In the age of affordable broadcast equipment it can seem like every creative agency in the country is claiming to be ‘video experts’ but to quote Iron Eagle III (a fine example of how not to make a film) “It’s about the man, not the machine”.
People can have all the technological might of Skynet but it won’t mean a thing unless they know how to use it and know what makes a quality video. It takes many, many years for professional filmmakers to hone their skills until ‘getting the shot’ becomes second nature. Don’t get caught out by the pretenders and part-time shooters! Ask to see a showreel and watch out for a couple of tell-tale signs:
- The audience is key. Your video production company of choice needs to identify your target audience early on in the production and every decision thereafter should be tailored towards engaging that particular group. Your production company should help guide you towards a style and finished product that will appeal, first and foremost, to your target viewer. If your video providers don’t have a strong handle on your audience then the chances are that your video will go down worse than Kindergarten Cop being played to a room full of bikers.
- Keep it concise. MTV has a lot to answer for. In the digital age people’s attention spans have been significantly reduced and as such your video will only have a very short window of time to grab the viewer’s attention and keep them engaged. Unless your company of choice knows its mise-en-scène from its 180 degree rule you could end up with a bit of a mess on your hands. Consider that the average blockbuster movie trailer is around two minutes long and you can see the dilemma. Even the most interesting content isn’t going to engage the audience past the three minute mark. If it’s going online, the production company has to keep it short and pack a lot of content in to not a lot of film.
- Motion adds value. We’re not talking about pans and we’re not talking about zooms! Any production company worth its salt knows that adding a bit of motion to a video can really help increase the visual excitement created. It’s relatively easy to get your hands on a tripod and camera so infusing your video with some Hollywood crane and dolly type shots will take it to the next level. Just a small amount of vertical or horizontal movement in a video can boost the production value.
So, there you have it – a few tips shared from experience! There are plenty of companies out there that would claim to be filmmakers but if you want a finished product that will appeal exactly to your audience as well as being visually stunning and concise, make sure you do your research!