Corporate videos have always had a reputation of being cheesy, dull and unimaginative. And rightly so! Let’s face it, we’ve all cringed at them! It’s usually a mixture of bad music, terrible acting, inaudible sound, dodgy editing, and just general bad taste. There are many reasons why these videos are as bad as they are but I feel the main reason is that not enough effort is put into these productions.
With the introduction of VHS recorders in the 70s, corporate video was born. It was as simple as inserting a VHS tape (or Betamax) into a player connected to a TV and voila, you could bore the socks of everyone in the room. In the beginning, the producers of such videos were usually TV production companies making some money on the side. And not bad money either. A corporate video costing $100,000 was not unheard of. It is easy to forget that back then, video production equipment was extremely expensive and out of reach of the average joe.
However, as the years rolled by, the cost of video production rapidly decreased with the introduction of consumer and prosumer camcorders. Suddenly anyone with a spare few thousand dollars could make a video, as did quite a lot of people. We are all familiar with shaky home videos of graduations, birthday parties and football games. Through the 80s and 90s it seemed every family in the western world had a camcorder to capture even the slightest of events. Then some people decided to take it a step further and began flirting with the idea of getting paid to make videos.
Not only was the cost of making videos cheap, but the cost of getting a video made for your company became very cheap in comparison to what the top production companies were charging. And so an abundance of inexperienced videographers flooded the corporate video market to fulfill the needs of the budget-conscious business. It has continued to this day. Companies are attracted by the low cost of small video production outfits. Simple. However, not everyone with a camera can/should be providing this service, at least not without first learning the craft.
Video consists of three main elements; visuals, audio and magic. A little corny I know but it’s true. To create visuals you must have an understanding of light (and dark). To create audio you must have an understanding of audio recording and a feel for music. The ‘magic’ combines the other elements in a way which grabs the viewer and gives them an experience. It’s that unexplainable creative part of video production that simply makes a video connect with the viewer. Something usually reserved for narrative filmmaking but I see no reason why the same principles should not be applied to corporate video production. Choosing the right music, designing the right style of graphics, creating the best camera angles, deciding how to best light a scene/set, picking the best microphone to use, feeling the rhythm of the edit, climaxing spoken words with the right moment of the music. These should all be considerations for every videographer. But a lot of people try to blag it. They just point the camera and hope for the best. This is not the way to approach video production as it rarely results in an effective video and the chances of getting hired again become very low.
My advice to any budding videographer would be to start by learning about light and sound. Learn that lighting a scene correctly can make the difference between a bad video and a great video. Learn that recording good audio is as important as a well lit scene. Learn about camera movement and the fact that shaky footage is unacceptable. Practice the magic of combining these and other elements to create a powerful tool for your client to sell their product, train their staff, or whatever the purpose of the video is. Learn to listen to your client’s specific requirements. Learn to use your creativity and experience to produce a video which exceeds the expectation of your clients. A lot of videographers believe that corporate video production is just a means to an end whilst concentrating on their next short film. The truth is that you can learn a hell of a lot from taking the time to make the best corporate video you can make, which will in turn make that next short film so much better.
If you are still hell-bent on making a terrible corporate video I would suggest taking a look at these 5 Cheesy Easy Steps On How To Make A Bad Corporate Video