Posts Tagged‘video production’

Event Video Producer at work

Event Video Production: Content Objectives explained

Event Video Producer at workVideo content objectives mustn’t be confused with marketing objectives. The latter is what we want to achieve with the video, and the former is making sure we get the footage we need to do it. With content objectives we are getting down to the brass tacks of the shoot; equipment, subjects and scheduling.

Coming up with content objectives isn’t difficult because it simply means taking your brief one step further alongside your production company. If the event video brief is to show how many guests a new auditorium can hold, one of the content objectives will be a wide shot of the auditorium full of people. Another content objective might be an interview with a key figure that explains why the scale of the room is important. A third could be a welcome speech given to guests in the foyer before the event.

There is, however, more than one way to skin a cat, and so prioritising content objectives is very important.

If time is tight we might have to choose between a time-lapse of the auditorium and that interview explaining its significance. Both will satisfy the objective, but which is the priority? Planning an event video is a series of decisions like this. The client who wants everything could end up with nothing if the video team is stretched too thinly.

If it’s more important to show how many people are at the event, maybe we should save that interview with the artistic director for another time, and focus on the welcome speech where we can see the guests in situ? Maybe we won’t know if we have time until the day, but so long as we are prioritised we can make decisions on the day.

Here is a list of prioritised content objectives for the generic event video described above.

  • One close angle on the key speaker throughout their welcome speech, capturing every word.
  • A variety of wide angles on the key speaker, showing the audience engaging with them in the foreground, to be used in a montage.
  • Interview with the artistic director explaining the function of the new auditorium.
  • VIP guests arriving.
  • Exterior footage ascertaining the location, context and time of the event.
  • Guests networking after the speech.

Even this simple list tells us that the priority is the welcome speech. Only once we have this will we look to capture the remaining content objectives. We can also plan use of A and B cameras if necessary with this information.

What’s more, our client will be free to relax and enjoy the event without worrying about directing the video team!

Shadow projection_video screenshot

Creativity is More Important Than Budget

“The more money you have the more you can do with it, sure. But the less you can say with it.”

Wim Wenders

creative

In the arts, budget for creative video is always limited, but we have found that innate creativity flourishes when big spending is not on the table.

Non-traditional, or guerrilla marketing, has earned the maxim; creativity is more important than budget. Time and again ingenious low budget efforts are the high-visibility campaigns we read about on marketing blogs. Online video has shown a similar trend; most viral videos are neither branded nor have a high production values, they simply speak to people in a unique way. Here are our four reasons that creativity is more important than budget when producing creative video for the arts.

1. Originality

Low budget means you have to be original; you can’t peg yourself to the production values and generic aesthetic of industry leaders or corporate brands. Plagiarism is not an option. So whatever you do it will have to be unique; see this as an opportunity and a challenge to produce creative video content. This brings out the best in your creative team too, and lets you know if you have the right people on your team.

2. Core Messages

What budget constraints do is steer us back towards the essence of the piece itself, and away from ‘ad-speak’. By removing an easy option we are forced to return to the essence of what we are promoting and strive for creative ways of achieving our objectives with video. Pushing past the superficialities and advertising tropes that big budgets can afford (and tend towards) will force us to more truthfully represent the core messages.

3. Film Language

Film is a versatile visual language that lets us show things in many different ways. It’s not a secret; the higher budget hollywood films are not necessarily the best. Once we have drilled down our core messages we work out how these can be communicated with the tools at our disposal. We focus on what we need to do with the camera rather than what we could do ‘if only we had the budget’. There’s no budget for expensive floating dolly shots so we figure out another way to tell the story.

4. Collaborate

Working without a lot of money you tend to pool the only other great resource available; people. Using the energy and input of a variety of stakeholders when money is tight is often the only way to make a creative video project happen. This is particularly true in the arts where here is so much creative depth in collaborations. This can make the creative video process quite iterative, but it does mean arriving at a product everyone is part of and is happy with. It’s also much more enjoyable and inspiring to collaborate with set designers, writers, directors and marketing teams on a creative video project.

