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Video Production Advice

Colour Grading advice from experienced video editing company

By Video Production Advice

An Overview of Colour Correction and Grading

As a busy video editing company we know that adding an extra touch of production quality and polish to your promotional video can make all the difference and any advantage you can gain over your competitors should be considered when producing video marketing. By tweaking the colours of the footage shot for your final video you can produce images and footage that are much more visually appealing and that have an enhanced cinematic look to instantly grab the viewers’ attention.

Why Use Colour Grading?

But “why bother?” you may ask, “if my video works then why should I spend any more time and budget messing around with the colours?”. Well, as previously mentioned in other articles, viewers make a snap judgement call on your brand, product or service within the first few seconds of any promotional video. So presenting something that borrows a few tricks from the big screen communicates a message of high quality and professionalism right from the get go.

In the movie world this process is known as grading or colour correction. But at its most basic form, it’s simply adjusting the colours of the footage to produce the most beautiful image we can.

Now I should add here that this is not an expert in-depth tutorial for editors and movie makers but simply a quick look into grading and what it can add to a corporate video production.

We usually find that we end up doing a little colour correction for one of the following 2 reasons.

Firstly, as mentioned above, to enhance the production feel of the overall film.

And secondly, to correct any ugly or unpleasant colours or lighting that certain shooting conditions create.

Depending on the camera you are using you’ll have a different look and feel to the footage you shot. This look and feel will dictate what is required in post to produce a better looking final image.

Another factor will be whether you are shooting “on the fly”, which can be something that is required at live events. When shooting on the fly you have less control of existing lighting conditions, subject and composition so the grading part of the post production tends to involve fixing the image rather than enhancing it.

However if you’re in a studio or location where you have full control over lighting and subject then you should be able to generate good looking footage that can then be enhanced further in post.

Focus on Skin Tones

Every video editing company will tell you that as a rule, one of the key things to achieve when grading is to create realistic and beautiful skin tones. We like to add some other tweaks to footage to enhance the high end feel but aiming at getting the skin tone right is a good starting point.

From there we may want to enhance the contrast, adjust the blacks in the image, add balance or push complimentary colours into the light and dark areas of the images.

Here’s a couple of examples of what can be achieved:

video editing company

Firstly we have some footage shot “on the fly” at one of our clients’ event launches. We had no control over lighting and the product on show was LED screen based so this in itself created quite an unpleasant blue light cast. The footage that we shot felt too cold (due to the products LED pixels which tend to emit a blue-ish hue). It also felt very heavy in the dark areas and generally didn’t fill us with warmth about the brand or product portrayed.

We were able to correct the footage using simple controls found in even basic editing software. The alterations we made were as follows:

Reduced the white areas strength to subdue the unpleasant light created by the product (LED screen)

Slightly lifted the dark areas of the image to stop it feeling too heavy acheter viagra naturel.

We added a little saturation to the colours.

Then we pushed yellow/red into the light and mid tone areas of the image, and pushed blue into the darer areas of the image.

A good tip is that if you push one colour into the light areas then you achieve a pleasant result by pushing the colour at the opposite end of the colour wheel into the corresponding dark areas (or visa versa). This doesn’t always work but in general these opposites in the light/dark areas compliment each other and produce a nice looking image.

The final result was that we had warmed up the image a great deal and created a balance to the image overall.

video editing company

In this image we were shooting on a high end camera which allows us to control the colour grading in the final image very tightly. The footage itself is shot using a log format which although when initially viewed looks flat and not very appealing, contains all the colour information we need to grade the shot in a variety of ways. This gives us much more control on colours and the final look of the image and allows us to present more dramatic and cinematic looks to the final film.

Now all this may seem very superficial if your producing corporate video or video marketing and we agree that no video should place style over substance. However, our 15 years experience as a video editing company has taught us that customers opinions are impacted upon by the initial visual judgements they make when encountering your brand. So by adding a little grading or colour correction to your video marketing ensures that you present a film that maximises its potential to achieve a positive instant reaction from new customers.

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What does it take to be a good Video Producer?

By Video Production Advice

An Overview of What The Role of Video Producer Entails

Whether you are producing your video marketing or corporate videos in house or outsourcing to an agency finding a good video producer is key. If you’re working solely internally then you’ll need to delegate the role to a colleague or maybe assume the role yourself. If you’re outsourcing you’ll need to know how to identify a good candidate or agency to handle your video production brief. To help you in this process here’s an overview of what a good video producer will bring to the table and some notes on what the role entails.

