A Video Shoot can be a wonderful collaboration of producers, clients, talent and other parties involved. On our shoots, the people involved are often: the client, agency, talent and of course our film crew which can consist of one or two producers, a director and assistants. We tailor the shoots to the size of the project and budget, therefore each shoot will have a different size crew.
The one golden rule for any project we work on is that pre-production tasks are crucial for the shoot’s success. In this blog, I’ll share some of the considerations we go through with our clients when making decisions about a video and a shoot.
Script & Visual Storyboard
The most important part of pre-production is writing a script and a visual storyboard. The script will cover the content of the video following a structured storyline. Some scripts are more detailed than others. If every line of the script needs to be recited as it is, we’ll often aim to use a teleprompter or paid actors who are proficient in delivering scripts. If the video is more of an interview-style piece to camera, we often create more of a ‘loose’ script. This means that we have a set of key points that we would like to cover, but we are flexible about how the talent delivers the points. This type of shoot requires collaboration between the client and producers during filming.
Having a script and a visual understanding of what needs to be covered will help plan the video shoot and check off on scenes as they are filmed.
Choosing the right location is important from a few perspectives and we always ask a few key questions:
Do we have the right permissions to film in this location? If we don’t, are we able to get the right permissions in a timely manner and does the budget allow for a location fee?
Is there any external noise we need to be aware of at this location? I.e. is there a construction site next door, is there a call centre with phones ringing in the background? If we know a location is going to be noisy, how can we work around the noise and ensure quality audio?
Are we relying on the weather? Sunny days may require specialist light diffusing equipment and rainy days may mean shoots have to be rescheduled whereas windy days can mean we need to adjust the audio recording setup.
When choosing talent for a shoot we often get asked whether working with paid actors is better. The answer is not always yes, in fact most of the times we recommend against it. Our clients often want to create videos that show the personality of a brand and having talent personal to the brand is a great way to do that.
Take for example a brand video that speaks about the origins of a specific company. In this case as a viewer we expect to hear and see the people involved in the origins and we expect them to relay their personal story. A paid actor would of course be able to do this, but it defeats the purpose of the reason we’re creating the video. We’d be creating the video to personalise a brand.
When do actors work well for video shoots?
There is no hard and fast rule for when actors work well, but I’ll list a few occasions where they can really add value:
- When you’re trying to connect to your audience by representing them and their character traits.
- When you’re clearly trying to create a scenario that requires acting. Clients might be tempted to use non-actors here, but we often see that actors can really add value.
- When the talent you have in mind who might not be an actor, say someone who works at your organisation, might not be comfortable in front of the camera. In this case we highly recommend using an actor or someone else. Nerves will come across very strongly through video and can ruin a video.
When filming about a specific topic or really for any video, props are important as they can add to the ‘realness’ of a situation. This is why we need to think about and discuss who is organising props prior to filming. Props can include the following items:
- Notebooks & pens
- Devices: laptops, phones, tablets etc.
- Plants in the background and design of the background
- Bags, sunglasses, other accessories
- Cups, mugs and plates
- Anything that is needed to make a scene look more real
After the script has been created, locations have been chosen and decisions are made about talent and props, you’ll be able to create a run sheet. The purpose of a run sheet is to make sure everyone involved has a plan to work from on the day. This includes who needs to be where at what time to film which scene…
To recap this blogpost. It is really important to be organised before you film a video.
The following things need to be considered:
- Script & Storyboard
- Talent & Actors
- Run sheet
Studio Orange works collaboratively with clients for any project and can advise and assist in pre-production. We’d love to hear from you if you have a video project you’d like to kick off or if you’d like to discuss and brainstorm any project.