Most people already know what they should be doing, what the risks are and how to avoid them. Building workers and contractors usually sit through a safety induction at every site they work on – perhaps a dozen or more in a year. But accidents still happen – in the UK 152 people were killed at work in 2009-2010, there were over 230,000 reportable injuries and 28.5 million working days lost due to work-related ill health or injury*.
Having actual building workers describing accidents they have witnessed or explaining how a health and safety reporting scheme has empowered them and made the workplace safer, this can carry far more weight than the same message from a disembodied, anonymous voiceover.
Having the Chief Executive do a piece to camera adds authority. The CEO can remind managers and supervisors of their responsibilities and can encourage operatives to be pro-active when it comes to health and safety.
Having characters in a sales training video drama talk to camera to explain their thoughts about a particular interaction can add a further dimension and act as a trigger for discussion between your trainer and the trainees.
"To camera” is when the person talks directly to the video camera, eye-balling the lens. The direct eye contact with the viewer can carry a lot of authority. This is what you will see when watching television news. Usually we fit a teleprompter (also known as an Autocue) over the front of the camera, so the talking head can read their words without losing eye contact with the audience. This is not an easy option and is why a trained tv presenter can earn a higher daily fee than, say, an actor.
"Off camera” is the normal style for interviews. The interviewee is answering questions from an interviewer standing beside the camera. Generally in our productions the interviewer is unseen and unheard.
People who have not had camera training
will usually find the "off camera" interview technique easier and the
result will seem more spontaneous and genuine.
We have lost count of the times when a client has told us “Our MD is very good on his feet. He won’t need teleprompt.” But then, on the day, the MD can’t remember the lines (which have probably been written for him by someone else and are far too long and full of “corporate speak” rather than Plain English). If we have not brought the teleprompter, we then have to resort to prompt cards, which are not ideal.
the MD has not been on a media awareness course and is not relaxed in
front of the camera, we can help by breaking the speech into chunks,
shooting one sentence at a time, then reframing (going in to close-up or
out to a wider shot) or allowing for a cutaway to a graphic or a shot of
something they are describing.
If interviewees feel intimidated, they will often resort to saying the blindingly obvious or something they think their employer would like them to say. Immediately this loses credibility and interest. We resolve this by …
Multinational clients often need to distribute a training video in a number of languages. How we do this will depend on what the television audience is accustomed to in that country. Some are happy with subtitles. Some are used to a “lector”, a single voice who reads the script, regardless of who is talking on screen. Others expect a video that appears to have been produced in their own language.
A technique we have developed for one multinational client is to shoot a series of presenters of different nationalities in a green screen studio; in the video edit we put them against a standard background graphic and intersperse their scenes with the documentary footage to produce a complete version in English, French, Italian, Spanish …
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