How to Produce 30 Videos in 2 Days
Allianz Global Investors asked us to capture the excitement of their Hong Kong Investment Forum in a series of videos featuring panel discussions, headline speakers, green screen interviews, conversations with attendees and scenes from the beautiful surrounding area.
These videos would bring the discussions between business leaders and key contributors happening at the forum to the broader organization and give people across the company an understanding of the subsequent direction investments would take.
Thirty videos in two days? Challenge accepted.
Day 1: Take in Hong Kong
After an 11-hour flight from London, we had a day before the event to travel around Hong Kong in a van with a crew and a C300 camera to capture B-roll for our videos. Hong Kong presented an opportunity to film stunning shots of a deeply dramatic location – skyscrapers rising hundreds of feet out of the sea, bustling harbors, dynamic skylines, even filming from ferry to ferry was on the cards. After 15 years of video production, a lot of decisions come down to a feeling: If something feels right, go with it; if it doesn’t feel right, try something else.
That said, nothing takes the place of some proper pre-planning to identify the best shooting locations and determine a route to get to all of them in a timely way. Working closely with our crew contacts in Hong Kong, we drew up a B-roll hit list so comprehensive that on seeing it our client from AllianzGI decided to jump in the van. The results speak for themselves: beautiful sweeping vistas shot C-log on prime lenses, all gradable on return to the UK. But B-roll was only part of the challenge.
Day 2: Capture the forum
The second day of filming got off to an early start. I got up at 1 a.m. to see how my timelapse cameraman was getting on filming the setup, which ran from midnight to 6 a.m. Still feeling jetlagged, I just stayed up and worked an 18-hour day. There was plenty to do.
The event itself wasn’t your usual conference; this was a forum that featured a discussion by 20 of AllianzGI’s top professionals sitting around an oblong table in the front of the room. There was a stage and a podium next to the table, and the audience asked questions from the floor and via social media on live interactive screens. We knew two cameras at the back of the room wasn’t going to cut it. We also needed two further interview locations outside of the main forum to capture green screen interviews and on the shoulder vox pops from contributors.
With a white board and a marker, we worked out a plan involving five cameras, two EX3’s and a vision mixer, so sevo zooms in the main room, a C300 steadicam cameraman and a further two C300’s at the other two locations. We then needed two soundmen, a green screen rig and associated lights, and with that many cards flying around full of valuable, irreplaceable footage, I needed a media manager recording the footage to a hard drive and backing up the rushes at a rapid pace. For those of you keeping count, that’s a crew of 14 in all.
The shoot ran brilliantly. We captured the action from a variety angles, moving in between the rows of seats and around the oblong table to share the experience with online viewers. We also captured over 30 interviews both in front of the green screen and moving through the conference. All in all we had over 20 hours of footage. Time to start editing!
Our post-production plan was simple; we recorded everything coming out of the vision mixer and backed up to two 2TB hard drives: one stayed in Hong Kong in case my bag went missing on the plane and one came home with me. We got all of the brand assets we needed from AllianzGI in advance so we’d be ready to edit as soon as we were done filming.
Then myself and two editors jostled the 30 films between the three of us with a long list of other projects on the go, the detailed pre-shoot planning paid off and the media-managed hard drive and the skill of the edit guys here meant we delivered on time and on budget within five post-production days.
Camera guys, sound guys, camera assists, vision mixer, lights, kit, steadicammer, a timelapse operator, and a work experience guy don’t come without a price, but in the end it was worth it. The videos have had more than 700 views, extending the reach of this dynamic event. The two-day shoot proved there are only three things you need to make any form of successful film, video or TV production – time to plan, money to spend, and experience.
Take away experience and the other two won’t save you.