What a Good Producer Does

Essentially a video producer will anchor the whole project form brief and conception to realisation and delivery. They will have hands on knowledge of every part of the process. When this is done effectively it ensures that the key messages within the original brief are maintained and delivered in a way that accurately reflects the vision and desired target viewer.

There can be lots of elements within the overall video production that will all individually contribute (or detract from) the projects success. Each one of these elements—no matter how small—can massively impact the final video so the producer should be holding the reins at every step to maintain the cohesion of the project and the message delivered.

So here’s some key points to keep in mind whether your assuming the role of video producer yourself or looking for a good external video producer.

Be the Customer and the Brand

Getting under the skin of the targeted final viewer is really important at an early stage. It should help the producer make informed calls on style, direction and tone of the video, and also steer the creative. Producing a video that engages and connects is the ultimate goal so understanding what factors will achieve this connection from the outset are key.

Equally understanding the culture and values of the brand you are representing is another big element in many of the initial decisions that the video producer will need to take.

Video producer

Manage the Schedule

Your promotional video may only take a week to produce or it may take a year. Many projects require filming that is sometimes spread over weeks or months so having a foot on the timings from the outset is also very useful. A clear schedule should be produced showing pre-production (ie all the stuff that happens before filming takes place, shooting and post-production (editing etc). This schedule should be communicated to everyone involved in the project an updated often online paypal viagra.

Knowledge is Power

Having a good understanding of any—and all—of the elements within your project will do 2 very useful things:

Save You Time and Money

As a video producer I personally want to have a good technical and artistic grasp on everything from lighting to sound, animation to casting and scripting to mastering. One of the main reasons to do this is to accurately manage the costs. People can get very exited when producing video and knowing exactly what the right tools each step of the project are will prevent you from overspending.

Everyone likes to work with the latest kit and best toys. Ask a camera operator which camera they would suggest for a job and you can put good money on them advising a camera that sits in the higher end of the budget scale than the cheapest option!

A good producer will know what is the most suitable tool for all stages of the production from choice of camera to lighting spec. The cost saving that can be achieved here can be significant. Remember, higher spec kit wont always increase final viewer engagement.

Video producer

 Be Clear

Communication within a video production is critical. It falls to the video producer to ensure that this communication happens, that it is clear, and that it is communicated to everyone within the production. If your project is a large one then there will me many areas that require agreement and understanding on an ongoing basis whether this be agreeing scripts or storyboards, managing shoot logistics, or handling the post-production workflow.

Creating an effective communication channel from the start of any project is key.

Review the Costs at Every Stage

This is a no-brainer but again it’s easy to get carried away and lose sight of small items that can impact on final budgets. Your initial costs may include a few floating elements as occasionally there will be items within the production that can’t be nailed down at briefing stage. A good producer will ensure that the potential spread of these floating costs is clear so that top and bottom end budgets can be agreed. Revisiting the costs throughout the production process is also useful to ensure value is being delivered at every stage.

If you’re using an agency make sure you confirm that the costs provided are all inclusive and that items such as buy-out, multi format delivery and usage are included.

Step Back When Reviewing

Having a close eye on all elements of the production is not without its drawbacks. One of the most common problems a video producer faces is getting too close to the project and losing their creative judgment and objective appraisal.

Its important that the producer takes a step back from the production at regular intervals to provide a clearer overview of how the production is shaping up. Trying to do this “on the hoof” whilst the production is ongoing can be challenging so its wise to allow some time and space to periodically review the project.

At the end of the day the person who produces your promotional video or video marketing must perform the challenging feat of being both subject expert and end consumer while at the same time bringing a wealth of knowledge about the actual video production process.

It’s by no means a walk in the park but knowing what the role requires before you start production means you can select the right person for the role who will deliver video production that meets any brief perfectly.

To find out more about us and our services, please click here.

How To Shoot Your Own Training Video

By Video Production Advice

Getting Great Talking Head Shots on a Budget

There are many occasions when a company or business may need a small video clip but simply don’t have the budget for an external production agency to produce it. This is especially true when creating training video. In these cases the video can sometimes be successfully produced in house by company staff members. Many companies have access to a reasonable quality camcorder but often we see some basic mistakes made that could easily be avoided. Let’s take a standard brief or common requirement that companies often shoot in house and highlight a few areas to look out for.

Training video

“The company needs some very short talking head/interview shots for use as an online training video There’s no budget for an external agency so this will be shot in house using an available camera and edited by the companies own creative department.”

Here’s what to watch out for.

Lighting

Lighting is vital to film. It can be the difference between making a piece look flat and lifeless or rich, engaging and beautiful. But it’s also easy to run into trouble if you don’t know what to look for. If you’re shooting in house video there’s a strong chance that you will only be using natural lighting rather than film lighting.

