All too often, a good video programme could have been a truly excellent video programme if the script had been handed over to a writer, typically a communications professional, to review, edit and polish. If needs be, a writer can to take the ‘clean sheet’ approach and compile a script from the very start of the production process. For a relatively small amount of additional investment, is it really worth cutting corners?
Top of the writer’s list is to ensure that the script maintains complete objectivity and closely matches what you are looking for. From the outset – what is the programme’s purpose and what do you want to achieve from it. And why?
Little things add up to a great big lot in a script. The writer will ensure that the correct style is chosen to make necessary impact, with tone and accents, light and shade, and in the right places. Humour – in some cases, pinpoint accuracy may be especially important for some programmes . Individuality, to make a distinction from others, is generally a must-have.
In every script, flow is essential from the start, through the middle sections and onward to the ‘finale’. Each section must knit together as seamlessly as possible. Throughout the process, the writer will take care to ensure that the presenter has clear and concise narratives to deliver. And as for the words themselves, a writer will use the ‘goldilocks’ approach – not too many and not too few.
Throughout the process, a writer will maintain an external viewpoint – your message must engage the audience and take their perspective. Above all, the final programme must be enjoyable to listen to as well as to watch. And not be a turn off.
As with most pieces of communications, a video programme should generate an effect – help an audience on to making the next step, support or prompt a particular reaction or change. The images created by the cameraman and director will achieve a lot. Put the visual material together with a professionally written script and the overall impact has every chance of hitting the target. Bang on.
That’s pretty much it. We look forward to working on your next programme.
Communications Consultant, Video Scriptwriter and Journalist
One of the recent developments in the video production world has been the capacity of Digital Stills Cameras or Digital SLR’s like the Canon 7d to record stunning video as well do their day job of taking photographs.
Without going in to technical explanations that I dont understand, high end professional Digital SLR cameras, (and I am talking £800 for just the camera body and no lens) come with a full frame sensor which are the same size as the image area of 35mm film and as such can achieve high quality “film like” video acquisition for a fraction of the cost of an equivalent full frame sensor video camera.
The combination of this large sensor and being able to use interchangeable, lenses gives us control of how much of the image is in focus. The technical term for this is depth of field but use the images below to see how a shallow depth of field results in only a small area of the image to be in focus. This is nigh on impossible to achieve with a HD video camcorder of the same price range. They simply dont have the same size of sensor and you cant change the lens to something more suitable for the job.
This shallow depth of field is widely used to great effect in high end TV productions and in particular cinema films so that your eye is less easily distracted by irrelevant detail. Conversely it helps draw your attention to the important elements in the scene.
Next time you sit and watch the TV and / or a film, see how many times this is used to good effect.
Up until the last year or so this just wasn’t something you would see in budget conscious corporate video productions because the video cameras simply couldn’t achieve it. When vidoegraphers started to realise what full sensor stills cameras could achieve then things started to become more exciting and that is why we are telling you about it now.
Of course, it would be too good to be true. Well, actually it is true but it isn’t the full picture, if you will excuse the pun. At the end of the day the digital SLR is only a stills camera. It isn’t configured to act like a full video production camera so there are some important compromises we have to take in to consideration.
For a start, there is the issue of recording audio. For a lot of video productions audio is absolutely critical to get right, especially interviews, but this an area of real shortcomings with a stills camera like the Canon 7D. Sure it does do audio but it doesn’t do managed, professional audio. It has a small onboard microphone and a 1/8-inch microphone input which simply isnt good enough for professional interviews.
Sous Productions approach is to use an independent audio recording device. Either a dedicated audio recorder or possibly a 2nd video camera that handles professional audio and then sync the audio and video together at the edit stage. A bit of a faff but personally I think it’s worth it for the end results.
After audio we get down to what are mostly just inconveniences that we accept and find a way around. Remember, a digital stills camera is not a professional video camera and we shouldn’t expect it to perform entirely like one.
What we do get though is stunning video and that “film like” picture quality we long for. The results, if used in the right hands can add incredible video production values to what might otherwise look pretty unspectacular for that price bracket. The alternative is to invest in some very expensive video cameras that are not cost effective for a lot of the current swell in SME companies looking for an inexpensive video production.
My conclusion is that for a lot of jobs the Digital SLR is a very useful addition to the corporate video tool kit. You have to appreciate it’s limitations but must also sell it’s virtues. We love the results we can achieve for our clients and we would hope you love them too.
If you would like to know more about how we can incorporate the benefits of a camera like the Canon 7D Digital SLR in to your business video production then please get in touch.
As always, we look forward to being able to help you.