A whopping 70 per cent of marketers say video converts better than any other medium. If you’re yet to establish a video marketing strategy for your association, our video virtuoso Riley Morgan is here to help you on your way to cinematographic success.
Our concentration levels have sunk to a never-before-seen low. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the attention span of our species has dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds since 2000.
With the average website visitor spending 88 per cent more time on sites that have video, failing to provide polished footage of your association’s happenings is an opportunity regrettably lost in the age of click and burn.
Further to user engagement, portraying your organisation in an interesting, easy-to-digest and valuable way helps attract and retain members. But there is more to great video than the old point-and-shoot.
Stellar video content requires forethought and insight, not to mention hours of groundwork. The following recommendations are aimed at helping you reach the next level of video quality. By producing squeaky-clean, tech-savvy, content-focused video, you’ll bring your audience one click closer to having their minds blown.
When it comes to producing perfect video coverage of events and interviews, you really can’t go past this one fundamental truism: if you are not organised, your final product will suffer.
When working with technical equipment, light, sound, space and the delightful unpredictability of human beings, the chances of having everything work according to plan are fairly slim.
The most important thing you can do is start by allowing yourself enough time. Enough time for equipment failure, enough time for bad weather, enough time for sick, lost or MIA interviewees. Enough time for hassles, basically. The more time you have to prepare, back up and reschedule, the more likely your video will turn out sparkling.
Having enough time to prepare feeds into every other rule for video best practice, too. Did we mention that you should make sure you have enough time? Four to six weeks is the ballpark minimum when scheduling the preparation, operation and editing processes involved in creating quality video coverage of an event or industry conference.
Know your location
Organising your location depends a lot on what you want to achieve in your video. Do you want to create general coverage of an event, with a focus on attendee response? Do you want to focus on a particular angle of the event, including substantial interviews of headline speakers?
The main thing to get right regarding your location is that there is a reliable place to perform interviews, where you will be able to hear and see your subject, and that the background resonates with your audience in some way.
When covering an event, you will usually be confined to the building or grounds within which the event is taking place. But this is no excuse not to scope out potential spots for ad-hoc interviews, rooms that can facilitate lighting arrangements for prepared interviews, as well as other aspects of the venue that could add colour to your video.
Location also influences your lighting arrangements. It’s best to know in advance as to whether you will have natural or artificial lighting available and if you need to bring along lights for interviews. When filming, be sure not to blind the camera with direct sunlight. Similarly, relying on artificial lighting alone can let down the tone of your video. Take the extra few minutes to get the lighting right and you will save yourself a lot of disappointment post-shoot.
Sound is your gatekeeper
The tricky thing about sound is that it’s nigh impossible to edit if it turns out rubbish. You’ve got what you took away from the event or interview and, apart from syncing and cutting, not a lot can be changed without expensive expertise and complicated equipment.
If your interviewee gets drowned out by background noise, speaks loudly or softly, or moves around enough to drag their lapel mic across their jewellery or tie, you’re not going to have a lot to work with.
Sound is one of the hardest things to get right. Capturing decent audio requires the right equipment, patience and an ear for detail. In fact, because we believe that sound is so important, we are going to dot-point our tips to tackling flawless audio frequencies.
- For interviews, always use a lapel mic – it keeps your subject’s voice clear and makes sound a easier to edit
- Sound check everything – ask a practice question, or film for a minute or two in every new location, and play back to pick up on unworkable background noise that isn’t noticeable to your naked ear
- Do your best to keep your interviewee still – moving their head away from their lapel mic causes inconsistency and fuzzy, static-like mic sounds
- Wherever possible, back up your audio footage by using both a lapel mic and a handheld mic – two is always better than one
- Remember: bad sound equals bad video, and, in some cases, no video at all
Content is crucial
The secret to engaging content is to discover something new to offer your audience. Although this sounds like luck, there are a few things you can do to uncover hidden pockets of content gold.
At events or conferences, focus on getting interview time with guest speakers who have a different perspective – the regular hoard of attendees will usually say the same thing as they often have the same background.
