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Our Most Recent Corporate Video Shoot

Top Corporate Video Production Shoot

Last Friday, SVG was on set to film a corporate video in collaboration with Wells Fargo. SVG was hired to shoot a series of videos for the company’s “Customer Business Stories,” which is meant to advertise the small businesses that Wells Fargo represents. For this particular video, the set was at a Boxborough veterinary clinic, where we interviewed the founder and owner, as well as shot extensive amounts of B-roll to layer over the footage. In order to produce a successful video, SVG brought in the help of a professional Boston video crew.

Professional Video Equipment

There were two Sony FS7 cameras set up, one for a wider shot, and one for a closer shot of the talent. They were the two primary cameras used on set. Then, in order to shoot the B-Roll, the professional videographers on set used shoulder rigs and mobile tripods to get shots of the animals at the clinic, the facilities, external shots of the building, and the doctor performing various actions, such as lecturing, performing checkups, and brushing the pet’s teeth. One of the plans for B-Roll footage was to attach a GoPro to one of the dogs in order to get a POV shot.

The Audio Equipment

For the audio setup during the interview, a shotgun microphone was placed above the talent just outside of the shot, which made sure that her voice was picked up clearly and in a reasonable decibel range. For extra coverage and clarity, a lavaliere microphone was attached to her clothing. An audio booth was set up towards the back of the room so that the crew member, with the use of headphones, was able to gauge the varying levels and clearness of the talent’s voice. Moreover, the audio had to be directed three ways, which is called a video village. The audio had to be sent to the two FS7 cameras, and then to the actual audio recording device.

Lighting for Production Shoots

For this particular interview, there was an extensive lighting setup. Several LED lights –Lite Softboxes — were used to counteract the backlight, which was coming in through the window behind the talent. The key and fill lights were strategically placed so that the interviewee was evenly lit, which gave the video a professional look. Since LED lights are quite harsh, it was important to diffuse some of the light and reflect it elsewhere. For the B-Roll, there was a battery powered mobile LED box, which was used as needed when moving around the hospital.

In order to produce a successful video, every element of the production process has to be harmonious and planned with great detail. While the set had not been seen until the actual day of shooting, and while there was some troubleshooting with regard to positioning certain lights, there was still a cohesive plan that coordinated with the schedule. Every member of the crew was aware of their respective on-set roles, which made for an incredibly adept day of filming.

Skillman Videography Group LLC specializes in Boston video marketing. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.

My Pre-Production Process

What is Pre-Production?

For any video, the pre-production process is inherently unique to every individual. As an intern at SVG for the summer, I have been given the opportunity to make a video that depicts SVG’s message in an original fashion. As a Film and Television student at Boston University, I could not be more excited, because this is the first time I will be producing content for a company, rather than for a class or personal project.

Pre-Production Planning

For this particular endeavor, I want to make sure that my style as a content creator is apparent, and the first step is establishing the message that I want to communicate, and then figuring out the most creative or captivating way to achieve that goal. After developing a few ideas, I decided to shift towards a personalized direction, in which SVG’s story is told from an intimate perspective. I believe that every business has a story, and touching upon the moving and engaging aspects that they are built upon brings to light the values, traditions, and hopes that are not always visible to a general audience. The video’s format will be interview-like, and some of the talking points are as follows:

  • SVG is a Boston Video Production Company, why was this business started? Why Boston?
  • What makes video the most important medium of communication? Why is it so impactful?
  • What are the biggest obstacles SVG has faced? How have they contributed to our success?
  • What story do we want to tell as we help others tell their own? What is the most important aspect of running a business?

Why is Pre-Production Important?

video marketing company

Once the idea is developed, the next step is organizing shoot dates, gathering equipment, and recruiting people to help on set. Even though this is a corporate video, the equipment will be relatively simple – a DSLR camera and audio equipment that I will use to record voiceover and any other sound effects I might need. The shoot should take a full day, and will take place in mid to late July, in time for the editing process to be finished by early August. In addition to having a developed idea, maintaining organization both on and off set is essential. For anyone producing a video, an extra measure to take is making a call sheet to give to the talent and crew, which accounts for starting and wrap times, weather, location, and any other important details.

Skillman Video Group LLC specializes in video production Boston. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.

