Investor Communications Shoot: Discovery to Post-Production

Mediant Inc. Shoot: Discovery to Post-Production

Pandemic was not a word used in everyday vocabulary before March of 2020, but things change and the world must adapt. The film, television, and media arts industry is a great example of how companies like Skillman Video Group adapt to changing work climates. In the midst of COVID-19, our Boston video production agency was tasked with creating a video pop-up for the investor communications company, Mediant, for their online mutual fund conference. Discovery to production was such a short amount of time compared to other shoots; we only had a couple of days to plan before production. That’s why this shoot is a great example of our flexibility and ability to expedite a video without reducing its quality.

Discovery: Understanding the Client

Mediant is in the business of investor communications and therefore deals with a lot of clients. With a lot of clients comes a lot of responsibility and Mediant has customer service written in their DNA. That is why when some of their customers had issues with mutual fund proxy voting, they hired us through theirBoston Video Production shooting invesor communications performance marketing agency, Austin Lawrence Group, so they could visually explain how to resolve any issues with mutual fund proxy voting. They took this extra step in reaching their clientele because they are dedicated to their client’s long-term growth and success.

To better understand Mediant and what they were trying to get across to their clients, we had to research what mutual fund proxy voting was. We took this extra step in understanding our clientele so we could create the best product that will suit their needs.

Normally there is a good chunk of time for the discovery portion of our six-tier process, but just like everything else in 2020, things are not set in stone.

Mediant had an unexpected issue and came to us because they knew that our ability to be flexible without diminishing video quality is exactly what they needed. Through research, we learned that Mediant works with brokers, banks, corporate issuers, investment advisors, and many other businesses. Their clients get access to the best of the best when it comes to industry knowledge and assistance. They may be a large company but they have that special touch, interacting with clients on a personal level so that all of their clients have the greatest chance at success.

Mediant needed a long-form video explaining, in-depth and with graphic aids, how to resolve the issue with mutual fund proxy voting. Because this video had a clear direction and message, we were able to design a video approximately five minutes long and move on to the next step of our creative process.

Strategy: Key Message

The second step is to come up with a strategy; trying to figure out what the key message and theme of the video really are, as well as what the client wants to use the video for, whether it be sales, marketing, etc.

The key messages are three to four messages that must be conveyed in the narrative interview. And the key themes can be conveyed in other ways, like through b-roll, music, or how we chose to edit the video.

To start with, Mediant proposed a ten-minute video with PowerPoint slides. Although this video was being used for a conference, where everyone in attendance was going to have to watch it, we did not feel as though a ten-minute video would be effective. Instead, we steered it to a more marketing style video with a length of around four to five minutes, rather than a sales opportunity. This shows that we also take the purpose of their video into consideration, so the client gets the best possible reactions from their target audience.

Creative/Concept: Designing Excellence

Boston Video Production interviewStage three of the production process is where we normally come up with ways to effectively get our client’s message across to their audience.

In Mediant’s case, they needed a straightforward informational video that communicated professionalism. This means using a tripod to hold the camera during the course of the interview. While there are times to get creative with movement during interviews, this was not one of them. Abstract camera movements would only take away from Mediant’s brand message of stability and safety.

We chose the corner of Mediant’s office to shoot this video for multiple reasons. For one, it provides an aesthetically pleasing background without distracting the viewer. Having this style background allows the speaker to be in focus and the background out of focus, which pulls the viewer’s attention towards the speaker.

If the video quality is sub-par it will make our clients seem unworthy of their viewers’ attention. In order to achieve visual excellence, we set up lighting to create a nice Rembrandt effect on the client’s face. This style of lighting draws the viewers’ attention to the speaker even more, by creating contrast across the face, increasing the quality of the visual.

Planning/Pre-Production: Cast and CrewBoston Video Production Shooting COVID-19 Cleanliness

Videos cannot happen without a crew. In this stage of the process, we organize the logistical aspects of the cast and crew. Due to COVID-19 there are multiple restrictions and safety protocols, so we had to keep the crew limited–meaning we did not have more bodies than deemed necessary.

The crew only consisted of Chuck Green, the Director of Photography, and Christina Skillman, the Director, who also acted as the interviewer. Mediant’s Director of Fund Solutions was the only talent we had to worry about filming.

Production: Cleanliness and Efficiency

With only 3 people at the shoot, it was easy to keep equipment clean and maintain a 6-foot minimum distance between all members of the cast and crew.

The Director of Photography sanitized his equipment with wipes and kept the equipment in a secluded spot where he was the only one to touch it. The client had a separate section where he kept his belongings and equipment, away from the crew’s designated area. All of these in-house precautions that the Skillman Video Group takes, prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 and allow for a smooth production. Again, because there were only 3 people in attendance we were able to shoot the client with his mask off, more than six feet away from any of our crew.

FBoston Video Production interviewor this production, we shot in one location, Mediant’s office space where we were able to ask the client these questions:

                    1. Historically what has Mediant been known for?
                    2. Why did Mediant decide to get into the Mutual Fund and Annuities/Securities business?
                    3. What pain in the marketplace are you addressing with this service offering?
                    4. What makes you unique in this space?
                    5. What makes you excited about Mediant and its future?
                    6. Finally, what is the ONE thing you want your audience to think or feel when they are done watching this video?

He answered at length, in great detail. The entire interview took upwards of 30 minutes and had to be cut down to only 5 minutes. After shooting, came the Editing and Finishing Stage, where the video really comes to life, full of graphics and animations.

Editing & Finishing: Putting it Together

Post production is the final stage in SVG’s production process, which itself includes four different rounds. There was only one week from production to when the video needed to be released. This meant cramming all four rounds of editing into one week. It was tough and meant for long hours, but it was completed.

The first two rounds of editing are just a rough cut of the interview itself. This is where we cut down the 30-minute interview into 5 short minutes and sent it to the client for initial review to make sure they like the topics and the way it is put together.

The third round is where we add graphics and animations. Normally graphics would be handled in pre-production, where we would have ample time to collaborate with the client to create graphics and animations that would augment their brand standards. Not having the luxury of time, creating these graphics in a tight window took an exceptional amount of work on the animator’s part where he worked after hours to meet the deadline.

Once graphics were approved, the final stage of editing could begin: colorizing, digital make-up, and music. Once all is said and done, the final video is sent for review. The client was blown away at how flexible and efficient we were given the time constraints.

We were extremely satisfied with the outcome of the shoot, and so was our client. Our ability to be flexible was showcased, and we were able to pose Mediant in the best possible light, which they undoubtedly deserved! In this day and age of video production, it is important to have a personal connection to the client, and that is why this video was a success. We look forward to creating more videos like these for clients like Mediant.

We urge you to check more of our website and blogs for more info on our production process, and how we have been handling the COVID-19 Pandemic. Contact us at info@skillmanvideogroup.com if you have any questions or if you are in search of production companies in Boston to get your very own project started!

Mediant – Virtual Event Promotional Video

Mediant – Virtual Event Promotional Video from Skillman Video Group on Vimeo.