing I did in the end)

Anyway boys and girls, that’s ONE reason why you have multiple cameras on a live event of any sort. You can lose one and not lose the whole show.

 

 

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

Naughty

Sorry, I’ve been naughty and not posted anything in a fairly long while.

Well, crashed a drone. Then crashed (REALLY crashed) my spare one–right into the side of a factory I was doing a production shoot at.

Drone crash

Had to go with plan B and climb up a water tower ladder to get an overview shot of the factory.

Put my NX30 in the ‘poacher’s pocket’ of my standard issue English wax vest. Took the handle off the X70 and put my belt through its hand strap and climbed on up.

That’s run ‘n gun for you.

Maybe I should do a post about that sort of thing.

No wait. I just did.

 

Frankenstein Cameras

pmw-200-con-genus

It was one of the Video Whisperer blog followers who either coined the term ‘Frankenstein cameras” or passed it onto me.

I liked it.

I’ve used some pretty audacious frankenstein rigs in the movie business, but that was back in the film days. Nowadays they’re producing ‘films’ with hi end video cameras. And that’s a pretty exacting art form.

In the context of run and gun videography, however,  it’s an oxymoron.

I’m writing this hopefully for the benefit of those who are relatively new to the field so they don’t think they need to run off and buy all that stuff to shoot professional video–be it corporate work or weddings, documentaries, short films or whatever.

These days the technology they can pack into small cameras boggles the mind. My first contact with big technology in a small camera was with the Sony HXR NX30—and that’s a really small camera. I was so enthusiastic that I did my first ever video review on that camera. Within 5 months it was the top review on Google—and my review came out more than a year after the camera was released. It remains the number one search result for reviews on the NX30 to this day.

The next camera I reviewed with similar verve for similar reasons was the Sony PXW X70. This time my review came out 3 months after the first reviews, but within 2 months it was number one and also remains so to this day.

By the way, this is not to say that there aren’t other cameras that have comparable—or perhaps even better—characteristics, but I just happen to own these two and they suited me to a ’t’.  I had enough of big cameras, tripods, matte boxes, zoom controllers, follow focus rigs and all the rest of it.

Why did I like these two cameras so much?

I was looking for a camera that was small, smart, light and could do all I wanted it to with very little effort or attention on my part.  I wanted to keep my own attention outward. I also didn’t want to have to lug a bunch of stuff  around. Been there, done that. Those two Sony cameras gave me what I wanted in spades. Their intelligent auto systems were the best I had ever used. Their state of the art stabilization systems were cherries on top.

I do understand the Frankenstein allure however. You can add matte boxes, auxiliary controllers and external LED monitors, Flash storage devices and gawd knows what all to a small camera, then stick it onto a glide rail, Steadicam, dolly or crane and suddenly look like you’re top dog behind a Panavision camera, replete with multiple assistant cameramen to help you set up and operate it all. It’s very Hollywood.

To be fair, it depends on your own use. If you know you’re going to be in a fixed position for a wedding, you’ll want to be on a tripod and you’ll want a good zoom controller on your panning handle. Those would be good and needful accessories (tripod and zoom controller) if that’s what you’re going to be doing with that camera. In my case, even when I was commissioned for a wedding, I’d put another cameraman on that main camera fixed position and cross my fingers. I’d be the one running around hand-held during the live event getting all the other interesting angles and reverse shots so that in end, I’d be able to produce a more memorable edit that looked more like a 6 camera shoot even if there were only 3 cameras.

My approach—in any production situation—is to get as much usable footage from as many different viewpoints, angles and image sizes as possible in the least amount of time—especially since I’m usually alone. That makes editing easy. And for that you need a camera that’s small, light and smart.

If a camera (such as these two mentioned) can take in 96GB without a sweat either by using internal memory or cards, who needs an external recorder? If you can hand-hold it so steady that nobody would know that you’re not on a tripod, who needs a tripod? If it’s got a good quality flip out, rotatable LED screen, who needs an external monitor? If it’s got fast and smart auto focus systems, facial recognition or ‘tap-the-screen-to-keep-this-thing-in-focus’, who needs follow focus controllers? If its stabilization system is so good you can do follow shots are hand-held pans practically as good as a Steadicam, who needs stabilisers and glide rails? And given the time it takes to set all those things up, how many shots could you have shot in the meantime with a camera that can do practically all of those things in your own bare hands?

So that’s why I like them.

Yes, you have know how to handle a camera and you’ve got to practice to get the best results out of a camera like that. I’d much rather pay that price  Granted, you’re going to make mistakes. Sometimes the camera will let you down and focus on the wrong thing when you didn’t realise it in the rush of it all. But if that’s a tiny percentage of a massive accumulation of shots that you were able to get because the camera is not slowing you down, be happy. That’s why god invented editing and you’ll be in pretty good shape with multiple solutions for any problem you may have created or been given in the process. And it’s a lot better and a lot more fun than to having to drag along all that other stuff which doesn’t guarantee a professional result anyway if you’re a lone shooter.

Leave all that to the professional film production companies. They’ve got the time and the money. As a lone shooter, you don’t. You’ve got to get done what those 12 other guys do in a fraction of the time. Time is money. Spend it wisely.

True story: One of the first solo productions I did back in 2008 with a Canon XHA1 tape camera was for a helicopter logging company that had been featured for 3 seasons on the History Channel’s ‘Axmen’ series in the US. They had big film crews out there every day for the better part of 3 years. Once I finished my little documentary for them, in response to a request for a testimonial they said that I had managed to get more done in one day than those Hollywood producers, assistants, cameramen, grips and service people would get done in an entire week.  Who knows, maybe they were exaggerating a tiny bit…but probably not much.

If you’ve got a smart camera, let it be smart and give you more time so you can make more money.

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