The best idea is the one that can stand out and speak clearly, without any bells and whistles on it. We believe our value is in our creativity, our collaborative working practices, and our ability to deliver a product that satisfies your brief no matter what the budget.

At Impact Video we often discuss long term strategies which are formed around the creation of in-house and professional content. To discuss how we can help you get the most out of your video invesment get in touch with marliese@impactvideoproduction.co.uk or call 020 7729 5978

Impact Video Production team

Event Video Production: 7 Essential Shooting Tips

Speaker from behind at conferenceEvent video production can be very demanding for videographers. Not least because the initial brief is often very loose: ‘capture the atmosphere’ or ‘film what you find interesting’. The most important thing to remember is; nobody else cares whether you’re getting the shots you need or not. Nine times out of ten you’re there as an add-on, to capture the main event without disrupting anything or anyone. With this in mind we’ve compiled some event video essential shooting tips.

1. Be nice

As anyone in the business will attest to, staying positive and polite will serve you well. If you step on someone’s toes; apologise, keep smiling and keep working. If you get bawled out by someone important, just get on with it – a thick skin is a must. In event video production your job is to blend into the surroundings while being right where the action is, so be gracious at all times. You are much more likely to be granted favours if you keep a smile on your face.

2. Be flexible

You are nowhere near the most important person in the room so be prepared to have your plans and preparations scuppered by last minute changes. The priority is for the event to run smoothly and the videographer should do everything possible to adapt to any on-the-fly requests. Excuses or stubbornness might be justifiable but in the end you will be judged by your final product and how pleasant you are to work with.

3. Be prepared

For anything! Low light, background noise, whatever you have to deal with. Not bringing a versatile kit won’t stand with your client. So find out everything you can about the space beforehand; the light, the ambiance, the run of show. Even if interviews weren’t included in the brief, come prepared with your mic and lights. Be prepared to work autonomously too.

4. Be patient

The biggest pitfall in reactive event video production is shooting too much. When there’s no specific brief the temptation is to get total coverage of the event, but this can result in double or triple the editing time. Consider each shot before you hit record, are you really going to use this angle, or can you get a better one? Editing in your head while shooting is an important skill for event video production.

5. Push the client

Often a client can shy away from capturing a certain moment or scene if they think it’s invasive. It’s your job to encourage them to make it happen. If you can see it will help in the video to get that interview, or get back stage, tell them how important it is. Often they just need a little push, or don’t realise how valuable a certain shot could be to the event video. In this sense you need to lead the client on what is and isn’t worthwhile. Sometimes that means saying no too.

6. Don’t be shy

If you don’t ask you don’t get: as true for event video production as anything. It’s no gig for shrinking violets; when a client asks why a certain shot isn’t in the rushes, the last thing you want is to regret not being more forward.

7. It’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.   wink

 

Get in touch with marliese@impactvideoproduction.co.uk to talk about your next event video production.

EPK video production: 6 ways to build your story

EPK Video Production: 6 Ways To build Your Story

EPK videos are an engaging way to tell your story to audiences and stakeholders. There are goldmines of valuable content to be presented to audiences and press, other than show footage, and exploring different angles is essential in building up a rich narrative.

In this article we look at six strands of  content and explain their value in EPK video production.

1. Interviews with Key Creatives

Creators and champions of the work are usually best placed to espouse its unique selling points (USP); artists, writers, directors, producers and so on. By exploring their motivations, or responses to the work, we give the audience the tools to take more from the work. On film, their responses are more candid and engaging than in print, making it a far more effective way to tell your story. These interviews often function as the structure of an EPK video, which the rest of the content punctuates.

2. Star on Camera

When there’s a big name involved your EPK video must make a memorable connection between that person and the work. They are perhaps the most trusted and respected ambassador you have. Visually associating this person with the branding and story of the work is essential. Photo calls and dress rehearsals are perfect places to film them because your star is in costume or immersed in the environment of the piece. Use these interviews to show off the personality or the talents of this person, but also to dispel the misconceptions you think audiences or press will have about the work.

