The Do’s and Don’ts of Video Production

Today I’m going to share with you the basics of video production.  The basics are roughly 4 elements that need to be correct for an effective video.  These elements remain the same whether you are making a video for yourself, your friends or doing an instructional video for a company, organization or YouTube.  I am talking about the very basics here, I know there is a lot of progress with video production and equipment but lets break it down to the VERY BASICS.

Lets start with the CAMERA.

My trusty Sony Z5 Camera
Me and my trusty Sony Z5 Camera

There has been so much advancement in camera technology in the last 10 years it is quite incredible.  15 years ago when I was studying Video Technology we had to book the cameras when a project was required from us.  Back then the cameras were S-VHS Panasonic cameras that would take a VHS cassette.  View Finders were black and white and these cameras were quite bulky and designed to sit on the shoulder to stabilize the image.

panasonic-ag-456up-s-vhs-reporter-camcorder-professional-video-camera-ad19fb37253de0b1cc5be49f6a711ffa
Panasaonic S-VHS Professional Video Camera

These were very good cameras at the time and were available to the students from the Technikon but we had to book in advance to use the camera and gear to put together a production. But there was a difference between this Panasonic VHS camera and a Broadcast quality camera.

Today that has all changed as even cell phones can now film in True HD quality (1080i) and cameras are generally filming to memory card now.

production
Sony HDV Z5 camera used at GCV Productions. Note the memory card recording unit.

This blog is not about the technology of cameras but about how to use the camera for basic video production.

So lets start by saying we don’t have any preference what camera is used provided you have access to the camera and it is able to film for a few minutes without interruption.  I will give video demonstrations below.

What is very important is a tripod for your camera to be placed on to keep a very steady picture (remember people…basic production here)  We are looking to create a visual that is comfortable to look at and not jarring on the eye.  Using a tripod is getting the basics right, however if a tripod is not available look at using something for the camera to rest on.  Action shots do not necessarily require a tripod but lets talk about an interview situation or training video.  A subject professional cannot be filmed for 20 minutes while trying to keep a camera steady. It is very simple to place the camera on a tripod, press the record button and relax while the subject professional does the work.  Another reason for a steady is tripod is so the camera operator is able to zoom in without the picture getting shaky.  The more you zoom in the more unsteady the visual becomes.

 

Have a look at these examples below of an interview with a tripod and an interview without a tripod.

Sound.

I remember back to the days at Natal Technikon studying Video Technology, the biggest issue students faced with their projects was getting sound right. We did have microphones available but it was still difficult recording good audio in difficult conditions.  Lets look at our interview situation and see what is required.

Most cameras out there have a built in microphone but these microphones aren’t always sufficient depending on the programme content.  An interview situation will require a lapel microphone while a drama production will require a boom microphone.  A journalist standing in the middle of a busy city street will need a hand held mic  so although cameras do have the microphone its not always used.

A lapel microphone is an awesome piece of equipment to secure good quality sound provided it is used correctly and for the right circumstances.  Lapel microphones might need to be hidden completely or the actual microphone attached to the jacket lapel or shirt.  lets look at a short interview with and without the lapel microphone and you will realize the importance of good sound during a video production.

Lighting.

Lighting, like audio is generally not taken into consideration when on location.  You lucky if you want to film outdoors and all that is required is natural lighting, but at times extra lighting is required on the subject.  Lighting can be used to create mood but lets stick to the basics and talk about lighting as a requirement to avoid a dark picture and to be easy on the eye.  Lighting today is generally LED (light emitting diode) but a few years ago and now it was called a Redhead or Blonde light, these were lights with a tungsten bulb and barndoors to direct the light.  The Redhead used a 800W bulb while the Blonde was a very strong 2000W bulb and was quite often bounced off a wall or ceiling or the light was used to light a very big area.

Generally anything filmed indoors requires extra light to create a visually appealing image.  Provided light like a lampshade can be included in the background for creative effect but this should not be used as your light source.

Lets look at an example of a video clip without and with light.

Clearly you can see with the above video example what adding light to your video production offers.  The light used in this production is a tungsten light with a blue gel over the light to match the white balance of the light coming through the window.

Modern lights today have an adjustable switch that allows you to adjust the colour temperature of the LED. If the switch is not available then a gel is used in front of the light.

The elements come together to make a quality video production.  The above is the absolute basics but these basics need to be in place for an effective video production.

Thank you for watching and I do hope this blog has been able to provide valuable information.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions.

GCV Productions
GCV Productions

 

A Day in the Life of a McDonald’s Training Video Shoot by GCV Productions.

McDonald’s Training Video experience

GCV Productions and McDonald’s SA have been working together creating training videos since 2010.

Day 1

The RSG Team at McDonald’s SA

The RSG (Restaurant Solutions Group) Team at McDonald’s SA is made up of Michele Oosthuizen, Willem Potgeiter, Winnie Nyapisi and Deirdre van der Merwe.

A training video at McDonald’s will take roughly 3 days to film. Quite often a new restaurant will be selected so that equipment is up to date.  The pre production phase can be applied to the McDonald’s team – the team will make sure the restaurant is well briefed on the video shoot, all equipment is clean and in good working order and all utensils are available in the restaurant. Crew will need to be informed that a video team will be at the restaurant so they will most probably have to share their kitchen with a cameraman and the RSG team.

