The brief our product videographers took on was simple: capture as much product videography as we could with brand ambassador Liberty Poole in a space in Birmingham. The only aspect working against us was the clock…
Ready? Set? Shoot!
In addition to our expert product photography services, the Pocket Creatives team are also top-notch product videographers. As a result, product videography is also available as part of our service offering – covering everything from full-blown video production for TV adverts and brand videos, to more informal quick fire content. Our brief here was certainly the latter, but this isn’t said with any tinge of bitterness, and actually, we love the cut and thrust that comes with a challenge like this. To meet the brief here our product videographers would need to create a large batch of video content covering a range of Skinny Tan’s beauty products range. The brand had also lined up Liberty Poole (Love Island, Dancing On Ice) as the on-screen talent.
Meeting in a space in the centre of Birmingham, the team had travelled in from different parts of the UK, with the clients coming in just before us to get ready. As any product videographer will tell you, being organised is critical in projects like these, as your goal is to maximise the limited time that’s available without lowering your standards in quality. The additional trick here is not to be too rigid – if you are, it throws you when you have to work in a non-linear fashion, or juggle things around to make better use of the time. Most of our shots were therefore planned to be captured in the bathroom and the bedroom, with our expert product videographers capturing a blend of product-only shots with some application elements, how-to sections, and before and after looks.
How our product videographers prepared for this shoot
The team for this shoot was myself, (Steven – hello again!) as Producer/Director, alongside Richard who handled camera operation and lighting. I don’t take on too many shoots nowadays as my role as Creative Director has me pretty well occupied – but, it’s been a busy end period to the year and we were double booked, so I got to muck in and help out. On top of this though, my experience of working with talent would be useful in us getting what we need. It’s always nice to meet new clients in person too!
Our first job was to build the camera rig and light the set. We were working alongside Kaye (the client’s photographer) as well on the day and i’m always mindful of making sure that everyone gets what they need as well as us. My role at this stage is to map out the shooting angles, select the products with the best packaging, and discuss the lighting with Richard so he can do what he does best.
Now, for any of you who have read some of my past posts where we define videography versus video production, you’ll know that technically this would fall under a video production project rather than videography. For those of you reading who don’t know, our way to differentiate between the two services at Pocket Creatives is that video production is conducted by a 2-man team in the configuration we had for this shoot, and videography is usually a lone camera person. I’ve loosely termed us as product videographers today to demonstrate the mindset more than anything, and that should give you more insight into how we go about projects such as these.
Shoot day with Skinny Tan
So, on to the shoot. Our product videographers are ready to roll, and after an initial briefing with Liberty and a discussion with our clients over the first few motions, we’re starting to commit shots to the memory cards. Shoots such as this work the producer/director role pretty hard, as I’m the linking point between the client, the talent and the camera – keeping communication clear and staying organised by ticking shots off against our shot list. I’m also there to keep us to time, adding direction where required, and making sure that Liberty is comfortable and happy with what she’s doing.
When a product videographer is working with talent of any kind – from models to actors to voiceover artists – they must demonstrate empathy so that they can build a rapport with that talent as fast and as successfully as possible. I don’t like the suggestion that talent are hired in almost as mercenaries to do a job and then move on. I know that anyone in front of the camera will perform to their best if they enjoy the experience and the instructions are clear. If we had been here today purely as product videographers then a lot of this ability would be lacking, as most videographers will tend to put the creative and technical aspects of the shoot first, talent second.
Richard’s role here is very different to mine, and in many ways this is a great demonstration of how a shoot involving a product videographer should run. If i’m doing my job correctly as producer/director, then Richard can work more as a dedicated product videographer would – he has the time and space to focus on making sure that the scenes we’re filming are as optimal as possible, which then returns us the best video. If you think about it, Richard has to make sure that camera exposure, focus, and lighting are perfect. That’s an awful lot to do if he had been here alone and working as a solo product videographer, when he’d need to balance the needs of the client and the talent as well. This is why our shooting configuration is setup as it is – it puts the needs and success of the project first.
With the clock ticking down quickly, I’m finding as many ways as possible to cheat time. We can do this by combining shots, occasionally skipping a backup version if we’re happy with an initial take, and working in a way which means we don’t have to make too many changes to lighting between setups. By the end of the day my shot list is full of highlights, notes, 90% of the wish list ticked off, and plenty of notes for our editor to start on the very next day.
Being a product videographer is no easy task, and we have to use our skills from the various experiences that we have built up from working in events, beauty and portraiture, and even food and drink, to get the best out of a shoot like this.
The projects our product videographers work on are voluminous and wide-ranging, delivering multiple videos in different configurations and crop sizes for specific social media channels – from TikTok to Facebook and Instagram stories.
“We were recommended Pocket Creatives by our PR agency, and have been thrilled with their professionalism, responsiveness, willingness to implement feedback and flexibility. Our internal challenges often mean we’re a little last minute and work to short deadlines, but Pocket have exceeded our expectations and created a high standard of work with very little guidance. We’ve already commissioned additional activity and will be continuing to send work their way in the months and years to come.”
Hayley Hall, Head of Social Media & PR Innovaderma (Skinny Tan)
“Fun, innovative and unflappable. Pocket creatives are great to work with – whether it’s finding the perfect lighting for trifle to capturing GoPro footage on a whisk, they always approach every situation with a steady yet game-changing attitude. I see the whole team as trusted creative partners to make great content together.”
Kitty Aldis, River Group
“I have been working with Steven and the brilliant Pocket Creatives crew for 3 years – in fact since they started out. They have captured in excess of 100 recipes, produced 7 videos including 2 crowdfunding campaigns, their work, professionalism, and commitment to client satisfaction second to none. What’s more is how they have developed, evolved and grown in creativity, experience, and inspiration.
On a personal front the individuals in the team have to most wonderful personalities – an absolute joy to work with!”
Tanya Robertson-Lambert, Tanya’s Just Real
“I worked with Steven and his Pocket Creatives team to create a recipe video, and I couldn’t recommend their services enough! From the ideation stage, through to filming and editing the finished product, at every stage, the whole team were first-class, going above and beyond to create a compelling, high-quality recipe video that generated heaps of engagement. I would definitely work them again.”
Ben Cullen, OLIO