An End to Boring Corporate Videos

So you just completed a corporate video for the biggest client on the planet.

All of those long hours and hard work are about to pay off during the final clients review but during your Premiere showing you noticed people are falling asleep heads are nodding huge yawns…uh, oh! you’re corporate video is boring – a statistic with all the rest of those bad corporate videos and you just walk away with your head down.

How could this be avoided? What could have been done differently?

Well, we’re going to jump right into a conversation with Thomas Clifford, a 25 year corporate filmmaking veteran. The only one who knows how to bring brands to life through “enlightened” corporate filmmaking.

We’re picking his brain and getting some great tips on this edition of The DV Show.

Show notes:

Thomas Clifford’s website

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  1. Great ideas. I like the addressing the camera part!

    What do you think about: in addition to the camera 1 in the back shooting forward, I was thinking of having a cam 2 off to the side of the stage getting profile shots of the speakers and audience reaction. Of course I will have to be going back and forth between them, but I can lock one off in a decent neutral position, run over and do some CU’s of the speaker on cam 2 and audience, then lock it off back in a neutral position then run back to camera 1 to vary the shot, then rinse and repeat…It would make for some nice variation but I’m hoping the back and forth doesn’t hurt the overall quality. If only I could clone myself so I wouldn’t have to pay that person.

  2. I do these just about every week. If the person is boring it’s going to be boring either way, but there are ways to spice it up. There are a lot of ways to go at it, but these are my recommendations for a two camera setup with 1 operator. Camera A is a wide shot that doesn’t move – I like to have it so that it includes at least some of the audience… including some movement in the bottom of the frame makes it feel more dynamic and less stagnant overall, plus other people listening is an attractive trait for listeners undecided on their level of interest. Camera B should be a medium shot that tracks the speaker, some speakers walk back and forth while others will just sit the whole time – walking back and forth (left to right, so you don’t have to adjust focus much) is much more interesting. If you feel comfortable with it, make the suggestion or direct the speaker to be interactive and animated. Other things to consider are: lower thirds, full screen graphics, external videos as illustrations, etc. . If you can record the powerpoint (not with a camera, but a capture device) and sync it in post – do it. I usually like to add as much separation between the two cameras as possible without being extreme or inconvenient. For example, if you’re using a certain Canon DSLR you’ll have to be constantly checking for the 4GB file size limit or possibly switching out batteries…. so don’t make it too inconvenient to monitor. Also I think it’s interesting when the person being recorded acknowledges the camera (“I want to welcome everyone that’s watching online”/etc.) for the sake of making the online viewers feel like they are there. I could go on… but I figure this is sufficient. If you have any other questions feel free to ask!

  3. I’d personally save that angle/option for a 3 camera setup. I like to spend most of the time on the medium shot, so it not being consistent is a significant negative. You should check out TED talks though, they have a really good format and take advantage of audience reactions/etc. . What type of “speaker event” is it? I’d say some would make sense to have an audience reaction shot (comedy, Q&A, and reflective) while others wouldn’t. The issue with putting someone off directly to the side is that if they are moving from stage left to right back and forth then you’ll have to be pulling focus constantly and headroom will change as the talent drifts closer and farther away… now if you can get far enough away to zoom in so that it flattens the image, then it’s a possible consideration. Honestly I think you can go really far by keeping it simple and getting the basics down: proper tripod fluid head tracking, good pacing of the camera cuts, 18% grey card white balancing, nicely balanced shutter speed/ISO/aperture, and quality audio. That reminds me… I usually like to do 30fps and a slightly higher shutter speed (when optional) then the usual “cinematic” double the frame rate.

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