3. Vox Pops

Eloquent public testimonial is invaluable, not just as an advertising tool to audiences, but as a public stamp of approval to venues and funders. Don’t underestimate its effectiveness, but note the importance of asking leading questions to focus the interviewee on your key messages.

4. Exposition

You can build on the shareability and interest of the piece by placing it in a relevant cultural context. This could be through live Q&As, social media campaigns, or user generated content.  On film it can also be explored through a documentary approach to the subject. Belarus Free Theatre made short documentaries about their political activism efforts to accompany Red Forest; their play about man-made destruction and globalisation. The musical Made in Dagenham relied on archive footage of the original strikes at the FORD plant in their EPK videos.

5. Behind the Scenes

Discover the people, the ideas, and the work behind the scenes of a production. This unique insight is valuable to professionals as well as audiences, and it lends an invaluable authenticity to an EPK video that the more glossy promotional content cannot.

6. Show Footage

 If possible, an audio visual teaser of what patrons and paying audiences can actually expect is a powerful asset. However it’s not always possible, and in some cases where justice can’t be done to the real thing, it’s best to focus on creating original supporting content.

Video as a medium is the most persuasive, shareable and engaging way to communicate your story.

EPK videos can bring together various strands of content that combine your key messages from different angles.

At Impact Video we can help you from strategy to concept through to execution.

Get in touch with marliese@impactvideoproduction.co.uk to talk about your next video production. 

Film reel close up

6 Key Questions for Producing Effective Videos

We work on video production projects at various stages of their development. Often the project is almost fully formed, and all we have to decide on with the client is a filming date. However we also come on board at the very earliest stage, which is often something along the lines of: “we want to make a video, any ideas…?” We have a number of key considerations that we go through with our clients who want to start producing video content.

1. What marketing objective will the video satisfy? In other words, what’s it for?

–    Selling tickets?

–    Building awareness?

–    Key message to members of your organisation?

–    As a tool to pitch for future funding?

The marketing objective informs everything about your video, from length to distribution method. If you can’t answer this simple question, it might not be time for a video. Driving ticket sales for an event your video should have a clear and simple call to action on why and how to buy tickets, it should not be overly informative but quickly convey the essence and unique selling points (USPs) of the event.

Bottom line: make sure you know exactly what the video should achieve and measure it where possible.

2. Who is the video for?

Your target audience buys certain publications, visits certain websites and responds to certain methods of communication. Similarly you must consider what kind of video they will respond to – not just create something you think looks great. High production value is pointless if your video doesn’t speak clearly to the target audience. Say you are producing a promotional trailer for the second run of a performance, first time round ticket sales were high among the 45+ age group, but this time the goal is to bring in younger audiences too. You may want to consider focusing on young interviewees when shooting audience reactions in order to get the language and perspective that will speak to a younger age group. Have a look at this Sadler’s Wells promo that clearly targets a young internet savvy audience.

Bottom line: a good video isn’t a good video unless the target audience think it is.

3. What creative direction will best suit your marketing objectives?

Depending on the message you are communicating and your video objectives,  you might consider a variety of creative directions. Motion graphics are ideal for expounding a process or service clearly, and leave loads of room for visual branding. Other directions suit different marketing objectives. We produced a live action theatre trailer for the UK tour of To Kill A Mockingbird. The marketing brief was to capture the nostalgia of the original novel, while stirring emotion in generations of readers who experienced the book as a child. A cinematic approach allowed us achieve that nostalgia without telling much of the story or recreating the stage bound production. This is generally a suitable approach for theatre as it is the themes of a play that draw an audience. The physical thrill of live theatre cannot be recreated in video, so we focus on translating it to film.

Bottom line: your video is first and foremost a marketing tool; aesthetic and style is important but it must serve a specific purpose.

4. How will you distribute it?

–   Website homepage?

–   YouTube advertising?

–   Email newsletter?

–   Front of House?

