A Manchester based videographers take on corporate event video
One of the many ways you can make money as a videographer is by shooting corporate event video. Businesses will often outsource this kind of work and use that content for internal or marketing purposes. As long as you have a solid portfolio of work you shouldn’t have much issue finding these types of jobs. Below outlines a five step guide on what it takes to capture corporate event video.
So you’ve fired off your speculative emails, reached out to all the local event marketers and advertised your portfolio and services online. Eventually a potential client’s going to get in contact, when they do it’s best you get your communication nailed down.
- Get the contact details for the event coordinator and liaise with them regarding time, location and schedule for the day.
- Discuss any core aspects of the event that they’d like more focus on.
- Confirm whether they have someone available to interview guests and key speakers.
- Plan your journey ahead of time and aim to get there early to avoid any travel issues.
- When you arrive, find a location (with access to power outlets) which will be a hub for your gear.
You might run into the odd client who’s communication skills aren’t as on point as you’d hope. Never shy away from getting them on call before the event if you’re lacking any relevant information. Setting up an event is often a manic process for your clients.
02 – The Kit List
Events are physically draining, you’ll be moving around and setting up equipment without time to rest throughout the day. Travelling as light as possible will save your back in the long run. If the budget allows for it a second crew member will make your life a lot easier. You’ll get a vaster shot selection with two of you, and it’s nice to split the weight of the gear. Don’t be afraid to put this cost on the client, it’s only a benefit to their video and doubles up as an insurance option if anything was to go wrong with a piece of equipment.
Equipment you’ll need:
- Two Cameras are better than one for safety reasons if nothing else, lighter cameras will be easier to manage, the GH5’s inbuilt image stabilisation is a god send for us.
- Lenses, telephoto are often better. Not everyone at an event is going to be comfortable being on camera, if you can stay further back, they’re less likely to react unnaturally. If you’re capturing interviews as well you might want to pack a 35mm or 50mm lens, really depends on your style/ preference.
- A tripod for any fixed shots, if you’re recording a stage, speaker or want to have a wide shot of a particular location as safety bring one of these.
- Use a monopod for everything else. It’s just so much easier to setup and move around, I’ve captured most of my B roll and interviews using this piece of kit.
- External mic for the cameras as a backup for audio. We use the Rode VideoMic Pro’s.
- Lavalier mics for any interview situations.
- Something to record straight out of a PA system, we use a Zoom H4N Pro.
- Storage, if you don’t have enough, bring a laptop and be prepared to data wrangle.
- Batteries, the more the better, if you’re on a budget make sure you have a charging station close by and be prepared to swap out what you do have. Bring a phone charger as well or a power bank if you plan to use it as a recording device in conjunction with the lavalier mics.
You really can’t afford to mess up the audio capture, especially not on your interviews, those interviews will drive the narrative of your video and give you something to edit to.
03 – Shot Acquisition
Split this into two core types of footage. A roll footage for the interviews and the odd speaker on stage coming through on the PA system. B roll is going to be everything else.
- Get a master wide if you’re dealing with speakers on stage. If it’s relevant and possible try and get their keynote presentation in shot as well. To avoid any screen flicker adjust your shutter to sync with the refresh rate of the screen.
- Interviews, it’s really your own stylistic choice but I prefer to get a medium close-up. If you have the storage and capabilities, shooting it in 4K and slightly wider allows you to punch in for cuts in the edit. Make sure the location is well lit, when inside look for a spot close to a window. Shoot away from the crowd, you want your audio to be clean and noise free.
- B roll, get as much as you can, crowd reactions and interactions. Any relevant branding banners, posters, stalls. I personally love a bit of slow motion so will shoot double the frame rate of my interviews/ master wide. Capture as much as possible, use pans, tilts, focus pulls, it’s all about giving yourself as many options as possible in the edit.
- Get an establishing shot of the location or a tracking shot into the venue and you should have everything covered.
Sometimes an interview might spark an idea of the kind of B roll footage you’ll want to capture and cut with in the edit, it doesn’t hurt to plan out the edit in your head as you’re shooting throughout day, so make as many mental notes as need to. You won’t regret it in post.
04 – Team Up With Event Staff
This goes especially if you’re shooting on your own, everyone’s likely going to be busy handling their own role. Sometimes other event staff will be performing tasks that overlap with yours. If they’re in a position to help out, ask them to.
- Befriend the audio technician handling the PA system, connect your kit. Don’t be afraid to ask them to stop and start the recordings for any core moments as it’s likely you’ll be busy shooting something else as those key moments arrive.
- When possible have one of the event team accompany you when you’re capturing interviews/ vox pops throughout the day. With any luck they’ll have some questions wrote down already. The interviewees might not be that comfortable in front of the camera so allow them to warm up a bit before going straight in with the questions. Just be as friendly as possible.
Interact with the event guests, if you’ve got an idea for a shot that requires a bit of setup or acting, have the conversation, there’ll almost always be someone who’s willing to help.
05 – The Edit
You’ve captured everything from the day, you’re back in the office ready to offload the footage, there are several things I like to do before getting into the edit and they’re all about keeping the project organised and making your life easier.
- Get those bins setup, have one for your compositions, audio, footage and assets. Keep this thing as tidy as possible.
- Scan through your shots while making selections and rename them as you go, call them what they are, if you’ve got a crowd shot, call it crowd, it’ll be easier to search for when you’re cutting this project together. I like to give my shots a score out of 5 and put that in the name as well so I can come back to my favourite takes with ease.
- Construct a narrative using the interviews.
- Sync up the audio if you’ve used external mics. Red Giants Pluraleyes 4 will save you a hell of a lot of time but if you’ve not got access to something like this you’ll have to do it the old fashioned way by scanning the wave form and trial and error.
- Find a good intro shot, I like using a speed ramp with a tracking shot and then start putting down any b roll that fits the narrative of the interviews. Don’t forget that slow mo if you shot it! Cut the speed down to 50% for some buttery smooth movement.
- I like to make sure all the shots are balanced properly individually and then throw on a adjustment layer over the top of everything for the grade.
- Get your lower thirds and any graphics in there including any relevant logos and titles.
- Find yourself some properly licensed music, I’m fortunate enough to be able to produce my own.
- Export it out using settings that match your clients requirements and get it sent across. WeTransfer and Dropbox are your best options.
You should be prepared to make revisions, clients often want them. If you’re smart about it you’ll factor the cost of revisions into the quote.
Keep Your Mind Open To Opportunity
When you’re shooting an event, you’re demonstrating your efficiency at doing just that. If you get talking to any attendees who are curious, hand out your business card and do some networking. Always keep your mind open to any possible opportunities your next job could be one conversation away.
Providing your client’s happy with your work, always ask them if they know anyone else who needs video work doing. A good referral is often more valuable than the job you’ve just finished.