Different Types of Audio Equipment

While every video shoot is different, whether it be an independent project or a shoot that requires a team of videographers, recording sound is still one of the most important aspects to create a successful video. Whether it is a how-to, corporate, or entertainment video, there is an overwhelming amount of technology to choose from. Audio equipment is designed for recording, mixing, and reproducing sound, but the most important device on a video shoot is a microphone, which is solely responsible for picking up sound at an appropriate decibel, so that the footage is able to be heard and edited successfully. The most popular microphones are as follows:

Built-In Microphones

As the name implies, built in microphones are found in the camera. While there is a wide range of cameras to choose from, chances are that this type of microphone will be too far away from your subject, and the sound will not record as well as it could with a separate piece of audio equipment. Instead, this microphone will pick up every sound that occurs between your subject and the camera’s placement, which might be useful for ambience. This is why audio equipment, apart from the camera itself, is so important. In order for the video to resonate with the audience, they need to be able to hear it.

Audio

Lavalier Microphones

Perhaps the most useful for professional corporate videos, and most used by news anchors and interviewees, lavalier mics are small, portable microphones that can be attached to a person’s clothing, allowing them to speak and be heard clearly. When using this type of microphone, it is important to have a windscreen to protect against any frequency. Clothing is the most commonly used protection, but the subject may also use their body to deflect the wind or any background noise.

Audio engineer w/ boom pole

Ken, boom mic operator

Shotgun Microphones

The most common piece of audio equipment, that can be found on almost any set, is the shotgun microphone. It is not attached to the camera or the subject, but operated by a boom operator. Due to its shape, and its directionality, shotgun microphones are able to pick up very specific sounds, ones that happen right in front of the blimp (the cage covered in fur, meant to mask any wind). This type of microphone is most effective on the sets of interviews, but are versatile enough to be used anywhere. The sound has to be constantly monitored in order to keep up with the ranging frequencies.

Handheld Microphones

Handheld microphones, for the most part, are used by news anchors, infomercials, or any talent lecturing or performing on stage. These microphones can also be used to pick up surrounding sounds in order to create ambience. Rarely, during an interview, if a lavaliler mic is not available, a handheld microphone can be placed out of frame. This is an innovative, successful way to pick up sound.

Skillman Video Group LLC specializes in video production Boston. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.

LED Lighting vs. Natural Lighting

For a video production company, there are many factors that contribute to a project’s success. One of the most important being lighting. Video crews spend countless hours making sure a scene is well lit in order to make the viewing experience more enjoyable, and so that audiences are able to see what is taking place. Lighting has a component of cinematography and setting up the shot, one of the most instrumental aspects of the production process since the beginning of video production. Two of the foremost lighting methods are LED lighting and natural lighting. Each has their respective pros and cons, the overarching concerns being time consumption, cost, and that the lighting is appropriate for the setting and tone of the video. While mistakes can be made in the editing process, it is best to address most of the issues during shooting.

Production Shoot Lighting

SVG Lighting for Cable TV Pioneers Banquet

LED lighting is very popular among independent production crews. They are less expensive than tungsten lights, they require less power, they are portable, and they are safer because they take much longer to heat up. LED lights are an efficient way to light any set. Scenes in which they would appropriate include a corporate training video, a formal PSA, or an interview. With them, a videographer can engineer the perfect shot. However, they are still relatively expensive compared to alternative methods, and do not emit a full spectrum of color, which requires more lights to be brought on set. Cumulatively, it would be very expensive, especially if the production is on a smaller scale.

Natural lighting is a favorable choice for those with a budget, or for those who are shooting outside. There is no equipment necessary besides a reflector, which allows for the light to be manipulated. By utilizing the sunlight (or moonlight) already present, it creates a far more natural appearance. The only real difficulty with natural light is how unpredictable it can be, as well as the different colors that are more exaggerated depending on the time of day. If a crew chooses to use natural light, they must plan accordingly, taking into account the weather and scheduling.

Harbor Video ProductionEvery video maker has their own style and preferences, which is what makes video production such a versatile medium. The lighting simply depends on what looks best, and how much authority the crew wants to have over it. For professional videos, however, LED lighting allows for greater control, which demonstrates proficiency and evokes a positive response from both clients and anyone who watches it.

 

 

Skillman Video Group LLC specializes in video production Boston. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.

L.E.K. Live Webcast

Recently, the consulting firm L.E.K. hired Skillman Video Group for their Boston video live eventwebcasting services. They needed us to webcast an important meeting of all their managing directors. Not all of them could be present, as L.E.K. has offices all over the world.  There was a lot of work that went into the production of this live event but our team was up for the challenge. The work was spread out over two days, the first day being used for setup. The second day was the live webcast.

