Posts Tagged ‘script’

Why Clients Should Be On-Set During a Video Production

Monday, June 20th, 2011

MonitorIn my years as a video director, I have worked with clients who want to be on set to monitor and supervise the shoot. I have also worked with clients who prefer not to be on location. They take a more hands-off approach. I certainly appreciate the level of trust I earn with my clients, because that trust gives them a good measure of comfort. They can feel confident when they turn the video production over to me. However, there are definite benefits to having the client on set throughout the production process.

  1. Familiarity – If the client has been the only person to interact with the on-camera talent up to the point of production, having the client on set will give the talent a familiar person with whom he/she has already made a connection. And when the talent sees someone familiar, this will make him/her more comfortable. And when the talent is comfortable, he/she will be more natural on camera. This is especially true when working with non-professional talent.
  2. Plan B – Let’s be honest. Sometimes things don’t go quite as planned during a video shoot, and the director needs to be prepared. When the on-camera interview just isn’t going well, or when certain set-ups are cut from the shot list due to last-minute changes to the location, it’s good to have the client on location. The client can stay up to speed on everything that’s happening and offer up suggestions to the director as to what needs to happen next. After all, the video director is working for the client. The two parties can put their heads together to come up with a viable Plan B when the shoot starts to fall short of pre-production expectations.
  3. Instant Feedback – When the director yells “cut,” he/she can immediately check with the client to ensure that everything being captured meets with the client’s approval. If the individual being interviewed needs to answer in a slightly different way to clarify the context of the subject, then the client can say so. If there’s another question or two that the director didn’t think about, the client can step in and ask it. If there’s a tiny detail that shouldn’t be in the script, the client can omit it before the on-camera spokesperson continues. The video production company may take the lead in developing a concept for the project, but it’s the client that has a more in-depth knowledge of the company, the brand, the product/service, and all the little things that can make a big difference.

Video directors never need to shy away from the thought of having the client on set. The two parties compliment each other and work in tandem toward one common goal.

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One Way to Avoid Costly Re-shoots

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

IMG_5641BI understand that with almost every video production, the client and producer must strike a balance between scheduling enough time for adequate coverage while staying within budget. Although consolidating certain aspects of the production (i.e. the number of locations, the number of people appearing on camera, etc.) can help improve efficiency, taking it to an extreme can compromise the final video.

The video production companies that I know of (including ours) offer half-day (usually up to five hours) and full-day (up to 10 hours) rates. The production budget can be reduced by blocking off one half-day rather than one full day to shoot everything on the shot list, but dong so isn’t always the most prudent approach. The shot list may look rather short when reading it on paper, but in actuality can take much longer to complete.

Often when shooting corporate videos, it will become necessary to feature certain company representatives in the video. They may have a prepared script that they plan to deliver directly into camera. On paper, this looks simple: off-load the gear, set up, light, rehearse, and shoot. Let’s say you have four to six different people who must read from a prepared script, then shoot b-roll. It can be tempting to schedule a single, half-day for this shoot, but it’s important to consider a few things:

  1. Down Time - Since the on-camera talent is not professional, but rather, actual employees of the company, there may be times when they can’t make it to the location on time. Other things might pop up at the last minute that they are forced to deal with. This means you might be set up, ready to shoot, but have to wait until the company rep is available.
  2. Multiple Takes - Even professional actors need a few takes to get the delivery just right. This is especially true with non-professional talent. As mentioned in item #1, company employees have important day-to-day duties. It can be difficult for them to take the time to memorize the script. Don’t assume that they will have everything down before walking in front of the camera. They might need a few extra takes, and even some extra breaks if something comes up that they must tend to.
  3. Revisions – Sometimes the words of a script may not sound as eloquent as you thought they would when the talent starts reading it aloud. Or, certain facts and/or claims within the script may be inaccurate. In either situation, rewrites will probably be necessary, and that means additional time tacked on to your shooting day.

That single, half-day can quickly be used up, leaving you precious little time to capture everything else on the shot list. And once you start rushing through production, the overall quality of the footage will suffer. It would be wise to carefully consider the above points and go ahead and budget for a full-day, even when you think you can squeeze everything into a half-day. Better to prepare for the full day rather than be faced with costly re-shoots, or a video that doesn’t live up to your standards.

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We Do Radio Too

Thursday, April 28th, 2011
A physician performs a routine checkup on a pa...

Image via Wikipedia

Although we specialize in video production and website design, every so often we have the opportunity to branch out into other media as well. Take, for example, this case study from last year:

Southeast Urgent Care is a small, family medical clinic in Fultondale, AL. They approached us to see if we could work with them to write and produce a thirty-second radio commercial to advertise their grand opening on July 12, 2010. We had less than two weeks to conceptualize, write, produce, and deliver two radio spots to meet their deadline. Southeast Urgent Care prides itself on respecting the time of each patient, so we wrote a script focused on the idea that Dr. Paul Roberts doesn’t want the patient in his waiting room. He wants each patient back in the exam room as quickly as possible. A professional talent introduces the spot, followed by Dr. Roberts who provides information about the grand opening.

Click the link below to listen to the spot.

Waiting Room Expert_Grand Opening

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How to Write Effective Copy for a Website or Video

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Photo by Dan Hodgett

You want potential customers to buy from you and you want existing customers to come back for more. If you want to reach your target audience, you need to speak to them in terms they will understand. I’ve seen far too many websites and watched too many corporate videos that either use a lot of vague language or technical jargon. This often leaves a potential customer confused and they leave the website, or finish watching the video, without learning any answers to their questions. If you want to communicate effectively with your target market, the copy on your website and the script for your video needs to be…

  1. CONVERSATIONAL – Write as if you were meeting with your audience one-on-one.
  2. CLEAR – Avoid vague terminology that doesn’t specifically state your core values, mission, identity and services. Avoid generic, cliched words, like “synergy.”
  3. CONCISE – When someone visits a website, he/she doesn’t want to read a book. They will scan the content. They won’t read everything thoroughly. Hit the highlights. When you are writing a script for your video, write sparingly. Let the visuals do the talking for you.
  4. COMPREHENSIBLE – Make sure the benefits of your company’s services are well-defined. Tell potential customers why doing business with you will be a valuable experience for them. If you work for an accounting firm and you perform business valuations, don’t simply tell your audience that you can do business valuations. Tell them how that service affects them. Tell them why it’s important that they use a business valuation service. Tell them when they would need it.

When someone first lands on your website or watches your video, he/she should be able to grasp the basic information about your business quickly. Remember, there’s nothing more valuable than time. If you can hook a potential customer with engaging content, he or she will spend more time with your brand. And the more time they spend with you, the more likely they will be to buy from you.

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When Video Directors and Clients Have Different Working Styles

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

img_5638b2In my experiences as a video producer and director, I have learned that clients can fall under two extremes: On one end of the spectrum are clients who are heavily involved in every stage of the process.  On the other end of the spectrum are the clients who take a “hands off” approach. They approve the creative strategy and then let the production company produce the video. Then, they will come back in during the editing process to give notes. And, of course, there are clients who will fall somewhere in the middle.

Ultimately, it’s your responsibility as a producer/director to give the client what they want. You need to recognize their particular work habits and learn to adapt accordingly. But if you are faced with a client who prefers a “hands off” approach it can be difficult to determine if you are on the right track. You could be faced with a big problem if you have already shot all of your footage and invested a lot of time in the edit only to discover that your client didn’t like the way you shot a particular scene. Or they might not like the wording of the script in a particular section. Or they might not like the look of a certain location. However, there are things that both the client and the video director can do to avoid costly re-shoots or extra time in the editing suite.

Directors, don’t ignore the client while on set. If you see that they are standing off by themselves, encourage them to come over and take a look at each shot before you start filming. Ask them if the lighting, framing, blocking, etc. is what they had in mind. Before moving on to another scene, ask the client if there is any other shot that they need before wrapping the gear. Clients, make sure that someone from your team is on location to supervise the shoot. Don’t be afraid to look over the director’s shoulder. Ask questions. Be honest about what you would like to see. Make sure that the footage you are getting is the footage you want. Better to have the footage and not need it, than need it and not have it.

Ultimately, a video production is a collaborative process, so both parties should respect each other and listen to any creative input. The client and the production company both want to produce the best video possible. And that’s some common ground from which to start.

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