Aardvark Video describes the process of producing a video for Findlay Lincoln from concept to completion.
(Video included below)
Our Las Vegas video production company, Aardvark Video just did a web commercial for Findlay Lincoln at the Valley Auto Mall in Henderson, NV. The auto mall is unique in that it has probably close to 100-car brand dealerships all centralized in one location. Findlay Lincoln is right on the main street, Gibson Road.
Last week we got a call that they wanted a video to be used for their social media campaigns that highlighted what made the dealership different from many others.
In NY before 2002 when we moved to Las Vegas, we owned a video production company that was created back in 1987 and though there was no widespread Internet there was broadcast TV, DVDs and other medium for distributing video. We did many video commercials many for local businesses and even some for local and state politicians including the governor’s office.
When we split our NY studio into two companies and set up shop in Las Vegas we didn’t find the same widespread use of video by businesses that we were accustomed to and over a short period of time gravitated to doing video work mostly with the trade show market. However whether for businesses or trade show clients our roots and skill sets have always been doing videos for companies to instill a message and get viewers to take a desired action.
The Pre-Production Planning
Many companies feel that a video is created by just showing up, turning on a camera and figuring it out as you go. That is definitely not the case. The most important part of a video project is the planning and because Findlay Lincoln was aware of this they put together a tentative script of what they planned to do. The plan is always if you are going to “say it, you want to show it” so that viewers can identify with the content.
This commercial was based on an on-camera scene from the general manager who would provide the main voice track, various employees saying one word each about the culture of the dealership and B-roll footage to support what was being mentioned. The theme was that Findlay Lincoln is an extended family of employees and customers and what makes the dealership different is the caring family aspect. We reviewed it and after coming up with a cost estimate which was approved, set up what’s called a location scout where we visit the facility and plan where and how all the needed footage will be shot.
We met with their marketing director, Diane, and walked the facility planning perhaps a dozen shots. During the walk through we saw the branding that they wanted to include with each shot and began developing ideas for how each shot would be composed. One of the shots would be a group shot of employees so during this meeting we decided what time would be best to do that shot. This involved figuring out the angle of the sun and also a time that wouldn’t detract from work the employees did during the day. We agreed it would be the first shot so that the employees could get it done and then go and do most of the day’s work without interuption. We stayed there until the sun had risen more so that we could see the lighting and decided that around 9:30AM would be the best time for this shot.
We also met with Nathan Findlay, the general manager, and went over what he would say and where he would say it. We discussed what to wear and gave standard direction on grooming for on camera work (shaved, haircut, etc.). One of the biggest concerns we had was the position of the sun relative to where the main shot with Nathan would be accomplished.
We decided to shoot the project in 4k for which we have several cameras including a pair of Sony Fs7’s, an Fs5, a DJI Osmo and several others which give us a great deal of 4k capability. We shot 4k to do what I call “future proof” the footage which means that even if 4k isn’t being broadcast by network TV today, when 4k is broadcast, the footage will still be usable. In addition, even when broadcast in HD, the image is sharper than if shot in HD.
Following the meeting we returned to the studio and built the knowledge we had gained into a simple storyboard with a column for audio and one with video incorporating the locations for each shot.
Production is where you actually shoot the footage. I directed our crew to show up at 8AM with the shooting planned to start at 9:30AM. We set up the first shot ready to go by about 9AM and practiced it. By 9:30 we got the employees in place and did the group shot. It took 4 takes to get all talking and moving in unison.
Because we were set up outside and because it would be the most difficult shot, next we did Nathan on camera. At first we let him say whatever he wanted and then had him recite sections of the script. We modified it as we went to match his inclinations. While still outside we shot most of the B roll of the facility, cars in the lot, etc. to match what would be needed in the script.
Following that we moved to the showroom where we had planned shots of various employees saying one word each with Findlay Lincoln branding in the shot. People who have never been on a video shoot think you just show up and shoot but in reality each employee took approximately ½ hour to setup the lighting, stage the area and get the employee to say their one-word line with the right emphasis and timing. We also shot more B roll footage with a gimbal-mounted camera in the showroom to match the script. We needed employees to wave and appear animated for when the script mentioned the Findlay family and this is where we shot that.
That evening we transferred the files from the various camera cards and set the files up in bins in Adobe Creative Cloud Premiere Pro so that our editor could begin editing early the next day.
The next day, Bobby, one of our editors came in and began selecting clips, selecting the right music and building the animations and graphics. It was one day of editing to produce the 1 minute 47 second video. We delivered it that evening and after some minor changes, Findlay requested, we had it finished and sent them the encoded file both in HD and 4K. With the footage we also created a :30 second commercial for broadcast TV if needed.
The reaction we got was that they loved it and they put it on their Facebook page immediately. Last time I looked, it had about 700 views.
There are companies in town that will do video for a few hundred dollars. What they don’t tell potential customers is that for that price they can’t do the planning and attention to detail that ensures a truly professional result. If you’ve never done a marketing video, perhaps this gives some insights as to what is involved. We here at Aardvark Video are happy to chat with any potential customer at no cost and with no obligation to help them plan a video project. If you are in this situation and need information, get in touch! Enjoy the video below.