The method of distribution has a huge bearing on your video in a number of areas, none more so than the length. Where and how someone has come across your video pertains to their interest and commitment to watching it. If the video has been developed as in depth content on an event or production, you will likely want to place it on your YouTube channel and push it on social media, where the attention span of your audience is likely to be quite long. Alternatively, if you are producing a video with a view to engaging new audiences and driving ticket sales, you might want to seed it with YouTube’s advertising service and in this case your video would be short and snappy, grabbing and holding attention in the first 5 seconds. Take a look at a YouTube ad we produced for the Young Vic’s production of A Season in the Congo for an example of this type of ad.

Bottom line: strategise your distribution method early to suit your marketing objective as it will inform everything about the video.

5. Who will create your content?

Your gut reaction would be to do it in house if you have a video producer, or outsource to a video production company if you don’t. But don’t forget about your customers; user generated content can save you money, offer creativity, perspectives and insight that you would never have achieved on your own. If your objective is engaging your audience, what better way that challenging them to contribute to something? We designed a campaign with the International Youth Arts Festival where all the participant theatre companies submitted their own trailers as part of a competition. We then selected the winners and cut a trailer of them to be seeded as an ad on YouTube. Shooting a project of this scale ourselves would have cost IYAF thousands they didn’t have, by getting the participants involved we saved time and money while representing the diversity of festival.

Bottom line: think about who might be best positioned to generate content (especially if the budget it tight).

6. A sustainable video strategy.

No matter how well targeted and relevant a video you have produced, if it grows old and lonely on a sparse YouTube channel it is ultimately in vain. If you’re going ahead with a video project it should be part of a broader video strategy where regular content is created and distributed and its success measured. Engagement on YouTube is all about quality and regularity of content, as well as how often people interact with your videos. It could be the video you’re planning can be easily edited into a series of short videos released at intervals to your audience. Check out the National Theatre’s fantastic YouTube channel for an idea of how a channel can grow with regular, quality content.

Bottom line: don’t be a one hit wonder, plan a long term strategy.

Note: this is not a progressive list. Each of the considerations detailed above interact with and inform each other.

narrative arc in online video blog article thumbnail

The Narrative Arc in Online Video

Essential to good journalism, feature films and novels, the narrative arc is no less important in online video. The arc is the point at which all productions should begin, and return to when things get tricky.

It means planning and structuring your idea around a central thread but does not always mean a three act structure; problem, conflict, resolution. Nor does it necessarily mean fictional storytelling with characters and dialogue.

An arc is simply a direction – it means there is progression and cohesion throughout the video. The Content Marketing Institute neatly refers to it as “editorial focus”. 

The need for a clear editorial focus is often either neglected, or misconstrued as necessitating an epic three act structure (or hero’s journey). A recent Forbes article distinguishes content like customer testimonials, (which they say needn’t have a story arc) from what they call ‘brand stories’ in which story design is integral. But this restriction of narrative arc to a certain type of video is too narrow an application. A narrative arc should be intrinsic to all video content that is intended to engage a user, not merely the problem, conflict, resolution sort. In the two examples below we identify the narrative arc and show how it contributes to the success of simple promotional videos.

This is a short promo by the V&A for their exhibition Heatherwick Studio: Designing The Extraordinary.  It’s very simple and not what might conventionally be referred to as ‘storytelling’, but the video’s effectiveness is rooted in its narrative arc.

The film quickly establishes the subject as a designer at work on a scale model. The pace and editing tell us that we should anticipate the fruits of his labour before the end, immediately giving structure to the film. We are shown the completed design intermittently which tells us that like the video, the exhibition will explore the design process from modelling to installation.

In short the video has a progression; rather than simply showing a designer at various stages of work, we are taken on a cohesive journey about the design process.

In this short by Museum of London, clothing exhibits from the 1920s are explored by way of an imagined night out and some simple motion graphics.

This is much more than a show-and-tell exercise as the head curator puts the items in context and brings them to life through the narrative.

Without any problem, conflict or resolution we have a tight narrative arc that holds our attention in both videos.

