Who’s Who On A Corporate Video Shoot
When watching a well-produced video, most people are not generally aware of how much work is involved in the process. They don’t see the lights, camera, and the crew hustling behind-the-scenes. This is good, or otherwise, the story and message of the video would be lost.
If it’s your first time planning a corporate video shoot, you might be surprised that it takes a lot of people with specific skills and a lot of planning to make a great business marketing or corporate video.
Before you begin working with a professional video production company, it would be helpful for you to understand the different roles that various crew members play in the overall production. While it’s important to let the professionals do their jobs (you’ve hired experts, don’t make the mistake of micro-managing them) you need to be educated about the process to make sure the project meets your needs. After all, this is a video about YOUR business!
Understanding video production methods will help in communication between you and the production team. Creative differences and personality clashes are common, and most can be sorted out early on. Unfortunately, many creative differences and personality clashes are born from simple miscommunication.
To help alleviate this, your video production team should make every effort to include you in the process and inform you of all the elements that are necessary for a successful video shoot. In turn, you need to educate yourself in the production process and have realistic goals, which tend to be determined by budget and time. You need to realize that a corporate video shoot is not a Hollywood film shoot. The equipment may be the same or similar, and the skills of the crew will be equivalent, but sometimes people will be expected to wear more than one hat.
Below are the 3 phases of a video shoot and descriptions of the primary crew:
The 3 Phases of Video Production
Every good video production company knows that the secret to a great video shoot is meticulous planning. Proper planning and pre-production will ensure a smooth shoot with a fast and seamless edit down the road. This is where you schedule your shoot days, rehearse, location scout, coordinate schedules, obtain permits, and write your script. You don’t want to skimp on the pre-production phase.
The production phase comes with its own set of challenges.
The Director will largely run the show in this phase, making creative and logistical decisions regarding the cast and crew and making sure all the footage required for post-production is captured, on time and on budget.
Because of the volume of work that goes into pre-production and production, post-production gets pushed aside in people’s minds, almost as an afterthought. This is a huge mistake. Experienced professionals know the importance of post-production. Even though it is often the most difficult phase, it is also the most rewarding. It’s when everything comes together.
Understanding the various roles people play when it comes down to producing a marketing video for your business is a good idea if you want to ensure a smooth collaboration between your corporation and video production company. There are many people involved in the pre-production, production, and post-production phases: Director, Script-Writer, Location Scout, Gaffer, Grip, Best Boy/Best Girl, Continuity Supervisor, Video Editor, and Sound Editor.
The Director will be with you through all the phases of the video as the creative lead. It is your job as a company representative to be clear on your goals. You should have a handle on the audience you want to target, and to explicitly communicate your branding with the Director. The Director will turn this marketing message into an exceptional story.
A well thought-out script is your map and battle strategy. A script is more than just copy, dialogue, and scene descriptions. A good scriptwriter will capture your vision while crafting a shooting plan that makes sense to the crew and the talent. After the script is finalized, a proper storyboard can be created.
Your location scout figures out where the video shoot is going to take place. This might be in a studio or on location. Your video shoot may require multiple locations, and each will require permits and planning for logistics.
Director of Photography (DP)
This person designs the lighting and helps the director choose lenses and framing to make sure the Director’s vision is achieved. Sometimes the DP also operates the camera if there is not a separate camera operator.
The Gaffer, sometimes called the Lighting Technician, is the head electrician and one of the DP’s essential crew members. This is the person responsible for executing the lighting on set. The Gaffer is well-versed in all lighting equipment and is critical in figuring out power needs.
The Key Grip is the DP’s other essential crew member. The Key Grip’s duties include shaping the light, rigging, and providing and constructing camera support equipment.
This equipment can be pretty heavy-duty and includes tripods, dollies, cranes, jibs, tracks, and rigs. Depending on the complexity of your shoot, the Grip’s job can be quite involved.
Best Boy/Best Girl
The Gaffer and Grip might each have their own assistants.
These assistants are known as the Best Boy/Girl Electric, and Best Boy/Girl Grip, respectively.
The Continuity Supervisor (also known as a Script Supervisor) makes sure that the appearances of the set and actors/cast look consistent shot-by-shot.
For instance, a cast member's hair should be parted the same way throughout a scene in every shot. The level of water in their drinking glass should be the same. The lighting should also be the same, even if it took a whole day to shoot a scene, especially where the natural lighting might have changed.
Without a good continuity person on set, you run the risk of having your video look fragmented and inconsistent shot-by-shot, which can be distracting and leave your audience feeling like your video is amateurish.
Video Editor and Sound Editor
The Video Editor runs the show in the post-production phase. To be clear, they still have to answer to the Director and the Client.
There are rough cut editors who assemble the footage together, online editors who will do the fine editing and tweaking, special effects editors who will create animations and special transitions, and audio editors who handle dialogue, music and sound effects. Depending on the complexity of the project, sometimes all these various editing jobs are done by different people, or sometimes they are more or less done by the same person, with or without the help of an Assistant Editor.