At Front Runner Films, we’re all about technology. From the latest advances in editing software to the newest cameras, we’re always on the hunt for tools that will help us do a better job on every shoot, for every client. So when ChatGPT arrived on the scene, we were excited to harness the power of AI. We recently dropped a prompt into the dialogue box, as something of an experiment: “Tell me how to shoot a good corporate video.” ChatGPT populated, in almost no time at all, more than a dozen bullet points. That’s a lot of info! But is it actually solid advice?
This blog combines ChatGPT’s advice with our own (in parentheses), so that you can get a clear picture of what’s important. One of our goals is to help you determine how much assistance you need in shooting a corporate video, so there’s info about going it alone as well as how things may work if you hire a team like ours. Here we go: a collaborative effort between FRF and AI.
ChatGPT, tell me how to shoot a good corporate video.
Shooting a good corporate video involves careful planning, attention to detail, and effective execution. (We agree!)
- Define your objectives: Determine the purpose of the video and what you want to achieve with it. Is it to showcase your company culture, promote a product, or communicate a specific message? Clearly define your goals to guide the entire production process. (This is huge, and we’d add something here: it’s possible to do all those things. Ideally you’ll want to create a suite of videos that will meet individual needs, from product and explainer videos, to testimonials, to one–offs for use at a conference or summit, etc.)
- Develop a script or outline: Create a script or outline that outlines the key points, messaging, and structure of the video. This will help ensure a clear and concise message throughout the production. (True! A script can be invaluable, and we employ script writers with decades of experience in the industry because we recognize how important this is. But it’s hard to overestimate the importance of improvisation. Passionate employees and excited customers will often be thrilled to chime in with their two cents about what makes a company great. It’s pretty difficult to script that kind of enthusiasm—better to let people speak for themselves.)
- Plan the visuals: Decide on the visual elements that will complement your message. Consider the location, props, and any necessary equipment. Think about the shots you want to capture, such as interviews, office scenes, or product demonstrations. (So… this part is a little harder than it sounds. Keep in mind that visuals can really make or break a video, so if you’re skipping the production crew and going it alone, you’ll want to do the research beforehand and make sure you’re aware of pitfalls. You don’t want to end up with a final product where, say, the content is all washed out because you inadvertently shot in front of a brightly lit window.)
- Assemble a production team: Depending on the scale and complexity of the video, you may need a team consisting of a director, camera operator, sound technician, lighting specialist, and production assistants. Ensure that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities. (Yup, these are all crucial players. A video production company will often offer the option of a small-ish team, because some people are able to do more than one thing: sound and lighting may be combined, for example, and the DP/director/cam op may be one and the same. This can save you money while still providing expert knowledge and support.)
- Select appropriate equipment: Use professional-grade equipment to achieve high-quality video and audio. This includes cameras, lenses, microphones, lighting equipment, and accessories. Test the equipment before the shoot to avoid technical issues on the day. (If you’re using a professional team, take a look at their reviews or customer testimonials to be sure they can deliver on the day of the shoot. If you’re renting your own kit, make sure someone on your team has the know-how to do a tech check and then run the equipment when the time comes.)
- Scout the location: If you plan to shoot at a specific location, visit it beforehand to assess lighting conditions, ambient noise, and any potential obstacles. This will help you make necessary adjustments and plan for additional lighting or sound equipment, if required. (While it’s great to use your own corporate space as the location—and it will save you on location fees—keep in mind that sometimes we block out the things we perceive as “part of the furniture.” Take a good hard look around and imagine you’re seeing the space for the first time, as a potential client. What would you want them to take away from the video? That the office is creative and fun? That the warehouse is organized and clean? Asking questions like these will help you figure out what matters when it comes time to shoot.)
- Prepare the subjects: If your video involves interviews or appearances by employees or executives, provide them with clear instructions and talking points in advance. Help them feel comfortable in front of the camera by providing guidance and conducting pre-shoot rehearsals if needed. (Warming people up before a shoot is another way to capture off-the-cuff dialogue that feels natural rather than forced. One easy way to do this? Roll the camera before you ask the “important” questions. Start with asking about their home life, or their week so far at work, to get them feeling comfortable before you launch into the prompts you have planned for the shoot.)
- Shoot for editing: Capture more footage than you think you’ll need to provide flexibility during the editing process. Shoot from different angles, vary the framing, and get different takes to have options for assembling the final video. (Yes to all this! It’s much easier—and more cost effective—to edit something down than to try and add more footage later on.)
- Pay attention to lighting and sound: Good lighting and clear audio are crucial for a professional-looking video. Use adequate lighting techniques to avoid harsh shadows or overexposure. Capture high-quality audio using appropriate microphones and reduce background noise as much as possible. (This is where good gear comes in. A video production company will bring their own, along with a team that’s skilled in using it all, but if you’re doing it independently you’ll want to steep yourself in research and ask the folks at the rental place for as much information as they’ll give you. You’d hate to get to the end of the shoot and realize you had the mic off the entire time.)
- Consider visual aesthetics: Ensure that the composition, color palette, and overall visual style align with your brand and message. Use appropriate graphics, titles, and animations sparingly to enhance the video without overwhelming the content. (Branded colors and your company logo can go a long way here. Even a simple, straightforward video benefits from feeling like it aligns with the company’s aesthetic.)
- Edit and post-production: Use video editing software to assemble the footage, add transitions, graphics, and music, and refine the overall flow. Trim unnecessary parts, improve audio quality, and add subtitles if necessary. Aim for a concise and engaging video. (Post-production is as important as the shoot itself. Getting back to the editing bay with lots of footage means extra work, sure, but it also means the ability to distill the message down to exactly what you’re hoping to express. Remember that video now has so many platforms: you’ll want cuts of your video that can be used on all social media channels, as well as the landing page of your web site, and maybe even on a massive screen at your next company retreat.)
- Review and feedback: Share the draft video with stakeholders for feedback and make necessary revisions. Ensure that the final video aligns with your objectives and incorporates any required changes. (Definitely! Get as much feedback as you can, and share it with the production team if you’re using one.)
- Distribution and promotion: Decide on the platforms where you want to publish the video, such as your company website, social media channels, or video-sharing platforms. Develop a distribution strategy and promote the video through various channels to reach your target audience effectively. (A good video is wasted if it doesn’t get seen, so be sure to formulate a plan to get as many eyes on it as possible, as soon as possible.
Us again. ChatGPT actually did a decent job of making a hypothetical video—and now you’re armed with the knowledge to move ahead and start on the process yourself. Whether you hire a team like ours or tackle the shoot yourselves, you’ll find the results speak for themselves: a good corporate video leads to deeper engagement and brand awareness, which in turn guarantees you a solid ROI.