Video creation in lockdown

by Peggy-Sue Cranney – Apr 07, 2020

Being a video producer, my role heavily relies on travel, meeting and filming people. I’ve worked on a lot of sets and on many of them there isn’t the space to be socially distant.

But that doesn’t mean giving up on video all together. In fact, with people bored at home and on their devices more than ever, the moving image is increasingly important. As teams we just need to be imaginative about what we create: there is a lot can be done without filming any new footage. Here are some ideas to consider.

Get on top of the stock

Stock video, like stock photography, gets a bad press. But the reality is, it’s only as good or bad as the person choosing it. There are thousands of beautiful stock footage clips and imagery, that when researched and edited together with the right script can create imaginative and inspiring work. You need a video team that can find you the good stuff.

Make use of voice-over artists

I’ve been getting a fair few emails from voice-over artists during the lock-down and it’s true that it is relatively easy to work with a voice-over artist remotely. The right voice-over can transform stock footage into something full of relevance and impact for a brand. Here’s an example of something we did for the B Team, the global not-for profit founded by Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz that uses a combination of good stock and a strong international voice for an international message.

And here is another of our work for Newcastle University.

Get on top of the words and the soundtrack

But what if you can’t use a voice-over artist? Well you can still make something great so long as you have a strong message that can be overlaid simply over the film. When you can’t interview real people the need for really tight story-boarding and script writing becomes even more important. Get that combination of words and video right and you create something powerfully simple. Add in a compelling soundtrack and the ability to create something ideal is complete. Here’s an ad we created for a campaign on global insurance for EY.

Use animations and graphics to give pace to stock footage

You can create something truly bespoke to a brand by turning to their graphic and illustrative brand guidelines. We’ve done this many times. For instance, we did it with the British Heart Foundation where a combination of animated imagery overlaid on photographs and stock video created something interesting and informative about how they are using a type of Mexican fish to learn more about how hearts can repair themselves.

In general, super-imposed graphics and cut-aways to animated sections not only add variety to a video, but they create assets which are particularly useful for social teasers. They work really well as standalone devices and teasers because they don’t need audio or a set of subtitles. Here’s an example of a video we did for Legal and General which combined real world footage and graphics and animations for that reason.

Get creative and accept imperfection

Interview driven videos are not a thing of the pre-lock-down days. They can still be created. Yes, we may not be able to record the video in the same way but with a little equipment we can still record audio through phone calls on laptops. We can then use stock and/or your own archive footage to accompany the audio recordings. These types of videos will still work well for longer form, more conversational pieces of work.

Or again, is the video you want to produce to stay connected to your teams and clients? We may not be able shoot in the same way, but we can advise on how you can get the most out of shooting on your phones. We can then work with you to create the right messaging in edits.

Of course, the quality will not be the same as if you had a camera operator and professional lighting. But is that a bad thing at this time? And a good video editor can always fix many camera operators sins. People will forgive and embrace the tech for the more personal touch. In fact now is a time to embrace what might not have felt ideal a month ago. Necessity, after all, is the mother of invention.

Published Apr 07, 2020

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