Tag Archives: Corporate Video

How Much B-Roll is Too Much?

In the production industry, B-Roll can be defined as supplemental footage that drives the story forward. It is correspondent to the A-Roll, which can be identified as the primary storyteller. No matter what you are shooting, the implementation of B-Roll is essential. For example, for documentaries, network news, or corporate videos, the A-Roll is the interviews. The B-Roll, however, would depict the footage that cuts away to shots of the subject, scene, setting, characters, and overall action, which is unique to every film. B-Roll shows viewers the story rather than simply telling it. It is responsible for presenting viewers with visuals to go along with the interviews.

Boston videographer

There is no such thing as too much B-Roll. The key is to film enough of it so that editors are able to insert the footage where it best fits. It is for this reason that there is no such thing as filming too many additional shots. The goal is to keep the story moving, to let it flow seamlessly. It confirms what the A-Roll is describing, making the visual aspect of the video all the more engaging. It would be unfair to categorize A-Roll as the more important, while it serves to establish and describe the film’s subject, B-Roll is what makes the story real, tangible, and comprehensible. Due to the advancement of editing software, the importance of each has become equal, yet the term “A and B editing” has stuck.

Regardless of the type of video, storytelling must be incorporated. They treat each set of footage as a team meant to shape a narrative, working together rather than competing with each other. If your video seems too monotonous, add in some B-Roll footage. Similarly, if the visual component is too distracting from the principal story, scale back. It is all about achieving a balance. Sometimes, there is a misconception that a shot may look better than it actually does, and there are lack of footage in the editing room. If all of the shots are out of focus, set up incorrectly, too light or dark, the video will not be visually successful.

boston video production

SVG, a video production company, partakes in shoots on a regular basis. Therefore, our video crews try to shoot as much B-Roll as possible. Naturally, a filmmaker wants their piece to reflect their best work. To do so, it is imperative to have options. Taking the extra time to film the same shot two or three more times, getting some additional footage of the video’s subject or its surroundings, truly makes all the difference. The more the better. When it comes to shooting, it is important to gather as much as you can so that there is no last minute panic in the editing room. If anything, you want a surplus of imagery to choose from to create a beautiful piece with a central theme and subject.

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

video production interview

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.

Shooting a Sales Video

Last week, SVG was on set filming a sales video for Jensen-Group at the Crown Uniform and Linen Services plant in Brockton. Over the course of two days, we recorded hours worth of B-Roll coverage and interviews with some of the leaders of the two companies. Jensen-Group is a Danish company, so we were very excited that they reached out to our Boston video production company to film their first corporate video in North America. boston video production

Some technical problems arose that required a bit of troubleshooting, but it was nothing too complicated for our team to handle.

For the interviews, we filmed in a glass conference room that overlooked the ground floor of the plant. Although it was lovely that it allowed for lots of natural light to flood in, the sunlight created a glare on the opposite window, so we could not see into the plant. To combat this we hung a large black cloth in front of the window to block the light. While this worked for a while, the quickly setting winter sun changed positions two interviews later, meaning we next had to find a way to block light from the high window along the adjacent wall that did not have blinds. We took some black tablecloths and moved them down as the sun changed positions.

boston video production

Here’s our DP, Jake, on the countertop, maneuvering the setup.

When recording a business video, certain adjustments will always be necessary, and sometimes small or large issues can arise. Turning off the Christmas music playing in the plant easily solved minor complications like noise pollution. To ensure that we recorded crisp, clean dialogue we used a boom and also fit our subjects with lavalier mics.boston video production

For recording the B-Roll of the laundry equipment, it was decided that a Steadicam would provide our DP with the freedom of mobility and swift coverage of the many moving parts. We were able to pan and tilt freely to follow the garments as they moved down the automated system. The external monitor attached to the counterweight of the rig allowed him to view the frame from whatever angle we were shooting.

We followed him with a larger external monitor so that we could all see what he was shooting and the client could make suggestions as we went. I was also tasked with operating a mobile key light staged on a rolling C-Stand. The plant had plenty of natural light flooding through the windows, so the key wasn’t always necessary, but we had it on standby if we did venture towards a darker corner. This ensured that all of the footage would be consistent and properly exposed.boston video production

As we edit the video for Jensen (and a video for Crown as well), we were very vigilant as to how to shoot this in a way that would translate easily to our editing methods. Crown decided they would also like a video for their company after hearing about our professional video editing services and knew that we could provide a similar but individual product with the extensive footage that we collected. In the B2B marketing world, we are always looking to expand our services to clients who hear about us through their own marketing connections.boston video production

We even had some of the employees to operate a scissor lift so that we could get some really interesting overhead shots of the enormous machines. While collecting B-Roll usually requires a bit of improvising, we made sure to wait for certain garments to cycle through so we could record a variety of products in the system.

