Dealer Show Recap Video Tips
I'm an internal, one-man-band video guy at a medium sized company that makes snowmobiles. I generally shoot interview and instructional content. We have a dealer show at a convention center next week and generally, we have our marketing firm(that does all of our promo video content) film and create a 2-3 minute recap. This year, marketing is hoping to save money by having me do something similar. The show consists of stage presentations, rides in the field, dealer interaction and seminars, a concert, etc.
The agency generally brings in a crane, a couple of guys roaming with gimbals, and much better cameras.
I have: a gh3, a tripod (and monopod), a rode videomic pro, a single wireless LAV, and a gopro or two I can borrow. That's about it.
Marketing understands that it's not going to be an apples to apples situation, but I do have the luxury of some really nice product footage that I can add in to up the production value. The video will be quick cuts of the festivities set to upbeat music and be sent out to all the attendees as kind of a "thanks for coming! we had fun" kind of thing.
I'm watching the last couple of years' recap videos and getting a shot list together.
If you guys have any tips on how I can make the most with what I've got to work with on this project, it'd be greatly appreciated. My biggest concern is going to be getting clean audio. I don't think I'm going to be able to strap up the presenters with my LAV and the shotgun mic will likely pick up too much extra noise.
Thanks for any advice you might have.
I've done a bunch of these over the years.
You don't need additional "technical" help - but you do need some basics - and, ideally, least one additional set of hands if you want to make it work well.
On the technical side, go hand held and stay as mobile as possible. If you don't shoot a ton, practice a good camera brace position (hands on controls, elbows braced at your body and camera held close so it's not waving around too much - pan with your torso, not your arms or hands. You'll NEED a simple on-camera light that dims. Use it sparingly, but you'll have plenty of situations where a decent shot is backlit or just dull, and a little front fill will save the day.
Yes, get some shots of the enviromennt, wides of the rooms and decor - but THAT IS NOT THE KEY HERE.
The NUMBER ONE thing in these post-convention hightlight reels that people want to see is THEMSELVES.
The more faces you can get on screen the better. If you absolutely can't do any sync sound, you've GOT to be the kind of shooter that can roll - then get a group of people to turn and wave, smile and look lively.
That's where the second body comes in. If it's at ALL possible, find somebody in marketing or PR who has a bright smile and maybe somebody everyone knows and likes. Have THEM take out a simple wireless stick mic and "interview" people. It can be as simple as "Are you having FUN!" - the point is to get people ANNIMATED.
Prowl the event looking for small groups and singles. Make SURE you get representative groups. Sales teams are often much more demonstrative than IT, for example. But it's important not to make it ALL about one group.
A convention is the one place where you often lots of the vertical teams participating - so one happy face from Real Estate or Loss Prevention who typically go unsung compared to sales - goes a LONG way to making all the elements of the corporate culture feel inclusive.
Also, if you understand upper management's personalities and have any solid relationships there - and you can get them to do something lighthearted and engaging, that's GOLD. It helps bring them down from the ivory tower and positions them as part of the team rather than above it all.
You (and hopefully whatever sparkling personality from PR you can recruit as a partner) will have to bust your tails as a solo team. But it can be done.
ADDENDUM: Last minute free concept. See if you can get permission from the meeting coordinator or the execs to do something like a Champagne VIDEO Challenge. Tell the participants to use their cel phones to interview EACH OTHER and that you'll pick the best 3 to include in the video. Maybe 2 just questions. What do you like best about your job? And "who in your department is an unsung hero? Set up a Dropbox or Private YouTube account or something similar for them to upload their video to. It its all crap, no loss. Just announce the winner and give them the Bottle of Champagne at the last nights dinner. If you get a few submissions that are worthy of use - BONUS!
EVERYONE is carrying video cameras in their phones now. Find a way to leverage that.
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Love Bill's selfie-collecting idea!
Your visuals won't be as good as the past year with the higher budget, get used to that right now, so you need to make extra sure your AUDIO is PERFECT. Spend what you need to, to get clean podium audio as well as clean sound off roving mics.
Think about a monopod. Makes it fast and easy to move thru a crowd, yet get stable interview shots and telephoto candids. Even a piece of wood or pipe with a 3/4 bolt is better than nothing.
Shoot with a theme already in your head for the edit. Be sure to get enough variety for good cutting.
It is a great idea to buttonhole/draft a Marketing person to assist you, because then you have corroborating testimony later about what it costs to really do the project well. Next year,they may up the budget a bit in response, but they have to UNDERSTAND what they're getting when they cut this much.
Finally, don't let Zellin read your question, and if he does... run the other way.
All of this advice is GOLD. Thank you, gentlemen. I'm going to take some more time to read through it but the first order of business is getting an on-camera light on order and bamboozling our social media lady into doing some field interviews.
Thanks again. I'll check back between now and the show.
Here's a very useful look at a bunch of on-camera video lights:
If you can, get an arm so th on-camera light is actually a foot or more off to the left or right: this looks much more flattering. Better yet to have an assistant with a monopod hold that light.