Whether you’re indoors or outdoors the key is to position your camera between the subject and the light source. The subject should roughly be facing the light source and the camera should have its back to the light source.

If you’re shooting indoors then you can either do one of two things. Use natural daylight from a window, or go with the internal lighting of the building. Avoid having a light directly above your subject as this will never flatter them. Instead look for areas of the building where the light source is to the front or roughly 45 degrees from the subject.

If outdoors never shoot with the suns position behind the subject. If you’re fairly new to using the camcorder and are shooting using the “auto” mode then shooting into the light source will make the subject appear very dark as the camera compensates for the bright light behind.

Ideally you’ll want to set the exposure first but if you’re a complete beginner then you may prefer to shoot on auto so getting the positioning right is important.

training video

Sound

If you’re shooting using whatever camcorder you can get your hands on then there’s also a good chance you will be using the top mounted camera mic. These mics are never going to be as good as a clip, boom or handheld microphones but there are a few things that can help you here.

Firstly camera mics are very sensitive. They can hear a lot more than we can and they don’t have a brain to filter the noise or focus on what they want so if you’re shooting an interview in a busy office the mic will pick up everything!

Try to find somewhere quiet. Turn the air con of if possible, and close any windows to minimize background noise.

If outdoors be aware of the wind. Even a gentle breeze can cause wind rustle on the mic so try to find somewhere with a wind break.

Then position the camera close to the subject. To do this ensure that the camera is zoomed out as far as possible. Then physically move the camera and tripod until you get a nice head and shoulders shot. What your doing here is essentially moving the mic closer to the subject so that you can record a nice clean interview and help minimize any unwanted noises.

Time

There’s a good saying in film production that goes – You can have it good, fast or cheap…..pick two.

You’re probably shooting in house to save budget and it goes without saying that you want the film to be good. So the sacrifice production wise would be the time element acheter du vrai viagra. So allow plenty of time to setup, shoot and even re-shoot the interviews you need. Even a short interview can take time and the more you can allow, the better your results will be.

training video

B-Roll

Rarely do employees or even board members deliver a word perfect sound bite that fits into you’re desired running time straight off the bat so some editing is always required. However if you’re cutting together like for like shots from an interview its handy to have additional footage to cut over the top so that your transition from clip to clip appears smooth.

Allow time to shoot some “cutaway” or “B Roll” footage. This is footage that you shoot for the purpose of editing and is always vital to training video as a way of illustrating what the subject may be saying.

If you have the time you could also shoot parts of the interview twice and shoot an alternative wide or close up shot to use as a cutaway in the edit.

Follow these simple rules and even a complete beginner should be able to generate footage to suit a basic training video  brief.

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How To Conduct Great Interviews for Corporate Training Videos

By Video Production Advice

A Guide For The Interviewer

A big part of producing corporate training videos (or even video marketing and corporate video) involves shooting interviews or talking head type shots. Getting the picture, sound and general technical stuff right is one thing (which we’ve covered in other articles). However, someone has to conduct the actual interview and elicit the best responses for use in the final edit. This is by no means a walk in the park but getting the best content will ensure that your final film reaches its full potential. So here are some thoughts and tips from the angle of the interviewer and how to get the best our of your subject.

Research

Firstly, prior to shooting do your research. This sounds like a no brainer but you’ll need to be sharp during the interview so that you don’t lose the energy. Most people aren’t naturally keen on going in front of camera so if you’ve worked hard to get them into the flow you don’t want to lose them by dithering over your questions.

Know What You Want

You should also have a very clear idea about the kind of responses you are looking for. Shooting interviews for Video marketing or corporate training videos is very different from press or news interviews in that you’ll probably be working to a brief with some pretty clear goals in terms of what you need to convey.

We often start with a “perfect world” list of answers that we wish to elicit, then work backwards from there and develop our questions and talking points based on the answers we want.

corporate training videos

Warm Up Your Subject

Before starting the interview warm your subject up a little (especially if this is the first time you’ve met). Some chit chat goes a long way to helping them feel relaxed and gives you a better chance of capturing a natural feeling interview. A good tip here is to give them something about yourself. Try to find some common ground and volunteer up some personal information about yourself to try to establish a bond of trust.

Before rolling the camera also talk them through how the interview will run, ie where you want them to look (into camera or off camera to interviewer), give them a feel for the length of answer, and reassure them that there are “no wrong answers”.

Also suggest to them that it’s useful for them to give you some of your question back in their answer. This usually helps in the edit as often the interviewers voice is not required.

Make sure they are comfy if they are sat, and that their clothing is not riding up in any strange ways around their shoulders in the chair that you have provided.

