Producing highlight videos

Opening credit board
Happy workplace video presentation featuring Dominic Monkhouse

Producing highlight videos for Happy.com from presentations

Happy Ltd commissioned my services as a London videographer to film a series of presentations talking about creating happy workplace environments. The one-day seminar was held at etc.venues London city location.

Planning ahead

In this instance, I was booked late and was not asked to visit the filming location. Ideally, a recce would be carried out in advance of any filming to help check to see how things could be set up to ensure the best quality vision and sound recording on the day.

Making the most of the filming venue

As soon as I arrived at the venue I checked with the organisers to learn about the day’s events. The main aim was to quickly establish the best filming position, see what I could do about making the ‘set’ look as good as possible and to ensure I could get a clean feed of the audio. Arriving early is the best way to ensure a filming day goes smoothly.

Managing the light

It’s quite often the case that the right venue for an event will be decided upon for different reasons other than what is ideal for filming. In this instance, the presenters were to be standing in front of a window. Recording presentations in front of a window are actually one of the worst places for filming video due to the way a camera exposes the whole image. Luckily the windows were fitted with smart Venetian blinds and I was able to draw the blinds to tight close. My aim was to ensure the presenters were lit as well as possible using available resources. With the Venetian blinds closed and the room lights on, there was enough light for the camera to expose the presenters correctly. In this instance adding suitable additional artificial light would have had increased the cost prohibitively and had a negative impact on all the presenters and attendees.

Visual aesthetic

To help improve the visual aesthetic of the shots I moved a Happy pop-up banner from reception to in-between the two large projector screens. This helped re-enforce the ‘Happy’ branding with the day’s video filming and still photography. In this instance, it was all I could do to help improve the look of the video. In some cases, you can move the presenter or things like room furniture and furnishings to help improve the look of each shot.

Sound recording

The venue had supplied the presentation room with a basic audio mixer and two radio microphones along with a roving microphone. To ensure a clean feed of the sound I recorded each channel from the audio mixer onto my Tascam DR-60 digital audio recorder. Each presenter was fitted with a radio microphone that was fed via a radio receiver to the mixer, room speakers and my digital recorder. In this instance, radio microphones were ideal as it was a large room full of people.

How will the presenters move?

Over the course of the day, a range of professionals offered their insight into how to create a happy workplace full of happy people. Some presenters remained quite static whilst others seemed quite experienced in testing a cameraman’s smooth panning skills. Each presenter had a set of slides to help explain and re-enforce their presentation and these were displayed on two large projector screens. When filming you don’t really know what’s going to happen so it can be best to position yourself in a way that allows you to capture an uninterrupted wide field of view.

Filming extra shots to help the edit

As an experienced editor, I’m always thinking about how things will edit together when I am filming. During the course of this filming day, I ensured that I filmed some reactions of the attendees in the audience. I knew that I could then use their shots to paint over the final vision edits. It’s great to start filming as soon as you can and to capture a range of different shots so that you have flexibility in the edit. Group icebreakers and introductions can be a great way to film shots of happy engaged people. These moments also give you an opportunity to move around the room filming different angles that could be more difficult once the main presentations start.

Filming with two cameras

A great way to help produce, film and edit high-quality video content is to use two or more cameras. As a cameraman, even if you are working on your own, you can set up two cameras and leave one camera running on a locked off shot. This can enable the second camera to film a bigger range of close ups and mid shots. All the camera footage can be synced up in the edit and then edited together.

Video editing

After the days filming I was asked to edit each 30-minute presentation down into a short 2-3 minute film suitable for sharing on the client’s website via YouTube. After watching each speech several times I was able to edit down the audio of their most succinct part of each speech. To ensure a smooth transition for each vision edit I used the presenters PowerPoint slides and cutaways of the audience. I also edited on an opening branded graphic with an introductory text and title of each presenter.

Julian Langham

Julian started his career in media in 1994; shortly after Julian was invited to join the BBC where he was quickly promoted to Editor. Julian left the BBC to develop his freelance career in 2009. Highly-practised and skilled in constructing engaging narratives, Julian’s key strength is his ability to produce strong visually-led stories. In his work, Julian shares his passion for creating powerful synergies between story content, visual rhythm and music.