 Set Up

boston video productionThe day before the meeting, out Boston video webcasting team was on the scene to set up. The set up look all day as there was much to do if we wanted to turn their meeting room into a television studio. The room was a large conference room with three rows of tables forming a semi circle.  The setup was broken down into 4 major parts: Lighting, Audio/Visual and the Control Room. Here’s how it was done:

  • Lighting-Three open faced lights with diffusion panels were used. This arrangement helped us capture the speaker in the right light during the presentation.
  • Visual-Alongside each of the lights were the cameras. The two cameras on the side of the room were to be used on shooting the audience when they spoke and for closeups of the main speaker. The third camera was set in the back of the room and was used for “safety shot.” Safety shots are taken by the director when the other cameras are establishing their shots.
  • Audio– Each seat in the room was equipped with their own microphone. The main speaker used a lavalier mic while he addressed the room. Getting the proper audio out of the room was integral to the people watching the webcast.
  • Control Room-Just outside the conference room was where we had our control room. It was a small unused office that we turned into a command center. All the cable we ran(and taped down for safety!) came out of this room and to its appropriate component. The director and webcasting engineer sat in here during the webcast. The director was calling the shots and the webcasting engineer was ensuring that a good signal was going out over the internet.

The Meetingboston video webcasting

The following day was when the actual meeting took place. Our Boston video production staff arrived around 6 a.m. to get ready for the long shoot. The live event started at 8 a.m. and ran until 5:30 p.m. Overall, the shoot went pretty well. There were some audio issues when the audience forgot to turn on their seat mics but otherwise there were not many hiccups. The director made sure we were getting good shots and our Boston video webcasting engineer was on top of the signal.

Breakdown

After the meeting concluded, it was time to strike the set. Everything we moved had to be moved back. The room had to look the way it did two days earlier before we set up. All the cable we laid down had to be wrapped back up and the gaffing tape had to be thrown away. Any set you break down should look like your video production crew was never there. After we finished, it was a wrap and time to go home!

Skillman Video Group LLC specializes in video production Boston. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.

 

Live Event Shoot at M.I.T.

On March 17, Skillman Video Group shot a live event at the M.I.T. campus. It was for the Sloan School of Business Docotral Research Forum. Even though it was a quick and simple shoot, a lot of hard work still went into it.

Set-Up

Arriving at 8:30 a.m. for a 10:00 start time, the crew got to the room and immediately started boston video production companyto set up. Using a total of three cameras, the team from our Boston video production company got them in place. Two of the cameras were to be used to shoot the speakers while the third one was focused on the projector screen as a placeholder. This was going to be helpful in the editing process. We also had to white balance the camera so that the video we captured was the right color. For lighting, we used two open faced lights and one LED fixture. One of the open faced lights was placed in the back of the room, looking down on the subjects. The other two were placed off to the right of the presenters and helped kill any shadows. Another important aspect of the set up was the blocking. We marked an X on the floor with some gaffing tape in the spot we needed the speaker to stand. This also helped with eliminate shadows by blocking out back light. The audio was sourced through the house system but we still had to test the levels to ensure that the quality was top-notch.

Shoot 

The shoot itself took a little under two hours to complete. Each student presented their thesis and then took questions from a panel of three judges. It was integral to the shoot that our camerapeople were able to get the necessary footage while not taking away from the experience itself. That is true for all live event shoots. Soon after the last speaker presented, the shoot was finished.

Breakdown

Whenever you are breaking down a set, you want to make it seem as if you were never there in the first place. If you moved a table or chair, move it back. If you use gaffing tape to hold down cables, make sure it goes in the trash afterwards. After our Boston video production team cleaned up and packed up all the equipment, it was time to go. The project was not finished however, as there is still plenty of work left to be done in the editing room. Syncing the PowerPoint slides on the projector screen with the sound of the speaker is no easy task. No project is ever fully finished until the client is delivered the tape.

Skillman Video Group LLC specializes in video production Boston. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.

