7 Tips For Producing Successful Live Event Films

Looking to film a live event? You’re not alone.

In the times of Covid, making your event virtual is realistically the only way you’re going to safely reach an audience of any significant size.

But what is the best way to bring this it all together. Let’s start with the basics: 

Live event films are those that are captured in the moment and are usually non-fiction projects.

Films delivered after the event, such as a highlights package differ only in so much as there will be no post-production department on the shoot.

In this blog we will cover the seven major points which go into producing successful live event films.

Let’s dive in….

1. Broadcast destinations

It is crucial to know where your event will be seen. For example, will the event be live-streamed, broadcast over the air, or will you only want a highlights package created?

Live events often need content to include as part of the output. If this is the case, ensure you give your production company ample time to produce this content too –  this includes things like graphical overlays.

If your event is going to more than one destination at the same time, this is known as a simulcast and third party software such as Restream will be required to make this happen.

2. Itinerary

Production would welcome the event itinerary in advance as this can be helpful for avoiding any literal or figurative trip hazards. 

If your live event also features speakers, or people of note, provide production with images of the key players sourced from social media.

3. Consent

Prior to the event, it is is important that you get consent from everyone you expect to feature in your video. 

Quick Tip: When emailing details of the event, include a disclaimer that makes clear that the event wil be videoed. You might also want to feature a sign at the entrance of your event as a reminder.

3. Site recce

Prior to the event, a thorough site recce should take place. The production company will need to make detailed notes on the performance area, electrical outlets, best camera placement, venue layout, lighting setup, sound systems and venue rules. 

The production team will also require a space to stow the camera gear and set up a base of operations. If the content being filmed is required to be broadcast live, then an adequate internet connection is a must. Wired access to the internet is usually the preferred option, meaning the production base is usually set up around the access point..

4. Cameras & production equipment

Depending on the size of  the event, production can commonly survive with a minimum of three cameras. The more cameras you use, the more interesting your final film will be though so do bear that in mind, especially if your streams are going to be long.

Live broadcast typically involves some realtime editing which means you’re going to need a switch. A switch is also how you will feed preprepared graphics into your feed.

live event film

(mixing desks just keep getting smaller)

5. How about sound?

If a sound engineer and a mixing desk are available this is ideal as Production would usually take a feed directly from the desk. It is important to know in advance how many audio sources will need to be captured to ensure enough microphones are available.

For the sake of speed in the edit, it is usually a good idea to take a basic audio feed into one of the cameras too as it will allow the edit software to sync up the footage and the audio automatically rather than make it a manual effort.

6. On the day 

The production team will need to arrive early to set up and gather establishing shots which are really important for giving context to your video. Depending on the complexity of the production, it’s not inconceivable for production to arrive the day before.

7. Delivery

At Element 26, we know that getting your videos back quickly can be the difference between capitalising on an event or having it lost in the sands of time. This is why we always recommend filming live events using at least three cameras, all synced up together. If you’re video is going out live either over the air or over the internet, we also recommend recording to hard drive simultaneously. This will give you options to create an alternative edit after the fact.

At Element 26 we routinely film live events. If you require any further assistance either preparing for or shooting your live event, please do get in contact.

[This article was originally posted in September 2015 but was overhauled and updated in January 2021] 

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

Effective Video Advertising Means Being More Human (and you know it)

We live in a society obsessed with technical solutions but the answer to effective video advertising lies in something simpler. We need to be more human.

Be it tears of laughter or joy, to be ‘human’ simply means tapping into the everyday emotions which bring us together. 

Fortunately, there is an established shorthand for success: Christopher Booker’s basic story types are seven powerful narrative structures we regularly use to create meaning.

When creating early touch video content such as broadcast or online ads, it’s important to appreciate that users aren’t usually in buying mode –  in fact, you’re more likely to be interrupting them rather than something they are actively looking for.

With this in mind, so long as we accept that broadcast and online ads are usually about as welcome as a door-to-door salesman, the idea that effective video advertising demands a positive first impression quickly comes sharply into focus.

This is where the seven basic story types can really help:

1. OVERCOMING THE MONSTER:

The main character sets out to defeat an antagonistic force, which threatens the main character themselves or their homeland. 

Brand: Apple
Year: 1984
Agency: Chiat/Day

2. RAGS TO RICHES:

An unfortunate protagonist acquires things such as power, wealth, and a mate, before losing it all only to regain it all upon growing as a person. 

