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7 steps to a successful video shoot

  —   5 March 2018   —   Access News

Following a successful pitch leading polymer label manufacturer, Polymeric Labels, appointed Access to position them as a global leader. An incredible amount of craft goes into their work, and we were excited to get started. As part of an overarching business strategy, we created a new website and branded collateral that would position them in a fresh new light.

Part of the suite of work was a video and photo shoot. We produced two videos; a corporate video to talk through Polymeric Labels service offering and a 30-second version with no voice over.

During filming, we learnt so many useful lessons and I wanted to share them with you so you can nail your next video shoot and get the best results.

I Art Directed the shoot and I worked with the team to create the storyboard, the script, the shot list and the schedule for the day. (Oh and lunch for the team making it all happen). There’s a lot to think about, so let’s take a look at the essentials for a successful video shoot.

If you’re looking for tips on photo shoots - check out Dave Welsh’s photo shoot post.

Build your team.

Your shoot will be as good as your team - so make sure each of these roles is clearly defined and thought about prior to your shoot.

  • 1 Art Director (AD)
  • 1 Cameraman
  • 1 Assistant

So, how did we go about it?

Get a clear brief.

Knowing what your client wants to achieve with the video is of paramount importance - know your purpose before you begin. I’d suggest a face-to-face briefing with the client to get a real understanding of what the client wants. These meetings also help to create a rapport that will help your project run smoothly.

Know your point of contact.

During the shoot, it’ highly likely questions will crop up, so it’s important to have a point of contact who can help things run smoothly client side. You can plan ahead as much as you want, but shoot day is going to be a busy one. Delegate duties so you can focus on the thing you’re there to do.

Location, Location, Location.

If you can, carry out a recce of your location prior to the shoot. Without it, it’ll be hard to put a solid shot list together and plan for the day. We were quite lucky on the Polymeric Labels shoot, as we had previously completed a photo shoot of the production process. This gave us familiarity with the location and the staff, which helped a lot on the day of the shoot.

Be prepared & plan.

A lot of time and effort goes into running a successful shoot. Ultimately, the buck stops with the AD if the day doesn’t run smoothly. Planning is king and lists will be your best friend. Consider these things for your shoot:

  • Get an early start - if you do run over, you’ll have given yourself a little bit of leeway
  • Keep an eye on the clock - time can quickly slip away!
  • Create lists - from props to a time schedule, lists will help you feel prepared

Be prepared to deviate from the plan.

Things will change throughout the day, whether it’s the weather, the shot subject, the location, the running order - whatever it might be - you will need to learn to adapt to these changes and work with what you have available to you.

Shoot then, if necessary, reshoot.

It’s the job of the AD to make sure what is being shot is right. Set up the shot subject, look at it through the camera, brief anyone that’s going to be in the shot with what you’d like them to do. Then do a quick run through before the camera rolls.

Once you’re happy then it’s time to shoot. It’s rare that you’ll nail it the first time, use the first go to make sure you are happy with everything in the shot.

Things to consider include:

  • Camera angle - are you capturing everything you need?
  • People - are people in the shot dressed correctly?
  • Scene - is there something distracting in the background?
  • Lighting - is there enough to get the result you want?

There’s a lot to think about and it needs to be right. If not, make amends and reshoot. You’ll know when it’s right. And if you’re shooting a scene think about getting some alternative close-ups or angle options for cutting into the footage. With our video for Polymeric Labels, we wanted to convey the craft that goes into the manufacturing process so we focused a lot of the time on getting close up shots of the detailed work involved.

Food & drink.

It’s a full-on day when you’re shooting, but making sure your team is well fed and watered is really important. Take a break and kick back if time allows, it’s important to switch off from the task in hand for at least half an hour so you have the energy to see out the rest of the shoot.

That’s a wrap!

Once you have worked your way through your shot list and if you have some spare time, it’s important to go back through what you have shot and see if there’s anything you could bolster out or add to before the day is over. It’s harder to do this once you’ve left without incurring further costs. If you’re happy with what you’ve shot then see if the client has any extra footage they would like to include to use up any remaining time with the team.

The finished product

And here’s the final result! We’re so proud of this work - let us know what you think @weareaccessmcr.

Full-length video


30-second edit 


Feel free to drop me a message at [email protected], or on Instagram @4dam5mith, if you’d like to chat about a video project going forward!


Photo of Adam Smith
Creative Team Lead

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