Last week I posted on the explosion of online video and how video can be incorporated into your traditional PR campaigns. In the post, I listed a number of “tips” for shooting your first video interview, and preparing company spokespersons and subject matter experts for what oftentimes, is their first foray into video. As a natural extension to that post, I thought I would check in with Ogilvy PR’s Moving Media Group–broadcast arm of our Creative Studio that concepts and creates TV Commercials, Radio, PSAs, B-roll, and Industrial products for both broadcast and non-broadcast purposes–to see if they had any additional guidelines for creating video. Here’s what I found:
Interview & Content Management Basic Guidelines
The following is a guide to use before, during and after creating content for videos, films and interviews on camera.
- Be prepared. Do your homework on the person you intend to have on camera. This will help you initiate a conversation to help them relax. This is especially important when talking to “real people.” Also do your homework on the subject/subjects you will cover.
- Know your usage - how this collateral will ultimately be used. It is very important that you obtain a signed ‘model release’ form from each participant you plan to use. This will be absolutely necessary for any of the footage you shoot to be used in a finished piece. Additionally, any stock footage or images that you intend to use must also be licensed specifically for the purposes of distribution.
- Remember you are not the star of the production. This will help you be a good listener so you can be fully engaged with the person or subject in front of the camera.
- When you begin filming, have your subject state their name and position as it relates to the content/story of the piece. This will help you to keep track and identify your subjects later in the editing process.
- If you ask a question and don’t get what you need, ask it again. If you need the interviewee to lead in to their response, then say, “please say The first time I saw a sunrise, I…“ so you will not only get the desired response, but it will help in editing the footage later.
- Take notes during the filming. Mark a phrase, gesture, or response that you think is a good one. You can indicate it with a star or some other mark that is easy for you and others (an editor, for example) to read. This is also helpful in case you failed to get what you need. You can go back to the question or subject much easier if you take notes and cover it again. And make a note of that, too.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Is it noisy? Is it too colorful? Not colorful enough? Is it relevant to your content/story? Sound can be challenging especially when shooting with Flip cameras, iPods, and mobile phones. You should do a sound check with your filming device before you start shooting, so you have an idea of what you are dealing with. Remember, the camera does not lie.
- What is the final outlet for your video, film or interview? How will most people be watching it? On their mobile device? On their laptop? On their desktop? On the TV? On all of them? Think it through and shoot for the lowest or smallest format. That way, you’ll have all your bases covered.
- If you are not getting what you need-the person is giving one word answers, is a low talker, cannot focus, keeps looking into the camera and not at you-then don’t try to pull it out of them. Shoot their hand gestures while they talk. Shoot the environment you are in. Tell your subject, “That’s great. We have what we need from you. Thank you for your time.” This way you can move on to something else and not keep shooting footage that cannot be used. If you shoot one hour of footage, it means you’ll be downloading one hour of footage for the editing of content.
- Label your work clearly. Name of project, location, name of people you interview, indicate the date and the length. This will help the editor and you. It is efficient and effective-which can save you time and money.
If there is a common thread between the tips that I listed in my previous post and the guidelines provided here, it’s that preparation means the difference between having a strong video product that portrays your client in the most favorable light, and having hours of unusable footage. By taking the time and doing your homework up front, you’ll be well prepared to handle the myriad issues that will indefinitely spring up during the video shoot.