Corporate Video Production for Internal and External Communications


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A Short History of Corporate Video

In the 80s and early 90s video was widely acknowledged as the best way to deliver training; promote a product or service. It is entertaining, highly effective and requires little effort from the viewer. It was also ‘cool’. Then in the late 90s came the Dot Com Boom – This new and exciting technology meant that everyone had to have a website or a CD-Rom. Suddenly video tapes were seen as old fashioned.

Corporate Video Production Today

But things are changing again. Today, the widespread uptake of broadband, and ever more sophisticated encoding and data compression mean that video can be delivered at excellent quality to a large number of viewers at little cost. Video no longer means a black plastic tape – it has merged with digital media – with affordable ‘Hollywood studio’ quality MPEG encoding, advances in webstreaming and the ubiquity of the DVD, screen-based media can be delivered in many ways:

  • CD-ROM (small amount of video on a small screen size) with text.

  • DVD – lots of video in smaller sections with interactivity such as menus and downloadable documents.

  • Webstreaming – the high quality video on websites today proves how viable this cost-effective distribution method is for delivering your MD’s message, your customer testimonials or your promotional video - and it gives your website personality.

  • Video-mail – video embedded in an email sent straight to your client’s inbox means you’re not relying on your time-poor target audience to open a tape or CD case and put a tape/CD into a machine to watch your programme.

  • Retail TV – many shopping centres, pub chains and supermarket chains have their own in-house screens.

  • Call Centres/office receptions – A video jukebox system can show your promotional video as a key client arrives – or educate call centre staff from their desk.

  • Billboards, PDAs, Pen Drives, iPods, PSP and 3G Mobiles - your production company can encode video for almost any delivery format - how do you want to reach your audience?

    So How do You go About Commissioning Corporate Video, Film or DVD For Your Company?

    For the purposes of this article, let’s assume your corporate video production project will include video production as well as graphical/multimedia content.

    It’s important to sit down with a production company and discuss your requirements in detail rather than just emailing a brief to several companies to get comparative quotes. There are subtleties about your company that cannot be understood from an emailed brief such as preferred terminology, your company culture, your personality and your working environment. Try to establish a rapport with your chosen company. Video is very labour intensive and you will need to work together to get the most from your investment.

    Before you meet them, you should think about these questions:

    1. What is the Purpose or Aim of the Project?

    Do you want to:

  • sell your product?

  • promote your service?

  • inform/train your staff?

  • demonstrate how to do something?

  • motivate your staff?

  • reassure your staff?

  • change people’s minds?

  • create brand awareness?

  • attract attention to your exhibition stand?

    What results do you want to see?

    2 Who is Your Target Audience

  • are they your customers?

  • are they your staff?

  • what age are they?

  • what gender are they?

  • what motivates them?

  • what is their level of knowledge?

  • do they have preconceptions?

    Your production company needs to have the same understanding of your audience as you.

    3. How Will the Presentation Be Viewed?

    On a big screen:

  • at a conference

  • exhibition

  • training session

  • in a retail park

    At home:

  • on a VHS player

  • on a DVD player

  • on a computer on CD / DVD / streamed on the web

    In the office:

  • on a VHS player

  • on a DVD player

  • on a computer on CD / DVD / streamed on the web / on a company intranet

    If you have an understanding of your target audience you will know the answers to these questions.

    For example:

  • A recruitment video for home workers would be viewed on VHS and on DVD

  • A training video for an office-based company would be best viewed on CD-ROM or streamed to viewers’ desktops

    Downloadable documents can be included on CDs and DVDs to use as a reference.

    4. How Long Should the Programme Be?

    This has less of an impact on the cost than most people imagine. A production cannot be quoted for in terms of £X per minute – as a professional producer I have produced a 5 minute programme with a budget of £ 100,000+ and a 20 minute programme for £ 9,000. (To find out what does affect the budget see Section no. 6)

    Clients often say they need a 15-20 minute corporate video. This is a long duration for a corporate video. Think about a TV programme like Coronation street – this lasts around 23 minutes once you discount the time for adverts – and a lot happens in that time!

    Then, think of the adverts themselves – a huge amount of information is communicated in 30 seconds.

