Filming an Awards Ceremony
Earlier on this month we were filming an awards ceremony at Battersea Evolution in the heart of London’s beautiful Battersea Park. The M&IT Awards were organised by Meetings & Incentive Travel magazine and celebrated the very best of those from within the business meetings and travel industry – including airlines, hotels, conference centres and those providing specialist services to the industry – both in the UK and overseas.
The awards consist of 19 main categories, plus a special award celebrating the M&IT Personality of the Year. What makes these awards even more credible and extremely valuable to the participants is that they are voted on by the customers of the nominees and independently verified.
Filming an awards ceremony can come in various guises, but in this instance our brief was to produce a short video diary which captured the essence and excitement of the event. Whilst serving as a memento for the organisers and participants, the main purpose for the film is to show potential sponsors just how glamorous and spectacular the evening is, highlight the profile of the entrants and help convince new sponsors that it’s an event which they should associate their brand with. Whilst they are never short of organisations wishing to enter the awards, the film should also demonstrate the value of winning an award and ultimately help them to continue to attract the very best entrants within the industry.
In addition to the main video diary, we also filmed short interviews with the winners of each of the main categories as they came off the stage. These interviews were editing together with the winner’s stage presentation and packaged as standalone films which the winners could purchase from M&IT to use as publicity tools and further promote their success in the awards.
The Challenges in Filming an Awards Ceremony
With nearly 1,300 attendees at the event, and various entertainment features taking place throughout the evening, the main challenge was in ensuring we obtained adequate coverage in order to tell the story and show the event off in the best light. During the reception period and up until the first presentations we were running three DSLR cameras. Light levels were very low during the drinks reception so DLSRs were the obvious choice.
During the main presentation we had one camera position front of stage operated by Dilip Patel – from which he was recording on three separate cameras. The main camera was our JVC GY-HM650 which was used as the main follow-action camera for the stage presentations. The second was a Canon 5DMkII capturing a stage wide shot. The third camera was a JVC Action camera looking back at the audience to capture reaction shots and red carpet walk-ups.
The JVC was recording ambient sound from its internal microphone plus a front-of-house mix from the staging company’s mixing desk back stage – fed to the camera via our Sony UWP-D11 radio mic system. The AV company was running several radio mics on stage so during set-up we worked with them to set our system to a frequency which wouldn’t interfere with them and gave us perfect sound – even though we were transmitting through the stage to our camera position which was about 50 meters away.
Back stage we had a black drape studio set up which the winners were directed to once they’d been presented on stage. The main camera here was another Canon 5DMkII with a Canon 550D used to capture a “dirty-two” of the set just in case I needed a cutaway at the editing stage (it turned out to be a godsend!). Live sound here was recorded using a boom directional mic connected to our Tascam DR-60 recorder which fed back into the 5D for synchronised sound. A safety back-up was also recorded on the Tascam in dual mode giving us an additional two levels of recording just in case there was any peaks in the main mix.
The costs and benefits of Filming an Awards Ceremony
There’s no standard rate card for filming an awards ceremony because each commission will vary according to our clients requirements and the resources needed to achieve it. However, for a simple one-camera shoot this could be as little as £1,000 for a single-camera 1-day shoot and 1-day edit. Whilst this is feasible, more extensive coverage from multiple cameras will give you a much more comprehensive result and is more likely to represent the event more accurately.
The benefits are manifold, but the main reason companies choose to invest in having the event filmed is to use it to promote future events and attract sponsorships and entrants. Whilst still photographs are great for organisers and winners alike, recording the event on film is far more engaging and useful.
If you are thinking about filming an awards ceremony, and would like to talk through the various levels of service we can provide, please give us a call on 020 3602 3356.