Tag Archives: Corporate Video

What’s this Corporate Video Production all about then?

Old school we know, but many clients still use the term ‘Corporate Video’ to describe the range of services we offer at Video Artisan.  The modern vernacular for this service is varied – but includes any video content used within your business.  This includes promotional videos, advertising films, documentaries and corporate event coverage. What ever it is you’re looking for – Video Artisan can deliver.

Furthermore, we pride ourselves on creating video content that helps our clients to grow and prosper.  We don’t just shoot and cut video – we craft something with purpose. Working closely with our clients we help them to focus on the viewer and how they should respond and react.  The video might be about selling products – but we can also create content to augment your other branding activities. It could be something more educational – or purely just creating video content for you to share online.  Maybe you want to develop a range of information films – or create a one-off company film? If you do therefore, Video Artisan has the skills and creative talents to deliver a cost-effective solution for your next video.

Business Video Production in Essex

We are based in Loughton, Essex – the spiritual home of video.  Our studios are well connected – with a local tube station, the M25 and a choice of two airports nearby. We can be in Central London in a flash. And let’s not forget the beautiful Epping Forest which sits just outside our door.

In addition, we offer freelance operatives on camera and for video editing.  We’ve got tons of kit with all the usual cameras, lenses and technical backup you would expect.

Producing an in-house corporate video

DIY corporate video title
Tips on DIY video for your business

Why produce your own in-house corporate video?

There’s probably a thousand reasons why you might want to create your own corporate video and, as a professional video production company, we could probably suggest a thousand reasons why you shouldn’t be doing this yourself. You’ve already come to the conclusion that you need (or want) a video to help achieve your goals. You’ll understand the power of video as a communication tool, and seen it’s meteoric rise as a means of generating website traffic, helping to build brand loyalty, delivering a corporate message and motivating an audience to act in a certain way.

Commissioning a video production has traditionally been seen as an expensive exercise and, right now, you’ll be thinking that it’s going to be cheaper and easier to do it yourself – and with all the right knowledge, kit and experience you could possibly be right. It’s the latter part of that last sentence which presents your greatest challenge. Creating a great video looks pretty easy but the reality is that you’re going to face a steep learning curve and need much more kit than you think if you want it to represent you and your business the right way.

That said you’ve probably heard all this before and are still determined to give it a go. One of the important things about the video production process is that it can be a whole lot of fun – and extremely rewarding when you create something that delivers the results you desire. So here’s some practical notes for those determined to go down this path which highlights the obstacles and challenges you will face.

Getting the message right

Regardless of whether you go down the DIY route or commission a professional video production company to create your film, the one thing you have to do is know exactly what it is you want to say and how you want your audience to react. This is all about getting your message right. To do this successfully you’ll need to know your subject matter inside out, understand the needs and desire of your audience and have the mechanisms in place to allow them to do the thing you want them to do after watching your film. This could simply be buying your product from a website or retailer, registering to attend an event or understand how to use a product. The video might actually require your audience to do nothing other than to establish your product or brand as the market leader.

Once you know your message you’ll need to develop your script – never losing sight of what you are trying to motivate your audience to do. Do not waste a second on anything which deviates from this plan or is added purely to massage your own ego. You might well be the biggest widget maker in the world but unless you can get this information over in a way in which your audience can recognise this as a benefit to them then don’t waste their time with it. Never list features unless you can link them to benefits, and never knock your competitors.

The kit

Video cameras are everywhere these days – on phones, laptops, pads and all manner of devices. And the picture quality they can produce is increasingly impressive. Whilst there are some video production tasks these devices will be OK for, they are far from perfect and will limit what you’ll be able to create – and they will almost certainly fall very short on your expectations in recording sound.

Tiny video camera
Tiny video cameras are great – but not always perfect.

The golden rule of good audio recording (which is equally as important as the pictures) is to get your microphone as close to the subject as possible. In-built microphones found on phones are simply not good enough to capture anything other than general ambient sound – and this is also true of purpose-built video cameras with internal mics. To get perfect audio you’ll also need to understand a little about microphone characteristics and their pick-up pattern – but the golden rule mentioned above is paramount which will often mean recording sound separately from the pictures or use a camera which can accept external audio connections so that you can place the mic close to the subject and yet still film from a distance. Ideally you’ll need a selection of microphone solutions and cables to connect them to the camera.

Keeping the camera steady is also extremely important unless you are trying to create a special effect or give the audience a voyeuristic point of view of a scene. You’ll therefore need a good tripod and a camera which can easily be mounted on it.

