We  create corporate videos that are suited for our clients and their target audiences. In this case profile, our client Nixa, a web design and marketing firm, wanted to have a short and fun video to share and promote through social media.

After meeting with them at their office along the Lachine canal, my partner Judy and I went for a walk to begin brainstorming ideas for the video. Marc, the CEO of Nixa had expressed reservation about speaking in the video so we wanted to come up with a dynamic outdoor concept that would be engaging while still transmitting the message about what they do.

The Concept

After bouncing a number of ideas off each other, I came up with the concept of having Marc and his partner William fishing in the canal near their office. The idea was for them to soon drop their fishing rods and start walking along the canal. As they walked to the beat of music playing, people would see them and get attracted to their energy and rhythm and start following them. And as they walked, the energy of the group would increase, inspiring more people that were along the canal to join in.

Judy liked this idea as it was fun and upbeat which is aligned with these two young entrepreneurs. However, the part about the fishing did not make sense to her. “Why would these two young, extremely driven and motivated guys be fishing?” she asked. My answer was that they were fishing to attract more clients but got fed up and dropped their fishing rods to move  onto something else.

Although the analogy was good, fishing for clients, we realized my idea did not hold enough weight. We decided that it made more sense for them to sit on a park bench, doing what they do best: Working on their laptops and discussing projects together. We thought they should be listening to music through their earphones and thus the music would form an important part of the video. The rest of the concept was the same. People along the canal would notice these two inspiring guys, and follow them, and as the group swelled, so would the energy. The video would end with the group coming to a stop and giving a thumbs up shouting “Nixa”. Their logo would appear on the screen at that instant along with a tagline to be determined.

The Presentation

We met with Marc and William to present our concept for the video. We created a short storyboard using PowerPoint to express our concept visually and we played the music track we has selected from royalty free stock music we had purchased for another project. We use music from SmartSound along with their software, that allows us to customize the music for length and to choose different variations of the same song.

Marc and William loved the concept and we immediately set a shoot date with an alternative in case of rain. We allowed ourselves three weeks to plan and to organize all the elements including recruiting the actors, which in this case were to be friends of mainly Marc and William.

Preproduction Planning

Our planning consisted of turning our concept into a step by step shot list to drive our shoot day and to ensure a dynamic and engaging video. The shot list shows each scene of the video and describes the type of shot. For example, we would start with a medium wide shot of Marc and William sitting at a picnic table or bench working on their laptops. The next shot would be a close up of them typing on the keyboard from a different angle. The next shot was medium wide of them closing their laptops and getting up to start walking.

Each shot included some description of the scene and this helped us to decide the camera angles and the type of lens or lens focal length to use for each shot.

The Challenges

The biggest challenge was to organize the volunteer amateur actors. We had originally planned to have 12-15 people as walkers to follow Marc and William but Marc was worried about getting enough people as some had started to cancel as the shoot day came closer. In the end, we had thirteen people participate and they did a great job and were easy to work with.

The other challenge was directing everyone with just myself and Judy as the only crew. We realized that if we would have more actors it would have been harder to pull off. One of the actors was also a professional makeup artist and this greatly helped provide a better, less reflective skin tone.

The Production Day

blog photoFilming went smoothly because of our meticulous planning with the detailed shot list. Judy had done a great job coordinating the wardrobe of each person. We wanted people to dress in different outfits so that we could see that different types of people and businesses, i.e. photographer, corporate, plumber, etc. follow Marc and William to use their services.

We planned to start shooting the opening scene with Marc and William at noon to be ready when the rest of the actors arrived at 1:00 PM. This worked out great and the only challenge here was that the sun kept coming and going as we were shooting. After the first sequence, the sun stayed hidden behind some light clouds, which provided a lovely, even, soft and vibrant light.

We shot the whole video using a Panasonic GH1 hybrid camera with a Panasonic 12-35 f2.8 lens. This was mounted on a Steadiepod that could go from a tripod configuration to a smooth gliding steadicam.

We recorded the ambient sound with the microphone from the GH1 and then used a Sennheiser shotgun mic mounted on a boom pole and connected to a portable recorder to record the final scene of the group saying Nixa.

Postproduction 

The editing of the video was fairly easy since we had our detailed shot list already well defined. Once we had our edits finalized we then worked on color correction and balancing out the audio. We added the Nixa logo and a graphic text tagline along with a simple transition effect.

Final video

We think the video came out quite good and Nixa agrees. They plan to promote the video through social media channels and perhaps use pay per click on YouTube to generate views and drive traffic to their website.

 Steve Goldberg

Video producer, Memoriesfx