At PROGRESS, we create films for a number of clients, ranging from promotional to training to presentations. Our films are produced to a high quality, well-planned brief with some detailed post-production to create inspirational and informative viewing.

Whilst video is an excellent promotional medium, not everyone has the budget, availability or access to high-quality equipment, but that doesn’t mean that even with a basic SLR camera, you can’t achieve great results. Here, Warren Sutton, our Creative Director, explains his 6 top tips for how to approach projects like this.

1) Planning your video shoot
Storyboarding, shot listing, and conceptualising are what will ultimately set your great work apart. You don’t need Hollywood movie storyboards, but planning your shots in advance will make not only the shooting more effective on the day, but the editing much simpler.

2) Use a decent microphone
Audible sound is essential to your production. Don’t rely on your camera’s internal microphone – the likelihood is more sound will be captured by the cameraman, director and ambient noise than your subject! You’ll achieve a much better result by using a shotgun mic, or better still invest in a radio mic which can be attached to the subject. It’s a worthwhile investment to creating a quality end product.

3) Film like a photographer
For a start, use a tripod. Unless you are looking for that shaky hand-held Sky-Drama effect, you won’t keep the camera still. With regards to framing the shot, the usual photography rule of thirds apply. Keep your horizons straight and backgrounds uncluttered – the viewer should be focusing on the subject rather than what’s going on in the background.

4) Don’t forget those cut away shots
When you shoot an interview, include cut away details to set the scene – for example if a chef is talking about the cooking of their masterpiece, show images of it being prepared and plated. Not only does it make the shot much more interesting for the viewer, but it gives you much more leeway to edit out anything unsightly. If possible, shoot a range of details to give you more options when creating the final edit.

5) Learn the visual language
Each shot needs to contribute to the story and be visually interesting. If it doesn’t, then don’t put it in – shots that look nice but have no meaning or reference simply lengthen the production but won’t add value. And don’t be afraid to wield the axe when it comes to editing. Just because the finer details of the subject’s topic are interesting to them doesn’t necessarily mean it’s interesting for the viewer.

6) It’s in the post
So you’ve got your masterpiece shot, you now move to post-production – and invest the time in crafting your work of art. Packages such as iMovie can help to make good edits and cuts, but if you’re looking for a more polished look and effects, it pays to invest in the more professional post programmes such as Final Cut Pro and see what online graphical templates can be used.

Invest the time and effort and your film can be a powerful tool. But don’t cut corners – the evidence will be there for all to view – and a reflection of the quality of your offer.

If you’re interested in creating a video or film to promote your business, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch and we can help - email: hello@progress.agency