Martin shooting at the SSDF
Keeping it steady and level on a tripod

All video cameras these days are very light sensitive, even those found on mobile phones. However, good lighting is about controlling light and creating shadows to give your subject form and interest. Just slapping up a light and pointing it in the direction of your subject is rarely going to give you results that will be pleasing on the eye and look natural. The human eye is always attracted by the brightest part of a scene, so if there are other things in a scene which are brighter than your subject your viewers’ attention will be drawn to them. If you are filming people pay particular attention to their eyes as this is what your viewer will concentrate on – so adding light to give the eyes a sparkle will help keep the viewer’s attention on them.

Video editing software is included on almost every computer or laptop these days – and all of them are capable of doing the vast majority of editing that will be found in your average corporate video. Where they fall short is on the niceties and their ability to correct errors made at the filming stage. The only other challenge of using editing programs is their complexity and ease of use. Your first few attempts at using an editing program will be spent learning how to import your footage and carry out basic cutting of shots – so give yourself plenty of time to get the editing completed.

Other refinements of a more professional editing program will include the ability to add more polished titles and graphics – and also in the control of how the final film is output and distributed. A beefier computer will also help to speed up the editing process as video files are data hungry. Some computers might not be man-enough or up-to-date enough to do the job at all!

The true cost of video production

Assuming you are starting from scratch, a basic video production toolkit will set you back something in the order of £5,000. This would include a proper video camera with external audio connections and controls, a reasonable directional microphone with cables and headphones for monitoring, a video tripod (not a photographic tripod), a couple of lights, a basic computer with free editing software and a bag full of cables and batteries. Armed with this an experienced videographer will be able to turn out something which is watchable – and if you achieve this on your first attempt you’ll have done pretty well.
But with all the best kit in the world and the technical skills to go with it, without a clear idea of the aims and objectives, and a creative way to achieve them using video, the whole exercise is unlikely to give you the results you desire. Whilst a DIY approach might save pennies on paper, bringing in a professional video production company might actually give you a much greater return on your investment.

If you’re planning to start using video on a regular basis then the DIY route could be the best solution by building an in-house team or individuals to manage the video production process. These people will need to be trained and whilst there are various video production training resources available, another solution could be to engage an established video production company to help them produce the first one or two films and perhaps be retained to assist in the process should additional help be required.

Hopefully this has given you a better idea of the challenges facing you. If it’s not dampened your enthusiasm then we wish you every success and hope that you soon start to benefit from using video within your business. If it all seems too much, we’re only a phone call away (020 3602 3356).

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Two new tracks for the Corporate Video Producer

AK159 and AK160
Two more additions to your corporate video music library

Two new tracks for the Corporate Video Producer

AKM Music have added two new albums to their extensive collection lately – ‘Leisure Lifestyles’ and ‘Cut to the Beat Vol.8’. Whilst both albums are aimed at the corporate video producer they’re both going to have an application within other production types too. You simply can’t have too much choice when it comes to your corporate video copyright-free music collection so these two will fill in where other albums fall short.

AK159 Leisure Lifestyles

AK159 Leisure Lifestyles
AK159 Leisure Lifestyles

This album contains ten tracks, each with an additional alternate mix and short version. As the name suggests these tunes are for helping to portray a more leisurely lifestyle with their cool, relaxing rhythms and easy-going beats. The album description suggests they’ll be great for corporate video producer specialising in property or location documentaries and promotional films – and I can’t argue with that. If you are producing hotel or resort promos then this is certainly one to audition and add to your collection.

1. The Perfect Accommodation 2:30
Bubbling synth sounds take us off to a warmer place – certainly warmer than the day I’m looking out of the window at right now! A medium paced track that you can imagine twinkling away under a corporate video narration telling you all about the holiday destination you’re about to experience. Track 2 & 3 are the alternative mix (2:30) and a short edit (1:20)

4. By The Pool 2:36
Slow funky sound which didn’t conjure up visions of lounging by the pool to me, but rather a cool dude striding through a 70’s fancy dress party wearing a dodgy afro wig, moustache and flared trousers. Wouldn’t sound out of place on an episode of Starsky & Hutch. Track 5 & 6 are the alternative mix (2:36) and a short edit (0:56)

7. Dressed To Impress 2:14
Get down to that that funky beat guitar again. Quite similar to the previous track though a little more purposeful and upbeat. It doesn’t go too far without another funky guitar rift so quite nice to edit to. The alternate version is a little less descriptive so might suit as a corporate video underscore better. Track 8 & 9 are the alternative mix (2:14) and a short edit (0:45)

