A company profile video is a great way to get your company’s key messages and personality over to prospective customers, vendors, employees, potential investors and community. However, shooting an effective company profile video takes far more than simply grabbing a camera or phone and hitting record.

Ensuring that you’re getting your messages across clearly and effectively, means planning and careful execution. After all your company profile video is gong to be out there for the world to see and so it’s vital that the impression it gives is the right one. That said, done well, a corporate profile video could serve your company for many years, so a little time and care spent in producing it will be well worthwhile. Once completed, your company’s profile documentary can be posted on your website, included in marketing emails, posted on social media and so on.

When you’re thinking about promoting your company with a corporate profile video, there are a number of things to consider before you begin, all of which will go towards making the process easier (and therefore less costly) while also increasing the video’s value within your marketing campaigns.

Be clear what it is you want to say and who you want to say it to:

Who will your main audience will be? Is the video aimed at prospective customers, potential employees or potential investors? Once you’re clear on the profile of your primary audience, it’s much easier to decide what messages you want to convey to them. Depending upon your main audience you might include a mission statement, unique selling points, an indication of company culture, a little of your company’s history, key messages from yourself or other members of your team, a statement about your commitment to the environment or equal opportunities, and so on. In addition, you should also include information about key products and services in your video. Customer testimonials and any awards or certificates you have earned also help to build a sense of credibility among viewers.

Choose the right talent for your video

Who is going to deliver your company’s messages, either on screen or with a voiceover? Yourself, as business owner or manager, may be the obvious choice, but once again, depending upon your audience, maybe an employee could do the job more effectively! You may, for example, at the ripe old age of 50-something, be extremely good at designing and producing skateboarding equipment, but chances are you’re probably ill suited to front a video marketing your company to teenagers. Whoever is chosen, they need to be comfortable appearing on-screen, suitably well spoken and appropriately presented (depending, once again, upon your audience) and have at least a little charisma and enthusiasm for the your company and its products or services. You may even consider asking a favour of, or hiring an individual that you know fits the bill. If someone other than yourself is featured in the video, be sure to get then to sign some kind of model release form, otherwise you could run into trouble further down the line.

 

Choose a suitable location for your video

There’s a good chance that at least some of your video will feature either ‘talking head’ or ‘talk while you work’ style footage. In either case be sure that the environment that you’re shooting in is as de-cluttered as possible, has decent natural light or the space to add suitable video lighting and doesn’t contain anything obviously problematic (confidential information on a chart in the background, etc). For a talking head sequence, a plain wall to shoot against can be very effective, though care should always be taken to avoid strong colours. At worst, a simple plain paper or fabric background, pinned to a wall might help solve a number of problems. If lighting your subject from the front, have your light source above the line of site make sure your talent stands a few feet away from the background so that their shadow falls behind and below them, I.e. it disappears on-screen.

Soft light generally works best and hard shadows should be avoided, unless you’re trying to create a specific mood (maybe your company makes Halloween masks?). If you can, switch off any room lights that might cause a colour cast (orange for tungsten light and a nasty yellowy-green for fluorescent). Domestic florescent and LED lighting can also cause problems, with flicker or rolling bands across the screen caused by oscillations of the light source being out of synch with your camera’s frame rate. There are two ways to avoid this: either change your camera’s frame rate to synch with the local mains frequency (this is 50HZ in the UK and Europe, so 25/50fps will work), or turn off the lights, which may or may not be possible!

It goes without saying that any speech should be recorded in as near to a silent environment as possible, so close the windows to eliminate traffic noise and ask people in the next office not to bang doors, etc. Try to avoid reverberant spaces if you can, as having too much of ‘the room’ on your voice recording sounds a little strange and reduces the intelligibility of the speech. If this can’t be avoided, or If you want to shoot in a noisy on-site environment, such as a construction project or a busy retail store, you may also consider using a suitable lapel or shotgun mic that will help to tidy up the sound considerably. In any case, always remember that sound energy attenuates with distance making the ratio between your desired audio and ambient noise less favourable. Therefore your microphone should always be as close to the subject as possible without causing an obstruction, meaning that built-in or on-camera mikes are rarely a good solution.

Work out what is going to be shown and said

Doing a little pre-production work before starting to shoot your corporate profile video will almost always pay dividends. For example, while storyboarding your production might sound a little over the top, you’d be surprised how useful it is when it comes to shooting, and it also helps you to get an idea of the flow and balance of your promotional video and its key messages. In the case of a more complex video, which might involve more than one location or a longer schedule, a simple shooting list, which details the who, what, when and where of the shoot can avoid wasted time. At the very least, a simple bulleted list of key shots should be used to ensure that everything you want included in your profile video is included.

