The first in a series of posts about the Consensus approach to live video shoots.
These days, it seems every client we meet needs video for their website or digital campaign. After one of our recent product video shoots, we decided to put together a short post about the pre-production process we use for our Product Video Shoots. Like everything we do here at Consensus, we want you to love the experience of the final product just as much as the journey to get there. So, we’ll skip any product details and poor director’s jokes, and instead focus on what we love about the process.
Long before the cameras roll, the project takes form in pre-production. The ideation, scriptwriting, location scouting, and casting—all lead up to what may end up as just a few moments, seconds or minutes in your video. Typically, most product videos don’t need to be much longer than a minute and shorter is almost always better for the web. Creating several short videos is another approach we like to use too — so clients can incorporate videos in multiple places on their website or other digital properties like social media, without getting repetitive.
The Consensus Creative Team
At Consensus, every video shoot we do is guided by our Creative Team and managed by our Client Services group. Our Creative Director defines the video’s visual and overall creative direction, becoming deeply involved in location scouting, casting and set decoration. Our Content Director determines the video scenarios and leads script development with our team of writers, all based on the client’s business goals and target audience. And a dedicated Project Manager directs the entire process, from vetting scripts and locations with the client, to coordinating with the director and cinematographer, and fundamentally keeping the entire project moving on time and within budget.
The Script Process
We’ll start with the script. The hardest thing we went through in this most recent video shoot started here. Words will change. Constantly. Fact. People are going to want to change them. Fact. And something we hadn’t accounted for in this shoot was that the script may just not be right for the scene once we got on set. The words may have played perfect on paper, but when everything is in place and the actors say their lines and the cameras move in, the tweaking begins. Fact. So know now—the scripts will change, but we found it was for the best.
The Secret to Casting
One of the more rewarding moments in any shoot is finally seeing the scripts play out in live action. This first happens at the casting session. For this most recent shoot, we held an all day session at Boston Casting in Allston, and they supplied us with some really amazing talent. It’s always exciting after you send the script and character types you’re looking for, to see who shows up. And the talent certainly did not disappoint. For this video in particular, we were focused on the right aura and energy between the characters. And admittedly, we wanted the people who our audience would most connect with and more importantly, make the product stand out. We were very fortunate to capture such talent.
Finding the Perfect Location, Location, Location
We secured an amazing cast and moved quickly to location scouting. While we were lucky enough be able to use two beautiful homes, each came with their own set of challenges. The homes needed to fit the right mood of the scripts and complement the actors. We needed to dress the location with props that would play well not only in the video, but also in the product photos that would ultimately drive the look and feel of the website. And of course, you need ample space for equipment because no matter how much equipment you think there will be, there will be more. Not to mention people – makeup, sound crew, all the right people from the client, runners for food, parking meters, dog-wranglers….and so on.
A Word about Pre-Production
After all this and more, pre-production closed with a week of prop planning and logistics. We coordinated for hours on end with the actors to determine which outfits they should bring. We reviewed photography from our location scouting and designed the sets all the way down to the fruit bowl placement. Our Creative Director and prop master worked in tandem to accumulate an amazing, yet exhausting list of props, all of which would help define the visual direction of the video. We developed story boards and blocking maps for every shot needed and even planned out parking.
And then, just when you thought you remembered everything: food. Breakfast and lunch need to be ordered, picked up, and most importantly, hidden from a determined chocolate lab.
Finally, the shoot day. After weeks of pre-production work, we were ready to work with an amazing production team and motivated client to create something special. Lights, camera, action and smooth sailing from here, right? To be continued…