Guide to Essential Video Filming Styles and Techniques
THE 30 SECOND, OR LESS, COMMERCIAL!
Decide on the one key message that you want to leave with your viewers; that is the one point that they will remember you by long after seeing the video. Don’t include too much information as they will not take it all on board and it will easily confuse the viewer and muddy the water. Clear, concise and to the point is the best way.
Allow visuals to enhance the message.
In video the visual image is far stronger than the audio message so emphasise using strong bold images or graphics. The best way is to take a good close look at commercials on the telly and look at the way they get their message across. Maybe have a slogan or catchphrase so that the viewer maintains retention. Leave the viewer with a call to action or a contact point (e.g. web site or telephone number) so they know how or where to find you for more information. Steer clear of using humour as this can go badly wrong unless you’re a professional at it; what you may find funny someone else will not.
THE 2-3 MINUTE INFOMERCIAL
This is a long commercial, or promotional video, which will give the viewer far more insight about you or your company. Again the viewer will only remember up to 3 points so make sure that one of them is not that the presenter had a nice tie or a loud shirt!
As with the short commercial – use clear, concise messages with a call to action or contact info at the end.
With an infomercial I would always advocate that there be included a testimonial from a satisfied client or customer to add weight to your message. Most people will like and act on recommendations from someone they perceive to be impartial. They want to feel reassured that they will be making the right choice and why they should choose you rather than one of your competitors!
For both videos think about what you want to include and by all means write some notes as a guideline but please do not write a script as this will come across as rehearsed and insincere unless in the hands of a professional presenter. Better to let us guide you through the points you wish to make. We can do this as an interview which will make you look and feel more comfortable in front of the camera and that way you do not have to remember the points you wish to make as they will be brought out in the interview.
The interviewers questions are then edited out of the final programme. Delivering a message directly to camera can be done but this is not easy unless you are totally comfortable with the medium of television and used to reading a teleprompter. The alternative is to record a ‘voiceover’ track which can be edited and then covered with ‘cutaway’ shots to illustrate points made by the commentary.
FILMING AT THE LOCATION
Please make sure that the areas you wish us to film in are clean and tidy and anything that should not be there or you do not wish to appear in the final programme is removed; this may include any personal items such as photos, possibly ‘girly’ pics on office walls (or such like!), graphs of sales performance or other confidential information like contact numbers; in fact anything you wouldn’t want your customers or competitors to see.
Also consider any factors which may be deemed to infringe Health & Safety or fire regulations. Take a long hard look at the locations as things you may be used to seeing everyday may well present themselves as undesirable in the final edit and may lead to shots which took a long time to set up being unusable in the movie.
As we generally tend to shoot footage out of sequence please ensure that we have a logical progression around the location, i.e. not retracing our steps. Bear in mind your company schedule, e.g. we are not scheduled to film a call centre just at the point when they are all due to have a tea break. Make sure that any staff who are likely to appear in the film are presentable and are wearing the correct P.P.E.
We tend to ask anyone who features in the film to sign a ‘Release Form’
This ensures that if someone leaves your company they cannot force you to withdraw their contribution to the film. A copy of these forms are kept with our production notes and you are always welcome to have a copy for your own files if required. You should let your staff know, in advance, that we are filming and ascertain that they are happy and willing to be included if not then we can arrange to shoot around them.
FILMING AN INTERVIEW
If you are taking part in an interview you will be positioned in front of the camera with the interviewer sat beside the camera.Always look at the interviewer and please ignore the crew and don’t look directly at the camera.
Before filming commences you may have some anti-shine power applied, this is perfectly normal and helps prevent you looking ‘sweaty’ under the lights. The interviewer will start by asking your name and job. This helps identify you in the edit suite and ensures the title that appears on the TV screen matches your title; rarely is it used as a part of the interview. When the interviewer asks a question don’t be afraid to pause and gather your thoughts; the pause will be edited out later.
Try, where possible to work the question into your answer as the question is usually edited out of the final programme. e.g. So if I asked “How did you get to the studio?” You answer “By Car” the viewer will not understand the answer. Instead you reply “ I arrived at the studio today by car”, now the viewer will understand the context. If you are unhappy with your answer then tell the interviewer that you would like another go. Feel free to have as many re-takes as you like until you are completely happy with your response.
The interviewer may ask you what seems like a similar question in the hope that it will produce a slightly different angle on the answer as an alternative, he is not trying to trip you up.
The interviewer will generally only respond to your statements by a nod of the head and will not interrupt you, this is because a verbal acknowledgment would ruin the take.
Try to appear relaxed and composed, that way you’ll give a better interview. Remember, you are in control, not the interviewer! If you are uncomfortable about anything then let us know and we’ll do our best to sort it out then and there.
Generally, we will always help and guide you through the interview so that you cover all the points you wish to make. It’s our job to make you look good on telly so sometimes you will be asked to re-take what seems like a perfectly good answer – trust your crew, there will be a good reason for the re-take; maybe there was a technical fault or extraneous noise on sound, don’t feel that it’s in any way a reflection on your performance.
Finally, when finished, don’t be tempted to look at the camera and ask “Was that okay?” – instead keep looking directly at the interviewer until you hear the word ‘CUT!’After recording you may be asked to film some ‘noddies’ or ‘cutaways’ – this is to help cover any edit points in post production.
So there we go, 25 years of experience in a nutshell aimed at helping you get off to a flying start whether producing your own Video or working a professional Video Production Company. If you’d like a consultation on creating some great video content for your business, just give us a call!