Fortyfoursixteen teamed up with renowned camera manufactures Vision Research on a recent project to capture the magical production process behind Krispy Kreme’s famous doughnut range.
The video took an entirely new approach by showing ingredients in a delightfully dramatic form, achieved by visually stopping time and suspending the multicoloured doughnut components in mid air.
It’s a technique that required a camera capable of slowing time down by over 40 times. To capture this required the use of a state of the art Phantom camera, which can only achieve this feat because it was originally designed for scientific high speed photography.
Camera operator Brice Munn enjoyed working with the specialist technology – “It was all about capturing ordinary food ingredients in an extraordinary way, after a lot of research we decided to use this state of the art, brand new camera model.
“These cameras are rare and haven’t been used in this way a great deal before, so we had to do extensive testing and conversion training before taking it on shoot. But equipment isn’t everything, we had to find and train the right talent too. We put together an amazing team of lighting a camera specialists, and the results were stunning.”
Fortyfoursixteen took a unique approach to show toddlers in their world, by scaling down the cameras and letting the children take over the screen on a recent project for Mothercare.
Mothercare, retail specialists in products for mothers and children, collaborated with fortyfoursixteen and a leading digital agency to create an entirely original concept.
The video was to showcase Mothercare products in their ‘natural habitat’ from the point of view of mothers and toddlers. It meant specialist rigging of miniature cameras.
Neil Waddington, who produced the project, said “You know the old saying about working with children and animals!!! – Well we knew from the start that capturing the footage for this project was always gong to be interesting.
“We ran several test shoots prior to the shooting to check that the angles and mini cameras gave us a realistic look into the world of toddler and mum and that everything worked form a technical point of view. I think the end product has a lovely playful feel to it and answers the brief perfectly.”
This spring, we were proud to be awarded Video Production of the Year for our work on an internal communications video. We were presented the award at AV Technology Europe Awards, a prestigious ceremony celebrating the very best in video marketing and video production.
NewBay, who hosted this year’s ceremony in Amsterdam, provide multichannel marketing solutions to over 4,000 clients across the globe. The ceremony was attended by video specialists from across Europe.
The award categories spanned everything from live event technology to full scale video production, where fortyfoursixteen won Video Production of the Year.
Fortyfoursixteen Director Neil Waddington expressed “We were completely surprised and delighted to get recognised for this piece of video production and this award is something we are very proud of. Especially from an organisation as prestigious as AV Technology Europe.
“This was a very challenging project and the pressure was on us to get it right from the start. The production was a collaborative process and its success hinged on us being able to bring such a wealth of top end video production talent on board.”
The winning video was a true epic of corporate filmmaking. It was to transform five members of staff into all out superheroes, illustrating just how legendary their work is. We could only achieve this by filming in a cinematic way – lighting the scenes and shooting them as if for the big screen.
Crew sizes vary from project to project and will be scaled proportionally with the budget allocated, but very often the quote breakdown won’t cover exactly who is who and what they’re bringing to the table skills-wise. The following is a breakdown of the typical crew you might expect on an average project from most media production companies.
The Director/Producer will be your first point of contact. They are the person who will ultimately anchor the whole project – from managing the pre-production and every aspect of the shoot days through to overseeing the post-production. They may bring an Assistant Director or Assistant Producer with them.
They will be in charge of of the visual side of things, and may supply their own equipment. As well as operating and moving the camera and all related equipment, they will help to light the scene they are shooting appropriately.
Director of Photography (DoP)
Also known as the DoP, this person will work with the camera operator to light the scene appropriately.
There will often be a dedicated sound engineer who will work with the other members of the crew to ensure perfect sound is captured. They will generally supply their own equipment and may bring an assistant on larger productions.
The stylist will make sure everything seen on screen is on-brand. This is tremendously important for big businesses that can’t afford to have their brand identity compromised.
Hair & Makeup
Under pressure and the hot lights people can quickly wilt, and with the use of 4K HD cameras now commonplace, it’s more important than ever that people on screen look their best, even if it’s just brief touch-ups for a talking head.
It sounds like an all-encompassing role, and it is. Production Assistants, or ‘runners’ as they are sometimes known, handle general tasks that don’t fall under the remit of the other crew members. This includes jobs such as assisting the crew, collecting equipment or props, keeping the set safe and tidy, and most importantly, making the teas and coffees.
