Education, News


A piece of management advice I read recently seems to sum up very nicely what I think is an important principle:

“No surprises” is a cornerstone of sound management.

That advice would seem to be applicable to any project; it is certainly worth remembering when planning for a corporate video shoot.

Here are ten tips to lessen the surprise element. Keep the surprises for the people who will view your end result, not when you’re putting it together!

  • Planning: I can’t overemphasise careful planning and attention to detail. From organising locations to organising talent, the more planning you do, the better the video outcome will be. Your planning might be in terms of a ‘dream script’, one that sets out what, ideally, you’d like to see in your corporate video; this will help your camera operator or production team to more closely deliver your desired outcome. You will also spend less time filming things you ultimately won’t need. Your edit will be smoother as there will already be a plan in place for how you want it delivered. Draw up a call sheet to make sure that everyone knows what they are doing. 

  • Keep observers to a minimum on your shoot: If you have done your planning right, there should be no need for six bosses from your company on site while you’re filming. That old saying about too many cooks certainly applies to video production and, with a lot of cooks, it generally leads to confusion about what needs to be shot. Get input at the planning stage and collate it all, then make it all work while you are filming.

  • Health and safety: I know this is a bit of a given, but make sure that what you are doing is safe, both for the crew as well as for the people on camera. It is also worth making sure that everything in the background of your shots is safe, as there is nothing worse than presenting a first draft of a video to your bosses, only for them to turn it down because there was a pallet in the background that was stacked too high.

  • Be tidy: This relates to the point above, but if you film some shots in a warehouse and there are empty boxes all over the floor, your bosses might say you can’t use those shots at all. Don’t waste your time filming unless the area is neat and tidy on camera. If I filmed in a supermarket and the shelves in the background were only half full and messy, how do you think the supermarket bosses might react?

  • Think about parking: If you have a corporate video shoot in the city and need to move your gear into an office, where will you unload your car? There are few things more onerous than traipsing camera gear, lights, tripods – and more! – three crowded city blocks to get to a location. Your crew will be exhausted before they even start. Parking, certainly in Melbourne, is also expensive. Maybe you can find spaces for free by speaking with the talent.

  • Make time for meal breaks: Shoot days can sometimes be pretty full-on, and you will want to take advantage of every bit of daylight to get the most out of your day. Alternatively, you might have only been given access to a particular room for a few hours. Make sure your crew – and you – are all properly hydrated and fed; that way, everyone should be less grumpy and much more creative.       

  • Plan for the unexpected, and have a back-up plan: Imagine – your idea for the opening shot of your video is for a flock of birds flying gracefully across a lake at sunrise. Nature can be fickle, and your arrival at the shoot location is met with horizontal rain, the birds are on leave, and you can barely see the lake. You will need to come up with another engaging way to start the video. At the very least checking the weather forecast and the sunrise and sunset times might have helped you consider some alternative approach before you even jumped into your car. (Melbourne is know for having four seasons in one day so if you are filming here. please have a plan)

  • Charge! Not much will happen if your equipment runs out of power. Don’t venture out until you’re sure your batteries are charged and that you have a way to charge them on location – especially your phone. If it’s your job to bring the gear to the location, make sure, the night before, that all the batteries are on charge or are already charged.there are few things worse than turning up on location just to realise that you only have enough battery to shoot for half an hour. Take your battery chargers with you so that you have a get-out-of-jail-free card. And your phone? If you are the one producing the corporate video, you will need to be able to get in touch with everyone involved: you may need to tell people that you are running behind time, or – because of the rain – you can’t film in the park. Having your phone run out of battery at 11am isn’t a great way to stay in touch.

  • Permission and release forms: You should be getting into the habit of having release forms signed by everybody who appears on camera. Two weeks after you have released the video to the world, it would be less than ideal for one of the interviewees to come back and say that you didn’t have their permission to use their face in the video. Get it locked down on shoot day and you are right to go. 

  • Have fun. It’s not brain surgery!

Do you have any questions about the above? As always, feel free to get in touch, at

Again … thanks for reading. Send me a link of what you get up to. Also check us out on Facebook if you want to keep up to date on a day to day basis.