In Hollywood, indie, and journalistic film production, a great number of resources are dedicated to finding the perfect locations to capture video in. They’ll often go as far as to assign a Location Scout (or an entire scouting team) the explore a city or venue, looking for just the right lighting, ambiance, and dozens of other criteria. It’s kind of a big deal.
Now, you’re not working on the next blockbuster or entering Sundance, but nonetheless, taking time to find an appropriate filming location is vitally important to the success of your next thought leader interview video, or any marketing video for that matter. Like so many things when it comes to marketing video production, having one piece missing from the puzzle could cause your final product to suffer dearly.
People today have incredibly high expectations of the media they consume, and you simply can’t expect to gain traction, let alone become a thought leader, with amateur-quality video anymore.
So, before you hit that record button, here are a few things you should take into consideration, when selecting the location for your next video.
Choosing a venue with enough space
If you’re planning to do things right, with professional lighting and all the other bells and whistles, you’re going to need all the space you can get. In addition to getting all the equipment in the room, you’ll need space to move around, so you can frame the perfect shot of your interview subject, with the right angles and lighting.
Without enough space, you may have no other choice but to stick your subject behind a desk, making them look more like World’s Greatest Boss, Michael Scott, than a dignified business professional, which has some obvious limitations.
Not only is this shot dreadfully dull and cliché, but it can also make your interviewee appear trapped and unapproachable.
From a technical and aesthetic perspective, having your subject trapped between a desk and a wall in a small office, makes it difficult to take advantage of depth a field (separating the subject from the background), resulting in an amateurish, “flat” video.
A large open space also enables you to film from multiple angles, and when you film in a more open space, your interviewee will also loosen up. These factors, together, will result in a far more dynamic and engaging interview video.
Choosing a video location that supports quality audio
If you’re recording a thought leader interview video, then you probably want your subject, and what they have to say, to be heard and understood!
The types of microphones you have at your disposal will greatly influence what venues are viable options for your video shoot.
Different kinds of microphones will have pros and cons in various sound environments. In a space with a lot of background noise, for example, an ambient mic will pick up every little sound and drown out your speaker.
And even now that it’s easy to capture 4K video on your iPhone, capturing quality audio from a distance on your iPhone (without also picking up a bunch of static noise) isn’t so simple.
In most cases, you’ll be recording inside. So when scouting an indoor location, follow these simple guidelines to minimize unwanted ambient noise:
- In well populated areas, avoid filming in rooms with shared outer walls, and windows (even closed ones) that open to busy streets, through which the sound of traffic can easily penetrate.
- Avoid filming in common areas where your recording device is capable of picking up other conversations, slamming of doors, and other random office noises that you may be desensitized to.
- Reserve a space ahead of time, and make sure the people you share the space with are aware that you’re recording, in order to avoid time-wasting interruptions and distractions.
Now, background sound isn’t always a bad thing. It can even add to the production value when done right, but that requires the right audio equipment.
Again, expectations of quality are high, and you can’t afford to neglect any one area of the production process – especially audio.
Choosing a filming location with good lighting
Without professional lights, you’re relying on the sun and ordinary indoor light bulbs to help create the look of your video, and it’s probably not the look you were going for!
Office lights can heavily distort colors, making your subject look washed out and sickly. And although sunlight is often an incredible light source for video, it’s also incredibly unpredictable.
Neither of these light sources gives you much control over shadowing, and when your camera picks up both types of light at the same time, you’re almost guaranteed to have a disaster on your hands.
Without proper lighting equipment, you’re going to be limited to what light your location provides. Whether or not you have professional lighting at your disposal, there are a few simple ways to maximize the lighting quality of your videos:
- Select a location that gives you complete control over all light sources. Windows should have maneuverable shades, and you should have the liberty to ceiling lights off as you please.If you don’t have professional lighting, dimmers can be useful. If your location has pesky emergency lights that can’t be shut off, a large space will give you the flexibility to work around them.
- Determine what color temperature you want before going into your shoot, and eliminate all other light sources that could bleed into your shot and distort the color temperature.
- If there is bright sunlight coming into the room through a window, and can’t be blocked or diffused with shades, position the camera with the windows to your back.
Finally, before we go over a few ideas for where you can shoot your next video, don’t forget to make sure the location you’re shooting in has enough energy sources to keep all your lights and recording devices powered up.
Some of the best location, background and backdrop ideas for your next marketing video
Now that you’ve got a basic idea of what to look for while scouting for a video location, here are a few location ideas to get you started.
The Meeting Room
An office meeting room is one of the more popular choices for shooting professional marketing videos. The biggest thing your meeting room has going for it, is the simple fact that it’s likely the largest controlled and contiguous space in any office.
In addition to having little to no thru-traffic, there’s also likely a procedure already in place for reserving a meeting room, making it easy to maintain a “closed set.”
“The Factory Floor”
Shooting video in a large, open workplace with lots of background activity is a great way to give your viewers a glimpse into how your organization operates, and makes for a very dynamic video.
If you’re involved with manufacturing in some way, this could literally be a factory floor, but really, any workplace will do – with a few caveats.
Again, you’ll need control over the space, both in terms of audio and lighting. Audio in these locations can be tricky, because you do want there to be some natural background noise, but you want your subject heard.
It’s also important to emphasize how much space you’ll need. In order to make this shot work, you’ll need to create depth of field by separating your subject from the background, both physically and through the use of photographic techniques.
Office lobbies are often designed to impress, contain corporate branding, and make great candidates for your video shoot. Make sure you have control of the space, because the dinging of elevators, closing of doors, and bustle of foot traffic can make it difficult to capture quality audio.
The Room-with-a-View Hail Mary
Sometimes the building your shooting video in has such a beautiful view that it would be a shame to not at least try to capture the stunning backdrop that is certain to draw viewers in.
But be careful – when large windows are in play, the light coming into the room can shift at a moment’s notice, making it nearly impossible to produce a consistent, well-lit video on some days. To make matters worse, if you’re in a high-traffic area, the outside noise can make your audio capture suffer.
If you have the skill to pull it off, give it a shot, but have a backup location, because it could easily become unworkable.
With so many factors in play, choosing an ideal location is rarely easy, which is why hiring a professional video marketing team that can help you rule out far-from-ideal location options is so valuable. If that’s not an option, however, then these tips will go a long way.