Brand: O2
Year: 2013
Agency: VCCP

3. THE QUEST:

The protagonist and some companions set out to get hold of an important object or to reach a location, facing many obstacles and temptations along the way.

Brand: John Lewis
Year: 2012 
Agency: Adam & Eve

4. VOYAGE AND RETURN:

The protagonist goes to a strange land and, after overcoming the threats it poses to him/her, returns with nothing but experience. 

Brand: Guinness 
Year: 1999 
Agency: AMV BBDO

5. COMEDY:

Light and humorous character with a happy or cheerful ending. 

Brand: Cadbury’s 
Year: 2007 
Agency: Fallon

6. TRAGEDY:

The protagonist falls from grace and whose death is a happy ending. 

Brand: St John’s Ambulance
Year: 2013 

7. REBIRTH:

The protagonist redeems him/herself over the course of the story. 

Brand: Sainsbury’s 
Year: 2014 
Agency: AMV BBDO

'While information may help change that emotion state, it’s the emotion that’s important, not the information'.

Geoffrey James, Inc


Customers purchase based on emotion which is why businesses must seek to be more human.

According to Paul Ekman, there are six basic emotions, Happiness, Sadness, Surprise, Fear, Disgust, Anger.

In the 1990s Paul Ekman expanded the list to include some more complex emotions including  Amusement, ContemptContentmentEmbarrassment, Excitement, Guilt, Pride In Achievement, Relief, SatisfactionSensory Pleasure and Shame.

If you’re looking to create effective video adverts why not get in touch with us for a quick chat.

[This article was originally published in April of 2015 but has been updated in January 2021]

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

Are you ready for a new kind of internet?

Online advertising is about to change – are you ready for a new kind of internet? Competing visions between Apple and Facebook mean we all need to ready ourselves for a slew of changes which will influence how we interact with content and primarily advertising online.

Apple has made it’s position clear. According to Tim Cook – tracking is bad, and privacy is not only important but central to how Apple makes decisions.

A good example would be Apple’s ‘Sign In with Apple’. Signing up to any web service using this functionality, means you have the option to withhold your email address thereby providing the user with some control over the data they share with that web service.

“We don’t think you should ever have to trade it [your personal data] for a service you think is free but actually comes at a very high cost. This is especially true now that we’re storing data about our health, our finances, and our homes on our devices.” –Kapersky

… but ‘Sign In with Apple’ was 2019’s news.

New kind of internet

Early in 2021, Apple plans to go further by enabling functionality already baked into iOS which notifies users when an app is attempting to access the users personal data.

Whilst this functionality doesn’t proclaim to target Facebook explicitly, Facebook would undoubtedly be materially impacted as the company requires significant amounts of users data in order to enable personalised advertising.

In January 2019, Apple stated that there were 1.4 billion active iOS devices in the world. That’s a huge install base. Facebook, suspect that when prompted, users would choose to disable the tracking which would thereby inhibit their ability to serve personalised advertising.

Consequently back in December of 2020, Facebook made a bold counterpoint by taking out full page ads in some of the most prominent newspapers in America to make their case. According to Facebook, small businesses around the world rely on their powerful targeting systems to advertise their products and services.

Are you ready for a new kind of internet

Facebook state that Apple’s position is not so much pro-privacy but rather anti small-business. Mark Zuckerberg and his team would be right to point out that millions of businesses around the world rely on Facebook advertising to reach their audience and have launched a website Speak Up For Small Business where they go into more details about the consequences of embracing Apple’s vision of internet privacy.

Whilst Apple haven’t directly responded to Facebook assertions, as part of iOS 14.3 they have launched what Apple compare to ‘nutritional labels’ for apps. Located within the AppStore, these labels lay bare the resources apps might access as a means of informing the user of how their data might be used.

Are you ready for a new kind of internet

How will this effect my business?

These are uncertain times in the advertising industry. Facebook seems to be fighting a war on two-fronts. Not only is it grappling with Apple on the topic of user data and privacy but it has also recently been sued by the FTC over anticompetitive practices.

Whilst nothing is going to change quickly, the FTC is pursuing a divestiture of both Instagram and WhatsApp. Given that the FTC approved these acquisitions, it is not clear how this situation will play out or what the outcome of this action will be.

Whilst Apple have taken a clear position on privacy, Facebook in response claim that small business is under attack from these measures. Rather than taking a view that this is Apple vs Small Business, it is probably more objective to view it in the context of Privacy vs Relevance. 

Most users have grown so accustomed to tailored advertising on the web, they may well decide that they are prepared to accept some form of tracking in order to see ads they are interested in.