10. Immaculate Design 2:18
We whiz forward a few decades with this track with a more contemporary slant to the funky medium tempo sound of previous tracks. There are more musical breaks in this track with swishy, swirling sound effects to edit to. Note the alternate mix is short this time too. Track 11 & 12 are the alternative mix (0:29) and a short edit (0:29)

13. Shape of Things To Come 3:07
Again this track has a more contemporary feel with strong drum rhythm and bass percussion driving the score along. Piano provides the main chorus with occasional orchestral stabs. There’s a strange whale-call sound sequence towards the end of the alternate mix so I reckon this would work well with a film with any link to the ocean. Track 14 & 15 are the alternative mix (3:07) and a short edit (1:06)

16. Ahead of the Curve 2:27
I’d call this one medium fast paced with a bit more of an electro beat to it – but still along the lines of a 70’s TV cop show with its funk guitar rifts. I think the alternate mix is a bit more useful this time as it’s a little more nondescript and intrusive. Track 17 & 18 are the alternative mix (2:27) and a short edit (0:25)

19. Designer Shades 2:12
A much smoother love-ballad sound to this medium-slow track. I can imagine Barry White laying his silky voice down to this. Swirling synth sounds lift it here and there mixed with another funky guitar chorus – but generally a steady tune throughout. Track 20 & 21 are the alternative mix (2:12) and a short edit (0:25)

22. Custom Build 2:37
Barry is back in the mix again as we stick with a smooth funky sound with orchestral swirls. Finding it hard not to confuse this with the previous track though – apart from the occasional break into castanets. Once again the alternate version might be a little more useful for corporate video. Track 23 & 24 are the alternative mix (2:37) and a short edit (0:34)

25. Catwalk 2:14
Out and out swing funk in a snazzy, jazzy kind of way. I feel cool just listening to this one. The reference to ‘cats’ in the title must be down to it conjuring up images of a cool cat dude striding confidently through your scene. It’s the kind of track that has you tapping your feet even though you might not want to. Track 26 & 27 are the alternative mix (2:14) and a short edit (0:43)

28. Life Imitating Art 2:30
Tubular bells meets echo-drum beat and funk guitar in this medium paced track. Once again I think the alternate score will be more useful as it’s less dominant than the main track and leans more on the tubular bells sound. Track 29 & 30 are the alternative mix (2:30) and a short edit (0:44)

 

AK160 Cut to the Beat Vol.8

AK160 Cut to the Beat Vo.8
AK160 Cut to the Beat Vo.8

It’s no wonder ‘Cut to the Beat’ has reached volume 8 as these alums will be the first ones you’ll turn to when you’re looking for something upbeat and driving on a corporate video. AK160 is a worthy addition to this range and will be ideal for corporate films, sports docs and anything where you want to create an impression of movement. Each of the six main tracks has an alternate mix and a sting – which is really handy for editing purposes.

1. Bright Light 4:22
Slow building electronic keyboard sound which builds in tempo. Flute swirls combine with electronic voice effects to give the track a very positive feel. Guitar strumming leads you on and upwards. The alternate score is upbeat from the start but is about a minute shorter. Track 2 & 3 are the alternative mix (3:19) and the sting (0:09)

4. Flyaway 4:23
Fast upbeat sound with slow keyboard passage underneath and lots of electro-pop drumbeats and edit points within it. You could imagine a night club scene with lots of fast cuts, lens flairs and erratic camera movement. It will have you reaching for the ecstasy – especially the alternative mix! Track 5 & 6 are the alternative mix (3:21) and the sting (0:15)

7. Firefly 4:11
This one is rapid – possible too much so. I found it quite difficult to listen to this one as its confusing – and that’s exactly the kind of story it will help you try and tell. I can imagine someone dashing here and there, obviously lost. There’s a hint of Blade Runner in there too and has that kind of futuristic sound to it. Track 8 & 9 are the alternative mix (2:11) and the sting (0:15)

10. Bigspace 4:20
Out and out euro club mix with swirling intro leading to heavier repetitive beat section. I almost broke out into my ‘big box little box’ dance routine listening to it. The alternate version is softer and half the length – and is a bit like the morning after the track before. Track 11 & 12 are the alternative mix (1:55) and the sting (0:11)

13. Stairs to the Galaxy 4:37
This one is upbeat again but a little more serious and urgent this time. It is very repetitive but breaks into a quiet segment halfway through which ends with a bang and back into the repetitive dance beat. Track 14 & 15 are the alternative mix (2:48) and the sting (0:12)

16. Prolever 4:08
Soft upbeat track with breaks into voice-effect sections. I can imagine the sun setting over some Ibiza beach scene listening to this one. Quite repetitive again but I guess most club-beat tracks are. There’s a swirling underscore to this which appears more prevalent in the alternative mix version. I can imagine shots of a production line in a factory working well with this. Track 17 & 18 are the alternative mix (2:48) and the sting (0:13)

 

Notes: You can preview both these albums on the AKM Music website – www.akmmusic.co.uk

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Promo Film for #Stylfile

I hinted at having a very important meeting about a promo film commission on my Facebook page a couple of weeks ago.  Sorry for the tease but I couldn’t say too much until the video was complete and out in the open.