 

Get the Most of An Interview

Video interviews are everywhere these days, as they tend to be very informative and educational. From the classic customer testimonial to the “About Us,” many companies find Q&A style interviews to be a great source for fast video content. It is a great way to get to the emotional side of an employee or customer. It allows the audience to feel a connection, and it makes for a more trustworthy company. In order for an interview to be full of elaborate and eloquent answers, the person being interviewed usually needs to be relaxed. Unless he/she is a great orator on cue, the interviewee will need to feel very comfortable before they can fully express their thoughts. Boston video production company Skillman Video Group tends to focus on trust between its clients. Trust amongst a video production service company and its business client is great to have in order to make people comfortable and get real answers with emotion.

professional video production

In order to obtain trust, first, work with a production company that you feel will get your message and story out in the most effective way. Interviewees tend to get more comfortable if it’s a conversation that they are having with the interviewer. Allowing yourself to veer off from questions if the interviewee says something interesting or unexpected that you’d like to explore further is great. Sometimes the unplanned spontaneous questions & answers create the best moments. Before or during the video camera rolls, ask easy questions to warm up the interviewee. At Skillman Video Group, our Boston video producers do a great job at getting to know the client and having a regular conversation as setup is taking place. This makes them more comfortable because it is like having a regular conversation with her before hitting the record button. The interviewer can ask easy-going questions, like what they had for breakfast to how their day is going, anything to get them talking and comfortable.
Monitor

These are some of the methods that may be used during the series of interviews to get your interviewee comfortable telling their story. For more tactics, Skillman Video Group LLC specializes in video production Boston. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.

boston production company

What Goes on On-Set

Skillman Video Group, a Boston video production company, can provide to a business the finest video production service. While a video production shoot takes a lot of time and care, we always find a way to have fun with crew members and clients throughout the process. Depending on the content your company seeks to share, an interview video can be a great way to add character, personality, and story to your site. When you head into a video production shoot, you see all the behind the scenes work that goes into creating amazing video marketing content. So here’s what to expect on set. This time we will focus on interview style videos.

CEO video

High-end camera on SVG set

First off, by the time you arrive on set the video production crew has probably been working since sunrise. A video production day starts fairly early, as video equipment needs to be set up before hand. A lot may be going on as well once you arrive. If needed, people from hair & makeup, wardrobe, actors, professional videographers, studio manager, and art department are running around getting ready for “ACTION’.

Many considerations go into choosing a location for the shoot, as anything from background noise like steps or talking nearby can be a distraction.  A studio set gives the producers more control over the composure of the shots, they can manipulate the background, lighting and general surroundings of the interview scene. Then the lighting takes place—to get that perfect image lighting is key. The most basic form of lighting set up, the three-light method is often used which separates the subject from the background, and everything does not look too dull. As the interviewee may be at the hair & makeup department preparing for their close up, the grips and gaffers are making sure the lighting equipment are set up safety and in the right position. White balance tests are done, and before the interviewee stands in front of the camera we also have to plan for the best audio, which is a little flexible with interviews. SVG tends to use LAV mics, which are very small, portable, and attachable microphones that are ideal for interviews. The mic usually attached to the flap pocket of the clothing. Once the frame is set to the desire of the professional videographer and the microphone is set up, we are ready for a rehearsal. After the rehearsal it’s time for the first take!

This process of shooting takes place for any scene. The stage process goes like:

  • Block – Determining where the interviewee will be on the set and the first camera position.
  • Light – Time for the Director of Photography to light the set and position the camera for the first take.
  • Rehearse – Camera rehearsal of the first set-up with the interviewee and crew.
  • Tweak – Make lighting and other adjustments.
  • Shoot – Shoot the first take, then repeat the process.

Next time you are on set with Boston video production company Skillman Video Group LLC you will know what do expect! Call us anytime at 800-784-0140.

Boston Videography

Boston videographerWith all the advances being made in mobile technology, it seems like anyone with a phone can become the next Scorsese. While it is true that more and more videos are being shot on phones these days, there are still certain tips and tactics to take advantage of to become a great videographer. Here at Skillman Video Group, a Boston video production company our Boston videographers utilize a variety of methods to ensure the highest quality video.

No Shake in Your Take

Unless you are shooting an earthquake scene, the camera should be held steady. Using a tripod is the most effective way to take the shake out of your scene but is not necessary. Mounting the camera on the wall will also help keep a steady shot. You can obviously hold the camera in your hand as well, but make sure that any body movements or breathing do not cause your Boston video production to suffer.

The More the Merrier

Just like with anything in life, the more options you have, the better. Most first time Boston videographers will set up the camera, take the B-roll they want and call it a day. Do not do this. Get creative. If you are shooting a conversation, try from over the shoulder of each participant. It will give a real feel to the video that you might not achieve with a standard wide shot. Taking many different shots from various angles of the same scene will only serve to help you in the editing room. No one likes to see a two hour movie all shot from the same perspective so keep that in mind as go out on your shoot.