Try not to send interviewees the exact questions before you interview them. Most interviewees will practice their spiel, word-for-word, and as a result most of what they say will be lacklustre or robotic.
Loosen up nervous subjects by letting them know you’re turning the camera on a few minutes before starting the interview. Crack a few jokes. Some of this extra footage can prove useful when editing.
It’s a good idea to scope out the talent before putting them in front of the camera. You want to interview people who are lively and happy to share, especially if the interview footage is a major feature of your video.
Your interview questions should reveal new information. People get bored of old news quickly. Natural reactions and answers are ‘golden’ – not only do they often spark ideas for new angles, but also they encourage audiences to stay focused on your video for longer.
Finally, do not be scared of asking your interviewee to rehash one of their answers at the end of the interview. It’s best not to interrupt them mid answer, as stop-start conversation makes editing difficult and disrupts the discovery of conversational treasures.
Flexibility is particularly important when producing video coverage of an event or conference. Aside from filming organised interviews and the stock standard footage of guest speakers, award winners and promoters, you will also need to collect some ‘colour’ shots to bring the video together.
Events and conferences are fluid, often lots of fun, and contribute to the professional lives of lots of different people.
In order to represent this on film, it is important to be able to take ad-hoc shots of aspects that catch your eye, as they catch your eye. The time in between scheduled speakers and interviews is when you need to be most attentive. This is when opportunities to create a truly engaging piece of video start to surface.
Taking advantage of down time includes, but is certainly not limited to, approaching attendees for commentary, filming attendees interacting naturally around the event, collecting footage of unique scenery and gathering stylised shots of expo or event features. It’s your chance to get creative.
Taking two, or more, cameras can help create more flexibility. Not only does it allow for the collection of twice the amount of footage during downtime, it also enables you to take double-angle footage during interviewees. Having a camera to the front and a camera to the side of your subject creates more depth, and gives you options when it comes time to edit.
At the end of the day, what you take away with you from the event is all you’re left with, so you may as well capture as much of the action as possible.
Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to creating video so good, Spielberg will be queueing up to give you a big, fat high five.
Four things to remember when crafting your next video
The extent of your preparation will determine the quality of the final product
Four to six weeks is the bare minimum when scheduling for preparation and planning, production and editing.
Geographical familiarity is paramount
Get to know the landscape you’re working with. After all, the event’s surroundings are just as important as the delegates.
When you decide on a spot to conduct your interviews, ask yourself the following questions:
- What’s the lighting like? Is there enough natural light? If not, do I have access to equipment that can brighten up the shot?
- Is my light-source blinding the camera? If it is, be sure to re-angle the shot so as to have the light shining onto your subject, not into your lens.
- Is the space quiet enough to pick up the talent’s voice? Here’s where your lapel mic will come in handy – it will keep your subject’s voice clear and ultimately make the editing process much easier.
- Is my subject wearing a tie? Jewellery? Is their hair draping over their shoulders? Make sure your subject’s outfit doesn’t make contact with the lapel during the interview.
- Have I run a sound check? Ask a practice question and play it back to check on the quality of the recording – your equipment will pick up on unworkable background noise that your naked ear may not have noticed
“So, you come here often?”
Don’t ask your subject common or obvious questions. Rather, engage in a conversation. The quality of your interaction will, again, come down to your preparation. If you’ve locked in interviews with guest speakers or well-known industry authorities, do your research beforehand to try and uncover angles that may not have been explored in other content pieces.
Got a nervous subject on your hands? Loosen them up by letting them know that the camera will start rolling a few minutes prior to the official interview. Crack a joke. A really bad one – in our experience, we find terrible jokes to be excellent ice breakers.
Bad weather, reschedulings and cancellations, technical hiccups, and the general inconsistencies of human behaviour all make for a sometimes frustrating and potentially disastrous filming experience. Make flexibility your best friend throughout the production process and you’ll more than likely find yourself in surprisingly fortuitous and delightfully unexpected situations. After all, the fluidity of large-scale events demands a certain degree of ad-hoc behaviour on the part of yourself, your team and the event’s delegates.