For a lot of us, professional video production means shooting and editing corporate videos. Whether you’ve been doing it for decades or are planning your first shoot, here are some tips to keep in mind on your next project.
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Personally, I’ve found that I can enjoy corporate video on a level. You’re helping brands and people tell stories that they care about — but often don’t have the means (or time) to express it. It’s a good feeling to watch clients see themselves on the screen for the first time in a way they haven’t before.
However, they’re not all going to be great projects. You’re going to have some ups and downs that are simply unavoidable. That being said, here are some ways to limit the downs and help your production run more smoothly.
1. Script Your Interviews
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When shooting corporate videos, the messaging is usually going to be very tightly dictated by the client. It’s not an open documentary where you have endless license to find the story. After talking with the client, you’ll know what needs to be said.
When shooting talking head interviews, don’t waste time meandering around and away from the soundbites. Do your work ahead of time and script out what you want your subjects to say. This way you can go back and forth with the client to get it just right. You can still conduct a conversational interview, but know you’ll be able to lead your subject to an agreed upon (and preferably) practiced soundbite which you know you’ll be able to work with.
2. Use a Two-Camera Setup
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Unless you’re working with professional talent, the majority of your corporate videos are going to be with real people who are probably anxious and looking to get their on-air time over with — so why not help them out as best you can?
Using a two-camera setup will give you much more leeway in post to make your subjects look and sound good. With two cameras, you can piece together the best parts of all their answers while cutting out all the “ummms” and awkward pauses. Trust me, you’ll be a hero to them when you turn some muttering, nervous wreck into the confident and coherent businessperson they’ll see in the final version.
3. Hide Your Lapel Mic
As a content-consuming society, we’ve become pretty accustomed to seeing the dark little spots on people’s collars as standard practice. While it’s forgivable, especially when rushed, it will make your video appear more professional if you can hide the lapel mic altogether. Plus, it really isn’t that hard. All you need is a little piece of gaff tape and the pluckiness to ask your subject to run it up their shirt to hide it completely from view.
4. Bring Extra Clothes
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When working with a video production company, we always told people to bring two extra shirts/outfits and two extra ties to the shoot. Unless you have room in the budget for a wardrobe department (if you do, congrats!), you’ll need to be prepared in case a subject shows up in clothing that won’t work on camera. Check all clothing for moiré patterns or awkward colors.
5. Make It Fun
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In a way, your corporate video shoot will always be a fun break in your client’s usually routine (and very possibly boring) day. People will be awkward, nervous and have some very skewed premonitions of what being on camera is like. Your first goal when shooting is to get your subjects relaxed and engaged. Ask them familiar and easy questions at first, tell them a joke, bring an emergency stash of mini-wine bottles (half-joking). The more comfortable you can get them with you and the bright lights and cameras, the better they will be.
Have any other tips for shooting corporate videos that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!