Good video content is always memorable and often share-able, and both are enhanced by the narrative arc.

We find it much easier to recall an overarching message or feeling than a series of statements, no matter how interesting at the time. So too users are more likely to share content that can be boiled down to a simple arc.

Finally, the all-important emotional hook is always rooted in the narrative arc.

Creating a satisfying arc is a specialist skill and when scaled up it is arguably as difficult as developing a screenplay. This is why big brands employ teams of experienced writers to script their brand stories. But creating a narrative arc in its most fundamental sense simply means coming up with a strand that gives progression and cohesion to your idea, and should be intrinsic to all online video productions.

Get in touch with marliese@impactvideoproduction.co.uk to discuss how Impact Video can help you create narrative arcs that captivate your audiences.

Director's board of The Departure production

Short Film in Theatre

The recent confluence of short film and theatre heralds an exciting step in digital storytelling for theatre. Long before the advent of YouTube theatre companies were experimenting with video production to advertise their work. Now, in 2015, almost every new stage production has a trailer.

But a more recent and interesting development is the use of the short film format as an extension of the stage play; a fresh interpretation of the themes. As a form of digital content marketing it’s what marketing moguls call digital storytelling; extending the conversation beyond the live performance for existing audiences and involving new audiences.

It’s no coincidence that this trend mirrors the the rapid ascension of the short film format as a mainstream art form. Online, audiences are more accessible than ever and the amount of online video they consume grows astronomically each year. Branded or otherwise, the amount of video hours watched by people on YouTube  is increasing by 50% every year*.

In response to this trend, the BBC launched iPlayer Shorts last year, a series of six short films to be produced over two years by new filmmaking talent. Head of TV content at iPlayer said the venture “Explores storytelling outside of a scheduled TV slot or duration. Audiences will be able to discover, share and enjoy these dramas whenever and wherever they choose.” Three of the films have been made and are available on the iPlayer now.

bbc i player

Theatre makers who have worked for a while with video production have cottoned on to the broad appeal and accessibility of the short film format. In 2014 The Royal Court Theatre collaborated with The Guardian to produce six short films responding to six current British issues. ‘Off The Page’ short films are all viewable here on the guardian website.

The Guardian describes them as ‘microplays’ conceived as a meeting of minds between journalists and theatre makers and it’s encouraging to see how theatre makers are using the medium to generate interest around their craft and in new writing.

Young Vic Shorts is another high visibility stage to screen program – again in collaboration with The Guardian – but it differs slightly in that it uses the short film format to directly extend the narrative or reinterpret a stage play that’s currently on stage. Since 2012 the Young Vic has created six short films to accompany their main house productions. Find the full set here.

Their most recent short was The Departure, inspired by Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, in which Gillian Anderson directs and stars, and for which we were commissioned to make a behind the scenes video (below).

There’s no doubt these high profile collaborations are bringing new audiences to the theatre as well as spotlighting new playwrights. The exciting part for existing theatre audiences is that by embracing the visual language of filmmaking, creators are reinterpreting and refreshing, instead of simply repeating. Audiences’ have a huge appetite for digital storytelling across platforms, and short film is an ultra-accessible medium ripe for experimentation.

At Impact Video we are interested in producing film content that responds to theatre using cinematic language. Get in touch with  marliese@impactvideoproduction.co.uk to talk about theatre trailers, short film, or other collaborations.

Juliet Stevenson through camera monitor

Behind the Scenes of Mayday

We were commissioned to make a behind the scenes promotional video for the Young Vic short film Mayday, a response to the stage play ‘Happy Days’. The production was a two day shoot, one day on the set of the short film and the second at the Young Vic theatre filming the interviews.

The first day on set was by far the most challenging, staying out of the way while capturing quality footage for the promo video is tricky. The short film was shot entirely in a small bedroom so space was minimal for our videographer. These restrictions bare comparison to filming an event video reactively, where you’re always the least important person in the room (read our blog post on event videos here). There’s a fascinating article on Making-Of films at mentorless.com, about Niko Tavernise, who has made multiple such films for Darren Aronofsky.

