MANUFACTURING VIDEO PRODUCTION
Barking Squirrel Media specializes in manufacturing video production for corporations worldwide. We have invested heavily in recent years in the latest video technology to give our manufacturing clients the expertise, quality and quantity that they need in a budget they can afford to produce a fabulous manufacturing video. We have a great deal of experience and expertise in producing manufacturing video. Additionally, we understand how to respond to the unique challenges encountered when filming manufacturing, construction and supply chain video. Finally, we have developed unique solutions to these problems.
Unique Problems in Manufacturing Video Production
Filming in a manufacturing facility poses unique challenges for a video production company. When you are searching for the best video production company, look for experience first and foremost in the company’s portfolio. Most video directors and cinematographers want to control everything on set to create the perfect look and feel for the video or commercial. This approach, though desirable, may not be practical on a manufacturing floor. Below are a few issues a video production company will face and for which they must have solutions.
- Production lines that don’t stop or do redo’s to accommodate filming needs
- Facility lighting that is low, the wrong color or mixed
- Physical access to important machinery may be limited due to safety concerns and logistics.
- The noise level is often too loud for interviewing leadership on the manufacturing floor.
- Communication between team members and brand managers are problematic due to the noise level and the massive size of a facility.
- Limited video budgets that present challenges to the traditional video approach
Unique Solutions to Manufacturing Video Production
The Filming Process
It is imperative for manufacturing film makers to have a filming process. Beware of any video production company that is willing to film without discovery sessions. Discovery helps a video company understand how the manufacturing process works and what is important to show. The final video product is only as good as the knowledge and understanding a production company has of your manufacturing process.
At Barking Squirrel Media, we have created and refined a manufacturing methodology that ensures we thoroughly understand your process, products and people before we set foot in your facility. Next, we do a site scouting with your brand manager where we take pictures and test footage of your equipment and people.
We need to know the challenges ahead of time so that we can develop a strategy for solving problems. From the site scout, we can create a shot list with pictures that will show you what and how we plan to film. This includes descriptions of the equipment and approach we will utilize. Prior to each filming day, we provide your brand managers a shooting schedule. From this, everyone will know when we are filming what, along with any special information that managers on the floor need to know.
The Production Team
Filming the manufacturing process usually necessitates a smaller than normal video team due to Covid, travel, budgets and limited access to space. This means that each person on the team must be skilled in doing more than one task. They will also have experience working with the other members of the team so that the team moves quickly and efficiently.
Traditionally, a production includes producer, director, director of photography, assistant camera and camera op, audio, gaffer (lighting specialist), grips (those that move and set up equipment), photographer, art director, drone operator and talent. Experience has taught us that we may have to film with a team size ranging from 3-6, depending on the scope of work. In such cases, a grip may also be skilled in audio and a gaffer may also be a great cam op 2.
There are only so many seats on the production bus, therefore each crew member must be highly trained and possess exceptional skills in several areas. This results in manufacturing videos that are both informative and engaging.
Additionally, most manufacturing companies want to feature their own people rather than professional talent. Though hiring talent to help tell your company’s story is always advisable, working with a video production company that knows how to make non-actors look good is important. The actions that an actor can achieve is very different than what a company leader can deliver successfully. Choose a video company that is experienced filming talent and company leaders.
The Right Equipment for Manufacturing Video Production
It is crucial that film makers understand the challenges unique to manufacturing. This allows them to make the right equipment choices. When filming a national grade commercial, the size of equipment matters little and usually requires significantly larger cameras, lenses, jibs, dollies, steadycams, gimbals and lights. Heavy equipment requires more people on set to operate it. In a manufacturing plant, video equipment that is smaller, lighter, flexible and with much more automated technology is a huge asset.
On a commercial shoot, many production companies will likely film with larger and heavier cinema cameras and lighting equipment. When filming the manufacturing process, we have found that filming with the smaller and lighter cinema cameras (such as the Canon C-70’s) and an array of LED lights that are smaller and lighter make the production process much more efficient and effective. This requires fewer team members to operate while enabling our crew to film faster and more effectively than competitors.
