Good Video: Planning

Last week we have discussed the importance of understanding the video and how people use variety of things together to create an ambience that pulls a viewer in (alongside some examples). What I want to bring up today is even more important, yet rarely discussed and widely ignored by people who are starting out: planning.

Before we start, let me address one issue, there is nothing wrong with improvisation and the “spirit of the moment”, but those will come way easier when you have planned before. The idea is brutally simple if you have planned for most of the video already, the unexpected moments are much easier to deal with. Whether it is a spark of creative energy or equipment malfunction.

Let’s tackle them step by step:

  1. Message and feeling

Now I am going to sound like a broken record yet once more: “CHECK YOUR AUDIENCE & WHAT MESSAGE THEY RESPOND TO?”. This includes any stats, info, pen portraits, season, feeling, client’s wishes and so on. Not to sound ominous, but if you at least don’t keep this in mind, you will fail.

So, with Christmas advertising long done and launched we are focusing on other things coming up. Mostly, the spring and summer stuff, but let’s pause on Christmas. Jolly seasons can be one of the toughest shoots you will ever do (especially if you are shooting outside). At this time you need to convey a certain feeling and the cheer of the world. Despite how good it looks at the end trust me it can be a gruelling experience. The weather has to become your friend not your enemy. Let’s be honest don’t you think Christmas as soon as you see snow (just look at John Lewis Snowman advert OOH gets me every time).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0N8axp9nHNU

  1. Script & Strips (reel, comic, line or whatever else people call it)

No here is a fun thing, to me this is “chicken and the egg” situation, which comes first. I prefer to have a script first, so I roughly understand what shots to use, how to position the characters better etc. Some people are the opposite, do the scenes first figure out the moves later. My advice is start using my way, because generally it is easier (and it is the right way).

Here is a rough mock-up I did for one of mine “free time” projects.

Scene 1: Car Upside down after a crush. Screaching sounds and a man in pain.

Car upside down

Scene 2: Flash back to how we got there. Two young lads walking to a car discussing the night after a couple of drinks.

Walk to the car

Scene 3: Following the car from the back (3rd person view). The driver (one of the friends) gets annoyed with a car in front for obbeying the speed limits.

Swerve

Scene 4: After the crush is repeated quickly we cut to a hospital corridor where one of the guys is summoning the courage to go inside the hospital room.

Scene Hospital Corridor

Scene 5: When he finally enters, viewer sees a guy in a wheel chair looking out of the window. Close up to the lips and chin of the guy who walked in.

“Hi, I am … sorry”

Inside patient room

Scene 6: Cut to black, logo and slogan appear (dead silence)

  1. Equipment

Now I am first in line of people who will say you can shoot a great video on your iPad. However, for some projects this may simply not be enough. So, before you venture out there, plan what will you take and when will you use it.

  1. Actors, products, places

Now here is where all the preparation comes in. If you have worked hard on stage 2, this will be easy, as you will have a very clear idea of what to do next. This will include all the locations and what people have to look like. Of course, you will rarely be able to find exactly what you were looking for, but at least you will come close because of the work done.

Now actors, as you grow you will be able to hire models, actors etc., but for now try to stick to your friends or aspiring “Instagrammers” (yes very easy to find there and cheap). When looking for actors make sure you know what you want them to look like and what role to play. Maybe give them examples or even exercises to do. If it is a lady, make sure to specify the make-up too. Will save loads of time.

Products, well, relatively simple. Make sure you ask your client for at least 3 samples of whatever you will be shooting. Additionally you might want to learn a few  “fake” product tricks (Please let me now in comments and I will either write a blog about it or message you directly).

  1. Shoot dates (organising people and weather)

Now we come to the painful bit, making sure everyone and everything is available. Now in the full professional shoot that wouldn’t be a problem you hire actors and models, you say they come. But unfortunately, you are not there yet. So my advice prepare a week in advance and make sure (during the week) everyone sticks to the plan.