Of course, every production is different and will have variations in the crew size and how many roles are filled. Rest assured that we only use the best and always bring someone to make the tea!
Here’re 7 simple tips to avoid some all too common mistakes when embarking on your brand’s corporate film production.
1: Not considering audience
This is one that should run right through any corporate film production, from concept to completion. Keeping your audience in mind from day one—like you would with any collateral—will have big benefits. It’s as simple as using the right language, answering the right questions, and thinking about what imagery will engage them effectively.
2: Not producing a script
What ever type of corporate film production you are creating a working script is vital. Even is the dialogue within your film is purely interview derived a script (of desired responses is still useful).
The script doesn’t have to be set in stone but it will provide useful signposts during the production of your corporate film and ensure you film all the elements that you require (your script can even be thought of a list of reminders to what content you require when filming to complete your film).
A working script will also save you lots of time when editing by helping structure the video and identify how items will segue.
3: Covering too many topics
A ton of jargon and endless statements about “why your company is special” can be a little overwhelming. The solution is dead simple: to think of your corporate film production as a storytelling process. Give it a beginning, middle, and end and use each segment wisely. Distill your film’s content down to the key ingredients so that you leave the viewer with a clear and concise message.
4: Making it too long
Have you ever glanced at the progress bar and bailed at the sight of how long’s left? Me too. Only include points that can be clearly communicated in a short time period. What’s more, keep an eye on the runtime of soundbites while you edit. Consider if the true value of what’s said warrants the time.
5: Forgetting to show
Interviews are great, but continuous shots of talking can be a bore. So remember to overlay “cutaway” shots of your product or service in action. Make the shots relevant to the interviews and lay them over the speech for a truly interesting video.
6: Skimping on production quality
A rushed corporate film production can mean one thing. A poor video. You wouldn’t upload copy before it’s proofed, or use photos that are blurred, so treat video in the same way. Taking time to find good lighting for interviews and getting the sound quality up to scratch are good places to start.
7: Not including a CTA
CTAs or “calls to action” are the backbone of digital marketing. To the viewer, they form the instruction to “do” something, like getting in touch with you for a quote. Not including them within your video is a huge mistake.
They can be either spoken, or as animated text. or for maximum benefit they can be hyperlinked (which can be achieved with YouTube Annotations). This means that as the film closes viewers can click on an on-screen CTA such as “click here for more information” which can take them directly to the relevant page on your website. This is really useful when using your video on social media as it’s the most effective way of driving customers directly to your door.
So that’s it really. Yes there are loads more pitfalls that should be avoided but these are the most common errors we see in most video marketing we encounter.
Avoiding the mistakes many corporate video producers make is a definite way to make your company stand out.
If you’ve not yet produced video marketing material for your brand, then you may be a little confused by some of the terms used by your creative video company when on set or during pre and post production.
We’ve all seen enough behind the scenes and ‘making of’ material to have a reasonable idea of how a Hollywood blockbuster shoot works and the terminology used. But many of the names, terminology and language used in Hollywood will be identical to that used on your video shoot by pretty much all media production companies.
So here’s a short glossary of terms and language that may be used on your companies video shoot and their meanings.
OK so this is an obvious one, but many people are surprised to learn that these directions are still given even when shooting a corporate video. Clear communication from the director to the crew is essential even on small projects so when “action” is shouted that’s the cue to anyone who’s in shot to start doing whatever it is that the director has asked them to do, and of course “cut” tells them when to stop.
DOP is short for Director of Photography. While the director will focus on whats being captured, the DOP’s job is to focus on what it looks like on camera. So lighting, angles and camera position are the aspects of the shoot that the DOP is concerned with.
The Gaffer’s job is to look after the technical side of the lighting. He often works with the DOP to agree where the lights need to go and what their effect should be. In the world of corporate video you’ll probably only encounter a gaffer on the medium to large shoots and more often than not these shoots are studio based. The Gaffer will ensure that all lighting is rigged and working to the DOP’s wishes.
Grip is a term that is applied to anything (or sometimes anyone) who moves the camera. So if your video marketing requires beautiful sweeping elevated shots using a jib (small crane) or tracking shots using a dolly (basically a tripod on a track) then the general term applied to these items is grip.