The meeting was with none other than Tom Pellereau, winner of the 2011 series of the BBC’s Apprentice, inventor and joint owner of Stylfile with Lord Sugar.  Tom’s offices (and that of the Amshold) are just a few hundred yards from my studio in Loughton, Essex and he was just as chuffed as I was at finding each other when he needed a video production company to help with his latest promo film.

Styfile
Working for Tom Pellereau on the Stylfile promo film

When I say “promo film”, it actually ended up being utilised as one main promo film and then chopped up into several micro promo films covering each of the products in the Stylfile collection.  This includes the S-File, S-Buffer, S-Clipper, Emergency File and the S-Ped – plus the Nailcare Collection.  The above links will take you to the individual product pages and each promo film.

Stylfile Collection
The Stylfile collection of nailcare products

The entire piece also includes an introduction by Tom covering his Apprentice story and the inspiration behind these revolutionary nailcare products…

The promo film shoot

I think this is a pretty good example of what can be achieved in a couple of days (one day shoot and another to edit).  Of course this can only happen when a client has done all the preparation, worked out the story and structure – and is a darn good presenter in front of camera.  Tom did most of the takes first time – which was a real benefit in the edit.  He had also pre-produced the title sequence and selected the royalty-free music score – both of which would have added another 1/2 day or so to the edit.

The shoot was carried out in a local studio but pretty much all the lighting (apart from a back light) was supplied by Video Artisan. To keep things cool I used my Lishuai LED Lighing Kit which was greatly appreciated by Tom.  I’ve written a review on this lighting kit for DVUser magazine and will be posting it here next week.  This promo film does give you a reasonable idea of what the kit is capable though.

This isn’t the end of this story.  In a couple of weeks I’m going to be shooting another promo film for Stylfile on another brilliant new product they are adding to the collection.  Sorry – that’s still hush hush at the moment so you’ll have to wait a couple of weeks for details.

In the meantime I guess I better get myself a Stylfile collection having raved about it to everyone.  Tom really has created something quite amazing and I’m sure the promo film will help spread the word even further.

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Eiger Safety promo video goes live

After a year in the making I was really pleased to get the Eiger Safety promo video signed off last Friday.

The making of this musical-short promo video

The brief for this promo video was very simple…. Create a 3-minute video, cut to music, that visually represents the range of services and products offered by Eiger Safety – which will be used as the opening audience-settler within sales presentations.  That sounds easy enough on paper – as does most other promo video briefs – but there were a couple of unusual challenges with this job.

Firstly, the very nature of Eiger Safety’s work would mean that I’d have to film pretty much wherever they work.  Whilst I’ve never knowingly suffered from vertigo I wasn’t absolutely sure how I would handle filming under these conditions.  I knew it would be safe, but it was clear I’d have to film over the edge of some pretty impressive buildings and structures.

Working on the edge for a promo video
Working on the edge for a promo video – walking the chains at Clifton

The second challenge was picking the right locations and activities that would accurately convey what Eiger Safety do.  Whilst some of their work involves regular testing and certification of height-safety systems (such as window cleaning eye bolts, latchways, roof hand & guard rails and abseiling points), the really impressive stuff is usually one-off installations and annual inspections.  This meant we were never going to be able to shoot this in one hit but rather spread the filming out to capture a typical year of Eiger Safety’s work.

Costing the Promo Video

Whilst we had a plan of around six sites and projects that Eiger Safety MD, Paul Jaffe, wanted to include he also knew there would be other projects that would come up over the year that he would just have to have captured on film.  However, by the time we had it in the can we’d covered fourteen different locations, some of which were visited more than once.

Corporate and business-based films are never easy to cost but this one was almost impossible to give an accurate total cost from day one.  To overcome this we agreed a daily filming rate along with an understanding that each filming day would increase post production time too.  We also agreed a significant initial payment with interim invoices to be issued when needed. This worked for both of us – giving him control over the budget and keeping me in pocket whilst the project progressed.

