How to make a great events video in 10 steps
Events filming is one of the main branches of videography. It constitutes a large part of the market and it’s crucial to get to master it. Each event comes with its particular challenges, but let’s have a look at the common factors that will prevent your production from failing, wether it’s a congress, a dance show, an awards ceremony or a theatre play:
1. Get all the information you need about the event with time ahead
Do some homework: the more you know about the event, the better. Things like content, participants or detailed schedules will help you plan the shoot and edit afterwards, and it will also get you closer to what the client has in mind. Don’t forget to ask for all this information with plenty of time in case anything needs to be discussed with the client, that way you can accurately advise on what is required to shoot according to what the client wants. When you have all that information, you’ll be ready to get a running order with all the needed details.
2. Choose your equipment wisely
As obvious as this step may look, it can’t be stressed enough. Whether you are going to hire or purchase it, make sure you use a good camera and a good sound set up. While filming an event, there’s only one chance to get it right, so a bad image quality or a loss of audio feed could ruin the entire production. Make sure to test if everything works before the day of the event, to avoid as many unexpected problems as possible. To get the best audio quality, you should directly plug your equipment into the PA system of the venue if possible.
3. Hire a second camera if the budget allows it
You may not need it if you are filming only for documentation purposes, but as soon as you’re asked for something more “creative” like a trailer or a promotional video, that involves a nice edit. For that you will need a spare camera unit to give you the set of shots you need to combine with the footage from the main camera, which will film the whole event nonstop as a master shot. With your second camera you can focus on shots that give visual variety to your edit, such as:
- Outdoor shots of the venue entrance
- Chatting attendees
- Nice detail close ups of elements such as signs and leaflets
4. Be ready to shoot in time
Give yourself a generous margin of time to check the place and set up. The ideal thing to do would be to go and see the venue a couple of days before the event, or as we say in film-making, to recce the location. It is well known that most set up mistakes go unnoticed because of a rushed arrival, so you know what they say: better safe than sorry.
5. Make everything run smoothly with skills and attitude
Always double check you have a good take of every shot you need to get for your edit: write it down if you need to. Only after you have your necessary footage you can film extra shots, don’t miss the point since time flies!
This job involves working under pressure, so keep calm even if everyone else is losing it. Your mind needs to be clear in order to take control of the situation and find quick solutions to unexpected issues. Also keep in mind that most people is not used to be in front of cameras. If you need to film an interview, be friendly and relaxed and guide them through the process, so it can be a nice experience for everyone.
6. It’s editing time! Ask for all extra material you need
Get all the text, images and logos that need to be included in the video (tip: images need to have the highest possible quality). Try to get the client to be as specific as possible so there’s less changes to deal with and the product can be ready as soon as possible.
7. Invite your client to preview the edit
This doesn’t necessarily apply to all projects, but it’s usually quite helpful. If you and your client have time, it always helps to sit together through the editing process. Do this after you have at least a first cut ready: you don’t want to bore your client to death with the so time-consuming first stage of the edit! This method helps you acquire the client’s vision of the product and saves feedback time. Which brings us to the next step:
8. Add and amend to your client’s taste
Some editors find this surprisingly difficult, but let’s not forget the video belongs ultimately to your client. No matter if they ask you to add a disco song in the background of an economy conference. Even if you know it’s not going to work, keep your personal taste out of the edit if it interferes with what your client wants. At the end of the day, clients can change their minds themselves but if you tell them to, they’ll end up blaming you if they’re not happy with the product. You’re only allowed to warn them about technical aspects of the edit.
That being said, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to…
9. Give advice and opinion if asked
Cast your own critical and knowledgeable eye and ear over the edit. Some clients will trust your opinion on the product, in which case you can use your experience to help them with ideas to make the video as visually attractive as possible.
10. Check everything is correct and deliver in a format that works best for your client
So you have finally finished your edit, time to export it and hand it straight to the client… WRONG! Technical errors can appear after rendering out the video file. Also you may have misspelt a title you typed, or forgotten to make even all audio levels. Watch it all through and make sure it looks exactly the same as it did in your editing software.
Depending on the nature and purpose of the video, clients will have different needs. Here are the most common ones:
- Videos uploaded straight to Youtube or Vimeo
- Video file sent via online transfer (they receive an email with a link to download the file)
- DVD format (in this case you need to hand a master DVD and, optionally, a price for copies can be agreed)
Here’s an example of what your video should look like. Check out our Converge Challenge Event video for Open Innovation: