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Video Production Explained

Videography Tips – What makes a better corporate video?

By Corporate Video Production, Video Production Explained

Videography  – A Guide to Grip

Videography for business is huge these days! It seems everyone is producing videos for their business, so it’s important to make sure that your production stands out above the crowd and feels slicker, better and more polished than your competitors. This is essentially all down to “production quality” which we’ve talked about in other blogs. But what videography tricks can you use to lift your film into a higher realm and add polish that will leave your competition drooling! Well one answer is to use grip within the production of your film. But “what the devil is Grip?” I hear you say!

Well, grip is essentially a device that moves the camera whilst shooting. By doing this you are instantly able to produce shots that have a much higher production value and that take on much more of a Hollywood feel!

There are several different types of key grip to choose from out there, these being, Slider’s, Dolly’s and Jib’s.


Sliders are a small-scale grip, which are best used for creating short movement from, left to right and vice versa. They are essentially a bar or track of about 1 to 1.5 meters in length that can be attached to the top of a tripod. The camera is then able to smoothly glide along the track creating a beautiful moving shot that is very useful. They are usually lightweight and cost effective enough to be used on even smaller videography budgets.


Slider capturing some great images


Jibs are counter weighted cranes that the camera can be placed on allowing it to smoothly travel vertically into the air . They are great for achieving truly fantastic sweeping shots from high to low angles. There are 2 main types, the mini jib and the full size or “jimmy” jib.


Mini jibs are ideal for interior shoots.

Mini jib’s are perfect for interior shoots where you may not have a lot of room to operate. These are also good for a small crew (or small budget project) as they are easy to set up and can be operated by one person. Even though they are small they can produce some wonderful sweeping elevated shots and add a great deal to your film.

The full size jib or “Jimmy jib” is basically a much bigger version of the mini jib and can extend the camera upto much greater heights. This can produce spectacular sweeping shots and is perfect for outdoor, landscapes and building footage. However, these take time to set up and usually require several crew members (at least 2) to operate. A full size jib also requires a higher budget but if you’re looking produce footage to delight your audience and to set your piece apart from the others, then you couldn’t find much that will do a better job than a Jib.


A full size jib at work.


Then finally there is the dolly. Dolly’s are a great way to capture smooth, fluid like motion in your footage. They allow the camera to travel along rails or track for greater distances than the “slider” and can produce a wide variety of impressive shots. These, like most grip, have different variants. There are small lightweight Dolly’s such as the Hollywood Dolly, which are fantastic for small interior shoots as they’re portable, easy to set up and very cost effective. However you need a really smooth surface to get the best shots out of them and you’re limited to traveling in a straight line.


Videography Tip – The Hollywood Dolly (left) is ideal for quick paced shoots, whereas the track and buggy dollies (right) are brilliant for studio shoots.

The heavier track and ride on based options offer much more flexibility. These are essentially large scale train tracks that can be laid in straights or curves and come with a small buggy that is placed on the track. This dolly is brilliant for studio shoots but it takes several crew members to set up. It delivers ultra smooth movement and with the curve track it offers great way to produce gliding shots that can circle your subject. Again though this higher end option comes with the budget you’d expect so it can be limited to larger projects.

But producing beautiful moving shots should be within reach of most corporate videography budgets and will positively impact the overall quality of your film.  Be brave and consider adding this into your next project and I’m sure you’ll be delighted with what you can produce.

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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.


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?

Corporate Video Production


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.



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.

Corporate Video Production


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.


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.


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


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!



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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What is Video Post Production?

By Video Production Explained

Video Post Production  – A Guide To Everything That Happens After The Shoot

Video production agencies quotes shouldn’t be baffling or require a handbook to understand. But more often than not the line in the budget marked “video post production” is rarely broken down into line by line items. So in the interests of clarity we’ll try and explain the process of what work is required to produce a corporate or promotional video once the filming part of the process is complete.

File Management

Pretty much every professional promotional video is shot to file based digital media. This is not a great revelation and I’m sure you’ll have devices that shoot film or photos to digital formats at home. Depending on the type of camera you have used to shoot your footage the sizes of these files will vary. The higher the quality of the final picture, the larger the files will be.

So the first part of the video post production process is to transfer these digital files onto the editing system that is being used. This is as simple as dragging and dropping but if you’ve been shooting over a long period of time then your files sizes could be huge and will take time to copy or transfer to the editors system. So this part of the post production stage can take a few minutes, a few hours or even a few days. While this transfer is in process the computer that is doing the reading and writing cannot really do much else effectively so you should expect to be charged for this time.

Once the files are onboard the next stage (depending on your editors workflow) may be to transcode the footage ready for use. Unfortunately all cameras don’t record to the same format. The files they create come in many a different flavours, some of which are quite user friendly, while others require conversion to effectively change the language of their files structure.

video post production

These files are video clips direct from the camera, some editors may need to transcode these for use.

Once this is done the editor is ready to start work.

First Cut

With promotional and corporate videos there is a high chance that some of the material you are working with will be interview or talking head material. This interview material can sometimes form the entire narrative drive of the film or sometimes it will be intercut sporadically with pre-scripted Voiceover.

As much of the flow of the video will come from either the voiceover or the interview comments it’s usual for these to be the first elements that the editor works on. An editor may go through all the interview clips and select a shortlist of the strongest clips to form the basic bones of the film.

A guide track of the musical soundtrack may also be added to the film at this point just to get a feel for tempo and duration (although this may be changed later). Once the initial selection of the strongest clips is complete the editor will start to create the first cut.

If a voiceover is being added and the script has been approved this may be recorded at this stage and added to the first cut.

Any graphical or animated content will be created, produced added in at this stage to further enhance the presentation of the whole film.

video post production

The edit carefully checks sound levels for voice and music.

Once the first cut is complete the production company/editor will send it to the client (you) for feedback and comments. Prior to starting the project, the production company should have agreed with you a workflow plan for this part of the video post production that efficiently progresses the project towards completion in the most suitable timescale timescale. If multiple people will be feeding notes back on the film then is advisable to select someone to collate all the changes/amends/comments into one batch so that the editor can efficiently apply all the tweaks in one re-edit (this will certainly save you money).

Sound, Colour & Compression

When the final edit is approved the production company will then start mastering the film. Firstly the sound may need properly balancing and mixing so that everyone featured in the film feels like they are talking at the same volume and that all the vocals (either script or from interview) are properly mixed into the musical backing to ensure that both elements can be heard at suitable volume levels.

Next some colour correction will usually be done to ensure that all the shots used in the film have the same feel in respect of colour, contrast and tone.

Finally once these steps are complete the film will be compressed for delivery. Most good production companies should supply you with a range of formats and sizes of your final film. Alongside your HD master it’s useful to have several smaller versions that come ready optimised for web use so you can upload them straight to Vimeo, Facebook or Youtube etc if desired.

And that’s about it really for video post production. Yes, there are a few more complexities than highlighted here. Depending on your project one of the steps above could take a lot longer than the others depending on its importance to the project, but hopefully this gives you an overview of where you production budget goes in regard to the line in the budget marked “post production”.

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What is the Corporate Video Production Process?

By Video Production Explained

The Corporate Video Production Process

The corporate video production process can be daunting and confusing if you’re not familiar with it. You’ll be committing valuable budget resources to the project so getting it right is critical. Your production agency should offer guidance, help and resources along the way and work alongside you at each stage of the process. As a rough blueprint for producing a medium sized corporate video we’ve sketched out the following process roadmap to help you through the journey and to give you a way of adding accountability to your supplier.


This is one of the most important parts of the corporate video production process. Most projects start life as face to face meetings. Your producer should visit your company to not only chat through your ideas for the film but also to get a feel for you as a company and a brand. Understanding our clients target or viewer and getting under the skin of what makes their customers tick is one of the most important factors in producing the best films for them.

Response & Quote

Even when we are supplied with a multi page detailed brief we find it very useful to document exactly how and what we will produce for the client. Therefore after briefing your production company you should expect a detailed response before green lighting the project. This “brief response” obviously includes a fully detailed quote but should also breakdown the following – key messages, production process (so you know what will happen and when), shooting days required, style and tone of the film, and also some description of the footage and dialogue to be produced. You may feel like this is essentially duplicating your original brief a little but its an important factor in establishing that the production company has clearly grasped your requirements.

Pre-Production: Script & Storyboard


Again, as a client you may wish to develop the script yourself but remember that the producer has a great deal of skill in planning what dialogue and shots will work the best so involving them in the scripting is a wise move. Unless your spending movie sized budgets don’t expect a hand illustrated story board such as the ones you see on movie behind the scenes short films. The cost of illustrating a storyboard like this can be several times the budget for the entire project and is really something that only happens in the world of cinema. using stock images to create a rough story board is an option but bear in mind that the images are a guide of angles and action as the final footage will very rarely look like what is produced.

A much better approach is to review some of your production companies other work and indicate the type of shots and presentation that you do like and the sort that you’d like to avoid. Once the shooting style is clear your producer should supply you with a detailed shot list and shot description which is a much better tool at this stage to help visualize the final film.

Scheduling and Logistics

Within the pre-production period your production company should also generate a filming schedule. Ideally it will break down each day into hours so that you know what they intend to film and in what order. Any filming permits, clearances and risk assessments should also be carried out by the production company at this stage. Prior to the first day of filming you should receive a “call sheet” which is a document detailing every important element of the day. It will include all crew/cast names and contact details, timings for location arrival and setup, and other important details such as travel notes (location maps) and location first aid notes.

Corporate Video ProductionCasting

You may need to cast models/actors, voice over artists or even your own staff to feature in your film so casting should be confirmed well in advance of filming. If your casting models/actors or voice over artists your production company should either supply you with a shortlist (don’t let them send you 000’s – they should provide the first cut based on your brief) so that you can choose the right look/voice for your films. Additionally don’t accept just one option (this happens a lot with voiceovers) finding the right tone for you film is key and you want anyone featured to have a look or voice that your customers can identify with.

If you are planning to feature your staff in the film then we suggest doing a very rough screen test with anyone you think will be good on screen.


Corporate Video ProductionWhen filming commences if you plan on attending the shooting ask your production company to provide you with a monitor. This is essentially a screen the relays the main camera feed so that you can see exactly what is being shot. This is the best time to check or amend anything that you aren’t sure about and can save you money and time by avoiding costly re-shoots or lengthy editing. Getting the shots right on set is THE most important part of production, there is no substitute for capturing great material and no amount of special effects and editing skills can compensate for this.

Post-Production: Editing, Animation, Voiceover etc.

As a client you may request that you are present for the editing or you may prefer to let your producer/editor get on with the task. If you do want to sit in on the edit we suggest allowing some time before you do for the editor to assemble and manage all the material and complete a basic draft edit. There’s a lot of technical and footage management in the initial stages of an edit and sitting in on this part is of no benefit to anyone.

Revisions & Re-Edits

Once the initial edit is completed you should expect to receive an approval/feedback copy along with any notes the director/editor may want to flag up. Depending on your production company this may be supplied as a downloadable file or they may host it online (with a password so only you can view it) on sites such as vimeo.
After viewing the draft you can expect to feedback your thoughts, request changes and additions etc.

It’s important at the quoting stage to ask your production company how much time they have factored into the quote for this edit revision/approval process. They should have a clear process and cost for getting you to your final edited master and leaving this open ended is a mistake. Not knowing how many versions/changes you can ask for within the original quote can make the working relationship between editor and client tricky so clarify this from the outset.

Final Audio Mix & Colour Correction

Corporate Video Production Process

Once you have agreed the final edit of the film your editor should then apply a final sound mix and tweak any of the shot colors so that the whole film has a cohesive look and sound.
Compress and Deliver

The final part of the production process is to deliver the masters in whatever format you require. For corporate films we would expect to deliver a HD file version that you can download onto your system as well as compressed versions for online, youtube and device (iPad, smart phone) use.

So that’s pretty much it, a good overview of the corporate video production process. Remember every project differs so some of the parts of this process wont be relevant for all projects but hopefully it provides a blueprint for an easier process next time you commission a corporate video.

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Online video explained – What is Pre-Production?

By Video Production Explained

Guide to Pre-Production of your Online Video

I often say that all the hard work should be done by the time you shoot your first few seconds of footage. Filming can be an expensive business if you fail to pre-plan exactly how each element of the shoot will pan out. When you receive a quote for producing a corporate film or promotional video you may be wondering exactly what the amount shown in “Pre-production” is spent on. Hopefully you’ll be working with a production company who have broken the Pre-production fee down and explained it clearly prior to the quote arriving. However, if this is not the case let’s try and throw a little light on the subject so you know exactly what your paying for and how valuable it actually is.

Online Video Production

Whether your production company is charging you for 1 day or 1 month of pre-production time will reflect the complexity of the shooting required. For example the work required to plan a simple talking head or vox pop shoot is minimal compared to a location based larger shoot with specific shot requirements. Although however large or small the project one thing is certain and that is that once filming commences even small things that have been overlooked in pre-production can take huge chunks out of your budget.

Online Video

For any small to medium sized corporate film or online video the following elements should be provided by your production company as part of their Pre-production fees:


We usually develop and agree with our clients with a script/storyboard that gives them a very accurate idea of how the film will pan out and what script/dialogue/voice over/action footage etc will be featured.

Location logistics

All access, safety and filming clearances should be confirmed in writing prior to filming.


Each shoot day should be already planned out very tightly with each element of shooting timed to include setup and re-takes.


The last thing you want to see your budget being spent on is the crew turning up on shoot day 1 and spending hours messing around trying to find the best angles to shoot from. The production company should have performed a site recce to establish this and also to check that the light and camera provision is correct.


It goes without saying that any actors appearing in a corporate online video will need casting before hand. However, If you’re using a voice over in the final edit you should also expect the production company to also send you a shortlist of suitable voices so that this element can be signed off prior to shooting to save time in post/editing.

There will also be other (sometimes surprising) elements depending on the nature of the online video being produced that will need thought and planning at this stage also. Without good pre-production you open yourself up to a wide range of unexpected risk factors which ultimately will cost you money and time. So when you’re production company presents you with a quote with Pre-production detailed you know exactly how they are spending their time and your money.

In fact the time to start worrying is when you are presented with a project quote with NO pre-production factored in!

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