How to prepare for shooting a corporate video?

If you want to prepare for shooting a corporate video, but don’t know what to begin with – this tutorial is for you. Below are 6 steps to prepare for shooting a corporate video:

1. Meet your client in person

The first step for a successful preparation should be arranging a meeting. If possible – meet at the location where you’ll be shooting. This way your client will find it easier to explain what they want to show in the video.

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You’ll also be able to plan some of the shots already. Therefore you’ll know if the rooms are too dark and need additional lighting or if the spaces are very tight and require a wider lens.

The human eye accomodates to poor lighting conditions. We don’t notice subtle changes of brightness. However, our cameras do. Therefore, I always take my camera with me to check the lighting conditions during the first meeting. Crucial when preparing for shooting a corporate video!

Take a piece of paper and a pen with you. No matter how good you think your memory is – you will forget some detail. Shooting a corporate video for the first time may overwhelm you, since it’s such an important task. Noting on your piece of paper will make it less scary. Additionaly, it will give you the feeling of being in control. Thet’s because having planned 60% of the video with your client – there’s only 40% that you’ll have to come up with yourself.

2. Find a few potential songs you could use in the corporate video

Go through some free music libraries and try to find something interesting. You may also negotiate the budget and buy a licensed track. Remember – a piece of music that’s good for editing video to does not neccessarily have to sound great on its own.

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You don’t need to like the taste of fish to enjoy the taste of sushi. A sushi roll is a composition of different ingredients and has a taste of its own.

My girlfiend – Wiki

From now on I will refer to the quote above as the “Sushi Phenomenon”

Try to close your eyes and see the location where you’ll be shooting with the track playing in the background. Maybe some interesting cuts come to your mind? If you feel a thrill, then that’s the track you were looking for.

When it comes to the choice of music, there are two paths you could follow:

  1. Don’t send them the track for acceptance, since the composition of music and video follows the Sushi Phenomenon. Risk them wanting you to change the music. That means re-editing the whole video.
  2. Send them the track for acceptance. You will eventually find a track that they approve. This way your client will be less likely to change their mind about the track.

I prefer the former, since it gets you editing much sooner. Moreover, there are situations where your client is dissatisfied with how the song they chose or approved works with the corporate video.

3. Prepare a shotlist and a timeline for the corporate video

If you don’t know yet what a shotlist is – it’s an ordered list of all the shots you will use in your video. Try to be precise describing them. You don’t have to stick to all of your ideas on set, but writing as much as you can think of is beneficial for your time efficiency on location. That is, the more you write down, the clearer your vision of the finished corporate video will be. Therefore, it will take you less time to come up with alternative solution when something doesn’t work out.

I advise you to draw something I call a “timeline”.

As video editors we tend to have a better understanding of chronology when we see a timeline. Just like in our video editing software.

Try drawing your shotlist as if it was a project on a timeline:

  • Let you shots be represented as rectangles
  • Below them draw rectangles which will represent sound effects and music

This way you will know which shots are really neccessary for your corporate video and what sound effects you will need to record at the location (or find on the Internet)

4. Make sure you have all the gear you need

… and pack it the day before! It is very easy to forget something crucial like a battery or an SD card at home. Therefore, packing your gear the day before saves you stress.

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It is also the last chance to realize that you indeed don’t have a certain piece of gear that you really need. If it is vital you still have some time to borrow it from a good friend or buy it at a local store for future projects. However, if you’ll be able to get by without it, this is the time to re-plan the parts of your video which require this particular piece of gear.

5. Arrange a meeting (or more) to shoot

One but last step before you shoot! Arrange the meeting. By now you should know if you will be able to shoot the whole corporate video in one day. Otherwise, agree on a few dates when it’s most convenient to shoot particular scenes.

Certain employees, offices and devices may not be available at all times.

As an example look at this list of who’s absent during the week when you’d like to shoot:

  • Monday – all working
  • Tuesday – the head accountant is having a day off
  • Wednesday – 2 out of 5 hired graphic designers are on holiday
  • Thursday – 2 out of 5 hired graphic designers are on holiday
  • Friday – 2 out of 5 hired graphic designers are on holiday
  • Saturday – closed
  • Sunday – closed

So according to the information above:

  • Monday is the only possible day to shoot a main walkthrough of the company, if you’re planning to have all of the employees in one shot
  • Monday and Tuesday are the only days when you’ll be able to shoot some footage of the graphic designers, since they’ll be absent until the end of the week
  • You’ll only be able to shoot footage of the main accountand on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

All of the above may be obvious, but it is crucial to get such information from your client. After your first meeting (step 1) you should know what they particularly want you to show in the video.

Ask them this specific question:

On which days between [the timeframe you’re interested in] will we have access to [a room, device, employee they wanted you to include in the video]?

Write down what they say. This should make planning your meetings a piece of cake!

6. Take your notes on set

Take everything you wrote down in the previous steps with you on set. Having your notes in your pocket will make it much easier to come up with alternative shots in case something doesn’t go as planned.

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For example:

  • Somebody may loose consciousness at work. You’ll then have to shoot in other parts of the company while the paramedics take care of them.
  • Some device may break or randomly stop functioning. You’ll have to shoot it when it’s repaired OR make use of the notes in your backpocket! Maybe you can show a certain quality of the company withot the shot of that device? Your notes will help you out.

In case something goes wrong you should also be able to contact the person who you arranged the meetings with.

You’re done preparing for your corporate video shoot!

If up to now you’ve followed all of the steps above, you should be ready to shoot that corporate video you were so stressed out about. However, if you aren’t on the verge of shooting a video for a company – come back again when the time comes. I’m sure this tutorial will guide you through the not-so-complicated process of preparation for shooting a corporate video. I hope you’ll remember to charge the batteries and format your SD cards 🙂

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