Rather than create camera movement on a dolly (which has more weight, bulk and requires more time and people to set up), we create camera movement with the technology of steadycams, gimbal systems and drones. The end result is fairly close if not identical to the quality of larger systems, but much more economical. At Barking Squirrel Media, experience has taught us that harnessing the power of the latest and lightest filming technology will produce amazing manufacturing videos for our clients.
Prior to filming in any manufacturing facility, the Barking Squirrel Media team develops a filming strategy. This strategy includes assigned camera angels for each camera op on site, the choice of lenses, and the color temp to be utilized, to name a few. A manufacturing line does not stop for cinematographers, so team members must have a plan for filming things the right way the first time. There may not an opportunity to film it a second or third time.
Generally speaking, if budgets only allow for two camera ops on set, then one camera op will focus on wide and medium angles while the second camera op will focus on closeups. Our strategy also includes a detailed schedule of what will be filmed and when (shot schedules). The final product is only as good as the plans and preparation made prior to walking into the facility to film. The old adage, “a failure to plan is a plan to fail” certainly applies to manufacturing filming.
The Right Training
Drone technology is critical to filming in manufacturing facilities. There are many filming perspectives that a traditional camera operator simply cannot access, such as filming from high above a production line or filming in spaces not accessible. Our director of photography at Barking Squirrel Media is an FAA trained and licensed drone operator for filming both inside and outside your facility. The footage of our state-of-the-art drones will provide stunning camera angles, creative perspectives and super smooth motion.
It is important to note that a licensed FAA drone operator is required for all commercial drone filming. Even though your uncle has a drone, it is not legal to use his footage for your business videos. When choosing film makers for your company’s video, make sure the crew has the right training and equipment.
The Right Audio Solutions
Manufacturing plants tend to be very loud and that can make communication between people on set difficult. Barking Squirrel Media is equipped with the most sophisticated two-way radio systems and noise suppressing headphones available so that everyone on location can easily communicate with each other. When searching for a video vendor, make sure they have a plan to address the noise issues.
Video Feeds for Clients
Manufacturing facilities are huge, occupying enormous square footage. This makes it challenging for a director and a company’s brand management to keep up with and see what camera ops are filming. Barking Squirrel Media has a number of methods for leadership to view what’s being filmed, while it’s being filmed. We have several wireless client monitors always available for viewing beside the director. Additionally we provide a number of different wifi video feeds to a client’s cellphone, tablet and computer. If a client does not like what we are filming, they can provide us with instant feedback via the two-way radios, ensuring what we film is what the client wants.
There is an additional challenge that manufacturing filmmakers must be able to resolve: how to film interviews in front of giant machines that make deafening noise? The easy solution is simply to film interviews in quiet office areas far from the noise of machinery. However, that often removes company leadership from the most impressive visuals and tend to be less engaging. At Barking Squirrel Media, we often film interviews against an optimally lit green screen in a large, quiet office space. In so doing, we can record a clean audio and film a beautifully lit interview.
To supplement this, we film wide angle background shots of the various manufacturing facility separately from the interviews (known as plates). During the editing stage, we superimpose the interviewees onto the right manufacturing background. No one will know that the interview wasn’t filmed in the facility. The end result is that leadership look amazing, the audio sounds fabulous and the background visuals of the facility are stunning.
As in all things, you get what you pay for. However, there are a number of ways to produce videos at various price points. Our discovery process enables us to understand your goals, processes, products and people and find an approach that will accomplish your goals. Barking Squirrel Media works hard and creatively to help you prioritize the things you need most in a video and match that with the budget you have to work within.
In the end, all video production comes down to the number of people on set, the days it takes to film, the amount of equipment required and the time it takes to edit and animate the video. We can scale your project and goals to fit within your budget by controlling the number people on set and the amount of filming days.
For more information, please feel free to schedule a zoom meeting with our producer.