In this blog post I will try and give you a realistic idea of how many videos can be created from a day’s shoot. These days, maximising content creation is a skilled technique, feeding the hungry beast of web and social media. You need a good number of films, but you must not drop standards.
Yes, the standalone company profile video is generally a thing of the past, he’s more of a slimmed down version, shorter and punchier, and he needs to come arm in arm with a group of snappy little friends, ready to conquer the world of social media.
It’s been the case across the board probably for about 5 years now that as standard at the very least we come up with a few short ads to complement a main film. You may or may not even need to script these ads beforehand, and I’ll provide a couple of examples. But the idea behind it is to use small social media ads as bait to drive traffic to your site, with the lure of watching the full film there. And the longer people view your the site, the more your presence and brand is remembered and the more likely they are to return and explore more of what you have to offer. The theory being the more time invested in something, the more trusted and valuable it becomes.
Types of Shoot
There are two types of shoot really, the scripted, and the non-scripted. Non-scripted being we conduct interviews, and shoot footage to complement that content, following whatever processes are afoot and most relevant and representative of the business or group. If we script it, we would either write voice over, or write the content of on-screen text, and would construct a shot list for the day to allow to create these films. If we need to 100% sure the marketing department will be happy with what we’re thinking then we’ll need to draw up a storyboard and get those shots signed off.
Whichever category your shoot falls into, there is lots of scope to produce more than one film on the day.
Here are a few ideas for films to schedule for a one day shoot.
Main promotional piece(s) – duration 1-2 minutes. Either constructed from interview with cutaways (specific shots) and GVs (generic views, or b-roll), or scripted beforehand, as described above. If the duration is a bit shorter, under a minute, you could produce two or three promotional films – which I’d recommend to consist of one main one and 1 or 2 smaller films.
Interview Testimonials – we could easily come up with two or three of these.
How-To-Pieces – maybe schedule in two of these, for example – if there is a suitable product or process.
Social Media Short Ads – see below, but you could expect us to come up with 3-5 short films.
Time-Lapses – also to act as short ads. I would try and do more than one so things are themed. On its own, one is a bit odd.
How many you could actually achieve is always going to be project specific, of course. How complex is the script? Maybe its dense with shots, maybe these are hard to setup, maybe a certain processes take a long time.
But on average I would hope for around four or five films. It’d be useful to show a couple of examples then, to help you judge what’s possible. Bear in mind that with the below we aimed for that large volume, and achieved eight films on one and 14 a day on the other. But it could be that we only shoot one high quality, in-depth film. It just depends what’s suitable for the client – quantity isn’t everything.
A lot of work is done in pre-production here, so we have a fairly tight shooting schedule for the day. It does still leave room to expand on that in post production. Of course, the shorter the pieces, the fewer the shots, the less time they take to setup and shoot, so the more films you can create. It would be a good idea to demonstrate, practically, what we achieved with window restrictor manufacturer, Jackloc.
On their one day shoot we ended up editing eight films – consisting of five full videos plus three social media ads. It should be noted there is even some room to improve on that number as the day pretty much exclusively revolved around the acting talent of 5-year-old Jasper. So naturally Jasper had a short attention span, with no such thing as multiple takes, and with limited windows of opportunity. Kubric would have been inconsolable. Add to that a cap on the day at about 3.30pm as the family rushed off to the toy shop to fulfil the day’s bribes before Sunday closing.
So what can be achieved? From this shoot we edited:
1. Main Video advertisement. 40″
Shot to follow a script, framed to allow text on screen. As discussed in a previous post the use of text on screen is extremely cost effective, most of the work goes into creating the script beforehand and we shoot to that. As we knew we would need to add the text, most shots were framed with a good deal of negative space to allow for the additional text.
2. Interview testimonial: with the parents, single camera. 50″
Edited from a sit down, ‘formal’ interview with the two parents, single camera. Cut with miscellaneous shots of subjects on which we knew they would be talking.
3. One parent highlighting a single point. 30″
Taken from the same interview as above, with similar shot choices.
4. Other parent highlighting another point. 30″
5. Product Installation. 1′
Shot to a script using a good amount of macro lens work. Again, with space left in frame to allow for on screen text.