Throwaway Question

Once you’re rolling always assume that you’re first question is going to be a throwaway. People often need a little time to find their flow so don’t go in with your big guns first. Your first questions can even be an extension of your pre-shoot chit chat.

If you have some quite specific comments you are looking for don’t be afraid to tell them. It’s sometimes easier for a subject if you give them a pointer of how to start their response.

Within your question list have the same key questions phrased in 2 different ways and ask that same question twice. It’s a great way of getting a second bite at some of the key points and you should have already primed them not to worry if they feel like they are repeating themselves. The 2 responses can always be edited together to form the best single delivery.

Ask open-ended questions and leave questions hanging a little for them to fill in. You’re certainly not looking for “yes” or “no” answers so give them the opportunity to get descriptive.

corporate training videos

Get Personal

When wording your question try to give them something to work from and don’t be afraid to get personal. Asking people how they feel about something often produces great soundbites that give the answers a more powerful emotional element. This goes a long way to creating compelling corporate training videos or video marketing in general.

Be quiet. In a normal conversation you’d tend to make noises of agreement to show who you’re talking to that you’re interested. However you don’t really want these sounds on mic during an interview so maintaining a facial expression of interest along with eye contact goes a long way to helping the subject feel like you want to hear what they are saying.

Finally ask good follow up questions to their answers, it shows that you have been paying attention and can lead to good additional information if they have only brushed over a subject initially.

At the end of the day people generally love talking and telling stories. But they also generally dislike being filmed. So if you can engage them as an interviewer to such a degree that they forget about the camera then you’ll generate some fantastic material for your corporate training videos.

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The Power of Music in Video

By Video Production Advice

How to Make the Most of Music

When producing marketing video for website and social media use getting the soundtrack right  is a critical part of how powerful the final film will be. Music can drive our emotions in such a way that it can multiply the power of your video’s message and engage the viewer in a much more emotional way. Let’s face it, people can talk passionately about music more than any other art form or medium out there. How many times have you got involved in a “top 5 albums ever!!” debate with friends? Or passionately argued why music today “isn’t as good as it used to be”? Because music forms the soundtrack that wraps around the sights, experiences and emotions of our lives we are connected to it in a way that’s very powerful.

So if we get the music right when producing marketing video for website and social media viewing we effectively amplify the power of every other single element within the film. Music can drive excitement, drama, suspense, tenderness and many other of the common messages that we may need to convey when producing video for businesses and organizations.

Powerful use of music

There are a few really useful tips when it comes how you use your chosen music within your video marketing production that we apply to a lot of the work we produce. These are: 

Don’t be afraid to use dramatic music.

Big powerful scores can really lift a production to a higher level and are not the sole reserve of Hollywood epics.

marketing video for website

Use 2 or even 3 pieces of music within your film. Changing the music within the film will do 2 great things.

It will make the film feel shorter (this is a great way to maintain viewer engagement). When producing marketing video for website and social media viewing we know that our potential customers attention spans are short. Therefore using this trick prevents the films from “dragging” and keeps our viewer for longer.

And it will allow you to change the tone/message/scenes as the film unfolds (useful when the brief requires you to convey multiple messages)

Balance your vocals.

In many cases we want the music to feel full and powerful throughout the film. However we don’t want it to make the vocals or voiceover in-audible. So always use a limiter type tool on your vocals to ensure they sore above the background music (a limiter works by pushing up all the quiet parts of the vocal while limiting the volume increase on the louder parts to generate an even level throughout).

Edit the music to fit your needs.

Rather than simply fading down the music at the end see if you can edit the track by removing a bar here and there so that the rises and falls within the track match your footage. This is tricky if your are using a vocal track but if your using an instrumental and you can tap you foot to a rhythm then it should be achievable.

marketing video for website

Avoid using dance music.

Its lazy, obvious and we’ve seen it too many times!

Sourcing your music

When sourcing music for our films there are several options that we could go down depending on budget and desired response. In some cases we can have music specially composed for our video, or we could use one of the fantastic music licensing sites (such as premiumbeat) which offer a huge choice of music for all moods that we can license for a one off fee.

However, it can get tricky if your client wants to use a “known” piece of popular music. The legal and financial aspect of doing this can be a minefield. And if you client wants to use a track by a worldwide artist such as Bruce Springsteen then they will need a mortgage sized budget.

In most video marketing we work with smaller budgets but that’s not to say that “known” popular music is out of reach. There are some great resources and companies (such as Ricall) who can provide you with some well known tracks (although admittedly mostly from a good few years ago) complete with legal and licensing aspects all taken care of. Its a good option if you need this kind of thing.