As mentioned above, a dolly comes under the term ‘grip’, and it’s used to achieve sliding shots in a straight or curved line. The camera stays on the tripod, which will then sit on a flat panel or base that moves along a smooth track. These shots don’t typically take long to set up as the equipment can be surprisingly mobile, and they add instant value to any corporate video.
‘Post’, or ‘post production’, is everything that a video production company does after the shooting stage has been completed. So editing, sound mixing, animation of logos etc and visual effects are all generally referred to as ‘post’.
Likewise, ‘Pre’ or ‘PP’ is ‘pre-production’. Basically, it’s the planning and logistical work that is required before the cameras come out. This can involve a very wide scope of tasks from scripting and casting to scheduling crew and organising equipment, but quite simply it’s all the stuff that happens before the cameras come out!
Often when producing a corporate video 90% of the footage shot ends up being discarded, as only the best takes, comments or angles end up making their way into the final cut.
However before the editing starts the better media production companies will review every single frame of footage shot for them to work with. This footage is known as the rushes, from back in the days when film negatives were literally “rushed” to the developers so the editor could begin work.
A runner or ‘production/shoot assistant’ is an important part of any video production company. They will deal with a wide variety of tasks that arise throughout the shoot day and will contribute to the smooth running of the filming. From ensuring that clients, crew and artists are looked after and comfortable to helping with loading and unloading of equipment, their role requires them to be problem solvers, and a good runner can respond quickly and efficiently to any situation that can arise whilst filming.
‘Slate’ or ‘Mark it’
In the past, sound and footage could only be synchronised using a visual and audible reference point. This was done by using a clapper board which makes a snapping sound when shut and has an obvious visual cue to the sound that the snap generated. Hence the visual and audio elements of a film were easy to sync.
In the modern day world of digital filming, both sound and picture come ready loaded with ‘time of day’ and ‘date of shoot’ information. However a clapper board is often still used as a failsafe for syncing and also as a visual reference to the editor as to what the scene is – the clapperboard can be marked with information about the scene that is being shot. So don’t be surprised to see one used on the shoot of your latest corporate video.
So there you have it. Working with a creative video company may involve a lot of jargon that can leave you a little confused, and while this isn’t a full list of terms, they are some of the more common words and phrases that should help you on your next video shoot!
All you need to know before directing a school promotional video
No promotional video is ever the same, but the corporate world is one thing. Promotional video production for schools (or school promo video) is quite another. Due to the nature of what you’re capturing many areas of production require a rethink from the ground up, such as equipment, direction, and time management. We’ve outlined ten important tips you need to consider when creating a school video.
We know from experience that turning up, switching the camera on and expecting magic to unfold before you just isn’t going to happen. Kids and staff won’t always give you great smiles or dynamic action (especially first thing on a Monday morning!) unless you provoke it from them, and sometimes this involves directing the action you want. It’s a great way to set up scenarios where you can capture genuine emotions is every shot so when it comes to the edit you’ve got some great shots to choose from.
Lower the Camera
Whenever you’re capturing footage of young students, lowering the camera down to their head height is a given. Aside from it being easier to see what they’re doing, it puts the audience into the student’s world and makes it easier to form an emotional connection with what you’re watching.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Another thing we’ve found from experience is that there’s only so much vibrancy and enthusiasm you can get out of a maths or English lesson. Important subjects they may be, but unless you step in and direct the students, you’ll find most of the time they’ll be hunched over their desks staring at a book. To get more dynamic shots, we try to mix in as much physical activity as we can – PE, after school clubs, students playing at break and lunchtimes, and other sporting activities. Mixing shots like this in with the more rudimentary academic content you’d expect from a school injects it with vibrancy and personality, which we can honestly say is completely different for every school.
Make Sure Students Are Engaged
If you’ve ever watched a school promotional video – or any promotional video for that matter – you will have noticed straight away when someone doesn’t have a huge smile on their face. The music will be uplifting or inspirational and there could be an enthusiastic voiceover, so the very second the video cuts to someone who looks anything less than overjoyed, it will seem a bit off. You might even laugh at how miserable they look in comparison to any others, which isn’t the right reaction.