The second production day for the promo video took place months later and was more pre planned. We watched a screening of the finished short film with the Director Natalie Abrahami and star Juliet Stevenson, then they chatted on camera about the genesis of the project and the filmmaking process.

Mayday is part of Young Vic Shorts, a program of short film created with the Guardian in response to each Young Vic main house stage production. Read our blog post on the use of short film in digital storytelling for theatre.

Get in touch with marliese@impactvideoproduction.co.uk to talk about your a behind the scenes video production.

Impact Video Arts Show Reel

We wanted our Arts show reel to speak about the breadth of video work we do while shining a spotlight on the dramatic and the cinematic.

The creative license afforded when scripting and shooting this type of content is what spurs our passion for film-making. Long term relationships with theatre companies like Clean Break and The Young Vic Theatre allow us to experiment in this genre and stay at the forefront of the industry while not costing the earth as a production company. At Impact we work simultaneously in video production and online video advertising, which means we are always in touch with what type of content is and isn’t successful. Below the video is a list of clients whose work is included in the Arts show reel. Thanks to all our wonderful clients and thank you for watching!

Young Vic Theatre, The Roundhouse, Clean Break, Mahogany Opera Group, Imperial War Museum, Menier Chocolate Factory, Sound and Music, The Courtauld Gallery

Screenshot from interactive video

The Rise of Interactive Video

Interactive Video (IV) will become relevant to anyone creating or using online video.

IV is the next dimension to traditional linear video. Viewers can influence the content and narrative of a video using touch, gestures, voice or clicks. The viewer is presented with on-screen options at various junctures within the video and have the ability to shape their own experience. Forrester sums up the evolution of interactive video.

“Turning video from a lean-back to a lean-forward interactive experience redefines what is possible with the medium.”

WHERE IS INTERACTIVE VIDEO BEING USED?

The format has been successfully pioneered in music videos – one of the biggest success stories was Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone in 2013 – but it’s gaining traction in branded entertainment, online shopping and other marketing communications. Check out these two examples, the first by Interlude for Subaru shows how interactive video can take over a narrative ad. 

subaru ad click

This second piece by Ben Sherman shows how an online shop can be integrated seamlessly into video – what they’re calling ‘shoppable video’.

ben sherman clcik

Why Content Creators are waking up to Interactive Video

IV is a customised experience where the user leads the way, meaning higher user engagement and satisfaction. At the same time advertisers are winning by gaining more actionable data based on more detailed user choices. This is a snowball effect of increasingly relevant and accurate communications from marketers to consumers. Data from recent campaigns by Rapt Media showed that, compared to linear video, viewers are more likely to re-watch an IV, more likely to click on it, and less likely to drop off (completion rates of 90%).

How do I create interactive videos?

There are a number of slick hosting and production platforms for creating IV, from free setups like Popcorn Maker to $1000 per project and hosting from Interlude.com. It’s common for the big players to offer a full service from creative concept to aligning your website with their video player. These guys are doing everything they can to remove the barriers to adoption like costly site building and new production methods. Indeed, interactive video still demands much more from its creators than linear video. Anthony Mullen at Forrester advises:

“Treat interactive video as a microsite and use it across the whole customer life cycle. Interactive video can be a container for any media on the Web and, as a result, requires a more diverse team than the standard content marketing personnel.”

Why Isn’t Interactive Video Everywhere yet?

The share-ability and compatibility of IV platforms has been a focus of developers and the fact that YouTube and Vimeo do not offer these kinds of creation tools won’t be a problem for long. However, the cost of hosting and build on top of video production costs will be enough of a preventative for some. There are also some buffering issues on mobile for such a heavy bandwidth format. Finally, IV is a novelty at the moment, hence repeat views and high audience retention, but if every second video we come across online is interactive, that 90% retention rate could diminish quickly.

If these issues are resolved, IV offers undeniable opportunities for marketers to deliver more tailored and relevant content to their customers. The ability to interact with a mandatory pre-roll ad could drastically improve engagement.

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