We have almost reached the end of our blog series offering advice on what to consider before you invite a camera crew to film your business, service and/or product. If you have missed any of the previous articles in the series, please take a look at the Blog page on our website www.sunfacerproductions.com/blog
In this penultimate article we will consider where you might film your video, where your finished piece will be shown and other location considerations.
Whenever we are asked to produce a video for a client, we are often invited to their office, workshop or warehouse to film their latest product or business practice in action and, nine times out of ten, this is the obvious and best place to illustrate what a company or organisation offers. However, on rare occasions, some of the chosen locations will not provide the ideal setting in which to film. A good production company will always advise on this before they bring their cameras in so please ask their opinion as to whether or not a location is appropriate for the purpose of your video.
Remember, just as with the people you choose to promote your business on camera (which we covered in our 5th instalment in this series entitled “Who?”), the locations you choose will reflect your business so consider carefully how you would like your company to be seen by your intended audience.
Below are a few, important considerations when choosing filming locations.
For interview setups in particular, a good deal of room is required to accommodate the interviewee, camera, lights, interviewer and film crew, while providing enough space behind the interviewee to give options on the background. If an interviewee is placed right beside a white wall in a small breakout room, it will cause shadow and lighting issues (as well as being a little uninteresting). Similarly, filming somebody working on a computer in a 5ft by 5ft office may not present your business at its best as it will feel claustrophobic and uncomfortable for the viewer. In general, the more space we have available for filming the better, as it allows the cameras to capture a greater variety of angles.
If you are a small business with limited space, it may be worth asking your clients or suppliers if you can utilize their larger spaces to film in, where your products and/or services can be seen in a more apt setting. In our experience, it is rare for a client to refuse such a request.
By this, I mean what will be visible behind the subject we are filming. This is relevant for both interview setups and general shots of your product/service.
Having developed an impressive hi-tech product, surely it is better to showcase that product in a clean, hi-tech environment with a tidy background and without inappropriate objects to detract from your product rather than on the corner of an oily workbench surrounded by well-used tools and dirty rags. If you’re providing cookware it’s more appropriate to see it in a kitchen setting than on the corner of an office desk. Again, consider asking your clients if you can film your products working in their locations as this will always be more impressive and relevant to your audience than a room or warehouse full of boxed product.
For interviews, think about what may be in shot behind the interviewee. Anything relevant to your business, whether it be people, workspace, product or environment that matches your product or service will always be better than blank walls, untidy noticeboards or dark, flat screen TVs in a small meeting room.
This is a huge consideration when choosing interview locations. Any extraneous sound – the noisy machine in the corner, the building site, angle grinder or road drill next door to your office, the busy road full of lorries outside the window, the laughter of colleagues in the office – will both interrupt the interview and distract the interviewee, both of which will increase the time taken to complete the interview.
Similarly, different spaces can pose other sound problems. Large, empty rooms with hard surfaces can cause excessive echo and rain on corrugated roofs can sound like wildfires.
In general, the brighter a location, the better your business will come across on screen. There are always exceptions to this, of course – i.e. if you wish to create mood relevant to the service or product you provide (mood lighting in a restaurant or bar, holistic practitioners, theatre props suppliers, etc.). The one light source that can cause issues, however, is the sun. If you are filming an interview inside, the daylight through windows should be controllable. Large, floor to ceiling windows can cause problems if the sun appears and disappears behind broken clouds as the light levels in the room will change dramatically. Blinds, or black-out options are normally best in this situation. Similarly, if you wish to film an interview in front of a window in order to see the view outside, larger, brighter lights to balance the daylight will need to be used.
I would suggest that for most businesses, well painted and decorated walls, clean machinery and tidy desks and workstations portray the best image of a company. A clean and tidy business promotes trust, organization and, in the case of engineering, construction and manufacturing, good health and safety practices.
On a couple of occasions, we have visited a company to recce filming locations, or agreed locations from photographs sent to us, only to arrive on the filming day to find scaffolding on the premises or workspaces being reorganized. This, naturally, restricts the filming we are able to do in specific areas, so it is a good idea to check whether any building, reorganizing or decorating is planned prior to agreeing a filming date.
INAPPROPRIATE, IRRELEVANT OR CONFLICTING IMAGERY
By this I mean anything that may appear in shot which goes against your company message – e.g. the swimwear calendar in the workshop or inappropriate slogan on a tee shirt, the old company logo on your colleague’s workwear, the little Christmas tree forgotten in a box in the corner that you haven’t got around to moving yet. Look out also for branding that is in conflict or competition to your business. A cameraman may spot a piece of kit that they believe would act as a good interview background, but it may be an old model you don’t wish to show on screen. Check the shot if you are unsure and advise the cameraman or director as it is much more efficient and cost effective to film it correctly on the day than to remove items in at the edit stage or pay for costly re-shoots..
Again, anything that appears onscreen will reflect your business and this includes anything in the background of a shot.
Relevant locations are essential to telling your story. If you’re promoting a new restaurant, there’s no point filming in a car park. If your company offers Military Fitness Training, there’s no point filming the interview at an office desk as neither of these provide imagery immediately relevant to your primary business. If your chosen production company does not think the locations or imagery are relevant to the purpose of your video, they should advise you of this.
It is very often the case that a business operates from more than one location – several offices, warehouses, display rooms, etc. - and, understandably, they wish to show all of their facilities in the video. On occasion agreements may also be made with your clients to film on their premises to show the product you have supplied in use in a relevant space. This is standard when filming with larger businesses, but it does affect the time it takes to film. Consideration should be given to the time it takes to travel between locations and set up the camera equipment in each. It is possible that several days filming may be required to capture the images required.
In every business there will be times when certain locations will not be available for filming – boardrooms booked out for meetings, workshops undertaking testing of a sensitive product, display spaces being redesigned or refitted. It is always best to check that spaces are available before a filming date is decided.
WHERE WILL YOUR VIDEO BE SHOWN?
This will affect, greatly, the approach you take to the production of your video. For example, if your video will be used on a display stand in a noisy exhibition hall, a long, interview led video may not be appropriate as attendees may not linger for long at the stand and the noise will distract from the interviewees’ messages. If you need a video to attract investors, or to be shown on a big screen to a large conference audience, you would, most likely, be happy to employ higher production techniques and equipment to make your business look as impressive as possible. If, on the other hand, your video is a short, internal message to your team, which will be viewed once on your intranet, you wouldn’t want to spend a huge amount of money on Hollywood production values and, indeed, an iPhone may even suffice.
It is also important to consider whether your video will be shown in different territories as, in this case, several versions may be required, or, at least, require subtitles in several languages.
Remember our mantra – “Don’t lose sight of the purpose of your video.” Discuss where the end video will be used with the production company and they will advise of the most appropriate approach to the production.
Good, established video producers have a wealth of experience filming in all environments so please ask their advice before you make your choice of locations. They will assess the locations based on what works best on screen in relation to the purpose of your video and will often spot things you may have missed and which may have the opposite effect of how you want your business to be seen by the viewer.
If you have any questions or suggestions arising from this article, please leave a comment below or get in touch via our CONTACT PAGE and we'll be happy to chat with you about any aspect of video production.