6, 7 & 8. Social Media Shorts. 12″ – 18″
These three short films were actually scripted after the shoot, and just edited and scripted from the existing material – i.e. that already shot for the other films. A good point to bear in mind, social media cannot be too time consuming or expensive simply as it’s not got the longevity of the web stuff, though can be repeated especially on Twitter. Being so short the material can either be ‘stolen’ from other films, or shooting a batch specifically for it should not be time consuming. In this case we knew the broad brush strokes of a couple of the subjects to cover, and made sure we had ample shots.
So to confirm, Social Media films do not have to have exclusive content to any web films, or certainly not shots-wise. I look at them as a tease, and they really are that.
Duration is generally so short that it makes things easy. It naturally breaks your content down into its constituent parts. For example, I often think of the USPs of a product or client, list them out, and assign one short film to illustrate each. Then it is a case of theming them, and that could be with words, similar sentences, or plays on words as here. Or colours, framing, editing style, etc.
For us, we usually assign a social media edit day, after everything else is completed. So we can take those larger edits, break them up, and then add anything extra that’s needed. Music can often be reused. I’ll then work through and create as much as I can in that one edit day, and will probably come up with more content than is actually used.
What did we get?
We got eight films! But you could push it to ten fairly easily by adding one or two social films, or taking anther slice of interview and working with that. It’s about getting enough shots (b-roll for the Americans, or GVs here in the UK, or it always used to be. Times change) on the day, and if you script as much as possible then you can create a shot list to plan the day and work to that and to guarantee at least that. I’m not saying 10 films from a day’s shoot is easy! It’s not, and of course quality will diminish the more you try and pack in. I think this is a realistic example of what comes from thorough preparation and some good quality, efficient and hard work on the shoot.
As mentioned, it’s not hard to come up with a good batch of content even if the shoot is not pre-scripted.
You’ll certainly need to identify the broad topics to address beforehand, and decide whether you will edit to interview narration, voice-over narration (meaning that would yet to be scripted, and not to be recommended! Write voice over first, even if it’s rough), or use on screen text – in which case you simply have to shoot to account for that in frame. Shooting 4k is always an idea, leaving the adequate room for text, and if you need to reframe in the edit and push in (if there is no text when you happen to use the shot) then you have that option.
A longer interview can always be broken down into as many chunks as you require after the event, as long as you have the shots to cover it.
And as stated, social media films can be created at will. For example, we did this series for the West Hampshire School of Art:
We took the shot used below from part of a lesson. It was shot in 4k so we zoomed into part of the frame, and created a second version as a follow up ‘reveal’.
This one was shot specifically as a timelapse for social use during a lunch ‘break’:
And below, again we time-lapsed the camera concentrating on the artwork during this landscape lesson and added text.
We originally came up with eight or nine social media films as alternatives, and they chose five that were going to work best for them, also including this short Behind the Scenes cut touching on a couple of techniques we used to film the project:
For the wider shoot for the West Hampshire School of Art, we shot 23 lessons over two days, plus the social media content, so we made 28 films. But you’ll not get that every time! And it was again down to some good preparation and something you can’t change – good natural talent. In this case Daisy Rogers delivered her lesson content pretty much spot on every time, so we hardly did a second take of any lessons. She did the hard work beforehand by knowing her subject, and we rolled the camera’s and tried to learn something. But certainly in that educational / lessons environment delivery of a high number of films per day is at its most possible.
We’ve seen that planning the shoot through is essential. Either you know your content thoroughly if you’re delivering it, we have a list of points to cover for an interview, and / or we schedule the day to achieve the shot’s required on paper. Always bear in mind the more you try to shoot, the more compromises you must be willing to make! Either everything will not quite get shot, so there should be a contingency day, or there will not be much to choose from in the edit, i.e. permutations in post production will be at an absolute minimum. It’s about understanding what will be right for the client’s needs, not simply a numbers game.
We’ve seen the types of films you could pick from – scripted advertisements, interview ads and testimonials, how-to demonstrations, time-lapses, and making provision for social media content.
We’ve discussed whether your shoot will be scripted, it could even be story boarded to be 100% that our shot choices are going to be the right ones. Or whether we determine the exact material to film, and use interviews, testimonials and vox pops to talk us through it. In a scripted shoot the prep has been done beforehand, in a non-scripted more work is done in the edit. But both might yield similar numbers, and for every client I would aim to come up with at least four or five separate films of varying lengths and target platforms… but definitely not of varying quality!
If you have any further questions or feedback, or if there’s anything you feel I have missed or would be useful to add, please do let me know in the comments.
If you want to get in touch for a quote for video production, feel free to get in touch.