How I created a promotional video in a day
I worked with videographer Adam Smith, who I had met via Freelance Friday. One of his unique services is called "Done in a Day" where he shoots and edits content within a standard working day to provide a finished piece of work to the client by 5pm.
As someone who is a) impatient and b) keen to try out fun new challenges, I was very excited to use Adam's services to create my own video.
Obviously in order to have efficient timings on the day, it was important to do as much planning work beforehand as possible. Adam sent over a "top tips" document to help me prepare the script and also to give me some hints for the day itself. Who knew that chocolate coated the vocal chords? He will also work with clients to provide support for the script and storyboard, but I felt confident to put this together myself.
I researched various other videos (I really liked this one) and decided that 60 seconds of film was plenty to explain what I do and why people would want to work with me. The way that I approached the script was to record myself as if I was explaining what I do to a potential client. I then listened back and wrote down the sentences that I liked best, and timed myself saying them until I got to 60 seconds.
As well as sending over the script in advance, Adam also asked me to take some photos in the room(s) where the filming would be done, with the lights on and off, and at the time that we would be doing the proper shoot.
Here's my script and the directions (we got a bit creative on the day so we didn't stick to some of the exact shots). Coco is my dog, in case it's not obvious!
Hi, I'm Katy
[My face, looking straight at the camera, sitting at my desk with my computer on in the background showing my website]
I like to do things a bit differently. [Second choice to lose if I need to cut this down]
[Shot of me pretending to be on the phone, laughing, possibly spinning around]
For seven years I worked for charities, non-profits and small businesses.
[My face again or this can be any other shots that we get in the day]
Even though I was fairly technical, working with web developers was daunting and expensive, so I ended up teaching myself.
[Shot of me with a note pad loooking between that and my computer]
I started The Wheel Exists to help others in similar situations set up great looking websites that are modern, professional and mobile friendly.
[Shot of me looking at my phone]
I use a fantastic website building tool called Squarespace, which allows me to offer my services at a price that small businesses can actually afford.
[Shot from behind of me using the back end of Squarespace]
I love working with projects that I believe can make a difference in the world, and my clients have included a raw juice café and a recycling startup.
[Shot from the side of me working on Raw Press and Good Rubbish Company sites but showing the front end]
My approach isn't for everyone. I'm very open about being a human being and one of the reasons I became a freelancer was to have a better work-life balance.
[Me shot from behind walking Coco along the Shallcross Trail]
It's definitely been hard, but it's worth it for the flexibility and variety. [First choice to lose if I need to cut this down]
[Arty shot of me having a cup of coffee]
So if you're looking for someone who will listen to what YOU want, get in touch for a jargon free conversation.
[My face, looking straight at the camera as in first shot]
The Production Schedule
Adam and I worked on a specific schedule that worked for both of our needs. I was keen to do the filming at my house as working from home is an integral part of my life as a freelancer. We decided to film in the morning and then travel back into Manchester so he could do the editing at Ziferblat whilst I got on with some work at Freelance Friday. This way, I would be on hand for regular review sessions.
Adam Arrives at Whaley bridge train station: 8:24am
Camera starts rolling at 9am
Transfer of footage: Midday
Pack down: 12:00 - 12:05pm
Break + travel to Ziferblat: 12:05 - 1:45pm
Set up: 1:45 - 2pm
Initial editing 2 - 2:45pm
Review 2:45 - 3pm
Finalise video 4:45-5pm
Adam arrived on the 8:24 train as planned, along with the relevant equipment that he'd hired for the shoot. Once back at my house, we set up in the home office and began doing some test shots with audio. I'm quite a confident public speaker but actually I felt a bit nervous. Thankfully Adam was able to put me at ease, and gave me tips for improving how I delivered the lines from my script in a way that gave me confidence. Hearing him read my script aloud really showed his training and he sounded like a slick newsreader!
We began shooting the real footage, at first with video and audio and then with just audio to use over some shots of me living my freelancer life. As a side note, the project was originally going to be "A day in the life of a freelancer" but it didn't quite fit with the Done in a Day project (as it left too little time for editing) so that's one that we may create in the future.
After a slightly shaky start, I managed to get a few takes of the full 60 seconds, and we also recorded a few of the sections individually so that there would be enough choice during the editing process. Once we'd filmed the basics, it was time to get creative... Despite the torrential rain, and armed with a DIY camera cover (bin bags are very useful) we went out into the great outdoors with Coco to do some dog-walking shots. As we came back in, Pickles the cat decided that he wanted to feature in the video too so look out for his cameo!
At this point it all began to get a bit silly (in a good way) as I had said all along that I wanted the video to be quirky and reflect the fact that I'm not very "corporate". Some of the best footage was actually from when Adam secretly filmed me mucking around with his other camera! After this we did a few final retakes of the whole script and finished at 11:50, 10 minutes ahead of schedule.
We arrived at Ziferblat just before 1:45 and Adam started his editing. He has such attention to detail and was worrying about a shadow that I would never even have noticed. The first review was scheduled for 2:45...
The First Review
Amazing! Like magic, a video has appeared. It looked very professional and slick but I wanted to reorder some of the content. Adam was very patient whilst I tried to get my head around when I wanted the different shots to appear. Sorry folks, you're going to see a lot more of my face than originally planned (and also Coco features heavily but I won't apologise for that, the internet was made for animal videos).
The Second Review
Just a quick tweak to extend me zooming in and out with Adam's spare camera and we have the approved timeline! Now he's going to sharpen everything up and something about making it cinematic. Which sounds epic.
It's 4pm. Apparently we're going to RENDER IT DOWN. I don't know what that means but I'm excited.
Oops, apparently every time I'm about to talk I move my hand ever so slightly on my jeans which gets picked up by the microphone. Luckily Adam is on the case to fix this through some kind of Adobe wizardry.
The Final Review
It looks like a real video from a real business! I am actually a little bit speechless that this could be produced in a day. It's 4:45 and Adam is just sharing the video with me so we are well on track for our 5pm deadline.
The Finished Product
And here it is, at 5:03 all uploaded to YouTube, ladies and gentlemen I present to you MY VIDEO!