In fact many Gen Y users will know nothing beyond personalised advertising and will likely get infuriated by exposure to irrelevant commercials.

Ultimately competition in the feed will be just as fierce as it has always been. Brands have forever had to reconsider what their competition is on the likes of Facebook. Creativity will remain an important currency in the effectiveness of your ads. The new landscape doesn’t mean targeted advertising will go away; removing them entirely risks doing more damage than good.

What do you think? Would you prefer more generic ads whilst maintaining your privacy or do you think Apple are being overbearing in taking this approach. For me, this is one of those situations where I can really see both sides of the argument.

To my mind, the important thing is choice. The user should be given the option to accept tracking or not; it shouldn’t be foisted upon them. For the brand itself, it’s vital to embrace creative storytelling. It’s been some tough times recently and as a consequence we need to be entertained. A smile can go a long way in making your brand more sticky.

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

Welcome To The Era of Covid Secure Production

Following the latest guidance from the advertising producers association (APA), we can finally resume video production after 8 weeks of agonising lockdown.

Many of the companies we have spoken with have chosen to delay production rather than look to alternative formats such as animation.

If this is you, we hear you… we’re excited this day has come.

The government have stated throughout the pandemic that it is important businesses continue where possible. That said, in many cases it is simply not possible to conduct video productions from home. Heineken’s Connections ad being a notable exception.

Going forward productions need to be Covid Secure

So, what does a Covid Secure production look like? As we set out to resume video production, i’ve gone through the APA guidance to explain how we will be adopting their advice to create environments where clients, crew and talent can all feel happy, confident and safe.

First things first though…

…to enable compliance with these guidelines, clients and agencies will have to accept that productions are going to take longer than they usually might.

Staggered start times, social distancing and regular hand-washing will all play a part and for once, it’s not only the talent that will have to factor time to get into costume; crew members who need to get close to each other to fulfil their duties will need to factor in time to get into the necessary PPE. 

'to enable compliance with these guidelines, clients and agencies will have to accept that productions are going to take longer'.

APA

Key Principles

In case there was any doubt, film shoots are bound by the same key principles governing everyday life in the UK regarding how we manage the transmission of Coronavirus, i.e maintaining social distancing, washing hands for at least 20 seconds and working from home whenever possible.

I began this blog by mentioning that working from home on film productions isn’t always possible.

Whilst this is true of the actual production itself, it is far more realistic during the development and pre-production stages of the project.

We will be conducting as many meetings as possible virtually and as far as casting goes, initial selections will be based on reels and camera reads before getting into virtual casting sessions.

Whilst this has the perk of being like an initial screen test, at some point a physical audition is inevitable and just like the production itself health and safety guidelines will need to be properly observed in order to mange this stage of the project properly.

When accommodating the over 70s, we will take enhanced precautionary measures and and no actors will be confirmed until they have completed the necessary Health Declaration Form.

Making the location/set Covid Secure

Almost all live action productions are prefaced with a site recce. This will take on an extra dimension now as either Producers or a dedicated Health & Safety officer (not mandatory), will be scoping the location for practical ways to ensure compliance with the Covid Secure guidelines.

As video productions  start to return, there will inevitably be a conflict at some point between creative ambition and the restrictions of observing a Covid Secure shoot. With this in mind, we feel it is going to be important to factor the APA guidance into the creative from the outset.

I think it’s fair to say, for the foreseeable future romantic or intimate scenes will represent a challenge to be overcome.

 

Managing the Production

The guidance for production varies between those taking place on set and those which take place on location however there are some universal instructions:

We will be instructing our crews to arrive to the locations according to a staggered schedule as dictated by our producers.

It has always been best practice to keep crews lean anyway but now more so than ever. As we look to resume video production, only those who are essential to the production wil be granted consent to be on the shoot and all that do attend will be expected to complete an online Health Declaration form.

As much as is possible, production departments will need to be broken down into smaller groups and discouraged from intermingling – this includes and is especially true for times like lunch etc.

We’ve long championed paperless productions and we’ve come a long way in this regard but by insisting on this going forward we will reduce the risk of transmission through paper based documents.

Where it is realistic, space markers should be put in place but this is not mandatory and may not always be feasible. The sharing of devices will be discouraged for example walkie talkies should be bagged and labelled with the users name and not shared amongst the crew.

The APA have kindly produced a number of posters which can be placed around the set/location to help remind individuals of their obligations to health and safety of the production.

resume video production

Some notes about location filming

Perhaps unsurprisingly, councils are unlikely to be issuing location permits at the moment. Whilst we would expect this to ease up, it is dependent on the suppression of the virus and may not happen for a while.

