The University of Greenwich asked us to create a film to bring their new brand to life. As a result, I had my first experience working on a video production from start to finish, and it was nothing like I thought it would be.
What did we do?
For this film we wanted to move away from the monotonous university promo videos that feature drone shots and scripted voice overs. We decided to capture spontaneous interviews with staff, students and alumni in a beautiful way, which created a collection of emotionally moving footage. We ended up with enough stunning footage to power the marketing material and social media posts for the foreseeable future.
Golden Rules to Keep in Mind
My first experience of a full video production taught me many things that I had never even considered before. Based on this experience, I have compiled a top 10 list of things that you should keep in mind when planning and executing a film shoot, or video production:
- Planning is key
The more you plan in advance, the less is likely to go wrong on the day. There is no such thing as being “too detailed”. Everything needs to be planned and written on to a call sheet (see next point). From car parking spaces, to set times, to interviewee background details, everything needs to be planned and documented.
- Call sheets are everything
Call sheets contain all the information you will ever need during video production. It is essential that even the tiniest details are recorded, such as where the videographers parking space is, and that every stakeholder receives a final call sheet the day before the start of production (at the latest).
- Be spontaneous!
How can you be spontaneous, when I’ve just told you that everything needs to be planned in advance? Well, sometimes, an opportunity to film something you weren’t planning on comes up, and you need to have the flexibility to go out of your way and deviate from the set plan.
- Be open-minded
You don’t always know who the “star” is going to be. People you are filming might surprise you with how they come across on camera. Therefore, no matter what impression you have of somebody, you need to remain open-minded about their potential.
- Be prepared to wait
Filming takes time. Scenes need to be reshot, lighting needs to be adjusted, people don’t turn up on time. Learn to be patient.
- Be ready to get going at a moment’s notice
Whilst you spend a lot of your day waiting, once a scene is ready to shoot, you need to be focussed and switched on. The next few minutes will be intense, and everybody will be extremely focussed.
- Be confident and friendly
Not everybody likes being in front of a camera. It can make people nervous, anxious, or even scared. You need to make sure that they relax and feel comfortable in whatever environment you decide to put them in. This will ensure that people enjoy the experience more, which consequently will lead to better results for the final film.
- Make sure the videographer is happy
The videographer might be one of the most important people on the day of shooting. He, or she, needs to be wherever you need them to be, on time, with all their equipment, and with a clear brief of what you want. It doesn’t hurt to make friends with them either. That way they might forgive you if you forget to tell them where to park their car…
- Ensure a steady supply of tea and coffee (and chocolate)
Filming starts bright and early and can end late. Everybody will get tired, so you need to make sure that teas and coffees are always readily available, even if it means running to the nearest coffee shop to place an order for the entire team.
- Capture the spirit
Films can convey emotional messages much more powerfully than written text, or still images. Therefore it is important to really come to grips with what the message is that you want the film to convey, and then look for ways to bring this message across in the most dramatic, yet subtle way.
The experience of being on a real film set was a fantastic. The amount of work and detail that goes into a film shoot definitely surprised me. Having gone through the experience, I can completely see why it is necessary. For now, the hard work from our side has finished and we have handed over the reigns to the film editor. We could not be more excited to see the final cut, and we are planning to share the film on our website with you very soon!