The video production industry and the creative sector as a whole have taken a beating during the Covid-19 pandemic. As we all recover from the economic inactivity of lockdown and face the ‘new normal’, it could be easy to think that professional video production would need to stop for the foreseeable future. This may be true for certain types of production, but it doesn’t apply to all. For sectors that are recovering, there is still a demand for video content that needs to be met, providing that safety takes priority.
If you’re a marketer and are stuck for ideas on how to continue making video content for your organization during these challenging times, here are some examples of projects where clients and I were able to continue working in a safe manner.
- Virtual tour of Hurstpierpoint College, with MCN Productions
MCN Productions were recently asked to create a tour video for new and prospective students who are not currently able to attend Hurst in person. This project combined new footage (shot in an almost empty school) with archive footage from past projects. For the shoot itself, the minimal crew was used and the sound was captured using a boom pole and audio recorder, which was independent of the camera operator.
The footage was delivered to me to edit from home (where most of my editing takes place). This involved me delivering 99 separate personalized introductions from the headteacher to each prospective student and separate boys and girls versions to introduce their heads of houses, as appropriate. A script had been provided by the school, taking care to ensure that the majority of the video was the same for each version. This made it feel more personalized but without creating too much additional work, so it stayed within budget.
Take a look and I think you’ll agree that this is the next best thing to visiting what looks like a fantastic school.
- Socially distanced filming for a socially distanced escape room, with The Business Creative
For this project, Brighton based agency The Business Creative were making an escape room for the tourism industry, of which instead of using a live actor for the host, players would receive their instructions from pre recorded material on a tablet. This involved filming an actor in front of a green screen, replacing it with a suitable background and adding visual effects and sound design in post production.
Keying out green screen to a high standard requires both technical prowess and space, and in order to carry this out safely a large part of their office was cleared to ensure there was sufficient space between the green screen, actor, myself and the client. Audio was captured using a mic on a stand, one that didn’t involve attaching anything to the actor’s clothes. Finally, editing was completed, once again, in the safety of my own home, with edits uploaded privately to Vimeo for client review.
- Screen capture and remote voice over recording, with Oralift
After previously shooting and editing some instructional videos for users of Oralift, a product designed to reduce the effects of facial ageing, the founders decided they needed to promote a new feature in their app, a photo comparison tool.
Because filming could not be carried out at their premises, as had been done previously, we organized a Zoom chat to discuss an alternative way of obtaining the material. We decided the best way would be to record a screen capture of the tool in use within the app and match this to a voiceover. Normally, a voiceover would have been recorded on location with a professional quality microphone and recorder and ideally, in an acoustically treated room. As we couldn’t do this, an employee, using their phone, recorded a voice over remotely. All I needed was access to the app and instructions on what to capture, followed by adding a bit of sparkle in the edit, including adding music, transitions, and graphics.
On this occasion the content had to take priority over the production value (which resulted in a quicker turnaround), however, we agreed to re-record the voice over in the future to match the existing content, once things return to normal. The visuals themselves remained high quality and weren’t too different from what we would’ve done in normal times anyway.
All businesses need to adapt in times like these, and this is a great example of that.
- Subtitling phone footage for social platforms, with Aspiring Solicitors
Aspiring Solicitors help candidates from underrepresented groups secure training contracts at some of the biggest commercial law firms in the world. With their target audience being predominantly students and postgraduates, social platforms have been integral to their video marketing. In response to the cancellation of their UK events, they started turning many of them into virtual events. To promote them, AS Alumni were asked to record short 30 second videos at home on their phones, explaining why they thought candidates should register for the events, along with how AS helped them to land training contracts at their dream firms. Filming on a phone is never ideal for professional marketing material, but in these challenging times it has become more accepted and a temporary substitute for professional filming. I instructed AS on how to brief their contributors to get suitable, consistent footage. Once captured, they were then sent to me to subtitle. Not only has subtitling opened up their content to those who are hard of hearing, but also to the ever-growing number of social media users who watch videos with the sound off! Square versions of each video were also delivered, as below, for optimizing on Instagram.