Preparing for a Testimonial or Live Video Production Shoot

Video production shoots can be daunting, whether they’re for customer testimonial videos, live executive videos or on-site training video productions. Even if you’ve done them a million times, something new and unexpected always seems to come up.

The key to ensuring a successful testimonial or live video production shoot is preparation. Most of the time (hopefully ALL of the time) the production company will supply you with a call sheet well ahead of the recording date. The video call sheet will include useful information like the address of the shoot location, the schedule, phone numbers for crew members and other contacts, an equipment checklist and wardrobe recommendations, as well as information about transportation arrangements, parking instructions and safety notes.

However, there are a few more things you can do internally to prep your team and help you ensure that you’ve done everything possible to guarantee that your on-site filming session goes smoothly.

#1 – Make a List

Did the producer send you a video call sheet? Great! Make sure everyone has it and understands their roles. If the producer didn’t send you one, shame on him! But you’re still in luck; we’ve created a template for you to download.

Remember, in order for the video production to go smoothly, everyone needs to know what to expect. If the crew is to arrive at 10am, make sure the office is clean before then and there is space to set up. If the VP of Sales is going to film her scene at 1pm, remind her not to eat spaghetti and meatballs for lunch, lest she get sauce on her blouse.

Having a list and setting expectations like this will put people at ease and, ultimately, ensure the day goes off without a hitch!

#2 – Know What (Not) to Wear

Knowing what not to wear is different from having good fashion sense. Like it or not, video does tend to make people look at least ten pounds heavier than they really are. For testimonial videos, that can be a real concern, as you want to portray your customers in the best light possible. For this reason, it’s key to select wardrobe choices that emphasize shape, with a focus on the fit of the outfit (think vertical lines…) No loose clothing!

Also, you’ll want to make sure the wardrobe complements the messaging of the on-site video, as it will inform how the viewer perceives the on-screen talent and, by extension, the brand. A few other things to note:

  • Avoid pure reds, whites and blacks, as they can make it difficult for the camera to balance exposure. Intense reds can sometimes “bleed” and make the surrounding objects (i.e., your face) appear red
  • Try to avoid “hot” colors, like hot pink, green, yellow, purple, orange, etc.
  • Avoid colors that compete with your complexion (i.e., if you have more reds in your skin tone, don’t wear a red tie. If you are very pale, don’t wear white.)
  • Avoid close, high-contrast patterns like pinstripes or corduroy, as they can result in a weird “wavy” effect and it can look like there are lines moving all around your clothes
  • Avoid wearing eyeglasses, if possible, unless you’re well known for wearing them. Non-reflective coated glasses work best on video
  • Avoid heavy fabrics, as those lights can get HOT!
  • Try to avoid flashy or oversized jewelry; it has a tendency to reflect light in odd ways and it also can make unwanted noise when you’re mic’d up

#3 – Practice, Practice, Practice

Even if your video’s testimonial customer or executive subject has led 1,000 meetings, held round tables with heads of state, and given the commencement address at Harvard, people still have a tendency to freeze up when the red light goes on and the director says action.

If you’re doing an interview-style video, be sure to do a couple dry runs in the days leading up to filming. This will give the interviewee time to consider their answers and then sleep on them. Sometimes it’s helpful to prepare bullets or talking points for them to reference during their answers, to keep them on track.

If the subject is reading a script, it’s important to identify early on if a teleprompter will be needed. Some people have no trouble remembering their lines and cruise through their reads like Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men.” Others need a little more help by breaking the script into chunks. Others want to read directly from a teleprompter, which can take a little getting used to, so you want to account for that when planning the schedule.

Remember, if you’re interviewing the Director of Information Technology about her role, she can talk about it in a manner that’s unscripted and natural. After all, she’s the expert! You just want to make sure she has the tools she needs to be most comfortable.

If you want to learn more about prepping for live testimonial, training or executive video shoot or on-site video production, in general, get in touch. Our focus is developing high-quality business communications and online marketing video solutions that engage audiences and drive higher response rates.

Author: Jeff Fritts is Creative Director for Flimp Media Video Solutions, located in Boston, MA. He can be reached at jeff

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