The worst moment is when you have to shoot in a particular weather. Unless you know your way around AfterEffects & PremierePro (or powerful enough alternatives), you will need to wait. This especially puts more pressure on you and your crew, as everyone has to be available as soon as the rain, snow etc. hits.

To sum up this week’s video idea there are three words: “Plan for everything”. If do your planning in advance you will free up so much time to improvise and add a few different angles to your shoot that you might have not thought of doing before.

This is it for video advice this week, but look out for next week’s blog on actual shooting and editing to make your final video shine.

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Great Video: Some basics you need to know

Have you ever wondered why your videos don’t get as many views or aren’t as popular as movies or adverts of famous producers or directors?

Well, at the heart of every great director is his or her own style. One of my favourite examples is Steven Spielberg (yes, I am biased). There are plenty of articles written about his style yet adverts and films are slightly different animals.

If you are considering shooting your own videos, our first suggestion is to look at the ads and see the differences. Mainly, pay attention to angles, close-ups and scenery shots, before understanding why the director decided to use them and why are they in specific sequence.

Now listen to the audio type, soundtracks and how it sets the mood. More importantly how throughout a video the sound can change dramatically. Then, pay attention to the effects and how they set the mood (i.e. darker shots make you worried or sad, brighter and lighter make you energetic and happy). Also, when it comes to adverts, use of text is very popular, pay attention to that too. After you examined everything, individually piece it all together.

 

Now, I would like to share some examples that I believe are greats of what I mentioned. Next week, I will go into a bit more detail of how to plan your shoots and what will you need to start.

One of the first and perhaps memorable campaigns (First video was what got me into being more fit).

 

Another Nike Advert (more recent) but in a very different style done in Russia.

 

All I can say is three words. Quick, powerful, iconic.

 

I do not need to explain anything here at all.

Advertising that Made Me Buy!!

Advertising that Made Me Buy!!

Look at the cover image for this blog post! Everyone is exposed to brand messages on daily basis. However, everyone has their own little actions to protect themselves and block those messages. Starting from making tea all the way to scrolling Facebook feed. That being said, there are some adverts that touch us and actually make us do something. Here is the list of best adverts (in my opinion) from different sectors (in no particular order), that influenced me, with justifications for my choices.

WWF – #iProtectTigers

LINK

I have been supporting WWF initiative to protect Bengal Tigers for a while now (so in a way you can say that I am biased). When I first saw this advert, I might have shed a tear (movie like manly tear though), when my friend saw it within 2 days he called to say that he is now donating too. So why did it work? One simple reason! It breaks the barrier between what we hope to do and what we can achieve.

Baileys – Christmas Nutcracker

LINK

Now, am I fan of ballet? No. Do I drink Baileys? No. Why did I buy it that Christmas? Simple, every time I was invited to a party hosted by a girl I would bring one. This advert portrays a certain romance and excitement. Tell me you haven’t attended a Christmas party where there was no drama!?

All I can say is that Baileys has done a fantastic job that year. Never left for a party without a bottle of it.

Toys: Special from Our Founders

Peter Turay, Content 45 Managing Director

Beyblade

These radical spinning tops were awesome as a 10-year-old kid!  Who would have thought I’d be obsessed with collecting them all?

From the TV advert to watching the VERY 1ST episode of this exciting anime on Cartoon Network, I’d be practising my launch and battling out my Dragoon Beyblade against both my late brother and primary school friends at break, lunchtime and even after school.

However, when they broke from trying out ridiculous stunts on the brick wall; I’d pester my parents to buy me another cool beyblade top.  Talk about nostalgic marketing huh?

Alex Pushkin, Content 45 Creative Director

Pokeball

It looks absolutely ridiculous to me now, but I want a real Pokeball on my desk! This is not the advert I saw when I was growing up. I remember the one I saw in breaks between Pokemon series and damn I wanted one. It would open, have a miniature figurine inside and I would battle my vicious opponents in school (my year 3 school friends). No matter who will tell you what, but pester power works!