Factory doesn’t look good on Video

Q: Our plant doesn’t look very good and I need a corporate video that looks stylish and impressive

What can we do?

Marketing Manager
Distiller
Central London

A: New factories for old? That’s what we’re asking here. How can we get a new looking factory out of our current old one, using a corporate video?

All video, including corporate video is always an illusion. But a special kind of illusion that we call a Credible Illusion.

To create a credible illusion out of a perfectly serviceable but old-looking plant, I’d consider the following four measures as essential.

They are:

> Lighting

> Steadicam

> Extras

> Pre & Post Production

Taking these one at a time:

Lighting

The tendency in factory shoots is to use minimal lighting as 13 amp power supplies and electricians for lights are time-consuming and awkward to arrange. And even more time is required for setting up lighting in difficult or relatively inaccessible plant locations, especially the all-important back lighting, which can make a location look moody, bright, hi tech, mysterious or whatever shade you and the director decide.

But in a competitive tender for a corporate DVD, if price is paramount then the first thing to go is decent lighting ( we hear … our camera can shoot in low light and saves masses of time)

Steadicam

Steadicam is a gyroscopically mounted camera on a harness that a specialised camera operator wears. It allows smooth moving shots that make any set look great. The flowing motion that Steadicam creates is used in every movie, and most TV shows. But in corporate video it notches up the price, and in the face of a competitive tender, it tends to get forgotten (we hear … rock steady my shoulder, sir … and any jerkiness makes it look more live)

Extras

By extras we mean professional actors in non-speaking parts.

Once it’s recognised that people are required in shots to give them a lift, add humanity, to operate a machine, or otherwise breathe life to a relatively still factory, then extras are the obvious choice. Good extras look exactly appropriate on camera, improving the look without stealing the show. And they’re not expensive.

But it’s a fact that many people prefer to use their own staff, feeling that it’s more real and it’s cheaper - no matter how wooden the camera-inexperienced staff may look.

Pre- and Post production

Pre-production means paying for extra time so the director can recce the plant and discover:

> Good areas that will look great on camera

> Useful areas that will need advance consideration (where to place lights, Steadicam etc)

> Poor areas which usually need a clean-up or a lick of fresh paint

Pay a director to plan all these things in advance, and you’ll get a far better looking end result.

After the shoot is over, post-production allows the use of video colour and light effects to artificially improve the look of locations.

The editor will decide these post production effects. And a skilled editor can make a huge difference to the look and feel of a programme, elevating a dull dusty plant to something to be proud of.

But unless in the first place the shots are well-lit, with interesting motion, using appealing characters and smartened-up locations, there’s only so much that the editor can do.

So really it’s for customers - buyers of corporate video - to look at what’s being offered in tenders and examine the detail closely.

> Is a tender all concept and show, with little concern for practicality?

> Is a tender cheap and omitting many of the necessities, as mentioned above

> Does the tender admit to the challenge of a factory shoot, and show practical steps to produce great video from a not-so-great plant?

The choice is yours.

But it is possible to make your factory look good on video.

Here's further information about factory video production

Later this week we'll explore more ideas in this vein, so stay tuned
© Studio Rossiter 2007

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