Above all, use the music within your film to help drive the message and bring the viewers emotions and senses into play. This will ultimately engage them and drive home the key messages from your brief in a much stronger way. Its the key to producing the most powerful marketing video for website and social media marketing.

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Make Great Corporate Videos – How to Write a Promotional Video Script

By Corporate Video Production, Video Production Advice

Making great corporate videos or video marketing assets can be a challenge. But getting your script right before you shoot goes a long way to helping produce the best video for your brand or organisation. Here are a few tips.

If you’re producing a film for your business or organization then developing some sort of script will probably be a key part of the process. You may need a full on shot by shot scripted breakdown of the film, a simple voiceover script or a script for the people appearing in your film. Scripting can be a daunting task and when initially faced with that blank page, so having a basic structure in place for writing your script will give you some useful support in getting the script to first draft stage.

Finding Your Message

Before you start a script for a promotional or corporate video we suggest bullet pointing a few things and asking some important questions. You’ll probably have a list of objectives and messages that you need to convey in the film but it’s quite useful to prioritise these and above all DO NOT TRY TO SAY TOO MUCH!!!

Keeping your message simple will also keep it audible is is key to making great corporate videos. In other words the viewer will absorb more information when you deliver short simple messages than they will when you bombard them with facts.

great corporate videos

Set the Tone

At this stage of the script ask your self this question:

“What’s the first thing I want the viewer to think/say when they’ve watched the video?”

The answer to this question should dictate the direction and feel on the entire script. Next ask yourself the following question:

“How does your company speak to its customers?”

This will help you establish tone and style. Every company has a way a speaking that’s unique and individual to them. They will have a vocabulary that uses words that tell us not just about their product and service but also about their beliefs and values. It’s important that you tap into this vocabulary when developing a script to ensure that the film feels part of the companies overall comms output and reflects their personality. A good idea is to review as much existing output as possible such as website and printed materials, then note down key words/phrases that crop up often within the text.

Once you’ve established the tone and style you’ll need to deal with the elements you want to convey. All great corporate videos will start life as a list of points, facts or messages that are part of the brief. Firstly we’d suggest prioritising these elements and don’t be afraid to discuss dropping a few if you feel at this stage that the final film could be overlong or too dense.

Warm It Up

The nature of briefs also means that at this stage these key points may simple be a bullet point list and not something that instantly jumps into a spoken script. One of the biggest mistakes at this point is to assume that copy developed for a brochure or website will read well when spoken aloud. More often than not if you read aloud the text from any website or brochure it will feel cold and lifeless. What works well in print doesn’t always translate into natural flowing spoken dialogue.

So a good tip here is to bring each point of the brief into the real world and add some warmth and context. For example, if the product you are working on is a car one it’s features could be:

“a Hi Tech comfort designed steering wheel”

But simply stating that will often result in a big fat “so what” from the viewer.

Adding some warmth and context to each point as you go will help you develop a script that works much harder. For example:

“Cornering is effortless and driving comfortable due to the Hi Tech comfort designed steering wheel”.

This is old news to most marketing professionals but its easy to lose sight of these basics when developing scripts so warming up your initial bullet points before you start the draft is very useful.

Once the key points have all been warmed up a little it becomes easy to start to join them up into a draft script. Be careful at this stage not to get too repetitive and constantly read aloud the script to check the work as you go.

great corporate videos

Time Can Tell

Once you feel that you have the bare bones of the first draft we then suggest something quite radical (and this may only be possible if your deadline and schedule allows). So here’s probably the most important tip for any script development.

When you’ve finished the first draft do the following:

Save.

Close the document.

Don’t open it again for at least 3 days.

As mentioned this may seem a little odd and will only work if your timescales allow but I guarantee that you will end up with a better script because of it. Putting some distance between you and the first draft is essential. It will allow you to re-read the draft with fresh eyes and there will be a strong chance that when you do, you’ll find something that clearly doesn’t work or sounds wrong. When developing a script it’s easy to become snow blind as there’s usually a lot to consider. Reading over a draft straight after writing makes it hard to be objective about it and spot the weak areas.

At all stages of the script development read it aloud as much as possible (ideally using a stopwatch). As mentioned what’s written doesn’t always flow when spoken so be aware of this throughout the process.

Finally don’t get too attached to each draft. Remember the first draft is exactly that, a first draft. Most first drafts are nowhere near the finished article so don’t expect to ace it off the bat and produce further drafts until you’re happy with the result. When it’s ready to go you’ll know as soon as you read it aloud as hopefully it will flow and feel natural.