It is also recommended that productions don’t take place at a location so far away that overnight stays are required. Thankfully due to our global and local supplier network, I don’t anticipate this being too much of an issue for element 26 however we will be ensuring all of our suppliers are also complying with the APA Covid Secure guidelines. 

The guidance suggests one location per day without unit moves and of course each location has to be cleaned in advance of the production. This means we will be partnering with a cleaning company for the foreseeable future to ensure locations meet the Covid Secure criteria.

Hair, Make Up and Wardrobe

In regards to these departments, it’s vital that protective equipment be worn. Kit shouldn’t be shared between artists and it’s important that necessary disinfection protocols are observed. During the current crisis, we would certainly encourage use of disposable kit wherever possible.

In terms of protective kit, this is our responsibility as the production company to provide and is broken down into two tiers

Tier 1 – Masks and gloves

Tier 2 – Enhanced PPE including visors and all body suits.

Tier One PPE is intended for single use purposes however Tier Two PPE is mandatory for those who need to break the two metre distancing rules for any great length of time

Resume Video Production

To download the latest APA guidance on managing productions in the time of Covid then click here.

If you want to discuss how you can be constructing your content so that it’s inline with the APA guidelines then click this link here, we’d love to talk to you.

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

Three types of video content to create when you can’t film

Coronavirus has made marketing difficult for lots of businesses. Whilst countries all over the world appear to be in various stages of lockdown, events calendars have been torn apart leaving marketing plans to gather dust on the cutting room floor.

Now we’ve come to terms with the fact that we can’t run events in the way we’re used to… business owners, CMOs and marketing managers are all telling me that content (alongside virtual events) is at the heart of their plans for the foreseeable future.

For this blog, I thought it would be helpful to focus on three types of video content to create when you can’t film so that you can continue to delight your audience with content they will love during these unprecedented times.

Revisit your old media

Just because you can’t film doesn’t mean your existing media has no value. Often recording a new voice over, choosing new music or creating new graphics can make your video feel completely new again!

Bonus tip – you can also change up some of the colours in your video to make them look completely different.

Create animation

Lots of my clients tell me that they are interested in making more animation but they are unsure where to start. If this is you, you might well be interested in our blog ‘5 things to know when switching from live action to animation’.

The benefits of animation in the current climate are obvious – no mass gatherings, it’s still story based and it is a highly flexible medium. What I mean by ‘flexible medium’ is that it can be as imaginative or as conservative as your brand allows whilst still managing to be highly engaging.

If you’re interested in learning more about animation, why not take a look at some of the work of our animation directors by clicking here.

three-video-content-create-cant-film

Interview your favourite clients

You no doubt will have seen a lot of these already – but video interviews like the one below are a fantastic low cost way of creating targeted video content to informing your community. These videos are particularly effective because your audience should ideally either identify with the content or see themselves in the interview subjects. 

I hope you found this short blog useful and you feel better informed about what types of content you can make right now to get the conversation started.

At Element 26 we can help you with all of your video production requirements. If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss your ideas in more detail, why not make an appointment with me by clicking here.

 

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

5 things to know when switching from live-action to animated productions

We get it – these are frustrating times. You’ve spent weeks developing creative ideas for live-action films, you were about to go into Production then the Coronavirus came along shutting everything down… now you’re being told you need to switch to animation productions. Deep breath!

So it’s back to the drawing board then – or is it? Have you ever produced an animated film before? Would your existing plans even work as an animated film?

In this blog we go over everything you need to know about getting started with animation so you can decide if it is the right format for you, or if you want to wait a while longer so you can return to making live action films again.

1. Animated films and live action productions are more similar than you think.

All forms of storytelling must create meaning in order to be effective. Animated films are no different. Sometimes called an arch, what this means is that the main subject of the film should overcome some challenge so that by the end of film, the audience’s perspective has been influenced by their experience.

Without an arch the story is meaningless so in the narrative sense, live action and animated films have a lot in common. 

2. Animated films and live action productions have less in common than you think!

The practical aspects of producing animated films is quite different to those of live action productions. For me, the main difference rests around flexibility. 

Whilst live action productions do have to be planned, there is room to accommodate the immediacy of the performance. The space for this is much smaller with animated films – which is why the planning stage is more important than ever.

One of the things which can take people new to animation by surprise is just how rigid and procedural the production of animated films can be.