McDonald's Training Video

Filming often commences roughly around 9 am after a good hearty breakfast. The team will follow a basic time schedule of what department is presenting what.  Time is also given to viewing footage at intervals to make sure correct procedures are followed.  Either interviews are done first or build procedures in the kitchen.  The training video begins with an introduction from a  Marketing member, new products are introduced to the crew as well as new procedures for the quarter ahead.  Menu boards at front counter and drive thru are discussed in detail. After Marketing has done their part the RSG team takeover.  The camera moves into the kitchen and a new build procedure is filmed.  A ‘build’ is the makeup of a burger-the exact ingredients used and procedures followed to make the burger.

ice cream

Measurements and procedures are exact so quite often this procedure will be filmed more than once!  A dedicated crew member will work with the RSG Team performing the demonstrations for the camera.   Filming will often continue until a lunch break is taken at 1 pm, the team order off the menu and lunch is served in the restaurant.  Lunch is also the time allocated to viewing footage from the morning session.

McDonald's SA

The afternoon session will quite often start with Build procedures or the introduction of new equipment or procedures.  The dedicated crew member is rehearsed with the new procedure or equipment before the camera rolls.  Sometimes IT Department is brought in if till procedures are filmed.  Footage will be viewed again in the afternoon in case anything needs to be reshot.  Filming day ends roughly 4 pm.

End of part 1

GCV Productions is a video production company based in Durban KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. For more information please contact Guy Crosbie @ GCV Video Productions cell: 0721281823  email: guy@gcv.co.za

GCV Productions
GCV Productions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video Production – Do’s and Dont’s Part 2

Production

Everything comes together at the Production phase.  This is when filming takes place on location for a few hours, days, weeks or months.  All gear would have been checked at a “Gear Check” Crew would work together to get the actual job done and cast would be doing their part in front of camera.  Call Sheets will inform everyone who needs to be where when at the video production.  Security, Medical and catering will be available depending on the size of the shoot.  Quite often video production will make the most of daylight, this means an early start depending time of year.

Each crew member has a job to do.  Lighting crew will look after lighting, rigging will look after rigging.  Skills will come together to get a job done in the allocated time and allocated budget.  The Producer will watch the purse strings and make sure the production stays within the allocated budget.  It is very important everyone on set / location works together, jobs will overlap and egos can clash.  The director is the boss although quite often he is not the person calling the shots, this is done by the AD – Assistant Director.  He will take orders from the director and make sure the message gets to the crew and cast.

Post Production

Post Production is basically the editing of the footage to make the video, TV show or film.  Editing can be a very daunting process and very time consuming.  Editing itself is broken down into segments called offline and online although this seems to apply to editing a few years ago.   Today all footage is digitised…in other words all the footage is captured onto a video edit computer ready for the director and editor to scroll through and start the edit process. Editing brings the video footage, titles, SFX, music and graphics together to make a final programme.

GCV Productions
GCV Productions

GCV Video Productions is a video production company based in Durban KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.

For more information regarding a video production please call Guy Crosbie @ GCV Productions. cell: 0721281823, email: guy@gcv.co.za

 

Video Production as a Marketing Tool

Andrew Mills, Boxer Marketing Director, had the following to say about Video Production as a marketing tool:

“Video production has been very effective for us as a retailer over the years.  I remember back 20 years ago when we didn’t have the power of video production to be able to send our message back to the staff, we were definitely not in the place of communicating with our staff as effectively as we can today.  If I can take you back a number of years when we had fewer number of stores in the greater province of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa,  we had roughly 25 stores as we expanded into the Eastern Cape Province. We found as time went by the ability to get all the store staff and store management to the Head Office to communicate with them became costly from a time and cost perspective, and it just was not making financial sense to do this.  However, the importance of being able to roll out more stores in the country created the need for us to bridge the potential communication gap we could see arising hence we relied on video to act as a bridge, to be able to connect ourselves as management at the Head Office with our stores.

We have noted over the years, we are now in our 39th year of trading, in particular when we had these accelerations of store roll outs around the country that using the power of visual to communicate the message we want means that I can be consistent in the way I tackle the information.

Added to that when we send out videos not only are we educating staff we are informing them of whats currently happening or will happen in the business and its also a form of entertainment where they get to experience a slice of life which potentially might not happen in their area of trade but is happening elsewhere.  Video keeps them up to date for the greater good of the team and it empowers them.

At the end of the day I have noticed that when we visit stores around the country we have staff come talk to us about what they saw and they remember that particular edition they received and the content being depicted by the power of video

What it comes down to is this….If i want to generate the desired result I rely heavily on the effectiveness of video as a national fast paced FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) business ”

Video Production as a Marketing Tool
Andrew Mills: Boxer Marketing Director

GCV Productions review

CREATING TRAINING VIDEOS FOR NEW STAFF

For years our firm has been training our new staff by hand.  We really felt that doing things hands-on was the way to go, and while we were a small company it really made sense.  But as we grew we noticed that it was not the most efficient way to get things done, so we decided to look at ways that we could streamline our training system.

After consulting with a number of colleagues in our market, we determined that creating training videos was the most efficient way to train our staff.  Not only would we ensure that everyone had the exact same amount of training, but it would free up our company leaders to focus on their departments without interruption.

Corporate video production durbanWe sent out requests to a number of video creation agencies, and after entertaining many offers, we decided to work with GCV Video Productions.  GCV specialized in training video production durban and we leveraged their expertise to create our training programs.  They worked closely with our HR department and training managers to come up with a training program that would ensure that all of our new hires entered our workforce at the same skill levels.

The completed training videos delivered to us were professional quality and more than exceeded our expectations.  We will be implementing these training videos with our next batch of hires in early May and we are excited to see the results.  Working with GCV Video Productions was one of the smartest decisions that we have made this year.

 

Creating Training Videos for New Staff