Sunday, December 03, 2006


Maintaining a cohesive final product while shooting with various production companies

Let's say you need a 30 second interview with your CEO to add to your 4 minute video pitch. But you're in Florida; he's in Los Angeles. How do you properly make this happen to avoid the costs of sending people out to Los Angeles but at the same time match the style, quality, and tone of that clip to the other footage you already have?

This just came up with our company, and it worked out well because we maintained clear communication with the producers of the promotional video from beginning to end.

Detailed specificifications are extremely helpful in a situation like this.

Here are a few things to think about, discuss, and coordinate for a successful production:

1) VIDEO FORMAT (HDV, HD, DV, PAL, NTSC, 16x9) - there are a great deal of popular video formats these days, with some better for broadcast, some better for home DVDs, and others better for internet streaming. Be sure you know the end goal for the footage you're shooting, and be sure all the players talk about format options.

2) AUDIO (wireless mics, boom mics, handheld mics) -- each of these sound options has a very different sound quality, so if you want to have the audio of your CEO match audio from other speakers throughout the rest of the promotional video, it's best to use the same or similar audio equipment throughout.

3) BACKGROUND OF SHOT - What's going to be behind the CEO while he talks? Trees, the ocean, a white wall, his top-floor office overlooking skyscrapers, a window framing a large factory? Try to nail this down if you can, because it can add a lot to the polished professionalism of the final product.

4) CAMERA MOVEMENT - What will the camera movement be while your CEO talks? My advice is to stay away from requesting the shakey "MTV look" because not many videographers can do this right, and there are so many varieties of this look that you will most likely be very disappointed with the results. A much safer, easier to work with, and still very professional look is to ask for a locked off camera. This means that the camera will stay still throughout each take. Between each take you can request that the producer adjust to get a variety of close, medium, and wide shots to help you in the editing stage. Remember, our goal is to shoot one small clip or series of clips to be used in a much larger promotional project; you want the clips to blend into the style of the existing project.

5) SHOT SIZE / COMPOSITION - Send the production company photos or drawings with examples of the composition to help them understand the shots you want.

6) DIRECTION CEO SHOULD LOOK - Will the camera be setup eyelevel and will you ask the CEO to look straight at the camera, or do you want him looking slightly off camera left or right?

7) SEATED OR STANDING - Should he be in a comfy executive chair behind a desk, standing in a conference room, or do you want the CEO to be walking through the company offices?

8) TELEPROMPTER - Can the CEO talk on the fly, adjust his words as he is recorded on camera, or does he prefer reading from a teleprompter with an exact script? Most would want a teleprompter, but a few can handle the ad lib situation because they've done this for years.

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