It doesn’t take much for the éclat team to get a tad over excited at the prospect of a new project, especially one that involves running around with a video camera and being a little creative.
Having recently overhauled and re-launched our website, it meant that we got to produce some new video content of our own for the site. Here at éclat we have a slightly different business model to other PR agencies in the cyber security sector. We’re focussed on delivering PR campaigns that deliver real results to our clients, and in order to put our money where our mouths are, we have a Payment-By-Results approach to PR.
This isn’t always an easy concept for some people to understand, so instead of writing all about it we decided to tell everyone instead. After all, we all prefer watching a video vs. reading a Word doc – right?
We have all been trained in HD video production and the process that goes behind the creation of a short three-minute video. So how did we create our own video?
- What are we trying to say? – There is nothing like starting with the basics. As with anything, you can’t start a project without working out what you want your end result and takeaway message to be. We usually like to start this process with a team brainstorm (and some accompanying pizza to fuel the creative juices) and have an open forum where all team members can throw around keywords and concepts.
- Scripting and storyboarding – This is probably the part that we spent the most time on. We knew the final video had to be between 2 ½ – 3 minutes long, and we had a lot that we wanted to say. Having sat down and outlined what key shots we wanted, what cutaways/stock shots we were going to film, and which members of the team we were going to turn into stars with a piece to camera, we then set about writing the script. Armed with a pen, paper and stopwatch, it was crucial that we timed to the second what was being said so that we didn’t overrun our allocated time. Script writing is not an easy skill – it isn’t just about the timing, but about the sentence construction, tone and flow of the carefully chosen words. We then married the script up with our shot list to ensure that we had the images to match our copy.
- Filming – Once we had smartened ourselves up a bit, brushed our hair and ensured that our make-up was all blended in correctly (this one wasn’t just for the females in the office), it was time to get the camera rolling. Using our storyboard, we could capture all of our group shots and cutaways fairly easily. One key tip during this process though is to think about what is going on in the background. No-one wants to see a bin, a selection of used coffee mugs or our ‘Firemen of 2017’ calendar. Remove any extraneous background clutter from the shot. Also think about the framing when it comes to people delivering pieces to camera. Don’t stare straight into the camera, have a background that is interesting, but not too cluttered and, if the subject has a habit for using their hands a lot to tell a story, then either zoom in so it isn’t too obvious or ask them to refrain from too much movement. This will save a lot of time when you are sitting in the editing suite and need to slice and dice the video, without making it look disjointed.
- Sound – Don’t rely on the sound from the camera itself. We’d always recommend using an additional, external microphone and sound equipment that delivers a clean and crisp audio, with none of the background noise that the camera would pick up. Another key tip – make sure the microphone wire is out of shot. We did have to re-shoot one element as when we watched the footage back all you could see, when you noticed it, was a wire hanging down the side, which was incredibly distracting.
- Learning Lines – Now this gets a special shout-out as, despite us having written the script ourselves, it appeared that for some of us, learning lines was not our forte. For most videos, it would be a more natural conversation or Q&A session so there would be no need to learn anything. However, as we had four different team members doing pieces to camera and we didn’t want to repeat ourselves, lines had to be learnt. We did attempt to use some cue cards as an aid, but we ended up sounding robotic and like we were reading. So, we had to do our homework and actually learn them off by heart. Even then, it proved tricky and provoked much hilarity from the whole team when sentences got jumbled and the odd expletive came out. We eventually cracked it but needless to say, I don’t think Hollywood will be calling anytime soon.
- Editing – For me, this is the fun part. We have all the puzzle pieces and now it’s time to put it all together. Sitting in our editing room and going through all the audio and video footage requires a certain level of precision and understanding of the subject matter to get the right end result. Plus, we now have some cracking outtakes which will have to make an appearance at the éclat Christmas party.
And then – VOILA! – we had a video.
To check out our brand spanking new video, giving you the low-down on our pioneering Payment-By-Results (PBR) approach, then visit our homepage or YouTube.
And don’t forget – if you are looking to create more video content for your company – whether it be a corporate video, Vlog, case study, product demo or something even funkier – then drop me a line on +44 (0) 1276 486000 or [email protected] and we’d be glad to run through our HD video production capabilities.