Do you want to make videos for corporate clients? We have put together a list of great tips that might help when it comes to producing videos for paying clients.
Over my career, I’ve edited a lot of corporate videos, large & small. From British Airways to The Bodyshop, from Cadbury’s to The Church of England, from Uniliver to… I think you get the idea.
So I thought it would be a good idea to assemble a cardinal listicle with my top ten tips. Not all are about editing, some advice has been learnt on shoots, some from listening through the rushes or from just overhearing a director’s fraught telephone conversation in the back of an edit suite.
Making corporate videos is relatively straightforward, but it is also very easy to get things wrong. In this business wrong means more money having to be spent.
1) Keep to the message
You’ve been employed to make a video for one reason, to get a message over. This might be to buy a product or service, or instructions on how to use an item or service.
Remember the the client is paying to get this message over and although your gorgeous sunset timelapse over the factory looks great, does it help promote that message?
You might have shot some lovely moody shots of a product, but the client isn’t going to be impressed with half silhouettes. This is not a case of less is more, more is more. If you are making a promo of a car, you will need to see the whole car. Many times.
Ask the client who the video is aimed at. Prospective new clients maybe? Existing clients? A YouTube audience? The message might be different for each.
2) Communicate on a regular basis
Don’t be shy when talking to the client, good communication is essential. I’m all for showing anything to the client as early as possible, this avoids editing yourself into an editing cul-de-sac.
You really don’t want the client to ask you to change the music when you’ve spent two days crafting all the edits to the track.
Showing progress also helps when getting stage payments and approval of a rough cut might trigger off a welcome bank transfer.
Review services such as Frame.io really help here and are far more professional than WeTransfering a half resolution H264 that won’t play on the client’s old computer.
3) Decide on deliverables before you shoot a single frame
Yes you might be making a 1920 or 4K master, but how about different formats for social media and translations into different languages?
Make sure you know the exact deliverables the client is expecting for the money. When shooting, think about composition for the different formats and maybe shooting an alternative take for a square video version for example.
4) Finalise script/treatment/shot list before shooting starts
Absolutely essential. You do not want the client saying ‘oh by the way’ whilst you are in the middle of a busy day’s shooting. Having a plan and sticking to it is key, even if it is just a a bullet point list of where to shoot in a factory to show a product being made.
A script is even better to work from, broken down into scenes with the essential shots clearly listed out. You do not want to have to return to an office or factory because you missed out an important stage of production. Likewise, the client might specifically want **not** to show a part of a process. I’ve seen how a Cadbury’s Flake is made, but I can’t tell you how. :)
5) Finalise budget & dates before production
Possibly the most important piece of advice. You do not want to be editing version 10 of a five minute video in three months time. Clearly lay out the production stages, the opportunities for the client to review and make changes and then the final approval & lock of the master. After that, it is all on another invoice.
6) Match corporate look
Many companies have employed expensive designers for logos, colour palettes, creative layouts and so on. Ask if they have a style guide that you can have access to which should contain the correct artwork files and colour swatches/Pantones? RGBs/Hex that can be copied. If not, take a good look the company’s website and printed material and match the colours and fonts.
7) Mindfulness & diversity
When shooting and editing, just be mindful about who you include and who you exclude. If an employee really doesn’t want to be on camera, then don’t shoot them, even in a wide shot. Then they won’t appear in the edit and won’t have to be edited out for version 2 after they have complained. If it is not on the rushes, it can’t be edited in to the show.
I edited a corporate video that was just about to get the final sign-off. After a showing in the boardroom, it was mentioned that there were no black employees speaking in the edit. The film was shot using the staff who were on a shift, everybody was doing their job in the correct place. However, once mentioned it became an issue and ended up being reshot and re-edited. Right or wrong, a bit of thought beforehand would have saved the cost.
8) Don’t bamboozle your client with tech
The client isn’t really that interested in whether the video is being shot on RAW, they will appreciate the quality of the end result, but they are paying you to deliver that. Don’t confuse the client by hitting them with all the tech stuff on the shoot or in the edit when they visit. Do they really need to know what a LUT is? No, let them concentrate on things from their perspective, not yours.
9) Lose the filmmaker ‘luvviness’
You are not remaking the Godfather, so don’t act like a Hollywood director. Unless it is a scripted piece with actors, the people in front of the camera are not being paid to be onscreen, they are just doing their job. So be nice to them, especially if they are part of a manufacturing process and have to meet targets.
10) Name super spellings & logos
I always say to anybody when making a corporate video that there will always be a change to the first edit. Even when everything has been checked and checked again, there’s always a tweak. Normally that’s a name or job title spelt incorrectly.
Only recently I had to change a name super on a corporate presentation. Myself and the director thought we had got it right exactly as we cut and pasted a lady’s name & job title from LinkedIn. Clever eh?
Well it would have been if she had updated it from her maiden name as she had just got married in the last month and hadn’t got round to changing her profile!
Ask the client to send you an email or spreadsheet with all the names & job titles of people who appear in the video. Shooting a quick shot of name tags at conferences helps too, better still are business cards.
Peter Wiggins is a broadcast freelance editor based in the UK although his work takes him around the world. An early adopter of FCP setting up pioneering broadcasts workflows, his weapon of choice is now Final Cut Pro X.