It’s a good idea to get single shots of enthusiastic pupils, and to try and elicit a positive response from them to really get the audience on board with the message of the video.
Broaden Your Range
Promotional videos are very often interview-led, piecing together soundbites from relevant individuals. In schools, that’s students and teachers, but they aren’t the only ones involved in the day-to-day running of the school. Depending on the message or the intended audience of your video, consider interviewing parents, school governors, volunteers and local community leaders. This broader range of interview subjects could provide you with interesting and insightful viewpoints you might not find with just students and teachers, which add another level or message to the promotional video.
Get 2X More Than You Think You Need
Whenever you watch a promotional video, it’s easy to think that the shots you’ve seen were the only ones that were filmed. If that was the case, we could shoot a promotional video at a school in less than an hour. In reality, for every great shot in a school promotional video, there will be about 10 other shots that weren’t used. To facilitate the immense number of shots captured over two days for example (typically around 300 – 350), it’s vital that we move around the school quickly and spend no more than a few minutes at each location. This means we can capture a variety of shots over a relatively short school day.
Move the Camera
We’ve talked about why you should move the camera during shots before (see blog about grip) and explained that it’s essentially about production values. A sweeping shot of a leafy exterior on a jib, or a dolly shot that glides effortlessly down a hallway towards a student looks far more impressive than a static camera angle of the same action. Dollies and jibs are mobile and relatively quick to set up and instantly provide that “wow” factor that is needed to blow the audience away right from the start.
So there you have it – the sum total of our experience filming in schools! We learned many of these lessons the hard way, but we’ve found that by using these ten simple ideas we can boost the production values of a school promotional video and increase its chances of overall success with the target audience.
As a leading explainer video company, we know that the world around us moves at an ever-increasing pace, and the way customers consume media and information seems to be evolving at the same speed. We know that animated explainer videos are great tools for businesses to boost their online presence in an accessible way but how should you start to plan them and most importantly, how long should they be. Well statistics show that when it comes to animated explainer videos or corporate videos the optimum length of any material you produce is 2 minutes. After that you’ll start to lose viewers pretty quickly.
Retaining your message
But why are short online videos more effective in engaging your audience? Surely you can get more messages across in a longer video? In theory, yes, but research shows that if you try to bombard the viewer with multiple messages in a 5 minute video, they will retain less of your messaging than they would if you kept your video short and simple. If the online video is too long or contains multiple messages, it can even end up creating a negative impact on the viewer (as they’ll associate boredom with your brand!). The stats certainly back this up.
So let’s look at why shorter animated explainer videos are more effective when delivering your message and engaging your audience.
In the digital world, addressing attention spans (or lack of them) is critical for any explainer video company. Generally our digital attention span is much shorter than our real world attention span. We know that whatever digital media we are viewing can be replaced and substituted with something else in a heartbeat. We can click ‘Stop’, ‘Next’, ‘More’ or even ‘Close’ way before we’ve engaged with even half the content we’re presented with.
Be honest, how many times have you closed a page that you’ve not yet reached the bottom of?
So the online digital experience exaggerates modern life’s shortening attention spans and makes short bursts of communication much more powerful.
Shorter animated films cost less! Its that simple.
Now we need to stress that this is NOT always the case with live action video marketing but it’s certainly true when producing animated explainer videos.
Yes, you can spend just as much producing a 30 second viral as you could producing a 10 minute brand film, but generally speaking, shorter videos require less post production (ie animation etc), less pre-production (much less to storyboard etc) and even less delivery time – They can be uploaded and shared much quicker due to the final smaller file size. So producing short play animated explainer videos can be beneficial to your marketing budget.
However, one of the main reasons that short online videos have greater traction and impact is down to mobile streaming. We’re now very used to seeing video online and we don’t accept blocky, grainy, overly compressed footage anymore, as we’re now accustomed to watching HD on our portable devices even if we’re in the middle of the woods!
Shorter video will stream and download much quicker due to it’s physical attributes. Their file sizes are smaller and so they are easy and quick for customers to view and more importantly share or send.
