Guide to Video Production 2 – Storyboard/Scripting

Lay out the video in a paper document in the order you expect it to run.  The best way to do this is to create a document in table form with 2 columns and multiple rows.  This will allow you to use one column for the narrative content i.e. what is going to be said, and the second column contains details on the visual content i.e. what it is to be filmed.  Use a separate row for each set up.  This will allow you to cut and paste the document around easily as the project develops.

We’ve never worked with a script yet that has remained in the same order throughout so having the script in table form is a great tip.

To start with this can be very rough to get the flow, with detail being added once the skeleton is formed.

The film should have a beginning, middle and end with each section required to deliver a separate part of the message.  Avoid jumping around too much as this can confuse the message.   Don’t worry about the precise order too much to start with, just write it all down.  You can move things around later, but be sure to finalise the order as far as you can before you shoot.  This ensures you film the right bits and in the right quantities so you don’t waste time filming loads of material that has little chance of ending up in the final film.

Circulate this document with your stakeholders and absorb their comments. If necessary obtain their sign off that the document is a fair reflection of what the content is to be.  It’s a common situation for people to forget what they’ve asked for along the way, so having sign off avoids awkward conversations later.

Interview planning

If you’re including interviews in your film then think about what you want the interviewee to say and design a list of short questions that draw out the right points.  Interviews are a great way to hear the story straight from the horse’s mouth and if you’re filming your company it allows the faces of the organisation to be seen.  It’s common practice for the interviewer not to be seen or heard in the final video.  If the duration is only 3 minutes, why waste screen time with questions?  Ensure the questions are short, that they can’t be answered with Yes or No and that each question tackles just one point.

It’s a great idea to get the interviewee to recap some of the question in the answer.  This puts it in context.  For example if you were to ask “what is the weather like today” they should reply “the weather is very sunny today” rather than “it’s sunny”.  Try to avoid them saying things like “as I said earlier” or list items with numbers.  You may not use the previous items.

It’s common to interview each person for 10 to 15 minutes.  This requires editing later, but in our experience this length of interview allows short soundbites to be extracted from separate answers and joined together.

 

Next read our Blog 3 of 7 – Preparing for the shoot

Want to know more? Then why not attend one of our training workshops.  For more information go to: www.howtofilm.co.uk

 

 

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Guide to Video Production 1 – Planning

Video is a powerful business communication tool.  YouTube is now the second largest search engine on the planet, and with social media utilising the power of video there has never been an easier way to show off your products or services, or deliver important messages across your organisation.

If you are using video and shooting yourself, are your videos turning out the way you expect them to be?  Are you able to shoot and edit the right material allowing you to use the video as you intended?  Are you able to show your customers the true face of your company and reflect your company values?

If you’re not already using video as a sales, marketing, training or general communication tool then you could be losing out.  Camera and editing equipment has become more affordable over recent years.  It is now possible to film on a domestic grade camera and edit using a standard laptop computer, and have the same flexibility that complex edit suites used to have just a few years ago.

We’ve created a guide to take you through the key steps and highlight how a professional video production company would approach the project.   The aim is to help you avoid some of the main traps that people often fall into, and if you follow what we suggest then you will achieve better results.

A professional video company will always create better results than home produced material, but there are many applications where home produced material is adequate.

Just like most things, the key to a successful project is being organised and well planned.  Having a proper plan allows for deviations to take place on the day, but being organised ensures you keep the final video in mind at all times.  Video production can be a complex process and without the proper planning and execution may yield poor results, which not only use up a lot of your time, but also may have the opposite effect of what you are trying to create.

You must establish what and where you are to film, and what the messaging will be.  What do you want the viewers to do once they have viewed the video, and what is the assumed knowledge of the viewer to start with.  All of this has a bearing on how the video is created.

 Programme style

In your planning phase you should consider the visual style that is best suited to your message.  The most common basic choices are as follows:

  1. Presenter talking to camera
  2. Interviewee talking to an invisible interviewer
  3. Voice over narration
  4. Captions and text

If you opt for an in vision presenter you should choose carefully who is to appear in front of the camera.  Presenting to camera is a good way to get lots of information across but is a hard skill to acquire.

An alternative is the interview technique.  Here the on screen interviewee answers questions which are best asked by an interviewer sitting by the side of the camera.  If you choose this option ensure one question tackles just one point as there will be no interaction between the interviewer and interviewee.

You should also consider where the video is going to be used.  For example if it’s mainly for an office reception or exhibition playback, then it’s likely that the sound will be turned down.  In this case you must plan to ensure the message is still relayed some other way.  This could be floating captions and other graphics.  If the video is going to be seen by individuals online via your website, social media or YouTube, or in presentations, then the narrative can be shared by voice.

You must think about how and where all the filming is to be done.  You should think of the practicalities of the filming and whether any special permissions or authorisations are needed to allow you to film.  In some circumstances it’s a good idea to get participants to sign a release form stating they are happy for their material to be used.  Filming on the street often calls for Police permissions to be granted and some councils demand an extra payment.  So check out the implications of where you want to film.

During the planning phase, face to face meetings with interested parties are vital.  This allows the goals to be set, and expectations managed.  It’s vital that everyone who is involved in the process understands their involvement and what is expected of them.

Duration

This is a big consideration for the whole project.  The internet has changed the way that videos are viewed.  In days gone by, it was common for a corporate video to be 15 minutes or longer, taking the viewer on a journey through the company and delivering a large amount of content.  Now the viewers don’t often stay to watch anything much over 3 minutes and if the video doesn’t grab their attention straight away people switch off.  It’s better to create several short videos and allow the viewer to browse and choose what they want to watch.

You should plan your video accordingly.  From a scripting point of view 3 minutes is about 600 words or so.  As this is such a low number it’s vital that every word counts and there is no waffle or repetition.

 

Next read our Blog 2 of 7 – Storyboard/Scripting

Want to know more? Then why not attend one of our training workshops.  For more information go to:  www.howtofilm.co.uk