    Whilst a producer will pride themselves on making entertaining programmes, it is important to bear in mind that people do not watch corporate videos for entertainment! I would recommend aiming for the following durations:

  • Informative video - 10 to 12 minutes max.

  • Promotional video – aim for 5 minutes max.

    Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule.

    5. Do You Have a Style in Mind?

    If you don’t – great! This gives your production company free reign to let their imaginations run wild.

    If you do – then let them know! The most successful projects are always collaborations between client and production company

    When you imagine the programme, what programme on TV is it most like? Casualty, Big Brother, Watchdog?

    A production company should offer ideas of style in their proposal but if you already have a picture in mind, it helps if you communicate this at the start. Style can be restricted by budget – for example, a drama requires actors and props, a presenter-led studio programme requires a presenter and the hire of a studio, on top of the director and camera crew.

    6. So How Much Does a Video Cost?

    There are many variables in production.

    The number of locations that need to be filmed in, number of cameras, tape format, number of interviewees, presenters, actors, props, studio fees, etc. and the delivery format (VHS, DVD, CD, webstreaming, conference). So it is very difficult to give a ballpark figure. A video can cost between £9,000 and £100,000+

    If you give a production company a budget, they will be able to put together an appropriate proposal and quotation (and won’t include suggestions of using celebrity presenters and voiceovers or Hollywood style special effects if this doesn't suit your budget!)

    All quotations should be itemised so you can see exactly where your money is being invested. If your budget is limited – here are some of the best ways to reduce production costs:

  • To get the best pictures, we prefer to shoot on broadcast quality film, HD (NOT HDV) betacam SP or digibeta tape. However, this can be expensive and if the presentation is not for a big screen or for DVD, then you can consider DVCam, HDV or Mini DV.

  • Reducing the number of locations you want to film in can reduce the number of days spent on a shoot. This in turn reduces the crew hire fees for camera, sound, director and PA.

  • Longer shoots and certain styles of programme can create more footage to go through and edit. To stick to a budget, try and film in locations which are local to each other so that more than one can be filmed on the same day.

  • Choose an appropriate style of programme. For example, if you need to film staff progress over time, consider using video diaries that they can do themselves.

  • Do you already own good quality footage that could be repurposed?

  • If possible, avoid costly location and studio fees by filming at your own premises – but be aware that video requires quiet, space for lights and crew and can cause some disruption to a normal day's work.

  • Use staff rather than actors – but don’t get them to act! Only get them to do what they do every day.

    7. How long do you want the project to be used for?

    If the project is to last for over a year, decisions should be made at this stage to give a project longevity.

    For example:

  • Do you need to include this year's sales figures?

  • Do you need to include a shot of your latest monthly catalogue?

  • Do you need to say ‘new’ office in Slough?

    8. What is your timescale?

    When do you need the project? If you require copies for a conference or exhibition, the production will need to be completed at least 2 weeks before the event so that copies can be printed and packaged. Make sure your production company knows the deadline – and tell them if it moves!

    As a guide, a project will take :

  • a week to script

  • a week for preproduction – organising locations and actors

  • a week for filming

  • a week for logging and editing to produce a rough-cut off-line version for approval

  • an on-line finished version will then be created from your list of amendments

  • a further 2 weeks for duplication/replication Your programme can be produced in 4 to 5 weeks.

    It can of course be done quicker – but your investment is better spent if time and care is taken on it. Quality control and testing cannot be rushed, it can only be bypassed - and that means a lower quality product.

    Your production company should not take on a project if they feel that they will not have the time to produce a programme that everyone can be proud of. So - the sooner you get in touch with a production company, the better!

    Visit the uk corporate video production team at iceni productions for more information and examples of recent projects for public and private sector clients.

    this article copyright 2006 - You may not copy, reproduce, republish, download, post, broadcast, transmit or otherwise use any of this article content in any way except for your own personal and non-commercial use. You also agree not to adapt, alter or create a derivative work from any of the article content except for your own personal, non-commercial use. Any other use of the Website content requires the prior written permission of iceni Productions, a uk corporate video production company .

  • (1997)

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