Video pre-production

Video Pre-Production - Preparing to succeed

In 2010 a large format printing company was engaged to print a banner that would be a record breaker, and we were on hand to cover the story. One of the challenges of producing a PR-related video – a case study rather than a ‘corporate video’ – was to tell the whole story and arm the audience with the facts, whilst keeping the running time manageable. In consultation with the client, we decided to split the video into a Who, What, Why, How approach, and work to keep the script as short as possible, including pre-shooting a description of events that had not yet occurred. The artist whose image was appearing in the banner is US-based, so to get his input we asked him to record a voiceover and send us an audio file. This was combined with images of his work that he chose. The technical challenges were explained on- and off-camera by the print team, in conjunction with shots of the print and manufacture process as it happened. This necessitated being able to go to the client’s premises at 12 hours notice. The key element from the perspective of getting the most exposure for the video was to leverage the press coverage of the banner's handover in Brussels. This meant that the final stage of the project had to be turned round overnight, so that when the story hit the press, the client’s website was primed with footage of the project and keyword optimized to get the most traffic.

The Final Mile

Due to budget constraints, it was not possible for the client to hire us to travel to the handover, so they elected to film the final stage themselves. From a professional’s perspective, I knew that trying to marry handycam footage with the remaining parts of the film that I had shot was risky. This was a one-shot deal. I gave the client coaching on how to use his camera and what shots we needed to try to tell the story. We then needed to prove the technical ‘critical path’ i.e. would his footage import and transcode successfully onto my edit suite, and how quickly? I took my laptop to the client’s premises and we shot a quick test, then uploaded it to the edit suite onsite. With the handover looming, the final filming was done, and the video was assembled, with a gap left in the final section which was to be filled with the handover footage. The client filmed the handover, drove back to England that afternoon, came to my studio at 7pm and we uploaded the footage and incorporated it into the material already shot. The film was encoded overnight, sent to the client in the morning and it was on their website by lunchtime, enabling them to leverage the project's press coverage to promote their business in a timely fashion. Without the video pre-production - storyboarding, planning and testing, not to mention working out of hours, the opportunity would have been lost. Oh, and they broke a World Record.