The Complete Guide to Remote Video Production
Even as social distancing restrictions are eased across the world, the fact will remain that remote filming has proven itself a viable alternative for some video productions during the recent global pandemic and has evolved as a format more in the last couple months than anyone could have imagined pre Covid 19.
The crisis has forced creative and production teams to think outside the box and come up with solutions in which quality content can still be produced, despite individuals working from home.
We wanted to share with you some of the tips and tricks we’ve learnt from this period.
Remote Video Production Brief
Your video production brief has never been more important than when it comes to remote filming projects. With disparate teams and new methodologies being learnt on the job by everybody, having a bullet-proof brief that clearly outlines the exact objectives for the project is very important.
There are also additional considerations to keep in mind when putting together your brief, that is often taken for granted in more traditional modes of video production.
Good communication is vital for the success of any remote video production. So define how and when you will communicate throughout the entirety of your project. Be mindful of any accessibility issues such as internet connection, hardware and differences in time zones.
Also, a weekly update might have been sufficient for an office based project but remote productions require even more communication so it is wise to incorporate this into your schedule to ensure every team member stays on the right track and morale stays high.
Have Realistic Expectations
Having realistic expectations and leaving room for a margin of error is a healthy approach for remote video productions. For instance, if you are recording a video at home with a smart phone or webcam, make sure your stakeholders are aware that aesthetically your footage is going to look different to the video content you produced with an onsite professional film crew and kit.
Also, keep in mind when contributors or talent are operating the filming equipment themselves, this often takes longer to get right and more coaching will be required to get the best from them.
Video Resources Available
Think carefully about the resources you have available and then work within those means. If your contributor has a smartphone and is well versed in using that interface it’s probably best to stick with what they are comfortable with rather than teaching them a new piece of technology that they will have to get to grips with.
Through pre-planning is integral for the smooth running of your production. Constantly refer to your project’s script or outline and make sure you have everything available at your filming location. For instance, if you’re sending your contributor or talent a piece of kit to film with, make sure all the required accessories are sent to them also, including any batteries, adaptor or manuels.
Remote Filming Styles Available
The filming style you pick for your remote video production will depend on a number of factors; time, budget, contributor or talent abilities and project requirements. It’s important to figure out how you will be filming your content right at the beginning of your project to ensure your script can be achieved within the parameters of your technology.
In recent months we have seen filmmakers use a variety of different pieces of tech to make their remote films and the ones that have had the best success are the following:
Zoom Video Conferencing
We’ve seen many successful and innovative videos captured via Zoom recently. With brands choosing this video conferencing platform to remain connected to their audiences. For interviews and more conversational content, Zoom is a great option. It also allows the production team to host a Zoom call with the contributor or talent and assess the frame that will be captured by them, so that they can spruce it up if necessary before filming commences, i.e removing background clutter and playing around with the angle until the most flattering one is achieved. It’s amazing how much better a shot can look with just a few books propping up the laptop!
Smartphones are powerful pieces of tech in our back pocket and some great visuals can be achieved with them. Depending on the style of your video you may opt for a handheld, selfie approach. However, in some cases you may want the phone to be stationary. There are lots of examples of people balancing and wedging their phones in a moat of household items but for peace of mind and for a relatively so price, we’d recommend sending your talent a purpose built smartphone tripod. And if you really want to add a dose of quality to your shots you can attach sound and lighting equipment to your tripod.
GoPro Video Camera
For some productions GoPros can add a great quality. Marketed as ‘the world’s most versatile action camera’, GoPros are relatively easy to operate and can allow your talent to capture great fly on the wall content that will have a visceral energy which is difficult to replicate with any other device.
Final thoughts on Home Video Production Kit
It’s worth mentioning even if you decide to go with any of the above tech options, you will also want another device so that your talent can communicate with you during filming and so you can oversee what is being captured.
Remote Film Production Workflows
Having a detailed, step-by-step workflow that the whole team understands, is important when producing remote content and there are various approaches you can incorporate depending on the resources you have access to.
Workout how you will be communicating with your team. Will you be using Microsoft Teams end to end? Will you be Google products? Will you be using a mix of platforms? Make sure the whole team is aware of the communication tools you are using and that there are no accessibility issues that need to be considered.
When delivering any kit or props, make sure you leave yourself enough time so that they can be tested out before filming. You don’t want to discover something has been broken in transit and not have time to replace it, putting your whole shoot in jeopardy.
Make sure you have a way of remotely overseeing the shoot. Even though you won’t physically be in the room or operating the camera, your online presence will be invaluable for ensuring that all the necessary shots are captured in line with your brief. It will also give your talent support and guidance, avoiding any missing assets in post production.
Decide how your talent will be delivering the footage. It’s best to settle on this during pre-production as it may influence your kit decisions. Here are some things to consider:
- Will your contributor be uploading the files to Dropbox or WeTransfer?
- Do you feel confident they have the technical abilities to do this?
- Do they have access to enough virtual storage space to send this across?
- Is there internet connection strong enough for this to be a viable option?
If you answer no to any of the above, perhaps it’s best that you send them a device that you can then pick up following the shoot.
So there’s some tips, tricks and thoughts on how best to approach remote video productions and home video recording. By incorporating solid communication methods and accessible workflows to your remote projects, you will be able to achieve quality content that will allow you to stay connected to your audiences whilst your team are socially distanced.