Hopefully these tips will help you get your script off the blocks and on its way to help you produce great corporate videos that are engaging and effective.

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The most common b2b video marketing mistakes

By Digital Marketing, Video Production Advice

b2b video marketing – the 10 biggest mistakes

Whether you intend to produce your company’s b2b video marketing in house or through an external production agency there are a few common mistakes that can significantly reduce how effective the final film is. We’ve shared a few below to help you side step some of the biggest pitfalls in video marketing.

Shoot by Committee

Although its good to involve lots of ideas in the initial briefing and conception stage of b2b video marketing when you get to shooting you really need someone to steer the ship. Having someone solely directing the shooting provides the best way of capturing the footage needed within the brief. They should have a firm vision of how they want the shoot to run and in what order. Never has the saying “Too many cooks” been more accurate than when producing video.

Lose Sight of Your Customer

It’s easy to get very excited and carried away when producing b2b video marketing but if there’s one thing to always maintain it’s the viewer (and ultimately customer). Delivering a film that will engage the viewer is your ultimate goal and should take precedent over ever other aspect of the project.

Going For the Latest Thing

If you decided to be very current and forward thinking a few years ago and shot your b2b video marketing in 3D you’ll now be struggling to find anyone who can watch it. There’s always something new and shiny in the world of video but content is always king and has remained so over the years. Tell your story effectively and the sort of camera or fancy gadgets you use won’t really matter.

b2b video marketing

Recording Poor Sound

DO NOT cut corners on the way in which you record sound on your shoot. Capturing great moments on film can be challenging and you don’t want to end your shoot thinking you’ve captured some golden moments only to find in the edit that you can’t hear a word anyone is saying. Use good quality mics or if your budget will stretch to it a dedicated sound operator.

Using Animation When it’s Not Appropriate

Animation is cool. There’s no argument there. However it needs to be brief and sector appropriate. Using the right method to convey your message should take precedent over what’s “cool”. If you do use animation make sure it’s right for your audience, there are so many different styles of animation that it’s easy to alienate the viewer if you don’t get it right. While it can be quirky and often cost effective there’s no substitute for reality if you want to deliver a powerful message.

Trying Too Hard

We’ve said this before but “people buy people”. Peer to peer case studies may not be re-inventing the video marketing wheel but they are very, very effective. Seeing and hearing first hand testimony from existing clients may be all that you need to convince new customers of your worth. Sometimes simplicity is the best route.

Doing Everything Yourself

If you are going to produce your b2b video marketing in house be fully aware of the time required to develop, produce and deliver video effectively. The initial appeal of the apparent cost saving this route may offer could be outweighed by the actual total time and resources required realizing your goal. Worse still you run the risk of the project faltering mid way through and having to then incur additional costs of having an external agency rescue the project.

b2b video marketing

Being Led by Your Own Taste

Whatever you own personal taste in film, being objective about your brief is critical. Understanding the viewer, customer, client or organization should be much further up your list of priorities than your own creative whims.

Not Understanding Your Competition

If you’re product or service needs to sit alongside the Audi’s and Apples of this world then your video production levels should reflect this. Viewers will make a snap judgment call on the quality of what you sell based on the quality of your video marketing. Of course if your brand has more of a local or regional position then you have some latitude in how you present yourself. However if you’re going up against the big boys, you need to ensure you can meet them head on in terms of quality.

Forgetting to Provoke the Viewer

Finally (and probably most importantly) don’t forget that at the end of the day you’re aiming to provoke a reaction or emotion from the viewer. Video marketing should not be a completely passive experience and you need to elicit some kind of emotional response from the viewer. Remember that people encounter online video at least once a day and anything less than memorable will simple wash over them.

Many of these common mistakes will seem fairly obvious but it can be easy to lose sight of them once your production is in full flow. However get them all right and you’ll have something that will push your brand to new heights and ensure you rise above your competitors.

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Video marketing blog – Lighting Advice

By Video Production Advice

Our Guide To Good Looking Lighting

If you’re making a film for your business or organisation there’s a pretty good chance that at some point the viewer is going see and hear someone talking. One of our goals is to share as much of our knowledge as possible in our video marketing blog so below is our guide to lighting for your corporate video or video marketing production.

Interviews, headshots, talking heads and vox-pops form a key ingredient of most corporate videos so making them look fantastic is critical. Below we’ve shared a few tips, techniques and tricks you can use to light and compose your talking head shot in order to get the best results.

Natural Lighting

video marketing blog

Exterior head shot using natural light and reflector

If you’re shooting outside and the general light is good then a simple reflector like we used in this shot gives you a warm light that should give you a very pleasant image. Gold reflectors work really well with human skin colouring and help your subject stand out a bit more. We’ve positioned the subject so that the natural landscape background also enhances the shot.

