Social Media Video – Fosters Solicitors LLP

How to produce a sub 30 second commercial video from Blanc Creative on Vimeo.

Our previous 30 second video marketing blog covered the subject of Social Media Video Marketing with an emphasis on “why 30 second video marketing is a winner” and how important short videos are in the world of the social media digital platform. Today we will look at our latest Video short, which we produced for our client, Fosters Solicitors LLP with a very specific aim. We received an initial brief to produce a video advert that met a very succinct criteria.

    • The video could run for no longer than 29.5 seconds including any call to actions at the end.
    • The content had to cover five key elements of law that the business offered to clients including Family / Employment / Property / Motoring / injury
    • The social media video should not have any voiceover or spoken script
  • Was aimed at a younger demographic as the content with a primary objective of being be played on a loop in an environment where music would already be playing.
  • The content had to be interpreted purely from a visual perspective.
  • The content would be used in a secondary capacity as a social media video across a host of platforms and therefore would require some element of audio but not a scripted voiceover.

Social Media Video Pre-production

During our pre-production meeting, we discussed the pace of the film. Conveying 5 key areas of law in a social media video left very little time for each element, particularly as we needed to incorporate a call to action and branding at the end. My initiial thoughts were to look at historical marketing campaigns that were fast paced, conveyed numerous cuts into one flowing theme and immediately, I thought of Lurpak. I’d always had a fascination with these adverts from the disembodied Rutger Hauer voice overs  trumpeting the benefits of butter and the continuous movement covering the rise from bed to leaving the house with lunch in just 37 seconds was so appealing, that I couldn’t think of any other concept that would have worked any better. Fosters Solicitors were really receptive to the theme, so the initial planning concepts and storyboarding would all be planned around this theme.

Storyboarding

The storyboarding concept was quite straight forward as there was no script to worry about and therefore the emphasis was placed on three main elements, which were visuals, sound and Text. The storyline would be built around the lifestyle of a young, successful person and would convey the aspects of Family Life, Employment, Property, Motoring and Injury Law set over the course of getting out of bed and driving to work. We all have personal needs in our lives and Fosters Solicitors provide expert legal advice and services across a multitude of legal areas. The concept of the marketing campaign would re-enforce the message that during your life, you may need professional solicitors across a whole range of scenarios and that Fosters Solicitors is indeed the place “Where your life meets the law”.

Assignment Costs

Whenever we produce a Social Media Video for a client, production costs are always one of the main areas we focus on. We have built our business ethics on delivering high quality work at a fair price with awesome customer service. We live in a time where creative industries are a saturated market so delivering value for money is at the forefront of everything we do. The video could be shot at one location, with once cinematographer and actor,, so from a production cost, this was really favourable. The length of the social media video being under 30 seconds, also meant that post shoot editing and colour graded would be relatively inexpensive. The storyboarding process meant that we knew exactly what shots were required, so in addition, filming time was reduced. Taking into consideration the need for sound, we opted to incorporate no music, reducing the requirement for Royalty Free Licensing. However, one of the largest tasks outside of filming would be the sound production. Dispensing with the use of a sound recordist on site, we once again reverted to the Lurpak advert and opted for a complete Foley soundtrack to be produced to accompany the visuals. In film production, 50% of the viewing experience is the sound. Produce a bad soundtrack and you can ruin an otherwise great production. Whilst the initial brief required no soundtrack at all, failing to include a soundtrack would render the advert almost unusable across social media platforms, so the decision was made to create a whole new track that was built from scratch in the studio with a sound recordist.

Location scouting

Location scouting can be as difficult or complicated as you want it to be. Keeping it simple is always the best choice unless you’re producing an epic saga. The larger the production, the more work is entailed and the chances of having to seek permissions for filming and complete extensive RAMS assessments for Health and Safety increase workload, add to your budget and either eat into your profits  The storyboarding for this project was set in one location, so finding a suitable property was slightly easier. There were no particularly expansive scenes, lots of closeups and therefore, providing we found a property and vehicle brand that reflected the modern type of lifestyle to reflect the demographic we were trying to capture. We actually shot the project in my own house, so there were no costs involved.

Social Media Video

Social Media Video

Shooting your Social Media Video

So you’ve already produced a great storyboard for your social media Video that your client has signed off, you’ve secured your location, found a suitable actor for the role and secured a post production sound engineer and foley artist to produce your soundtrack, you’re then ready to shoot. There’s no point in hiring freelances, runners and extra staff unless you need them. You should be able to plan the team you need on set during your planning and setting your shooting schedule. It’s great turning up to your client with a team of six people, but if nobody has a role to play and spend the entire shoot standing around, then your client is going to be pretty unhappy and is likely to challenge you about the need, especially if they are on set to watch filming. We worked with a two person team, with myself working as Director of Photography and one assistant, who worked as runner, clapper board operator and set dresser. Build you team around your workload and the technicalities of your film. If you have scenes that require continuity from a perspective of multiple camera angles, then you’ll need to camera operators or you’ll lose the continuity. Extensive planning will save all of your headaches in post production. Check footage as you shoot it. We use an Atomos system with a large screen and built in Solid State Drive. If your client wishes to be part of the production process, they may very well want to  sign off the rushes to make sure that the footage fits with their vision. If you can’t review the footage on anything other than the LCD on the back of a camera, then this will. look unprofessional and you don’t really want to be having to download every single ‘Take’ onto a laptop as your film as this  will be counter productive and eat into your filming.