3. Animated films don’t necessarily take longer to produce than live action productions

Whilst it is true that animated films don’t necessarily take longer to make than their live action counterparts, it is also true to say that no format of animated film is quick to produce whereas there are plenty of examples of live action productions that can be quickly and easily, shot, packaged up and delivered.  

If time is of the essence, it’s probably sensible to lean towards some of the animation styles that can be put together relatively quickly – motion graphics based films for example are a good place to begin.  If you have more time or if you’re looking for something more ambitious then I would recommend looking at 3D animation styles. These are fun and impressive, but they’re not quick to produce

4. Animated films aren’t necessarily more expensive than live action productions

Typically speaking the budget for live action films should be spent on the crew, the equipment and the art-direction. 

 With live action productions much of the budget can be splurged on the shoot itself – with animated productions, the budget tends to be spent in a slow, gradual and continuous way rather than in broad swathes like it is when something is filmed.

5. Animated films are not just for children

We all grew up watching animated films as young children which is why I suspect we are so quick to connect animated films with childhood.

Animated films possess a power which is difficult to replicate in other mediums for example it is possible to create fully artificial worlds which would be expensive and time consuming in the context of a live action production. 

Animated films also have broad international appeal making it easy to either dub or translate them.

Are you ready to switch to animation?

In the current climate live action production is becoming increasingly difficult to fulfil. If you aren’t interested in animation or your would prefer to consider other options then you might want to consider reversioning your existing video content. If that sounds more up your street you can find out more about that here.

switch_animation_productions

If you’re interested in seeing more of what’s possible with animation why not take a look at the work of some of our animation directors by clicking here or schedule a time to chat with me by clicking here.

Thanks so much for reading and please share this blog with anyone in your network whom you think might find it useful. 

 

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

Level Up Your Video Marketing In 2020

January is a special time for lots of businesses as it’s usually the month where marketing managers and business owners plan for the year ahead. Video marketing in 2020 is set to be even more exciting than it was last year so keep reading for the latest updates.

If the last decade was all about the emergence of video as one the most effective ways to inspire your audience, the next decade will be about building your brand by telling more enriching stories.

In this blog we will focus on the emerging trends in video marketing for 2020 so you can make the most informed decisions when implementing video into your integrated marketing strategy.

1. Social Platforms

It’s no secret that social media platforms love video. It’s easy to see why too. Video is the most effective medium for engaging audiences thereby keeping users on those sites for longer. Don’t think Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter are all old hat now, just because new social platforms such as TikTok, Lasso and Byte have all recently arrived on the scene.

Social video is essential because it’s important to put your video where your customers are. Social is all about discovery and awareness so you should treat your video content here a little like bait.

2. Embedded Video

If your video content on social media is your bait, then you should think of the video content on your website as a means of aiding conversions or generating enquiries. Video is great for this because it feeds all of the senses we as humans rely on (with the exception of smell but that may well be a technical evolution for another day).

You can use free or cheap tools such as YouTube or Vimeo to host the videos on your website however this isn’t always in the business interest. We’ve written extensively about why you should be hosting the videos on your website using an online video platform such as TwentyThree or Wistia. Take a look at our blog here about why your business needs a blended video strategy.

3. Segmentation

Content that targets everyone, focuses on no one. The great thing about social media is that it is easier than ever to locate, identify and target your audience.

Sadly a lot of the more established social media platforms are now expecting businesses to pay for the reach they used to enjoy through more organic means. That said, there is still a lot of scope to reach new audiences via LinkedIn.

If you would rather not pay for eyeballs, one of the exciting and attractive features many of the new and emerging social media platforms offer is that they don’t yet have the same restrictions on organic reach that the more established players have. The obvious flip side is they often don’t have the equivalent number of users meaning the organic reach is likely to be smaller. On the plus side though, at least you won’t have to pay for it.

4. Personalised Video

All of the main social media platforms have become increasingly video focused, this means as part of your video marketing strategy for 2020 there is more room for personalised video outreach using the native messaging tools contained inside of each of the platforms. In fact this can also be a technique used to get around the curbs on organic reach imposed by the established social media giants. Personalised video or 1:1 video as it is also known, isn’t restricted to social media platforms either, it can be used in email too.

Since adopting a strategy of personalised video around email, we have experienced a 34% increase in booked meetings to discuss video marketing with our clients.