Bright Lights, Big City

Having the proper lighting for your scene is very important. You want your subjects face to be lit, but not too much so position your lights in a way that sheds the right amount of light. Boston videographerSometimes you have to deal with the elements and shoot outdoors. While the sun is an obvious great source of lighting, always know where the sun is. Try to shoot with the sun behind you. If that is too bright for your subject, try using different filters to help shield the sun.  Working in a Boston video production company also means dealing with less than ideal conditions outside. Be sure to have waterproof equipment and all the proper rain gear to keep yourself dry out there!

Zoom Out!

If you’re an amateur Boston videographer, you might think the more the camera moves the better. However, constant zooming and panning can leave the viewers of your video feeling as if they just took a trip down whitewater rapids in a milk crate. Let the action on film dictate where the camera goes. Your pans and zooms should have a purpose and be of benefit to the viewer, not a distraction.

Shooting a high quality video does not need to be tough. Incorporating these tips into your shoot will help you create the video that you want.

Skillman Videography Group LLC specializes in video production Boston. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.

 

Your Video Shoot Checklist

This week, Skillman Video Group showcased their professional video production talents on a video shoot in Beacon Hill to shoot a series of interview style videos. The location of this shoot was indoors, on the fourteenth floor of a large, Boston office building to be exact. Our team was provided with a small office building overlooking the skyline of South Boston. Despite the size of the room, our team was able to organize multiple different angles and backgrounds for each interview, giving the illusion that the room was much larger.

In order to pull off this shoot, our Boston videographers needed a specific amount and variety of video equipment. Luckily, SVG is experienced in on location shoots and we are always prepared for whatever situations arise.

Cameras

For this particular shoot our team decided to use two cameras. One would film the primary Chuck's Sony FS7 Ultra High Definition Camcorderfootage of the interviewee and face them head on (this camera is also filming in higher quality). The other was positioned at an angle to get a side view of the interviewee. Our video production service’s advanced audio visual technology automatically linked the footage together so that during the editing process it the two angles would share a synched audio, allowing for a much simpler editing experience. On this shoot we used a Sony FS7 Ultra High Definition Camcorder and a Sony FS 100 Camcorder. The Sony FS7 was the main camera for the interviews and footage was shot in 4k. The cameras were positioned on two different types of tripods. The FS7 was on a Manfrotto tripod made of carbon fiber and the FS100 on a Miller aluminum that was made in Australia.

Using two cameras of the same brand is recommended by corporate video production companies because the software and equipment is more compatible when it is of the same manufacturer. The picture quality will also match between the main view and the side-shot even though the cameras are filming at varying qualities.

Audio

Chuck checking the shotOn this particular shoot, our Boston professional video production company brought over $24,000 in professional video equipment. Our professional videographer, Chuck brought two different types of microphones. We used a Sennheiser shotgun mic for more straightforward audio recording and a wired Sony lavalier microphone to clip onto the lapel of the interviewees. This provided us with the highest quality sound for our interview videos.

Lighting

Just in case the natural light coming in from the windows in the background of the interviews was too harsh, we brought along Gels. Gels are screens that soften the light and create a neutral density that reduces sunlight for shots against windows. The key is to flood the subject with so much light that it balances out the shot. Gels are attached with a squeegee and sponge.

Accessories

You may think that the only things needed on set for a video shoot are the basic, camera, Chuck holding Sony cameramicrophone and lights, but every professional video production company knows that you need a lot more than that in order to have a successful day on set. One unexpected item that is always needed on set is sandbags! These heavy sacks are used to weight down tripods and stands that hold up important and expensive equipment. If it weren’t for sandbags, a lot of equipment would be knocked over and broken or moved out of place and this would disrupt the entire shoot in a major way. Another important tool to have on set is extension cords! If you are filming on location you never know how many or how far away the outlet will be, so it is very important to bring plenty of extension cords that that electricity is close by and bountiful! When filming interviews, make sure to keep a limited makeup kit near by. This is useful because sometimes the subjects will sweat and their faces will appear shining and glaring on camera. Just a touch of make up on the nose and forehead will completely solve this issue!

Not everything that a successful video marketing team brings with them to set will be needed, but it is important to have everything that you could possibly need because you never know what will happen on set when you’re filming corporate video.

Skillman Video Group, LLC specializes in Boston video production. Please call 1-800-784-0140 to learn more.