Directed video versus event video


videoI video a number of things, and they broadly split into two:
1-An event that happens at its own pace, and I capture the required bits

2-Directed scenes or interviews to be edited into a final programme

What is the main difference when filming? As a video producer, in the former I can only choose what to cover, and in the second I can actually control what happens and when. Seems obvious and straightforward, so why am I writing about it?

Think of a novel. Some bits will be in real-time, such as dialogue exchanges between characters, and other parts of the novel will be condensed, perhaps a narrative description of a train journey where nothing much happens so it only takes up a paragraph.

This balance of dialogue, action, and narrative is key to creating a good novel. For video making the similar ability to compress and stretch detail and time is essential to producing an engaging video. If you think of a Hollywood movie, it will have some simple scenes with possibly only a couple of shots in, and other maybe more complicated scenes with a number of shots and a faster pace. Scenes will vary in the time they represent.

Organisational video communication

For an organisational communication the same rules apply. You need to take on what the audience already knows, and keep those bits short, and spend more time to concentrate on the new aspects in your communication.

If you can direct a video you are free to cover some aspects quickly, and get more detail just on the things that need detail. This of course requires knowing in advance what the priorities are, so you need a plan, script, or structure before you start.

Compare this to an event that, from a video producer’s point of view, happens at its own uncontrollable pace. It is designed for the live audience, and cannot speed up and slow down easily. The audience have essentially one perspective throughout the event. You could compare the different feel between a film, and a filmed stage play.

If you have a one off event, then it is quite understandable to want to film it, but often communication teams will set up an event-to-be-filmed, when what they really want is a directed video. The live event is much easier to understand, and logistics aside, requires less storyboarding or scripting decisions. To add interest, more locations can be added, but these rarely add interest, they just add additional filming logistics and the results are mixed. Over the past decade, videos where I have had to chase a set-up filming opportunity event around are amongst the poorest productions I have been involved with.

These event based videos have to be edited to try and approximate what you would have achieved with a directed video. If you have the choice, then agree your priorities and go with a directed video to start with.

Make the most of live video filming

If for some justification or other you must set up an event as a filming opportunity, for example, a live speaker performance rather than a directed interview, then it is worth noting how TED talks work.

They are live presentations, but with video distribution in mind. Some of the positive attributes they have from a video audience point of view:

They are short at around 18 minutes maximum

They are concise and are clearly to the point

They only include relevant background

They assume an appropriate level of knowledge

They use only necessary visual aids

The presentation is from one stage – one location!

Following these should ensure that the video audience gets as close as possible to the engagement level of the live audience.

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