How to prepare for your CEO's Corporate video shoot

It's already a pressured day and you are responsible for managing the video shoot with the CEO. You've managed to secure a precious 30 minutes in her calendar and she is going to be interviewed about the project you have been working on for the last 8 months.

The CEO video is the icing on the cake to communicate how your project is going to bring value to the business and you want her to look and sound great.

So how do you make that happen? The key is in the planning. Beyond being clear on the communication objectives for your video which we discuss in this post, we focus here on the logistical aspects of performing a video interview with a Senior Manager or CEO.

THE SETTING

Location, location, location. It's so important.

To achieve an interesting and professional background for your corporate video, here are a few tips for when you are filming in the office.

1. The filming location should be a quiet space without any disturbing background noise. If it's possible to do so and doesn't cause discomfort, remember to turn off the air conditioning. Colorful backgrounds and accent walls can be interesting, it just needs to fit with tone of the message your CEO is delivering.

2. The background can help set the tone for the video. Interesting backgrounds or features can work but plain backgrounds can work also. How you light the subject and back lighting can give you some cool effects.

3. A narrow depth of field can help you take the attention away from uninteresting office spaces by blurring out ugly backgrounds while keeping the subject sharp. A narrow depth of field means only the subject and objects at the same distance from the camera will be sharp.

4. If you can, film in a bigger room with a lot of depth, as this gives more freedom by making it easier to blur out the background if necessary.

5. For longer filming times, film in rooms with no windows or where you can control the lighting. Varying sunlight intensity make it difficult to achieve consistency in the image.

6. Be sure to clean up any clutter.

SHE'S GOT THE LOOK

Prior to the interview day itself, prepare your CEO for what type of clothes to avoid. There are a few things to consider:

1. Try to avoid wearing clothes with tight patterns on them. They can sometimes cause a strange effect called aliasing or moiré which can make striped or checked shirts/suits look strange on camera.

2. Lights colors are generally better for blouses or shirts when filming. Strong bright colors do have personality but may distract the viewer from the message.

3. Don’t overdress. There's generally not a need to turn up in a ball gown or a tuxedo for your video shoot! Avoid clunky jewelry as well as it can make unwanted noises that the microphone picks up.

ARE YOU SITTING comfortably?

Depending on the message, find the right balance between having your subject stand up or being seated for the video interview.

The most important thing is to place the person in a position where the feel comfortable.

Standing can often prompt more emotive gestures such as hand movements, but again you need to measure that with the tone of the message you want the CEO to deliver.

HOW SHOULD THE CEO PREPARE FOR THE VIDEO SHOOT?

The purpose of using an interview for a film rather than having your CEO read a scripted message from a prompter is to get a natural response.

They should certainly know why they are being interviewed and the key messages you'd like to be communicated about the project or if there are key facts or information you need them to transmit.

Resist the temptation and DON'T send them the questions beforehand. It takes away from the magic of the natural response :) Also a pre-interview is generally something we avoid as otherwise the interviewee will try and rehearse the answers.

Plan 15-20 minutes before the shoot to review the questions together with your CEO in the studio, this will give him or her enough time to feel comfortable with the questions without falling into the trap of memorizing answers

It's OK for the CEO to go back and repeat or rephrase an answer, we can always make it slick in the edit room, in fact that's our job - making you all look and sound good on film.

THE INTERVIEW ITSELF

When we are hired as a video production company, our team will always include a Director/Interviewer in the team to ensure we can get you a great video for your but in some instances it may be that you have a preference to do the interview yourself, if so, here's a few things to take into account.

1. Make sure the subject is looking at you, not at the camera. Keep eye contact with the interviewee to keep them engaged. If there are others in the room, Interviewees may look around the room for approval.

2. Keep it casual. Yes it's your CEO and maybe your a bit nervous, but try and smile to keep the interviewees attention. It may be they are just as nervous as you if they don't like being on camera.

3. Easy does it. You have prepared your questions, but try and build a rapport beforehand with some softer skills at the start before jumping right in.

4. Make sure the subject answers with full sentences. If they are having trouble doing that, ask them to repeat the question back at you when starting their response : “Why is the sky blue?” “The sky is blue because… “

5. Make sure you've got what you need to make your film, that you've covered your key messages to tell your story and your there!

Video content of Senior Managers in your organization can be great for validation and motivation, but managing the message construction, interview process and edit are critical. If it all seems a little overwhelming, we'd be happy to help, it's what we do after all.