Mastering Thought Leadership Videos: Insights from L.E.K. Consulting’s Production Journey

Behind the scenes of a Boston Video Production with LEK

One of the most rewarding parts of working for a video agency is being able to travel for work and being immersed in a diverse range of industries around the region. One of Skillman Video Group’s biggest clients is L.E.K. Consulting, a global strategy consultancy with expertise in dozens of industries.

We’ve previously worked with L.E.K.’s Boston and Chicago branches, among others, to create many videos, including thought leadership, client testimonials, promotional and instructional videos, and other videos for both their internal and external use.

Our Process

Our Skillman Video Group Production Process has six steps. The actual shoot day doesn’t come until step five, which means the majority of the process occurs in pre-production. A shoot day can never run smoothly unless you’ve ironed out every detail ahead of time.

Step number one is Discovery, where our CEO and Creative Director, Christina Skillman, spends as much time as possible getting to know the subject matter and the experts who will eventually be in front of the camera.

In the weeks leading up to the shoot, Christina scheduled and had calls with all of the Managing Directors who would eventually be on camera. In these calls, she explains the shooting process, and expectations, confirms the core messages that need to be captured and gets to know the subject on a personal level.

Creating this relationship prior to the shoot day is essential for expediting the process. If the subject is already comfortable with the director and has run through the topics, the interview can run smoothly and efficiently.

The Location

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When creating video in Boston, especially in such a busy part of the city, you want to make sure that you’re using your shooting space to the fullest. In mid-October, we arrived at L.E.K.’s Boston Office, located on State Street in the financial district of Boston.

When shooting in a skyscraper like the one that L.E.K. resides in, you have the advantage of using the prime Boston architecture in the skyline to up-level your video projects.

When we initially arrived at the conference room that had been reserved for our shoot, we already knew that the space was small and cramped and didn’t leave much variety as to the angle of the final shot.

They had been hesitant to tie up their larger conference room with nicer views for the full day and a half of shooting when we were planning and had asked about it earlier.

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We wanted our client to get the most out of the money they were spending, and the best way to do so was to use a space that had the best potential for shots.

With a little bit of negotiation and some last-minute changes, we were able to move to the larger conference room, where we could get a bit more of an interesting background shot. We needed as much space as possible in case we wanted to change the frame of the shot during the day, which we were luckily able to do both days.

The Crew

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In shoots like this, we typically have four people in the production crew.

It’s essential that you have a creative director to lead the interviews, a director of photography to capture the footage, and a sound engineer to capture clean audio.

In addition, we usually have a production assistant to aid all parties and who can capture some “Behind-the-scenes” content.

The Audio

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An important factor during our project with LEK that needs to be accounted for is audio. We were strategic enough to hire a sound engineer on our second day of shooting.

This person has the experience and skills to minimize background noise on set. A sound engineer is usually a must-have.

You deal with city noise and interruptions no matter where you go.

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Audio equipment

Even on the 20th floor, far away from the construction, sirens, and traffic noise that typically cause us audio issues, we still have to deal with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning noise, as well as telephones and ambient office noise.

Even a phone call in the next room can impact the quality of your footage, so our sound engineer sat next to the Creative Director and Director of Photography throughout the entirety of the video shoot, listening to every word spoken and ensuring there were no interruptions.

Special Considerations

Large buildings like the L.E.K. Boston office often have very strict insurance requirements.

To ensure that we would be able to arrive and shoot without encountering obstacles, we had to ensure that our insurance was up-to-date and approved by the property management company. This is an essential step that you have to make sure your crew is able to complete ahead of time.

We did this by getting our Certificate of Insurance approved by L.E.K., and we also provided them with names and contact information for all of the Skillman Video Group and affiliated staff who would be entering the building.

When we initially arrived, security looked at our identification and credentials, and we could continue without a hitch, simply because we planned ahead of time. We have the experience and know-how to take care of these logistics before our client even has the chance to worry about them.

Our goal is to be as efficient and quick as possible on the actual shoot day so we can be sure to get everything we’ll need for the post-production process.

Live Interviews

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Christina Skillman (Creative Director) running a live interview

The process of filming multiple videos, featuring multiple subjects talking about their differing and complex subject matter, is quite difficult.

The goal when working with a client during a shoot day is to capture as much content as possible. We recognize that our clients spend a lot of time, money, and energy inviting us into their workplaces to capture the essence of their unique products, services, and values. In order to work most efficiently, we need to ensure we capture as much usable footage as possible.

This can only be done with a thorough and organized pre-production process. During this process, Christina had one-on-one calls with each of the Managing Directors to prepare them for the interview process.

Not only does this give a chance for the Managing Directors to familiarize themselves with questions Christina would eventually ask them, it also gives Christina a chance to learn more about their industry specialties and alter her questions to make sure we get the best responses from the MDs as possible.

The Content

Each Managing Director’s interview lasted about 30 minutes, and some partners were interviewed for several different videos. Eventually, we captured enough footage for 10 different videos.

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Christina Skillman (CEO) and Matthew Frazer (Director of Photography) on set with Skillman Video Group

They included a full thought leadership video for their 2022 Hospital Study and 2022 Manufacturing Survey, along with shorter formats of each to be repurposed for social media.

There were also six different introductory videos to various industries that L.E.K. works in, including Life Sciences, Industrial Equipment & Technology, Building & Construction, Healthcare Supply Chain, Medical Technology, and Automotive & Transportation.

The Creative Director is absolutely essential when filming interview-style content. Although the subjects had been prepped ahead of time, they were not scripted. When the interviews started, Christina already had a list of questions that she planned to ask each of the Managing Directors.

Getting to the Key Messages

To lay out the initial context, she asked each director to describe their practice area of work and who their work benefits. She then asked them to articulate their biggest client want, because the ultimate final audience of these videos is L.E.K.’s potential clients.

She also asked the managing directors where and how their clients were experiencing pain. She then explored how L.E.K. develops plans to solve their client’s pains and deliver their greatest wants.

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There’s a famous quote often attributed to Maya Angelou that reads, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

At the end of every interview, Christina read this phrase out loud to the Managing Directors and asked them, “Should your audience forget everything else that was said in this video? What is one thing you want them to remember?”

This gives a chance for the subject to close out their thoughts, and we were able to get some exceptional answers from L.E.K.’s partners.

The Equipment

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We don’t store most of the equipment we use in-house. All of our Directors of Photography bring their own equipment, including cameras, lighting, fixtures, hard drives, and their own audio equipment (along with much more).

Having a Director of Photography is incredibly important for your video project. Directors of Photography typically have much higher-end equipment and the experience necessary to capture clean, high-quality footage.

Especially when creating this level of high-quality content, it’s essential to hire a Director of Photography with the experience to handle a project of this caliber.

Freelance videographers, while they may have the skills to film amazing videos, don’t typically have the equipment necessary to capture a production at this level.

Check Our The 2022 Manufacturing Survey Final Video: