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Video Production Advice

How can I get a job in production?

By Video Production Advice

Our Latest Recruits Comments On Getting A Job

Working within the video production sector can be hard work but it’s also very enjoyable and rewarding. You will work on a wide variety of projects and possibly travel to various exciting locations to do so. It’s therefore no surprise that a lot of people would like to work in the industry. We get dozens of letters and application each week from graduates and professionals looking for work. So we’ve asked one of our new recruits Richard Willis to share his thoughts and experiences about how to get into the industry to help anyone looking to make that step. Here’s what he came up with;

“Finding work within the production industry isn’t easy. You have to be tenacious, determined, hard working, enthusiastic and above all, passionate. It is something you really have to stick with, but in time it will pay off. Here’s a few a pointers that I think we will help you along the way.”

Skill Set

“In today’s world it isn’t simply enough to just be a cameraman, or a director, or an editor. You have to have multiple skills under your belt to help you stand out from the crowd. A young cameraman who doesn’t know how to edit may struggle, likewise an editor who can’t produce basic motion graphics, or a director who can’t produce. Clients and employers now expect you to offer a bigger skill package.

“So the key thing is to never become complacent with your skill set, always look on expanding it and developing new skills to help you become invaluable to a production company.”

Build Up Your CV & Showreel

“It is important that you have an impressive CV  or showreel. Production companies get inundated with applications everyday, and there just isn’t enough hours in the day for them to fully view each one. So it is vital to have something at the very beginning of your showreel/CV that will immediately grab their attention and will make them want to keep reading/watching.

“It’s also important to keep building up your experience. So in your spare time volunteer for projects, not only can you add them to your C.V. but there is a good chance that you will make connections that can lead to future work. So be active, make your own projects and impress people.”

 

entry level video jobs

Our new recruit Richard hard at work.

Put yourself out there

“Determination is key, you shouldn’t be afraid of sending out emails to every company, giving them phone calls and making yourself known. That being said there is a fine line between reminding a company about you and hassling them, you don’t want to be constantly ringing them up every day.

“Create an online presence for yourself, websites such as Linkedin, Facebook, Vimeo, Pinterest and Google+ are all tools at your disposal to help you stand out to find new contacts and work.

“Another essential thing is to network, make friends with like minded people and stay in touch with important contacts that you meet, there’s a saying “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” and this can be very true.”

Make it personal

“When contacting companies make sure you personalize your approach and whatever you do don’t send out a group email, you’ll have only a very slim chance that anyone would ever look at it. Your emails should feel personal, mention their name and something about them if you can. Also make sure that your grammar and sentencing are correct. This is unbelievably important.

“Hopefully some of these tips will help you find your way out there.

“Good luck!”

Richard.

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

Successful Video Production for Schools

By Video Production Advice

Video production for schools – The Key Techniques

Producing video for any business, organisation or individual often requires a unique and tailored approach. Companies, businesses and organisations all have different needs and also very different ways of working. The physical logistics of producing video for them will vary from project to project so it’s important that as a video production company we can respond and react accordingly. This is never more true than when we undertake video production for Schools , colleges and universities.

So if you’re a school or college producing your own video project or an agency working for a school/college client here’s some helpful advice and tips based on our experience gained throughout a few very busy years in this sector.

1 – Planning (lots of it!!!)

When approaching video production for schools we’d suggest scheduling twice as many pre-production meetings than you would on an equivalent corporate video shoot for a company or business. This is due to the challenging nature of filming within schools and will allow you and the client ample opportunity to cover all concerns or considerations.

2 – Safety

One of the obvious factors is safety. If you’re moving video equipment around a school building you need to ensure that it’s done safely and with zero risk factors. This element may influence your filming schedule for each days shooting. A good approach is to do any kit moving either at break times when the school building is quiet or when all the students are in class.

Conduct a thorough safety assessment prior to shooting to check you are aware of all potential risks and hazards that filming may create. Once you are confident that the shoot is safe, you can focus on capturing the engaging film content that will make the final film a success. There are a number of ways you can achieve this.

3 – Camera Choice

Video production for schools is perfect for cameras that can be built with a small form factor. Taking a huge great studio camera such as a Sony PMW700 into this type of shoot simply doesn’t work. The size of the camera would present issues when moving around, but more importantly the reaction that younger children have to a large camera like this means that you get very little honest footage as everyone in the room is constantly camera aware due to the physical size of the kit.

A better approach you could consider is to use either a DSLR type camera (5D etc) or a RED Dragon with minimal build. These 2 options give you a lower key camera that can be used a lot more subtly to capture footage of students that has a natural feel.

video production for schools

Using a more compact camera allows you to capture natural moments like this.

4 – Capture the Joy of Learning

For video production for Schools to really work you need to capture some moments of wonder on the student’s faces as they learn, and have fun in school or college. A great way to do this requires a structured approach and a slight element of staging. That’s not to say that you won’t be capturing real moments – you’ll just be doing it in a way that ensures you work efficiently and effectively.

This is achieved in the following way, – (here’s the brief – You need to get some shots of a great lesson in action – you need to see the teacher explaining and the enthusiastic responses and expressions from the students)

To do this set up at the rear of a class and observe the lesson for a few minutes. Once you identify the part of the lesson that gets the desired response from the students you should then position the camera where you know we’ll get the best images.  Then ask the teacher to re-run that few minutes of the lesson a couple of times. You can change the camera position to give multiple angles and with a little direction and encouragement you’ll get the shots you need.

5 – Shoot at the Children’s eye level

Another great tip is to always shoot at the students eye level, especially when woring with younger students. This brings you into their world and allows you to really capture them engaging in their work and activities. You’ve also got a much better chance of capturing one of those “moments of magic” if you’re shooting at a lower height as your closer to the subject and action.

video production for schools

Filming at the eye level allows you to capture “moments of magic”.

6 – Expectation

If you’re planning to include lines, script, or interview comments from the children in the films you need to very flexible in your approach. Working with younger Students can be very unpredictable so have a good idea of what you are looking for vocal wise but also have a back up plan.

7 – Crew

It’s really useful to pick a crew who either have children or who have experience working with younger people. Getting the best results will rely heavily on how comfortable the students feel around the crew (especially if doing interviews) so using a director and camera operator/s who have good rapport with children is vital.

8– School Staff

It goes without saying that teachers are VERY busy in their working day. If you’re planning on shooting teacher interviews then schedule these after the school day is finished and focus on getting the action shots during the normal hours.

9 – Shoot outside

This sounds obvious but once school children are in their school yard or outside environment they tend to really let off steam! It’s a great opportunity to capture great action footage of them at play and will make a great addition to your final edit.

video production for schools

10 – Be Low Key

Finally, your goal when undertaking video production for schools should be to create a tailored production plan that will successfully realize the brief set while maintaining zero disturbance on the ground (ie in the school). If the children within the school get too over excited by having a film crew on site then your whole shoot plan could unravel pretty quickly. So keeping a calm and low key approach goes a long way to getting the most from the available shooting time and capturing the joy of learning effectively.

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

Whats the best way to shoot large areas?

By Video Production Advice

How To A Shoot Big Area

Every project brings it’s own particular challenges which are dictated by the subject matter. For example the skill set and technical equipment that we need to bring to the table to shoot a Formula 1 film would differ greatly from those that we would require to shoot a 5 storey building or a series of interviews. It’s important to us and our clients that every production is handled in a way which is appropriate to the material required and that the dynamic of the shots produced suits the end product.

Getting The Right Crew

Your production company should assemble the crew for your project based on your particular brief (in very much the same way that a cast of actors is assembled for differing movies requirements). You should also expect your production company to have a solid foundation of its own in house producers, directors and editors, but the remainder of the team may hand picked from a pool of expertise to suit your shoot.

A great example of this was a recent project where we were asked to produce a film to introduce and showcase the strengths of what was, essentially, a sprawling industrial area in the midlands! Now industrial areas by their nature aren’t the most pretty of things to capture on film so we needed to capture footage that conveyed the dynamics of the site and its busy day to day nature. We also needed to produce the film in such a way that enabled us to shoot shots of the different industry types on the estate and convey their unique attributes in a few seconds of footage. On top of these challenges the client had a super tight turnaround schedule that would only really give us one day of shooting to cover a truly vast area.

aerial-shot

Our solution was to use 2 camera units working on different areas of the site at the same time. One of the units was a standard tripod/ground shot with a small dolly to add movement. The other was the 30 foot jib crane which we’d spec’s up with a RED epic camera to really give the client some sweeping hero shots of the estate.

Aerial Shots

Aerial shots are essential when filming any landscape, grounds, or external area. Without them any large scenic panoramic type shot looks flat and boring if simply shot from the ground. I would guess that everyone of us has taken a photo of a beautiful vista or landscape whilst on holiday only to be hugely disappointed that the printed photo that we took didn’t look anywhere near as good as the real thing. This is because filming or photographing landscapes from the ground always gives us flat (dull) results that never really do the actual scene justice. In order to truly show landscape and scenery we need to get the camera up into the air.

As soon as we elevate the shot (even by a few feet) the scene starts to look instantly better. If we can then sweep the camera from low upto heights of 30 ft or more then we really starting to get something beautiful (even on an industrial estate!). A great example of this can be seen in any of Peter Jacksons helicopter shots of the New Zealand landscapes used in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Forward Planning

We planned most of the shots prior to shoot using the site plans and the magic of google earth and along with a dawn patrol recce we were able to schedule all the shooting for the day very tightly. The 2 units were able to work in tandem to ensure we got the right type of footage at all the different locations the land area had to offer and that the project was delivered successfully.

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

Business Marketing Videos – How To Shoot Great Interviews

By Video Production Advice

A detailed how to look at setting up a great interview

Shooting a good talking head or Vox Pop interview shot is pretty much essential when creating Business Marketing Videos. If you are producing material for a promotional video, corporate film or content marketing then there’s a very string chance that at some point you will shoot a talking head. Talking head shots are used often in corporate videos because they are an effective means of getting important information to a viewer in a personal and friendly way. Quite simply, they put a friendly (mostly) face to a large corporation and create a personal connection to the viewer. So if you are considering filming a talking head for your businesses video then there are a few things you should consider to ensure that they are as effective as possible.

Where should your interviewee sit in frame?

When setting up for a talking head interview there are 2 main ways of positioning your subject, they can either look directly down the lens or look just off to the side as if talking to someone off camera in an interview type scenario.

The first approach gives you a very personal feel as if you are directly talking to the person or viewer. However, this can sometimes be a little bit intimidating for your subject and may affect their delivery. Not everyone is comfortable talking to a camera lens.

An alternative approach is to have the subject talk just off to the camera to a 3rd person creating an interview type scenario where we never see the interviewer. We prefer this approach for a variety of reasons. Firstly it produces a friendlier and honest feel to the messaging, the viewer feels that they are listening in on part of a conversation and as such the presentation of the footage feel a lot less “hard sell”.

Another important advantage is that this approach also helps the subject deliver the lines in a more relaxed and natural way, producing footage that feels much more engaging.

Business Marketing Videos

A subject looking into the lens (left) has different tone when compared to a subject talking addressing an interviewer beside the camera (right).

Something else to consider is the placement of your subject and the composition of the shot as a whole. For example you could have them directly in the middle of the shot (again a more personal feel) or offset to the side. Having them offset slightly does help if any text or graphic is being overlaid later.

If you have a long piece with lots of different speakers then try having half of your subjects on one side of the camera and the rest on the other side. This will allow you to mix the shots in the final edit which will produce a smoother final film.

What should be in the background?

One of the most important factors you have to take into consideration is the background as this can set the tone of the overall footage. Try to select a background that provides an interesting and appealing overall image. Avoid selecting backdrops that are too cluttered or busy and also avoid positioning your subject too close to walls (this will create a very flat, boring image)

Make sure the background you select is “clean” and that there isn’t anything in vision that will jump out at you once you view the final footage. A lot of talking head work is location based and often takes place within offices, so watch out for coffee cups, coats, loose paper, and general clutter in the background that can make a shot feel cluttered and distracting.

Business Marketing Videos

A dark pull up backdrop can look dramatic (left), if you chose not to use one, make sure your background is “clean” (right).

Also consider whether you would like to use a pull up backdrop? Shooting interviews against a black or white backdrop produces a professional and clean looking image that instantly elevates the messaging and can add a touch of drama.

Creating a shot with depth (ie pushing the background out of focus) also helps your subject stand out and adds some production quality to your film. It is also useful if you don’t have a great background to work with. There are many ways to do this but using a high quality camera and lens is the starting point in achieving this look.

How important is light?

Finally lighting is extremely important to consider when shooting Business Marketing Videos. If you’re producing the film in house then be aware that lighting can be tricky and time consuming. When done well it will create an even and interesting shot, however when done badly it can ruin your whole film!

You really want to make sure your subject pop’s out of the image. To help achieve this you should ensure that their eyes are light correctly, and that you have a light place behind them (shining at the top or side of their head) to help them stand out. See more on this in our lighting guide.

Business Marketing Videos

Lighting the back or sides of the head creates separation from the background.

Just remember that it can take time to set all this up and (if possible) you should allow at least a good hour before the interview begins to allow your team to set up.

This may seem like an awful lot to remember if you’re producing your Business Marketing Videos in house but often these small touches make a huge impact on the final quality of your film and ultimately the way on which your brand is perceived.

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

How can I Legally Safeguard My Corporate Video Production?

By Digital Marketing, Video Production Advice

A Guide To Copyright, Royalties and Content Ownership

Producing a programme that will be sold as a dvd/blueray/download or watched on TV presents a set of unique challenges that can often be applied to corporate shooting. In the past we have produced Sports/fitness, Live music dvd content, and comedy content for clients such as Universal pictures and ITV2 and to say that these productions have to be “watertight” is very much an understatement.

TV and DVD

Because these productions are sold as part of a dvd package or broadcast (along with adverts) for commercial gain absolutely everything seen and heard within the programme can legally be considered part of a revenue generating vehicle. What this means in real terms is that anyone and anything featured in the final footage has sign legally binding release forms giving the film maker absolute commercial rights to the footage and audio captured.

This also applies to footage of buildings and land used as either cutaway material or in the background of the picture.  We therefore need to sign off every location we shoot to release the image rights.

Music Publishing

In addition every note of music has to be cleared not only by the record companies who own the (physical) recording, but also by the publishers (and ultimately writers) who own the words/music. Weirdly enough sometimes the band or artist sometimes don’t even come into this!

What I’m aiming to illustrate here is that if you intend to use your film for commercial gain, you need to think carefully about what you want to include and allow enough pre-production budget to obtain the required release agreements.
This applies just as much when producing content for corporate film or promotional video use and is not just applicable to TV. If you’re allowing your company film to be seen online then you are effectively “exhibiting it” and hence you must own exhibition rights to everything featured in it.

legal-safegard

So,

• If you want you film to feature some great interview comments from your customers ensure you get legally binding releases signed by them at the time of shooting.

• If you want to include some footage of your product/service in action make sure you gain permission and release for the location in which it is to be depicted.

• If you’re filming general “wide” shots of your business with customers on site you’ll need to display clear signage informing them that “filming is taking place today”. You also need to ensure that these shots are general wide shots and could not be descried as “featuring” a specific person (ie – no close ups). Any close up (or “featuring”) footage of the public requires their permission and a legal documet signing.

And if you’re planning to use Take That’s latest hit as the soundtrack for your corporate film you better get permission in advance and be prepared to write a 5 figure cheque.

Get it right – before you shoot

However, don’t be put off by all this as it’s not as daunting as it sounds and the public are reasonably familiar with the concept of a “image release form” thanks to the amount of filming that takes place throughout the country.

The upshot of neglecting these aspects is that someone could legally request that you remove your film from the web and not exhibit it anywhere else. This is hardly the sort of thing you need after committing time and money to producing your new corporate video.

At the end of the day, if you’re watertight on this sort of thing you can distribute your film to effectively and freely and without worry.

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