As mentioned earlier on, keeping your online video message simple and clear will result in greater impact and engagement. Yes, your product may have 20 USPs but if you try to ram them down your customers throats they’ll end up dazed and overloaded with all the points you want to get across. Or worse still, they’ll become snow-blind by all your information and click off the video, having remembered none of it. If you have lots to say then the best way is to produce several short videos rather than one long epic!
There’s not really much else to say on this. However, one of the best ways to highlight why shorter video marketing works is to examine your own online video habits. Make a mental note every time you don’t finish a video that you’ve started playing – check to see when you stopped, and ask yourself why.
Most online behaviour is universal so when producing your video marketing material ask yourself whether you’d be willing to watch it to the end. If the answer is no then you can put good money on the chance that no-one else will either.
Digital media production is increasingly one of the most important digital marketing tools in today’s world. Developing a great video will engage viewers and increase the time they spend browsing your website by a considerable margin, so getting your video strategy right is important. But a lot of online viewers admit to not watching a lot of videos all the way to the end. But why is that? These are some of the mistakes you can make that cause your audience to tune out.
It’s too long
We’ve talked before about optimum runtimes for video marketing (see blog) but the thrust of it is that beyond 2 minutes, you start to see a major drop off in viewing figures, and from there it’s a downward curve. We live in an age of constant on-demand content, where we no longer have to commit to one source for our entertainment. If you want more people to engage with your video, you have get to the point quickly. If you review your video and find that it’s dragging, chances are the audience will come to the same conclusion and stop watching.
This is normally only an issue in the corporate sector and depends on the audience you’re trying to reach, but if your audience includes the average person, you may have to adjust your mode of address to keep people interested. The corporate sector can include a lot of “boardroom language” which can be hard to separate yourself from when you need to boil a concept down to it’s simplest form in a way that understandable to a layman. This is where your digital media production company should make script suggestions.
We’ve covered this before but we really can’t stress enough how important good quality sound is in digital media production. People can tolerate bad images to an extent, but won’t give an inch to poor quality sound and will turn your video off straight away.
If you ask someone if they’re likely to buy a product if they want a good quality video about it, they’ll probably say no. Nobody likes to think that they can be swayed by typical marketing tricks and many make the decision to rail against them. But a presenter or an interviewee comes along with just the right amount of charisma, those people might suspend their disbelief for the duration of the video. All it takes is for a representative of a brand to come across as laughably unenthusiastic, and the engagement with your video will be dead.
The most successful corporate videos are the culmination of solid planning, productive shoot days and considered editing. It’s within grasp for companies and organisations alike to manage these elements in house. But it’s often the shoot days that turn out to be the most complicated and potentially stressful, and it’s here that novice producers could find themselves under the most pressure to get things done. Here are 5 simple things that you can do to ensure you have the most productive shoot day possible.
Do a Recce
On a previous blog, we talked about how important it is that you do a recce before the shoot. This is important because every location presents certain opportunities and certain limitations, and you should know what these are before you turn up with a camera in hand – you could come across something you didn’t anticipate which causes you to change your plans. Things to consider on recces include power facilities, position of the sun (if it’s outside) and noise considerations.
Know Your Shots
Doing a recce will also help you to plan the shots you need to get in a rough order. By laying out exactly what you need to capture, you can create a timetable to record your content, which will help to keep you on schedule during the shoot day.
Bring Spares of Everything
The last thing you want on a corporate video shoot is to be caught out by not having all the equipment you need. Plans can change and shoots can overrun, so plan for the worst by bringing spares of as much equipment as you can. Batteries and media cards are two things that are famous for running out just as you need them, so bring as many as possible. On bigger and longer shoots it’s worth taking battery charging units to charge spares as you shoot, and bringing a card reader to offload and reformat media cards if you’re not sure you’ve got enough to last you the day.
Employ a Runner
If you’ve taken charge of the shoot as a producer/director, then you’re at the centre of the action and the shoot can’t proceed without you. So what happens if you need to put some batteries on charge, load spare equipment into a van, or provide lunch for everyone at the shoot? It’s simple – bring a runner on to the shoot with you. Brief them before the shoot starts and they can get on with taking care of the simpler tasks leaving you free to do your job.
Of course shoots are often unpredictable anyway, but these problems are typical of corporate video shoots. If you take the time to plan and build in safeguards like these, you’ll have a more productive shoot day.