Simple Interior Shot With One Basic L.E.D Light

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Internal head shot using natural light and small LED light

If you’ve got a good size room with lots of natural light then you can use it to your advantage (The right hand side of the room in this example had floor to ceiling windows). In this shot we positioned the subject on the opposite side of the room to the windows so that the natural light was softer and didn’t appear to harsh. A small basic LED top light was added to the camera to pick out the subjects eyes a little and we positioned the subject to use the colourful (and client branded) materials of a background.

Classic 3 Point Setup

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Interior head shot with 3 light setup and black roll up backdrop

Adding a black backdrop to a shot can help establish the authority of the subject and create a dramatic image. To light this shot we used a very soft light with a reflector to add fill and a back light to give the subject some separation from the black background. Finding a good soft source light is essential to producing interviews shots with higher production values and most lights can be softened using a few tricks. The most common mistake is to place lights too near the subject and not allow the light enough room to disperse and create a softer feel.

Flare and Beauty

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 Studio head shot with black BG and flare

Using a similar approach as the one detailed above (ie black background + 3point lighting) we angle our back light so that it creates a nice flare effect in the camera lens. To do this we simply angled the light in the direction of the lens more directly than we would normally do so. The effect gives us a warm halo flare which adds a nice tough of glamour to your shot.

Domestic Setting

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Interior head shot with 3 light setup

Interviews in homes can be tricky and care is needed not to produce an overly busy shot. In this example we positioned our subject as far from the background as the space would allow and lit him with 2 LED lights on stands. We used the natural light of the window to provide some interest and shape to the background and angled our subject to get the best out of the lights in a small working area.

Internal Shot (Use Your Surroundings)

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Internal head shot using existing location lights for background effect

When shooting in clients location (which we’ve talked about elsewhere good Video Marketing Blog) o look out for anything at the location that may provide interest to the shot. In this location the client had small tea light candles on tables which offered us a great “twinkly” backdrop effect to our interview shot. We used 3 lights to light our subject and you’ll notice a nice lokking halo around her hair which is achieved by a backlight set just behind and to the left of the subject.

Lighting the Background

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Studio based shot with a 3 light setup and additional lights on background

In this studio set up shot we were able to place our subject in front of a set. Once we’d lit the subject we then created some shape and interest to the background. We did this by creating a shaft of light (using the barn doors on our lights head) that cuts across the background and provides a shot with interest and shape.

General Tips

There are some very easy mistakes to make when shooting talking heads so here are our top 3 general tips that should help you shoot great looking interviews and head shots.

1 – Separate subject from Background

Don’t stand your subject too close to anything in the background. Position them well away from room walls or similar to give your shot some depth.

2 – Softly Softly

Mentioned above – we cannot stress the importance of using a lovely soft light when shooting head shots. You’ll make your subject look their best and produce beautiful looking images.

3 – Light the eyes

Whether using natural light or artificial ensure that your subjects eyes aren’t in shadow. If you’re filming outside and the sun is over head think carefully about position and examine your surroundings to see if there’s any shade you can make use of.

 

Hope fully this additional to our video marketing blog has been useful but do drop us a line if there’s anything else you’d like to know as we’re always willing to share our expertise.

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Media Production Advice – Recording Better Sound

By Video Production Advice

Better audio means better media production

Sound is incredibly important to any video or media production and if it’s done wrong, no amount of post-production will correct it. Getting the sound right on shoot is critical, it doesn’t matter how beautiful your images are, if the sound is not upto scratch it will directly impact the perceived production quality of your film (and therefore your brand) significantly. There are several different types of microphones you can use and knowing which one is correct for the job is important. However in the world or corporate video marketing there are essentially 2 types of mic that are the most frequently used.

Clip-On Microphone (Sometimes Called Lavalier, Tie-Clip or Lapel)

Clip on mics are very common for talking head interviews, and for small crew media production shoots. The benefit of these is that they are small, easy to hide on the subject and do a fantastic job of picking up the audio. They are also easy to carry around and can be set up and used quickly by the camera operator allowing you to use a minimal crew.

The Speaker simply places a radio pack in their pocket or somewhere that can’t be seen and then the microphone is clipped on at around chest height. It’s important to make sure that you hide the cables as these can look rather ugly, so we suggest that you run the cable under the shirt or jacket of your subject. The only downside to this is that they will pick up some fabric rustle if they move too much, so having someone monitor the sound as its recorded is important.

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In some cases, a boom microphone may be more appropriate. This is not always the case.

