It’s tempting to shoot business videos somewhere that’s quick and convenient. However as we all know, this usually results in an uninteresting and poor quality video that won’t help your business to connect with future customers. We have all seen the ‘MD behind his/her desk’ video and it looks really, really bad. When choosing a suitable location here are a few things to check.
If you are shooting outdoors beware of the sun! This might sound a little odd, but most of the time direct sun is not useful when you are filming as it causes deep shadows and contrasty looking shots. Consider using diffusers to soften the sun on cloudless days. If the sun keeps going behind clouds this is going to cause problems. Your ideal filming day will be a overcast but bright day preferably without rain!
Indoor filming offers you more control on your lighting. Do watch out for windows and skylights as this can bring some of the above issues back into play. Also watch for mixed lighting sources (daylight vs. tungsten vs. fluorescent) as this can bring in blue/amber/green tinges that will make skin colours look very unnatural. If you can turn off overhead lights and use your own lights instead. If you have to use room lighting watch for shadows in the eye sockets – use reflectors and diffusion where needed.
Avoid big spaces with reflective surfaces as this will cause echoes and reverb. Where possible use smaller rooms that contain softer furnishings as this will improve the acoustic performance and overall sound quality.
An important consideration when choosing a location is the ability to control the environment with respect to background noise and potential interruptions. Aeroplanes, air conditioning, traffic, deliveries, office phones and of course people can and will ruin your shots by introducing unwanted noise.
Often the main reason for choosing a location is for the background it provides to your shots. This might be because it is contextually relevant (e.g. a factory showing the production process that is being described) or because it is visually pleasing and adds a certain look to your video. When choosing and setting up your location, consider how the background works with the foreground. Is it so interesting so that it is distracting? Or is it so uninteresting that the viewer wonders what the relevance is to the subject.
Good backgrounds might include varied lighting, angles, diagonal shapes, some basic movement in small areas and work well with the foreground with consistent lighting. Avoid predictable office set-ups, strategically placed plants and roll-up banners – they are all very obvious and add nothing to a shot. Instead think of the unusual, maybe a different viewpoint or something no one has seen before. If possible use creative lighting and placement of props to create a natural looking balanced environment.
Logistics and scheduling
As with all locations it is worth considering how your setting will change over the course of the day. Will the lighting change, are new interruptions likely to happen (like deliveries or staff leaving), will everyone and everything you need be there all day? It is important to understand what will change over the day and plan your filming schedule around it if possible.
Choosing a filming location is not easy and there will often be unexpected events or changes that are impossible to plan for. Some of the these can be new opportunities and can be included in your plans. Others can be show stoppers or can force you to change your original plans. A short location visit prior to filming can help resolve some of these issues before they occur, or warn you so that you are better prepared. Where possible ask lots of questions when on-site preferably to more than one person as not everyone knows everything.