5. Brand Identity

You can use video to harness the power of your brand identity. Once upon a time producing a video to promote a product or service online was something of an after thought. Now, it’s video first

The trick here is to be consistent. Consistent in your message, consistent in the time of posting and consistent in the look and feel of your content. Marketing typically works in three ways; what do you want your customer to learn, what do you want them to feel and what do you want them to do. Being consistent in each of these messages means your video strategy will be not only easier to measure but easier to manage too.

5. Critical Mass

A little bit of a follow on from the previous point but effective video marketing is also about critical mass. In order to post regularly you need to have a certain amount of content in order to keep it consistent. It’s easy to fall into a rut when you’re trying to manage so many things but one of the things you can do when producing any video content is try and create some derivative content too. Bloopers and shorter versions are great ways of extracting more material from a given production.

Thank you so much for reading this blog. I hope you found it useful and informs much of your planning for 2020. If you would like to discuss your plans and how you can maximise your video effort for the coming year and beyond please do let me know. You can ping me a message on LinkedIn or alternatively if you would like to have a chat, please book a meeting with me by clicking the button below. 

Wishing you all the best for 2020.

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

12 Tips For Writing A Winning Video Brief

Before writing a video brief, it’s useful to understand the process involved in producing video content. Video production moves through four key stages; Development, where your ideas are formed, Pre-Production where all the logistical aspects of your production are considered, Production, where your videos are filmed and Post-Production where your films are then ultimately made.

To give you a head start, we’ve put together some handy little tips to get your creative juices flowing and to help you write that all in important video production brief.

1) WHAT TYPE OF FILM ARE YOU PRODUCING?

Video is a highly versatile medium. If you can tell us whether you’re seeking to make a corporate film, an infomercial, a television commercial, a music video, a promo film, a viral video or alternatively a documentary, then we will immediately understand where your film sits. If your film is for commercial purposes, you might want to give some thought to where your video fits in the purchase funnel. 

2) WHO IS THE AUDIENCE FOR YOUR FILM?

The most effective films are tailored to their audience. It’s critical to know who your films are aimed at because understanding who we need to reach will shape everything from the the script and the tone of the film, to where and when your videos should be published.

3) CALLS TO ACTION

What you would like your viewer to do once they have watched your film? A good video should end with a compelling call-to-action (CTA) and leave a positive impression. On YouTube this CTA might be to invite the viewer to subscribe to your channel or alternatively you might ask your viewer to give you a call, make a donation or visit your website. If you intend to use an alternative hosting partner for your videos, then you might well also be able to add a form to the end of your film to capture leads directly from within the video content.

4) WHAT IS YOUR FILM ABOUT?

It’s usually a bad idea to cover too many subjects within a single video. The most effective videos are usually quite succinct and address one subject in sufficient detail rather than diluting the message by paying lip-service to too many topics. The issue with films that try to take on too much, is that they can easily become too long. It will fail to retain the interest of the audience and simultaneously fail to go into enough detail to satisfy the enthusiastic viewer or fan.

5) WHAT VALUES DOES YOUR BUSINESS STAND FOR?

The most effective films possess an interesting or moving story. This is as true for B2B comms as it is in B2C projects. In order to have a compelling story, there has to be either a conflict or a challenge to overcome. By over coming the hurdle presented within the film your audience will be moved emotionally. Understanding which emotional triggers to pull is really important as these should reflect the same values as those your brand stands for. 

6) WHAT TYPE OF STORY SHOULD I TELL?

From Shakespeare to Spielberg, there are only seven basic story types which include Overcoming the Monster, Rebirth, Quest, Journey and Return, Rags to Riches, Tragedy and Comedy. Understanding the seven different stories is a comprehensive subject so we’ve produced a more digestible blog post on the subject entitled ‘How To Add Style To Your Story’ which is designed to help you pick the right story type for your needs. For some worthwhile reading on how to tell a story, we recommend Robert McKee’s excellent book ‘Story’.

7) WHERE ARE YOUR FILMS GOING TO BE SEEN?

How you intend to use your film will impact upon the final budget so it’s important to clarify this information early on, to avoid any nasty surprises. Usage covers everything from which channels the films will be seen on, to which territories the film will be made available in. Letting us know where your films are going to be seen informs everything from the running time of your films, to the cast, crew and equipment required to produce your content.

8) DOES YOUR FILM REQUIRE ACTORS?

If your film isn’t driven by interviews then it is quite possible that you may require either professional actors, some employees or alternatively a voice over artist to propel your narrative. We can source any actors you may require however depending on the type of film you’re looking to produce then the rates for enlisting such actors can vary. Actors for a television commercials in the UK are covered by Equity and even with corporate films, an actor will typically earn a fee for their work in addition to a buyout which protects their image rights for an agreed period of time.

If budget is an issue, then you might consider using staff or friends within your films however it is unlikely you will obtain the same results from an amateur actor as you would from a professional and it will almost certainly take longer to produce.

9) LOCATIONS

Are there any specific locations which are pertinent for your production? This is important to know as it can help us locate local crew. It is also important for other logistical considerations such as calculating an appropriate call time and coordinating movement orders. If you need any help with your location recce then you might find our other blog handy ‘6 things to look out for on your location recce

If you know your production will have to be shot in a specific location please do let us know when submitting your brief.

10) DO YOU HAVE ANY EXAMPLES OF SIMILAR FILMS WHICH YOU LIKE?

Visual references can be tremendously helpful for conveying your ideas. Send your reference films our way and we will make sure the final product gets as close as possible to your intentions.

11) KNOW YOUR BUDGET

An understanding of your budget can really help us focus when developing creative ideas for your project. Lots of people find themselves feeling a little uncomfortable when asked to be so open about the budget they’re prepared to spend on their videos however the question isn’t intended to catch you out, instead it’s about making sure you get the best production values possible for your budget. At Element 26, we’re a highly creative and extremely resourceful bunch meaning we always strive to put as much of your budget on screen as possible.

12) KNOW YOUR DEADLINE

It is essential that we know your key dates. Whilst the production schedule will vary from production-to-production, we typically recommend you allocate between 6-8 weeks for your film to go from proposal sign-off to completion. We will obviously do our best to accomodate any key dates you have in mind, for instance if your production relates to a live event, then the shoot would have to take place in conjunction with that event.

If you’re thinking about producing some video content and would like to benefit from our experience, then why not jump on a call with one of our producers. We look forward to hearing from you.

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

5 ways to improve your confidence on camera.

If like myself, the thought of going in front of the camera makes you wish the floor would open up and swallow you whole, this blog is probably for you. 

Communication is changing, written emails will soon be a thing of the past as personalised videos are the latest trend amongst marketers and sales advisors.

Videos get your message across in a way that will grab attention and keep people engaged. Time has become more precious, with workloads constantly increasing, meaning people want information in the quickest and most digestible way possible. 

So whether you are creating a video for your emails, social media or even your website, then follow these steps to make sure you look (and more importantly feel) like a natural. 

BREATHE 

I know this seems pretty straight forward but you will be surprised how little you breathe when your anxiety starts to kick in.  I noticed that my best takes were when I took a minute to take a deep breathe before. It will show through in your body language and will make your viewers more relaxed. 

PRACTICE 

Run through what you want to say before. Whether that is creating a script or having a list of points that you want to include. Personally, I don’t work from a script as I find this approach much more natural. However, it is always good to have an idea of the things you want to say to make sure you don’t miss anything out. When I created my first video I found that a script helped me get comfortable speaking in front of the camera, once I felt relaxed and confident in what to say I spoke naturally. 

ISOLATE 

Find an area where you won’t be distracted. If it isn’t nerve-wracking enough going in front of a camera, it’s worse when you feel like you have all eyes on you. Once you feel more comfortable on camera it won’t bother you as much if people can see you.

TAKE YOUR TIME

.. when speaking. You’ll probably find that you start to speak really fast initially, as your natural instinct is to want to get it over and done with. However, this won’t come across well, and will actually cause you to make more mistakes. Slowing down will give you time to think about what you want to say as you are saying it, it makes you easier to watch and will engage your customers more. That being said don’t slow it down to the point it makes people impatient, the key is for it to come off as natural and relaxed as possible.

HAVE FUN 

Even if this isn’t your idea of fun or it isn’t coming naturally to you. If you have fun, it will start to relax you and your energy will come through on the camera. Take my video for example, my mistakes ended up being my quality content. Once I had done a couple of takes I felt much more comfortable speaking to camera. 

Still doesn’t sound like your sort of thing? Speak to a  professional and let us do it for you. 

Get in touch today!

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

Branded Marketing For B2B Businesses

Branded marketing in B2B – Epic Creativity, Provoking storylines and an impression that will last a lifetime

If you are a marketer working in the b2b industry I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of “Market your B2B like a B2C business” floating around – just look here. As a business, this opens up the door to creating more emotionally driven, entertaining content that will build awareness and eventually convert.

When we hear the word corporate or B2B unfortunately, it all too often conjures up images of facts and figures, forgetting that the decision makers on the other side tend to respond to much more emotional language.

