Video Process

Are you considering video as part of your marketing mix? With cameras and editing software being relatively inexpensive, it is tempting to Do-It-Yourself (DIY). But, owning a paint brush and paint does not make you a painter. I recommend leaving video production to professionals.

To get the most value from your relationship with a video professional, it’s essential that you understand the process of creating great video. So I interviewed a creative partner of ours, Chris Giles, who recently directed this video for the San Diego Green Building Council.

Creative Development
Begin the process by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Why are you creating this video?
  • How can we measure success?
  • Who is the audience? What do they think of you now? What should they think or do after watching the video?
  • Will the video be viewed online? on an HD screen in your office? projected in a theater?
  • What is the budget?
  • What is the availability of talent (people featured in the video)?
  • What is the personality of your brand and what should the tone be of the video?
  • How long should the video be?

Story Development
Just like for movies seen in theaters, it all begins with a script. The script should include:

  • dialogue direction for those interviewed on camera or those providing voice-over.
  • what graphics (logos, illustrations, captions) will appear on-screen
  • list of possible shooting locations and duration

Storyboarding brings the written script into visual form:

  • a sketch of the planned shot in column one, run time & audio notes in column two
  • get executive sign-off to help decision makers visualize the final product.

frame from storyboard

This phase is mostly about planning and scheduling the shots. Location scouting should be done with one of your designers who knows which building angles are most desirable. In addition to the visual scouting, audio scouting needs to be done. Is it a noisy location? This can be good or bad depending on your intent.

Planning of your crew: a typical shoot requires 4 people: Director, Director of Photography, Lighting, and Sound. Having a stylist for hair, make-up and wardrobe is also helpful. Designate 1 person from your firm to give feedback to the Director.

Just like when creating still photographs, you’ll need owner’s permission to photograph buildings and individual permission to photograph people. Your Director of Photography should provide the necessary forms and releases.

This phase will combine shooting projects and people. You’ll probably include existing still photos combined with video shot on location.

When filming people, semi-scripted interviews are more interesting than having someone memorize a script. Semi-scripted means you tell the person ahead of time what type of questions you’ll ask, but not the exact question. The spontaneity feels more authentic, and interesting. Start with easy questions and ramp up as the person becomes more comfortable being on-camera.

Don’t only interview firm leaders. Interviewing all levels of staff, clients, and end-users is more interesting. For example, a student talking about how her new classroom inspires her to learn is incredibly compelling.

When filming people, find a place that is both quiet to capture great sounds, and visually interesting in the background.

If there is a script that needs to communicated verbatim, it’s best to read it off camera as straight audio. Consider hiring a voice-over actor through a service like to give your video a professional sound. The voice-over can be combined with b-roll or a montage of still photos. B-roll is imagery like video, still photos, maps, graphs, or motion graphics.

This phase is where all the elements are assembled into the final product. The editor will prepare a rough cut to show you the general direction. If you’ve signed off on story boards, then there shouldn’t be any big surprises.

Music, when played softly “underneath” an interview, or narration adds emotion. You’ll need to license, or attain rights to any music used in your video.

If you are supplying the editor with existing logos or still photos or motion graphics, you’ll want to make sure they are high resolution. This means 1920px x 1080px or greater for High Definition. To maintain brand consistency, give your editor your brand style guide so they get the colors, patterns and logo usage correct.

The last phase is output which should have been decided in the beginning. You’ll want a digital master of the video that you should archive. You may also want the video to be uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo or your website.

With an investment of $5k”“$35k+ for professional quality video, you’ll need to justify this expense. By understanding the process described in this post, you’ll get the most return on your investment.

LecoursDesign is a branding and digital marketing agency helping A/E/C* firms attract clients and talent.
* A/E/C = Architecture / Engineering Construction (but you already knew that)
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