Thou Shalt Be Prepared Before Shooting a Business Video
I would like to call your attention to a business video I found by accident: http://www.dssimonvlogviews.com/?p=64. You can really learn a lot from watching this – not about PR, but about video production. However, the lesson is along the line of how not to make a business video.
If you can’t make it through that entire clip, I’ll spare you the pain and provide a few pointers on what to consider when shooting a business video.
1. Use a high quality camera. Shaky hand-held cameras are okay if you’re chasing the Blair Witch, but it doesn’t work in a business production. Likewise, make sure you have the best quality camera available. If you should decide to distribute your production on DVD, it will look superior if it was shot with an HD camera instead of a cheapo digital job.
2. Use professionals behind the camera. Spend a few extra dollars on a professional videographer and a professional video editor (that person could be one and the same). Someone who shoots videos for a living will know how to properly light a set, position the people on camera, and make sure the sound quality is pristine. Likewise, a professional editor will create a work that flows smoothly and doesn’t resemble a Jack the Ripper-worthy slash job.
3. Look your best on camera. Remember, this is a business video. Dress like you are attending a trade conference at the White House, not a pasta supper at the local VFW hall. And spend a few extra bucks on a better-than-decent haircut – after all, you want to look like a business leader, not a refugee from a Fellini comedy.
4. Work on your voice before you reach the microphone. This is essential for anyone who plans to do a great deal of public speaking. Make the effort to learn how to use your voice effectively – this may require working with a voice coach, a public speaking class or an acting class. Not everyone can sound like James Earl Jones or Judi Dench, but few people will be impressed if you come across sounding like a whiny little girl.
5. If you aren’t saying anything special, don’t make the video. We have YouTube and Google Video to feed our hunger for stupid, pointless and incomprehensible videos – you don’t need to add to the collection.
Lots of great advice here and I, too have seen many painful business videos. I completely agree about the use of professional videographers and editors. I think there IS a place for less strict production values, like the man-on-the-street interview or the humorous piece, but this is neither of those.
I would mention, though, that it is not only unnecessary but often problematic to film in HD for use on the web. While the HD source file is sharper, web video is much lower resolution so none of the HD quality will remain by the time the video gets to YouTube or your blog, and most online video services balk when you attempt to upload or stream HD. Even if your video is going to end up on DVD, the number of HD-capable video players in conference rooms is so minimal as to not justify the added cost of an HD cam or the larger file size (and therefore transfer size) of HD video.
The HD discussion will not be relevant until monitors and graphics cards are able to make the format affordable and "standard" enough that the extra bandwidth would be worth it. Currently though, there have been many advances in full screen flash video and also interactive video, I believe this is where the medium is headed in the immediate future.
As for the above video and your issue with boring corporate video; is it really a problem? Who cares? The audience will not stick around or return for more, no one looking at it will contact this person for services and lastly when it's that bad I think the darwinistic nature of the web will weed out this crap. The good thing about online work is that the good will bury the bad. Granted, there's no room for more of this junk, but I think the market and it's own terrible quality will bury it for us.