Filming an Awards Ceremony

Filming an Awards Ceremony Title
M&IT Awards – Filming an Awards Ceremony

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.

Three shots from a single camera position
Three shots from a single camera position

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 back-stage set
The back-stage set

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.

Capturing the celebrations backstage
Capturing the celebrations backstage

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.

Film industry info graphic

The movie industry is worth billions of pounds. This economy could not have been made possible without the efforts of so many people in today’s film industry.

 The people who make films today include many great art directors, set designers and stuntmen among others. It’s great to see just who’s responsible for making movies as great as they can be today.

Here is an interesting spurt of film industry trivia from Meadows Farm Studios


Customer Reference Video made easy

Customer Reference Video - Title
Something your customers can believe in

Nothing sells products and services as well as a recommendation from a previous happy customer. You only have to look at all the online tools used by retailers and traders to capture customer experiences – such as Trustpilot, Feefo, Bizrate and TrustedCompany to name but a few. And who would book a holiday these days without having a quick look at TripAdvisor? Potential customers gain a great deal of confidence in knowing others have bought from you first and had a fantastic experience.

However, all these solutions lack something – putting a ‘real’ face to the name. Commissioning a Customer Reference Video does this and a whole lot more.

Building trust with a Customer Reference Video

They say that the camera never lies – and this is true. Unless you’re watching an Oscar-winning performance from a seasoned actor then it is very hard to mislead an audience. People know how to read each other through body language (including facial expression, eye contact and gesturing) – all of which is lost within written online customer referral systems. With a Customer Reference Video you have all these tools available – enabling you to achieve a far higher level of trust from your audience in what is being said.

The most common format for a Customer Reference Video is what is called a ‘talking-head interview’. This consists of an interviewee (customer) and an off-screen interviewer. The line of action is between these two characters – and whilst the interviewee does not respond directly down the lens, the audience is still able to read their body language.

Filming customer references for BT
A typical Customer Reference Video talking-head shot

Finding suitable subjects for your Customer Reference Video

Any successful business shouldn’t have a problem in finding satisfied customers – but are they really going to be happy about saying how they feel on camera? The quick answer is… not all of them, but there will be some who would be. This could be that they just like the thought of appearing on TV, but there will also be some who stand to benefit from sharing their story. This is especially true if you trade B2B (business-to-business) as your interviewee will be gaining exposure for their own business within the interview. In fact, once produced you should be actively encouraging them to share the video.

Whilst every customer’s experience is important, there may also be the opportunity to record a Customer Reference Video with a figurehead or known personality within your sphere of interest. For instance, this could be someone known as the leading authority on the subject; or a widely celebrated artist; or an accomplished sportsman – or anyone who your audience would consider to bring additional value with their endorsement of your product or service.

Shooting and editing your Customer Reference Video

First of all it is important to know exactly what you want your customers to say and then develop a range of questions that will draw this from them in a sincere and enthusiastic way. Once you know these questions you should share them with your interviewee so they can plan their response. This doesn’t mean you can’t spring additional questions on them during the interview, but allowing them to think about their response will result in a more believable Customer Reference Video.

You should also get your interviewee to sign a release form. This is basically an agreement from them which will enable you to use the video, preferably in perpetuity, for a given purpose. These do not have to consist of lengthy legal jargon, but they do have to fairly describe what the agreement between you is. Without signed release forms, or at the very least getting them to say on-camera what they agree to, could result in you not being able to use their very valuable endorsement. (A good video production company will have a variety of suitable release form templates for you to adapt and use)

Creating the right atmosphere at the filming stage is also very important. A relaxed interviewee will give you a far more natural performance which will generate a much higher level of trust in the audience. Shooting these interviews professionally will mean the interviewee coming to terms with the glare of lights, cameras and microphones – but these are soon forgotten about once the interviewer engages with them and develops the rapport. You’ll also need to shoot some cutaway shots too – see below.

By the end of filming your interview you will probably have a lot more content than you’ll need – almost certainly far too much to be useful to release as a Customer Reference Video. At the editing stage you have the opportunity to pick out just the best bits and a skilful editor will be able to craft these into a seamless narrative. If you’ve prepared and phrased your questions correctly the story will be in there and the trick is to tell it as concisely as possible. This often means very tight cutting and pasting of passages within a reply and reordering – but never changing the meaning of the interviewee or quoting them out of context.

