Video Production Tips

Making a Corporate Video

If this is your first time managing the process of commissioning, developing and producing a corporate video on behalf of your company or a client, there’s some simple guiding principles that will help you succeed in making the most of your budget and time, and help you deliver a marketing video or corporate communication video that connects with customers and gets results.

What is a corporate video? We get involved in a range of video projects from internal training videos and corporate communications to event videos, explainer videos, videos specifically for social media to ‘thought leadership’ interview videos and customer case studies.

In the interests of keeping this article simple we’ll limit ourselves a bit by assuming you’re looking to produce what we’d call an ‘about us’ or ‘home page’ video. This is something that’s going to introduce visitors to your website, your YouTube or other social channels or even your event stand to your products, services or company.

We’re a video production company with over ten years of experience so we’ve gone through this process more than a few times. Here’s six priceless (and free) tips to get you started and help you produce a great video.

1. Who is your audience and what are the objectives?

It’s essential to understand your viewers and keep it simple and succinct.

So, first up, who is the audience for your video? It’s likely they won’t be familiar with you and, in common with most people’s behaviour online, that they’re not very patient. So how to you attract their attention? We’d say the ideal length for a video of this type is 90 seconds but even so, you have about 10 seconds to get them hooked. If you think that even the fastest talkers speak at 300 words per minute and a normal rate is more like 200, then, with pauses we have approximately 260 words to communicate what you’re about. That’s 50 less than this article so far. Ultimately, the viewers are your potential customers so ask yourself, if you had 90 seconds to pitch what would you say?

You need a clear objective and it needs to be clearly communicated. Think of it as your shop window. You want your best products and best offering out front. You can’t fit everything in so don’t try. A good video production company will guide you through this process (we’ll discuss this in more detail below) and help you decide whether the video needs to rely on your company’s heritage and expertise, new innovations, a specific product or benefit and whether it needs to make an emotional connection or make a persuasive, cognitive case.

2. Consider why potential customers are watching the video

The best videos deliver what the customer wants, just like the best businesses.

Someone’s watching your video because they want to know about you and your services in a quick and convincing way. They want to be sold to, they’re browsing and looking to make a purchase. So what do they need to know? What are the absolute basics? Steer clear of corporate speak unless you’re audience is highly specialised and your sales B2B. If it’s a product or online service you’re selling stick to the benefits and do it in an engaging way – animation can be great for simple explainer videos.

You’re looking to create an emotional resonance and a connection. PDFs are cheap and plentiful so keep the technical details and the ugly screen grabs out of the film.

3. Work with your agency to get the creative right

Your video needs to stand out and communicate what’s great about your company. Think a bit different.

Once you’ve decided what you need to say and to whom, it’s time to decide on how. While your budget may be limited, your thinking shouldn’t be. A really simple idea well executed can be incredibly powerful. Don’t get drawn into the trap of trying to do too much or as we like to call it ‘first novel syndrome’ – that irresistible urge we all feel to say everything that’s on our mind and every good idea we’ve ever had all at once. Don’t be tempted to listen to everyone in your organisation. Your potential clients are not interested in what laptops you use, your investment in health and safety programs or indeed the staff canteen.

A good production company will be able to guide and advise you in this. We understand what’s achievable in a filming day and where the budget is best allocated. We also have a very developed sense of what looks good and the interplay of visuals and information that are at the heart of any successful video project.

This first stage of the production process is all about collaboration- us getting an understanding of you and your business and you understanding the work we do. So sit round a table, get the coffee machine on and the marker pens out.

4. Know exactly what you’re doing before you start filming

Shooting video is expensive so decide what you need in advance and get it right first time.

Once the creative is broadly agreed on it’s time to put pen to paper and develop the script. This doesn’t always have to be exactly what will be said – in the instance of using interview material we tend to develop questions and draft an ideal outcome to lead the speaker in the right direction.

From that we create what we call a shooting script. In it’s simplest form this is basically two columns, one with the script/voiceover, ideal outcomes of an interview or graphic callouts, the other with the shots.

Having established what shots are possible and/or necessary we can then develop the shot list. This covers details like what we’ll film, how we’ll film it, for instance on tripod, steadicam or dolly, and what it will look like – is it a wide, medium or tight shot, a focus pull or a tilt down? This then lets us think about the equipment we’ll use for each shot – which camera, lens and other equipment like lighting and sound – and ultimately figure out the logistics of crew and equipment. Finally, we’re going to need a schedule – how long we have for filming each element and when it will happen. It’s important to note that the shots probably won’t happen in the same sequence that they appear in the film – light conditions, timing, equipment and location all dictate what is shot when.

We’d never attempt a filming day without these in place and neither should you.

Some simple rules –

  • It takes longer than you think to get equipment into a building
  • A three light two camera interviews takes at least 90 minutes (if not more) to set up and at least 30 minutes to de-rig
  • Don’t forget lunch – a crew marches on its stomach!
  • Moving between locations is complicated. Book transport and parking in advanceFinally, take care of the details. If you’re filming at your office ask some simple questions of facilities – can the desk be moved, the lights controlled, the noisy air con switched off? If you’re planning to film on location it always advisable to visit the site in advance. We can also help with issues around filming in public, aerial shots and risk assessments.

5. Be involved in the edit

After all the effort of managing this process you’ll want to see it through.

Now that you’ve done all the hard work – make sure you work with an agency who will let you sit in! It’s incredible how a good editor can make all the difference to a video, it really is as equally important as the brainstorming creative and the logistics and technique of filming in delivering the end product.

It involves shot selection, choosing the best takes from interviews, deciding what’s important and assembling and intercutting them in a way that works best. Timing and the choice of music as well as where certain shots sit can really raise the production values of a video. So stay focussed and stay involved.

Ask your agency to sit in on the assembly of the first cut. We welcome our clients being involved in the process and so should they. The editing process should also be collaborative so work with an agency who will do at least three cuts and are prepared for your comments and criticisms.

6. Think about how the video will be watched

You might need different versions, even different content for different platforms.

We all know how important social media is for any business. There are limitations on duration and size on some of the most popular platforms. However, there’s also what’s appropriate for different mediums and means of consumption – what is right for your home page isn’t necessarily right for your LinkedIn page.

This isn’t all bad news though, on the contrary, with some forethought and planning we can repurpose interview content and location filming to create additional videos. For instance, your CEO has taken two hours out of his day for a formal, two-camera interview. Your production company is there with lights, cameras and sound kit.

It’s the perfect opportunity to film additional material for short, punchy social media videos. So get the director to dive a little deeper on a couple of questions, thrown in some extra ones. A forty second clip on recruitment might work brilliantly on LinkedIn. A 60 second film on your sustainability credentials might really fly on Facebook.

I hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions about your video project, please get in touch. We’d be delighted to help.