Boom Mic (Also Referred to as a Shotgun Mic)

A boom mic is a microphone usually attached to a long pole and held by a boom operator, or if no movement is required then they can be placed on a stand. These mics are a lot bigger and usually hover somewhere above the speaker out of shot. They are incredibly useful for directional sound, which means that if you point it in one direction it will only pick up the sound that it is aiming at. This is excellent when you have to follow a speaker or film outdoors and helps ensure that all you record is the dialogue and not the sound of whatever else is happening in that area. The only drawback to these is that you need an extra crewmember to operate them, usually a dedicated boom operator who will monitor it at all times.

Environment

Location and environment can be an important factor in media production. You’ll ideally want to avoid places that create too much background noise if you need to focus on a speaker. You’ll also want to be aware of wind noise if shooting outside. When filming indoors just remember that the aircon can also be your worst enemy. If possible ask the venue to turn the Aircon off, however if this is not an option do monitor the sound to ensure that you’re not picking up unwanted hum from the location’s Aircon system.

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A sound desk for multiple audio sources.

Now the point of this post is not to prove that you need to spend thousands on sound equipment for media production. In fact the audio part of most budget is a very small portion unless you’re recording live music. However don’t dismiss sound within your production as the impact it has on your final video will be important.

In a nutshell the viewer won’t notice “Good” sound recording but you can bet your house that they’ll instantly pick up on bad sound!

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How Important are Location Recces?

By Video Production Advice, Video Production Explained

Our Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Recce

A “recce” (abbreviated from reconnaissance) is essentially visiting a shoot location before filming to assess its suitability for shooting and is vital to ensuring your shoot day goes as well as it can. If you have a video production project on the horizon and you’re wondering what to look out for here’s checklist of what to focus on when doing a “recce” of any location you may want to film at:

Health and Safety

The number 1 reason for doing a recce is to access how safe the location is going to be. The last thing anyone wants on shoot day is equipment (or worse, people) getting injured or damaged. You’ll need to look at access–especially if there’s lots of loading to be done–and the space in general to identify anything that could be a possible hazard.

Logistics

Something you have to consider is how much space do you actually have to work in? If it’s a small area you may have to restrict yourself to just the bare essential pieces of equipment and plan where they need to be set up. Also you’ll need to know how you’re going to get all the equipment in there. If you’re going to be doing a lot of moving around will it be worthwhile in investing in something to help move the equipment or an extra set of hands?

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Weather

If you are planning to film outside it’s essential to take into consideration the weather. Check the long range forecasts and consider how the weather may affect your shoot. Can the shooting be done if its raining?, windy?, snowing? Even on really sunny days you may need to plan for such things as too much light and how to compensate for it.

 

Lighting

It is important to review how many lights are going to be needed to light your location. If you’re inside consider the windows and that amount of natural light that will be in the room. You may discover that you have a lot of windows that may need diffusing or blocking, so measurements will need be to taken so that you can precut everything that’s needed, saving time on the day.

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Props

Sometimes when doing a recce you may find something there that you never considered before, that would look great as a prop in your fillm. Likewise, you may realize extra props or set pieces are needed to further dress the location.

Efficiency

Shoot day efficiency is key and something that your client will appreciate. One of the big benefits of performing a reccc is to figure out where lights, cameras, props will need to be beforehand saving vital time on the shoot day. This ensures that people aren’t waiting around for longer than is necessary and you can get straight to the shooting.

Power

Something that can easily be overlooked is the amount of sockets available for lights and cameras and any other piece of equipment you want to use. Also the type of power available will be an important factor to establish. We’d also suggest establishing the tech specs of the power ring/circuit you will be using to ensure that you don’t overload the system. Always enquire into how the location will charge for the electricity used and at what rate so that you don’t get any nasty shocks on your final invoice.

 

Corporate Video Production

Catering

Don’t overlook the importance of having a good spot to make tea and coffee! Film crews need to be kept hydrated and they can be known to consume record amounts of tea!
If you are catering for a larger film unit consider whether you are able to get food delivered to location or source it locally.

What else happens around your location?

It is very easy to forget that sometimes the outside world can affect your location. For example you may have an interior location booked but didn’t realize that a train line runs directly behind, or that it is under a flight path. Overlooking elements like this could result in unwanted noise levels that can make filming difficult and time consuming. Likewise for exterior locations you will want to find out if anything is happening around on the day or nearby. For example  – On one occasion we turned up for an outside location shoot only to discover that the army were training (blowing things up!!!) very near to us!

 

Clearance

Finally check that you have the correct clearance for filming at your location? You should always try to have a location agreement in place before you shoot and have a copy with you on shoot day for good measure.

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