More often than not (and we are all guilty of it) we see b2b businesses lacking in creativity and the emotional buy-in that you would expect from any well-respected brand. Finding words like ROI and SEO plastered all over our newsfeeds quickly become pretty repetitive. Chances are if you’re bored of seeing it then everyone else probably is as well.

So it begs the question  “how do I create a better-branded marketing experience for my potential leads?” Well, I’m glad you asked…

Preparation

Okay, so you’ve realised you need to add a bit of flair to your content strategy but you’re not quite sure where to begin. Regardless of whether you’re as flamboyant as Elton John dipped in glitter or as dull as a grey wall, we’ve created the following checklist of seven items to help you on your creative journey:

1. What is the purpose of creating this content?

2. What do I want the outcome to be?

3. Who is my target audience?

4. How do I want my audience to feel?

5. Which videos do I like the style of?

6. What resources do we have access to in order to create this content i.e Graphic designers, videographers, animators?

7. What is my budget?

Once you have answered all these questions, you will start to have a better understanding of what you would like to create and the purpose behind it all. This will make it easier when brainstorming ideas of the storyline, which leads us on to our next point.

Epic storyline

Your storyline is EVERYTHING. Advertising has changed a lot in the last few years, especially since the intro of smartphones and social media. Attention spans are down to 8 seconds when watching a video, so if your content isn’t gripping your audience within that time frame that’s another prospect that you could have potentially won over if you had the right storyline.

So, what makes for a compelling storyline?

1. Emotions

 Ask yourself how you want your audience to feel when watching and make it your top priority to execute it

2. Characters

 Create characters that your audience will resonate with (forget about how they look.. *Unless it’s Tom Hardy*

and focus on their mannerisms and behaviours). 

3. A crafted plot 

By this, we mean to create a storyline that isn’t expectant of your brand. For example, if you were selling baked beans you could either have a video of someone eating the product and saying how nice it tastes or you could do the unexpected and create a storyline like the one you can view here.

4. First impressions count!

So don’t blow it. People spend their lives scrolling so make your video thumbnail stand out, to make them stop and want to watch your video.

5. Clarity

 Make sure your message is relevant and easy to follow. Take this video from PlayStation, it makes no sense and it leaves you thinking “what did I just watch” 

Top Quality

Do not skimp on quality and by quality, we mean production values, ie the quality of your graphics, storyline, actors (if you have any), sound etc. So how do you guarantee quality and for the right price?

1. Hire a video production company

(i know we’re biased) but it’s true. The only way to guarantee a high-quality video that will deliver on results. You wouldn’t cut your own hair and expect the same results than if you had got it done professionally. Well, the same applies to video production.

2. Do your research

as I mentioned previously, knowing why you are creating your video and the goals you want it to achieve will help the process with creating a video that delivers on results.

3. Ask people for their opinions 

Be that your staff, friends or even customers. Include people throughout all the decision making moments and make sure that it will appeal to your target demographic.

Distribution

The big one! So you have completed your video and you’re super proud of it. But now what? Where will your video work best? You could have the world’s best video but if you’re not putting it on the right platforms and in front of your target audience then the whole thing becomes mute.

It sounds pretty straight forward when you think about it,

but time and time again we see great videos not getting the results they deserve. Here are a few things you should consider…

1. Pick your social platform

 Where is this video going? What are your audience’s interests? When are they most online?

2. Behaviours of your demographic

what type of humour do they have? What gets the most engagement?

3. Paying for boosted posts/ads

 Which route will you go down? Youtube ads? Google? Facebook? Again consider the behaviour of the consumers in that targeted area, how long the videos can be on the platform and research into what ads have been successful and for what purpose.

When you have a full understanding of what you will do with your video everything else will fall into place. Don’t just assume that because you have paid all this money for a video that posting it on social media will give you the results you are after. Yes, if you have a big enough following it may work, however, give yourself the best possible chance of success by tailor making your video distribution strategy that will command the attention of your audience.

Now is the best time for B2B companies to think outside the box and push the limits of their creativity. Make a conscious effort in becoming a company that is memorable by creating a powerful storyline that captivates your audience.

Videos have a proven track record of giving companies their desired results and it can for you as well, as long as you are ready to invest your time and resources, think about your audience and what will resonate with them and more importantly think about the distribution, where you want your videos to go and why. If you follow this method then you will be on your way to creating a video that converts.

At element26.tv, we can help you get your branded campaigns off the ground.  If you’re considering embarking on a journey with video… get in contact with me today.

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk