If you’re a marketer, PR, or corporate communicator tasked with producing a filmed corporate video, at some stage you’ll be asking yourself what equipment your video crew will need to provide to ensure you get a great looking video, full of the compelling power shots that keep audiences glued to the screen.
And if you want your new corporate video to last for 3-5 years, you’ll need creative equipment to achieve an enduring look that’ll stand the test of time.
Some of you may ask if this video equipment really will make a big enough difference to your overall production. You might even ask if you even need half of it?
To put these matters to rest, here’s a list of the 16 must-have items of video equipment I believe you’ll need for your next shoot.
The must-have list will also help you understand what you need & don’t need to bring your video vision to life.
Video equipment is critical as many of the items filmed in a corporate video aren’t necessarily the most attractive, eg, beige offices, dull factories, dark warehouses, unfashionable or overweight people at work, scratched vehicles & plant, etc.
Scenes like these need a boost, or they tend to wither and die, so much so that your premises and people might as well look just like anybodies!
Importantly, the following list doesn’t include every video gadget under the sun, only the gadgets that deliver the high impact images you’ll need to impress your audience.
I call these high impact images Power Shots.
Now here’s the rub: As a marketer, you probably spend ages expertly picking through still images for your websites, designs, pdfs, brochures, brand presentations, etc. Yet when it comes to a promotional video shoot you’re likely to feel relatively helpless by comparison, in the hands of a video crew you’ve probably never met before, in a relatively stressful live filming situation calculated to take you out of your comfort zone, and into the arms of experts you’re obliged to blindly trust.
This list will take some of the helplessness out of the situation for you.
Why do we have video kit
Some video kit is designed to solve problems, such as taking shots in cramped spaces like a car, or the awkward corner of a room. Or recording decent sound in a noisy area, or getting rid of excess light from a window that’s spoiling the shot.
But the best video kit is designed so the corporate manager can achieve results that are filmlike and impressive enough to make a memorable impact on your audience, capable of lasting the full 3-5 year life of your new corporate video.
This is achieved through Power Shots. And the Must-Have kit list below is intended to explain the how & why of Power Shots.
You’ll also notice that a lot of the kit mentioned is intended to create a sense of flowing or impactful movement. This is in contrast to static tripod camera shots – or shaky handheld shots – which are often the death of a quality marketing video production.
The 16 must-have bits of video kit and why you need them
Steadicam: This is a gyroscopic handheld camera-mounted unit that lets the camera operator move, walk and shoot, without shake. Moving camera shots are the stuff of television. Everything comes to life with steadicam, compared with a static tripod type of shot. Use it – at least for some shots.
Motorised curved Glidetrack slider: This is a tripod-mounted tracking unit, a long bracket that allows the camera to slide, glide and twist to & fro while filming. It makes almost any shot look better compared to a static tripod shot. It’s a poor man’s steadicam, especially the extra-long glidetracks which generate the most movement, ie, look the best.
Portable dolly on wheels: A dolly is a piece of portable “railway track”, allowing the camera to glide along to cover a whole big scene, such as a meeting, any “big space activity”, or any lengthy shot which needs something to avoid becoming desperately dull.
Drone: Overhead shots add a lustre to any production. A trained, insured specialist drone operator can have the drone hovering at eye level just 10 feet away, capturing brilliant shots you’d never get any other way. You can use a drone this way when you’re filming in a yard or car park, or any outdoor space. Drones aren’t just for mile high overheads.
Supersoft slow motion camera: This is critical today, as supersoft slo-mo makes everything look like a ballet, with a sense of choreography. It looks great on people. Even the harshest of scenes look beautiful with supersoft slo-mo, while the best scenes just look even better. To achieve this the camera films at 120 frames per second compared to 25 or 30 fps as in ordinary video cameras. From this, the skilled video editor can set the tempo to a whole section of your video, giving superb elegant motion to scenes that might otherwise look ordinary or clunky, eg, an automated factory, or an overweight MD walking along a corridor.
4K Camera: Ultra high definition video shots are more than just delivering scintillating high quality pictures. For example, if during post production the video editor needs to zoom into a shot to reveal more detail, they can do this with 4K without getting a blurry picture. By comparison, regular 1080HD footage can’t be zoomed by the editor very easily without incurring blur.
GoPro camera: GoPros are small cameras that fit in the palm of your hand. They’re priceless for action shots, eg, on a car bumper, fork lift truck jib, or anywhere it can be mounted to catch the action. Because of its tiny size, It also makes a backup camera for filming a process or procedure from an awkward angle or tight space.
Time lapse cameras: A few time lapse cameras placed wherever there is lots of activity, human or machine, can give you an hour, day or weeks worth of footage which, when speeded up, shows activity over a long period of time, eg, at a supermarket checkout, a reception foyer area, or any area where lots of people come and go to work or play. It gives time scale to events, especially scenes where something is being constructed or built.
Portable mini Crane: A portable 15 foot crane or jib can be set up in 15 minutes to take wondrous pictures of a big indoor area such as a showroom, plant operating line, or outside delivery/warehouse yard, or indoor atrium, or premises, or any large space that needs filming. It gives real scale for making big pictures.
Kool lights: These are large, studio sized, flat, portable LED lights that are don’t emit heat, so they’re ideal for illuminating interview subjects without frying the interviewee and making their brows sweat. Must have.
Light baton: This is a handy portable lighting unit, like a Star Wars light sabre, intended for scenes that need a bit of extra light to give it some presence, and relieve the tedium of flat-looking unlit shots. It’s great for on-the-spot interviews or any shot that quickly needs a visual lift. It works equally in brightening dark corners of a warehouse.
Teleprompt: A prompt or autocue enables subjects (such as your CXO) to focus on their delivery instead of trying to remember lines. With a teleprompt it’s easy to have repeated go’s at getting the perfect speech delivery, without tiring or annoying your VIP subject.
Green screen: This lets you merge or dub people onto interesting backgrounds. It’s used everywhere in movies. In corporate work it’s perfect for interviews, such as dubbing your CXO over a live shots or animated graphics.
Remote clip microphone: This should be a given for any shoot with interviews. Remote mics let the subject walk about while they’re being interviewed, if you like this kind of shot.
Black fabric: A piece of black sheet sounds like nothing much, until you’ve got a window spilling in daylight that spoils the shot. Pin up a black sheet over the window and hey presto, the light problem is gone.
2 cameras: When interviewing, a second camera can do brilliant side or oblique shots that the editor can cut into the interview and so make the subject look so much more “international, leaderlike, and significant”.
How do you know if your crew have enough equipment
The storyboard will detail the key Power Shots, referencing whether glidetrack slider, steadicam, crane and suchlike are required.
If your storyboard doesn’t pay much attention to equipment, then ask why.
You need to know you’re getting a professional crew and not just hiring a talented kid with a rented camera. Having the kit shows they know what they’re doing, and are prepared for difficult situations, eg, too much light from a window, or a reflective floor, or needing to squeeze into a tight corner to get a great view.
The video equipment your crew use also needs to be small and portable, as there’s no room for a giant circus on set. Equipment needs to be small, portable, clinical and precise, and preferably run off batteries.
If you need a kit piece for a special shot it may be worth hiring in, such as a drone and operator with a licence. But ideally your video crew should already include almost everything you’ll need.
To make your new corporate video production last for 3-5 years, it has to look impressive or it’ll quickly become outdated or even embarrassing.
The 16 must-have bits of kit are the keys to obtaining great video shots that will last, that you’ll be proud of.