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How to Plan a Video Shoot

More and more companies are using video as an asset in their marketing strategy.

Depending on which survey you read, between 61% and 96% of companies are using video to reach their audience. That means two things. Firstly, almost everyone is using video and there is now a level of expectation that every company uses video to some degree. Secondly, more videos equals more competition for eyeballs and that means your content needs to stand out or at least get to the right people. Recording a video on your phone and lobbing it up on social media might work for some business - and it does by the way - but not all business can run its video content like a dive bar in Manhattan or an established superstar singer.

To get the most from your video, it’s worth taking time to sit down and plan out what you want to get from those two to three precious minutes of film.

In our experience, these few tips have helped our clients immensely. If you can follow some or all of these ideas, it is likely to lead to more clarity that in turns leads to a smoother shoot on the day and more relaxed interviewees.

Here we go...

Work Backwards

In order to make the best of your time with your video production team, it is an idea to have a plan in place. Start by working backwards and try to imagine what your final video will look like.

The first decision, before you sit down to plan out the how, the who, the where and the when, should be the what.

What is the core message we want to get out from this video or series of videos?

Visualise the end of the video and work backwards.

Get your Story in Order

If you want people to watch your video and get your message, you are going to need to have a compelling story with a good strong arc. It doesn’t need to be scripted, and in fact we wouldn’t necessarily advocate the use of a script as they can be stifling, but you should have some sort of story sequence or story board idea in mind.

Winging it in this business doesn’t really work so while the interviewee in question might not always need to be prepared, the person overseeing the production on the client side, whether that’s a marketing executive or manager, should have a good idea of what message and/or questions need to be addressed.

We would always advise giving us a call before the shoot to discuss this as it will save lots of time and heartache on the day of the shoot.

Interviewees like to know that people are in control and if the video team and the company rep are on the same page, it really helps to make the interviewee feel more comfortable and allows for a more relaxed and therefore more productive shoot.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that we have to shoot the story in the order that’s laid out. In fact, having a clear path allows us to shoot the sequence in any order we wish so that if someone is called away to an urgent meeting we can take another speaker, film his or her part and later on bring the person who was called away to the meeting.

Gather Personnel and Give them Time

Know who is going to be sitting in front of the camera on the day and book out at least thirty minutes of their time for the shoot. We might have to do several takes to get the best we can from the interviewee. We also have to set up the shot, adjust things for height, skin tones, adjust the lighting and so much more. All of that takes a little time. So giving the candidate time to relax into the role is important.

Watch David McWilliams at LexTech's Future of Law event in 2019. A total pro. We did two takes in about seven minutes and got exactly the message we were looking for. None of it was scripted.

Choose Wisely

It is worth thinking about the right candidates for the job. In short, we like talkers and we like confidence but we also like people who can get to the point and speak in plain English.

Above all, choose people who will be comfortable in front of the camera and who don’t mind taking instruction.

For more tips on what to think about before coming in for a shoot have a look at this earlier post

Location, location, location

This is an obvious one but choose a location that matches the theme and mood of the piece. A recent recruitment campaign that we did for a client was shot in their canteen. You might think that sounds a bit ‘low brow’ but it was perfect because the background was colourful and the communal space gave a sense, togetherness and a welcome atmosphere of a great place to work that a ‘stuffy’ office setting might not have offered. It is also a room that staff associate with relaxation and because we could shut the door and keep the rest of the staff out, there were very few distractions. It also offered us, the filmmakers, plenty of depth and numerous shot options.


A completely different factor is noise. Rooms in which air conditioning can’t be controlled are the bane of the video producer. That’s due to the low hum that seeps its way into the soundscape. So if you can, pick a room with no air conditioning or at least a room in which it can be turned off.

Own the room but try to stay out of it

Sorry if this comes across as a little rude but while filming, it's better if there are as few people in the room as possible. While it might be fun and great craic to see your work colleagues tremble in front of the camera, it really isn’t helpful and while we are usually quite quick to bluntly ask people to leave the room, it’s better for everyone if the marketing executive lets everyone know the lay of the land beforehand.

Bottom line - only the camera operator, interviewer and interviewee should be in the room. If the plan (see above) has been well thought through, there should be no need for the marketing executive to be in the room either. That's said, it’s rarely a problem if they have to be there.

If you would like to chat to us about the work we do and how we can help you tell your story, please drop us an email:

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