One of the most important facts you’ll learn in this article is that event videos have evolved! In fact, live events ‘films’ is a more accurate term. This article will give you a detailed outline of our unique approach to event filming.
Below is an example of our work, filming a boxing event for City Warriors at the Emirate Stadium:
Who are they? It sounds like an obvious thing, but knowing exactly who the client is, be they an individual or company, we can more easily make their dreams and expectations a reality. Is it an individual who openly loves heavy metal or high fashion? Is it a company who has strong family values or are they a modern-day alternative company (like the Apples of our time)?
Specific visual guidelines (if any) are always welcome e.g. no footage of people smoking. Knowing our clients’ identity sets us on the right path when conceptualising ideas.
So we know who they are, the next question is “What do they want?” Yes, they want an event film, but what format? For what use? For who? Horses for courses.
What’s right for one client may not always be right for another, although we always manage to get it right. Knowing whether an event video is meant to just give people a glimpse of the event, make people feel as if they were there, or even wish they were, affects how we approach the video.
“How do you want people to feel?” This sounds pretentious, but is something we ask a lot. That funny word “feeling” makes a huge difference in how we film and edit the video- after all film making is a visual art.
Who is the audience? Children, adults, teachers, wealthy businessmen, fun-loving students? The audience is up there with the most important pieces criteria we need to shape the video around. Different groups of people react, and are receptive to, different things; we just need to know who they are first. With that in mind, it’s time to learn about the event.
We know about the client and their audience but what about the actual event? Is it a festival, a corporate meet and greet? An interactive, educational experience? We need details!
The type of event effects how we approach filming and what can be conceived – once again “horses for courses”. Indoors has its strengths, outdoors can have its challenges, but before we can address those potential issues we’ll need to know what they are.
The location can make a big impact, not just in terms of equipment used, but also getting there and even the prospect of staying overnight (it happens).
Getting to know the event intimately is crucial. Learning about its history/conception will help us understand the nature of your event and maybe even allow us to visualise what the experience would be like.
Logistics: what’s where and when. We spend a lot of time learning the layout using maps and (sometimes) crude drawings, allowing us to navigate between different zones efficiently. Schedules are used to help us plan our own timetable, so that the right people and equipment are ready in the right place and time.
If there are specific talks, guests, acts, elements etc. that need to be prioritised, then that’s what we’ll do.
I know what you’re thinking “Shouldn’t you get the visuals down first and then think about the music?” It’s true that is a way to approach an event film.
However, our evolutionary approach to our revolutionary outcome prompts us to begin with the music. Yes we have an idea of the feeling (remember that?), the visuals, client and audience, but we need something to articulate the event film’s journey and that something is music.
Now before I continue; this approach is more relevant to our cinematic event films than our corporate ones and by reading this, you’ll understand why.
Inspiration: it all begins with a spark.
Once we have all the necessary details we turn to music. Old, new, energetic, emotive. Music evokes a natural reaction and the connection to this enhances the connection to the video. We don’t think about it as just sound to go with a video, but the soundtrack to your movie. Think about it as a rollercoaster; slow and steady build up, then an explosive ride followed by an elated finish that leaves you wanting more.
The right song or songs add structure and emotion that we use to guide our shot types, shoot styles and pace of editing.
Okay, so this can actually come before or after the music (and in some cases even both). It’s good to have an idea of what your idea is… Then solidify it!
So, what do you want the outcome to be? This is what we ask ourselves each time we make an event film, then aim to make it into a reality. Key words, themes, features all come into play – it sounds pretentious but it works. In the past we have used key words such as ‘active’ and ‘fun’. Themes such as ‘personal interaction’, ‘journey through time’, ‘metamorphoses’. Features like focus pulling, tracking shots and photo booths. These are the guiding pins that help build our idea.
Now, having a solid idea is good, but the video also needs structure. There are many options in this area: a chronological retelling, a montage, an event divided into sections, narrative-driven and many more. Making a chronological event film makes sense and it simplifies decisions over what you see and when. Montage films free you of basic structure, meaning any shot can be used at any time. Using sections is good for mini vids; telling a story, well, that’s the golden egg!
Regardless of how we approach an event film, we aim to tell a story because that’s what people react to.
This is related to colour palettes, shot types and camera movement. A true film maker makes this decision early on in the process- now that’s not to say it can’t be changed, but it is important to have an idea of it and I’ll explain why.
Colour. Sounds simple enough, looks simple enough, but a lot of time and effort goes into deciding on what specific colour schemes to film or emulate in post-production through grading. Watch one of our videos, watch an advert on TV; none of it is by accident.
The fact is that the colour palette has a major effect on the video’s visual style and how people react to it. The options are limitless, however our recent videos exemplify the realistic look- over-exposed and washed out.
The realistic look is, well, realistic. It is an accurate, no-frills depiction of how the event looked. Over-exposed (when handled correctly) can create a light and angelic look, making everything sweet and beautiful. Washed-out colours are softer, more pastel-like and so ‘in’ right now.
When we discuss shot types we talk about close-ups, mid-shots, people registering the camera, candid shots etc. The choice of shots changes the feel of the video and in turn, how people feel when they watch it.
Close-ups are more intimate, whereas a wide shot is good for displaying an entire space. People registering the camera lets them register the viewer (instant connection) while those oh-so beautiful candid shots catches a person at their most natural. Camera movement can be used to articulate these shots. A gentle tracking shot adds cinematic effect to a close up, hand-held shots add an element of realism to a candid shot, slow-motion adds emotion to a shot of high action.
These minute decisions make a large impact on the final look and style of the video. The options really are limitless, so it’s good for you but hard work for us – lucky for you, we love doing it.