Overall, the shoot went very smoothly and it was an absolute pleasure working with our new clients.

Skillman Video Group LLC is a Boston video production company. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.

How to Use Green Screen: A Checklist

Last week we had the opportunity to shoot client testimonial video interviews at the Charles Schwab IMPACT Convention. We shot all of the interviews in front of a large, anti-wrinkle, portable green screen and tested the footage on-site to make sure it would look right in post-production. Although shooting with a green screen can certainly be a lot of fun, there are a few things to keep in mind when using one:

  • Wrinkles
  • Uneven lighting
  • Light Reflection
  • Subject Positioning

Wrinkles

Wrinkles on a green screen can be detrimental to the background image used in post. An uneven surface will not display the image correctly and will ruin the entire interview. No one is going to take a corporate video with such glaring flaws seriously. Keeping your green screen flat is always important. Our DP uses one that is “virtually” wrinkle-free and, when stretched tight with special clamps, will give no cause for worry.

Uneven Lighting

Uneven lighting on the green screen will also effect how the image appears in post. Some portions may seem darker or brighter than others and look fake. Business videos should be eye-catching and professional; amateur oversights will significantly impact the effectiveness of your video marketing campaign, so it is necessary to ensure that the entire screen is lit evenly with no shadows or highlights.

Light Reflection

Light reflecting off of the green screen can also be a problem, particularly when your subject is pale-skinned or light-haired, as they will often appear green. Making sure to light your subject well and distance them from the screen is imperative to avoiding light reflection. If you know that your subject is light-haired, you may want to devote extra time to lighting them just right to make sure that your footage is captured unmarred.

Subject Positioning

Positioning your subject too close or too far away from the screen can also raise issues, especially if the floor sneaks into frame. This can cause the image to look unnatural or oddly angled and distract your viewers from the interview. It can also create weird shadows that don’t make sense in the frame. Blocking the subject equidistant from the camera and the screen is usually the best option, but you may need to experiment with blocking before you find the spacing to be just right.

IMG_9035While green screens enable us to do some really cool visual effects in post, how it is used during production is indicative of the quality of the final product. Utilizing a professional video editing company is a sure way to create an effective and properly executed project when using a green screen.

Skillman Video Group LLC is a Boston video production company. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.

Post-Production for a Branded Video

Last week we discussed the intricacies of the pre-production for the branded corporate video for Bond Construction, but there were many elements to post-production as well.

Brand Video – Commercial Quality from Skillman Video Group on Vimeo.

SVG was given a list of edits needed for the final product, and, in the end, it was decided that color correction and audio tweaking were needed. While this is not necessary for all of our projects, in special cases, it’s determined that the extra mile will be needed to bring the product up to par.

The difficulties with post come from the extensive lighting changes needed for each of the 25 different scenes, each featuring a different Bond employee delivering a portion of a speech. A colorist was used to ensure consistency between each of the scenes. For instance, a scene with high-key lighting will be jarring for an audience to watch if it cuts quickly to a scene with very low-key lighting. These small adjustments help knit each shot together without signaling to the viewer that something has been changed.

Sound was also another issue altogether. Shooting on active construction sites was a cool experience and made for a visually interesting composition, but it also meant accommodating for rampant noise pollution. While our sound recordist did as much as they could mixing levels on site, it was impossible not to pick up cars, birds, crews talking in the distance, and the various noises of machinery and equipment. Editing them out in post can be tedious, but was necessary to provide a clean sound recording of each and every employee. This couldn’t have been more important when making a video for marketing.

While finishing touches are always necessary in the video editing business, it really comes down to the quality of the material obtained at the shoot that determines how extensive post will be. The careful pre-production process (which anticipated needed things like a teleprompter, an operator for the teleprompter, and a separate audio mixer) enabled the post-production process to be as straightforward as possible and raise the overall production value of the project.

Skillman Video Group LLC is a Boston video production company. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.

