Leadership Videos from A-Z, Part 2: Preparation and Shooting

4 simple steps to perfect leadership videos
Everything you need to know about making CEO videos. | © Pixabay

With leadership videos, things don’t just get serious when the camera is rolling. Moving image productions follow established, fixed processes and rules. This article provides information on the time frames and processes required for this in terms of planning and content.

Leadership videos require the highest precision in planning. Making a CEO wait on the film set to shoot because of last minute organizing is not an option. Here we’ll explain all the things you need to look out for.

You need to know

  • A reasonable time budget is a basic requirement for a successful video. If you are at the beginning of a serial production of leadership videos, you will need a time window of more than four weeks for all planning and production work.
  • When developing the video content, you have the advantage of sticking to the well-known formula: Form follows function. Videos with CEOs are all about content. Always. Which is not to say that emotions don’t play a role.
  • Filming is usually the least time-consuming step in leadership videos.

Preparation and shooting of leadership videos

Time is arguably the most important resource of all for high-level executives. Disposition and availability of the main actor are always an issue in a leadership video. At the same time, it is true that anyone who puts their skin on the market in the service of authentic corporate communication – and a CEO video means nothing else – wants and needs to be involved in the most important decisions, despite all the time constraints.

From the point of view of an experienced film production, videos with top executives are not witchcraft, at least from a logistical point of view. Compared to a feature film shoot, where there is an army of 80 or more people to manage – the crew for an average TV commercial or image film is still two to three dozen people – the number of people involved in a leadership video is virtually small. Usually there are no more than a dozen people.

1 Time frame

For the 4 steps on the way to the perfect Leadership Video, from the time the order is placed and assuming that internal acceptance processes on the part of the customer take 3 to a maximum of 5 days each, can be taken as a time frame:

  1. Definition: 15 days *
  2. Formatting: 20 days *
  3. Piloting: 10 days *
  4. Production and impact control: 10 days *

* including approval process on customer side and correction loops.

In 4 einfachen Schritten zu perfekten Leadership Videos
the 4 steps to perfect leadership video | © filmpuls.info

In other words: professional leadership videos from A to Z, including planning for later serial repetition, rehearsals and quality controls, can be planned in 45 working days or 9 weeks, whereby a total of 4 weeks for customer-internal acceptance processes were included in the total of 9 weeks.

Depending on the efficiency of the acceptances, the pure working time of the video production can be up to 5 weeks.

In an ideal world, CEO involvement occurs at three key points in planning and production:

  • Presentation of the Leadership Video form (towards the end of Stage 2, formatting). Average time required: 30-45 min. *
  • Rehearsal on the occasion of the pilot. Indicative effort: 60 min. *
  • Recording the video (filming). Default Time Budget: 60 min. – 90 min. *

* no preparation is necessary for the presentation of the concepts.

During piloting and filming, it is assumed that the content has been memorized as keywords. The final acceptance/approval by the CEO is, like the possibly content-related necessary approval by the customer’s legal department, fed into the average value of the 10-day period of stage 4 (see preceding).

2 Elaboration of the contents

The content of a CEO video is basically the responsibility of the customer. In most cases, this was already sketched out in rough lines in advance of the contract being awarded. The production partner is therefore not completely released from his obligation: he is always jointly responsible.

It is therefore the responsibility of the production department to provide the customer with a text grid based on the selected formatting. This template includes at least minimal information on the length, structure and composition of the text, tailored to the form of the video and its impact objectives(KPI). More to Question: How long does a video have to be.

An example to illustrate:

The planned communication wish (“We are a team”) and the intended distribution channel (social media) of a future leadership video lead to the conception (scheme, step 2) of a video format which, in its visual language, deliberately places the CEO at the centre of the message not only as a strong leadership personality but also as an approachable person.

However, if the CEO only talks about numbers in this video, i.e. presents an Excel spreadsheet as it were, this can create an unintentionally strange contrast to the close-ups trimmed to emotionality. The viewer will usually not be able to name this drifting apart of content and form, called “scissors” in technical language, as such, but will feel a strange, indefinable feeling of irritation while watching the video.

Text and image have to be harmoniously combined into a whole by means of selected camera angles, often supplemented by additional information layers such as graphic animations.

3 Budget

Part 1 of this series of articles provides a guide to manufacturing costs in figures. Like any calculation for film and video, the budget for a leadership video can be controlled by the corresponding parameters and production value in the film. The price of a CEO video, somewhat simplified, is basically made up of 4 different components:

  1. the costs for the technology used for the recordings and for the image and sound editing and graphic creation,
  2. the salary for specialistsand experts involved in creation, production and post-production, depending on their talent, experience and know-how
  3. any costs for the filming location and associated expenses
  4. possible licensing costs for music and/or externally purchased archive material used for illustration purposes

Decisive for the pricing is also the question whether a leadership video is designed, planned and set up serially. The costs incurred for the first video usually include one-time costs. Typical examples of one-time costs for a CEO video are the creation, the graphics or for opening credits/credits (intro/outro sequence).

4 Samples (piloting)

Test recordings (level 3 in the scheme) for video films of this type can be carried out in different ways and with different objectives. Either as technical rehearsals by the film crew, as a “main rehearsal” with the CEO a few hours or days before the real shoot, or as a combination of the two.

For technical samples, the CEO is not required on site. It is sufficient for one person to take the place (standing desk, chair, etc.) where the CEO will later stand. The film crew then plays through the sequence so that everything runs like clockwork later.

If samples are recorded, they are referred to as “hot samples”. If only content is rehearsed, but without recording the rehearsal, it is called a “cold rehearsal.”

5 Shooting Leadership Videos

In many ways, shooting leadership videos is no different than shooting video testimonials. Even with CEO videos, the highest level of authenticity should be the goal. This also includes the correct handling of B-roll footage.

A C-level leader in front of the camera, just like well-known actors, has the good right to have a single, competent contact person to guide them through the shoot. Usually this will be either the director or the producer, but in any case a person who has been familiar with content and filming for many years and who can meet the CEO at eye level.

6 Image and sound editing

Properly planned and implemented, the post-production of the footage fits seamlessly and precisely into the overall structure like the cogs of a Swiss watch. Two to three days turnaround time is the norm until a leadership video should be able to be visioned and approved by the client.

With prior announcement and appropriate planning, shorter completion times are also possible with shift operation, usually combined with an express fee.

Leadership Videos: Continued (Part 3)

In the next article, Filmpuls presents the most important types and forms of leadership videos. The third article of the four-part series is intended as a guide and stimulus for the creation and conception of leadership videos.

This article was automatically translated into English using AI. If you would like to help us improve the quality, we would be happy to hear from you.

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