Blanc Creative Video ProductionPost Shoot Editing

Keep your editing process as simple as possible. We edit our Social Media Video in Davinci Resolve which is a solid professional platform. Our personal preference is to shoot in S-Log where lighting conditions permit as this allows for some great colour grading and dynamic range of your footage. We allows edit without a client being present. On numerous occasions, clients have requested if they can be part of the editing process, but this will definitely slow down your process and can cause multiple problems. If you have storyboarded, developed the concept, shot the film in the style to reflect the storyboard, then the editing process should naturally flow. There are no hard and fast rules about this, it’s just a personal preference, but we always send our clients a primary completed version of the production. You may receive a request for minor changes and this generally comes in the form of soundtrack music if you’re using it or Font changes if a specific has not been chosen. Ensure that you deliver the final product in a suitable format that your client can use. Particularly on larger productions that aren’t short social media video  products, that delivering a heavy 4K version is often impractical. Listen to your client from Day 1 and you should be able to deliver a fabulous product that will the audience wanting more.

A few tips for Social Media Video Production

Tip 1- The importance of a pre-production meeting and the chance to listen.

Never undertake a social media video production without first holding a pre production meeting with your client. If you’re tight for work it’s really easy to agree over the telephone to take on a project and offer a quote for the job only to find out that the workload is two or three times more than you thought and that the clients expectations, far far exceeded your fee and more importantly your ability. It’s a key opportunity to listen top your clients vision and make a decision about your experience, your equipment and the production time versus workload. The last hing you need, is to agree a price simply to seal the assignment and then to find out that the timescales, hire of equipment and any other freelancers or sub-contractors is way outside your quote. If this happens and you decide not to undertake the project after you’ve agreed, will leave your reputation and credibility in tatters. And you really can’t afford to have this in such a competitive business. Pre -production is a chance to listen and to document everything your client visualises for the production. Your clients will mainly be led by your experience. Don’t offer services that you can’t commit to and more importantly, if a concept doesn’t work, explain why. Your knowledge in the industry is the reason your clients wish to engage you services. Provide examples from your portfolio or showcase work that really stands out for you as an example of the kind of work that would suit your clients brief.

Tip 2 – Storyboarding your Social Media Video

It doesn’t matter if you’re creating  a TV advert, social media video or a large scale film production, storyboards are super helpful to quickly tell a story. A storyboard showcases the shots planned for filming and presents the client with everything from camera angles and style of shot for that element of the scene. of your film. From a pre-production perspective it’s really valuable because it clearly conveys how the story will flow. It allows your client to glimpse what they can expect to see and can save a lot of time, worry  saving you time and money, after all, it’s reduces the need to shoot footage that will be discarded and stops the problems of having key elements missing from your edit that you suddenly realise should have been included in your shooting schedule. Social media video is often produced as an explainer video or marketing tool, so the work that goes into storyboarding isn’t a labour intensive task. It will tell the story and communicate the concept, serving as a guide when producing the the final work. The storyboard is the first opportunity following your pre production meeting, where you client can visualise the overall concept of your visual ideas. Take your time to think of the script when you begin to sketch out each board. Focus on the characters in the story. You don’t need to spend a lot of time filling in the background if it doesn’t affect the plot. At this point it’s a good idea to share your boards with someone to get feedback. Sharing your storyboard and script helps identify if your boards flow and makes sense. If you’re missing something or need to revise the concept, then it’s a relatively simple process, as most professional video production companies use dedicated storyboard software.  The art of storyboarding is powerful and will ave a lot of potential headaches. It also allows the scripting process to be written around the timings of your production or vice versa. There are numerous storyboarding options on a subscription basis, including Studiobinder or Toonboom to name just two.

Tip 3 – Shoot for your intended platform

For most social video, landscape mode is generally the best choice. Videos are almost almost always presented horizontally unless you are choosing to shoot for something such as a dedicated campaign on a Digital Bus Shelter or a portrait style screen in a retail store or a bespoke screen.  When videos are filmed in portrait mode, there’s always two large black bars on the side unless the footage is adapted to fit the screen, which causes all sorts of problems unless you’re filming with the camera on the side. unless, of course, your viewers are on a platform like Snapchat or Instagram Stories. Stick to tradition and how video is meant to be viewed… in landscape mode.

Tip 4 -Aim to catch attention quickly

The first 30 seconds of a social video is what matters most. Make your video engaging, exciting, succinct and leave the viewer with a message they will remember.

At Blanc Creative, we are a group of creatives who love to make short films, shoot awesome commercial photography and deliver fully licensed drone footage. If you are planning your next visual project or require imagery for any commercial purpose, then please reach out to our team on 07871 364041. We’d love to help turn your ideas into reality.

 

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