Filming at locations all over the UK
Filming at locations all over the UK – The Eden Project

Location, location, location
One thing I have learnt over the past year is that Eiger Safety get to see things from a very different point of view – literally. There are very few people who have access to the parts on buildings that they have to access in order to do the things they do. Sometimes they are working in places that have not been accessed for many years – sometimes since the building or structure was first constructed.

Whilst we are all at the mercy of the weather, when it came to filming this project we was more reliant on good conditions than others. There were some locations where we were prohibited to work if there was strong winds or icy conditions atop the structure.  The wind conditions are especially important and as we all know these can change quite rapidly and are almost impossible to predict.  This did result in a couple of abandoned filming days – in particular the footage shot on the Clifton Suspension Bridge.  When we did actually get to film there we had a brilliant couple of days but still had to constantly check wind speeds to make sure we were operating within the bridge authority’s regulations.

Whilst Clifton Suspension Bridge was certainly the most dramatic location, some of the most spectacular views for me were those that the guys at Eiger Safety get to see almost every day.  As the regular rope access company for many of London’s top hotels, office developments and structures, they get a view of our capital city like nobody else. There were some locations where I could have spent a whole lot more time just taking it all in.

Filming over the edge at the Dorchester Hotel
Filming over the edge at the Dorchester Hotel

Feet back on solid ground

With the short musical promo video now complete I’ll be turning my attention to a longer-form documentary version based around a studio interview I’ve filmed with Paul that will give the viewer a much better understanding of what they do and the requirements of those working on rope access.  This wasn’t part of the original brief but I think it’s a story that needs to be told and maybe of interest to a much wider audience.  I hope to get this out there in the next month.

But this is definitely not the end of my video work with Paul and the guys at Eiger Safety.  There will be other must-have projects they’ll need filming in the coming years – and I’m also certain they’ll want alternate-edit versions of the video to match the needs of prospective clients.   I’m also helping them to set up a new website with a blog and vlog to capture and share the more unusual views they experience.  I’m sure this will be something that will get a good social network following from those interested in views from height.

So…. not the end – not even the beginning of the end – but perhaps the end of the beginning of my work for Eiger Safety.  A big thanks to Paul and his main men, Illya (L) and Nasco (R), for putting up with me and my numerous retakes!  Thanks chaps – it’s been a privilege working with you.

Eiger Safety
Eiger Safety – Height safety systems & services that protect lives
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Eiger Safety promotional DVD nears completion

With Oyster Card in hand and lightweight shooting kit on my back I was off to film one of the final locations of the Eiger Safety promotional DVD today.  This time I was heading towards the Hilton London Metropolitan in Edgeware Road.  Being up at the crack of dawn for a 6:45 rendezvous at Marble Arch was no fun – but at least I wasn’t suffering on my own.  Everyone on the tube at this time of the morning (and more so at this time of year) rarely look like they want to be there – so I snapped it on Instagram.

Apart from signalling the nearing of the end of this year-long promotional DVD filming schedule, the subject of the day’s shoot was vital in telling the story of Eiger Safety as we were capturing their guys performing two of their most frequently performed tasks – namely eye-bolt installation and testing.

Eye-bolts going in at the Hilton
Eye-bolts going in at the Hilton

Health & Safety regulations touch us all these days and one of the major areas is height safety systems and procedures.  Eiger Safety cover pretty much everything within this sphere.  These eye-bolts provide a safe tethering point for those working near to height hazards.  Whilst they are installed in many different locations and for different height risks, the ones I filmed today were being installed in hotel rooms to enable the staff and contractors to safely clean, inspect and maintain windows and openings.

Apart from installing thousands of these anchor points each year they all have an annual re-testing requirement too.  It was therefore important to get a fair bit of the guys doing the final test on the newly installed eye-bolts.  It might not have been as exciting as some of the other locations and activities I’ve filmed for them (Clifton Suspension Bridge was my favourite) – but nonetheless the film would be incomplete and almost pointless promotional DVD without it.

Eye bolt test
The all-important testing stage for the promotional DVD

The next location shoot will be the last (mind you – they’ve said that before) and will cover the installation of handrail systems – another huge part of Eiger Safety’s work.  These are pretty much all outside locations so I’m praying for the weather to warm up for that day.  After that it’ll be some studio work in filming an interview with the MD to use as a narrative for a longer form version I’m producing for them. This is in addition to the original brief of creating a short 3-min piece set to music that will form the opening part of a PowerPoint sales presentation.  I love it when jobs expand! : )

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