Thursday, 15 March 2012

Corporate Video

As a filmmaker, at some point or another you will be required to commercial or corporate video. Some people do it as a favour for a friend or family member, some do it for a bit of extra money, others make a career out of corporate video production. However, the world of corporate video is very different to creative filmmaking. We have had a lot of experience in creating corporate and commercial videos for a variety of clients, so please indulge us as we pass on some things we have learned.

Creative Control
The main reason corporate video is different film creative filmmaking is that you are creating a video to fit the needs of someone else. Although you could say that creative films are made to fit the needs of the audience, the creative power still lies with you. But with corporate video, you are not the one who gets the final say - the client is. For filmmakers that are used to writing and directing their own projects, it can be quite hard to hand over the creative control to someone else, especially someone who is unlikely to have any filmmaking experience, and may not know what is best for their film. This is where a brief comes in.

The Brief
When a video production company are asked to create a video for a client they are usually given a brief. The brief is extremely important as it establishes what the client wants to get out of the project, allowing you, the filmmaker, to deliver a product which best fits your client's needs. The brief usually contains a list of specifications that your client wants the finished video to accomplish.

From the start, request a brief that is specific as possible. If you can, try and establish exact durations for segments, what shots they want and where, what titles, graphics and music they want for the video and at what point. You could even go so far as to saying that if the brief is specific enough and agreed upon by both parties, the actual production of the film should be a simple "paint-by-numbers" affair. It may seem creatively restricting, but you're not making this video to stretch your creative wings, you're making it for the client.

The alternative is that you are given a vague brief that leaves a lot of room open for interpretation. It is this "interpretation" that can cause disagreement and potentially dissatisfaction for your client. The last thing you want is for the client to ask why you didn't get a specific shot when they never asked you shoot it in the first place. 

"Oh, I wish you'd have got a shot of the artwork in the foyer."

The Contract
Once you are able to agree on a brief, it is very important to get everything put in writing and agreed by both sides. It may sound very cynical, but it makes sense for both sides. You don't want to waste your time planning and producing a film, only to get into a disagreement with your client upon delivery and have to argue about payment. Equally, your client is trusting you with their time and their money - they don't want to pay good money for a sub-standard product.

As a result, you should write up a contact explaining the terms of the project. The contract should contain a section describing what you, the production company, will be providing such as:
• The product you will be making (including a brief)
• The format(s) you will be delivering the product on (eg. DVDs)
• The timescale you will be delivering it in.

In return, the client can provide:
• The agreed fee (plus any variable expenses)
• Any facilities or equipment they have agreed to provide you.
• Reference, testimonial or credit upon completion.

Preparation and Production
In the lead-up to shooting, both parties need to make sure that everything that was agreed on in the contract will be possible on the day in order to create a product that will fit the brief. For you, the crew, ensure you have all the equipment you need and can logistically record everything you said you could. For the client, make sure they make suitable preparations for you, such as ensuring any equipment, facilities and personnel you will require are available.

On the day, stick to the plan! Deviating from it without good reason will only complicate the process. Remember, you agreed on what you were going to shoot. Changing your plans can cause disruption to your client's everyday business and potentially compromise the finished product. If you really need to change your plans, get permission from your contact and let all relevant people know what you're doing.

Mr. Perkins is back to make his 34th set of changes.
Once you're finished shooting and the edit is coming together, you may find that your client decides to start making suggestions for "improvements". If you're lucky, these are just quick fixes, such as making a quick change to a title or cutting out a shot. However, it's not uncommon to find that the client wants you to tweak the edit time and time again, and you begin to wonder whether they'll ever be happy with the video. To prevent this happening, it is wise to write in some kind of clause into your agreement with the client that limits the amount of re-edits you do without the client having to pay for additional edits.

The Lowdown
It sounds pessimistic, but always plan for the worst and take action accordingly. Expect your client to be indecisive and not know what is best for their project, and make use you take this into consideration when agreeing on terms and a brief. If it turns out that they do know what they're doing when it comes to video production, that's great - at least you've taken precautions. After all, as a professional doing a job for a client, it is your job to make a product that your client will be happy with so that you get paid at the end of the day.

1 comment:

  1. I read this post. Its just perfect about the creation and the use of the video in many fields. Thank you so much for the post.
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