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Using Drama in Corporate Video Production, Interactive Multimedia and e-Learning
Video drama can be a very powerful tool in a corporate training video DVD, interactive DVD, training multimedia CD-ROM or e-learning production. Drama can show your staff how things should be done. It can express significant opinions that your staff or customers hold, but which they are reluctant to reveal on camera. It can stimulate discussion in a trainer-led course or interaction by the user in an interactive course on CD-ROM or e-learning via your intranet. Video drama can be more engaging and motivating than sermonising by a presenter or voiceover narration – although these have their place.
The old training video model, “how not to do it, then how to do it”, was popular from the 1940s through the 1970s, but most audiences are now more sophisticated. It’s more convincing and realistic when we make the characters in your corporate video drama neither wholly perfect nor wholly incompetent – just as they are in real life.
Why use actors?
They learn their lines. They are confident in front of the video camera. They give a consistent performance – in other words, when there are retakes and shots from alternative angles, their movements and expressions will match when it comes to the video edit. Even when it’s appropriate to use a certain number of actual staff in a scene, adding an actor will help the non-actors raise their game.
What about the script?
We will write the video script in conversational English. This is how people actually speak, and it’s not the same as “corporate speak” or even ordinary written English. Before we write the video script, we may well need to research what your staff say by talking to them and listening in to conversations in a call centre or retail branch, for example.
How do I find actors?
We will do this for you. We look for actors with corporate video and especially television rather than theatrical experience. We may well hold a casting session and we will certainly involve you in the final choice. We tend to avoid celebrities, even though they add some prestige to a corporate video production, partly because of the cost, partly because they can be a distraction – after all everyone knows they don’t actually work for you.
What do actors need?
Time to learn the script – at least 7 days, ideally 10. The script must not be changed once it’s approved and sent to the actors. If you do this, the actors will struggle, their performances will go flat and the shoot may well run into overtime.
Uniforms, name badges, PPE, safety equipment – whatever is appropriate for the characters they are playing. They also need somewhere to change.
A base: a room where actors can sit out of the way when they are not needed in front of camera. They will use this time to rehearse. Refreshments are always appreciated.
What about locations for corporate video drama?
Very often the client provides these, because it’s appropriate to use one of their branches, one of their construction sites or whatever. Minor locations, eg a close-up of somebody on the phone, can often be improvised at the main location. It is quite legal to shoot corporate video drama on the street, provided you do not cause an obstruction or other problem. On the other hand, some locations that appear public, such as shopping centres or car parks, are actually private property and require advance permission. We can hire specialist locations, such as courtrooms, stately homes, private houses, meeting rooms, offices, steam railways, vehicles or whatever. We rarely use studios any more; it is usually cheaper to find the real thing than to build a set. An important point: it takes 1 to 2 hours plus travel time to move between separate locations (as opposed to between different rooms in the same building) and set up again, so we rarely attempt more than 2 or 3 locations in a shooting day.
Props, costumes, make-up
These are all readily available, are not expensive and can add interest and impact to a corporate video production. Surprise your audience, rather than taking the standard corporate video route.
Will video drama work over my intranet?
Yes, provided the viewer has a PC with a soundcard. Video streaming technology is getting more efficient and networks are getting more capacity or bandwidth. It’s worth checking this with your IT department. It may be more reliable to have the video clips hosted for you by a specialist video streaming company who will have dedicated video streaming servers, but that will depend on your IT set up.
What about foreign languages?
For multinationals this is an issue. Even in the UK there are industries where a large number of the workers have English as a second language. For nationalities where tv viewers are accustomed to this, subtitles work well and are not expensive. Otherwise lip-synch dubbing is called for – ie the video drama is translated and actors record the foreign language dialogue in synch with the characters’ mouth movements. Lip-synch dubbing is fairly costly, but it is a well established practice and is far cheaper than re-shooting with foreign actors.
Our directors can direct actors in English, French and Arabic, so productions which are primarily for those audiences can be shot using local actors in those languages.
Is drama expensive in a corporate video production?
For what you get, no. Expect to pay around £400 - £500 a day per actor. The time they spend learning the video script will be thrown in as part of that fee. Background artists or extras can be used for non-speaking parts and cost far less.
To get an idea of budget, click here and we’ll send you a ballpark costing.
East End House
To discuss a possible project for
your organisation, please contact Adrian Tayler at
tel: 01695 727555 or e-mail
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