Conceptual Approaches to Corporate Video

The Premise

Recently, my fellow intern, Damian, and I produced a short promotional video for Skillman Video Group that began with a simple premise. We quickly decided that our video was going to tell a story that could only work, and be entertaining, in video form. In order to best represent SVG’s storytelling abilities, we were given a few guidelines by SVG’S Creative Director/CEO, Christina Skillman.

The Challenge

At SVG, we know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to the effective ways to represent a brand online. We strive to produce professional, creative content that responds to what consumers are looking for on the web. So, our guidelines came from our awareness of our audience’s expectations.

One, the video we were to produce was going to be funny. SVG had a lot of success with a humorous, online marketing video (featured below) that we produced a few years back, and simply being funny is quickly becoming an extremely popular trend in professional video marketing.

Plus, comedy is sort of, well, my thing. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past year developing the sketch comedy show Pals and Friends for Boston University’s buTV10 channel.

Two, the video couldn’t be a hard-sell, but instead needed to be subtle. People tend to immediately tune out from web marketing videos that have blatant, in-your-face branding, or videos that resemble something you could see on the Home Shopping Network. If you want to make a successful corporate video, then your video needs to actually be entertaining enough to pique your audience’s interest.

The Concept

So, Damian and I spent a few brainstorming sessions thinking of what could only be shown through video. Our ideas that eventually got scrapped included: an A-Team style montage showing the faces of Skillman Video Group, a text-based adventure that relied on motion graphics, and one idea that I don’t think got developed further than one note that reads “find dog, acquire rollerskates.” But, eventually, we found a creative idea that could effectively capture the essence of corporate video production.

An important part of what we do at SVG is, at a fundamental level, help businesses find and develop their stories. We don’t focus exclusively on the the business’s story on a broad level, but also we flesh out how people fit into an organization to create a larger corporate ethos. So with that in mind, we thought of a pair of professional colleagues who had no idea what their story was.

The pair we thought of, James and Laura, were two people with a great product, which is a blender that works in reverse. But, when they pitch their product, they quickly realize that it’s the only thing that they know how to talk about. That’s the concept we landed on, and I’m very happy with the end product.  Stay tuned for the coming video!

Skillman Video Group LLC is a Boston video production company. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.

Boston Video Production Company: Professional Videography and Production No Matter What

Winter is Coming… (Or Going)

Interview Production

It’s March in Boston, and if there’s one thing Bostonians are tired of hearing more than “pahk ya cah in Hahvad Yahd,” it’s “wow, winter was rough.” So please understand, when I tell you the weather in relation to producing a few web video interviews for Ducere back in February, I’m doing so only to illustrate my point. No matter how harsh the weather conditions were over the past few months, SVG was able to charge ahead and deliver results on time.

Working Effectively When the Rest of the World is Snowed In

The most challenging aspect of this shoot wasn’t getting the gear we needed to effectively fulfill our client’s expectations, because that’s really never a problem for us.  We have a big enough roster to cater to any of our clients’ needs or specifics.  For these promotional videos, the client requested we shoot on a Canon 5D Mark iii with specific lenses,  and that’s what we delivered.  Regarding audio, we always like to have back-ups, so we brought a boom and lavalier microphone to ensure that we would deliver the highest quality sound to Ducere.

The truly challenging part of this shoot was that we had a pretty limited time frame to get to three separate locations, and do three sets-ups/break-downs for three different interviews. Oh and on top of that, we were working in Boston at a time when it took a minimum of two hours to get through downtown. Seasoned film crews would look at those set-ups with some hesitance, and we prepared ourselves by working with our environments as much as possible.  At the end of the day, we were able to get everything done, without going over our designated time.

Making Beautiful Marketing Videos

As we’ve written about before, effective lighting is vitally important for producing professional corporate videos. That’s why we brought along a few LED light kits, that give videos a gorgeous, extremely professional look, and take almost no time to set up. Alongside our collection of easy-to-use LEDs, we tried to use natural, ambient lighting as much as possible to reduce the total number of lights we had to use.

Because of our Director of Photography’s level of experience, he knew exactly where to place people. And, how to most effectively set our camera’s settings to get the best looking image without stopping our forward momentum that morning.

Corporate Video Production Under Pressure

Despite the feeling that the weather had intentionally spited us, we got in and out of shooting completely on-schedule. If you’ve been in Boston recently, you’ll understand why that’s an accomplishment to brag about.

Skillman Video Group LLC is a Boston video production company. Call us anytime at 1-800-784-0140.