According to a survey in early 2016, watching videos at your desk in an office space, was the highest ranking stress buster, leaving behind chatting with colleagues, taking a walk or a cigarette break.
We have rapidly moved away from the notion that ‘motion pictures’ is restricted to fiscally intensive, big budget productions serving the Television, Advertising and Cinema industry.
With the advancement in formats and the accessibility of production, as well as viewing and interaction, has led to a change in the need and purpose of ‘motion pictures’.
Today a phone shot of a cat chasing its tail to a high value production of Sunny Leone chasing tail and everything in between is considered a video. The budget now ranges from investing in a smart phone with a decent camera to a multibillion dollar Fast and Furious 37.
As April Ludgate rightly points out: Time is money, money is pizza, pizza is life.
Videos are the easiest available medium to get your message across.
Are you a firm that does great CSR work? Do you want investors and consumers to have an insight on all the great work you have done? Nice! Make a video.
Are you great at doing DIY things? Awesome! Make a video.
Is your grumpy cat excellent at being grumpy while doing banal activities best suited to cats? Great! Make a video. Next thing you know you’re a Hollywood movie, a graphic novel, and a meme.
Here are some key points to keep in mind when making non-fiction videos for clients.
The Brief: Understanding the message
As with any briefing, it is important to thoroughly understand the client’s objective, tone of voice and to pay attention to any keywords they might use.
‘’We want to make a video that highlights the coming of age of our equipment”
“We need a video to showcase our organisation’s best practices”
“We want to talk about the various fields we work in and the impact our work has had in said various fields.’’
Sound vaguely familiar?
Take your client’s brief, written or verbal, and write it down in a formal structure. Break it up and elaborate on your points using whatever information the client has provided. The deeper you get into the subject matter and the organisation’s work, the more questions will come to surface. Get clarifications on every round to before going ahead with the script.
Scripting and Storyboarding
The final detailed brief automatically becomes the content base document for the first draft of the script. This is the stage where you can push for creativity and make the video ‘yours’. You can weave the narrative so as to make the information flow in an interesting, engaging way rather than as a direct documentation.
Always make it a point to share a mix of your portfolio as well as the references you will be using in order to give your client a better idea on the treatment of the video so they understand what the final product will look like. This gives them a sense of colour tones, the cinematography style, the audio design etc.
Get your script and the treatment approved before moving ahead.
Always make a checklist. Once you are on ‘set’ nothing can be done if you leave out elements. Post-production though works like magic with CG, though you likely don’t have a budget for CG.
If a recce of the location is possible and viable, make a visit. Carry your basic equipment, mark off good places to frame from, where the light is the best, where sound could be hooked on etc.
If a recce is not possible, get your trustworthy equipment together keep your filmmaking sense on high alert and get on ground.
If the client has specific requirements like showing certain accessories, make sure they are there on location. Inform them ahead of time of your power requirements or any space required for your generator.
Figure out your logistics and reach well in advance to set up.
It’s a shoot: what can go wrong, will go wrong. So be prepared for everything.
They say always keep your eyes wide open, you never know when a story is unfolding.
True, but in most situations you might realize that you are not shooting a beautiful documentary for National Geographic.
Most often than not there is not much happening on and off frame. In such instances go with your own ideas. If you see something that could probably be a good cinematic or narrative element for the next 2 days of shoot, give it more attention. Do not go out of your way to stage it, just highlight the elements that help make your story interesting.
If you are shooting a tight budget space, like a factory, or a process, or an office space, single out the best angles and shoot the same thing with a range of lenses so you always have the option of a moving shot and a still shot.
Everything you’ve done so far has been leading up to this. The editing table is where the magic happens.
Not really – you now have a lot of footage, some interviews with long stuttering noises, and some shots that fall short just at the good part. You also have some shots you can use.
Revisit the client’s brief, look at the script once more, go through all your interviews and sound bites. Start by putting all the soundbites on the timeline, let this be the basis of what the video will highlight. This will also help decide the visuals that relate to the soundbites become your b-roll.
Do a round of structuring, a rough amount of cleaning up and some colour correction, leaving enough frame space or blank space for motion graphics or text.
Show this cut to your client and let them get a rough idea of how their project is going. Get their feedback and make your edits as necessary. We usually don’t recommend going over 3 rounds of editing, but you might have a different agreement with your client.
Always make your video as interesting and as beautiful as you can. If your client is steering the video in a direction you do not agree with, keep the cut that you like and make a trailer of it. Add this trailer to your portfolio. Now you can show the next client what you’re capable of as a filmmaker and as a professional.
Treat every video project as an exercise to polish your skill set. To know more about how we make videos or if you’re interested in working with us on video – get in touch!