Some kind of clear script or at least prompt cards for those speaking in your video is crucial. Apart from anything else, chances are that those speaking, whether on-camera or as voiceover talent, will be inexperienced and camera/mic fright can rattle even the most confident individual. Be clear that ‘busking it’ is rarely an effective option and quite often ends up generating multiple takes and possibly a lot of post production (editing) work in order to get a suitable end product. Much better to have a script or at least a set of prompts from which key information can be read.

Appropriate equipment

The most basic requirement for creating a video is obviously a camera, which could be anything from a hired in pro-level 4K beast to a humble mobile phone, depending upon your needs and your budget. It’s very easy to be blinded by science or rather specification in the world of video, suffice it to say that any half decent DSLR or Compact Mirrorless Camera will be capable of doing a respectable job and any modern phone an adequate job, provided that its limitations are recognised and it is is used effectively. Conversely, even the best equipment in the world cannot compensate for an ill considered approach to using it. When people question the idea that a phone can produce acceptable results for serious marketing work, I always show them this advert, which was a collaboration between Apple and Bentley, filmed, by the way, with a phone released over 7 years ago. The real trick isn’t in the quality or cost of the camera itself, but rather in how it was deployed, a few insights into which can be seen in this video released at the same time.

Even in an age where everyone carries a video capable gadget, ie. their phone, in their pocket or bag, a few basic additional tools will make even video captured by a phone look far more professional. To begin with, ALWAYS use a tripod or some other kind of support for things like talking head and other static sequences. While modern film and TV frequently use hand held footage, this is invariably to add tension and drama to a scene, which is being shot by an experienced camera operator, who knows just how much movement is needed for the desired effect. The last thing you’re trying to do is add tension or drama to your company profile video. In short hand holding the camera for longer, static sequences will look unprofessional at best and very distracting at worst.

I’ve already mentioned lighting, but badly lit video is to be avoided like the plague, as unwanted shadows or grainy footage not only look bad but can be very distracting. Although not ideal, even a single camera mounted light used to fill in harsh daylight is better than nothing, while indoors a single softened light on a stand above and slightly to one side of the camera will provide natural looking, soft shadows and a little depth to your scene. If you have a low white ceiling, try bouncing the light off this to give a really soft, wrap-around light similar to so sunlight. If you can, also add a fill light or reflector, either from the opposite side or from below to help fill in any deep shadows, so much the better (a sheet of white paper or card held up by an assistant or placed on a desk in front of the subject works surprisingly well as a reflector). A third light, shining on the background, will help lift your subject from the background and provide depth to an otherwise flat shot. OK this is all starting to sound like a movie set, but as a project can add a little fun to the working day and provide a valuable bonding opportunity for your team.

Once your camera is stable and your lighting is acceptable, sound is the next crucial element (actually, this is arguably more important than the visual elements of your video). Use an external mic if you can, remembering to place it as close to or even on your talent. Ensure that you check your sound regularly as a take might have been wrecked by someone sounding their car horn outside or your talent accidentally brushing their lapel mic with their hand. A pair of headphones is a godsend for monitoring sound and giving them to someone who’s sole task is to listen to the audio (a sound man/woman) can really help in spotting problems.

B-Roll

B Roll is simply a technical term to describe incidental scenes that can be cut to when you edit together your video (post-production or simply post), which help to illustrate what is being discussed and also provide the viewer with additional interest, thereby helping to engage them. If you intend your company profile video to be anything more than simple head-shot style commentary from members of yourself or your team, then you will need other visual elements to break up the main footage (A-Roll). A good example of B-Roll is as follows: The owner of a road-haulage business is talking about his/her fleet – cut to a closeup of the company’s logo on a vehicle followed by a brief shot of a truck leaving the depot, later on cut to a shot of a driver on the road filmed from the passenger side of the vehicle. You can’t have too much B-Roll and a variety of shots taken from different angles can help make the most mundane subject interesting. As the saying goes: ‘better to have it and not need it rather than need it and not have it’.

Post production (editing)

After the shooting is finished, you’ll need to edit your footage together in a meaningful way: trimming shots, placing video clips in the desired order, adding transitions such as cross-fades between clips, maybe adding a music soundtrack, balancing or ‘normalising’ sound levels between clips, and so on. Depending upon the complexity of your video, this can be accomplished on a device as simple as an iPad or laptop with suitable software. The important thing is to ensure that your finished video is balanced, that it tells the story you need it to tell, and that it appeals to its target audience. At this point it’s probably a good idea to evaluate the project before sharing it with the world. Why not invite a small group of people to a private screening and then ask for their feedback – avoid close friends and family as their opinions can be either far too generous or far too critical to be useful?

And finally, upload your finished corporate profile video to your website and social media channels and enjoy….. before planning the next one.

If you’d like to enquire about Mooma Media filming your company profile video, or any other media-related project, contact me using the button below. If you’d like to hear more about Mooma Media via occasional email contact, please stay in touch by signing up to my mailing list.