It can be very helpful to transcribe the whole interview and carry out what is referred to as a ‘Paper Edit’. This will allow you to set out the perfect reply in the shortest possible number of words, and then take this with you into the edit suite. This might result in many cuts in the interviewee’s response which looks very unnatural. The editor’s trick here is to cover these edits with cutaways (sometimes referred to as ‘B-Roll’ footage) of relevant images – leaving the audio from the interview in place. For instance, if the interviewee is talking about the product at that time you could show images of them using it, or unpacking it or simply just the product itself. If they are talking about their business – then maybe just a few shots of the building. This is why it is always better to shoot your interview first as you will then know what cutaway images will be needed to complete the edit.

Filming in the call centre at High Street TV
A typical location cutaway shot

The cost of producing a Customer Reference Video

Unlike other areas of video production, pricing a Customer Reference Video is relatively easy once we know locations, likely shooting durations and complexity of the edit. You could simply just refer to our Freelance Detail Sheet to work out what our costs would be. With good logistical planning and a concise set of questions you could easily shoot ten or more customer interviews in the same day. With a good paper edit to work to the editing time is greatly reduced – sometimes giving you as much as 1:2 shoot/edit ratio (1-day filming to every 2-days editing).

Hopefully now you’ll fully appreciate the value of creating a Customer Reference Video. You could of course create these in-house but, to achieve a more professional looking film that your audience will find more believable and sincere, you might find it more profitable to engage a professional video production company. If so, Video Artisan is just a telephone call away – 020 3602 3356.

Notes: If you like to see how a Customer Reference Video works, please click on the links below to view a few of the short films we’ve produced for British Telecom.

BT – Workstyle Managed Service

BT – High Street TV and Avaya IP Office

BT – N3 Mobile Health Worker

A guide to Conference Video

Conference Video Title
A quick guide to the benefits of commissioning a conference video

Thinking about a conference video?

With conference season about to kick off in earnest there will be many organisers still pondering on the thought of recording the event on video. I mean, it’s a whole lot of hassle isn’t it? Well no it isn’t actually. Producing a conference video can be the simplest of things to do and comes with range of benefits for the organisers, the speakers and the delegates – not to mention those people who were not able to attend!

A conference video can be anything from a single-camera production with basic intro/outro graphics and then shared online either publicly or privately to a selected audience – right through to a multi-camera extravaganza, with live external feeds to stage, post-event interviews with keynote speakers and so on, and so on. If your event is only weeks away your ambitions are probably going to be quite modest, but to let the opportunity of capturing something of the event slip by might be regretted. Reject having a conference video at your haste – repent at your leisure!

The benefits of commissioning a conference video

OK, at a very basic level, video is a great way to record an event for archiving or keeping a record of what has been said. It might not ever be used in any other way, but even at this level there’s great value in recording on video what we do. They are historic documents and could at some stage in the future be extremely valuable in illustrating a period in time or development of your business.

However, the real value to all concerned is to look to create a video record to be shared and used – and possibly create additional revenue for the organisers. You’ve probably invested considerable time and resources into the venue, speakers and general event management so you’ll certainly want to explore every possible revenue stream in order to make the event more profitable. Post-event conference video sales to attendees and non-attendees can be a very lucrative thing to offer. Password-protected and secure online video delivery is reasonably straight forward these days – or you could simply revert to DVD release to add more value.

Filming a Team Building Event lighting
The stage is set for another conference video

Producing a conference video might also help you to attract sponsors – certainly if their brand is going to be exposed to a broader online community. A properly indexed and tagged video hosted on YouTube or Vimeo will get to the right audience and, at the same time, help with your own search engine optimisation and online presence. You might find that a sponsor covers all the costs of production and distribution and the content is provided freely to anyone who wants to see it.

If your next event is just one of many then you’ll no doubt understand how useful a promotional video can be in selling your next event, and it doesn’t take much planning and imagination for a good video production company to have this in mind whilst shooting for a standard long-form conference video. Over time, with a number of events recorded, you could have a promotional video which reflects your history and expertise more accurately – updated periodically to keep it fresh and relevant.

For little more investment you could also consider transmitting your conference live (almost) over the internet as a webcast. In it’s most basic form there are ways to do this freely, but there’s all manner of webcasting tools available to you today to make the whole experience more interactive and audience-focussed. For instance, you could allow online delegates to post questions to speakers or panel members and engage “live”.

Conference video costs

There’s no logical way to menu-price a conference video service, but at the very basic end of the scale you could get your event professionally recorded for a few hundred pounds. In addition, tidying up the output and putting it into an online-ready format for distribution might only take a day to do – and perhaps just a little more investment post production could result in really useful promotional tool for your future events or purely to share with those involved.

If your ambitions are beyond the basic level then it’s going to take a little more effort in preparing a detailed proposal – which should also give you some further ideas on how you can start to benefit from commissioning a conference video. Either way, please contact us today if we’ve raised your interest enough to commission a conference video. Please call 020 3602 3356.

Note: Here’s a selection of case studies based on conference video and event coverage …

Case Study 1
Case Study 2
Case Study 3
Case Study 4

Commissioning a Product Launch Video

Product Launch Video title
A quick guide to the benefits of creating a product launch video

If you’ve got something to say… say it with video! This is especially true when it comes to launching new products. As video gains more and more traction as the preferred means of absorbing information over the internet, a product launch video has become the favourite communication tool for many manufacturers and marketing professionals. And it’s not just ideal for manufacturers – but also services industries, hospitality-based businesses and all manner of professional service providers. If your offering is all shiny and new then you’ll want to show it off in the best possible way.

What’s so great about a product launch video?

The overriding benefit of product launch video is that it can communicate your message, your brand identity and the key selling points of your product or service in a few minutes or less. Your client’s attention span is becoming shorter and shorter, and with so much information available to them online they are always looking for the shortest possible way to make their purchasing decisions. They say a picture can tell a thousand words, well video has at least 25 pictures every second!

A product launch video has many more advantages though. Another significant one is that video now plays a major part in search engine optimisation. If your website doesn’t include video content then it is going to rank lower than one that does. There are also some very neat tools on platforms such as YouTube that will help your product launch video to get seen – and by the right people. These include the addition of audience-pulling metadata, product and customer-focussed tags, geographical information, subtitling and embedded links. Video has become a whole lot cleverer these days, making it the perfect platform for spreading news about your new products and services.

Tom Pellereau
Tom Pellereau – a big advocate of the product launch video

Sharing and syndicating video content has also become very popular. Social media platforms have responded to this and offer various ways to help distribute a product launch video and facilitate onward sharing by users with similar likes and interests. Whilst YouTube and Vimeo are brilliant places to start sharing your content, the likes of Facebook offer additional free and paid-for promotional tools to get your video out to those who are likely to want to see it.

Apart from your own use of your product launch video, your distributors and resellers will also appreciate the benefits of this powerful promotional aid. They too will be able to share the video via their website and through their social media platforms – ensuring your product launch video reaches the furthest corners of the market. And it doesn’t have to be limited to online delivery as Blu-ray and DVD distribution, or large-screen playback at events or exhibitions, are still great ways of getting your message out.

Planning and costing your product launch video

When you launch a new product you have a very small window of opportunity to spread the news – whilst it’s still news! The time it takes to create a product launch video can be extremely short but it is better to plan this into your initial marketing activity and leave plenty of time for your video production company to come up with the best possible creative ideas on how to get your story told.

Every video production company prefers their clients to come to them with clearly defined aim and an approximate budget for achieving it. This way the video production company can limit or expand their ideas in order to provide a treatment which ticks all of your boxes. There is no useful answer a video production company can give to the question, “how much will a product launch video cost?”. Without knowing what’s involved they simply will not know the answer. So, as soon as you’ve think that a product launch video might be right for you, get in touch so you can talk through your aims and objectives in detail.

If you’re in that place now, please give us a call on 020 3602 3356.

Notes: Read the story behind the Nipper Clipper product launch video here.